By Neal Asher
The Collector rampages throughout a much destiny Africa populated with gene-spliced vampires, resurrected massive and nutters with APWs . . .
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She had me there. There was no getting away from it. I could have stood up then and gone my way and done what I had to do and in a century or so she would have been so much decaying matter. Then, for reasons other than my purported morals, I decided I wanted her as a companion. I saw that here was a woman who might counter the greatest threat to my life, which was boredom. Jethro Susan breakfasted on cold mammoth meat while I looked on. When she was finished she took up her pack and looked at me in readiness.
I stood and hoisted her to her feet. She continued to struggle and then kicked me in the synthiflesh genitals. When I showed no reaction she slumped, panting, and watched me warily. ” I then considered releasing her and in that moment the motors of her arm whined loudly. Obviously I had not been getting through to her. She would get it in a moment. I remained still. She continued to struggle for a moment, a mad look on her face, then she looked down at her wrist in disbelief. The penny dropped.
The penny dropped. She ceased to struggle. “Please do not kill Jethro Susan,” came a lisping voice from nearby. I looked round, then up at a dark form crouching on one of the stunted boughs of the baobab. The shape opened out and launched with a silent flap of its batlike wings and dropped down to my right. A Pykani: mahogany black leaning to translucence, a childlike body, shaped orange hair, and the white tips of fangs projecting over her bottom lip. She folded her wings on landing and made a curious warding gesture towards the felled mammoth.