Authors: Mitchel Scanlon
Tags: #Science Fiction
Judge Anderson created by
John Wagner & Brian Bolland
To Naomi - you didn't think I'd forget you, sis?
A 2000 AD PUBLICATION
1098 7 65 4321
Cover illustration by Ashley Wood.
Copyright © 2006 Rebellion A/S. All rights reserved.
All 2000 AD characters and logos © and TM Rebellion A/S."Judge Anderson" is a trademark in the United States and other jurisdictions."2000 AD" is a registered trademark in certain jurisdictions. All rights reserved. Used under licence.
A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.
#1: FEAR THE DARKNESS - Mitchel Scanlon
#2: RED SHADOWS - Mitchel Scanlon
#3: SINS OF THE FATHER - Mitchel Scanlon
#1: DREDD VS DEATH
#2: BAD MOON RISING
#3: BLACK ATLANTIC
Simon Jowett & Peter J Evans
#5: KINGDOM OF THE BLIND
#6: THE FINAL CUT
#7: SWINE FEVER
MORE 2000 AD ACTION
THE ABC WARRIORS
#1: THE MEDUSA WAR - Pat Mills & Alan Mitchell
#1: THE UNQUIET GRAVE - Peter J Evans
#1: CRUCIBLE - Gordon Rennie
#1: BAD TIMING - Rebecca Levene
FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT - David Bishop
#1: OPERATION VAMPYR
#2: THE BLOOD RED ARMY
#3: TWILIGHT OF THE DEAD
ANDERSON PSI DIVISION
It is the year 2126. Atomic war has decimated humanity, and the world is a bleak wasteland, inhabited by mutants and freaks. Most people live in vast, walled cities that keep the lethal winds and foul inhabitants outside at bay; after all, the cities have enough problems of their own to deal with. Boredom is endemic, unemployment is sky high and so is the crime rate, as the cramped Meg citizens strive to survive any way they can. As the population booms and tensions rise, the authorities know that they must use an iron fist to keep the teeming millions in check.
In Mega-City One, home to four hundred million, the Law is king. Justice is upheld by the implacable Judges - empowered to act as judge, jury and executioner - and intent on sending criminals to jail or an early grave. But a new threat is emerging. Radioactivity slowly works its insidious voodoo on the population, warping not just flesh, but also minds. People with dangerous talents stalk the shadows: telekinetics, pyromaniacs, telepaths and psychos. Some seek to use their talents for criminal ends and others try to hide them, fearful of recrimination. Whatever the case, in the eyes of the Law, they are all criminals, and they need bringing in!
It is Psi Division's task to do what the regular Judges cannot: deal with supernatural phenomena and hunt mutant psychics down! Its ranks are comprised of powerful telepaths and psychics, able to scan minds and psychometrically "read" bodies and crime scenes. Foremost in this elite cadrÈ is Psi-Judge Cassandra Anderson: sassy, dedicated and hard as nails. Psi-flashes enable her to sense danger and near-future events and she can even read the minds of the recently deceased. In the fractious, urban nightmare of the future, she'll need all her talent and tenacity not just to uphold the Law, but to stay alive!
ANDERSON PSI DIVISION
A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL FOR MARTIN GRIGGS
Martin Griggs had been to Hondo City a dozen times before, yet the sheer quantity of traffic in the air never ceased to amaze him. Sitting in the passenger compartment of a hover cab as it made its way through the crowded airspace over the city, Griggs looked out of the window at the night skies around him and wondered how the entire city did not simply grind to a halt. The airways set aside for travel inside the city limits were full to overflowing.
There were vehicles everywhere: hover cars and buses ferrying shoppers to and from their destinations; daredevil juves flitting through the surrounding traffic on power boards; even the occasional brave or desperate soul who had resorted to a jet pack to avoid the sluggish roadways of the city below. In places like Brit-Cit or Mega City One, to have so much traffic in the air at once would have been a recipe for disaster; the skies would have rained dark with falling debris from a thousand shunts and fender benders, not to mention blood and bodies as disgruntled commuters turned to violence to ease their frustrations.
In Hondo however, things moved at a more controlled and sedate pace. Rather than jostling angrily for position, drivers politely gave way to their fellows. Watching it, Griggs briefly wondered whether it was a sign that the people of Hondo were possessed of some innate sense of order. Equally though, he realised there could be other explanations. Given the city's reputation for technological excellence, it was possible that the vehicles around him were equipped with advanced computerised safety protocols that their counterparts elsewhere in the world lacked. In the end, Martin Griggs could not be sure either way.
"This is your first time in Hondo City?" the cab's robot driver asked. Having received its instructions in English from Griggs when he had hailed it at the hoverport, the robo-cabbie used the same language.
"My second time," Griggs lied. "I had a short stop-over in Hondo a few years back on business, and I've been promising myself a proper visit to the city ever since. I'm here as a tourist; on vacation."
"A tourist?" The robot paused, before switching its conversational sub-routines to one more in line with its passenger's answers. "There are many interesting sights to see and places for the tourist to visit in Hondo City. I am equipped with up-to-date information on the city's ten thousand most popular tourist attractions. If you would care to make a selection I could..."
