by Jonathan Wright
eBook BIN: 05893-01890
Sleen’s girl Deel has eyes for Brady; a battered cat knows its own. Brady knows what he wants, and he wants Deel. Problem. Sleen thinks he owns Deel, and he’s not about to give her up. In a barter economy Deel’s up for grabs — for the right price. But can she be trusted? And how far will Brady go to make her his own?
Brady Woods walked into the main lobby of Legacy Corp at the fifty story level. He utilized some basic work-around technology and managed to get past the android doorman into the main hallway and thence the grav cage and on to the two hundredth floor where he purposely triggered an alarm.
Security came running. They didn’t trank him, but hustled him into a nearby interrogation room. A mild looking man came in and asked him his name.
“Brady Woods. I’m here to see Susan Heller.”
The mild looking man did exactly as Brady had hoped and asked. “Why?”
“She’s my mother.”
* * *
“That was fairly bold, and possibly clever,” said Susan Heller, looking very much like Jasmine Woods. “Risky, too, since you couldn’t have counted on an automatic DNA analysis to verify the match with this body. Lacking that, you’d be sitting in a detention cell for three weeks, or possibly on stasis. How did you get through to the upper floor?”
He looked at the woman for a moment before answering, waiting for even the faintest flicker of recognition. Nothing. “Simple decryption code. Your security is fine, really. The main floor security is just for honest people. I wouldn’t have got any further, which is why I set off the alarm.”
“And how did you find me in the first place?”
“Saw you on the street. Yeah, I come up here sometimes. To breathe the air. Snapped an illegal photo and ran you through a processor until I got a match.”
She looked as though she might believe that. Or not. “All because you wanted to talk to me.”
He nodded. She didn’t suggest that he could have made an appointment like anyone else because they both knew anyone else would have been ignored as well. Sitting at her expansive mahogany desk, she tilted her head quizzically, arms crossed over her breasts in a gesture he remembered well. Some memories and mannerisms will be carried over, the literature said.
Yeah, Brady thought, especially if the back street zombie doc doesn’t do a clean wipe. “You been havin’ nightmares?”
“This sort of situation is one of the burdens of the Transfer process,” she said wearily, ignoring his question.
His apartment would have fit into a corner of her office. No crime in that, he supposed. Susan Heller was CEO of a major multi-planet corporation. “You stole my mother’s body.”
* * *
Three Years Ago…
Brady hit himself with Hyperzianine, a monstrous dose, and his head exploded. The instant flood of awareness and sensitivity would have driven him insane in a second if he hadn’t already been jacked in. He still lost control, and his mind spiraled off into the web like a meteor falling into the sun, no awareness, no feeling, just light — bright, bright light. And then he drifted in a hazy place with no orientation, gray nothing, no sense of time.
Eventually a voice intruded, clearly annoyed. “Get lost. Not your time.”
“I killed her.”
“Live with it.”
Then he jolted awake with the worst headache in recorded history.