Walter Jon Williams

Copyright (c) 2004, 2012 by Walter Jon Williams. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work in any form.

Smashwords edition published by Walter Jon Williams.

With thanks for technical assistance to Michael Rupen, Kristy Dyer, Bob Norton.


The car sped south in the subtropical twilight. The Rio Hondo was on Lieutenant Severin’s right, a silver presence that wound in and out of his perceptions. As long as he stayed on the highway the rental car, which knew Laredo better than he did, implemented its own navigation and steering, and Severin had nothing to do but relax, to gaze through the windows at the thick, vine-wrapped trunks of the cavella trees, the brilliant plumage of tropical birds, and the occasional sight of a hovercraft on the river, fans a deep bass rumble as it carried cargo south to the port at Punta Piedra. Overhead, stars began to glow on either side of the great glittering arc of Laredo’s accelerator ring. The silver river turned scarlet in the light of the setting sun.

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