First 500 words

November 27th, 2006

I made an attempt in November to try and write a novel, but it was pretty farcical: I only managed to make time for it on the first day, and after that it was all downhill… The next four or five days I couldn’t find the spare hour, and then I was so far behind it wasn’t worth continuing. Oh well, I’ll get back to this one sooner or later.

Anyway, rather than waste all the effort I went to, the first 500 words (or so) are included in the remainder of this post. Bear in mind that this is very, very raw, I haven’t done any editing at all.

The Web in the Sky

The head looked up at me from the dead man’s hands.

It was the first thing today that was the slightest bit out of the ordinary for me.

The security liaison officer beside me had already turned around to face away from the body. I suspect she’d already seen it quite enough. And besides, it was my problem now, nothing she even needed to worry about.

At least, it was my problem as soon as I put my thumb on to the form she was now accessing on her slate. I glanced at it distractedly, standard Common Economic Protocol release and assignment, and my thumb on the bottom right was enough to sign me up for what looked like a very interesting case.

“We found him like this at four this morning” the liaison reported in a bored tone. “We sealed off the area immediately, but don’t know how many people came through before we did that. We did an ID check, and once we found out that he wasn’t a registered resident of this habitat we called you in.”

It was getting close to 6pm, and I got the call around 3, so I rather suspected that the gap between the ID check and the summons was slightly longer than her chronology suggested.

“We haven’t done any other checks, forensic investigations or background searches,” she reported redundantly, “if you need any other assistance from this office I will be available as liaison under the usual terms and conditions.”

“Thank you” I said, biting off my desire to use sarcasm and channeling subservience, “for now I’d just like to examine the crime scene. I may need to look around other parts of the habitat later, should I contact you then?”

“Yes, we request that you not go anywhere outside this room without an escort.” she answered. as expected.

I turned away to start examining the body, and the liaison walked out the door. A loud BEEP told me that the door was locked on me now. No surprise there, although it was still a bit insulting. The HybroDyne habitat residents had been treating me the same way ever since my taxi docked about 30 minutes before. No trust, no connection, no consideration. No membership – in their mind someone who chose to freelance rather than join up for proper corporate citizenship deserved nothing but their contempt.

The life of a freelance investigator can become depressingly monotonous at times.

But the case in front of me at least promised some interest in terms of an unusual method. And perhaps something more than that. I had a feeling.