Officer Li patrolled downtown, slick as chocolate, sharp as gasoline, and I rode high on her hip, the best in the new nonlethal technology. The shiners skunked past with respectful side-eye glances. We brought in dozens of collars, chain gangs like paper Christmas garlands. Up close and personal was how she liked to work it. I was just doing my job.

Together we took down tough riggers with tattooed torsos like bad turtleneck sweaters, whiskey-drenched foremen with blood-stained knuckles, slack-faced women toting purses stuffed with other people’s money, skinny boys carrying bats to break kneecaps on demand. The screaming teenager who swore she just needed money for formula, that the baby was alone in the apartment, he’d die if we took her to the station. Up close and personal, mascara-stained tears, perfume over old sweat, the straining muscles as Li clamped me on the girl’s neck and I sent the ultraneural pulses deep into her brain, cutting off her voice, bringing her in line with the rest, a job well done.

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