Back Room, Smell Of Stale Booze
Gino grabbed me by the arm, gently for him. I stopped; it was either that or leave my arm behind, and I’ve always been attached to that arm. He looked me over carefully.
“You ain’t bringing in trouble, are you?”
I had to laugh. I was walking around the Silver Zone in a stolen uniform and had an illegal assault blaster in the bag at my side. “All the trouble I know of is out here, and it can wait until I get back,” I said. I certainly hoped it was true, and I guess that was enough for Gino, who grunted again and let me pass. His eyes were already back on the traffic.
Silver Zone, Sun Shining
I walked out, adjusting my uniform cap, and went in search of someone that valued money over patriotism. You’d be surprised how easy that is, even in the Silver Zone — especially if you listen to the propaganda.
We’re always “marching to victory” and “winning the war”, which might even be true. But after a while you start to wonder just how long the war is going to take to win, or for that matter if we’re even fighting the same one, all these years later.
Back On The Streets, Cold Wind
I had places to be, but good God did I need a nap. Ah, well; no rest for the wicked, and the good don’t need any. I hung a sign on the door and left a quick note for the receptionist telling her I’d be away for a bit. Maybe she’d miss me. I also dropped off a check for my rent in advance, because you never know.
My next stop was the local precinct. It doesn’t do to skip out on a guy like Carmody. Besides, I wanted to see the effect my uniform would have on him. From a perverse sense of cruelty, I stopped at the desk sergeant to ask after the condition of Cadet Greene’s uniform; he grinned evilly and said he’d look it over personally when the Cadet came in. Life’s all about the little details.
Puddle In A Gutter, Lots Of Pain,
She frowned, then nodded. “That’s plausible. It’s the sort of thing you’d do. And of course I believe every word you ever tell me.” There was a flicker of a smile, and then back to the scowl. “But that won’t help you.”
As they dragged me away, I realized once again: Sometimes, being too clever just gets you in more trouble.
In The Shadows, Steady Drizzle
It was time to set some things up, and maybe grab a quick bite while I was at it. Fortunately, I knew a place to do both. And they never closed.
In every city there’s a place like this, where the down-and-out congregate. Even the Robots had their own version, a particularly brutal type of scrapyard where cannibalism was a way of life. It doesn’t matter how tight the regulations; people still need a place to be once society has finished squeezing the life out of them. Here in Founder’s Landing, it’s The Forum. Diogenes would feel right at home.
Old House, Dust, Must, Distant Thunder
“I see; that’s fair enough. Very well; another fifty thousand added to the initial deposit, available immediately.”
Quick decision; no consulting anyone. That meant he was my principal; either that or he was a person so highly trusted it made no difference. More importantly, he wasn’t government. No bureaucrat ever forks over money without whining.
We fenced a bit more for the look of the thing, then shook hands. I took the case and left the way I’d come.
Decaying Mansion, Dying Firelight
There was a light in a ground-floor study, the flicker of a fireplace. Solid construction; the floors didn’t squeak and the door opened silently. My employer didn’t look up from the papers he was studying at an old-fashioned desk; I decided not to bother him. I went over and sat in a comfortable-looking chair, trying to look like I’d been there all along. I gently cleared my throat.
The effect was all I could have hoped for. His eyes bugged as he stared at me. “H-how–?!” he gasped.
In my line of work, it’s all about making a good first impression.
Side Streets, Distant Thunder
“Unhand her, you brutes! I’ll have you know, that is no way to treat a lady!”
I knew that accent from my Militia days — a Confederate! This was about to get political — and no place for the likes of me. Carmody was still distracted with his capture; trouble getting the cuffs on, looked like. I didn’t stick around to watch.
Dank Alley, Stench Of Urine And Dead Cat
He could move fast for a fat man. He was halfway down the block and turning into an alley behind the place before I got up to speed. I dug in and went after him.
This was getting interesting. On the one hand, I was about to learn something that might be useful, and maybe do a cop a favor. On the other, I was gonna be really late for my appointment.
Dark side street, taste of rain in the air
“Clever how you handled that redcap, shamus. Nearly fooled me. Or are you back in the Militia now?”
Ahhh, Hell. I knew that voice — and he knew me, more’s the pity. Still, it’s like they say: The jig isn’t up until you’ve stopped dancing. I turned and looked at the man in the shadows.