A Birthday Present
On my Birthday, I’m giving all of you a present: a fun little excerpt from THE STARS LIKE GODS, the upcoming conclusion to the Asterion Noir trilogy.
The suite two-thirds of the way up Namino Tower couldn’t fairly be categorized as isolated or neglected, which were the first two words Cameron had used to describe her destination. The lights were bright and the view out the window in the lobby pleasant.
The furniture did have the veneer of mass production, as though it had been plucked from beneath a store sign reading, ‘Buy Office Furniture Here.’ Silence hovered in the air amid a hint of staleness; it marked a stark departure from the constant bustling activity and noise of the Pavilion, and she wondered when voices had last animated the lobby.
A dyne stood behind the counter, its frame locked so rigidly she assumed it was shut down. But as she approached, it lifted its head with a squeaky flexing of its joints. “How can I help you?”
“Nika Kirumase. I’m here to see Lance Palmer.”
“He is expecting you. You may enter.”
A door across the way opened, and after taking a last dubious glance around the lobby, she walked through it.
A man lounged behind a desk. Despite the presence of at least a dozen panes arrayed above the desk, he’d kicked back his chair, wound his hands behind his head and crossed his ankles atop the desk. Tawny hair fell neatly across his forehead above sage eyes. Rolled-up sleeves exposed tanned, muscular arms. Tactical pants led to scuffed and faded combat boots, which looked rather out of place atop the office desk.
One corner of his mouth twitched into an almost-smirk. “Nika Kirumase. I figured you’d come calling eventually. Frankly, I thought it would be more sooner and not so much later.”
She arched an eyebrow. “Well, I was a little busy being psyche-wiped, leading a rebellion, fleeing from government-funded assassins and exposing a Guide-led conspiracy to conceal the existence of a deadly alien species taking over the galaxy. You know, the usual.”