ANTI-MAN by Dean R. Koontz

“Here’s what we aren’t worried about,” Leonard said. “One, they will never be able to uphold a charge of grand larceny. First of all, they were going to destroy the android anyway. It is not as if you stole something precious. And they will not dare tell in public what the android did to get itself condemned.”

“You know?” I asked, surprised.

“I told him,” Harry said. “He ought to know all the circumstances if he’s to do his best for you. To hell with security.”

“Go on,” I said to Fenner.

“Anyway,” he went on, “grand larceny will fall through. Maybe petty or nuisance theft, but that usually only requires a double reimbursement to the victim by the victimizer. Used to be punishable by a prison sentence, but not under WA law. Next, they will charge you with assaulting the WA rep in the taxi lot at Cantwell. Tell me the situation.”

I told him.

“He did not draw first?” my crafty little attorney queried.


“Think. Did he go for a gun?”

“Yes, but I shot him before—”

“Then he went for a gun?”


Fenner chuckled. “Did he start for it before you pulled your own?”

“I can’t remember,” I said.

“You’re right,” he said. “Of course he drew first. And you had no way of knowing it was not a contraband weapon held by a non-WA Citizen. So much for that charge. Now, killing game on a government preserve only allows for a fine. Hellishly stiff. But maybe we can get it reduced since we can prove you didn’t eat any of it. You didn’t, did you?”

“No. But how did you—”

“My guess,” Harry said. “If the android was continuing to evolve, I thought He might find it essential to have large quantities of energy foods. I knew you weren’t the type to kill for the fun of it.”

“Thanks,” I said.

“Hell’s bells, men,” Fenner said, “will you let your shyster lawyer lay out his news and views?”

“Go ahead, Leo,” Harry said.

“Gee, thanks,” Leonard said. He continued pacing across the floor to the toilet, then back to the bunk where we sat. He punctuated all his words with his hands, waving them, slamming them together, slapping them against his hips. “Next, we have the problem of the stolen cars. You are going to admit to stealing both of them. There is no way around it, no way to disguise what you did. But we can argue that, since both vehicles were government property, you should be dealt with less severely than you would be for stealing private property. The case of Halderbon vs. World Authority sets a precedent for such an argument, whether it will get us anywhere or not.”

“Now we’re to the bad part,” I said.

“You’ve got it right,” Leonard said, pacing faster, slapping both hands into both hips in time to his step. “In the case of the Anchorage cop, you’re still a little in the clear. We can easily prove you did not initiate the assault with intent to kill. After all, you tied him up, left the heat on so he would not freeze. That’s simple assault, and we can handle that. But the big problem comes with Justice Parnel—who you so unkindly shot in the leg. What in good hell were you doing, boy?’ ‘

I recounted the experience, went over it time and again from the moment Parnel had turned the light on me, until I had left him in the arms of the ranger at the main ranger station.

“You did see that he got medical attention,” Leonard said. “We can argue that this proves you did not intend to kill. But they are going to fight like hell to keep the bigger charge, ’cause it’s their only way to strike back at you for all you’ve done. I’m going to talk to Parnel tomorrow. I’ll try to talk him into dropping the charges to simple assault. He, being the victim, can do that whether WA likes it or not.”

Then they went, leaving me alone in the cell that night, the next day, the next night, and all of the following morning. But at noon on my third day in prison, as I was trying to concentrate on the melodic intricacies of a Lennon-extrapolated symphony that was playing in my wall stereo, Fenner returned with my bail papers, ushered me out to the desk where I signed another set of yellow sheets. From there, a WA clerk led us out of the prison complex, onto the roof of the building to the same landing pad that I had been brought in on, days earlier.

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65

Categories: Koontz, Dean