The Times Best New Science Fiction December 2020!
The year is 2069, and the earth is in flux. Whole nations are being wiped off the map by climate change. Desperate for new resources, the space race has exploded back into life.
Corporations seek ever greater profits off-world. They offer immense rewards to anyone who can claim space's resources in their name. The bounty on a single asteroid rivals the GDP of entire countries, so every trick, legal or not, is used to win.
Jack, the scion of a shipping magnate, is desperate to escape earth and joins a team chasing down an asteroid. But the ship he's on is full of desperate people - each one needing the riches claiming the asteroid will bring them, and they're willing to do anything if it means getting there first.
Because in Space, there are no prizes for coming second.It's all or nothing: riches beyond measure, or dying alone in the dark.
Praise for ONE WAY:
'A blend of classic mystery, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and Andy Weir's THE MARTIAN, ONE WAY is a science fiction thriller like no other' Waterstones
Release date: December 10, 2020
Publisher: Orion Publishing Group
Print pages: 384
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Climate change has done more good than harm so far and is likely to continue doing so for most of this century. This is not some barmy, right-wing fantasy; it is the consensus of expert opinion.
Matt Ridley, ‘Why climate change is good for the world’, Spectator, 2013
No child – no good child – wants their parents to die, and no parent – no good parent – wants their child to die. Jack’s misfortune was to live in a time when those benign, dream-like wishes could become hard reality.
Pap and Mam Van der Veerden had recoiled from both the bitter succession wars that split families and consumed fortunes, and the outside world that had become so difficult and dangerous to navigate. It was a reasonable, sensible reaction, but they had gone on to decide, tentatively at first, then with an increasingly fervent conviction, that they would solve all their problems and protect their only son and their immense fortune by all three of them living for ever.
At first, he’d wanted it to be true. Because he wasn’t a terrible child: he was a dutiful, loving son. Only when they started behaving as if it were true – investing in and enjoying the benefits of the latest medical advances that were the sole preserve of billionaires, controlling diet and activities and even the air they breathed – did he begin to question their wisdom. And when he realised that they were absolutely serious, that his memories of them from when he was five and the memories of them when he was fifteen were interchangeable and they hadn’t aged a day? That was when he’d begun to hate the idea.
This urge, this reaching for immortality, this godhood, this transhumanism. It repelled him. But at fifteen, there was nothing he could do. So secretly, silently, he’d made a plan, one that would spin out over an entire decade. If he triggered it early, he wouldn’t have the skills to survive in the outside world. If he left it any longer? The first appointment at the clinic was next week. He was in perfect health. He was the age everyone dreamed of being, for ever. It didn’t matter that the treatments might not work – it was an article of faith that they would, and the process was not to be questioned.
It had to be tonight. It had to be now. It had to be absolutely secret. No one could know. Not Pap, or Mam, and certainly not Mesman, who was his shadow, his bodyguard, his loaded gun, his trigger finger. Her job, her very existence, was to make certain that he stayed safe.
For the hundredth, the thousandth time, he felt the cold, stomach-clenching fear that he was calling this wrong and making a terrible decision. And like all those times before, he faced his fear down and showed no outward sign of his inner dread. If he didn’t go, this very moment, then he never would, never could. This was his first opportunity, and his last chance, to make a choice by himself, for himself.
Deep breath. Outside the window was an expanse of tightly mown lawn under the full scrutiny of motion-triggered floodlights and human guards. Enclosing it was a high wall with laser trip wires and anti-drone turret defences. Getting past those was only the start: they were predictable, and therefore defeatable. Outside the wall, things were very different. More chaotic, more risky. But if everything went right, Jack would never see this room, this house, ever again. If it went wrong, he guessed he’d be seeing nothing but this room and this house for a very long time.
So he took a moment to look around him, to feel the hardwood floor, oiled and varnished under his feet, to breathe the cool, filtered and subtly spiced air, to look at the framed original movie posters from the fifties with their bold fonts and urgent straplines, one last time. He wasn’t coming back. He wasn’t going to fail.
He used his burner phone – his first burner phone, because he was going to need more than one – to load up a VPN and log on to a server somewhere in the lawless East. Jack tapped out, lo-fi, a message to his crew, using his hidden online identity.
Croesos: If you’re ready, I’m ready.
