THE VIRUS HUNTER
As a youth, Kevian (the King’s youngest son) accidently poisoned the heir to the throne, his brother. What followed was a harrowing affair: the poison didn’t kill the future king but rendered him too miserable and sickly to ascend the throne.
Filled with shame, Kevian abandoned his family, choosing instead a life of squalor and humility — making sure his family can’t find him.
Fifteen years later he is arrested and forced to stand before the King for sentencing — only to be recognized by everyone in the court.
Here are two excerpts.
I got to work a few seconds late, just before they locked the front door. The line was long, at least thirty people ahead of me, all of us waiting for our assignment of the day. Forty minutes later it was my turn. I knew the routine. I offered a fake fingerprint and watched as the clerk reviewed my paperwork.
That wasn’t my real name. “Yes, sir.”
“Ten percent of your last paycheck has been deducted, due to (1) late return of ship times one, and (2) bent wall antenna #3775404 on Floor 327, Satellite 43. Is that clear?”
“Yes, sir. I understand, sir.”
The clerk threw a quick glance in my direction, stamped a dozen stampable things, and handed me a slip of paper. “Your ship is at Gate #2365 on the left…Ship #555666544. Assignment is on paper. Have the ship back by six.”
“Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir.” Humility was my friend. Like the jacket, it kept me safe, unnoticed.
Over the next week Sedinil introduced me to her gang of misfits.
The first was an octopus-like being named Flasterginusblot. He was second mate and of all things a mechanic, like me, with an engineering background. Didn’t talk much but monitored my every move.
There were three women – triplets – slightly overweight but fit with warm-scented faces, the kind that left you gasping for air if you got too close. Their arms were stunning. Apparently they worked as arm models in fetish movies, and I could see why. They were experts in life support regulation.
The final two members of the team were stick-men: human heads and torsos, arms too, but everything below the waist was all trunk and branches. Interesting to behold. Though they didn’t appreciate my staring. Their expertise: politics, history, and sociology. Somehow that would come in useful.
This was the crew who would help me save the world? I had my doubts. But Sedinil believed in her gang, and since she was my only friend (and ally), that meant I had to believe in them too.