Pacific Rim: The Official Movie Novelization - Тихоокеанский рубеж: официальная новеллизация фильма
|Pacific Rim: The Official Movie Novelization|
|Stunned, Newt stepped through the doorway into Hannibal Chau’s hideaway.
It was bigger than the apothecary out front, but still a lot smaller than, say, Newt’s side of the lab he shared with Hermann. The room was lined with shelves stuffed with various bits of kaiju: lymph nodes the size of basketballs, tiny glands and nerve bundles, slices of organs, bits of skin and carapace, jars of liquids, and Hannibal Chau only knew what else.
“Oh, my God,” Newt said, peering excitedly at the shelves. “This is heaven!” He couldn’t help himself. “Lymph nodes from a Category II! A gall bladder, in mint condition!"
Nobody seemed to care that he was there. The workers kept their heads down, the tough guys leaned up against the stair railing watching them and making conversation in Chinese. Newt headed for a fish tank full of crab-like creatures.
“Kaiju skin parasites,” he breathed, as if witnessing something holy. “I’ve never seen them alive. They’re always dead by the time I get to a site. I thought—”
“Not if you bathe them in ammonia,” one of the tough guys said. Newt looked over at him with a special Geiszler Conversational Riposte in mind, and then completely forgot what he was going to say.
He was a big guy, this goon, and his voice was all whiskey and broken glass. But that’s not what caught Newt’s attention. This guy wore a dark-red suit cut like he was on his way to see Cab Calloway at the Cotton Club in 1938. His shoe uppers were plated with overlapping scales of pure gold, giving each of his steps a slight jingle. His teeth were customized with a variety of metals adorned with various patterns. He wore sunglasses with leather membranes around the lenses that turned them into goggles, and the combined value of his jewelry and personal adornments would have bought the entire building that Newt’s family had lived in near Boston.
The goon appeared to enjoy Newt’s surprise. He stepped toward him.
“What do you want?” he asked.
“Oh, uh, I’m looking for Hannibal Chau,” Newt said. “I was told he’s here.”
“Who wants to know?”
“Well,” Newt said. He’d been debating how much to tell Chau’s underlings, and for the sake of Pentecost’s project he’d decided to play it close to the vest. “I can’t really say.”
He heard a snicking noise and the thug made a motion too fast for Newt to follow, but it ended up with the tip of a butterfly knife tickling the inside of one of his nostrils.
“Stacker Pentecost sent me!” Newt said quickly.
The guy studied Newt’s face for a moment and then relented, pushing him back a step and stowing the butterfly knife.
It didn’t take Newt long to see through the whole charade. Oh, he thought. Stupid. I was so distracted by the kaiju parts I didn’t spare any focus for the humans. So typical.
“So... you’re Hannibal Chau?" he asked, even though he already knew the answer.
Pentecost had described Chau as a big white guy with coarse features and a scrub of salt-and-pepper hair. Some kind of big scar on the left side of his face. Brash and informal in demeanor, not deliberately cruel but also not averse to cruelty if it would make him a buck. Now that Newt had decided to pay attention to the other members of his species in the room, it was pretty clear that he should have known who he was from the beginning.
“You like the name?” Chau said with a half-smile. “I took it from my favorite historical figure and my second favorite Szechuan restaurant in Brooklyn.”
“Your favorite historical figure is Hannibal?” Newt had a hard time believing this. “You know he was a political and financial reformer, right? That’s why the Romans kept after him and why he kept fighting them. He ran all over Asia Minor until the Romans forced him into exile, then he poisoned himself.”
“So you’re a historian,” Chau said. “You want me to know you’re smart, okay, I get it. Now tell me what you want before I gut you like a pig and feed you to the skin louse.”
Newt opened his mouth and started talking.
“We’ve, um, done business before,” he said. “I’m Newt Geiszler, one of the leads on Kaiju Science for PPDC. I’m sure I’ve made some purchases from you.”
“If you’ve made ’em anywhere between Manila and Sapporo, yeah, you dealt with me,” Chau said. “So Pentecost sent you? What’s he want?”
“That’s, um, classified,” Newt said. Chau’s hand dropped toward the pocket the knife had come out of and Newt said, “Okay. Okay. I’ll tell you. But not with so many people around. Where’s there a, um... a place we can do business?"
“You know, some believe the kaiju are sent from heaven,” Chau said. “They think the gods are displeased with our behavior.”
Newt nodded and asked, “And you?”
