"Holy fucking Christ," Keiran says.
"Yeah," Danielle agrees.
It takes him a moment to digest what he just heard. Danielle looks past him, out the windows of the Encounter Restaurant, the 2001-themed restaurant in the Jetsons-esque building at the heart of LAX, a flying saucer supported by swooping, curving pillars. She was a little disappointed to learn that the restaurant did not revolve, but the view is still spectacular, a vista of the airport and its dozens of jumbo jets lined up like children's toys, the blue Pacific just beyond.
"You're certain?" he asks Jayalitha. "You're absolutely certain?"
"I could not bring the evidence with me. But there is no doubt."
"It makes sense. Christ. It all makes perfect sense. How did you find out?"
"I suspected it first one night when my husband and I found our way into the mine," she says. "We overheard a meeting of four of the senior managers. They began to discuss the protests and media coverage of the tailings. They were furiously outraged. They said these were all terrible lies, they knew of no such thing, they followed all international safety standards. They had no reason to be lying. They did not know we were listening. My husband and I began to wonder if perhaps they might not be speaking the truth."
"And they were."
"They were. The Kishkinda Mine is entirely innocent."
"I don't understand how they can do it," Danielle says. "There's so many people involved. How could no one find out until now?"
Keiran shakes his head. "That part I understand. It's like a coding problem. Encapsulating information. Hiding it from those who don't need it. The people on the ground, they truly think they're giving out medicine, vitamins, vaccinations, and then being very thorough about documenting their patients' medical conditions. The researchers only know that someone else does the experiments, and this is the data. They only need a few trusted intermediaries, to put labels on bottles and send the data to the doctors. A half-dozen, if that. And you don't become a billionaire without accumulating a Filofax full of people who will keep their lips sealed shut."
"People like Laurent," Danielle says, remembering the deformed and dying children in that Kishkinda village of the damned, and Dr. Lal's black case, bulging with medicines and vaccines supplied by Justice International. She wants to throw up.
"People. Using the word loosely. Psychopaths happy to induce cancer in thousands of people, with poison dressed up as medicines and vaccines, then test experimental drugs on them and blame it all on the mine next door. While the world's anti-capitalist activists eat the cover story up without ever considering alternatives that don't fit their preconceptions. They must try out new carcinogens as often as new medicines, to induce the kind of cancer Shadbold has more reliably."
"Outsourcing," Danielle says. "He's outsourced dying to India."
Keiran nods. "In a way it's brilliant."
"You say brilliant, I say fucking monstrous, let's call the whole thing off."
"I doubt it's just Kishkinda," Keiran muses. "They must have other sites. Africa, Bolivia, anywhere life is cheap. I wonder how many people are murdered for every month they add to Shadbold's life. Probably hundreds."
"We have to tell someone. We have to expose him."
"Of course," Keiran says. "Except, we can spread it as an ugly rumour, that's a start, but it would certainly help if we had some actual evidence."
"I'm sorry," Jayalitha says. "I was very fortunate to escape only with my life. I had to bury the evidence."
Keiran turns to stare at her. "Evidence? What evidence? Buried where?"
YOU ARE READING
Invisible ArmiesMystery / Thriller
In a world where security cameras prove what you have done and databases define who you are, the few who know how to manipulate the technology can play God. They can change the future; they can alter the past. They can make big money, they can save...