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In excerpt 41 Devonte Ray, the oldest cop on the planet and veteran of the historic raid on Pax Vobiscum, goes to brief his boss, the President of the Central Authority. But first, Dev goes ski-ing in the Montezuma Basin.
Devonte Ray brushed the snow from his cap as he stepped off the slopes onto the brown fibre-pile carpet of the Central Authority HQ at Aspen 4000. Then he bent and brushed the snow from his arms and legs, before undoing his jacket and shaking free from his shirt and belt the snow that had somehow lodged there. It had been another fine morning’s powder in the Montezuma Basin.
In episode 40, Jake enters the ancient and intimidating Central Authority Buildings in Harlem, where mass production of Biotime was introduced in the US hundreds of years earlier. Assuming a false identity, he meets 480 year-old Dr Cleo Czernin, the CA’s top Biotime economist, to see if she can help him identify a motive for the murder of 10,290 people at the Hughes Procreation Facility in Santa Monica…
‘Harlem’s cocktail of indolence and frenzy owes much to the presence of the Central Authority Buildings. Several factors led the Authority to locate here its first foray into large-scale Biotime manufacture. Most important were the low Absolute Wealth Levels, immortalised in the famous Harlem refrain, “What we got? We got fuck AWL”.’
Kool’s New York – Zenon Kool, Schlaraffenland Press (out of print)
When Jake entered the Central Authority Buildings, the audible warning that he was now inside a shielded facility was followed by a stream of New York State legal disclaimers. These notified him that any harm which might arise from his bracelet being unable to communicate with external medical monitoring services, bookmakers and stockbrokers would not be the responsibility of the Central Authority. Jake had to smile. For most citizens, being cut off from the outside world was uncomfortable. For Jake, incommunicado was where he wanted to be.
My plan was to take our hero, Jake Moonrath, as far as the Central Authority Buildings in Harlem, New York City, and to introduce the remaining “Informal” agent who will accompany and protect Jake on the next stage of his journey. That agent will surprise you.
So, read on. In episode 38, Jake arrives for the first time in his life in New York City and makes his way to the Central Authority Buildings in Harlem – where mass production of Biotime was introduced in the US – close to Marcus Garvey Park. He at once observes that Harlem is fabulously opulent – far more so than Santa Monica – and that people behave very differently.
This is Harlem. But not as we know it.
‘If you think shit happens, park here’
Security notice, Central Authority Buildings, Harlem
Jake took a horse-drawn cab for the last part of the journey. It was his first visit to New York; he’d never seen a horse before; and he didn’t need ID to climb aboard.
He scanned the street for any threat. Where once he might have admired the luxury goods stores jostling for space between up-market bars and pool halls, now he saw only faces turned towards him. Were they watching?
He clutched his bracelet, where the pulse tracker glowed red. No-one had tried to contact him in his guise as venture capitalist Dr Andrew Brown. How could they, when no-one knew he existed? But then how could they have identified the ten Informals who had died at the instant the Hughes Procreation Center was destroyed? He sat back in the cracked leather seat and tried to make himself inconspicuous.
He’d never seen anything like Harlem. (more…)
I thought this account of how leap seconds work at “The Science Geek” was outstanding. A complex subject explained in English that you can understand, without in any way talking down to his audience. A model for science communication! I read his blog with pleasure.
I am hoping I can tempt him to write something about ageing and telomeres, a concept which lies behind the life-extension premise of my novel Biotime.
I don’t have a leap-second-themed picture in my image bank, but here’s a picture of Wittgenstein’s grave from the Central Cemetery in Vienna – itself located, with existential irony, on the edge of town…
Doctor Suleikin – the man in the boat – and his accomplice Dr Patel check a cargo at Hiep Phuoc Port Industrial Park. ‘It turns out the case for throwing production units overboard is very weak, actually,’ Patel says. ‘Since our last round in the Mekong Delta, prices are up twenty five percent. It seems that there will, indeed, always be a demand for Biotime.’
Doctor Boris Suleikin stood up as the blood-red sun sank behind the dilapidated warehouses of the Hiep Phuoc Port Industrial Park.
‘We need to start loading. Think it’s dark enough yet?’
‘No.’ Dr Patel was watching the New York Biotime markets. ‘We must wait for nightfall.’
‘The amount we pay these people, they’d see nothing if we loaded the ship in broad daylight.’
‘It is not the local authorities we need to worry about. It is the Americans. They still have a few functioning satellites.’
‘I still can’t see why Pandang want us to ship tonight, with only half a load.’
‘It is to do with prices.’ Patel looked up from the holo. ‘Have you seen what is happening in New York?’
‘Don’t tell me. You see an investment opportunity.’
‘I was simply going to point out that you were right, and I was wrong.’ Patel smiled. ‘It turns out the case for throwing production units overboard is very weak, actually. Since our last round in the Mekong Delta, prices are up twenty five percent. It seems that there will, indeed, always be a demand for Biotime.’
Jake has thrown down the gauntlet to whoever destroyed the Hughes Procreation Center. He showed his face to the media and promised to come after them. Now, he knows they’re after him. He changes ID, then flees from Santa Monica to New York City by long-distance autocab. In these days where every second you’re alive is beyond price, no life insurance company allows its clients to fly. Only the One Lifers indulge in intense and dangerous habits…
Jake awoke outside Tucumcari to find his body dank with sweat and the arid scrub alongside the Interstate bathed in moonlight. It was 3.43 a.m. Long-distance autocabs were so safe they were permitted to travel at up to 60 miles an hour. But with refuelling stops, the trip would still take two days. Desperately slow; but like the slogan said, You’d Have to be Mad to Fly. Most life insurance companies would not allow it if you had significant life expectancy.
He’d been dreaming again. His parents’ dead bodies on a viewing platform, rotten and decayed. In the visitors’ chairs, the corpses of Ed and Abigail. Only the security guards were the same, their leather uniforms gleaming, Big Frights ready. (more…)
Gangland boss KY Sutanto summons lieutenants Bean and Athena to tackle Jake Moonrath’s live challenge to whoever destroyed the Hughes Procreation Center in Santa Monica and its 10,290 residents. But can KY trust his people? Athena, a former female access product turned assassin, may have her own agenda.
The new arrival was a stocky man whose eyes were permanently narrowed, as if confronting bad news or bright light. A black singlet exposed powerful arms, liberally endowed with the same curly red hair which sprouted from his head. Amidst the freckles which peppered his left shoulder was a tattoo of a severed hand transfixed by a hunting knife. He scratched his head and looked at KY, who was standing on one leg with his hands together at his breast as if in prayer.
‘KY. You called for me.’
‘Thank you, Bean.’ KY opened his eyes and lowered the leg which had been raised. Behind him a slab of meat fell to the deck, appearing to throw a spray of gore towards them both. ‘Come.’