Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Have Cash, Will Conjure Part 4

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“What about Vandemeer?” Jansen asked. “Did you do a séance too?”
I shrugged. “I tried. Dry hole.”
“Your file says you’re Tier One. You served in the Arcane Legion for twelve years, over half that in the Special Operations Support Detachment, with multiple combat tours. You couldn’t call him back?”
“I’m listed as Tier One because I have the paper qualifications. Gift-wise, I’m closer to Tier Three now.”
“Why’s that?”
“In layman’s terms, mana is attracted and retained by life. Living flesh, or materials that mimic it. The less meat you have, the less mana you can draw and use. It can be mitigated by training and arcanengineering, but…” I shrugged.
“Why did you have your limbs replaced?”
“How is that relevant?” Greenwald asked.
“Professional curiosity.”


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Have Cash, Will Conjure Part 3

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Greenwald leaned forward. “My client would like to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights.”
“No, it’s okay,” I said.
“Dom—”
“Look, we never actually committed a crime.”
Jansen sneered. “Really? Sounds to me like a conspiracy to obstruct justice.”
“Things aren’t black and white.” I straightened to my full seated height. “I knew Johnson was trouble when I walked in. I needed to get him out of the office, and that was the fastest way to do it. I did not have any intention of actually dealing with him.”
“Explain to me how that works.”

Monday, November 12, 2018

Have Cash, Will Conjure Part 2

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Detective Jansen twirled his pen in surprisingly dexterous fingers. “I understand your contract granted you extraordinary powers.”
“No more than regular police,” Greenwald said, “only for matters related to this case, and only because Mr. Lee is an accredited private peace officer in the employ of Lithsman Kinetics.”
Distaste crawled across the troll’s face. “A bounty hunter, in other words. Tell me, Mr. Lee, do you consider yourself above the police?”

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Have Cash, Will Conjure Part 1

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My lawyer has a reputation for melodrama, and today he was in fine form.
“Detective Jansen! Why is my client in a prison jumpsuit?” Abraham Greenwald demanded.
Jansen, huge even by troll standards, towered over the diminutive gnome. “Mr. Greenwald, his clothes were soaked with blood. They’re being held for evidence.”
“Evidence.” Greenwald sniffed. “My client’s been here for, what, six hours? Without a shower?”
“We had to take biological samples from his body. Evidence, you understand.”
“You’ve taken your evidence already, yes? He reeks and you won’t let him shower? This is a violation of police ethics. I’ll file a complaint with Internal Affairs.”
“Be my guest. Please, sit.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The One Law Part 3

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Twenty minutes later, Vincent finally arrived at the rally point. He was wearing the face mask. The inner layer scanned his face using microsensors. The outer layer took the data and randomly changed some elements, presenting a different face to the world.
The other killers were already there. Thunder grumbled across the sky. Rain fell in thick sleets, drenching his face but sliding off the nanofibres in his clothes and shoes.
“Sorry!” Bobby said. “I got lost! I’m so sorry!”
I’m at the rally point. Everybody’s here. Where’s the SDU?
Max snorted. “Don’t you have a map app?”
“It kept sending me round and round in circles,” Bobby groused.
It wasn’t a total lie. Vincent was searching for signs of the SDU. He saw nothing.
5 minutes.
Max shook his head. His eyes were still glassy. He must have taken another snort. “Come on, let’s go,” Max said.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The One Law Part 2

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Kowloon Edge Cafe was the most distinctive building on the block. Against a row of faded reds and greys, it was the only patch painted in black and saffron. The block stood in the shadow of the Kowloon Arcology, a strange amalgamation of concrete and metal blocks fused into an oddly coherent whole.
Thick dark clouds gathered overhead. A message from the Hong Kong Observatory appeared in his eyes: a thunderstorm was expected within the hour.
He parked his motortrike in front of the cafe. As he pulled off his helmet a trace of ash graced his nostrils. The signs on the doors and windows promised cheap rates, fast Internet speeds and ‘secure browsing’. The last was an underworld promise to breach the Great Firewall. The price of access was just thirty Hong Kong dollars an hour, and a payload of malware to capture your online and cybernetic data for the highest bidder. Bobby’s first job was to refresh and randomise the viral cocktail every couple of hours, and Vincent’s first task was to pass on the compromised data to Cybercrime.
The door sign said ‘closed’, the smarttint windows were set to maximum opacity, but strips of light peeked through the gaps around the door. Bobby pushed the door open.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The One Law Part 1

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Vincent Lam had won the war against sleep a long time ago. Now he lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling, counting off the hours and the minutes before Mad Max Wong summoned him.
He got bored at exactly seven minutes past midnight. Time to do something more productive, he decided. He rolled off his bed and clambered to his feet. He didn’t bother switching on the lights. His window faced Building H of the Kowloon Arcology, and greedily drank the spilled golden glow of the unsleeping city within a city.
He took the eight steps to his fridge and grabbed the first can he found. It was, of course, Tsingtao Liquid Amber. The man he pretended to be favoured that beer. The rationale was simple: Vincent hated it, therefore Bobby Song loved it.
He popped the tab. Closed his eyes and sucked down a mouthful of mild bitter brew.