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A World of Assassins
A WORLD OF ASSASSINS
Publish America, August 2005
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Humans are being murdered on the planet Dirve. No one seems particularly bothered, except the humans of course, but they don't count. As long as the problem stays in the Human Sector it can take care of itself. But then the news leaks out, to Earth, to other galactic worlds. Tourism on Dirve begins to suffer, potential holiday makers worried the murders might spread to other races. Now Earth want to send a man of their own to investigate.
Detective Inspector Tom Gates is perfect for the job. Currently suspended for killing a murder suspect and something of an embarrassment to his superiors, he is an ideal candidate for an off-world investigation.
When he arrives on Dirve, two things are very quickly apparent to Tom. One, Dirves don't like Humans. And two, the killer is a professional assassin. Tom should know. He used to be one himself....
A World of Assassins ReviewsA World of Assassins
Reviewed by Monica Poling
It really stinks to be a human prostitute on the planet Dirve. First, all humans are relegated to a near-slum community in a distant corner of the capital. Second, the Dirves really, really hate the...
Excerpt From A WORLD OF ASSASSINS
Dirve Sector/Human Sector of Scoturna, Dirve
The escalator spiralled down the side of the building, carrying the crowd of early evening shoppers towards the street below, a crowd that buzzed and hummed and chattered with a myriad of tongues. Scoturna, capital city of Fingle on the planet Dirve, was a cosmopolitan city, a honey pot to swarms of visitors, both native and off-world.
He stood as part of the crowd, allowing the gentle speed of the escalator to carry him, and yet he felt totally alone, shielded from those around him, locked in his own intense thoughts.
The time is approaching. The time to begin.
Gradually he let his surroundings invade his privacy as he stepped off the escalator and strode, upright, down the street. Even among the variety of galactic races around him he occasioned several second glances, his tall figure overshadowing even the native Dirves with their long, slender necks. He noted the attention and basked in it. He was proud. He was superior. He had an inbred racism that ensured he always remained apart from those around him. And yet, even he felt comfortable among the racially mixed inhabitants of Scoturna.
Part of that comfort, of course, came from the knowledge that even the liberal Scoturna realised there was a limit, a point beyond which it was not decent to proceed.
There were no humans among the crowd.
This was the Dirve Sector of Scoturna, exclusive to the acceptable, less odious races of the galaxy. The humans were confined, quite correctly, in their own squalid Sector.
He felt a superiority over all other galactic races, but he loathed humans. That was part of what made this latest assignment so sweet, so pleasurable to him. To be paid was a bonus, a bonus his professionalism demanded. If the truth were known, he would have done this for nothing more than personal gratification.
He admired the architecture while there remained something to admire. The Dirve Sector had been designed with care, built with an artistís disregard for expense. The buildings did not merely stretch into the sky, they swooped, they arched with a fluidity that was almost alive. His profession had caused him to travel widely, but a Dirve city was renowned galaxy-wide for its almost seamless matching of utility and art.
For a moment he wished he could stay there, but he quickly thrust the thought from his mind.
Iím not being paid to study the architecture, he reminded himself sternly. Besides, there are equally pleasurable things waiting for me not too far away.
There was the merest semblance of a smile on his face as he strode against the flow of those around him, heading outwards towards the suburban ghetto that festered at the edge of this great city. Towards the Human Sector.
The art around him quickly fell away, leaving nothing but practicality and utility. Nevertheless it was still easy on the eye and he found those people he passed, fewer and fewer as he moved further from the centre, pleasant both in appearance and demeanour. No one would ever have described him as sociable, but he was not without some social graces and he nodded politely to those who smiled or spoke a greeting in his direction.
Gradually even the practicality began to fade, collapsed among rubble and decay. He saw few people now, and no non-Dirves. Tourists and visitors did not normally stray this far out. Tall offices had been replaced by low, single-storey buildings, shops with grills and shutters over their windows and doors, homes with overflowing waste bins outside their front doors. The same sights could be seen on almost any galactic world, and yet even this was favourable to his ultimate destination.
The night was falling fast now and he picked up his pace. He was close, so close that even the poorest of homes was left far behind. No Dirve would live this close to the border. The smell was growing around him as he walked, almost tangible in the fading light of Bapr on the horizon, and he was glad he had come prepared. It was no surprise to him that not even the poorest Dirve strayed this far out without good cause.
Even so, it wasnít the worst place he had ever worked.
Once, when he had been fairly new to the profession, fresh out of college, eager to take on anything, anywhere, he had actually taken an assignment on Earth. It had been a mistake, never to be repeated. Once was enough! It wasnít that the job had been unpleasant. He had gained immense pleasure from the outcome, successfully completing his assignment and settling an old score, but the smell, the sheer offensiveness of the stench from all those humans! It had been terrible. He had been glad to finish the assignment and leave, back to more civilised and bearable worlds.
It was his own opinion that the rest of the galactic races should have forbidden humankind to ever leave their miserable, foul little planet. That many planets had actively encouraged human immigration to boost their industry was almost unbelievable to him. It was only through the evidence of his own travels that he had finally come to accept this unfathomable truth.
I would repatriate them all. Immediately. By force if necessary!
No, this planet of Dirve was not the worst planet he had ever worked on.
He reminded himself of this as he stealthily stepped from the covering shadows thrown by the overhead tramway and into the Human Sector, adjusting his nose filters, making certain they were secure.
