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Authors: Scott Sigler

Pandemic (75 page)

BOOK: Pandemic
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He looked at Clarence. “Agent Otto, I do wish you’d reconsider and let us share this moment with the nation. I think the people need to know who their heroes are.”

Clarence shook his head. “I prefer my privacy, Mister President. Margaret would have wanted the same thing.”

Albertson nodded. “Very well.” He smiled at Klimas.

“Commander, fortunately you don’t have the option of telling me
no thanks
when it comes to public recognition. I look forward to the Navy Cross and Medal of Honor presentation ceremony for you, Chief Ramierez and Lieutenant Walker. Thank you for what you have done. The world owes you a debt that can never be repaid.”

He shook Klimas’s hand.

Albertson turned to Feely.

“And as for you, Director Feely, I’m glad you will let us have a little pomp and circumstance for tomorrow’s presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

“Love me some pomp,” Tim said. “And I’ve earned all kinds of circumstance.”

Clarence turned to him, surprised. “
Director
Feely?”

Tim nodded. He held up the cane. “As in, the Director of Special Threats.”

Clarence turned to Murray.

Murray shrugged. “I retired. I’m getting too old for this shit.”

Albertson frowned. “Mister Longworth, please.”

“Sorry,” Murray said.

Tim nudged Clarence.

“Can’t wait for you to come back to work, Agent Otto, seeing as I’m your new boss and all. You can call me
Daddy
.”

Albertson sighed. “Director Feely, please.”

“Sorry,” Tim said. “I’ll be a good director from now on. Scout’s honor.”

The president turned, held out a hand to Murray. Murray gave him one of the black boxes.

Albertson faced Clarence.

“Agent Clarence Otto, for your service to the country, and to the world, I present you with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

The president opened the box. Inside was a golden medal on a blue-and-white ribbon. Just a piece of metal and some cloth: meaningless. Maybe someday Clarence could appreciate it, but not now.

The president smiled. “Shall I put it on you?”

“No, thank you, Mister President. If Margaret can’t wear hers, I won’t wear mine.”

“Very well,” Albertson said. He closed the box and handed it to Clarence.

Murray handed the president the second box. Albertson opened it.

“Clarence Otto, it is my greatest honor to bestow this award,” Albertson said. “For immeasurable service to the nation, and to the world, and for quite literally saving civilization if not the entire human race, I present you with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom for Doctor Margaret Montoya.”

Clarence stared at it. It was the same as his,
exactly
the same, so why did this one seem so much more important?

He reached out a shaking hand and took the box. He closed it, held both boxes together. Lights gleamed on the black lacquer.

The president offered his hand. Clarence shook it.

“Your wife saved us all,” Albertson said. “I will personally see to it that everyone, everywhere, understands what she did. The hatred she suffered from Detroit? That’s gone, Agent Otto. Margaret Montoya will be remembered as the savior of the world. Her life — and her death — will be celebrated, forever.”

Margaret Montoya. His wife. His best friend. The bravest person he had ever known.

She would never be forgotten.

She would be remembered as what she truly was.

A hero.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

A novel like this doesn’t happen without tapping the expertise of people who know far more than I do about many things. The people listed below helped make this book as realistic as possible.

Also, I am terrible at taking notes about those who help me do what I do. If I left you off the list, my sincere apologies.

Military and Governmental Consultants

The public servants, active-duty personnel and veterans listed below provided governmental and military facts, and also guided me on how to best personify those who serve in the United States military. I thank them for their help, and also for their service:
Ted Arthur (Navy SPECWAR), Chris Grall (Army), J.P. Harvey (Air Force), Joel Palmer (FEMA), Scott Pond (Navy), Joseph Root (Navy), Josef W. Wimmer (TSA)
.

The Scientific Secret Agents

I try to make the science of my novels as accurate as possible while still telling a fantastical story. These three gentlemen beat this tale up one side and down the other. I thank them for their efforts, and hope they continue to help me make my stories better:
Joseph A. Albietz III, M.D., Jeremy Ellis, Ph.D., and Tom Merritt, Ph.D
.

UUV Robotics and Underwater Salvage

In my research, I stumbled across Jin Tong’s “Combined-bionic UUV” video on YouTube. The
Platypus
came to life in these pages thanks to his help. Chris “Cheffie” Otto spent many years working in the field of underwater construction and salvage. His experiences helped me bring Cooper and Jeff to life.

Siglerverse Continuity

My novels are interlinked and, as such, they require a great deal of internal fact-checking to make sure the stories fit the 800-year-long timeline. I thank John Vizcarra for his careful attention to Siglerverse detail.

That Toddlin’ Town

Thanks to Shannon Fairlamb and author P.C. Haring, residents of Chicago, for checking on all the details of the Windy City.

My Partner

Since my novel
Contagious
, I have worked closely with my business partner, A Kovacs. Her guidance and organizational abilities were critical in getting this book made. She rocks. I couldn’t do this without her, nor would I want to.

My Editor

This is the fifth book I have made with Julian Pavia as my editor. To have that kind of consistent editorial support is a rare blessing in the world of publishing. Shiv, thanks for a great run.

Fire Engines!

Thanks to Engine Co. 98 / Ambulance 11 for help with the details that made the final scenes truly rock.

Feel the Need for Feely?

Tim Feely is a character in the novel
Ancestor
. If you want to see what he went through on Black Manitou Island, pick up that book.

BOOK: Pandemic
3.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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