“As I said. You have been in storage for a little under two hundred years. In real terms—”
Envoy cool goes out the window, rapidly. “What the fuck happened to—”
“Please, Kovacs-san. Hear me out.” A sharp note of command. And then, as the conditioning shuts me down again, pared back to listen and learn, more quietly: “Later I will give you as much detail as you like. For now, let it suffice that you are no longer part of the Envoy Corps as such. You can consider yourself privately retained by the Harlan family.”
Marooned centuries from the last moments of living experience you recall. Sleeved out of time. A lifetime away from everyone and everything you knew. Like some fucking criminal. Well, Envoy assimilation technique will by now have some of this locked down, but still—
“How did you—”
“Your digitised personality file was acquired for the family some time ago. As I said, I can give you more detail later. You need not concern yourself too much with this. The contract I am here to offer you is lucrative and, we feel, ultimately rewarding. What’s important is for you to understand the extent to which your Envoy skills will be put to the test. This is not the Harlan’s World you know.”
“I can deal with that.” Impatiently. “It’s what I do.”
“Good. Now, you will of course want to know—”
“Yeah.” Shut down the shock, like a tourniquet on a bleeding limb. Drag up competence and a drawled lack of concern once more. Grab on to the obvious, the salient point in all of this. “Just who the fuck is this ex-Envoy you so badly want me to catch?”
Maybe it went something like that.
Then again, maybe not. I’m inferring from suspicion and fragmented knowledge after the event. Building it up from what I can guess, using Envoy intuition to fill in the gaps. But I could be completely wrong.
I wouldn’t know.
I wasn’t there.
And I never saw his face when they told him where I was. Told him that I was, and what he’d have to do about it.
– – –
“No one heard Ebisu returning until it was too late and then what had been said could not be unsaid, deeds done could not be undone and all present must answer for themselves.”
Legends of the Seagod Trad.
“Unpredictable wind vectors and velocity … expect heavy weather.”
Kossuth Storm Management Net Extreme Conditions Alert
Richard K. Morgan