Posted August 31, 2011 at 09:01 pm

"Twenty civilians were killed in Cayenne on Tuesday," the radio droned from Hawk's hip, "when Aetherian Royal Order soldiers opened fire on an outdoor market."

It was a gorgeous day--he guessed, anyway. A blue sky hanging over a wide open, empty highway surrounded by green scrub. A tropical paradise. A humid, sweaty tropical paradise. He walked with his thumb out and his bag slung carefully over his shoulders to give his wings room. They were hot and heavy--extra arms in feather sleeves--but stayed folded over his back.

He was tall and brown-skinned, with dirty white hair and scars plastered across his arms. He was crossing an overpass now, barely listening to the radio belted to his side.

"Meanwhile, violence in the city of Violetta continues," the radio went on, "with some three hunnnnnnn---skshhhh--"

The radio trailed off in a burst of static, and then began to hum a high, flat, clear singing tone. Hawk stopped dead, puzzled, and then--


He whipped around. Beyond the overpass, beyond a scarely-inhabited freeway, lay the edge of a city. Smoke was now rising in a black plume above parking garages.

"Shit," he mumbled.

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