We've been having withdrawal symptoms from Adam-Troy Castro's addictive Andrea Cort novels, so we're thrilled to discover there's a new Andrea Cort story in the April issue of Analog. This time, Andrea faces a murder suspect who has three bodies.
Andrea's own lover, the Porrinyards, has two bodies, so she's the perfect person to ferret out the truth. The Porrinyards are cy-linked, meaning their brains are connected cybernetically and these two former individuals have become a single person. In our review of the second Andrea Cort novel, we called Andrea's romance with the Porrinyards "one of the most fascinating romantic relationships in science fiction."
The only prisoner in the interrogation room consisted of two women and one man.
The women, Mi and Zi Diyamen, appeared to be identical twins of either the natural or cloned variety. White-haired despite their apparent youth, wispier in form and more delicate in appearance than any of the handful of cylinked people I'd met (who, starting with my lovers the Porrinyards and continuing through the various others I'd encountered in the last few years, had always tended toward the physically robust), they seemed to exist only as pale echoes of the man who sat between them. Their skin was so pale that it was possible to follow the thin trace of veins at their temples, and their eyes were a shade of blue transparent enough to disappear against their irises.
Ernest Harriman, who sat between them, was a bear: round shouldered, ruddy faced, massive without crossing the border into fat, either old enough or sufficiently well-removed from his most recent rejuvenation to look like he could have been father to the two women beside him. His impressive physical presence and the defiant cast of his smile belied the features of an otherwise weak man: watery eyes, flabby cheeks, and a chin that receded from his lower lip as if eager to join the thick curve of his neck.
The Diyamens bracketed Harriman at the table where all three sat, resting their delicate hands on his thicker wrists.
It was impossible to behold this cozy triptych without considering the women nothing more than Harriman's personal accessories, but I knew enough about the nature of the acquired condition the three shared to know that this was no more than an illusion, one that they might well have been cultivating for psychological advantage over their jailers.
In truth, the three were not only equals but parts of the same person: closer than lovers, closer than siblings, less like separate people than limbs of the same composite organism.
They were three. And they were one.
You can read a lot more at the link. [Analog]