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A Rake by Starlight - Chapter 27

Submitted by C B Wright on
WHEREIN Our Hero is Reminded that there is More than One Distraction

The Avadis system wasn’t, at first glance, a particularly interesting place. Its planets had little to mine that couldn’t be found elsewhere—making it an unattractive claim for Trade Barons—and the system sat far enough inside fringe world space that it held little strategic value for the Alliance of Free Worlds or the Radiant Throne. It did, however, have a gas giant that no interstellar power had claimed as its own, and a consortium of concerned interests that were determined to make sure it stayed that way.

Free fuel attracted a lot of interest.

The economy that sprang up around the free fuel depot mostly followed the pitch “as long as you’re here, you might as well buy something.” There was a brisk, thriving trade that focused on the kinds of things people who didn’t like paying for things would buy. Illegal things, in other words: the Avadis black market was so openly displayed it was nearly silver.

Blurred Lines: Part Four

Submitted by C B Wright on
Jacob K. Javits Federal Building

The 32nd floor of the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in New York City is devoted to the Department of Homeland Security’s Task Force for Metahuman Activity. That’s where Division M set up shop, and when Alishia Webb lands on the roof—the Federal Building is a designated Sky Commando refit and refuel center—she sees one of them waiting for her by the lift.

Alishia waits until the outer shell is secured to the roof, then opens it up and steps out in the tactical suit. She takes off her helmet as the agent—an Asian woman with an oddly reddish tint to her skin—approaches.

“Agent Hu,” the woman says, hand extended.

Alishia shakes her hand. “Sky Commando,” she says. She still gets a rush from saying that.

Blurred Lines: Part Three

Submitted by C B Wright on
Earlier

CB leans against the boardwalk rail, looking at the old Hyatt building tenement he used to call home. A few days ago it was. Then someone from his past showed up, and everyone died. That’s the word on the street: no survivors.

The cops have the whole building under wraps—literally under wraps, covered in some kind of industrial-grade cellophane or saran wrap. Police tape encircles the entire building. The only way in is through an isolation tent set up in front of the hole Red Shift put through the lobby wall.

CB pushes himself off the rail and heads toward the building. There aren’t too many people around—it’s still mid-morning, and the Boardwalk is mostly nocturnal. The four cops on the scene are huddled off to one side of the airlock tent, sitting on the hood of a police car, drinking coffee and looking bored.

“Oi!” CB calls out to the cops, waving in their direction. They turn to him, startled, and gape as he ducks under the police tape, walking toward the tent. Two cops hastily set their coffee on the hood of the car and move to intercept, hands resting on their holsters.

Blurred Lines: Part Two

Submitted by C B Wright on
Farraday City Bunker

“You’re cheating.”

Jenny tries to wipe sweat off her face with the back of her arm as she glares at Red Shift. He stares back serenely, not even the faintest trace of perspiration on his forehead.

“No I’m not,” Red Shift says. “The whole point of having ‘super powers’ is that they give you advantages. The whole point of training with someone who has ‘super powers’ is to learn how to adapt to their advantages, and to use your advantages in a way that allows you to control the fight.”

“Fine,” Jenny mutters, and lowers herself into a crouch.

Red Shift waits.

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