Jack wasn’t ready. But he was as close to ready as he might get, and time wasn’t on his side, which was ironic, considering he was running away from immortality. He looked at the roster at the top of the message board. His thumb hovered over the screen. His crew, his ridiculous, cobbled-together crew, with their stupid idents and their incongruous avatars. TBone. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (by Gibbon). WhitetailDeer. They knew it could be tonight. They were waiting for him. They were also taking risks. Unquantifiable risks. Potentially fines and jail time. Depending on how vindictive the Van der Veerden family were feeling, it could escalate all the way up to accidents-that-weren’t and outright assassinations. He’d made that clear, given them an easy out. And his crew were still doing it: because they could, because they enjoyed a challenge, because they were sticking it to the Man. Because they thought it’d be funny, doing it for the lulz. Whatever reasons they had: they were helping him, and he was going to take that to the bank.
Jack shouldered the pack at his feet and pressed the send button. A disconcerting feeling of anticlimax followed because absolutely nothing happened, but that was good because the plan was supposed to be on rails and any drama would provoke a lock-down that even he couldn’t get around. Still, something should have shifted: his perception of reality, if not the ground under him.
TBone: Okay, my friend. Let’s get you moving.
TBone: I have the house cameras up.
WhitetailDeer: You weren’t kidding about your real estate.
WhitetailDeer: That’s some floorplan you have.
History: Go go go.
TBone: Radio fucking silence.
TBone: C, walk out, turn right.
Jack’s real phone, lying on the corner of his white linen bed, chirped. The screen bloomed and, simultaneously, the earbuds and the glasses and the wriststrap he’d left on the dresser jiggled. He hesitated, then walked to the bed.
Croesos: It’s Mam. She wants to see me.
WhitetailDeer: You want to abort?
TBone: Shit man we got this covered.
TBone: You did the shitty 30 min mindfulness thing every night for 4 months. Routine.
TBone: She calls you. You make her wait till you’re done. Stick to it.
TBone: C. Now or never. You want to be that lab rat?
Croesos: Sorry. Nerves. Let’s roll.
TBone: Out. Right.
Jack opened the door and no, there was no one there. The house would have registered his door catch, just as it would register his presence in the corridor. TBone couldn’t do anything about that. Their trick was to make the house not care, not to trip any indicators or alarms, to pacify the house and tell it everything was okay and normal and there was nothing to see and certainly nothing to worry about.
He closed the door behind him, walked down the hallway and took the right turn around the central courtyard. The floor changed from wood to terracotta tile. Through the glass wall, he could see lights, a mirror pool, smooth stones and sand: a Zen garden maintained by servants for a family who never stopped to consider it. A square of night hung above the courtyard.
TBone: Still a clear run to the power room. Go.
Did everyone imagine the Van der Veerdens had an army of staff, cleaning rooms, cooking meals, running errands, fixing things, just hanging around and waiting to be called on? Maybe they did, and maybe they got that idea from those shows where people who needed constant affirmation paraded their sycophantic and disposable entourages in front of the watching millions. Those shows, those people, were always so noisy, as if they had to always be saying something, being something, and if they were quiet and reserved for even a moment, a fickle world would forget them and look away.
His house was a monastery in comparison. Quiet. Ordered. Calm. Nothing showy about the Van der Veerdens. Yes, they had some staff, but those staff had tasks they were expected to do without interacting with family members. Speak only if spoken to. Always defer. Do the job silently and well. Stay out of the way. For the very great part, Jack didn’t know who these people were, and couldn’t find out. Mesman dealt with that side of things with her usual cold efficiency and they were terrified of breaking rank. They were staff, and that was that.
The door to the power room should have been locked, and Jack half-expected the handle not to turn. It opened, and he pushed through. The lights came on – automatically, because the house knew he was there – and the machinery that powered this particular Van der Veerden compound was laid bare under sharp white light from the ceiling. Battery stacks, CHP plant and attendant pipework, inverter, arm-thick cabling heading in and out of the building, foil-wrapped water pipes, manual breakers and fail-safe valves. It was a double-garage-sized space in a place he’d lived in, on and off, for twenty years, and it was the first time he’d ever seen it.
He pushed the heavy door shut behind him, and it shumphed closed on its seals. The ceiling was two storeys up, and the big air intakes and exhaust manifolds loomed above him, but the only sounds were a low bass hum and his own heartbeat. He should probably breathe now, before he turned blue and fell over.