The land around this section of the tramway was flat and wide and almost bare. Scattered clumps of weeds forced their way through the ground like cancerous growths on a diseased face. And that was what he saw as he looked around. A diseased land, infested with the parasite called humankind.
He moved quickly, almost skipping over boulders of concrete that suggested there had once been buildings here. Perhaps in the early days of the immigration there had been. Perhaps back then there were businesses willing to open this close to the tramway. Perhaps back then there had even been people willing to live alongside the tramway. Now there was no one.
In the distance he heard the angry shouts and screams of a confrontation, probably one of the many between Dirve and Human youth along the Sector border. There had been tension almost from the moment of the first immigration. That tension had spilled over into open hostility in the last five or six years. The border area was a dangerous place to be.
In less than two minutes he was off the wasteland and onto a narrow street overshadowed by warehouses left and right. Most seemed derelict, windows broken, doors hanging off hinges, but some were secure and presumably in use. As he hurried in-Sector, carefully avoiding the potholes that seemed to litter the street, those buildings that seemed occupied increased and the warehouses gave way to working factories and low, prefab office blocks.
He kept to the shadows, aware that many of the factories were running night shifts or, at the very least, had 24 hour security. It was important to him that his entry into this Sector and his eventual exit from it be unobserved. There must be nothing that could be traced back to him or even cast suspicion in his direction. He doubted there were many of his race on this planet. He would not be that difficult to find. But they would only find him if they were looking for him. He did not intend that to happen.
The factories and offices gave way to apartment buildings and seedy hotels. The street widened and the first working street lamps leaked their halos of light into the darkness. He became more cautious. There were people around now, humans. They were few and most were drunk or so high on drugs that they were unlikely to notice much outside their own nightmares, but there were others, prostitutes looking for clients, dealers looking for users, who might spot him and remember. But he had spent years training, learning how not to be seen, and he used that knowledge now to slide from shadow to shadow, doorway to doorway, as he moved steadily towards his destination.
In less than half an hour he had found it, a building like all the others around it, but if the information he had been given was correct, his assignment lay inside. He took one last look along the street. Nothing. When he moved, it was as if part of the night had shifted from its companion shadows, nothing definite, just a suggestion of something crossing into the gloom of the building.
The door was easy, almost as easy as slipping unseen past the young human male lounging half asleep behind the reception desk of the small murky hotel he now found himself in. It swung open silently on hinges he had oiled moments before, the lock sprung with a grace and swiftness his old masters would have been proud of. He glanced once again into the darkness of the narrow third floor corridor, the solitary light disabled by an exact twist of the bulb. Empty. He checked his nose filters, fearing that the terrible stench was slowly worming its way through the treated material. Satisfied they were secure he drifted noiselessly into the dimly lit room.
His eyes adjusted quickly to the new light and instinctively he merged his body with the deep shadows that angled across the room. The occupants were silhouetted by the halo of light from the bedside lamp, momentary highlights catching the toss of a head, the stretch of a leg, the thrust of a buttock. And their voices hissed into the air. The grunting male, occasionally muttering an obscenity as he drove harder and further into the female, his every vicious thrust rocking the bed, tearing a scream from the springs, a scream that was poorly matched by the female as her legs jerked in the air, forced there by the maleís arms hooked behind her knees. Her screams were faked, as were her writhings and her moans. A professional doing her job. Only the male was in the throes of genuine sexual heat as he played out his domineering fantasy. Only the male could fail to notice that it was the female who held total control. All this he saw and heard and noted from the safety of the shadows. He could appreciate what the human female was doing. He too was a professional and he too was doing his job.
The weapon? He had chosen that long before he set out on this assignment. That there were two instead of one to be dealt with caused only a momentary pause for thought. He considered waiting until the customer left but he preferred to spend as little time as possible in this Sector, and one more human than he had anticipated would only add to the pleasure that went far beyond that found simply in a job well done.
He approached the bed as silently as he had entered the room, confident that he was invisible even to the eyes of the female as she searched for some point of interest, occasionally letting slip the practised scream or moan that was second nature to her now. He could see the boredom in her eyes, the wish to be somewhere else, somewhere more exotic, with someone who gave a damn about her and was not just interested in his own satisfaction. Had it been in his character he might have sympathised. As it was, he understood everything but felt nothing.
He raised his right hand. The special glove seemed to mould itself to the bone, the long slender spike dripping from the glove like a deadly stalactite, serrated and smeared with poison. He held it motionless over the maleís heaving back. A smile broke the seriousness of his face. It was so easy. These humans were blind to all but their own selves, the male in the last thrusts of self gratification, the female in her dreams of a lover who might care for her. He summoned all his strength, feeling it rush into his raised arm. Concentration. Professionalism. Pleasure!
He thrust his hand downward, driving the spike through the male, bone and muscle alike, thrusting it deep into the female, straight through her heart, and into the mattress.
Neither had time to scream as the shock and the poison attacked their systems. Both died instantly, and in death the man achieved the gratification he sought as, with a final muscle spasm, he orgasmed, the last living part of him condemned to death inside a contraceptive sheath.
Neil Davies BioNeil Davies
was born in 1959 and lives in the North West of England. He is married, has two children, and currently works as a Computer Consultant. Any spare time he can find he spends writing. For more information visit his website: www.nwdavies.co.uk
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A World of Assassins
, Neil Davies
Publish America, August 2005
The preceding excerpt was taken from the book A World of Assassins
complete approval by the author Neil Davies and/or the publisher Publish America. This
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