The Hate Parallax

 
 

Nick Perumov and Allan Cole

Allan and Nick Perumov in Moscow.

(Photo by Kathryn Cole.)

Russian Cover - 1st Printing

Russian Cover - 1st Printing

Russian Cover - 2nd Printing

Russian Cover - 2nd Printing


 
 

Russian readers can buy the book online at the following sites: www.ozon.ru, www.top-kniga.ru, www.kniga.com.

A Sample Chapter From The Hate Parallax

 

CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE

“He’s coming, Master!” the gremlin squeaked. “Hurry!”

Davyd didn’t waste his breath cursing the gremlin, telling him to shut up! That he knew damned well the guy was coming.


 

 

As for hurrying, he was going as fast as he could, but the vent cover was resisting him.

The bolts holding the grill in place were old, some of the heads nearly stripped, slipping the grip of his little pneumowrench. The wrench made no sound, other than a faint purr, like a cat.

Behind him, Billy moaned in his drugged sleep, whispering “Lupe, Lupe,” with so much pain in his voice that Davyd knew the child was in the grip of a nightmare.

Poor kid, he thought. Wish I could tell you it’ll get better, but it won’t.

And then another bolt fell into his palm and he was almost there! Two more to go. Then through the vent and away to the storage room where his gear was stored.


 


 


He’d be off the Borodino and on his way to the rendezvous point in no time flat.

Too bad he didn’t have everything he needed. The report would be pretty damned slim. But it was a good start. Nothing to bitch about. Father Zorza wouldn’t be ecstatic, but he wouldn’t be disappointed either.

Davyd pressed the pencil-shaped wrench against the next bolt. He triggered it and the tool jumped in his hand, biting into the bolthead. The bolt came half-free, then jammed.

Davyd gave the wrench more power, muttering, “come on, baby, come on…” The bolt snapped, but no matter, he could bend the vent back. But then:
“He’s here, master!”


 

 


And Davyd sighed, dropping the wrench and coming to his feet to face his enemy.

He turned toward the door, drawing his weapon, already thinking how the guy might come, worried because Billy was on the bed and would be between them.

But if Davyd angled to the right, getting the kid out of the line of fire, he’d be in a lousy position - field of fire drastically reduced.

And from his sleep Billy cried, “Lupe!”

Davyd moved to the right.

* * *


 

 

Vlad came down the dark corridor like a wolf on the stalk, feet gliding silently, muscles working smoothly like powerful machines bathed in warm oil.

He was in a crouch, the corridor wall on his left, ahead dim yellow light from Billy’s room spilling through the open doorway to puddle on the floor.

Vlad could feel the presence of his Odysseus Corps enemy in the hot marrow of his bones. His heart ached for this kill - and kill it would be.

He had been fairly certain who his enemy was well before he entered the hospital. Any niggling doubts were swept away by the scent of cold darkness.

Pheromones of death - of kind knowing kind - drifting on the air.


 

 

Obviously, the proper course would be to capture the man and question him. Torture him until he confessed all he knew about the filthy Amer plot to humiliate Mother Russia.

Vlad’s methods in such things had never failed to get the desired answers.

If the enemy had been an ordinary man, that’s what Vlad would’ve done. Backed by a squad of the Borodino’s best, he’d have rushed the room, easily disarmed the guy, then bundled him up for a leisurely session of pain threshold testing.

But this was no ordinary man waiting for him in that room. And yes, he was waiting… Vlad had no doubt about that.

His enemy had thought about escaping, but he’d caught Vlad’s spoor as well and now


 
 

he was getting into position to fight.

Vlad had to do this alone and not just because of The Rule. Against someone from Odysseus Corps, added men - no matter how good - would be in Vlad’s way.

His enemy would use them as a shield, dodging at super speed, trying for a lucky shot at Vlad as he killed everyone else.

Capture would not be a possibility.

The enemy would escape or die. It was the only choice open to him. Just as it would be Vlad’s only choice if he were in the same situation.

He was nearing the doorway now, and he slowed.


