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In this scene from Bro, Senth fights with idBot over a single, deleted–but vital–message.
A buzz at Senth’s wrist alerted him to a message. He withdrew his mobile and set the device to read-only mode, rather than bring it up on holovid.
The message required a password, which told Senth who had sent it. His Sen’dai–guild master–and father, Luc Saint-Cyr.
The Guild didn’t accept non-humans, unless they were enslaved to a human member. No one could rise past level ten, unless related to a human member. Guild-arranged marriages and adoptions happened regularly. To keep the Guild happy, Saint-Cyr was Senth’s lord and master and his adoptive father.
Could his Sen’dai send a note the way anyone else would? Of course not. No, the Man had to do it with mystery and ceremony.
Folks in this town never referred to Saint-Cyr by name. You could hear the capital letters when they called him the Man, or referred to him as the Harbinger. His father was the crime lord all the other crime lords wanted to be when they grew up.
“Ooh, big scary Man.” He thumbed off the device. “Please let this be a job and not him thinking I screwed up.” Senth ducked into a coffee shop and made his father’s handsign to the worker behind the counter, then slipped into a back room to access the password function in private. That he had no idea what the password might be did not deter him. It took seconds to break in.
“This is prolly some test to see how fast I can break these suckers.” He opened the message, and then brought the device to his ear.
“A worker at the Guild says he’s met a man who claims you’re family. Come home and we’ll discuss it. Now.” The message ended.
Senth jerked the device from his ear. “No way I heard that right.” He pressed play and brought it to his ear.
“The idBot messaging system regrets that your message has been deleted. Would you like to access another message at this time?”
“No, I wouldn’t like to access another message. I want to hear this message.” He poked at the screen. None of the usual options showed. After several fruitless minutes, he resorted to asking for help. “IdBot, how do I replay the message?”
“Message has been deleted.”
“I know that, you stupid machine. Undelete it.”
“IdBot is unable to comply.”
Senth swore under his breath. “Why?”
“Message was delivered as hear-once-and-delete. Would you like to access another message at this time?”
“No, I wouldn’t, idiotBot. Thank you not very much.” Senth turned off the device and put it in his pocket. “Why is Dad sending me encrypted hear-once messages? What in the worlds is going on?”
Bro, Antonello Brothers Series by Kayelle Allen
The tech Senth is about to claim will make him invisible. Finally, the young halfbreed thief will be out of sight, shielded from the taunts humans fire at him. But when that tech reveals he has a human half-brother who’s bound by a cruel slaver, Senth must find a way to save his brother from abuse and win his freedom — even though Senth is a slave himself.
There’s just one problem. The new Thieves’ Guild tech might make him invisible, but it can’t shield him from the truth…
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