Fiction by Abra Staffin Wiebe

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Vicesteed

Valinda's only memories are of life as a vicesteed, surviving in a re-creation of crime-ridden Old Earth. Her experiences of its vices and ultra-violence are broadcast directly to an audience unknown to her. One of her scripted encounters goes wrong, leaving the other actor dying at her feet. During Valinda's follow-up clinic visit, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augmented strength and speed she's been given, she breaks out and plunges forward into an unfamiliar Victorian world. She'll kick as much ass as necessary to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and why. A planet away, at the same moment that Valinda kills the other actor, the Prince Consort falls into a coma that leads to his death. The only living witness to Valinda's viceride-gone-wrong is Rosemary, a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to a rebel underground. She believes the violence that she saw was a simulation intended to make her more ladylike. Troubled by it, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy. A late-night knock on the door summons Quincy to investigate the death of the Prince Consort. The mysterious nature of the Prince Consort's fatal illness can only mean a conspiracy at the highest levels, but to find it, Quincy will have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that society depends upon. What he learns there will lead him to the keys of this mystery: Valinda and Rosemary.
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