Call Arkady a clone with a conscience. Or call him a traitor. A member of the space-faring Syndicates, Arkady has defected to Israel with a hot commodity: a genetic weapon powerful enough to wipe out humanity. But Israel's not buying it. They're selling it-and Arkady-to the highest bidder. As the auction heats up, the Artificial Life Emancipation Front sends in Major Catherine Li. Drummed out of the Peacekeepers for executing Syndicate prisoners, Li has now literally hooked up with an AI who has lived many lifetimes and shunted through many bodies. But while they have their own conflicting loyalties to contend with, together they're just one player in a mysterious high-stakes game.... From the Trade Paperback edition.
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June 27, 2006
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Excerpt from Spin Control by Chris Moriarty
She was probably no more than thirty.
It was hard to tell with humans. They all looked old to Arkady, and they aged fast out here in the Trusteeships where people lost months and years just getting from one planet to the next.
This human looked like she'd lived harder than most. Her skin was ravaged by decades of unfiltered sunlight, her face lined by wind and worry, her features gaunt with the gravity of some heavy planet. Still, Arkady didn't think she could be more than a few subjective years beyond his twenty-seven.
"Act like you're picking me up," she said in a low husky voice that would have been sensual had it not been ratcheted tight by fear. She spoke UN-standard Spanish, but her flat vowels and guttural consonants betrayed her native tongue as Hebrew.
She flagged down the barkeep and ordered two of something Arkady had never heard of. When she gripped his arm to draw him closer, he saw that her cuticles were rough and ragged and she'd bitten her nails to the quick.
He bent over her, smelling the acrid fungal smell of the planet-born, and recited the words Korchow had taught him back on Gilead. She fed him back the answers he'd been told to wait for. She was pulling them off hard memory; her pupils dilated, blossoming across the pale iris, every time she accessed her virally embedded RAM. He tried not to stare and failed.
This is your first monster, he told himself. Get used to them.
He studied the woman's face, wondering if she was what other members of her species would call normal. It seemed unlikely. To Arkady's cr ' che-born eyes her features looked as mismatched as if they'd been culled from a dozen disparate genelines. The predatory nose jutted over an incongruously delicate jawline. The forehead was high and intelligent . . . but too flat and scowling to get past any competent genetic designer. And even under the dim flicker of the strobe lights it was obvious that her eyes were mismatched. The right eye fixed Arkady with a steel blue stare, while the left one wandered across the open room behind him so that he had to fight the urge to turn around and see who she was really talking to.
"Why did you come here " the woman asked when she was satisfied he was who he said he was.