The man from the Ministry..
Here’s a little something I came up with in my sleep last night. I hope you enjoy it:
(Please let me know what you think.)
She came at me from the air, in the standard modified heli-job. I was walking along the ground story gangway of a local shopping plaza. She came swooping down silently as I ignored her until her blade was almost in my back. Flipping fluidly onto my back, I slid a loop of Kill Cord over her head with my left hand while disarming her with my right. She tumbled into me and we rolled across the floor, coming to rest with her on top.
The Kill Cord was my own design, and relatively new. It is a section of thin wire, run from a small, yet strong, winch on my back, through a tube along my arm. When shaken out, a loop 16 inches or so forms and is placed over the head and around the neck, (or other appendage) of the target. Sensing bioelectric fields within its coil, it would automatically ‘snug up’ until resistance was met. Then, with a very slight move of my left hand, in a second or so it would completely retract back into the 3mm tube strapped to my wrist. It could, and had, cut through 8 inches of poly-carbonate steel. The soft flesh and bone of a human gave it little, if any, resistance whatsoever.
The wildcat in my arms went quiet within a few heartbeats of the noose tightening around her neck. Unsurprisingly, she knew exactly what its presence meant. The blows she had been throwing stopped in mid-strike. She presented the cool air of a total professional. Her eyes, just ever so slightly, betrayed her surprise however. I slowly rolled her off of me where and stood to my feet. She followed almost meekly to her own.
I took the time to look over the professional killer I had just apprehended. She stood 65 inches or so and couldn’t have weighed over 120 pounds, even with all of her hardware. Her looks were quite striking. With dark brown hair, pulled close to her head in a braid, and dressed in a faux-leather one piece jumpsuit and almost knee high boots, most men would find her quite breathtaking. In more ways than one. Having taken the standard inventory, I set about disarming the fully armed, human hand-grenade I had managed to subdue.
Turning her around, I brought each wrist back and, after stripping off the most obvious gadgets, clasped them in new Ministry of Safety and Law Bracelets. The silver shone brightly against her tanned skin. I then set about stripping the most obvious weapons off of the rest of her. There were a LOT. All over. She had the standard assortment of knives, guns, and explosive devices as well as some pretty exotic devices of her own. The heli-kit fell with a clatter as did a nice little set of anti-personnel rocket launchers from up each pants leg. A (?4 second?) flame thrower from her right wrist. Standard issue dart thrower from her left. A surprisingly large and expensive pile of ordinance formed at our feet.
After four minutes or so the two squads of Ministry troops showed up in their transports with their lights flashing and surrounded us, two facing in, two facing out, and two taking turns carrying away the pile of weapons I had been building. The small crowd that had gathered on the mall walkway around us were effectively disbursed with a few stern waves of the needlers the soldiers were carrying. I’m sure that the citizens’ response was due to respect for the Ministry and not the fact that the rifles would spit out around 1000, inch long, expanding projectiles a minute.
Once done with the major stuff, I then started on the minor. Starting at her hair, I ran my free hand quickly, but precisely down her body, removing appliances as I went. A garrote from the hair, two needles from her collar, Any and all jewelry, and a modest number of poisons and other unguents from wrists, calves and ear lobes; everything was dropped into a bag held by one of my fellow Ministry agents. When I was satisfied I had neutralized most of her tools, I pushed her back to the wall of the walkway and signaled for my transport to be brought inside. I knew better than to remove the kill cord.
“I’ll need a driver” I said to no one in particular.
One of the guards climbed behind the wheel and I escorted my ‘guest’ into the back seat. I loaded her in the passenger side first, then, making her slide over, got in myself. I helped her to put on her safety restraints and then I did my own. As we did so, the other troops moved back to their own vehicles and positioned their cars in front and behind my own.
“Just so you know,” I said with my face and eyes facing forward, “should something happen to me, the coil around your lovely throat will automatically retract.”
I then signaled the driver to start the drive to the Ministry…
As we rode in silence, I thought of my options. If I removed the cord, she would, most likely, try and possibly succeed in escaping. I was unconcerned about my own safety at this point. She was a professional. Having failed, she would return to whence she came and report that the contract was null and void, pay a fine, and get on with life. If taken to the Ministry, she faced a possible Mind Wipe or thirty years on some penal island in the middle of nowhere.
