It was Friday night, and the neon was rising in Seattle.
The sun had already gone out of sight from Kestrel’s little two-story building in the Barrens, and was quickly working westward to submerge itself into the rough waters of Puget Sound. The air was crisp for an early summer evening, and Kestrel zipped her studded leather jacket up over a low collar shirt with dark grey mandala designs over its surface.
Her lips were lightly glossed and she’d replaced the red steel plugs in her lobes with black tunnels with a pair of electric blue lightning bolts threaded through. Her hair was spiked up and about, and she’d strapped two black leather band around her wrists.
Her Suzuki Mirage was parked right outside the back door. It still had water droplets sticking to the tank and exhaust from a late afternoon’s washing. She started the engine with a purr and, pausing to throw on a pair of cheap plastic sunglasses, and stick a small set of buds in her ears, wheeled the bike around and onto the street. “I Wanna Get Away” by the late, great Riotmancers screamed into her ears as she left the building behind.
The harsh neon glow of the Barren”s seedier shops and salons opened to a soft yellow glow as she made a detour west into Bellevue. As it turned out, making friends with the Ancients had done wonders for her already rocky relationship with the idiots in the Halloweener-controlled south.
The trip around the unfavorable territory was longer, but the potholes tended to actually be repaired in Bellevue and the summer air didn’t quite stink of burning garbage and spent gunpowder.
The last of the pink in the sky had turned black by the time Kestrel cut the engine in front of the Emporium of the Golden Sun. She hopped off her bike, heavy boots slamming against the sidewalk. She rapped on the shuttered door with both hands, drumming out the beat to “Stagehand Crisis” by—
—shoot. 23rd Century Birthday Party? Diamond Dogs? She never could remember for sure. Some band from the forties.
She drummed with her knuckles as she waited for Gold Sun, shaking the metal gate behind the glass with every beat.