“For what?â€? Blake asked.

“Demobilizin’ the mil’try,â€? the man said. “Oh, an’ th’, whaddyacallit? Th’ CTC .â€?

�The CDC ,� Simon corrected, never taking his eyes from the paper.

“What’s going on, kid?â€? Blake said, leaving the man to his work. “How do you know he meant the CDC ? What did you do?â€?

“Look at the paper.â€?

“I saw it, kid.â€?

“No, look at it. What language is that?â€?

“English, kid. American newspapers are in –“

He practically dropped Simon, but the kid didn’t seem to mind.

It wasn’t English. Well, it had English letters. It had English letters, and Cyrillic ones, and Chinese characters. And Arabic and Hebraic and what appeared to be Egyptian hieroglyphs, and some kind of pictographs and what looked like mapping symbols and astrological signs. It wasn’t any kind of language he’d ever seen, but he knew every word, every symbol, every icon.

“What is this, kid?â€?

“You tell me. You’re speaking it right now,â€? Simon said.

“What did you do?â€?

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