In the nighttime heart of Beirut, in one of a row of general-address transfer booths, Louis Wu flicked into reality.

His foot-length queue was white, dotted with red and bits of decayed flesh. In his hands he held a monofilament sword, the other a flashlight laser. His eyes were still bright, but his breathing was labored, as though he had been through an ordeal. The careworn royal blue robe with a holographic dragon twisting on its surface was dotted with more viscera. He had been in a fight.

He looked up and saw a vacant street, normally bustling with people, now devoid of their presence. He set his jaw and said out loud, “Speaker, all clear, bring Nessus through now.”

In the adjacent booths a large Kzin carrying a Pierson’s Puppeteer and a young woman flicked into existence. “You sure it is safe?” growled the Kzin.

“No,” said Louis as he stepped out.

In answer to his presence, shambling forms appeared out of the alleyways.

“Tanj,” he swore. “More damn zombies. Let’s dance!” and he leapt screaming…

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