Tomorrow, a plane heading for the United Nations building will be shot down. The crash will release a multi-hue cloud across Manhattan. In two weeks, the first of the Changed, people with extraordinary powers, will make their appearance.
Four generations later, the beings who have become known as Changelings are essential to modern society, transforming all facets of life. Everything is going well for them... Until they vanish without a trace. The world is shocked, but humanity has managed to adapt.
One woman believes the Changelings aren't all gone. Is she a child if that transcendent race? The one thing she knows for sure: She's the next target of an assail who won't die. If she's going to survive, she needs help from the last Artificial, a synthetic human who could turn out to be more man than machine.
316 pages, 9x6 inches
To the right is my reason for being here. Majestic, the only synthetic person in existence, the last Artificial created. The mannequin stands an even six foot with broad shoulders and a trim waist. Dark, short hair sits above clean features that look like they were designed for an actor.
I pull out the laser scalpel an addict tried me with just last week. I've no value where he got it, but I'm glad he wasn't successful in the murder part. The indicator says the battery will last less than five minutes, but that's okay. I turn it on. The blue blade is under an inch long, but its enough. I jam it into the force field that separates the observer from the display.
In the distance there's a loud pop, and darkness falls inside the museum. Anyone smart would have the fields and the rest of the place on separates circuits, but maybe they areb't making enough money to be smart about it. Or the money for the extra breakers ended up in someone's personal account. It doesn't matter to me. Three minutes, give or take, and I'm out of here.
I pull a flashlight out of my pocket as an emergency light snaps on at the front of the hall. Anyone looking for an exit would head for the light. Instead I step over the lid barrier, approaching the mannequin and rap on its chest. Solid. Good. Maybe I'm not wrong this time.
"Majestic," I hiss, slapping the mannequin's face lightly. "i need your help."
For a second nothing. Then its eyes open.
Coming Soon -- Dis -N- Bad Guys
Dis' story continues as some of the Changelings try to discover a way home.
That’s when something heavy hits the door. The first time I can hear wood splintering. And then a second time. The door crashes open. Looking over the top of the couch, I can’t tell who’s in the hallway and really don’t care. Whoever it is has made a mistake.
I slide the pistol back out of its holster and stand up, taking the two steps necessary to see the door in its alcove, my gun at the ready. Mr. Neighbor is there, a pistol in the hand hanging at his side. He looks pissed at the world.
“You bitch,” he screams, “all I wanted was somebody to give a rat’s ass.” He brings the pistol up, pointing it as his temple. “Care about this.”
It’s been said that God watches after fools and children. If He exists, then He must, because I don’t even think about it. I adjust my aim slightly, squeeze off a shot before he does. His shoulder jerks, and he staggers back against the hallway wall. His gun hand falls to his side, the pistol thumping to the floor as he lets it go. He slides down the wall to a sitting position, leaving a smear of blood from his shoulder. And then wonder why I bothered. It would have saved everyone grief if I had simply let him do it.
“God damn it,” Mr. Neighbor screams, hand on his bloody shoulder. “You fucking shot me.”
No rest for the weary.
“Trin,” I call over my shoulder. “Dial 911 and tell them there’s a moron bleeding on my doorstep. And then start looking for another apartment. We’re moving.”