Croesos: Power room. So far, so good.
TBone: House is nominal, but you have an external security detail on the north-east quadrant of the garden. They’re moving. Slowly.
WhitetailDeer: Clock time is 5:23. Transport is seven minutes away. Can’t speed it up, can’t slow it down. I can make it go round the block again, which will give you another ETA in 13.
TBone: Let’s not do that if we can avoid it.
TBone: Go to the external door, C. Wait on my command.
Jack felt he should tiptoe through the machinery. Even his clothes were loud. But there was no one there to hear him, and getting this far without tripping an alarm was trivial compared to what he had to do next. He clenched his jaw. This was his house, and he was having to sneak through it like a thief. The necessity of being protected from all the things that could happen to him outside of the walls had inevitably turned his paradise into a prison. He could go almost anywhere and do almost anything. Except that. And that and that and that. Always for a good reason. Always because it wasn’t safe enough.
He checked that the bright, abstract image pinned on the back of his bag was still in place, and quickly fixed one to his front as well. If he screwed up now he’d never have another chance and—
TBone: C, go.
Jack pulled the handle down, and the door was sticky enough to give him the momentary panic that it was still locked, but it gave and he was out in the warm night air, warmer than it was inside, for sure. There was the garden beyond, designed to look aesthetically pleasing but also so that there were a great many sight-lines and very little cover, just subtly lit open ground with no pools of shadow to hide in. Jack was going to have to cross the whole hundred-metre distance to the boundary wall in full view of the cameras.
Certainly, the house would see him, but TBone had the house neutralised. There was always someone in the control room, but unless the house flagged up the movement, he wasn’t going to be spotted – the patterns he wore front and back should convince image recognition that whatever he was, he wasn’t a human.
Run, Jack, run. A hundred metres. Ten seconds. Not for him, obviously, though he was fit enough. Twenty-five seconds, then, spent fully illuminated with a small rucksack bouncing wildly on his back and only some stupid print-out to protect him. If anyone was actually looking, they’d hit the button and that would be that. The house would turn into an impregnable fortress: it would slam the shutters down, lock the doors, go onto battery power and canned air and cisterned water. The boundary wall, which was only two metres tall on his side – with a five-metre drop on the other – would abruptly be heightened with another two metres of steel plate topped by electrified wire. Such overzealous, defensive security was justifiable because most of the world outside was poor and on fire, and sometimes people wanted to get in, really badly.
He closed on the wall. He’d practised this. He tucked the phone into a pocket because like an idiot he was still holding it. He zipped the pocket up, and mentally prepared himself for take-off.
He jumped, not breaking stride. He’d visualised this moment so many times, so, so many times: the moment he was really going to get into a shitload of trouble. Sometimes, in his dreams, he missed and face-planted into the ground. Today, when it really mattered, he executed it perfectly. His hands tapped the top of the wall and he twisted his hips so that his legs cleared the top in a single, fluid arc. On his way over, he broke the invisible infra-red beams, and maybe the house was going to call that in and maybe it wasn’t, but it didn’t matter because there was the car that WhitetailDeer had hired, just about rolling to a stop by the side of the road.
All Jack had to do was land without breaking something. On the other side of the wall was a ditch, a moat, that was brimful of water, and he went in, feet first. The water – freezing cold – closed over his head. He splayed his arms and legs, kicked out, forced his hands down to his sides, and he surfaced again with a gasp. Salt. Seawater. He hadn’t realised there’d been a dyke breach somewhere. Or he had and this was still the remnants of last week’s flood.
He reached the far side of the drainage ditch and jammed his fingers into the bank, clawing at the soil until he gained purchase. Then he hauled himself up, sodden, filthy, and scampered to the car. He opened the back door, threw himself in across the rear seat and saw a phone – his new phone – sitting on the left-hand front seat. Jack snatched it up, and tried to type at the same time as pulling his legs in and slamming the door shut.
Croesos: In car.
The car pulled out from the verge and in its unhurried, self-guided way, joined the dead-straight road that headed north across the polder. Jack lay back on the upholstery and pushed his sodden hair away from his face. The first stage was over. Now he had to travel, undiscovered, seven hundred kilometres to the spaceport.
