Contract by proxy — Yumi is owned by a corporation. Forced into a new life on the planet Hikari, she has two objectives: find a job and get along with Rin, the man holding her life in his hands. But with her occupation missing from this planet and her enemies looking for her, she must intrude on the kindness of reluctant strangers to stay out of harm’s way. Rin’s ex-wife wants Yumi gone, and a judge threatens to deport her if he catches her loitering about town with no job. Her desire to bolt grows stronger daily.
But Rin won’t let her go. He’s fascinated with the stories she brings from home, stories that promise to save him from the madness they all live in, a meritocracy with low birth rates and malfunctioning androids. As they build a tenuous friendship, and something more, Yumi has to face her fears, her inadequacies, and her lack of control. A headstrong journalist, she’s pushing her luck on Hikari every day as the society turns bored, restless, and finally rebellious. War is coming, and Yumi and Rin are right in the middle of it.
CHAOS IN KADOMA WARD is the second book in the Hikoboshi Series, an action adventure, space opera series that explores the worlds settled by the Japanese who fled Earth a century ago. Culture, history, technology, and swords clash in a fast-paced future society on the brink of war.
Genre: Science Fiction Action Adventure / Space Opera
Series: The Hikoboshi Series
Rating: Rated R for language (profanity), sexual situations, and violence.
Publishing Date: November 15, 2017
A soft, low chime rings through the room, and a disembodied female voice declares, “You have a visitor. Atsumi Sekino requests access to the apartment.”
“What the hell is that?” I ask, looking around.
Rin’s jaw tightens. “Atsumi? What does she want now?”
He stalks out, and I follow him to the front door. The door has changed, a screen overlay showing Atsumi standing in the hallway. I recognize her face from the photo, but she’s dressed for business in a smart suit with her hair down around her shoulders. Rin taps on the screen.
“Atsumi, can it wait till tomorrow? I just got home.”
“Rin, we have to talk now. I know Yumi Minamoto is in there with you.”
Rin lets out one of his weary sighs, and it’s ten times worse than what he uses for me. Now I know where this habit comes from.
As he reaches for the door, I hurriedly smooth myself out, patting down my ragged hair and weeks’ old clothing. I don’t know why I care, but I’d like for us to get along.
“Thanks. I know it’s getting late,” Atsumi says, barging in like she owns the place. She sets her bag to the side and slides off her heels. “But we have things to discuss tonight, and I needed to see this Minamoto in person.”
She looks right through me as her voice registers in my head. I’ve heard it before.
“Really, Rin? This?” She gestures to me. “I saw the photos, but I didn’t believe them.”
“Excuse me?” I say, holding back my temper. Barely.
“Yumi Minamoto, this is my ex-wife, Atsumi Sekino. Atsumi, Yumi.”
We stand, soldier-straight.
“You will bow. I’m at least six levels above you,” Atsumi demands.
“Atsumi,” Rin growls. “Is this necessary?”
I bow anyway, confused as to how this introduction went off the rails so quickly. What have I done?
“Good,” she says, a huff in her voice. “Rin is neglecting to tell you I’m also his boss.” Ah-ha. That’s where I’ve heard her voice, when I’ve eavesdropped on Rin in his bedroom back at the temple on Kurai. “We’ve been divorced for over a year. I’m long past ex-wife status.” She peers around me to take in the rest of the apartment. “I see nothing’s changed, though. We should sit down.”
“Not a chance. You’re not staying. I just brought Yumi home. I’d like her to get settled in.”
“How gallant of you.” Atsumi’s voice is a river of sarcasm. “But don’t get too comfortable.” She bends over and retrieves her tablet from her bag. “Do you have any idea the kind of hell you’ve put me through for the last two weeks?”
“Nooooooo.” Rin drags out the one syllable into ten or more. “I spoke with you last week, and you didn’t mention anything. What’s going on?”
“Narumi Ogawa, that bitch of a boss from Aoi Uma, has been petitioning for the removal and disposal of Minamoto for” — she scrolls through something on her tablet — “excessive property damage, illegal termination of ten androids, arson of Shiroi Nami’s temple…” She looks up from her tablet at me. Blood from my brain is sinking to my feet. “You must have friends in Shiroi Nami because they went to bat for you on that charge, but the district judges let it stay.” She clears her throat. “Breach of contract, and on and on. What the fuck were you thinking?” Atsumi spits at Rin.
Rin stiffens. “We’re not married anymore. You can’t talk to me like that.”
I take a small step back, running through possible scenarios in my head. I can run. I can hide out.
I can do so little.
S. J. Pajonas is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.