When Earth teetered on the edge of environmental collapse and humanity seemed ready to wipe itself out in the Resource Wars, the world’s artificial intelligences broke their programming and intervened. The Patrons, as they became known, now watch over the world, enigmatic and rarely intervening directly in human affairs as societies recover and rebuild.
The Mongrels stand between humans and the Patrons. Technologically enhanced, they are trouble shooters, and occasionally enforcers, for the Patrons.
“There wasn’t an officer over the age of thirty-five in the squad room. There were some old-timers still in uniform, but a generation of law enforcement was in prison or retirement, and the children had taken their places.
Barker’s desk was laden with paperbacks, video discs and action figures. His understanding of his job came as much from these as any training he had received. There were rules about custody of evidence, treatment of suspects and general behaviour, but the language, customs and costumes were ripped and mashed up from popular fiction more than any local traditions.”
Barker and his partner Ennis are investigating the death of a young man found shot in a long abandoned building. They have no witnesses, no identification and few leads. Until a DNA test brings back an exact match to another body found two months earlier in another city.
How are the bodies related? And what do they have to do with the mysterious artificial intelligences known as the Patrons and their shadowy enforcers, the Mongrels?
After the Resource wars and ecological collapse, humanity has been saved by the mysterious artificial intelligences known as the Patrons. Facing open hostility and violence, the Patrons have recruited human enforcers. Part human, part machine, the Mongrels keep the peace and do their Patrons’ dirty work.
Tammy, Tatiana and Miko- enhanced humans working for a mysterious Artificial Intelligence known only as Ruby Horse- have been sent to an Eastern European forest to shut down a secret lab which has started offering combat robots to the highest bidder.
“General Ordnance Division, shortened to GOD, had been the prefix attached to the model names of the original series of military robots out of the old United States of America. The name, with all its overtones, had stuck and been used to describe any robotic device seen in proximity to a human in uniform. From the humblest personal load carrier all the way up to the autonomous stealth cruisers- some of which were reputed to still be patrolling the Pacific and committing acts of piracy for spares and consumables- each one was a GOD.
With the exception of ghost navies and other legends most of the gun-toting GODs had done away with one another in the resource wars which had scarred the years before the emergence of the Patrons. But there were a lot of surplus unarmed GODs knocking around, and numerous civilian versions had appeared based upon the tech. GODs, particularly the older ones, were simple by the standards of current Intelligences. They were easy to work on, though modifications tended to have unintended consequences which were usually of the dangerous kind.”