Woken Furies

Woken Furies

Takeshi Kovacs Book 3

Richard Morgan

Fury (n):

1 a intense, disordered and often destructive rage …

2 wild, disordered force or activity

3a any of the three avenging deities who in Greek mythology punished crimes

3b an angry or vengeful woman

The New English Penguin Dictionary 2001

PROLOGUE

The place they woke me in would have been carefully prepared.

The same for the reception chamber where they laid out the deal. The Harlan family don’t do anything by halves and, as anyone who’s been Received can tell you, they like to make a good impression. Gold-flecked black décor to match the family crests on the walls, ambient subsonics to engender a tear-jerking sense that you’re in the presence of nobility. Some Martian artefact in a corner, quietly implying the transition of global custody from our long-vanished unhuman benefactors to the firmly modern hand of the First Families oligarchy. The inevitable holosculpture of old Konrad Harlan himself in triumphal planetary discoverer mode. One hand raised high, the other shading his face against the glare of an alien sun. Stuff like that.

So here comes Takeshi Kovacs, surfacing from a sunken bath full of tank gel, sleeved into who knows what new flesh, spluttering into the soft pastel light and helped upright by demure court attendants in cutaway swimming costumes. Towels of immense fluffiness to clean off the worst of the gel and a robe of similar material for the short walk to the next room. A shower, a mirror—better get used to that face, soldier—a new set of clothes to go with the new sleeve, and then on to the audience chamber for an interview with a member of the Family. A woman, of course. There was no way they’d use a man, knowing what they did about my background.

Abandoned by an alcoholic father at age ten, raised alongside two younger sisters, a lifetime of sporadically psychotic reaction when presented with patriarchal authority figures. No, it was a woman. Some urbane executive aunt, a secret service caretaker for the Harlan family’s less public affairs. An understated beauty in a custom-grown clone sleeve, probably in its early forties, standard reckoning.

“Welcome back to Harlan’s World, Kovacs-san. Are you comfortable?”

“Yeah. You?”

Smug insolence. Envoy training conditions you to absorb and process environmental detail at speeds normal humans can only dream about. Looking around, the Envoy Takeshi Kovacs knows in split seconds, has known since the sunken bath awakening, that he’s in demand.

“I? You may call me Aiura.” The language is Amanglic, not Japanese, but the beautifully constructed misunderstanding of the question, the elegant evasion of offence without resorting to outrage, traces a clean line back to the First Families’ cultural roots. The woman gestures, equally elegantly. “Though who I am isn’t very important in this matter. I think it’s clear to you who I represent.”

“Yes, it’s clear.” Perhaps it’s subsonics, perhaps just the woman’s sober response to my levity that dampens the arrogance in my tone. Envoys soak up what’s around them, and to some extent that’s a contaminative process. You often find yourself taking to observed behaviour instinctively, especially if your Envoy intuition grasps that behaviour as advantageous in the current surroundings. “So I’m on secondment.”

Aiura coughs, delicately.

“In a manner of speaking, yes.”

“Solo deployment?” Not unusual in itself, but not much fun either. Being part of an Envoy team gives you a sense of confidence you can’t get from working with ordinary human beings.

“Yes. That is to say, you will be the only Envoy involved. More conventional resources are at your disposal in great number.”

“That sounds good.”

“Let us hope so.”

“So what do you want me to do?”

Another delicate throat-clearing. “In due course. May I