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I pulled a knife from my boot holster and held it at the ready. “How did O Palácio find my Gizmo?”

She pulled a gun from under the desk. “Because I told them where it was.”

“A gun?!” I said. “How did a gun get into the city?! I never smuggle weapons!”

“I’ve always appreciated that,” she said. “You don’t have to keep your hands up. You do, however, have to drop that knife.”

I did as I was instructed. The knife floated down to the floor.

She kept the gun pointed at me. “May I ask, how did you come to suspect me?”

“Process of elimination,” I said. “Rudy proved he wasn’t selling me out. You’re the only other person with access to my Gizmo location info.”

“Reasonable,” she said. “But I’m not as sinister as you think.”

“Uh-huh.” I gave her a dubious look. “But you know all about ZAFO, right?”


“And you’re going to make a shitload of money off of it?”

She scowled. “Do you really think so little of me? I won’t make a single slug.”


She settled back into her chair and relaxed her grip on the gun. “You were right about the gravity. ZAFO is a crystalline quartzlike structure that only forms at 0.216 g’s. It’s impossible to make on Earth, but they can make it here with a centrifuge. You’re such an intelligent girl, Jasmine. If only you’d apply yourself.”

“If this is turning into a ‘You have so much potential’ lecture, just shoot me instead, okay?”

She smiled. She could be grandmotherly even while holding a gun. Like she’d give me a butterscotch candy before putting a hole in my head. “Do you know how Artemis makes its money?”



I blinked. “What?”

“We don’t make enough from tourism. It’s a large part of our economy, yes, but not enough.”

“But the economy works,” I said. “Tourists buy stuff from local companies, companies pay employees, employees buy food and pay rent, and so on. And we’re still here, so it must be working, right? What am I missing?”

“Immigration,” she said. “When people move to Artemis, they bring their life savings with them. Then they spend it here. As long as our population kept growing that was fine, but now we’ve plateaued.”

She angled the gun away from me. She still had a good grip on it, but at least she wouldn’t kill me by mistake if she sneezed. “The whole system has become an unintentional Ponzi scheme. And we’re just cresting the top of the curve now.”

For the first time, my attention was torn away from the gun. “Is…are we…is this whole city going bankrupt?”

“Yes, if we don’t take action,” she said. “But ZAFO is our savior. The telecom industry will want to upgrade, and ZAFO can only be cheaply made here. There’ll be a huge production boom. Factories will open, people will move here for jobs, and everyone will prosper.” She looked up wistfully. “We’ll finally have an export economy.”

“Glass,” I said. “This has always been about glass, right?”

“Yes, dear,” Ngugi said. “ZAFO is an amazing material, but like all fiber optics, it’s mostly glass. And glass is just silicon and oxygen, both of which are created by aluminum smelting.”

She ran her hand along the sheet aluminum desk. “Interesting how economics works, isn’t it? Within a year, aluminum will be a by-product of the silicon industry. And that aluminum will be handy too. We’ll have a lot of construction to handle the growth we’re about to have.”

“Wow,” I said. “You really are all about economics.”

“It’s what I do, dear. And in the end, it’s the only thing that matters. People’s happiness, health, safety, and security all rely on it.”

“Damn, you’re good at this. You created an economy for Kenya and now you’re doing it for us. You’re a true hero. I should really be more grateful—oh that’s right you fucking sold me out!”

“Oh, please. I knew you weren’t stupid enough to turn on your Gizmo without taking precautions.”

“But you did tell O Palácio where my Gizmo was?”

“Indirectly.” She set the gun down on the table. Too far away for me to lunge at. She’d grown up in a war zone—I wasn’t about to test her reflexes. “A few days ago, IT reported a hack attempt against the Gizmo network. Someone on Earth was trying to get your location info. I had IT deliberately disable security and let the hacker in. Actually, it was more complicated than that—they downgraded one of their network drivers to one with a known security flaw so the hacker had to work for it a little. I don’t know the details—I’m not a tech person. Anyway, the end result is the hacker installed a program that would report your location if you turned on your Gizmo.”

“Why the hell did you do that?!”

“To draw out the murderer.” She pointed to me. “As soon as you turned on your Gizmo, I alerted Rudy to your presence. I assumed O Palácio would tell their man Alvarez as well. I hoped Rudy would catch him.”

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