Home > Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1)(7)

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1)(7)
Author: James S.A. Corey

“But now they want her found,” Miller said.

“They do.”

“What changed?”

“They didn’t see fit to share that information.”


“Last records show she was employed on Tycho Station but maintained an apartment here. I’ve found her partition on the network and locked it down. The password is in your files.”

“Okay,” Miller said. “What’s my contract?”

“Find Julie Mao, detain her, and ship her home.”

“A kidnap job, then,” he said.


Miller stared down at his hand terminal, flicking the files open without particularly looking at them. A strange knot had tied itself in his guts. He’d been working Ceres security for sixteen years, and he hadn’t started with many illusions in place. The joke was that Ceres didn’t have laws—it had police. His hands weren’t any cleaner than Captain Shaddid’s. Sometimes people fell out airlocks. Sometimes evidence vanished from the lockers. It wasn’t so much that it was right or wrong as that it was justified. You spent your life in a stone bubble with your food, your water, your air shipped in from places so distant you could barely find them with a telescope, and a certain moral flexibility was necessary. But he’d never had to take a kidnap job before.

“Problem, Detective?” Captain Shaddid asked.

“No, sir,” he said. “I’ll take care of it.”

“Don’t spend too much time on it,” she said.

“Yes, sir. Anything else?”

Captain Shaddid’s hard eyes softened, like she was putting on a mask. She smiled.

“Everything going well with your partner?”

“Havelock’s all right,” Miller said. “Having him around makes people like me better by contrast. That’s nice.”

Her smile’s only change was to become half a degree more genuine. Nothing like a little shared racism to build ties with the boss. Miller nodded respectfully and headed out.

His hole was on the eighth level, off a residential tunnel a hundred meters wide with fifty meters of carefully cultivated green park running down the center. The main corridor’s vaulted ceiling was lit by recessed lights and painted a blue that Havelock assured him matched the Earth’s summer sky. Living on the surface of a planet, mass sucking at every bone and muscle, and nothing but gravity to keep your air close, seemed like a fast path to crazy. The blue was nice, though.

Some people followed Captain Shaddid’s lead by perfuming their air. Not always with coffee and cinnamon scents, of course. Havelock’s hole smelled of baking bread. Others opted for floral scents or semipheromones. Candace, Miller’s ex-wife, had preferred something called EarthLily, which had always made him think of the waste recycling levels. These days, he left it at the vaguely astringent smell of the station itself. Recycled air that had passed through a million lungs. Water from the tap so clean it could be used for lab work, but it had been piss and shit and tears and blood and would be again. The circle of life on Ceres was so small you could see the curve. He liked it that way.

He poured a glass of moss whiskey, a native Ceres liquor made from engineered yeast, then took off his shoes and settled onto the foam bed. He could still see Candace’s disapproving scowl and hear her sigh. He shrugged apology to her memory and turned back to work.

Juliette Andromeda Mao. He read through her work history, her academic records. Talented pinnace pilot. There was a picture of her at eighteen in a tailored vac suit with the helmet off: pretty girl with a thin, lunar citizen’s frame and long black hair. She was grinning like the universe had given her a kiss. The linked text said she’d won first place in something called the Parrish/Dorn 500K. He searched briefly. Some kind of race only really rich people could afford to fly in. Her pinnace—the Razorback—had beaten the previous record and held it for two years.

Miller sipped his whiskey and wondered what had happened to the girl with enough wealth and power to own a private ship that would bring her here. It was a long way from competing in expensive space races to being hog-tied and sent home in a pod. Or maybe it wasn’t.

“Poor little rich girl,” Miller said to the screen. “Sucks to be you, I guess.”

He closed the files and drank quietly and seriously, staring at the blank ceiling above him. The chair where Candace used to sit and ask him about his day stood empty, but he could see her there anyway. Now that she wasn’t here to make him talk, it was easier to respect the impulse. She’d been lonely. He could see that now. In his imagination, she rolled her eyes.

An hour later, his blood warm with drink, he heated up a bowl of real rice and fake beans—yeast and fungus could mimic anything if you had enough whiskey first—opened the door of his hole, and ate dinner looking out at the traffic gently curving by. The second shift streamed into the tube stations and then out of them. The kids who lived two holes down—a girl of eight and her brother of four—met their father with hugs, squeals, mutual accusations, and tears. The blue ceiling glowed in its reflected light, unchanging, static, reassuring. A sparrow fluttered down the tunnel, hovering in a way that Havelock assured him they couldn’t on Earth. Miller threw it a fake bean.

He tried to think about the Mao girl, but in truth he didn’t much care. Something was happening to the organized crime families of Ceres, and it made him jumpy as hell.

This thing with Julie Mao? It was a sideshow.

Chapter Three: Holden

After nearly two full days in high gravity, Holden’s knees and back and neck ached. And his head. Hell, his feet. He walked in the crew hatch of the Knight just as Naomi was climbing up the ladder from its cargo bay. She smiled and gave him a thumbs-up.

“The salvage mech is locked down,” she said. “Reactor is warming up. We’re ready to fly.”


“We got a pilot yet?” she asked.

“Alex Kamal is on the ready rotation today, so he’s our man. I kind of wish Valka had been up. He’s not the pilot Alex is, but he’s quieter, and my head hurts.”

“I like Alex. He’s ebullient,” Naomi said.

“I don’t know what ebullient means, but if it means Alex, it makes me tired.”

Holden started up the ladder to ops and the cockpit. In the shiny black surface of a deactivated wall panel, Naomi’s reflection smirked at his back. He couldn’t understand how Belters, thin as pencils, bounced back from high g so quickly. Decades of practice and selective breeding, he assumed.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology