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Chapter 1


There wasn’t much to the apartment. It was dull, it was barren, and it was empty. Nothing distinguished it from the countless other flats that filled the skies of Capital World. There was no life here. No passion. No soul. Which made it the perfect place for a man to die.

Blackmoth tracked his prey to this location and had watched the man’s routine over the past several days. For such a wealthy man, Blackmoth’s prey had spent almost nothing on security. Other than altering his appearance and making a crass effort to blend in with the planet’s lower classes, he’d taken no measures to protect himself. No doubt he believed he’d disappeared. Fallen off the grid. Vanished into the ether.

Not that it mattered in the least. Even if he’d put all his billions of q into saving his life and built himself an impregnable fortress constantly guarded by thousands of soldiers, it would have made precious little difference. Yanal Kemmer’s number was up. The false masters wanted him dead. And the One True God had agreed. Blackmoth was merely a weapon. And a weapon in the hands of the One True God never dulled, could never be blocked, and—above all—never failed to reach its target. So, in truth, Yanal had been doomed from the beginning. The events of this night were merely the fulfillment of an eternal contract—the consequences of which had always been inevitable. Written in the stars before any world had ever come to be.

Just over six minutes, thought Blackmoth. He was sure that was right, even though he had no timepiece to check. Instead he relied on his well-honed internal clock. A gift from the One True God. He had no need for anything else. The mechanical tools of men, be they gears, crystals, or electronics; none could hope to be as true as the whispers of the One True God.

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