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Detective Iniko Zagrando hurried through the Port in Valhalla Basin. He had his right hand up to show the bright gold badge on his palm. The badge blared Police business! Move out of the way! in that official genderless voice that seemed ubiquitous on Callisto. He dodged chairs outside of restaurants, passengers pausing to read menus, and the occasional alien, looking lost. A clump of passengers huddled near the ever-changing Departures sign—a sight unusual anywhere else, but common here. New non-sanctioned arrivals on Callisto often had their links automatically severed. Not only did it keep them in the dark, it made them feel helpless.

Aleyd Corporation, which ran and owned Valhalla Basin—all of Callisto, really—liked making people feel helpless.

Zagrando ran to the Earth Alliance departure wing, his breath coming harder than he expected. He was out of shape, despite the mandatory exercise requirements of the Valhalla Police Department. Apparently the damn requirements weren’t as stringent as the idiots in charge of VPD seemed to think.

He wasn’t dressed for this kind of run, either. He was wearing a suit coat, which had the benefit of hiding his laser pistol but was otherwise too hot and constricting, and brand-new shoes whose little nanoparticles had actually attached to his links and warned him to slow down or else the shoes would be ruined by incorrect use.

If he could shut off the shoe cacophony, he would. His links were giving him enough trouble without that.

Instructions had come from all sides: Emergency at the Port. Requesting street patrol backup and Detective Iniko Zagrando. In all his years at the VPD—and that was more than he wanted to contemplate—he had never received a call like this, and certainly not at the Port itself.

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