"No," Griggs replied. "That won't be necessary. I have an itinerary already." He did not elaborate.
"As you wish." Quickly, the robot switched sub-routines once more. "If you should change your mind however, you can access the same data at the public information kiosks found on every block. Simply type the numbers 'four-four-four-four' into the keypad and press the red button to be connected to the appropriate database. This service is free of charge." Abruptly, the robot's voice changed tone as it segued to a pre-recorded message. "This is a paid announcement from the Hondo City Tourist Board, a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Motto: here in Hondo City we believe it is an honour to ensure a visitor's stay is a pleasant one."
"I'm sure it will be," Griggs said. Then, remembering he was supposed to be playing the part of a tourist on the brink of experiencing the holiday of a lifetime, he gazed out of the window at the neon brightness of the city below them and let his words repeat themselves in a wistful yet excited echo.
"Yes, I'm sure it will be."
The assignment had begun in the usual way. Griggs had been in his apartment in Mega-City One when he had received an incoming encrypted message on the secure line he used for business, the face and voice of the caller on the other end of the vid-phone digitally masked to prevent recognition. The caller had offered him one hundred thousand credits to go to a storage place downtown, pick up a package, and smuggle it to Hondo City on an ordinary commercial flight. No questions asked. The caller had been particularly insistent on that last point. No questions asked. As far as Griggs was concerned it went without saying. If his career as a courier specialising in covert transportations for high-end clients had taught him anything, it was that nobody liked a man who asked too many questions. Besides which, in business as in life, a hundred thousand credits bought a lot of discretion.
Six hours later and, having caught a hi-speed strato-cruiser to Hondo and then a cab at the hoverport, Griggs was walking the busy pedways of the city's New Shinjuku district en route to a pre-arranged meeting with his contact. He had the package with him, hidden inside a Tri-D recorder held on a strap over his arm. So far everything had gone smoothly. Courtesy of a set of fake documents belonging to one of the dozen different false identities he maintained, he had cleared Customs Control at the hoverport without any problems.
The Hondo Judge behind the customs desk had barely even glanced at him. According to his electronic passport he was Martin O'Reilly the tourist, not Martin Griggs the courier. Granted, if they had insisted on checking his DNA and comparing it to their database of wanted felons he might have been in trouble. The last time he had worked Hondo, two years ago, Griggs had been forced to fight his way clear after a drop had gone badly. To the best of his knowledge there was still an unresolved murder charge hanging over the head of Martin Sikorski, the identity he had been using back then. Never mind the small matter of an open Yakuza contract on his life. A payoff of one hundred thousand credits made it worth his while to take the chance in coming back to Hondo. DNA notwithstanding, it was hardly likely anyone could recognise Martin O'Reilly was the same man as Martin Sikorski. Not when Griggs had changed his face three times in the intervening years.
. As ever when his thoughts turned towards it, Griggs's hand strayed unconsciously to run his fingers along the line of his jaw. Ever since his last face-job, the skin there had started to feel loose and slack as though he was wearing a mask. The quack, black market doctor he was forced to use had called it "an unavoidable side-effect" - a man couldn't undergo as many treatments in the face-changing machine as Griggs had without experiencing some degree of degradation in the elasticity of the skin. All the same, as side-effects went, it was hardly the worst. After more than two-dozen face-changes, when Griggs looked in the mirror now he found it difficult to remember what his first face - his
face - had looked like. It was unfortunate, but in an era of all-pervasive surveillance with cameras on every street corner, a man who transported illicit merchandise for a living could run the risk of wearing the same face for too long. Ultimately, no longer being able to remember the face he had been born with was simply part of the price of doing business.
"You would like to burn a yellow paper?"
As Griggs made his way through the crowds thronging the pedway, a wizened old man in the saffron-coloured robes of a Buddhist monk stepped forward to block his path. The monk had a half-dozen strips of yellow paper in one hand and a calligraphy brush dipped in red ink in the other.
"We write your sins on the paper and burn it," the old man said, smiling. "Then, you make an offering to the gods and they will forgive you. Twenty credits. Very cheap. Twenty credits and all your sins will be gone."
Ignoring him, Griggs continued walking, leaving the old monk to try and sell absolution to the next tourist behind him. New Shinjuku was packed with such people: monks and nuns of a dozen different denominations hawked forgiveness and elicited donations with the same fervour as the army of secular street-traders shouting their wares from the stalls lining the pedway. Plasteen kabuki masks, embroidered synthi-silk banners, devotional figurines dedicated to Buddha, Amaterasu, Elvis Presley and a hundred other saints and deities besides. This part of New Shinjuku was the centre of the city's tourist trade - a swirling cacophony of colours, products and voices, all intent on attracting the attention of the passing buyer. In keeping with his cover as a tourist, once Griggs had met his contact at the drop-point and completed the handover, he would return to browse among the stalls and see if he could find a suitable souvenir among the acres of exotic tat on offer. For now, the shopping could wait. First, he needed to make his meeting with the contact and deliver the package to him.