Chapters One and Two

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"Hello," she called. "Is someone there?"

The song ended and was replaced by a more cheerful tune.

"That's better," she called. She slowed, smiling, adjusting her walk to the tempo. This was more like a spragge should be; fun and lighthearted.

Enjo was delighted with her freedom here and her ability to control her own life, but not all of her past had been left behind on Earth. Part of that past had been transformed to the status of simple business transactions that, on Summerset, were making her rich. She stopped at the edge of a pool of light and listened. Her shadow rested half way between two cement pillars behind her. A sign on the wall read, Keep Roadways Clear - All Vehicles Must be Parked in the Correct Spot - No Exceptions! She moved ahead tentatively and tried to guess who it might be. It could be Kevin, her favorite client. She smiled at the thought. As she entered the storage area, she saw the source of the music. The song was coming from a low-profile ice-cruiser sitting near the far wall, one of the small hailles used by the maintenance crews. On its side was printed, Talmouth Euro-American Inc.

Enjo's client was nowhere in sight. The most likely place for him to be waiting was inside the haille, where it was warmer. "Hello," she called again, but there was no reply. "It's dark over there," she complained in a pleasant tone.

A cold draft made her shiver. Her steps faltered and she fastened her coat collar. It was no longer the right atmosphere and she was no longer smiling. There was no sign of an autobar, or of other spragges or waiting clients. The music faded and stopped. The silence and gloom made her nervous. She was starting to feel closed in. Her eyes stayed fixed on the haille while she fumbled in her bag until her hand closed around the little gun she'd smuggled in with her from Earth. Guns were forbidden here, but it had saved her from a beating or worse more than once, back home. She wasn't about to go out alone at night without it, not even here on Europa.

She felt like turning and running, but if it was Kevin, just playing a game . . . . She gripped the gun and slid it into the front of her coat, out of sight. The metal was cold. Now she sensed someone or something there in the dark, watching her; something dangerous. She began to walk cautiously in a wide circle around the haille. Oil was dripping down from the bottom of the vehicle. For a moment or two, she watched each new drop make a shiny black ripple in the pool collecting on the pavement. She moved closer to the cruiser and peered through a window. There was a figure lying along the front seat. She couldn't make out who it was, but it was a bigger man than Kevin. He didn't move, even when she called again. He looked too rigid to be sleeping.

"He's dead," she whispered. "Oh, damn it!"

Enjo fought back the panic overwhelming her. She still felt eyes watching her. No one else was inside the haille. Quickly, she looked around but couldn't see any movement or anything suspicious.

"But there are so many places to hide," she murmured. "So many vehicles, so many shadows."

She moved the gun out of her coat and held it in front of her where it could be seen, then put her face to the window for a closer look at the body. The man was someone she had seen before, but it took a minute to recognize him.

"Oh, my God," she said quietly. "Jerry Holmes."

Blood was still seeping from a wound in his neck and running down his left arm onto the floor, where it had found some crack or opening to drip through. The far door was ajar.

"That's the opening." Her voice was barely above a frightened whisper. "The pool on the ground isn't oil, it's blood!" The pool was thicker now and the drops were heavier and denser, like molasses, and dripping slowly. "Who could do a thing like this?" she asked, fighting the panic and an attack of nausea. "And here, on Europa?"

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