‘There has been a little bit of warming,’ as he puts it, ‘but it’s been very modest and well within the range for natural variability, and whether it’s caused by human beings or not, it’s nothing to worry about.’
Myron Ebell, quoted in Vanity Fair, 2007
He peeled off his wet clothes and piled them in the footwell, intermittently checking the chat for any updates. He knew not to speak, because the car’s voice recognition would automatically try and log him on as a user, and he was certain that Mesman had her fingers all over his public data. But he was cold and naked, and leaned forward through the gap in the seats to dial up the aircon from a comfortable-when-clothed eighteen degrees to something more suitable for dunked-in-a-sea-filled-ditch.
TBone: @Croesos, you’ve been rumbled.
TBone: You have controlled panic. They’re conducting a room-to-room search for you.
Jack checked the phone zipped in his waterlogged jacket. It still worked, its brief immersion too shallow for any moisture to seep in. He opened the back with his thumb and prised the battery out, throwing both parts into the footwell. He was starting to warm up, and he should probably think about getting dressed. He unclipped his rucksack and pulled out the sealed plastic bags containing a change of clothes and a dry pair of trainers. The seat was still very wet, though, so he climbed through to the left-side front seat and kicked it all the way back.
WhitetailDeer: Clock time 8:54. We need to change this car asap because it’s the obvious pick. Let me get you across the bridge and I’ll dial up another.
Croesos: I’m not wearing anything yet.
WhitetailDeer: Dumping you on the side of a busy road in your birthday suit is not going to worry me.
History: I’m getting traffic. None to the polícia yet. But yeah. Get dressed. The weather is holding. P is clear.
TBone: @Croesos, I’m going to try something to buy you a little more time. Hold on.
TBone: Hah. The house did not like that.
TBone: Unmasked my port and it threw up its shields faster than a fast thing. It thinks it’s under attack so now the security teams are busy for at least another 5.
Croesos: You did what?
TBone: I showed my hand. House shut me out. It’s okay. I’m untraceable.
Jack rubbed his feet one at a time to take off enough of the residual moisture for him to get a pair of socks on. The road ahead arched up towards the swing bridge. The control tower and the lights loomed overhead, but the cantilevered section of the roadway remained down, and he passed unhindered. He pulled on a pair of shorts, and then cargo pants. The car moved right, off the main road, and began to track down towards the roundabout at the junction under the elevated expressway.
WhitetailDeer: Take this phone with you. Get ready to bail out. I’m going to stop you at the white line for a second.
Jack glanced behind him at the pile of clothes: no time to collect them. He fastened his rucksack and gripped the phone in his hand. The car reached the bottom of the ramp where it pulled over towards the right-hand verge and pulsed its hazard lights. He opened the door and stumbled out into the carriageway. The moment he pushed the door shut again, the car was off, turning right, heading inland. He instinctively looked up, not just to the dark sky but to see if there were cameras. He stepped onto the verge and pulled a hooded sweatshirt over his skinny white ribs. If anyone else was taking exception to him dressing by the side of the road, he didn’t know or care. Just as long as the cars drove on past him.
WhitetailDeer: Take a left along the N352. Under the A6. There’s a car park on the north side of the road. You’re looking for a blue Qoros.
TBone: Lower car park is under water.
WhitetailDeer: Then it’ll be in the upper car park. On the right of the turning. Go.
Jack hooked a finger in the heel of one of his trainers and squeezed it on, then the other. He folded his hood over his head and tugged it low over his eyes. It sprang back slightly, and he hunched his shoulders to compensate. He set off briskly towards the underpass, the occasional car on his right whipping by almost silently. He slung his bag onto his back, and dug his hands into his pockets. He walked purposefully, head down: under the roadway, between the concrete pillars, he could see the first sign of tents.
Some of them were actual tents, nylon, provided by charities or individuals. Some of them were just pieces of fabric hoisted over whatever frame the sleepers could cobble together, and they were probably grateful for even that meagre shelter. In between the flapping flysheets were figures, lit from above and below by the bright sparks of electronic light. Black faces, brown faces, white faces. That was them over there. This was him over here. They didn’t see him, or they ignored him. Either was fine. That was under the northbound carriageway. The southbound was similar but different. A unique mosaic of colours representing the same circumstances. Displaced people. Refugees. Not like him. He had somewhere to go, something to be.
