Sci fi, fantasy. Alain Harper, Slate Rockmire and Hilo Whitemoon respond to a S.O.S. sent from an artificial intelligence of almost incomprehensible sophistication.

Felix ran along the city streets, breathing loudly. He knew this part of the city well; people like him made it their business to know everything on the planet if they could. And because knowledge is power, such people often needed to know escape routes away from trouble. This one would have to do – and with any luck, it would give him something he needed alone the way.

The young man was dressed in a red shirt with blue sleeves and blue jeans, red running shoes and a red baseball cap: not exactly fitting wear for one running for his life in the dark. Yet he had fled from the College where he did his work, so he was still wearing his work clothes.

There it was: an automated manhole cover, old but still in working order from the looks of it, right where it was supposed to be. Present-day ground truth didn’t always match old digital records, thus the aforementioned element of luck. Here and now, there was a match. Good enough. Kevin activated the watch-like tech on his hand, then keyed in his pass-code. The manhole responded and opened to the sewer.

Felix then jumped into the sewer in haste, sealing the manhole behind him with another code. A ladder of metal rings embedded in stone, rings that thankfully were made of some rustproof metal and therefore stable, led down into a long passageway lit by self-renewing luciferin lamps. Their firefly-like glow gave an eerie cast to the walkways on either side of the sewage canal, and to the water itself.

Thankfully this sewer was basically a drainage ditch for rainwater, not for other things. It didn’t smell as bad as it easily could have. Felix still didn’t like the idea of falling to it, but the walkways on either side were elevated and wide, and he walked on the right side.

The tall, brown-haired White Tribesman was taking a huge risk, not even certain if it would work, but there was nothing for it but to try. He was tempted to keep running, but the lighting down here was dim and he was as safe as he could be anywhere on the planet. The important thing now was to find his target, and he might run right past it without seeing it if he used undue haste.

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  • Jack Shepherd on Aug 14, 2012

    :D So far so good! I like THRONE WARS better so far – it challenges you to think humanistically more than this story line does, although obviously that can change now that the foundation has been laid.

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