[the part i missed goes here]
Molly comes in to work one morning and finds an unmarked box on her workbench. Inside there’s a corroded mechanism of some kind, centuries old. Mysterious!
Dayna is at the funeral for the young man, Martin, who appears to have mysteriously caught a bullet fired by some DTO members, on the wrong street at the wrong time. Nobody seems to want to talk about why he was on that street at that time. His girlfriend is among the mourners, looking pretty torn up about the whole deal. The funeral is almost entirely populated by women and very old men; Dayna’s attempt to find one of the deceased’s young male friends who might be in a ranty mood is fruitless.
She follows the crowd back to his mother’s house; from various ephemera she learns that the kid was an only child and a fair to good student; Dayna also gets the sense that the girlfriend and the mother aren’t exactly tight; the mother feels her son could have done better, and silently blames the gf to some extent for the son’s death. In turn, the girlfriend is sure that the mother didn’t understand their relationship, the totally true and pure love they shared, etc. It doesn’t help that the kid’s family is West African, whereas the girl is East African, maybe Ethiopian. There’s some material evidence that this family retains a vestige of their people’s pre-colonial religion. Dayna smoothly gives the mother her phone number “in case she can help”, conveying subtly that she is in fact a fairly powerful vodoun priestess.
Dayna leaves as the mourners begin to drift away. On her way back to the light rail, she spots a trio of young black men checking her out, noticing which house she’s just left. She approaches them and discovers they were friends of Martin’s. They wear symbols that are basically a dagger beneath an eye in a triangle. “We don’t know why he went down there. Everybody knows not to go down there, they’re playing stupid games there.” They say he wasn’t in any trouble that they knew of. “His mom not like you?” “Thinks she’s too good for everybody.” Someone observes that “everybody knows who it was” and that “somebody should do something about this”; the three of them seem to be gearing themselves up to do the something.
“There are these guys, big guys, they moved in a couple three months ago. Weren’t any gangs in that part of town before. They moved in, started dealing. A couple guys we know got in with them, kept trying to get us to get in. We’re a gang, but we’re our kind of gang. But those guys, they’re strong…. Still don’t know what Martin was doing back there. He should have told us. He was planning something.”
Dayna: “Did they have something on him?”
“What the hell would they have? There was nothing to have on him.”
Dayna: “Something about his girl?”
“She didn’t like us, we were taking his time, doing guy things.”
The three are part of a gang called the Army. which has a sort of badass Promise Keepers flavor to it — be strong, protect your friends, protect your woman. They’re essentially young black conservative christians at the core; they didn’t really dig that Martin’s girl was relatively independent and self-posessed, or that Martin was fine with that. Nevertheless, these guys really aren’t up for much more than tagging and the occasional minor, nonlethal street fight. Dayna whips some matriarchal wisdom on them and basically talks them down from going for revenge. At that point she figures she’s done all she can do in this rather dicey neighborhood on which night is swiftly falling, and goes home.
Later she hears stories that there’s some new drug being moved on Martin’s old patch, a chemical called blow or blue or something like that. It’s not coke, though. Nobody really seems to know much beyond that, except that the number of shootings and other crimes has spiked up at around the same time the drug showed up.
Molly takes days to clean up the mechanism, but after a couple of al-nighters, she’s gotten all the crap off. She experimentally turns a lever, and finds that the device is like an unbelievably clever and technically sweet transmission that turns torque into speed with great efficiency and smoothness. It’s so sweet, it hardly even seems to need oil. The thought occurs that this isn’t quite like anything on the automotive market right now, and it would definitely be worth money; she documents it extensively, with lots of photos, diagrams and notes. She keeps one copy of her documentation and sends the other copy off to Paul Allen, with a note that she didn’t develop this, but that they might want to investigate it and possibly market the thing. In the meantime, she puts the gearbox in the van. After this, the van has an amazing, perfectly linear transmission that doesn’t need oil, and has a greatly improved field-reparability, but is a little less fuel-efficient.
Zhou is in his apartment’s parking garage when someone buttonholes him on the way to the elevator. The guy is a movie-star handsome non-Han dude from China. Zhou instantly pegs him as a Scion. He says Zhou has “come to his attention” and wants to go talk somewhere. They go for coffee at one of Belltown’s many coffee shops, where the smitten barista making the dude’s ostentatious espresso beverage seems to want to ask for his autograph. He says his name is Dan, and he was impressed by what went down on Mt. Ranier; he is an acquaintance of Homer, somehow. He says he’s a “recruiter of sorts” and he seems a little confused about what the hell Zhou does, how he supports himself in the style he does, and why he isn’t more deeply involved in crazy Scion adventures. Zhou drops a broad hint about what his real business is, and Dan nods as if that explains things. He says he can think of some good opportunities for Zhou to put his “considerable skills” to profitable use, and Zhou makes interested noises, as well as suggesting that they share some information. They exchange cards. Dan’s is absolutely perfect, and reads “talent scout, seattle, los angeles”, along with his english (Daniel Lee) and Chinese names. They part and Zhou decides to call around the group. Nobody else knows this guy at all. Does Dan think Zhou is the leader or some shit?