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Книга Army of Devils. Страница 7

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Lyons went to her and held her. Her breath caught, then steadied as she stopped a sob. As Lyons held her, he saw her tears fall onto the polished fiberglass of the examining table, the tears beading to sparkling jewels of sorrow.

A uniformed sergeant stood in the waiting room of Intensive Care, guarding the entry to the ward. Towers showed his identification to the officer.

"And who are they?" the sergeant demanded.

"Federals."

"I'll have to call for a clearance before they can go in." The sergeant reached for an interhouse phone.

Lyons shook his head. "We don't have to see the man. All we want is information. Could a doctor come out to brief us?"

"I'll call for an okay," the sergeant told him.

As the sergeant talked on the phone, Lyons asked Towers, "We are on the same side, aren't we?"

"Usually," Towers answered. "Of course, if I told who you really are..." the graying, balding detective glanced to both sides; no one could hear his words "...he'd call for his mama."

"What are you talking about?" Lyons demanded. "Cops don't have mothers. They make us at Smith & Wesson."

"A doctor's on the way," the sergeant told them.

Towers whispered again. "He knows!"

Flor, still pale and silent from the horror of the morgue, watched the ex-partners joking with one another. Towers pronounced in a low voice, "Today, in recognition of years of dedication to public service in Los Angeles and the world, Los Angeles police officers ended the career of Carl Lyons, ex-police officer, ex-detective, ex-specialist in counterterrorism, with a quick hypo of Thorazine and the award of a Kevlar straitjacket. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you are now safe from this madman, who thought he could make a difference. Said his longtime friend and compatriot in the self-righteous nonsense of criminal suppression, Detective Bill Towers, 'I'm moving to the Arctic Circle.' 'Why do that?' this announcer asked. Detective Towers, a twenty-year veteran of futile opposition to the People's Liberation Mob of San Quentin, said, 'I heard you can train polar bears to eat creeps.'"

Shouts outside the waiting room announced two long-haired and bearded news technicians. One carried a shoulder-slung tape recorder and six-foot-long boom microphone. The other carried a small video camera and portable video recorder.

The cameraman flicked on the video recorder's power and put the camera to his shoulder. Turning his back, Lyons grabbed Flor. He put his arm around her shoulder and drew her near. In the reflection of a blacked-out window in the door of Intensive Care, Lyons watched as Towers rushed at the cameraman.

Three men, two hospital administrators in light blue jackets and a slight wavy-haired man in a corduroy casual suit, crowded through the waiting-room entry. The administrators attempted to block the door, but the third man, protesting in a nasal shriek, pressed through. "Continue this harassment of the press and you can expect to see me in court! Do you understand me? The truth must be told! You cannot restrain the free expression of the truth!"

Towers held up his hands to block the lens. But the cameraman swiveled in another direction. Focusing the zoom lens, the cameraman video-recorded the commentator's shrill protests and gestures. Towers rushed past the technicians. The sound man put the microphone over the three men.

The commentator faced the camera. "This is Mark Lannon outside the Intensive Care Ward of USC Medical Center, where the Los Angeles Police Department holds incommunicado one of the officers responsible for the slaughter of five young brown and black teenagers who committed the crime of entering a white neighborhood."

At the entry to the waiting room, Towers took a fingernail-trim set from his pocket. He jammed the nail file into the keyed light switch.

The high-pitched voice of Mark Lannon continued. "Witnesses to the atrocity report the officer went mad with blood lust and attacked his partners in murder. The Los Angeles Police Department refuses to confirm or contradict the statements of on-the-spot witnesses. However, this reporter has gained additional information on the incident..."

The lights went out in the windowless room. In total darkness, Lannon's voice protested. "This is deliberate! This is criminal harassment of the press! This is fascist suppression... Ugh…"

His voice cut off as a fist slapped skin. Metal crashed. Someone screamed in pain as fists beat flesh. A penlight revealed the form of the cameraman on the floor. A leg wearing gray cotton-polyester and a soft leather neoprene shoe — the color of the slacks Lyons wore and the style of shoe he preferred — place-kicked the video camera into the air. The light flicked out. Plastic shattered as a heel crashed down again and again. The light flashed on again to reveal the smashed video recorder. A hand tore a videocassette from the destroyed machine.

From the side of the room came the sound of glass breaking. Another shriek tore the darkness. The penlight beam showed a hand lifting the sound man from the floor by his beard. A knee in gray slacks crushed his nose.

The door to the Intensive Care Ward opened, light flooding the waiting room. In a blur of indistinct motion, several forms rushed into the ward. Others rushed out the other door.

At the waiting room entry, one of the administrators rekeyed the light switch, then continued out to the corridor.

Alone in the waiting room, surrounded by smashed equipment, Mark Lannon and his technicians groaned on the floor.

Lyons and Towers and Flor glanced back through the ward door as it closed.

"You just met the correspondents from our local Communist news station," Towers told Lyons and Flor.

"Wonder what those Commies are doing on the floor?" Lyons asked. "Think it's a public orgy?"

The uniformed sergeant laughed first. Then four officers and ex-officers all shared a long laugh.

A doctor watched for a moment before asking, "What happened out there?"

Lyons turned to the doctor. "The lights went out and… I think they fell down, but I don't know…"

"We were so busy getting in here," Towers added. "Didn't see what happened…"

"Who wanted to talk about the officer?"

Their laughter stopped.

"What's his condition?" Towers asked.

"He'll be staying for observation, but we think he's improving. We tried the standard sedative and antipsychotic drugs but finally we resorted to the expediency of changing his blood, which proved to be helpful."

"You changed his blood?"

"Then we upped the antipsychotics until his convulsions and rages stopped. Drastic, but the treatment seems effective. The residual amounts may trigger repeated seizures. I believe the continuing treatment will be rest and calm until we can identify the chemical that initiated his attacks. Then we can attempt to neutralize whatever traces of the chemical remain in his body."

"Have any idea what the drug was?" Lyons asked.

"A drug? I don't know that this chemical is a drug. It seems to activate areas of the brain usually unaffected by drugs. It creates rages. Like a drug, it makes the individual unaware of pain, but that may be a side effect of the rage. The police department's chemists already have a sample," the doctor said. He was enthusiastic. "And we've sent pathologists to the morgue to take samples of the five teenagers' brains. I'm really quite excited about this. I've already outlined a paper I plan to publish. This is all very, very extraordinary."

Lyons nodded. "Yeah, it sure is."

On another floor of the hospital, in a private room guarded by an LAPD officer in the white uniform of a nurse, Lou Stevens rested after minor surgery. The white-uniformed woman — an officer with black-belt degrees in both karate and judo — admitted Towers, Lyons and Flor after they presented their identification.

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