Away from the encampment, he crossed the road. There was a bus stop that looked like it hadn’t been used for its intended purpose for a while, because its glass sides had been lined with cardboard and its front staked out with a tarpaulin. Behind it, on the semi-submerged cycle path, was an impromptu kitchen, and someone called to him, two, three times, in a language he didn’t understand, and he quickened his pace to a run.
There was the car park, and there was the car. But someone was already there, peering through the windows, hands held to the sides of their face to bat away reflections. They looked model-thin, their threadbare clothes hanging off them like bags caught in branches. Jack kept on walking by on the grass. He didn’t look round, just held his phone down to his left and typed.
Croesos: Someone by the car. Interested in the car, not me.
WhitetailedDeer: Go to the entrance. It’ll meet you there.
The lights came on, and a warning beep came from under the bonnet. The man – gaunt, large-eyed – stepped quickly back. The car neatly reversed out of its space and headed for the entrance. Jack sprinted after it, and as it slowed, he went for the left-side door. He slung his bag in first, then himself. As he closed the door behind him, he found himself staring over the length of the car park at the man, who was staring back.
What was his story? How far had he travelled to get here, to a makeshift campsite under a Dutch flyover and next to a drainage ditch that was more a river than a sump? Jack had seen everything fall apart at one step removed, knowing that it would never affect him. And now? He could still go back home …
The car pulled away, and headed back to the expressway. Those large, luminous eyes followed the car lights for as long as they were able. Then he, and the camp, was behind Jack. The world was full of people like that man, for whom there was no back to go. And there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it any more. Jack leaned into the upholstery and lifted the phone.
Croesos: I’m okay.
History: The polícia know you’re missing. I’m guessing ten minutes for them to find car#1. Then they’ll start looking for car#2.
WhitetailedDeer: Obvious place to throw some chaff is the A6/A32 interchange. Stand by.
Croesos: What’s the house doing?
TBone: I lost my feed the moment I flashed my ports. You tell us.
Croesos: Mesman will try and work out where I’m going. She’ll know it’s me who injected the code. Maybe P isn’t the best place.
History: P is the only place you can get to.
Croesos: She’ll work it out.
History: I will get you on that rocket.
WhitetailDeer: You got 20 before we do some more gymnastics.
TBone: You should probably eat and drink something.
Croesos: yes mam.
Jack dragged his bag over to him and opened it up, rummaging for a bottle of sports drink and a foil-wrapped chew bar. The drink was blue. He had no idea why. He swigged half of it, and demolished the bar: there was a picture of an astronaut on the side of the wrapper, along with ‘Mars approved’ in ten different languages. So there was that. He brushed the crumbs from his lips and pushed the empty, sticky wrapper into the drinks holder. TBone had been right. He did feel better.
The car made a broad left loop at an interchange, and he could see lights off to one side. A town. Half dark. If anyone knew how to keep the sea back, it was his people, the Dutch, but even they were losing more than they were winning. Breach, repair, pump. The cycle went on, faster and faster. The water boards were at breaking point. Plans that had been made to cover a sea-level rise of fifty centimetres had to routinely cope with twice that. Storm surges were now guaranteed to top the barriers. He was looking out at the past: it couldn’t possibly stay like this for much longer, even here.
Had all this influenced his proposed destination? Yes, it had. While he rationalised it as not being able to escape his family’s reach anywhere on Earth, not being anywhere on Earth right now was more appealing than somewhere hidden on it.
TBone: Time we swapped servers. See you on the other side.
TBone: [has left the chat]
History: [has left the chat]
WhitetailDeer: Delivery at my door. brb.
Croesos: [you have left the chat]
Jack stared at the screen, and mouthed a single word, still very careful not to voice anything that the car might hear. He dabbed at the icons, and moments later was in another, equally private chat room. The others were already there, logged on, avatars glowing. But not WhitetailDeer. He waited, and waited. Nothing.
Croesos: I think we lost WTD.
Croesos: He had a delivery just as you all logged off. brb then asdfghjkl.
TBone: Fuck. Was it this? Or was it some other shit he was pulling?
TBone: We have to assume WTD is down, and we’re being traced. Fuck.
