Chamberlain wanted little more than his teaching certification, and a
nice job teaching English Lit anywhere in the Solar System: “An easy
chair, a nice cuppa tea, and a game on the weekend.” The
greatest obstacle to this quiet life was his best friend, Gennaro, the
single-minded, genetically-modified owner of Gamemaster Inc. and ruler
of the futuristic City of West Meg.
recognized the signs
of executive temperament when he saw them, and pulled back.
“There’s more to this racket than we thought. Let Robinson
show you what he’s got. I think he’s one hundred per cent right,”
Archie told Gennaro. “You must let—”
hand went to
his holster. “What’s that?”
realized he’d been ignoring
a background noise. With a sinking heart, he knew he’d ignored it
because it was a sound he associated with the ordinary buzz of the
Gee-9 lab, with virtual war games that did not interest him: the ‘zat,
crack, thung’ of weaponry.
recognized it, too, and
moved. “Behind the bar,” he ordered the two Gamemasters, turning toward
the door with his gun drawn.
door smashed inward. Archie
saw weapons. The Gamemaster Security personnel jumped into action,
toward the door. Immediately Archie closed his eyes, threw himself
against Gee and knocked him behind the rude wooden bar. There was the
deafening sound of weapons fire, a burnt smell, noises of men
yelling—and the grunt of men being hit. Blinding flashes of light
coruscated about the room.
bar wasn’t much cover at all.
Archie knew it. No miracle would save them.
said Archie, too late. A final bright blast knocked him into darkness.