Steven, I'm sorry it has to end this way," she broke the silence.

"So you've deceived me again?" I asked, stunned. "That story about Qin Huang being the devil behind all this had nothing to it. And I thought you said you loved me!"

"Come on, Steven, you're a grown man. I'm not attracted to crippled up college professors. I'm a god damned rock star and can screw any man in the world if I want. Why would I pick you?"

"I can't believe your heart is this cold," I replied in shock. "Why did you string me along all this time?"

"You had some things I not only wanted, but needed." She replied.

"The ability to hack into any computer system out there," I conjectured.

"And the ability to break unbreakable encryption codes." Laura added.

"But why would that be important?"

"We had to find some way to break your encryption schemes. You were ruining the ability of the government to collect taxes. The funding for the environmental movement was in jeopardy. The welfare state in collapse. And most importantly the code for the 3D configuration of the COVAIDS virus."

"So that's the real reason you needed me to break into the CDC data stores?" I puzzled.

"We are designing a new Vaccine based on the COVAIDS viruse called SOPOR. The rogue Freedom Patriots had encrypted the necessary files with your fractal encryption routines." Qin Huang grinned. "You helped us so much to reach our goals."

"I truly needed the SOPOR cure to become a reality," Laura confessed. "But Steve, you also stood in the way of my humanitarian goals to create a New World. You threatened to destroy the entire World's philanthropic finances."

"The tax evasion problem had become a threat to you? I asked incredulously."

"Not to me, silly. To the President." Laura smiled. "Don't you get it, Steve. You are one of those rare historical focal points. A point of intelligence at the vertex of societies evolution. You were the only one who could have pulled off the Future Warrior software. Your encryption codes were wreaking havoc with the governments ability to collect taxes. You are the unfortunate unwitting center of the universe!"

"A singularity," I mused, fading in and out of the conversation, probably the loss of blood.

"Yes, a singularity," Huang agreed, smiling at the philosophical implications. "You're a mathematician, Dr. Heller. Please explain what happens to singularities when their time has passed."

"Simple catastrophe theory, I suppose," I contemplated my fate. "After the bifurcation point, the singularity is no longer needed to continue generating the dynamic. It evaporates into the ether."

"Come Laura," Huang prodded. "We've wasted enough time with Dr. Heller. Clint is waiting in the helicopter.

I looked Laura in the eyes for what I assumed would be the last time. They were cold as ice.

"If you can't do the job, I can," Huang added impatiently, and raised that infernal chrome pistol to point at my heart. I winced in anticipation - been there, done that. Huang appreciated the melodramatic, he slowly began to pull the hair-trigger.

Kaboom! ! !

Laura let loose with the twelve gauge shotgun she held with a wild gleam in her eyes. In amazement I found it wasn't me holding my internal organs in my hands, but Huang. He looked up as if to ask why and then fell ungracefully to the ground, spilling a rivulet of blood and guts through his fingers as he groped out his last breaths of life.

"I knew you'd come around, Laura," I begged, almost prayed that the woman I wanted to love with all my heart had had a change of her heart.

"Don't say I never did you any favors, Steve Heller" she smiled wickedly, and then backed out of the room, stepping daintily over Huang still twitching body while holding that nasty-looking sawed off shotgun still pointed at my heart.