There’s a little bit of madness going on right now in the news. Panic and worry over the outbreak of a plague that has killed millions overseas. It’s an illness that is hard to catch in a world of fanatically clean people who hate having to look up from their phones. Still the worry remains, what if?
In the Hidden Gem I began by crafting a world after a plague. World War III brought around heavy chemical warfare and genetic manipulation. Everyone wanted to create the next super human. Instead of using their knowledge and skills to develop cures for cancer or AIDS, science and politicians used experimentation to create a super plague.
The plague does one of two things to any who contract it: a) kills them and this wipes out over a third of the world population, b) the few who do survive contracting the plague mutate into animals some never able to return to humans again. Out of the survivors of the plague and those who’d escaped contracting the nightmare was born another race, mutated, resistant, and powerful—the psi.
Aki’s world is one of discrimination. He’s one of the mutated, unable to hide his difference because his eyes mark him for the psi he is. But psi’s are the only obvious mutation that came out of the War. Many others are left to be discovered as human-kind will continue to evolve through whatever they set upon each other until what’s left is not quite human.
Have you begun your journey into the world of the Hidden Gem yet?
Misaki “Aki” Itou is a psi—a person with mutated DNA granting him psychic abilities. He’s also a contracted companion—a whore. It may not be the perfect profession, but having a roof over his head, food to eat, and not being subjected to torture is a dream come true. He is the top companion at the Hidden Gem, and it makes him enough money to buy the prettiest, most sparkly shoes he can find.
Shane McNaughton is an Irishman who survived the Third World War and works as a cop. Head of Missing Persons, he’s good at finding people, but after the plague of the Third mutated his DNA, he has a hard time letting anyone see the monster inside. He’s been paying for Aki’s services for two years, both the psi and the sexual kind, but he wants more from the companion.
Shane needs Aki’s ability to see into another person’s past to track down a serial killer murdering the children of rich and powerful men, but the more they work together, the clearer it becomes that they are linked through a darker past than either of them realizes.