November 1st is finally here!
This day has long since been in the making and I'm so excited! I pre-ordered my copy of Obsidian Detective and it's waiting patiently for me to stop working so I can read it! How about you? For those who don't like pre-orders, no worries since the book is now live!!! Woot Woot! Go and grab your copy now!
And to entice you just a bit is the final snippet for Obsidian Detective!
Jia looked down at her napkin before looking back up. I can’t believe I let Mei talk me into this.
She managed to smile at the handsome blond man sitting across from her at the white-draped table. Light classical played in the background.
Jia had agreed to one date. It was her way of proving she didn’t hold her family’s values in contempt, with the hope that if she demonstrated her respect toward them, they might return the favor.
It was also the fact that Mei asked for a favor.
Mei’s version of compromise involved picking out the man instead of their mother doing it, but Jia wasn’t sure if that was an improvement. Tonight’s date was Warren Southward III, a business associate of Mei’s.
Warren picked up his wine glass and took a small sip. “Let me say again how lovely you look tonight. I’m happy you agreed to this, especially on such short notice. I wouldn’t have blamed you if you hadn’t been able to come.”
She nodded. “It’s okay. I had an open night, and as for the rest, thank you, Warren. That’s very nice of you to say. I have to admit, my sister didn’t tell me a lot about you.”
“I work for Aurum. My division focuses in particular on financial transactions involving the Moon and Mars. It’s definitely got its complications, but at least we don’t have to worry about colony financial matters.” He sighed. “What a nightmare.”
“I’m sure they are,” Jia admitted. She glanced around, taking in the room. “So, how do you know my sister exactly? Has her company done work with Aurum?”
Warren chuckled quietly. “I met your sister at a recent business conference. She’s already making quite a name for herself at such a young age.” He tilted his head and shook his finger. “I must say, although your sister did well describing your natural beauty, she didn’t relate to me what you do. Are you in the family business?”
Jia chuckled, shaking her head as she thought of the many reasons Mei might leave out that important bit of information. “No, I’m a police detective. My division technically handles all Class II crimes and higher. We often pass them along for efficiency reasons, but we have a wide scope of responsibility.”
“Class II crimes?” Warren’s lips parted slightly. “That’s very…interesting, I bet.” He sighed. “Not to sound rude, but there can’t be that much to do. I imagine most criminals have been transported offworld by now?”
“Oh. Yes, sure. Of course, all crime is totally under control and limited to small regions of unrest or isolated pockets, but you know, it’s like…” Jia sighed. She’d promised to at least give an honest effort. “Prevention is the key to maintaining an orderly and stable society,” she finished.
Lame! she chastised herself. How about you just read him the prologue of the Law Officers School Welcome book?
“I see.” Warren nodded, something approaching understanding in his eyes. “I was a bit confused about a Lin daughter being in such an…unusual career position, but with that explanation, it all makes sense.”
Jia smiled. “It does? I’ll admit that even my own family doesn’t understand why I chose to become a detective versus following in their shoes.”
“Yes, it makes perfect sense.” Warren returned her smile with warmth. “You’re the youngest? You have no siblings other than Mei, correct?”
Jia nodded. “Just the two of us.”
“I’m the youngest in my family as well,” Warren explained.
And that matters, why? Jia wondered.
Warren reached over and patted her hand. “I understand the urge to want to help society while distinguishing yourself from your family. It’s natural for those of us who are the youngest to rebel that way.”
She eyed his hand, then looked back up at him.
“But,” he continued, pulling his hand back, “the best way to help society is by ensuring a robust economy. If the economy is strong and wealth is being generated, everything else can be handled by people who aren’t capable of achieving that. Business is the true heart driving all of the UTC, ultimately. Think about it. There would be no colonization without the aid of the corporations. Can you imagine human colonization efforts without Hermes or Ceres Galactic? Or White Tiger?”
“I’m not arguing that corporations don’t help promote stability and growth of the UTC,” she countered. “But don’t you think it helps to have people from different backgrounds in law enforcement roles? A healthy society has members of different backgrounds dispersed for maximum diversity of viewpoint and experience.” She put her hands under the table and clenched them into fists.
“Different backgrounds?” Warren mused. “Why would we need that? In truth, I’m dubious of the necessity of governmental law enforcement anymore. Corporate security can handle anything of importance, and the government’s moving most of the antisocial elements off Earth, where Security and the military can handle them.”
Warren picked up his napkin to dab the corner of his mouth. “Even if governmental law enforcement is necessary, our kind of people don’t need to participate. Someone of your family background and education isn’t living up to her full potential working in an unnecessary job.”
“I-I don’t think it’s unnecessary,” Jia managed. Mei, be thankful I don’t kick him under this table! Family respect or not.
