This is the 77th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
Clean up, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 16th February 2013
Word count: 590
“Your name is Constance Sorrows,” the police officer asked.
“For the second time, yes,” the young woman said.
“So what were you doing here?”
“Oh, I was just in the area… Looking for a cash machine,” she said cocking her head to one side and treating the police officer to a warm smile.
“Okay,” the officer said taking note, “Bit of a dangerous place to be looking. There’s one out on the main road, about for streets that way.”
“Thank you,” she said then hurried off leaving the scene of the crime.
Constance didn’t go to the cash machine, instead she found her car that had been parked a few streets away.
As she drove she looked back at the flashing lights of police and ambulances. Hopefully they’d never know who took out everyone at a drug deal.
The next night Constance was cruising across Liverpool again, she’d found another deal that was going down online. Criminals thought they were so clever, but in preparation, she’d integrated herself into several criminal fraternities, she knew what to look for online, and she knew what to look for in the real world too.
The deal was going down in an old warehouse. Constance parked close, and changed into her gear, really hoping her dignity wasn’t being violated by a camera somewhere. Though given her chosen occupation, a little dignity was a lot less of a worry than outright identification.
The suit she wore was the latest in nanite produced fibres, reactive mesh, muscle assist pads, toughened exoskeleton, and adaptive artificial intelligence to tie at all together and turn a mild mannered scientific engineer into an elite crime fighting warrior.
This time she got in and out faster, using her full one hour and fifteen minutes of battery power to get her as far from the crime scene as possible. She couldn’t afford to be discovered near a violent crime for the second time in as many nights.
Having made her way back to the car and gotten away clean she made her way to her Professor’s.
“How is the suit doing?” he asked almost straight away.
“So far so good,” she reported, “I’m worried about battery life if confrontations become prolonged.”
“We can fix that, but how did it feel?”
“Like I was the world’s first real life super hero. I’m so strong , and so fast, and the computer makes it so easy tactically.”
“Can you see why I don’t want to give this technology up?” the Professor asked.
“Yes, an army of these would be unthinkable. I feel like I could literally take anything I wanted, from anyone who didn’t want me to have it,” Constance replied.
“So what do we do with it? It’s amazing that you were able to take my designs and build it, but if we don’t want anyone else to get hold of this technology we’ll have to be rid of it.”
Constance looked concerned, “Don’t we owe it to ourselves to do more with it? It’s taken a year to realise, I’ve spent months undercover with awful people, and I’m just learning to get the hang of it.”
“I do understand, believe me I do. This is my life’s work,” the Professor paused, “So here’s what we do, we set a target, a time frame.”
“Clean up the streets and then retire?”
“We can work on the specifics while we do diagnostics,” the Professor said taking the bag and Constance into the home laboratory.