Thursday, June 28, 2012


by Jeff C. Carter

Councilman Moab placed a sheet over two bodies.  The third, a bloody man in a hospital gown, he left exposed.

Lancet held a gel pack to his bruised face and neck. “Is it over?”
“My men haven’t reported any other attacks.  We’ll have to review the vids and body counts before we know for sure,” Moab sighed.  “Two good men, dead for nothing.  What a waste.”

“And my family’s koto,” Lancet added.  He knelt down and picked through the wreckage of a shattered musical instrument on the floor of his chamber.

“Let me see the telemetry from your sword,” Moab said.

Lancet stood and slipped off a black silk sash, a priceless creation from the nanoforges of Avenir.  It snapped into the shape of a long blade.  Lancet turned it downward and a crisp holographic display mushroomed up from the butt of the sword’s handle.

In the floating movie, a scaled down version of Lancet darted down a hallway and severed an attacker’s arm. “Notice how he felt no pain,” Lancet said. The other man continued to lunge and swing.  A blur of information speckled the hologram as facial recognition software and DNA analysis overlapped.

A file photo of the man appeared along with his I.D. and personal history. “This says he was a patient at St. Christina’s Clinic for the Neuro-Atypical,” Lancet read. With a twist of the sword’s grip the playback streaked forward through Lancet’s other battles, completing a grid of I.D. photos in the air. 

“All from the clinic,” Lancet said.

“Do you think it was some kind of mass psychosis?” Moab wondered.

Lancet pulled his shirt taut, revealing a bloody handprint with smeared fingers that the killer had imprinted there. “No.  They seemed too orchestrated.  They rallied around this symbol.  The mark of Rahab.”

Moab nodded. “I saw that on the walls.  They had a battle cry, too.  ‘Rahab is death’.  It seems too organized to be psychosis but too sloppy for proper terrorism.  Perhaps they belonged to a cult?”  

Lancet pulled the sword to his chest and it slithered back into a sash and fastened around his ribs.  He walked over to the uncovered body. “This one claimed to have been a former servant of mine.  He had just killed my guard when your man arrived and put a round in the back of his head.  I thought it was over, but somehow he managed to get back up and kill your man, too.”

Moab rolled the body over with his boot and peered into the deep gunshot wound. “It sounds like he was unstoppable.  So then…why did he stop?”

Lancet grinned. “His old control chip kicked in.  A servant cannot kill his master.”

Moab walked to the transparent wall and peered into space. “What a senseless act.  And two good men, dead.  What a waste,” Moab sighed. He looked down at the broken instrument at their feet. “And your koto as well, of course. I know you wanted to pass that on to your heirs.”

Lancet scowled down at the barren, hostile planet below. “The only thing I want to give my heirs is a world worth having.”

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