I thought of old Erikkson. He had been playing on my mind more and more of late.
Erikkson was a loyal agent for twenty years, at which point he decided that his retirement outlook was bleak. He sold himself over to the Underground in return for promises of wealth and freedom. What happened was that he hadn’t stood out against their cadre of agents and ended up being rented out to the highest bidder and, in a strange twist of fate, back to the Ministry itself. After another twenty years of service he ended up in a Ministry Nursing Home with only a meager pension and a broken down, scarred body. He was a bitter, spent, shell of a man.
But I wasn’t Erikkson. I was better.
While it was true I faced the same overall outlook as far as retirement, if I lived so long, I had no doubts about my ability to excel in the Underground. I had graduated first in my class at the Ministry, and had brought in too many dissidents to count. I had zealously held the post of High Seeker for nearly five years. I knew every Ministry regulation and stipulation by rote, and often oversaw their enforcement. But in doing so I had also learned that what the Ministry said it stood for, and what it actually stood for, were often two very different things.
The Ministry had been founded upon the idea that all a man needed was a safe, honest environment in order to be happy and flourish. It set down the rules and regulations that made the society function. It used surveillance, spies, and direct observation to make sure that everyone followed its rules. Failure to do so would cause its citizens to end up with anything from a small fine to expulsion from said society on a labor colony on one of the far flung islands around the continent. For most it worked and worked well.
Lately, however, I had noticed that there was a small but determined group of citizens who seemed to take an almost perverse delight in breaking rules. It wasn’t that they couldn’t follow them, or didn’t understand what they were, but rather that they would , given the choice, break the rule rather than adhere to the Ministry’s teachings. Provided, of course, that they didn’t get caught. And sometimes, regardless of whether they would get caught.
An ugly truth held back from the public was that there were never enough spaces at the labor farms for all of the serial dissidents so, as likely as not, said malefactors were often dispatched in some cellar of the Ministry and interred where they had fallen. All unobserved or noted. There were rumors, to be sure, but most “honest” citizens didn’t believe them. Those pre-disposed to do so would continue breaking little rules until they were ready to step up and finally break the one that got them well and truly caught and punished.
And I had become one of them.
Behind the scenes over the last few months I had shoplifted, stolen money from suspects, anything I felt I had a more than reasonable chance to get away with. But the timer was ticking. Sooner or later I would make a small mistake and be found out. Then I would have to bolt, trying to stay one step ahead of people I had probably trained. I had, in fact, stolen my daily small trinket at the mall shortly before I had been accosted. It made a small lump in the fabric of my right leg. I reached down and felt it for a few moments.
With my right hand I then began tracing a series of numbers on the smooth fabric of my pants leg. Almost idly I repeated the 9 digits over and over again. Watching her eyes in the mirror, I stopped only when she blinked her beautiful green eyes twice to let me know that she had understood. As we approached the ministry, I already knew how things would go down.
Standard procedure stated that I could, if I wished, hand off this prisoner to the guards at the front door and go on my merry little way. I had done this on numerous other occasions. No one would fault me for doing so. I had, after all, “disarmed” the suspect according to Ministry rules, regulations, and training, some of which I had written. The Ministry was one of the most secure places on the planet. What had happened at the galleria had probably already been recorded, typed up in triplicate, and sentence decided before we had arrived. This prisoner, however, would most likely cut through standard security measures and team members like a hot knife through protein spread. To simply hand her off would, in the end, be the same as letting her go. Just with a higher body count.
When we pulled up to the front steps of the Ministry, I exited the passenger door of my vehicle with my prisoner in tow and waited while my escort formed up around us.
“Sergeant!” I said, slipping the kill cord from around my prisoner’s throat and retracting it with an audible SNAP!, “Please book this prisoner on attempted murder of a state officer and violations of the 5th through the 9th Codicils.” His eyes a little wild, he nodded once in response and took the prisoner by the right arm, jamming his gun into her ribs. Turning away he then started slowly up the steps to the Ministry building with the rest of his squad in formation. She followed his lead slowly, hesitantly, looking back at me for a moment.
All rules having properly been adhered to and followed, I turned, walked around the front, got in my transport, and drove away without once looking back. I would now go home and drink a glass of purloined Scotch, waiting for the inevitable phone call. I laid even odds in my head the poor guards would never even make it to the front door….
~ by daveprime on August 20, 2010.