Spacer Killers in the Shadows 4
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | Killers in the Shadows |



In which things get off to a bit of a rocky start for our heroes.



January 8, 1987

Well. I've had better first days on a job. I feel shaken, still, and don't think I'll be sleeping any time soon. I hate being helpless, I've always known that, but never before was so much riding on it, and I failed. It couldn't be helped, I've been told so repeatedly, and I know they're right, but....
    I'll start with the easy part, describing our new base of operations. I think I'll keep the apartment. Some brilliant boy in the bureaucracy decided one of the old Public Works buildings on a nameless island in the middle of the bay would suit us just fine—can anyone say "response time" with me? There's a dock and a boat for getting back and forth to the mainland, but that's not exactly convenient, or as fast as I would like. The building itself is two stories of concrete blocks without many windows and would be ugly under the best of circumstances, let alone a blustery day in early January. Ellis's enthusiasm seemed undiminished as he showed us around, however.
    Actually, inside it's not all that bad. Our budget is pathetic, but New Horizons has taken pity on us and donated a whole load of equipment, including the computers and security system, and portable phones which reach into the police band so we can talk to them if we need to. There's living quarters and a small but functional kitchen on the upper floor; since I'm the only one with an apartment of her own, I let the others have dibs on rooms. Downstairs there's a couple of rooms for conferences, a rec room and a sizeable general working room where we're putting the computers and stuff. There's space for a gym in the basement, and a sub-basement, which holds the computers' guts. Right now, wires are running all over the place and people are still installing things, but I guess it'll shape up all right. It was pretty exciting, I have to admit.
    Then there's my teammates. I'm really not sure what to think of them, and I'm sure they feel the same about me. I get the feeling that none of us is really experienced at working with other people; it was like putting three strange cats in a room where there's nothing to hide behind. We all did a little bristling and eyed each other sideways, and then made a good show of being totally nonchalant about the whole situation.
    Phoenix Talon is a martial artist, very quick and strong, with a costume that makes me cringe—violent orange and silver Spandex with a sort of crest on top, exactly the sort of thing I'm embarassed to be seen around. Despite that, if he doesn't want to be seen, you won't see him—he claims to be a ninja. I've got my doubts. He's got a little bit of a mental power, a flash of blinding light, but tends to rely on his bokken—a sword-shaped length of blunt steel that carries a vicious electric charge, which gives a good idea of his personality right there. I have the feeling that he's smarter than he acts, but my first impression was of an impulsive, reckless, and somewhat glory-hungry young man. His real name is John Astaverdia, and he's originally from Long Island, fresh out of college now with a degree in Variant Studies.
    That's a good deal more than I know about Lucky. She doesn't talk much, at least not yet, and frankly I find her somewhat intimidating. She's nearly a foot taller than I am, for one thing, and I'm told she can lift in the neighborhood of a ton, though she doesn't look like anything out of the ordinary. Black jeans, black boots, black t-shirt, black leather jacket, hair cut short and also black, though her skin is fair enough that the hair might be dyed. Brown eyes. She smokes unfiltered Camels and regards the world from a definite distance, one I imagine is pretty hard to breach. Aside from being able to lift a car, she's skilled in a couple different fighting styles, and she's got a pair of gloves (also black) which manifest a bar, or staff, of pure energy when she wills them to. About the only thing she's told us about herself is to make it clear that the term "butch" is very much applicable—just to make sure, I suppose, that we aren't going to have a problem with that. Doesn't seem like Phoenix does, and I know I couldn't care less. God knows, there were enough guys at American who figured that if I didn't want to sleep with them I had to be a lesbian. Hopefully everything'll be okay.
    We haven't been able to think up a name yet. The Herald is going to run a contest.
    Name or no, we have work to do. I understand why Ellis was so anxious to get things put together rapidly, if this is the sort of thing that's going to happen around here. After seeing what we had to work with, we dropped by police headquarters for a briefing.
    Lieutenant Detective Thomas Reilly is Boston Irish cop to the core. I'd guess he's a little older than me, with looks at the high end of average; he's got a calm outlook he probably needs in this job, the demeanor of a man not easily overset by the winds of circumstance. Ellis told us that he'll be our liaison to the more conventional city forces. He looked each of us in the eye as we were introduced, and seemed to hold Lucky's for an extra moment. Her icily nonchalant expression revealed nothing.
    "Sasha Banks," I introduced myself. "Pleased to meet you." His hand dwarfed mine. The others gave me an odd look, which I ignored. I've adopted a nom de guerre for the convenience of the press and to maintain at least a measure of ordinary privacy, but we're going to be working closely with this man; we ought to be on a real-name basis.
    From there we proceeded to the crime scene, an alley in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. A woman had been killed in a ritual fashion, and there were bloodstains all over the walls of the alley and the ground where it had happened. It was the most recent in a string of similar crimes. The women were all from Beacon Hill, but didn't seem to have any other connecting characteristic. As far as anyone could tell, they didn't know one another, and there was no discernible motive for killing them.

| Top | Previous Page Next Page


© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson