The Net Caster
StarMo's are pretty much all the same, when you come down to it. But there was something about this one...
Hamish Mansoorian had out- manoeuvred me and everyone else far more times than I could recall. But this...
Under Cytherea's two suns, the talking taxi was taking me to a destination I knew nothing of.
I saw them then, the gold uniformed officers, marshalling the crowd, herding it down the boulevard towards me.
I slid into the mob. Their eyes darted instantly to my face, scanning my forehad, seeking any trace of an Irrevocable Tattoo.
I began to shake. The room rippled round me and the options of weeping or going to sleep vied for my attention. Was I a murderer, or just a thief?
Finally, I could start casting a net for Hamish Mansoorian. But the results were impossible.
The silver dust coated my skin and lips. A haz-bomb. What contaminants was I taking in through my lungs, my skin, the water I drank?
It hardly mattered in which direction I walked. It was only a matter of time. And there was a figure standing at the end of the street.
A table, a bottle of Aphrodite whisky, and two glasses. The scenario was familiar. Was this really down to dumb luck? '
Faced with a professional assassin awaiting instructions to kill me, I poured myself several glasses of whisky.
Perhaps I could just stay here in the four poster bed, lulled by lavender and flowers and the odd bottle of Aphrodite whisky.
There was nothing soft about the woman sitting at the table. And how did she know my mother?
'I've never been asked to look for something like that,' I said. 'No Net Caster has ever been asked to look for something like that.'
'What?' I said. 'You set me up for murder so you can offer me a job?'
Not all blight survivors survive intact. 'You kept me drugged for a week?'
Living on my home world disturbs me. Spider webs disturb me though I've never seen a spider. We learn to live with disturbance, with always being disturbed
Face to face with the man I had been searching for, the man I grew up with, the man who betrayed me. The man who was either dead or had never existed.
'I've got nothing left to lose,' I told him. 'You haven't asked about your sister,' he said.
I began to laugh from fatigue, shock, grief, and an overriding terror of being locked down here in this cellar with a group of disparate and apparently ill-matched Bios.
I looked at Hamish. Who had replaced the dodgy businessman, the charming, self-serving rogue I had known since childhood, with this stern creature who delivered lectures to the powerful?
Even the members of the diaspora cannot agree on the best way to save it.
'It's government,' said Madam. 'They choose what they will and won't tell the governed. And in this case, they are completely and utterly right.'