Part 27: Extract from Chapter 7 of "Crimson Children", a pulp novelExcerpt from chapter 7 of Geoff Hsu's newest starport thriller, Crimson Children
Dirk sighed as he sank back into the soft pleather and foam of his execu-conomy seat. The screen embedded in the chair-back in front of him flickered to life. Fake smiles from fake newsmen, silently mouthing propaganda. Dirk flicked his eyes up and to the left several times and the screen faded back to black.
These red-eye flights between Blueside and Redside were beginning to eat away at Dirk. He looked haggard, sunken, stretched slightly too thin. He felt worse than he looked. There were too few Void Marshals to be on all of the flights, so the service had prioritized food and med shipments.
Dirk didn't know for sure what was going on, but he had his suspicions. Martian vaccers on shore leave at Hope Point grumbled about being payed in company scrip. Homesteaders in the rust gullies held meetings to commiserate with their neighbors about the fact that every thing in their lives was either owned by some plutocrat in Pyongyang or on lease from the government. Miners chafed under the unsafe work conditions and exhausting hours demanded by megacorps like Ultor.
One name was on the lips of every marginalized Martian. Red Faction. Dirk chuckled to himself. Apparently, communist agitators hadn't gotten any more creative since the unification.
A female voice echoed over the shuttle's intercom.
"Attention capitalist scum, we, the Red Faction are taking what belongs to the free peoples of Mother Mars. Remain seated and you will not be harmed!"
Dirk glanced down the aisle toward the back of the shuttle and spied three toughs sporting Martian manufactured Ultor MP-1099 sub-machine guns. Modern composite trash. Dirk thumbed the safety of his concealed Springfield Armory Colt 1911. It was time for Dirk Bladeface, Void Marshal, to service some pinko tangos.