“I have a photographic memory.” Sgt. Aristotle gestured with his pistol and blinked toward the door of the barren motel room.
“I would have let you go, but the captain also has a photographic memory, and he would have known about this interaction.” Sgt. Aristotle stated, a liquid wave of telepathy bubbling into Lance Struck’s mind. The sergeant holstered his weapon and glanced at the multiple surveilcams around the room.
Lance got it: the facial-recognition applications couldn’t match his own face via computer algorithms because he had modified his features enough to have avoided detection these last four years while “hiding” in plain sight. No – it was this chance run-in with his old school-chum and current sergeant of the Info Aware Unit whereupon his subterfuge was unveiled. Aristotle’s own Captain was obviously someone Lance had also known from their shared past – and would have undoubtedly discerned the fact that the Sergeant had recognized him. Then he would have studied the surveil footage of him personally, cross-referencing any other stored video of him. Both Sgt. Aristotle and his Captain were at the very least Class 1B Citizens (genetically endowed with specialized attributes, such as telepathic savvy, photographic memory, telekinetic capability), discerning the rest would have been child’s play for the good Captain – like a parent finding their kid hiding in the basement wearing a Halloween mask. Lance Struck gave himself up.
Sgt. Aristotle didn’t bind his old school-chum-turned-dissident/renegade, he didn’t call for back-up. He knew Lance had officially ended any thought of flight. Lance guessed his new Ident was already loading into the System, so even if he would have bolted, the vast serveilcam grid tied into facial-recog apps would have made escape from the city impossible. They exited the flat.
The two men walked together like a couple of old pals through the jam-packed Bazaar District of Downtown. Humans, androids and entities from various quarters of the galaxy jostled, hustled, elbowed and bargained; the frenzied cacophony bordered on jet-engine roar of white-noise. The dust and the reek of a galaxy’s worth of diverse body-odors punched Aristotle’s nose with a vigor and fervor of a thousand tidal waves; his eyes watered up and he swallowed bile that had come up into his mouth. He didn’t care much for Downtown and he remembered why. They shouldered through and into the Central Station where it was still crowded but well ventilated and air-conditioned. Sergeant Aristotle breathed again.
The two men entered the maglev train car.
“Hello father” Lance’s daughter - now twelve years-old - telepathized. He had last seen her four years ago, at their old place on the outskirts of the city. They both had sat together on the stairs outside the flat and he read her stories from the old time… Tom Sawyer he recalled. “I knew back then that you had to go. You never thought you would see me again but I knew... And I am here to help you.
Sgt. Aristotle blinked as the car cleared out of everybody but he, Lance, the girl, and a few slug-like creatures that passively slumped about reading their news-tabs. The door slammed shut. Her mind blocked from his scan, he couldn't discern her intent. He knew one thing: she controlled access to her own mind, she could control others' minds (aside from the slugs) – for she had cleared out the car, and she could remotely control certain electrical equipment, for he noticed the serveilcams no longer in operation – their red lights blinking “out of service”. She had shut them off with her mind.
Alas – her voice boomed throughout the car: “I am going to blow up this train. I have a thermogenic grenade under my dress and the revolution will go hot. Daddy – I can’t let them take you away – they’ll turn you into a vegetable then softly kill you…”
Lance approached his little girl – now a very dangerous prepubescent. “My little buttercup – this is not the way… Don’t do it…please.”
Joan of Arc at the Fortress of Tournelles
Her stormy green eyes welled up. The slugs read the news, paying no care to what was transpiring in the car.
“I will not report you… I will report this as a drill and say you were helping in the exercise. I will suggest you be brought into the Academy as you will undoubtedly be tested as Class 1B++ and fast-tracked to high levels within the System. The Restoration will be.” Sgt. Aristotle balled his hand into a slight fist and gave a subtle nod, enough for the girl to comprehend.
She fumbled under her dress and procured the device and deactivated it.
“Where had she gotten such a powerful weapon?” Sgt. Aristotle wondered.
“I made it.” She telepathized.
This was a very dangerous girl indeed – light-years more so than her rogue father.