Part 1 * Part 2
I’d been tracking her all the way from California, she had been one of the smart one and run early, before the mandatory registry had been put in place.
But it didn’t matter, the new registry required all citizens to register and receive their implant, no matter if they were on home soil or abroad.
And the penalties for failure to comply were applied the same as well. You didn’t show up to defend yourself? Too bad, you were tried and convicted in absentia.
The registry was required for the new penal system, after all the president had said their was a crime epidemic and even if none of the statistics backed him up, he had enough support in congress to get the new laws passed. He’d even managed to get the constitution suspended to get his reforms in place.
And so it was with this one, a US citizen that had run from the registry, all the way up to northern Canada. That’s where I, and the others like him, came in. It was his job to track them down and bring them back to serve out their sentence.
Unlike the old system, the new penal system had the levels to it. Most low level crime was handled through the first level of the penal system. Simple manual labour for the state. Rob a convince store and spend a few months picking fruit in a field. Swindle some rich old folks out of some of their savings, spend a year tending the gardens of everyone on their street. You get the idea.
The second level was for more serious crimes. Assault someone, spend 3 years breaking rocks in a quarry. Steal millions with a ponzi scheme, spend 10 years of hard labour. Fail to meet your obligations in a marriage contract, spend 5 years in a brothel.
The third level was only for the worst of the worst; murders, traitors, repeat offenders that couldn’t be rehabilitate. The implant ensure compliance with all three levels of punishment, but in the third level, it took over your entire body, burned away everything that made you, well, you and left behind nothing but an obedient shell lived to serve.
Those that ran, like the woman at the end of his scope, were convicted of a second level offense. Usually they would serve a few years in one of the public brothels and then be released. At least that’s what they hopped for.
The other option that awaited them was to be on the “Interested Parties” list. A convict on that list was designated by someone of power and influence to serve out their sentence in a private location. Usually someone from their past that would turn them in to their own personal slave for however long their sentence was.
I watched her carefully as I had for the last few days, she had the same routine, she’d come out of the cabin, go down to the stream and take a bath, fetching some drinking water when she was done before returning.
I had been surprised at how beautiful she was at first. She was in her thirties but was in good shape and the months in the forest had stripped away any excess fat she had been carrying. But the most obvious feature were the large implants she still had from her days as a feature dancer.
I’d read the file of course, but I’d just assumed she’d had them downsized at some point, but obviously she had never done so. Now out here in the wilderness, they look very much out of place in the natural beauty that surrounded them.
She step from the stream and turned around, bending over to get the towel she had left on the ground. Her firm, round ass stuck straight up made the perfect target as I squeezed the trigger and watched the dart fly through the air and lodge in the middle of one of her cheeks.
She stood bold upright and looked around, then rang towards the cabin, only making it half way before the sedative took hold and she fell to her knees, then to the ground.
I stood up from my blind and push aside some of the branches I’d used to conceal myself before walking down to the stream. I pulled the dart from her bare ass and used a bit of antibacterial cream on it before slapping a bandage over the wound.
Then I rolled her over and used the iris scanner to confirm the target. Like so many, she’d been eager to hand over her iris scan to save a few minutes at the airport and now it was useful here was well.
The machine gave a little confirmation chime and I put it away, taking the implant gun out before rolling her over on to her front again. Placing the barrel of it against the base of her skull, I squeezed the trigger and the nematic hiss of the gun filled the peaceful forest.
Using the same cream and another band aid I finished my work and put away my tools. Taking her by the arm, I managed to carry her back to the cabin and found a suitable chair to seat her in.
By the time she came around, she was fully restrained and gagged.
It took her a little while to realize what was happening, to regain her full senses, but once she did, the screaming started.
It wasn’t my first rodeo and hence the gag, but I also knew it wouldn’t last long. The ones that ran early were the smart ones. The ones that hid in a forest without any modern convinces, phones or electronics were smart and dedicated. She’d calm down and try and negotiate her way out of it soon enough.
When she did, I removed the gag without saying a word.
“Look, I know what your here for, you’ve still got time to dig the implant out before its fully integrated.” she said.
“And why would I do that?”
“I’ve got money, it’s yours, I certainly don’t need it anymore.”
“Money’s no good to me if I’m caught and sentenced as a level three felon.”
“If I can get away, certainly you can.”
“But you didn’t get away, I caught you didn’t I.”
She frowned at my logic, “Well, what do you want?”
“Nothing really, at least nothing you can give me.”
“Then why did you remove my gag?”
I shrugged my shoulders, “It’s been a long few days in the forest alone, a little conversation seemed in order.”
“You bastard, let me go!” she cried out and jerked in her chair.
I walked over and re-inserted the gag as the implant worked it’s way deeper in to her mind. She struggled for a while longer before giving up and relaxing once more.
It was a while before the bing from the implant control sounded to let me know it was complete and her wide eyes of fear showed me she knew what it meant.
I ungagged her and she pleaded with me one last time, “Please, just go an leave me here!”
“Any last words?” I said as I took the control in my hands and worked it to her file, hovering my finger over the apply button.
Her hate filled gaze was her only reply and I pressed my finger to the controller. Her eyes rolled back in to her head and her head dropped back limply as the implant took control.
A few minutes later, her head righted itself and her empty eyes stared straight ahead.
I untied her limbs from the chair and she sat still as I did so. I checked over the readouts on the control and when I was satisfied gave her a command.
Her body stood upright and stayed ridged.
“Implant 100% operational. Host body is slightly malnourished and has two small wounds, one from the tranquilizer dart, the other from the implant procedure. Otherwise the host body is in excellent health.”
“Very good, prepare for extraction.”
I watched her body walked in to the bedroom of the cabin and a few minutes later emerge fully clothed, jeans and a plaid work shirt. Her hair was tied back and she was wearing a good set of walking boots.
“Anything I need to know before we head out?”
“Host memory indicates you may be interested in what is under the floor board by the stove.”
She walked over to the stove and pulled up a loose board, a steel box was under the floor.
I reached down and pulled it up, it was very heave and when I opened it, gold and platinum sparkled in the daylight that streamed through the kitchen window.
“Finders, keepers.” I said to no one in particular and put the precious metals in to my backpack.
“Ok, let’s go.” I said as I walked towards the front door of the cabin.
Just as I was about to open the door, the implant control chimed.
I pulled it out of my breast pocket and looked at the display, a new message had come in.
“Priority 1: Interested Parties target confirmed, expedited extraction confirmed, new co-ordinates as follows.”
I raised an eyebrow, normal extract required me to bring the target across the border at a deserted location, somewhere the Canadian authorities wouldn’t notice as these little excursions weren’t officially sanctioned.
An expedited extraction meant direct intervention, a helicopter at the closest landing zone possible. The Canadians would notice that and there was sure to be yet another round of political retaliation.
“Maybe I should have let you go after all honey. Looks like someone has plans for you.”
I looked at the co-ordinates provided and recognized the clearing it indicated, I’d scouted it a few days ago as a possible extraction point. I headed out, leaving the door open and she followed closely behind as we made our way through the forest to the sounds of chopper blades slicing through the air.