A man who fights for synthetic rights. A quarter-million-credit bounty. When the tables turn, can he endure life on the run?
NU-USA, 2125. Dhata Mays’s anger is primed to erupt. When an old friend on the force clues him in to a mysterious murder gone cold, the mercenary sleuth allows his obsession to take control. But no sooner does he dive into the details of the case than he barely survives an ambush by unknown assassins.
Too bitter about the murder to back off, the cynical detective ignores the price on his head and pursues the organization he’s certain is responsible. But when he discovers that he has more than one adversary from the past, he may find nowhere in the world is safe.
Will Dhata’s fixation on justice get him permanently deleted?
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Horns blaring, the atmosphere smoky, a hologram of Pete Rodriguez leaned into a microphone to tell the room, “I like it like that.” They responded with hips waving, hands in the air, sweaty bodies pressed against one another. The sound was ancient, but the reaction was timeless, and that song still moved the people in 2125 the same way it did back in 1966.
Given the location, none of this was surprising to the people in attendance. Jazz music in a seedy backwater was synth culture all the way. If you weren’t a machine yourself, then you were socking it to a machine, and if you weren’t socking it to a machine, then you were in the wrong place.
The walls, if you could see them beyond the areas where the strobe light shone, held dingy wallpaper that had seen better days, showcasing a great war among samurai. The art was ancient, and the vast melee covered every inch of the place. Significance? None save for a reminder that this had been a fancy sushi restaurant at one time, but that was too long ago for anyone to remember.
Neon signs in Japanese, English, German and Russian decorated the walls near the ceiling. It was a motley collection of street signs, stolen from who knows where, to be given a new life as visual stimuli for stoners. It was a typical underground dive, with a little something for everyone. Most of Tampa’s citizens didn’t even know it existed, yet it was packed to the brim on this particular night. Both synths and humans danced and drank their miseries away, and it was fine because, guess what? They liked it like that.
Behind the bar, where a spritely synth served watered-down liquor, was a trapdoor and ladder leading down into a secret room. Inside that room, a large, black man lay half-naked on a gurney, while a synth with the look of an older Asian man worked diligently on his cybernetic leg.
The location and the clandestine nature of the operation was necessary for the procedure. The man, a former detective named Dhata Mays, was augmenting his cybernetic parts with quality black market enhancements. The synth was a part-time doctor, part-time arms dealer, who made house calls for an additional fee. This house call was below the bar tonight instead of Dhata’s home, because Dhata Mays was wanted for questioning by the police.