“I apologize. I should clarify.” Warren offered her a disarming smile. “It’s unnecessary for people like you and me. Obviously, someone has to be involved in keeping the antisocial citizens and criminals under control, whether private or governmental. Of course, people from more limited backgrounds would find such work fulfilling, and I understand that you were attempting to distinguish yourself from your family, just as I was by thinking about becoming a diplomat at one point. I will fill you in on the story sometime since it’s practically a whitepaper about the youngest in a family. But don’t worry; it won’t be a problem anyway. You’ll find different ways of finding fulfillment.”
Her face scrunched; her confusion was complete. “What are you talking about? What do you mean, ‘it won’t be a problem?’”
Warren let out a quiet laugh. “You working, of course.” He gestured at himself. “I’m rather successful. While I wouldn’t object to my wife working, she would never have to, and I think you would find the busy social life that would come with an appropriate marriage more than adequate to fill your free time. I’d prefer a wife who didn’t work. Otherwise, why wouldn’t I consider Mei, if I’m honest?”
Jia stared at the man, processing what he had just said.
“Wife?” she squeaked.
* * *
“You set me up,” Jia accused as she stomped back and forth in her apartment.
She’d decided to wait until returning home to call her sister. She wanted to give herself a chance to settle her thoughts and clear the wine fog from her brain. She had also tried to burn off some energy by yelling at the onboard computer in her flitter.
It wasn’t even close to satisfying.
The full-color hologram of Mei transmitted by Jia’s PNIU stood there with her arms crossed and her lips pursed. While Jia normally preferred audio-only calls, a good rant needed accompanying body language for the full effect.
And family deserved only her best.
“I didn’t set you up,” Mei challenged, shaking her head while putting up a finger. “I asked you to go on one date with Warren.”
She turned the upthrust finger in Jia’s direction. “Was it not a date? Didn’t he take you out to one of the best seafood restaurants in the metroplex? They serve actual fish. Try to afford that on your policewoman’s salary, little sister.” She huffed. “I think you get spoiled at times, dining with either me or Mother and Father.”
Jia threw up her hands. “He was talking about marrying me. I just met the man. I didn’t know anything about him since you said everything would flow better and it would give me things to discuss if I didn’t, but now I realize you were setting me up for a matrimonial ambush.”
“Oh, don’t be so melodramatic.” Mei rolled her eyes. “He’s a busy man, Jia. He doesn’t have time for a lot of unnecessary dating, and I was trying to give you something to talk about.”
“I understand putting his career first, but I think talking about marriage on the first date is a bit much. Even Mother and Father had an actual romance that led to their marriage.” Jia groaned and pinched the bridge of her nose. “And I’m not saying I have someone else in mind. I’m not even interested in any dating right now because I’m busy with my career, remember?”
“Ah, yes.” Mei looked pained. “The police career that frustrates you to no end.” She threw both hands up. “I can’t possibly expect you to put that fling on hold to live a more fulfilling life of much higher social status that would both bring you more joy right now and please your older sister and your parents to no end, now could I?” She shook her head. “The mere thought must be complete insanity on my part.”
Jia eyed her through the camera. “That’s not fair, and you know it.”
“Tell me one thing that’s wrong with Warren.” Mei pointed at Jia. “Just one thing.”
“It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong with him,” Jia replied. “Well, there is one thing. He won’t support me in my career, and even ignoring that, I’m not ready to get married yet, let alone to someone I barely know.”
“It’s not like he was going to marry you tomorrow, Jia.” Mei slapped a hand to her forehead and sucked in a breath. “You are very, very frustrating, little sister.” She blew out her breath. “I have a suggestion. A perfectly acceptable alternative.”
“What’s that?” Jia asked.
“You could join us at the company.”
“You wasted his time too, you know,” Jia insisted, ignoring Mei’s suggestion. “I had to make it very clear to him that I’m not getting married anytime soon.”
Mei chuckled. “Because you’re obsessed with your police career and some abstract notion of justice that is, to be frank, outdated.”
“Serving the public is never outdated,” Jia countered. “And I don’t appreciate you misleading me.”
Mei sighed and lowered her arm. “I’m sorry, little sister. I’ll admit that was a calculated risk on my part, but you’re right, I shouldn’t have done it. In the future, I’ll be clearer about my intentions. Although I only care about your future, and I want you to be happy.” She eyed Jia. “And your job isn’t making you happy.”
“Only because I can’t do it properly.” Jia took a deep breath. “But if I hold out, something will change the status quo, and I’ll be able to do my best to uphold the law.” She nodded firmly. “Everything will be different soon. I can feel it.”
Mei shook her head slightly and lifted a hand to her mouth to cover her yawn before she answered. “I hope you’re right, little sister. I hope you’re right for all our sakes.”
Are you ready to grab your copy of the future of mankind that everyone will be discussing Monday morning at the watercooler?