Circumstances Beyond Our Control
As the sun rolls higher into the sky, erasing all traces of the horrors of the night, Deputy Commissioner Sterling Carter heads through the metal detectors in the busy foyer of the Omega Dual Division Headquarters—the DDH.
He makes his way into a restricted area of the building with a thick file of papers in his hand, fresh crime scene photos among them. As he passes through a security barrier, a machine scans his left wrist.
Every person living within Amaranthe is tagged with a small microchip inserted beneath the delicate skin of the inner left wrist, and the color of your tag depends upon your residential or occupational status.
Blue is for the Sentinel District, black is for those banished to the Fringe District, and platinum is for Omega employees only. The platinum tags have GPS trackers, and give the bearer the ability to cross the boundary from one District to the other, whenever they so please.
On the computer screen in front of a bored security guard, the results of Carter’s scan are immediately displayed. In a split second, all of his personal information is available. The highlights being: picture, date of birth, address, and security clearance.
Entering the office he shares with Maydevine, he discovers he wasn’t the first one to clock in. Maydevine, his second mug of coffee in hand, is standing looking at a wall covered with crime scene pictures, pinned to a map of the city.
Maydevine is much older than Carter—old enough to be his father. His hair, mostly grey, retains flecks of black: a fading reminder of youth, spent long ago. Carter is fresher, younger and eager. Perhaps too young for the emotional burdens of this job, he tries to hide his inexperience behind an ill-fitting suit.
Carter tosses the file down onto Maydevine’s desk, but gets no response from his boss, who doesn’t even have the courtesy to take his eyes off the wall. A Hunter Division veteran, Maydevine seldom finds a challenge in the Police Division. A lifetime of military service has taken its toll on his emotions, and unlike Carter, it’ll take much more than a string of murders to rattle him now.
Carter nods to the wall. “Have you ever seen anything like this?”
Maydevine barely acknowledges him, and steadily finishes the last of his coffee. He was the Hunter General for over fifteen years, and, in truth, he’s witnessed far worse than this. A fourteen-year reclamation war has left its mark on his ability to be shocked by death and violence, and it’s not the ferocity of these crimes that troubles him now. He’s concerned by the fact that this is the first killing spree ever to be recorded in the Sentinel District, and the killer is successfully evading capture.
Maydevine hates being outfoxed, but he grits his teeth and doesn’t let his frustration show. “I’m quite familiar with death,” he grumbles, and sets aside his empty coffee cup.
Incapable of hiding his own frustration, Carter pins his hands on his hips and strikes a defensive stance. “Well? What’s the protocol?”
Maydevine hesitates before finally peeling his eyes away from the images of death surrounding him. He seems thoughtful and calm when he turns to Carter, his expression an intricate combination of many things, including a barely concealed touch of disdain for his young colleague. “There is no protocol for something like this.”
Silence seeps into the room and Maydevine reaches for his coat.
“Then … what?” Carter’s voice oozes irritation.
Maydevine slips on his coat and digs out a cigarette from the inside pocket, still eye-of-the-storm calm.
“It’s time to call in the cavalry.”
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Genre – Dystopian Sci-Fi
Rating – 18+