the smuggler’s bible


Pluto Vespasianus sprints forward through the violent white glare of the grenade and crouches behind a battered stretch of wall. He looks up as the light fades, ducks again as a gun barks and several small craters are carved out of the bricks by his face. Vespasianus fires back, spraying indiscriminately at the windows nearby.

Then he sees her—two bright jets, close together, hurtling over the rooftops. She raises her hand and a beam of energy lances out, again and again in half-second bursts. Aoi’s face is illuminated in the backwash of strobing light, motionless, except for her eyes.