Chau laughed. “I believe kaiju bone powder is five hundred bucks a pound. Why are you here? You’re not after powder to keep your girlfriend happy. A guy like you doesn’t have a girlfriend. You’re married to your lab.”
“Oh, I need access to a kaiju brain,” Newt said. The request was so ridiculous he had decided to just spit it out. “Intact if possible.”
Chau was already shaking his head.
"Seriously? No can do. Skull is plated so dense, by the time you drill in—”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s rotted away. I know. But there’s always the secondary brain,” Newt said.
That’s what he’d meant from the beginning. The main cranial brain would be too unwieldy to work with. How could you transport and Drift with something the size of a small whale? But the secondary brain...
“Like dinosaurs had the secondary brain back at the base of their spines, by the pelvis,” Newt continued, remembering when he’d been a little kid and first read that Stegosaurus had a second brain down by its hips. The idea had blown his mind, and maybe, as much as any single other thing, that had set him on the road to where he was today. “They’re—"
He almost told Chau that he thought the dinosaurs were an earlier, cruder version of the kaiju, but he just barely held himself back. Instead he started talking about different kinds of kaiju tissue and the way their silicon-based anatomy enhanced certain processes of neural activation, which let them move so fast and nimbly despite their immense size.
“That’s where they’re, um, different from dinosaurs,” he said, just to have some kind of conclusion. He knew he’d reached a point where he was supposed to stop and let Chau talk, but it was really, really hard.
Hannibal said, “You really know your kaiju anatomy, don’t you, little guy?" He was thinking about something. “I can get that for you... if I can have legal claim on every fallen kaiju in the Southern Hemisphere.”
This threw Newt off balance, but only for a moment. He hadn’t thought of himself as empowered to make deals on Pentecost’s behalf, but what the hell. Pentecost could complain later; he was the one who had sent Newt here. Also, considering that Newt had no power to enter into arrangements with Chau, he could say whatever he wanted and Chau would still have to get it through Pentecost later.
“Considering the world is about to end, I’d say we have a deal,” Newt said. Then his inner kaiju-nerd self got the better of him and he added, “But can I at least keep a tooth?”
Hannibal Chau shook his head. “Nope.”
“What about a gland? A tiny gland?”
“Not a one,” Chau said.
Newt sighed. Hard bargain. But the primary objective, which was to get a kaiju brain, was met. The rest of it would have been gravy.
“Fine,” he said. “You got it."
"They shook hands, but in the middle of the grip Hannibal said, “Not so fast. What the hell do you want the lower brain for anyway? Every part of the kaiju sells. Cartilage, liver, spleen—even the crap. A cubic meter of kaiju poo has enough phosphorous to fertilize acres of field. But the brain—too much ammonia. Can’t consume it, can’t even process it into anything useful. It decays so fast that by the time I can figure out what I might use it for, it’s rotten mush.”
Chau loomed over Newt, the fires from the streets of Kowloon reflected in the lenses of his goggles, and even on the metalwork in his teeth.
“What do you think you know that I haven’t figured out yet?"
"Well, that’s classified,” Newt said. “But it’s pretty cool.”
Hannibal held onto his hand. It was part intimidation, part encouragement, and all calibrated to set Newt’s boastful-nerd side against his Kaiju Science responsibilities. This was a deadly combination.
Newt wrestled with himself and lost.
“Okay, okay. Here. I’ve worked out the parameters to Drift with a kaiju,” he said conspiratorially. “Only for a few minutes so far, and the handshake wasn’t perfect, but it was enough to figure a couple of things out. Only problem is, I was using an old bit of brain, just barely alive. Now I’m fresh out of brain tissue. That’s where you come in. Theoretically, if I can go in deeper, I might be able to understand the inner Breach... and end the war.”
Hannibal’s face was slack and incredulous. His scar pulsed redder than the surrounding skin.
“I know, I know,” Newt said. “Full neural handshake with a kaiju.” He was pretty amazed by it himself. No wonder a non-scientist type like Chau couldn’t believe it.
"You did this?” Hannibal said.
“Yeah,” Newt said with a big grin. “Awesome, right? Their brains, they’re all linked. Like a hive mind...”
“You goddamn moron!”
And all over Hong Kong, alarms started to blare.
|Обсуждаем эту и другие работы на Форуме Конкурса >>>|
|Подписаться на новые комментарии к этой работе|
|Обсуждаем эту и другие работы на Форуме Конкурса >>>|