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Leaked stories of strange new rules and codes of behavior indicate something's gone sour in the deep-space retreats of the super-rich corporate executives. Some say it's only the eccentricities of the powerful leaders of capitalistic society. But others speak of dark, twisted rituals, human slavery, and illegal experiments in banned technologies.
Bren Marcken is a robot handler and strategist on a special team of the United Nations Space Force formed to occupy the corporate space stations and seize their technological secrets. To accomplish the mission, he's been authorized to field artificial intelligences that he considers just as dangerous as the enemy.
Chris Adrastus is an aggressive, young executive whose careful machinations have carried him to a high position at the powerful European Union company, Vineaux Genomix. Instead of finding satisfaction, he's become disillusioned with what he discovers at the top of the executive world.
Aldriena Niachi is a covert operative of Black Core, a Brazilian software company with a global sphere of influence. She's about to find out what Black Core will do for a technological lead. Do some kinds of knowledge come at inordinate cost, even for a super-corporation?
another core. They’re going to turn you off? Bren decided it wouldn’t be so simplistic. It could contain a dump of everything about their creators it had learned. What flew through a mind that powerful when it became clear that the humans planned to murder it? Fear? Outrage? “It’s reading from the Thermopylae storage module,” Hoffman said. Bren and Hoffman waited. Bren had the creepy feeling again, the feeling of being watched or found out. He always feared the core knew they were using it as a
miss process.” “Bentra wouldn’t let you do that to her if they thought she knew something,” Bren said. “They’d have moved to block the interrogation with headquarters by now.” “They’ve requested the return of all their personnel, but HQ hasn’t complied due to the extreme nature of the threat. Or that’s what they said, anyway. Sounds like we know what the threat is, doesn’t it?” They shared a cheerless smile. “It is big, though,” Bren said. “Mind control, at the very least. I think a rogue AI
“Have you been Black Core for long?” she asked. “Five years.” “You go to Xanadu often?” He laughed. “What?” “It sounds like that pick up line … come here often?” “If I decide to pick you up, trust me you’ll know.” “You’re a very confident woman.” “How could I do this job and not be confident?” Martin nodded. “Yes. You’re right.” “So do you do this a lot or what?” she asked. He laughed again. “Yeah. I do.” “So are you like the artist who paints the nude and always sleeps with the model
next assignment. In a couple of seconds, she came up with two positive possibilities. One, the Silvado. If she could get to her ship, she could at least delay her capture and even possibly escape. Two, they most likely wanted her alive. The UNSF would want to know what she knew. She leaped by a giant flat container nestled between the structural bars of the freighter. She ended up grazing the container and then stopping herself with a jolt by attaching her palms to its surface. Jumping felt
it. “Damn! Those things are moving! They’re ricocheting off this corner!” exclaimed a marine commander in the station. “It’s like a train of grenades coming down the ramp!” someone else said. “Stay out of their goddamn way,” Henley said. Bren watched in fascination as a line of grenades hurtled past Meridian’s front camera view into the lab. Bren wondered which five were the incendiary grenades. The last grenade rolled by in a perfect pattern, following the exact course of its predecessors.