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Econphilos Part IThere was a special kind of crime that you got in Econphilos, and it had an awful lot to do with how the city was built.
Its construction, development, and ultimately chancellorship had been under the direction of Japanese investors, and those men knew how to plan. Their native country might be a mere landform to Earth's collectivist conscience, Anthropeden, now, but back in the day their historical eras were named for the capitols that flourished with them.
Econphilos was, ostensibly, octagonal in shape, except that twelve districts cut that octagon into twelve nice, triangular slices whose borders made a diagram resembling a web. This was more than just a metaphor to criminals. Because in a city like Econphilos-- the bustling hub of Mars's commerce, where even Nosfiosan syndicates and New Jerusalem's men of honor might be seen ducking under a shady corner for business—in a city like that you couldn't afford accidents like index crimes.
Indeed, the city lay in wait. Oh,
Radical Part IIThey found Rad lounging in a circular pit furbished with couches and a small basin of fire. It was sectioned off from both the machines he'd brought to life and his battalions of failed work by a bare, steel mesh platform that clanked loudly as the girls approached. Marching over it made Cinder feel as though they were advancing on Rad via the lurching hull of a battle ship.
He was ready for them, but was that true vice versa? Yura didn't notice that Rad was reading a pamphlet on revolution. She didn't notice how the mottled kaleidoscope of his features delayed as they slid from brooding to felicitation.
No, she saw only that he was a radical, a pariah, and that she cared about him.
Rad was short, his dark hair poised as though just settling from the lightning strike of one of the sly ideas scuttling boyishly over his lips and between his thin eyes. His kimono was loose, and he rose languidly to grin at Yura. As he stood there was a symphony of rustles, but not from his clothing-- no.
Radical Part IHindsight is undeservedly notorious. The historian is derided for it, and the simple minds that commit that slander would also have us believe that it brings only regret.
The truth, of course, is that hindsight is the most beatific of humor. It brings with it the kind of gut-wrenching laughter that makes tears of joy and pain glide in harmony down rose-pink cheeks.
This is true particularly with ideas. The speculation of one generation is the amusement of the next. Doomsday predictions aside, this isn't because the projections that men make are a far from the truth, from their destinies. Far from it, such predictions are usually chillingly accurate. It's the little ironies that get people.
It was the little ironies that got Cinder that day, trailing as she so often did behind the rustling fabric of her friend's canary coat and black hakama. Hakama, as in the ancient pleated trousers they wore in Japan. It was the year 3005, and men and women alike were back to the antiquated, if now sh
LivingThe moon was high, a mere week from fruition, and its milky bath of light drizzled over the mountains. Lucent, its glow streamed into the river where the water dashed and frothed through the heights, throwing lunar eddies into coils of light that wound through the scintillating waves like ribbon. As these twin currents leapt over the dazzling heights of the falls they spiraled, as though their cascade to shatter on the gleaming rocks below were all an intimate waltz, each tide holding the other close until impact bound them in one, glorious effervescence.
The tall, dark boy appreciated this from his lofty perch. He was grounded firmly at the peak of the falls, his silhouette looming from a jutting granite boulder the river had yet to efface. He stood in nothing more than a pair of old pants rolled up to the knees, his whole physiognomy flushed with excitement. His heart pounded, roared in his chest. A wide grin was stretched over his lips.
Every fibre of his being was shaking for terro
PartingsMy brave and noble friend,
I had not done you well.
I've learnt now not to play pretend,
Nor pretty lies to tell.
Compassion was all that I could spend.
Dear unlover, this truest knell--
No matter how I might twist, or bend.
--tell me it will undo the spell.
Tell me that your heart will mend.
The Colonel's regiment was marching. It was marching against an enemy no one would remember, in a time no one would remember, in a place that would be beyond recall or desire once its mines were depleted. Yet still the regiment was marching. Not together, because this was guerilla warfare— a term that had long since ceased to bring images of banal natives and exotic jungles to mind and come, instead, to mean there were two kinds of men: careful and dead. They were lucky about as often as struck by lightning.
Thus was the regiment split into tip-toeing battalions creeping toward their destination. This was for the best. Grumbling was what soldiers did best, and splitting them up meant the Colonel didn't have to hear all of them at it at once.
Since when, they wondered, did the Colonel roll over for his superiors? Since when did the laconic, ponderous man agree to missions like this: slaughtering and razing a village of rebels?
They bitched and they moaned and t
The Virtue Of Deception Part III of IIIThe assassin within Investigator Ulisse was poised in the center of an underground chamber secreted beneath the Ghileswick Mariner's bank. His dissimulated features hadn't changed despite their surroundings, and his arms were crossed over his broad chest in an expression that admitted no fault for the relocation of his target, Desi Consentio. He had removed the deerstalker and great cloak, but his faithful pistol dangled from the holster at his side.
The seven top officials of the Quatronne family didn't seem to approve of his choice of weapons, but neither could they deny that he was their most reliable emissary. They were dressed, typically, in an array of morning suits and fanciful hats, many with signature rings on their fingers that cost more than an Investigator made in his prime. Said rings tapped idly at the round mahogany table circling the speaker-- Ulisse, in this case-- and their faces were in the shadows. Yet another gimmick belonging to the various mind-games they used to
The Virtue of Deception Part II of IIIThe scraping of a key in the door, a heavy slam, and a scream of frustration announced Farley's return that evening. Young Risk was flushed with indignation, his clenched jaw quivering dangerously, the fury of his expression as he rounded the corner to the parlor such that he seemed ten years older beneath all the ruddy anger and glinting eyes. Not that Miss Coombes, perched coyly at his desk with her skirt arranged neatly about her, noticed. She was concentrating most studiously on a sheet of parchment, her stately wrist affecting the most solemn decrees over it in black. At sight of her Farley's vehement scowl quickly reverted to a leer, and he stamped over to fling himself down on the couch.
"I neglected to recall that you were here," he remarked scathingly. "Then, it's just as I predicted earlier."
Miss Coombes didn't so much as look up from her task. There was the continued scratching of a quill, and her voice was poised as could be as she ventured to ask, desultorily:
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