This not a K23 Side Story, is this is a short I wrote a few years ago based on the two Cybermagic novels, The Cybernetic Dragon and The Hidden Chasm which k23 is based on. As you’re about to read, the world presented in The Cybermagic Novels is similar, yet completely different.
Alfonso is a much grittier, creepier character. He’s not married here. The Avian are more like the standard fantasy bird-men than the ones in K23.
I’m posting to give people an idea of what Cybermagic is like, this not K23 Detectives, so don’t confuse the two.
What was Alfonso doing in an Avian BSDM club at the bottom of the Red Light Tower?
He asked himself this question over and over and again as he walked past the two giant dark-brown Avians with chiseled beaks and Avian flails, which could sever limbs if swung hard enough.
“No. Trouble.” One of them said.
Fortunately, they didn’t frisk him, or they’d have found the laser pistol in his vest.
Just inside was an extremely bored-looking human receptionist. Being evolved parrots, Avians communicated by mimicking sounds, making direct communication difficult. A human receptionist was a wise decision.
She was sitting behind a desk, which was in front of a rusted metal wall displaying various kinds of flails, ranging from innocuous to the painful. It was still the morning and business was slow, so there was no one else in the lobby.
“Can I help you,” she said as she applied her neon green lipstick.
Alfonso showed his private eye badge and said, “Is there a Timothy Barbaro here?”
The receptionist perked up and shifted her eyes around. “The clientele of this club is kept strictly confidential.” Timothy was here, now it was a matter of getting to him while keep the violence to a minimal.
This case had started the day before when Janice Barbaro, Timothy’s wife came bawling into his office.
“I haven’t seen my husband in days and I’m worried about him,” she said between sniffles. “I want you to find him, I’ll pay 50k Dinari to find.”
“Do you have any idea where he is or who might be after him?”
She suddenly became quiet. “Well he does frequent the Red Light Tower–”
“—so you know he’s cheating on you with hookers?”
Janice shook her head. “No, no,” she smiled, “we do that together. Threesomes are fun. You should try them sometimes.”
Too much information. Then Janice frowned. “He does like to gamble there though; Poker specifically.” She scratched her head. “He never tells me if he wins or loses though, but our bank balance never goes down, thought I wish it went up, to tell you the truth.”
All he needed to know. Alfonso took a puff of his cigarette and leaned back and placed his feet on his desk.
The Red Light Tower was where prostitution was legal in New Delta, but not gambling. Gambling was only legal in an adjacent tower which housed a city-run casino, the only legal casino. Since collecting taxes was near impossible due to the city layout and the fact no-one knew exactly how many organisms lived in it, the casino was a huge source of revenue. This meant that Timothy was gambling illegally, probably with criminal element. Since he never said how did and the bank balance never changed, it probably meant he was losing money and getting loans to cover it up.
“Did he say who he was gambling with?” Alfonso asked.
“Not much, but I did once over hear a conversation with a friend about a bunch of Avians in the lower level.”
Alfonso stood up. “I think I know where your husband is, if he’s still alive, and I should have him by tomorrow evening.”
So that brought Alfonso to the Avian Flail, the only Avian BSDM club around.
Just because Timothy was there, didn’t mean that place didn’t creep him out. Alfonso stuck with elven hookers and as far away from BSDM as he could, he didn’t need more pain after his job.
Alfonso placed his hands on the receptionist’s desk and leaned in. “Look, I’m here to retrieve him on account of his wife.”
She glared at him. “There is no Timothy Barbaro here.”
He pulled his pistol out of his vest and pointed it at her. “Tell me where he is.”
“All I have to do is scream and ten avians with flails will come running and you’ll end up worse that him…” She covered her mouth.
Alfonso took off running down the hall to the back, out of the first door stepped a bright green avian. Alfonso was going to try to tackle it (Avian gender was near impossible to determine at a glance) but it pointed into the room.
There was Timothy, hung up via chains, naked, and nasty busies and lacerations covered him from head to toe. Alfonso would have guess he was dead, except for the fact that his chest moved up and down as he breathed.
“Lost. 50k Dinari. Lent. Money. No. Pay. Make. Pay,” the Avian squawked.
Alfonso sheathed his pistol. “Did you work out a payment plan?”
“Yes but. Hacked Bank. Last. Week. Had. Enough. To. Pay. No. Need to. Even lend.”
Alfonso felt a chill run down his spine. He was not just dealing with the club any more, but the extremely dangerous Avian Mafia, and an extremely cheap compulsive gambler. Timothy had the money to pay, but didn’t want his creditors to know, so he had the mob lend him his losses and pay it back over time.
“Do you have a screen I could use. I need to contact his wife.”
“Poi. No Allow. Police. May find.”
“Don’t worry,” Alfonso said. “If you let me, I may get out of your feathers.”
The avian led him to another room with a screen where he sat down and contacted Janice and told her the details.
Janice got very red and started to shake. “That fucking stupid bastard. Why—why—We had the money, if he’d only—“ She bit her fist. “Let him rot. Leave him and I’ll transfer the money shortly.”
Alfonso sat back. “Really? You could just transfer the Dinari to the mob and be done. I’ll only charge 10k extra for my services.”
Tears started to form at the corners of her eyes. “We had threesomes…”
Alfonso nodded. He understood. Relationships were built on trust. Timothy broke that trust, and therefore the relationship was over.
Alfonso walked out of the room and told the green avian, “He’s all yours. He’s not worth my time.”
Alfonso felt sort of sleazy for leaving a man to die, but what was the point of saving a man who wouldn’t save himself?
If you really want to read the Cybermagic novels, you can find them at the of the K23 Detectives Three Pack with Bonus Novels. Until 10/7 if you use code BF57Q at the link above, you’ll get 33% off.