Read Lawful Interception, Cory's latest novella, at

Illustration: YUKO SHIMIZU

Enjoy this all-new tale of Marcus Yallow, the hero of the Little Brother and Homeland.

The story is about how Marcus and his friends deal with a severe Bay Area earthquake centered on Oakland—and how people facing sudden emergencies and catastrophes do a lot less looting, and a lot more constructive self-organization, than we're taught to expect.

Adds Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the novella's editor: "There are also way-cool crowdsourced drones." A teaser follows.

If you grow up in San Francisco, you grow up with a bone-deep sense of what it means when the ground starts to move: quake. The first quake I remember was just a little tremor, a 2.8, but whether it's the big one or a little dish-rattler, there's no experience in the world like the experience of having the ground start to move. It's wrong like seeing a broken bone sticking out of your skin, wrong like being carried upside down, wrong like trying to sign your name with your non-dominant hand, but times a bazillion. I was six when that little dish-rattler knocked the knickknacks off the shelves, and as I recall, I went from sitting on the living room sofa to crouching under the kitchen table by teleportation, or at least I moved so fast and so automatically that I have no recollection of consciously deciding to move.

When the Seneca quake hit, I was halfway from Oakland airport to Coliseum BART, on the shuttle bus, and again, wham, one minute we were tootling down the road and the next, the road buckled and the bus was tilted 45' up and to the right, and we were all rolling toward the back, flailing or curling up into protective balls, and there was a sound like a burrito finding its way through the digestive system of a cow the size of the galaxy, a rrrrrrrumble that went right up through your skin to your bones and joints, more felt than heard. When it stopped, the sound got louder: car alarms, crashing buildings, screams.

That wasn't a good day.

Read the rest: Lawful Interception [Tor]