Set on a future Mars, Serus Blackwell is a Policeman working for the Agency in the city of Archea. The Policemen are often assigned by the Syndicate, a ruling class of business owners, to assassinate people who break the rules or pose obstacles to the Syndicate’s goals.
Thom, a ruddy-cheeked redhead, is still in training. Serus has taken him under his wing and plans to give him a good chance at becoming a Policeman. Their current assignment is a businesswoman, Mira Taggert, who has been embezzling funds in order to secure her won wealth. The Syndicate doesn’t take kindly to this.
This short story has some cool tech but not as much as I expected. The Policemen have their fancy gauntlets that are wired into their nerves and fire a devastating laser. That was pretty cool. However, the city itself comes off as a bit rundown and shabby. Perhaps this was intended.
Serus himself is an interesting character. He has some inner conflicts going on. His deep need to still be human on some level conflicts with the Policeman training and brainwashing. That constant internal fight has left him a little gaunt, a little ragged. He comes off as a tortured fellow that you just want to make a cup of tea and ask him to have sit down.
In this little tale, we learn that the Policemen can indeed be hurt. I found this bit of human frailty both exciting and amusing. After all, the Policemen are kind of sanctioned bullies. So it’s good to see that sometimes the targets can get in some good hits. If you’re thinking about checking out the series, this is a good intro. The ebook version contains a lengthy excerpt from Book 1, Exodus.