The writing prompt for this piece of flash fiction came from an amazing art work by Patrick Brannvoll I found on Instagram.
Poor kids have the decency to either go to prison or go offworld on an asteroid miner. It’s these self-important, entitled middle-class kids. Can’t find work, their families fallen on hard times, and the next thing you know? Student loan default. Too scared to do 10 years in a Corrections Colony, and still you think you’re too good for the mines. I really shouldn’t complain, though. With the collapse of the Northern Union its hard times for everyone. The whole planet is drowning in debt. The Worker Class, anyway. And that keeps bodycatchers like me in business.
Even then, it’s a pain in the butt to hunt STEM students. They make the most annoying runners. Liberal arts students, social sciences students, students in these fields generally panic after 48 hours on the run. And people who panic make stupid mistakes. Mistakes like calling home to mum and dad, to let them know you’re okay, and that you miss them. Stupid mistakes like waiting for your girlfriend at that “secret” rendezvous so you can run away together, the one you refer to as “the place where we had ugali after the opera, on our first date.” Ugali and opera? Pretentious brats, what a shitty date. And it’s not like I don’t have access to your complete financial records, comm logs and location history. How annoying, these simple minded academics.
What’s the real annoyance here is your ugali joint is in the goddamn Central London slums. I won’t even bother shooting you, when I catch you and your ugly little secondary school crush. I’m just going to chuck you in the Channel, let the water dragons deal with you idiots.
There she was, standing on the platform, clutching her backpack. It was amusing how she kept looking over her shoulder to make sure she wasn’t being followed, as she headed for the North exit. I could see the ugali joint from up here. If she maintained her “inconspicuous speed”, she would get there in 10 minutes. Through my rifle scope, I scanned the patrons of the restaurant, many of them artsy fartsy types, slumming it up in the Central. Subject S9-37712-KR nowhere in sight, yet. He was probably “disguised”. What good is that, when little Miss Rendezvous was going to lead me right to him?
What? Damn. Clever bastard. I had to radio this in.
>>Go ahead, Sigma-Niner.<<
>>I lost the bait. She got on the bus, headed into the catacombs. Subject still at large. Request permission to pursue.<<
>>Negative, Sigma-Niner. Sector 15 is outside your contract. Return to base. Affirm.<<
Outwitted by a goddamn geography student and a farmer’s daughter. What is this world coming to? >>Sigma-Niner-Bravo, affirm last order.<<
I had no choice. >>Roger, Control. Sigma-Niner-Bravo returning to base. Out!<<
I tossed the radio into the bag. There were five cardio-sims in there. Not that bad for one morning. Imagine putting up your damn heart simulator as collateral for a student loan, just so you can study geography. I tell you they don’t teach common sense at university.
Image credit: Lightning – by John Fowler (License: Creative Commons 2.0)