|5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.75(d)
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I try my best not to kill people. Believe me, I do.
Usually, I give them a chance to surrender, come quietly, let me slap the cuffs over their wrists and end things without bloodshed. There's no point in spilling blood if you don't have toand I wasn't in the habit of taking lives unnecessarily.
But making sure everyone gets out alive is tough when your job is dangerous.
It's even harder when you're a bounty hunter.
A soft hiss announced the arrival of a fresh spray of mist over the bustling city, adding to the humidity and the scent of wet stone and steel. The airborne water reflected the LED and holo-projected billboards dotting the buildings, pooled on the surfaces of glossy solar catchers, and danced off the slowly rotating personal wind turbines, making the already shimmering metropolis glow even brighter. But while the watery haze gave the nighttime glow of Winnipeg a dreamlike quality, it did little to relieve the suffocating heat that was trapped down here, in the bowels of the city. I was perched on top of a sign, crouched low and invisible within a darkened alcove, scanning the area below, waiting for my target to emerge.
The guy had led me all over the lower levels of the city on a wild goose chase that finally brought me to the core, the devil's den: Bounty Hunter territory.
A police cruiser rumbled slowly through the air ahead of me, turbine-powered engines in place of wheels baying out in the night, spotlights scanning left and right over the crowd below. They wanted the populace to know they were watching, but everyone knew they wouldn't dare put boots on the ground this far down without a perfectly good reason.
As the cruiser rumbled out of sight, I could hear the cops inside call down to a pair of teens peering over the edge of a walkway, warning them that they would be fined if they kept throwing things down below. In response, the pair gave the cops the finger and walked off, and the cruiser kept moving. If it were 90 years ago that slight would've meant the kids would be eating pavement with a boot on their neck, but in the 2100s the police knew that they should just take it.
These were the sublevels after all.
Kilometres below the surface, two levels up from the bottom, on Sublevel 11, the police presence was no more than a token force, buzzing around but rarely stepping foot outside their VTOL cruisers to do any real "peacekeeping." You were more likely to get shot by a shop owner when robbing a store than get cuffs slammed around your wrists. Then again, it was equally likely that the same shop owner would be shot while the perp escaped, only for the judgement of their crime to fall eventually to people like me.
With my target taking so long, I finally got a chance to catch my breath and look at the city I called home. From the alcove where I sat, located between a pair of residential towers, I drank in the claustrophobia-inducing crush of glass and steel that comprised the sublevels. Huge spire-like buildings extended from the floor of the sublevel to the ceiling in uninterrupted blocks, connected by a web of walkways, roads, platforms, and railways, filled with people skittering on the floor like ants or buzzing through the sky in transports on AI-determined flight lanes. The building I was perched on faced perhaps the most open of spaces in the immediate vicinity: one of the surface shafts that stretched from the surface above, down to the bottom level of Winnipeg.