By DB Dakota
Mystery, 455 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans
Vicar warns Congress they who spurn his laws will pay a price. The transmitter engineer finds it, the price, strung up on his station’s tower, a man with a rope around his chest so he can pendulum to and fro with a bare leg swiping across the lightning gap, being zapped with RF.
The detective embeds a spy-mole to root out the cause-hustlers making a buck off the plight of minorities of one kind and another.
Kain shrugged and nodded. Juan retrieved the phone. “Okay, Mack, come on by.” He folded the phone and stuffed it into his pocket. “Better sit down, Kain. I’ve got a good news-bad news story and it’s not short.”
Kain eased onto the edge of the bed and glowered at his neighbor. “You are not an alien, are you, a dirt-poor peon?”
“Hardly. No, Kain, I am not an illegal.” Juan peeled off his fake mustache, slumped onto the floor, leaned back against their shattered party wall and stretched his legs out. “I don’t really live here, either; don’t sleep here. I come and go. I’ve been fooling you for a purpose I’ll explain. I work for Phil Kraft. It all goes back to your job application at KJT. Something happened at the station, which I guess you don’t know about. You know Joel Ricardo.”
Kain swallowed. “Why, uh, yeah, I know Ric. What happened?”
“He got tortured on one of our transmitter antennas. A couple of gangsters strung him up across the lightning gap and fried him.”
“Let me finish,” Juan pleaded, crossing his legs. “Phil didn’t forget you or write you off, he liked your style. He figured you could help us sometime, or he could help you find work. Two JungleNet people have been fingered as the sparking thugs, which they aren’t. They’re being framed. Phil is convinced the actual mobsters are VoiceMinor people, your new employer.”
Kain gasped. “That straightens out Ric's rattletrap explanation.”
“So Phil hired detectives to track down the perpetrators and clear us, the station guys. Phil and the investigators want to install you as a mole inside VoiceMinor to flush out the culprits. In order to do that, I was assigned to befriend you and ride herd on your applying for a job with them and getting it.”
“Which accounts for the want ad,” noted Kain, reeling from the whirlwind events. He just stared at the wall.
“That is right. The investigators set up bugging equipment next door to their VoiceMinor office and recorded everything since the day you walked into that place and applied for the fusionist job.”
“What about the psychodrama?”
“The workshop, yep, they got it,” declared Juan, shifting into a more upright position. “They also got big nuncio Nova this morning instructing Silka to hire you.”
“So it’ll be a done deal when I call in and report for work, or go through the motions.”
“Right again. As to what you’re to do next, let’s wait for the investigator. Keep in mind, Kain, one thing. Ah, forget it.”
“I was going to say, if you’d fallen into that job, not knowing what you know now, you’d be sucked into one of the damnedest conspiracies I ever heard of.”
Kain squirmed around on the edge of the bed, shaking his head. “So what about Ricardo?”
“The PI will show you the surveillance disks if you want to see yourself as proof. She’s got Phil’s cash, as I said, to give you if you sign on as mole. We’re going to move you out of here to a decent place to live.”
“I said, what about Joel!” On his feet, Kain was near shouting.