The Final Game
|The Final Game|
|Author||Rita S. Knight|
|First published||31 January 2005|
|Era||Civil War era|
|Timeline||20 July 3065|
|“||New author Rita S. Knight takes us to the back alleys of Solaris VII for a glimpse of cleaning up on the shadier side.||”|
Dara's one of the little people. She counts herself as more fortunate than many, because she's not living on the street - instead, she has a tiny one-room apartment, the luxury of a chair made from real wood, a window with a view of a tree. One of countless others in Silesia, the Lyran Alliance region of Solaris City, Dara has a job, which is more than some can say; her job isn't great, but it allows her to sustain her modest living.
Dara is a cleaner... and not just any cleaner, but a cleaner at the Kubler Street Gun Club, one of many such gun clubs dotted around the city. The upstairs portion of the gun club is official, a place where people with a little money go to indulge legal activities, such as using gun ranges or shooting corridors. Downstairs is where the money is made; downstairs is run by the yakuza, and downstairs is where you go if you want to fight, to duel. The clientèle varies, but all of them are there to fight, and Dara cleans the arena after they're finished, removing the remains, the clothing, the blood, and getting the arena ready for the next fight.
Dara anticipates being fired, and when the notice arrives, it's no surprise; what no-one knows is that she's been quietly collecting plastic and powder from dud ammunition, and on the day she receives her notice, she puts in place one more arena feature, something that looks perfect - an abandoned clown from a dumpster, thrown out by one of the neighbouring businesses, packed with the contents of her illicit collecting efforts. She knows full well what will happen when a stray shot hits it, and she calmly goes upstairs to place a bet, just like everyone else, and to wait for the bout, just like everyone else.
And she thinks about the copy of the accident insurance policy on herself that she sent to her sister, and to the niece she's never met.