ROME

12 noon, GMT, Friday, November 14th, 2132, Fiumicino Airport, Rome

"This is a private part of the airport," said Michael as the big, black car eased its way under a porte-cochere, shielded from any possible external view.

Michael and Slavica sat in the back, with Peter in a bassinet on the floor of the car. A good, quiet baby.

A servitor extracted luggage from the trunk, while the two of them walked the five yards from the car into the terminal, Michael carrying the bassinet. They sat in a lounge, the only passengers.

"It won't be long," said Michael, "They're bringing the plane round now, and there's a closed jetway, we won't be outside even for a second."

"I just need to go to the bathroom," said Slavica. "Can you hold him for a second?"

"I'll come with you," said Michael, "Just to check."

There was no one in the bathroom, so Michael left Slavica there and carried the baby back into the lounge.

After five minutes, Michael began to worry, and carried the baby into the girls' room. Slavica lay in a pool of blood on the floor, shot once through the head from above, and once from the side. A gaping hole in the ceiling showed how the assassin had arrived, and then left.

They found the killerbot outside the building, motionless, a standard Italian police model, untraceable, its brain wiped clean.

"I'm sorry," said the surgeon, "Half the brain is pulp. There's nothing we can do."

 

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