But as Lance gets to know Eidolon and what he stands for, he becomes less and less sure that he's on the right side. Is Wyatt merely taking advantage of him, or could there really be a dark secret at the heart of Eidolon's attempts to right the world?
Eidolon is the second book in the Lance Canela series, following The Arcology. It features a special bonus short, Thoughts as Gray as Ash.
“How am I supposed to respond to you exactly? Won’t I just look like I’m crazy, talking to myself?” I whispered.
“Nah, those micro headsets from a few years ago are still fairly common with the business crowd. No one will give it a second thought as long as you act normal,” he said. “Though I can see how that one might be tough for you.”
I grunted dismissively and looked the crowd over. There weren’t any giveaways to identify the protesters by at a glance; they certainly knew better than to show up in the typical punk outfits that would have made them so easy to spot. No metal studs decorating their cuffs, no raw denim instead of corporately produced artificial fabrics. No bright hair or body mods, at least not visible ones. The uniform of the counterculture, and every bit as conformist as what they claimed to stand against. But not tonight.
A commonality between the people standing around finally caught my eye: many of them had coats off to the side, or draped over an arm. Two women talking by an inoperable fountain had large purses on their shoulders. Another girl was sitting on a park bench, pretending to pay attention to her phone. As the clock above the courthouse rang out for the six o’clock hour, they sprang into action. All at once the protesters whipped out masks from bags and coats and under their shirts and dropped what they were carrying. The collection of eerily emotionless Carey masks coalesced into a crowd, swarming towards the courthouse side. The handful of strangers who weren’t involved stood agape, staring at the proceedings in horror like they’d just witnessed his assassination all over again. The girl with the phone was now holding it up as if recording the incident. A chant broke out from the crowd, repeating a slogan that I couldn’t quite make out.
“What? What’s that? Are they starting already?” Wyatt shouted. I winced.
“You didn’t talk to any of them! What are you even doing?”
“Shut up, I’m trying to watch. Let me handle this side of things.”
The crowd’s chanting grew clearer, louder, until at last I could understand it: “This court’s corruption can’t continue.”
The pair of women near the fountain had pulled out a huge sheet of some kind, then spread it wide across the park’s flat surface. From my angle I wasn’t able to tell exactly what image was on it, but the colors suggested it was Eidolon’s insignia. It was right about then that sirens began to wail in the distance, and cops who had been inside the courthouse emerged to find out what the disruption was. The group scattered like roaches, ripping their masks off and donning the coats to conceal their clothes. In seconds the park was vacant, with only a handful of shocked pedestrians and the thin white sheet left as evidence of what had occurred. The girl who’d been recording pocketed her phone and took off, trying to chase after some member of the crowd. The cops from the courthouse spread out, trying to catch any of the protesters, but there seemed little hope of that happening. One cop stopped the phone girl instead, towering over her mousy little frame. She looked up, huddled back against the mottled marble at a statue’s base.