CHAPTER 1: MORNING HORROR
Saturday morning. I rose from a night of chemical revelry and cursed the day I was born. Doolan's the name, the heat gone cold loco and paying in spades. Jungle beat--Mars, the Red Planet, a sleeping giant with one foot on the gas pedal and one on Lovers Leap.
They said you couldn't keep it down once I'd seen some action and I guess 'they' were right. In twelve long years with the Korps I'd tasted enough senseless carnality for a lifetime, and truth be told I couldn't tell the black hats from the white anymore. In my business that meant trouble.
Cut to a park bench sunrise. I'm pissed to be taken away from my dreaming, cold in the dry heaving sunlight. A breath of fake fur and lipstick eased up from the gutter. Eyeballs red as a streetwalker's labia flashed on the daytime world and thought--
"Satan's are we, Satan's am I."
See, Mars had a dark side. I'd found it once the old lady got real, real gone for a change. Human she was, all too human, and I was from this world so you can bet we made quite an eyeload promenading down the boulevard of broken genes. It didn't pay to dwell there, though.
Unnameable dread dogged each step as I pondered the futility of the good fight and the high cost of crystal methedrine on a world gone kerplunk. Then, without a warning, the sky lit up napalm yellow and all thoughts were in vain.
Urban terror was heavy this season. Some sorehead with an axe to grind must have laced the pavement with plastic explosives. The blast sent me reeling--shaken, but none the worse for heavy shrapnel. Another day, another delirium.
See, we imported weapons and tactics and women from your world, that's true, but on Mars we'd just about cornered the market on survival of the fittest. The rabid pioneers who'd settled this orb had thrived and mutated, carving out a space age Sodom that burned while the Korps kept an uneasy peace. And We The People just kept shooting and reproducing with a vengeance.
That's why I was an X-cop, the best kind. Standard issue with the license to kill came a dozen splinter grenades and a modified Luger for nostalgia's sake. When I needed more I just upped the arsenal, and my personal favorite was a Fly-Rite Yo-Yo cast in osmium. This yo-yo was a motherfukker.
Now usually a sneak attack would find me plotting my own messy ending and eventual sainthood, but this time paranoia gripped me hard, nads first. I started to shake and convulse, teeth gnashing tongue, nose drooling a thick red foam. When Vesuvius erupted arcross my cranium I started firing, busting off rounds in a tweek raging fit.
Hollow points flew as empty eyes peered from broken windows. I heard a dead baby cry. In the Korps we're trained to believe that violence is golden, but I couldn't help thinking regret is a whore with wings.
Finally, a figure emerged in a Red Cross nurse's uniform and white stockings, the severe bun on her head held in place by a hari-kari dagger. It was my secretary, Miss Vaggner. She was mean, she was vicious, but there was something about her I liked. Somehow she kept my crank-addled brain from oozing out the hole in my noggin.
"Any calls for me?"
"One, from Korps EQ. I told them you were drinking and couldn't be disturbed."