Opening to a sci-fi type story I'm working on called Diamond Casebooks...See what you think.
Centura City, Earth Colony Four, Sempra.
I relax back in my swivel chair looking out the window; it is pouring down, the rain rattling the windowpane; a miserable torrential downpour that hadn’t relented for days. Even the air in the office is damp and cold, the heating giving up the ghost a few days back. Looking up past the rooftop of the drab brown building opposite that houses the Centura loan centre, even more ominous depressing black clouds roll across the heavens.
It is late Friday afternoon and I am still at my desk with a pile of case records to file. Paperwork was never my forte, and my secretary, Della, had she still been with me would have finished them days ago and neatly filed away. Unfortunately for me circumstances dictated that she sought other employment; not that I could fault her, after all business being what it is I hadn’t deposited any credits into her account for several months. Della and I parted on a friendly basis, but that had left me stuck with a gaping hole in the business that I couldn’t afford to fill.
Swinging my seat round from the window, I reached up to the percolator to pour another coffee.
Unwilling to fill the percolator I slipped a tabac between my lips, and placed my feet up on the corner of my desk. Flicking my lighter, I light the tabac and exhaled a thick cloud of blue tinged smoke. Tobacco had been abolished for social reasons way back when, as the miracle cure for all known types of cancer had been discovered on some far off planet numerous years ago. The tabac had become a reasonable substitute, and one that had no health side affects.
The office is a mess; the filing cabinet is in urgent need of repair, layers of dust have settled on the top. The couch in the corner has rips in the material, and lately has been more of a bed for me than seating for clients. My computer sits in the other corner and is about the most modern thing in the office, and even that is years old. A fine pale blue web clings from the top of the windowsill to the nearby corner; the grey Trago bug, a species similar to the earthly spider, and just as damn ugly, sits in the webs centre chewing on a Clayfly.
God I wish I’d never heard of the damn Syndicate.
The blue cloud begins to dissipate; I looked through the smoke to see the glass-paned door with the words DIAMOND INVESTIGATIONS in reverse, through which I could just make out the outline of someone of large stature approaching. As the door handle turns, I drop my feet back to the floor.
“Hello Diamond,” came a gruff greeting.
My heart sinks; standing in the doorframe, and much to my annoyance is the bulk of Opas Holburn. A man whose reputation within the corporate sector is shady to say the least. Holburn, known to most as the Caretaker, oversees all the underhanded dealings of the Manso Syndicate, a corporate body that rules virtually everything on Sempra.
Holburn makes sure there is no official involvement by the authorities when anything goes wrong with Syndicate plans. It is believed he has several high placed officials in his pocket. He’s a guy with little compassion for those who dare to cross his bosses, a guy who can frost glass with one icy stare; but more importantly, though unfortunately, one of my paying clients.
I’d done business with the Syndicate on a couple of occasions, they pay well for results, but often those results cost more than is bargained for, and I’d sworn never again. I ground the stub of the tabac into the ashtray.
“What ya want Holburn?” I didn’t really want to know the answer.
Holburn’s large frame crosses to my desk in three large strides, and fully blocks my view of the door.
“I have a small task for you,” he grates through yellowing teeth.
“Sorry, not interested!” I reply as I swing back round to face the percolator.
Holburn’s deep grating voice breathed on my neck as he leant over the desk and almost whispered.
“I don’t see anyone else offering gainful employment. You’d better pull yourself together Diamond or you may end up in a most uncomfortable position!”
Turning back to face him, Holburn straightens and gives me one of his cold icy stares. Of course he is right, since working for the Manso Syndicate all other prospective clients steered clear; it’s like I’d been marked in some unseen way, like I’d contracted a deadly plague; either that or I stink to high heaven.
The results of this means my credits have virtually dried up and my sky-surfer has been repossessed, which meant I was force to use Sempra’ public transportation system. So far, I’d lost two wallets, a blaster, three surveillance modules, and to top it all, some stinking low-life had snatched my licence shield.
_If I ever get hold of_… I reminisced; something quickly dragged me back to reality, Holburn’s loud gob.
“This is Apri; she’ll be working closely with you on this venture.”
Holburn shifts to one side revealing the doorway behind him; standing in the doorframe is a dame; a woman dressed in an extremely snug fitting one-piece cream suit that hugs and defines a slender curvy figure; a figure could easily melt the hardened resolve of the most unscrupulous criminal.
“Put your tongue away Diamond, she’s not for you!” Holburn grunted.
I blink, realising I’d been staring at Apri with my jaws agape. Her sapphire locks cascaded down her amply exposed cleavage and frames a face of rare beauty with aquamarine eyes and full crimson lips. She sauntered into the office with a walk that could melt butter.
“How do you do Mister Diamond?” she asks with a sultry tone while reaching out with her delicate hand.
Eagerly I jump to my feet and gently grip her hand, and instantly withdraw it realising Apri is not what she appears to be; a knowing grin spreads across Holburn’s normally bland face.
“My compliments on your astute powers of recognition.”
Up yours, is my first thought, but I answer.
“No way Holburn, I’m not having any Syndicate android in tow and that’s final!”