Mars. The small red rock that started with the dreams of astronomers and sci-fi writers. It became a place for broken dreams, the desire peddlers, criminals and those who were labeled as criminals.

My name’s 4Pollack. I’m the fourth clone of the original Pollack. In my prime life, I was a detective and good at it too. It was a reason I was cloned in the first place. Most call me 4Pollack; a few call me Four. Not many in the last category. Another reason for my cloning; I fit a certain profile the Terrans needed for their wars. Hence, I also served in the Eugenic War. Though that was too long ago to remember, without a ‘Catch. Seventy years—and three bodies—later, I’m here on Mars, trying to pay off the debts racked up by my other incarnates: Pollack, seventy years older and wiser, while still looking thirty. Inheritance fees, memory transfer and taxes, not to mention the cost of jumpstarting a cloned body aren’t cheap. Even with a steady paying job, I couldn’t stay more than a half step away from bankruptcy. Terra and the Luna are too expensive. My kind wasn’t welcome on those pieces of rock anyway. Rather than being shunned by the moral upright citizens of Terra, I lived on Mars in Old Tharsis. It’s filled with Spiders, chimeras and clones. Some still look at me with suspicion, yet it’s better than the alternative.

Through the window in the apartment, I saw the twin moons, Deimos and Phobos glaring down at me. The sunscreen was gone and the dim light of twin moons looked down over Tharsis. The light of moons fought with the pseudo-light of Tharsis at large. The city was constantly alit with neon, headlights from free-caps and skimmers along with lights of the buildings around my building. Tharsis was a city of light. The auto shade was old and faded, letting more of the light bleed in. The dome over the city warped and refracted the light so the tiny moon of Phobos looked like its bigger brother Deimos. Most Martians liked to have them both looking the same.

Not me.   Knowing that the two moons were named for Fear and Nightmare; having those two glaring down at me always caused a small itch between my shoulder blades, seeing that the two moons were close caused something in my mind to dredge up a memory of the latest case. If I was right with the position of the two moons, I knew there had been another murder. Even before my commlink started to buzz.

 

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