Click here to read previous chapters. [divider] When I stepped off the transport jet from the Tower, I had no idea what to do next. There was a target on my back. What was worse, anyone I involved at this point might end up with the same target on them. Perhaps most frustratingly, I didn’t know why. I stopped in my tracks, the VTOL’s idling engines rippling my suit around me, and looked up at the Tower. “The next time I see you, Kvioh, I’m going to ask you. I’m going to ask you: ‘Why?’” There was only one way out of
Click here to read previous chapters. [divider] I sat at my desk for an hour alternatively stunned and angry. Balan’s death could not be a coincidence. I’d asked him for a favor and it had gotten him killed. Someone had just shown their hand. The Shepherds were the key. Rupert knew about them and he’d been killed. Balan knew about them and now he was dead. If I had tried to search for information on the Shepherds in the public archives I would probably have been targeted as well. Instead, I’d used Balan and now he was dead. Who were the Shepherds?
Click here to read previous chapters. [divider] My shirt dried and I ended up having a very pleasant conversation with Balan. He’d seen some pretty insane stuff, and those were just the stories he felt like telling me. The things he didn’t want to talk about, I probably didn’t want to hear about. What gives a Guardian nightmares? I hope I never find out. Balan promised me he would find out something about who the Shepherds were. When I asked him how long he thought it might take, he confidently told me he would know something in the morning. He could see
Click here to read previous chapters. [divider] “This is stupid. I’m going to get killed. I can’t believe I’m doing this.” I didn’t usually talk to myself, but I knew from my days as a cop that if you walked into the wrong bar without backup you were taking your life into your hands. People are territorial. They like to feel safe among peers, and when an outsider sticks their nose into territory that doesn’t belong to them, they’re apt to lose that nose. I sighed and looked up at the wooden sign hanging above the door. It bore the name “The
Click here to view previous chapters. [divider] I stared at the church for several minutes. The setting sun painted the patchy white cinderblock walls orange. My stomach told me it was time for dinner, probably due to having skipped lunch on my walking tour of this nearly abandoned part of the city. An idea suddenly occurred to me. I pulled out my pocket terminal and checked the time. It was close to 5:00 p.m.; Sgt. Zeram would probably be getting ready for work and he might be hungry as well. As I walked back toward the city proper, I was a
Click here to read chapter 4. [divider] After I took a few deep breaths and got a hold of myself, I started trying to figure out what to do next. Clearly, Kara hadn’t known about this wooden plaque, or she would never have sent me to look into Rupert’s death. Her mother had almost certainly been through the apartment, but the plaque was still here, so that meant probably no one had found it. A family member trying to protect the reputation of a deceased relative, and the family, would certainly have burned or trashed something like this. There are
Click here to read chapter 3. [divider] Rupert’s office, and the rail crossing where he died, were only about ten blocks north of my office. I grabbed my jacket and a fleece watch cap and headed out the door. I could have taken a train or caught a cab, but the walk sounded good on a gorgeous, sunny morning like this one. I’d never been a detective when I was with LCPD, but I’d talked with more than a few of them. The good ones always went to the scene of the crime. They said there was no substitute for
Click here to read Chapter 1. [divider] The Last City is a complex place. New and old, unified yet divided. People from all over the world got here by whatever means they could. It’s a city of survivors, believers, and hopeful people who know humanity is on the edge of extinction, yet most people feel a sense of pride about that. Though we be few, we be mighty—that type of thing. Bits of Golden Age technology are always cropping up to be used by people who were brought up learning to make fire to survive and to kill or be killed.