 
 


Creeping softly, softly, so softly. And thinking, “Come to me, enemy mine, come to me…”

* * *

Davyd was in full battle-mode, nerve endings on fire, a strange joy singing in his veins as he waited for his enemy.

It’d been a long time since he’d faced an equal. Only twice in a thousand years had he pitted his skills against the Russian assassins of the Church Of The Sword.

That he’d come away victorious, albeit wounded, in both incidents made a large part of the Davyd Kells legend in the Odysseus Corps’ Hall Of Heroes.


 
 
Now I’ll make it three, lucky three, Davyd thought, senses so finely tuned that he caught the soft fall of a shoe whiskering across a plas floor.

His enemy was only a few feet away, coming in from his blind side, but Davyd could feel his presence through the wall that divided Billy’s room from the hospital corridor.

Davyd lifted his weapon and considered putting a burst through the wall.

* * *

Vlad hesitated, thinking the best thing to do would be to simply toss a pin grenade into the room and blow the man into charred hunks of flesh.

But that would also kill the boy. Like Davyd, Vlad had no desire to kill children, especially that poor, soul-wounded little thing who had already suffered so much.

If there was no other choice, well, he’d have to accept that sin and the boy would die.

Even so - even if there were no child - Vlad wouldn’t have used a grenade.
Oh, no. This must be one on one. Mano-a-mano, as they said. The greatest thrill would be to kill him with his own hands, although that was unlikely to happen.

It would be over quickly.

One shot.

At the most, two.

Vlad paused inches away from the doorway.

He crouched lower, getting to ready to move.

* * *

Davyd dismissed the wall shot. If the guy was only wounded the return fire might hit the kid.

Okay, fine, you Rooskie son-of-a-bitch, show yourself!

And then we can play.

Come on… Come on…

Without warning a dark shape flew across the doorway.

Davyd fired.

* * *

Vlad launched himself into the air. He was on his side, presenting only a fast-moving, horizontal target.

As his head passed the doorway he saw Billy on the bed, then a man crouched in the corner, weapon at the ready.

There was a harsh cough as the man fired, but Vlad managed to get off a shot at the same moment.

A heavy blow struck his heel, then he was past the doorway and tuck-rolling to his feet.

Whirling around for the counter, feeling no pain in his foot… just a little clumsiness… smiling to himself as he realized only his bootheel had been shot off.

And his enemy had missed!

But so had he.

Vlad prayed he’d have better luck with his next shot.

* * *

Davyd felt the round pluck at his sleeve and laughed in hot glee at his enemy’s misfortune.

True, Davyd had missed as well - although for a second there he’d thought he’d blasted the guy’s foot off.

But from the sound of his enemy’s acrobatic recovery, he was unhurt. Still, now he was no longer on Davyd’s blind side. No wall to hide his attack until the last possible moment.

From Davyd’s position he could see a short distance down the corridor to where the light from Billy’s room faded into darkness.

Best of all, Billy was well out of the line of fire.

Just then he felt another presence!

It was moving down the corridor from his blind side.

Shit! Were there two of them?

* * *

Vlad sensed the second presence as well.

Surprised, he turned his weapon slightly to cover the darkness where he thought the figure would emerge.

Probably some damned security officer who hadn’t received the order to stay clear of this area. It might very well prove to be a fatal mistake for both of them.

Then he caught the scent of familiar perfume.

Tanya Lawson!

Vlad hissed silent curses. He could only draw one conclusion: Lawson, as he suspected, was working with the Odysseus Corps.

There could be no other explanation for her presence.

He felt a wrench of deep regret when he realized he’d have to kill her.

The emotion surprised him.

* * *

“It’s Major Lawson, master,” the gremlin whisper-squeaked.

And Davyd thought, Damn, damn, double-damn! What the hell is she doing here?

Then it suddenly occurred to him that she might be working for the Russians.

A turncoat?

Tanya Lawson?

Davyd was suddenly very sad.

And then he heard her voice:

“This is Major Tanya Lawson of the United Worlds Police. I order you both to cease your hostilities at once!”

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Last Revised: January 29, 2011