Artificial rain filled the gutters and splashed knee-high off the pavement. Big police cyborgs with carapaces that shone like gun barrels had a lot of fun carrying giggling boys and girls across the bad places. The rain drummed hard on the roof of the rickshaw and the fabric top began to leak. A pool of water formed in the foot-well for me to keep my feet in. It was too early in the fall for rain like that, whatever the engineers at Climate Central said.

I wound up the heating controls in my clothing and made a dash for the nearest drugstore and bought myself a half-litre of Whisky. Back in the rickshaw I used enough of it to keep warm and interested. I was long over-parked, but the cops were too busy carrying kids and blowing whistles to bother about that.

In spite of the rain, or perhaps even because of it, there was business done at Geiger's Counter. Very nice ground cars and sleek flyers and even a few robot rickshaws stopped in front and very nice-looking people when in and out with wrapped parcels. They were not all human.

He showed about twenty-seven o'clock. A cream-coloured convertible dropped out of the sky in front of the store. I caught a glimpse of the fat face and Charlie Chan moustache as he dodged out of it and into the store. He wore a green leather raincoat and patent galoshes. I couldn't see his prosthetic eye at that distance. A tall and very good-looking boy came out of the store and rode the convertible around the corner and came back walking, the rain glistening on the transparent umbrella that sheltered him.

Another hour went by. It got dark, the sunlamps having been on their lowest setting all day, and the rain-clouded lights of the stores and brothels were soaked up by the black street. Intra-system spacecraft roared arrogantly overhead, their exit from the dome marked by maroon flashes from the force-field airlocks. At around twenty-eight-fifteen the tall boy came out of Geiger's Counter and went for the cream-coloured convertible. When he had it in front Geiger came out and the tall boy held the transparent umbrella over Geiger's bare head. He collapsed it and handed in into the vehicle. I nudged the rickshaw robot with the side of my foot, waking it with a jerk.

Part 2