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One thing, though…he wasn’t chasing me.

I slid to a stop in the corridor and watched the door. I don’t know why—I guess I wasn’t thinking well. If Rudy had barged through I would have lost valuable running-like-hell time. But he didn’t.

“Huh,” I said.

I channeled my inner “dumbass in a horror movie” and walked back to the door. I opened it a crack and peeked through. No sign of Rudy, but a crowd had gathered near the buffet.

I slinked back through the casino and joined the crowd. They had good reason to gawk.

The window near our table was shattered. A few jagged spikes of glass stuck out from the frame. We don’t have safety glass here. Importing polyvinyl butyral is too expensive. So our windows are good old-fashioned neck-slicing deathtraps. Hey, if you want to play life safe, don’t live on the moon.

An American tourist in front of me nibbled on a Gunk bar and craned his neck to see over the crowd. (Only Americans wear Hawaiian shirts on the moon.)

“What happened?” I asked.

“Not sure,” he said. “Some guy kicked the window out and jumped through. It’s three stories to the ground. Think he’s dead?”

“Lunar gravity,” I reminded him.

“But it’s like thirty feet!”

“Lunar grav—never mind. Was the guy dressed in a Mountie uniform?”

“You mean bright-red clothes and a weird hat?”

“That’s the ceremonial uniform,” I said. “I mean a duty uniform. Light shirt, dark pants with a yellow stripe?”

“Oh, Han Solo pants. Yeah, he had those on.”

“Okay, thanks.” Pfft. Han Solo’s pants have a red stripe. And it’s not even a stripe—it’s a bunch of dashes. Some people have no education.

Rudy hadn’t chased me. He’d gone after Lefty. The Arcade-level entrance was three floors down and across a huge lobby. It would have taken at least two minutes for Rudy to get there by conventional means. I guess he’d picked a faster route.

I peered into the Arcade along with the other onlookers. Both Rudy and Lefty seemed to be long gone. Too bad—I would have loved to see Rudy beating the shit out of that bastard and cuffing him.

But I guessed this meant Rudy wasn’t part of a plot to kill me. And hey, now Lefty had Rudy to deal with. All in all, not a bad outcome.

Not that I was happy. I still didn’t know how Lefty found my Gizmo.

My hidey-hole on Bean Down 27 was barely okay for sleeping and too damned small for anything else.

So I sat on the floor in the corridor. On the rare occasions when I heard someone coming, I skittered into my hutch like the cockroach I am. But mostly, I had the hall to myself.

First thing I wanted to know: Did Rudy catch Lefty? I scanned local news sites and the answer was no. Murders are extremely rare in Artemis. If Rudy’d caught the killer, it would be on every front page. Lefty was still out there.

Time for some research. My subject: Sanchez Aluminum. I tapped away on Harpreet’s Gizmo to look up public info about the company.

They employed about eighty people. That may not sound like much but in a town of two thousand it’s pretty significant. Their CEO and founder was Loretta Sanchez, from Manaus, Brazil. She had a doctorate in chemistry with a specialty in inorganic processes. She invented a system to cheaply implement the FFC Cambridge Process to deoxidize anorthite by minimizing loss in the calcium chloride salt bath via…I stopped caring around there. Point was, she was in charge, and (though the article didn’t mention it) she was mobbed up all to hell.

Of course, the harvester sabotage was all over the news. In response, Sanchez had implemented tight security. Their offices in Armstrong Bubble no longer allowed visitors. They’d restricted smelting-facility access to core personnel only. They even had humans (not just computers) directly checking company IDs on the train to the smelter.

Most important, they weren’t taking any chances with that last harvester. They’d contracted the EVA Guild to guard it, with EVA masters working in shifts to have two people physically with the harvester at all times.

There was a certain pride in knowing I caused an entire company to shit themselves. They’d tried to kill me. Repeatedly. And it wasn’t just an O Palácio thing either. Someone in the Sanchez control room had ordered a harvester to smush me when I was out on the surface, remember? There was some flawed company culture going on over there.


The Gizmo buzzed in my hand—a notification from my email client.

I might have been on the run for my life, but I wasn’t willing to go without email. I just had it running through a proxy so no one could tell which Gizmo I used to check in. The proxy server was on Earth somewhere (I think in the Netherlands?), so everything was slow as shit. It only updated once per hour. Better than nothing.

I had fifteen messages, fourteen of which were Dad desperately trying to get in touch with me. “Sorry, Dad,” I said to myself. “You don’t want none of this, and I don’t want none of it on you.”

The fifteenth email was from Jin Chu.

Ms. Bashara. Thank you for saving my life—your actions at the hotel kept me safe. At least, I assume the woman in my room was you—you’re the only other (surviving) person involved in this plot-gone-wrong. Now that I’m aware of the threat, I have made arrangements for my safety and I am staying hidden. Can we meet? I would like to arrange for your safety as well. I owe you that. —Jin Chu

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