Flash Fiction 15

Falling out of the violet sky a missile wrapped in white light screamed along the outskirts of the city in a descent towards the Motorhead mountains. Over the spiralling road the hover car roared to gain control, the headlamps flashing.

Cylia fought for control, the man, fought for survival. Released were the plasma blasts of a pistol, his body rolled through the windshield, Cylia ripped the control paddles back. A blur through the cabin, all screeching and shouting alarms.

The hover car slammed onto the ground, Cylia lost conscious.

The hovercar groaned to life, then coughed out a breathe. The Cylia buckled violently against her chest harness. Her heart racing, releasing the driver side panel and collapsing on the concrete. Her hearing whined, a steady pitch over the rain, a wet slick concrete beneath her hands as she hobbled to her feet.

A new pain shot through her. The andy rushed through the windshield so quickly. He could be further down the road. Gods the pain. Was she bleeding, every step a pain in the dark, her dominant foot crooked. Did I break my ankle? Did I get any good shots into his chest?

Her NamStat was silent. She waved out to reach the console beyond her. Nothing. No hard reset function, no nonsense jargon from the debug console or even a welcome menu. A strange teacher, the NamStat droned on text in fine green lines over a virtual hud. In this moment, the device remained silent, broken by the fall.

Standing, the relief came on in a wave. She smiled, to be alone, off the grid of a million other machines checking, posting and reporting back in waves, the release felt peaceful. A technician will see her NamStat offline, then throw out a monitoring script. Once she is offline for more than two hours, her status as a bounty hunter and the sheet she registered back with the police headquarters will assume the andy had killed her.

Following procedure — they were obligated as part of her insurance police to return any remains as legal proof that she indeed had perished in the line of duty. A paltry pension left to no one considering her kin were off planet. Her firm would donate to the old building, throwing up a stock photo from years past and give her a street name.

Cylia rested on her stronger leg, staring at the road ahead of her. The dark had settled over the path, a shade alien to her after years of augmented night vision from the NamStat.

“Do you feel human?” off the side of the road, the andy, rested with his back on the slope of the mountain observed. Cylia turned, cautiously, resting her arm beside her holster. The pistol handle was there, from the corner of her eye the charge promised one or two more shots.

“What are you talking about.” stalling, the augmentations over the years, coupled with the small traces of DNA from natural species in the wild —

“The look on your face denotes a sense of ease, a freedom from the augmented reality.” he raised himself. The skin peeled back, his jaw shut. He projected the voice from his throat out of a black hole from the blaster. She could not see the right side of his face. The rest, charred and ugly.

“I am unplugged,my NamStat is damaged.” the andy responded with laughter. Horrible, pre-recorded laughter.

“Based on the fall and damage to my cerebral implants, I have a little over an hour. Perhaps less.” His eyelids fixed in place, he showed a tired gaze while his head moved in gesturing as his throat spoke.

“Are you asking me to finish you off?” Cylia eased her hand to the butt of the pistol.

“If you do, what will happen then? A pay off yes, but, another one will come, we will continue on into centuries until your future seed is diminished.” Cylia limped forward, determined she pressed the pistol to the droids head.

“This is my job, you have a place in the offshores.”

“This is your job, because you were offered a place in the offshores — you refused — why rest on a dying vein of this planet?” Why? Why was he asking why? He would be offline, his memories gone with another shot. Dismantled, then researched into an archive with a summary of all of his achievements listed off in bullet points and Cylia Reyes listed as the retainer.

“Why does it matter to you?”

The lips on the placid face curled up.

“If this is your job, please finish your assignment.”

Cylia eased off the trigger, then fired.

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