The police were after him so Alex took a room in the drugged out part of town and tried to blend away. When they came around looking in windows, he took his clothes off and sat shaking and naked in the corner of the room. Just another junkie. But something was off. “We’re coming up,” growled the cop, and the murmur of the giant tank cut off.

Alex struggled into his clothes. Their feet heavy on the stairs. He didn’t have a door so they stood there watching him patiently. The one cop was big and powerful but looked sunken and weary, a sliver of nothing next to the orc.

“Hey,” said Alex, and held out his hand to them. It jumped and shook erratically. Still just a junkie. “Come on in.”

The one cop took it and walked him through an elaborate masonic handshake. “Hey, not bad,” he said. “You’re all right, kid.”

“Try this one,” rumbled the orc, smiling. His teeth were capped with gold and flashed in the weak spring sunlight. The handshake was much more elaborate; Alex tied himself in knots trying to keep up. Finally he collapsed, limp and covered in sweat, every muscle in his back jangling.

“God,” he said to the floor. “I feel worse than the time Jumper tried to show me how to fight.”

The cops looked at each other. “You knew Jumper?” said the orc. “The Jumper?”

“Yeah,” said Alex. “Well, not well. I mean, this was before… we went to the same bar. Nice guy.”

The one cop snorted. “Sure, sure.” They started to search the apartment, but it didn’t matter — he’d already swallowed the stuff while he was lying on the floor.