Excerpt Chapter 1
Emerging up the escalator from the F-Line Trans-tube, Tyler took a short walk on the pedestrian overpass that crossed the Embarcadero to Pier 33. The sky was concrete gray with no sign of sun, though it was midday. The foggy mist tried to be more, threatening rain that was not forecast. Tyler looked at his telpod. He wasn’t late but he usually liked to have more time to get ready before his shift started. Finishing his second year as an Enforcer at the Alcatraz Pleasure Facility, the job was still far from routine. With patrons sometimes at extreme ends of the emotional spectrum, there was always crisis and drama to encounter. Some of it was challenging but most of it was just plain pathetic. Tyler wore the callus mood free face of the dispassionate peacekeeper armed with lasers and stun batons to “ensure compliance and cooperation”. In front of the pier housing the Recognition Portal hundreds of pigeons huddled together over the street level grates that vented volumes of mechanical discharge air, warmer than the outside air. Tyler gave them a quick glance and thought how peaceful they seemed, these winged rats that salvage what humans abandon, scrounge and beg in their avian way, and how they scramble for food but never engage in fighting. They give way to the gulls whose larger beaks and size maintain the pecking order. Some people think very highly of the pigeon and many of the unkempt feed them even though they might not have food for themselves. The great electrical genius Tesla, in his later years, preferred pigeons to humans and believed that certain ones were extra-terrestrial messengers. Tyler’s mind continued to wander. In the 20th century, police informers were referred to as stool pigeons, those who tattled and betrayed alliances, one not to be trusted and forever a marked man. I could never rat out anyone, Tyler thought, especially someone that I loved.
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