I am a courtesan called Matrie, beautiful but spurned by my lover-protector, dreaming of a rich, new patron. My skirts are heavy with lace.
I am a drunk called Tre Brogger, counting out change on a bar top to see if I can afford one more snifter of
I am a footpad without a name. I am running, out of breath. My estoc is slippery with blood. I think I belong to a clan, and I think the clan will be pleased with the pocket-chron and credit wafers I have just acquired.
I am a washerwoman, crying over the son I once gave
I am a hab super, dry heaving as I force entry to a stack apartment where flies fill the air. Three weeks since the old man was last seen. I will have to call the marshals. I might lose my job for this.
I am a bird. Free.
I am an administry clerk called Olyvier, tapping at the keys of my codifier, the screen reflecting green phantoms at my augmetic eyes. I have awful halitosis because of an abscess in my gum. I cannot afford the medicae fees unless I put in extra shifts all month. I have a scheduled break in one hundred and nineteen minutes.
I am a servitor, stacking boxes in a stock-house. I had a name once, but I have forgotten how to say it. It takes an
effort just to remember to stack the boxes the right way up. The boxes have arrows on their sides.
I am a pardoner called Josev Gangs. I am waiting ner¬vously for the court doors to open.
I am a rat, and I am gnawing. I am a rat.
I am a gamper called Benel Manoy, crouching under the shutters of a sink-shop, waiting for the rain to come and bring me business. I am nine. My gamp, furled, is taller than I am. It was my father’s, when he carried the service. It needs new skinning, because it is sorely worn. The name on the gamp is still my famer’s. When I get it reskinned, I will have ‘Benel Manoy’ writ upon it.
I am a wherryman called Edrick Lutz, pulling on the oars of my skiff as I sing out for business. The water is murky and smells of piss. I was married once. I still miss her. The bitch. Where is all the trade today? The quays are empty.
I am a sheet-press worker called Aesa Hiveson. I am sound asleep in my one-room hab in the stacks of Formal K. The double-shift left me exhausted, so I fell asleep the moment I sat down. The feeble shower I intended to get under is still running. The water pipes are thumping and banging. They do not wake me. I am dreaming of a fine custard dessert I once tasted at a distant cousin’s wedding. He was a wealthy man. I will not taste its like again.
I am a nurse in the Formal G medicae hall. Everything smells of contraseptic. The lights are too bright. I do not like the way the starchy uniform constricts my upper arms. It reminds me that my upper arms are too fat. The name on my badge is Elice Manser, but my real name is Febe Ecks. I have no qualifications. I lied to get this job. One day they will find me out. Until then, I intend to make the most of my unchallenged access to the post¬partum hall. The cult pay well, especially for healthy babies.
I am anonymous, gender uncertain, a very long time dead, undiscovered behind a false wall in Formal B. I am two girls in PDF youth uniforms, left in shallow graves in the north end flowerbeds of Stairtown Park, behind a row of acid-browned bushes. I am a man hanging from a rope in room 49/6 of a condemned hab-stack. I am the family of a girl who vanished on her way to lessons. I am a fab-worker who keeps pict-shots of young men in the same bureau drawer as a whetted combat knife. I am a rabrica-tor, felled by a heart attack on my way home on a transit mag-lev. I am a tree that is withering in High Administra-tum Square.
I AM AN IMPERIAL inquisitor called Gideon Ravenor.