Shells on Shaula

Polonium was coming down like snow. Big flakes were torn apart by the little dust devils that ran around causing chaos in the daylight hours. The constant reactions between the radioactive flakes and the atmosphere gave everything a flickering blue glow.

It would have been beautiful if it weren’t lethal.

Kellyn stalked the streets virtually using a rented shell she could lock her consciousness into for an hourly ransom. And who knows what the sicko behind the counter might be doing with her comatose biological body a quarter-million miles away, back on the Amber Moon. Better not to think about it.

Kellyn was looking for a black market broker—guy who calls himself the Composer. No one knows his true identity, but he talks with a stutter—something even the shells couldn’t mask—and he spends all his time down here on this shithole, fit only for bots and the type of scum that grows in the dark.

Welcome to Port Shaula: a human world unfit for humans, on the terminus between the Union worlds and the frontier, where the only laws were those of nature. Where getting away with murder was as simple as getting away. Kellyn had gotten away from here before.

She ducked down an anonymous corridor in the massive unregulated industrio-urban blight and tested out the mag-rifle she’d acquired to make sure it wasn’t a lemon. Nothing sour about it.

Now, she thought, if I was a stuttering know-it-all worm who burned money faster than it could be printed, where would I be?

Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page.

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