TBone: server #3 now
History: [has left the chat]
Croesos: [you have left the chat]
WhitetailDeer was his transport guy. And there was a car waiting for him at the next junction. If he didn’t pick it up, he was stuck with this one. No, he was stuck in this one. He had no idea where it was actually heading, and whether a third car was waiting for him at all. And without WhitetailDeer to tell him how to make the exchange, it wasn’t going to happen. He swapped servers.
Croesos: What do I do?
TBone: Don’t panic.
History: I’ll take over from WTD.
History: I mean, I’m a 15yo kid in Rio, but how hard can this be?
History: You want a car at the cloverleaf north of Heerenveen? That right?
Croesos: If this one stops.
TBone: History. Tell me you’re secure.
History: I’m in a chip shop in Zona Norte. It’s public, so, I guess?
TBone: You should move. Get the car done and shift locale. You’ve got 12 minutes.
History: I’m gonna need all of them.
Croesos: What do we do about WhitetailDeer?
TBone: He’s gone. If this is your Mesman, then I’m ready for her. I got iron.
TBone: @History? You sure you got this?
History: Yeah. But don’t @ me. This isn’t going to be pretty, but it’ll work.
Jack felt his heart flutter, and he took a series of deep breaths. Breath in. Hold. Exhale. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. WhitetailDeer was someone who he’d known on and off for years, and knew absolutely nothing about, age, sex or location. He – on the assumption WhitetailDeer was a he – kept his private life private, and always seemed willing to help a soul out with tech advice or a little light hacking. That’s why Jack had approached him, but WhitetailDeer’s motivation in all this was opaque.
And now, on the face of it, he’d gone. Maybe the knock at WhitetailDeer’s door and his sudden offlining was the result of some other shady good turn he’d offered: that was the best spin Jack could put on it. If it was Mesman – it’d be a hired hit, not her – then … Jack had just killed one of his friends. He put his hands to his face and dragged his fingers down his cheeks. This wasn’t the plan any more.
Whatever arrangements had been made for transporting Jack to P were void. History was on it now. A fifteen-year-old kid was on it. Even if they weren’t fifteen and living in Rio, then the situation was still dire enough to make his pulse race and his skin feel slick with sweat. Jack looked behind him, and saw only headlights and the red dots of scanning lasers grazing the road surface. No polícia yet.
History: Okay. @Croesos I need you to override whatever WTD gave as the destination.
History: New postcode is 8448EA.
History: Do it now or you’ll miss your exit.
Croesos: How do I enter it?
Croesos: I’ve never done this before.
TBone: Jesus fuck, C. k. Normally voice command, but don’t be tempted. Should be a screen halfway across the dash, showing your current loc. Tap it.
TBone: That’ll bring the menu up.
Jack tapped the dull screen, and it grew instantly brighter. A little car-shaped sprite was heading down a yellow road, and below it was a range of options. One was Destination, so he dabbed at that. A touchscreen keyboard popped up, and he transcribed the numbers and letters History had given him into the dialogue box. He pressed Enter, and the address was repeated to him.
Croesos: A McDs?
History: There’s a car pool in the lot.
Croesos: Do I confirm?
History: Confirm. Now.
Jack hit Confirm, and the car immediately started tracking right, off the expressway. He’d cut it fine. He was on the downslope, then on a road that ran parallel to the elevated section. Across a river, and then round in an arc. The lights of the town burned bright, and in the distance, the upraised yellow arches beckoned to him. He repacked and refastened his rucksack, and looked at his phone for the next set of instructions.
Sea level continues its centuries-long slow rise – about a foot a century – with no sign of recent acceleration.
M. Ridley and B. Peiser, ‘Your Complete Guide to the Climate Debate’, Wall Street Journal, 2015
Jack half-expected a welcoming committee in front of the surprisingly modest but functional passenger terminal. But there was nothing apart from the illuminated sign ‘Peenemünde Spaceport’. He quickly scanned the rows of waiting cars, but all of them seemed to be high-end sedans, potentially armoured, possibly even armed. Mesman could already be here. She could be half a continent away, chasing a shadow. The car pulled into a bay in front of the broad plaza festooned with flagpoles, and his hand hesitated over his bag. Then his fist closed on the strap, and he left the car with it slung over one shoulder.
Croesos: Out of the car.
History: I’ll send it somewhere else. Even if it won’t make any difference now.
He glanced behind him. There were another couple o
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