Black Planet: Dragon's Blood
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by Belinda McBride
Category: Erotica/Erotic Science Fiction/Science Fiction
Description: San Francisco, 2183 CE San Francisco was never the same after the Great Shake of '08. On the ruins of Fisherman's Wharf, a ramshackle city rose like a mushroom, a strange dichotomy of safety and corruption. In this forbidden city, a monster prowls the corridors and alleys, seeking the nanite-enhanced flesh and blood of underground cage fighters. Detective Annie Tanaka once survived an encounter with the monster. The attack left her clinging to life and riddled with fear. Now the monster has returned, and is hunting in her territory. She will need every weapon in her arsenal to face this enemy and prevail. Unfortunately for Annie, her partner hates her and is next on the monster's menu. And Annie's mentor is a legendary fight master who hasn't been seen in decades. As she closes in on the creature, Annie Tanaka quickly discovers that her real enemy isn't the monster, but her own fear. And against that fear, Annie must stand alone. Note: The events in this story take place thirty years prior to Little Dragon.
eBook Publisher: Changeling Press LLC, 2008 2008
eBookwise Release Date: April 2009
25 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [141 KB]
Reading time: 81-114 min.
"Ms. McBride has a way of weaving the ancient into the future. Her combination of 'improved' humans and ancient styles of fighting bring a fresh, new outlook to her stories. Stuffed full of action, delicious love scenes and a lot of self-discovery, Black Planet 2: Dragon's Blood will keep you on the edge of your seat. Do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy for yourself!"--Cholla, Whipped Cream Reviews
2183 CE, San Francisco
"Mornin'!" Annie Tanaka tossed a grin over her shoulder and planted a foot, running and vaulting over the narrow, artificial canyon. Narrow, yes, but it was a thirteen-story drop to the alleys, and whether she hit water or rebar, her death would come fast and hard.
"Hey, Mrs. Y! How's things?" She didn't slow as she replied. The boat to Oakland might just possibly be on schedule today, and she didn't want to miss it. There were other boats, but she tried to stick to routine. Besides, Cappie Reynolds was fair. He rarely overcharged except for when it was storming. And when it was storming, Annie would much rather stay at home in bed, listening to the sound of water dripping from her leaky roof.
Annie's light boots skimmed over a long ramp that dropped a level and came out on the roof of Parsottie's Eatery. From there, a series of gradually descending rooftops would take her out of Wharf and set her on the streets of San Francisco proper. She'd never have to set foot on the dangerous lower corridors with this route. Even in the daytime, the ground level harbored gangs and drug addicts, cheap whores and the occasional thrill-seeker from outside.
Every time she approached a ramp, whether it was a braced structure or a flimsy board, she scanned quickly and carefully. Caution might slow her down, but it wasn't unusual for the local reigning gangs to sabotage passages. Thick bundles of electric cables snaked over surfaces and into the air. She'd taken a few hard falls in her time, only extreme luck combined with phenomenal agility saving her from taking the drop forever.
With her heart beating from the journey, Annie paused in the shelter of two buildings. The City didn't patrol Wharf territory these days--it was harder to get in than out--but old habits died hard. From her elevated vantage point, she checked for gangsters, guards, and anyone that might have something to gain by keeping a Wharf rat in ... or out.
The coast was clear and she was over solid ground now, so she went hand over hand, down to the level of the Wall. From there she simply jogged to the docks, taking a skinny stair passage that led straight to her destination: the Morning Glory.
Grungy but seaworthy, the old boat had been a luxury yacht in a previous life. Now the old lady was just a dirty, faded whore, not unlike those that Annie passed in the lower alleys of Wharf. But if the Glory went down on you, she went down forever, carrying you into the cold, murky water of San Francisco Bay.
Annie gave herself a moment to tamp down the panic, staring at the oily water below her feet. Overhead a lone gull circled hopefully. About eight other passengers were aboard. If she didn't hurry, she'd get stuck out on deck, propped on a dirty tire or a coil of greasy rope. Annie murmured a quick prayer to Bok Eye, the Chinese God of Water, and then she stepped aboard.
It was a delicate balance. She didn't want to be late, ending up stuck on deck, or possibly missing the boat altogether. But she also didn't want to be early. The old boat smelled fishy. The roll of the waves brought nausea to her throat.
She'd timed it perfectly.
"Hey, Annie. You going to ride up front with me today?"
"Hey, Cappie." She extended her fare, daring him to up his charge. The Bay commute was a seller's market, and if he was in a crappy mood, Cappie wouldn't hesitate to boot a rider in favor of one with deeper pockets. "This is for round trip." He stared at her offering, and then nodded curtly.
"Head up front and take a seat. You can have my chair."
She ducked her head, hiding a smile. That usually meant Cappie and his on-again off-again lover had made up. Their fights were notorious, the stuff of local legend. Their make-up sex? Marlin had probably given Cap the ass-pounding of his life. Marlin had allegedly walked in on Cappie with a floor-whore last week. Thing about living in Wharf, there were no real secrets.
Nearly twenty thousand people were crammed into a warren of high- and low-rise buildings that had mushroomed up on the site of Old Fisherman's Wharf. They lived shoulder to shoulder in one of the highest population density neighborhoods in the world.
The wall around Wharf was a mystery. Some said it was to keep Wharf rats in, others said it was to keep the city dwellers out. Only old Guo Lee knew the truth of the matter, and he'd never shared that story with anyone.
Annie settled into the worn leather of the captain's chair and relaxed a bit. From the bridge she could see sun and sky and water while avoiding the claustrophobic conditions below deck. She could also see whatever might be coming. Annie Tanaka didn't like being taken by surprise.
The motors strained and groaned as they started, and then Cappie stood at her side, giving her a rare, gap-toothed grin. His teeth were surprisingly white in his weathered face. Yeah, he'd gotten some. And then some.
She wished she was getting some too.