Romantek Corporation creates dreams for its customers--dreams of exotic, historic places and events more fabulous than a time machine. As part of their dreaming apparatus, they're releasing a new product on the market, Soma- gen. The Soma-gen process is part of the dreaming technology, helping cells regenerate and scrubbing out impurities and annoying genetic problems like receding hairlines. Romantek's Chairman of the Board is a perfect volunteer for a high-profile test. He's fit, old enough to have begun feeling the effects of age, and a person used to taking risks. Sergio Corvino is excited to experience his Romantek dream at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro in the year 2000. Everyone is eager to see how his real body fares as a result of Soma-gen.
Amber Tachibara will also be experiencing the vacation in Rio with Sergio. He doesn't know it, but she's been sent as a bodyguard. There have been problems with cyber-terrorists in the past, and Romantek isn't taking any chances with their Chairman. Tachibara is tough on the job, but submissive in intimate situations. Her discovery of that side of her surprises both people concerned.
When a cyber-terrorist shows up in Rio, can Amber keep Sergio safe? Things can get deadly fast in a dream. Will Amber and Sergio survive their vacation in Rio?
The streets were teeming with revelers, some drunkenly weaving through the crowds, as loud, dissonant music blared nearby. Amber quickly got her bearings. It was night time. She was standing in an alleyway, off a main street, where some sort of parade was going on. She glanced down at herself, making sure all her parts were intact, and immediately commed Romantek's security room, using the implant in her skull. "Shit, guys. You couldn't give me clothes?"
There was some snickering, and then a junior team member spoke up. She recognized his voice. It was Davidson Smith. "We gave you clothes. It's a costume so you'll blend in."
Amber snorted. She was wearing a gold G-string, gold knee-high boots with red leather flames on the front and sides, and a gold push-up bra. Her boobs were huge in this costume, bigger than they were normally. In her opinion, they were excessive, weighing her down, but apparently, in the eyes of the Romantek programmers, a little enhancement wouldn't hurt. Gold bracelets, two dozen or more of them, jangled on her wrists. As she moved, she felt something on her back. Reaching behind her, she discovered wings, so she glanced back. They were white with gold flashing. On her head was some sort of headpiece, lightweight but awkward. She must look like an avenging angel. "You guys slay me," she said, disdainfully to her crew. "An angel? God damn."
"Go with it." This time it was Rex Boyd's voice. Her boss.
"Yes, sir. Where is Corvino?"
Davidson spoke up again. "He's one hundred, two point five meters away, southwest of your location. Go to the big street—Avenida Presidente Vargas—and make a left. He's on the street. Sending you a homing signal right now. You should see an arrow on the sidewalk."
Amber stumbled out of the alley, cursing her high-heeled boots, and onto the giant avenue full of people dressed in wild, revealing costumes. All kinds of people took part in the festivities, apparently, including men, women, transvestites, and androgynous persons. Everyone was dancing, more or less, to the heavy samba rhythms being blared from rooftop speakers on the nearby buildings. There were clowns, devils, birds of paradise, and flowers. So many of them were beautiful, bright, sequined and extravagant, Amber was a little dazed. Willing herself to focus on her job, she looked down past her boots and saw the faint outline of a white arrow, pointing southwest up the street, against the flow of traffic. Of course against the flow of traffic. Frowning, Amber wiggled her way through the river like a salmon swimming upstream. Someone pinched her naked ass and she turned to smack the offender, but couldn't figure out which person it was, so, frowning, she went back to following the arrow. It continued up the street for a while, then turned red. It was her signal that Corvino was close by.
In the sea of laughing faces, many with heavy makeup, it wasn't too hard to spot him. He was laughing like the rest, but wasn't as showy. He wore a devil's costume with loose fitting black satin pants, and a red, sequined, long-sleeved shirt with billowy sleeves. The cuffs were black satin, like his pants. His forehead sported red glued-on horns and he had a plastic pitchfork, with blunted tines. He was a bit of a caricature devil, but recognizable, sambaing in the crowd as though it was ridiculous fun.
Amber sidled up, pressed against him with others, and shouted over the din. "Hey, devil! I'm an avenging angel. Beware!"