So, on to Day 3 of promoting Thrace. We’ve had Let Tsygons Be Tsygons and Electric High, so now let me introduce you to An Equal Opportunity Murderer.
The obligatory quick reminder of what Thrace is about:
Thrace is a science fiction anthology, consisting of three novella length stories. It is definitely one of the favourite things I’ve ever written, and has had a lot of positive reviews and pretty much no readers, which is very very sad. It is set on the planet Gielgud, which is home to an indigenous (and androgynous) species called Tsygons, but which has been colonised by humans, who have pretty much taken over the place. The stories are very plotty, especially the first and third, but with a certain amount of sexual content as well (because, well, it’s me, and that tends to be how my stories come). But I honestly think it’s quite good…
Although it’s the third story – and rightly so – in the anthology, An Equal Opportunity Murderer is, in fact, the first story set in Thrace which I wrote. It’s about a couple of crime operatives, Nick and X7612, and their attempt to track down a murderer who is killing both humans and Tsygons across the city. (And, incidentally – because I am that sort of a writer – deal with their attraction towards each other.)
You have no idea how difficult it was to find a suitable snippet from this story. Weird. It just doesn’t seem to have ‘snippetable’ sections. (But it does mean that I have just invented the word snippetable, which has to be worth something, yes?) So… to lead you up to this segment, Nick and X have been instructed by their boss to pick up an ‘ultra-reader’ (‘useful piece of tech’ to you and me) from Nick’s home. But they’re about to find out that their problems, chasing down a violent killer, have just got worse…
Nick’s rooms were on the first floor of the building. He had three; good going for a single guy. X7612 had never been there before, but then he’d never visited X’s place either. Even when they socialised, they tended to meet in the city. There was something a bit too personal about rooms. They were for established lovers, not friends. And X and Nick were nothing more than friends, he reiterated to himself.
X7612 pulled the bike to a kicking stop. “Here okay?”
“Yeah. Won’t be a second.” Nick was up the stairs before he had finished speaking. At his front door, he pressed his palm to the scanner and the door slid up. He took one step forward and then stopped dead. “X!” he yelled, leaving his rooms wide open as he dashed back down the steps. “X, for fuck’s sake…”
X7612 was sitting so still on the bike that zie almost looked as if zie was part of the machinery, hir dark gheil-dress blending nicely with the leather seat. Zie shut hir eyes, leaving only the middle one open and gleaming in the darkness.
Nick swallowed, wondering whether he’d sprinted back to X for hir professional view or because he just needed to have someone he knew he could rely on around. Someone for support, not to mention comfort. “We’ve got problems.”