Obediently, Eve turned around. She was wearing a kind of gray-blue business suit, with a high collar and long sleeves, but leaving her cleavage on display. She opened the neck piece and let the dress fall, in slow motion, to the floor.
“My God,” was all I could say.
Bioroids don’t bleed. No blood. They do have a kind of circulatory system for the hydraulic fluid that works their muscular actuators, but that’s deep enough inside that superficial cuts can’t reach it. Her back and buttocks didn’t look bloody or bruised, but they were torn open in a dozen places, the plastic hanging in strips.
“Turn around, dear,” Manchester told her.
She did so. The high collar on her dress had been obscuring the marks on her throat, and the long sleeves had covered the peeling chafes on her wrists. On her torso, just below where the ribcage would end on a human, at the solar plexus, there was a nasty burn—the soft plastic partially melted and blackened. It looked as though she’d been stabbed twice there, too. The punctures, small and close together, weren’t deep, but they made me wince. Maybe Eve didn’t feel pain, but I felt an answering empathic twinge nonetheless.
• • •
It is the future, and while the world has changed, crime has not. When an influential lawyer is brutally murdered at the top of the Beanstalk, a towering exoatmospheric elevator serving as Earth’s hub of interplanetary trade, Captain of Detectives Rick Harrison reluctantly accepts the case. Harrison’s investigation soon leads him from the sprawling megapolis of New Angeles to the distant moon base of Heinlein, where he must search for clues amongst an uncooperative assortment of bioroids, clones, and disgruntled human laborers.
Harrison quickly finds himself at the center of an ever-deepening conspiracy. Why did the killer use a mining laser, an unwieldy weapon even in microgravity? What is the true connection between the victim and a powerful anti-android lobby? And on the hunt for a killer, a hardened cop is faced with the one question he never expected: What is the true definition of humanity?
Free Fall is the first novel based on Fantasy Flight Games’ Android, conveying a dystopian world of technology and corruption. This rich universe is masterfully brought to life by New York Times Bestselling author William H. Keith, winner of the H.G. Wells Award and multiple Origins awards, and the celebrated author of over 150 novels, short stories, and other published works.
Mr. Keith took a moment to share his perspective on this unique setting:
“I love the future.
Imagine a tower stretching from the sprawling warrens of New Angeles all the way to geosynch orbit and well beyond, an elevator straight up into the sky. Imagine thriving colonies beneath the Lunar surface, helium-3 strip mines on the Mare Tranquilitatus, and personal electronics that make iPads seem as quaint as a Trash-80 with 48K of RAM. And imagine a world where technology calls into question such basic assumptions as what it means to be human, and where robotics and genetics may well be creating our evolutionary successors.
This is the world of Fantasy Flight Games’ Android, a rich, detailed, and complex world of the future where a handful of detectives with the New Angeles Police Department hold the line, or try to, against crime, corruption, and conspiracy. And the line is wavering...
I’m an old-school nuts’n’bolts SF writer, meaning I like accurate science, gritty realism, and concepts that make you think. Is a bioroid a person? How about a clone? Where do you draw the line? With Free Fall I was given the chance to explore some of my favorite SF themes, and I did so, from the mean streets of N.A. to Heinlein Base on the Moon. It was quite a ride!
And I hope you love the future as much as I do.”
Look for Free Fall on store shelves later this year!
Experience the dystopian future of the Android universe first hand! Visit the Android website to learn more about this popular board game:
The copyrightable portions of Android: Free Fall are © 2011 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Android is a trademark and/or registered trademark of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.