Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Hot Fuzz: The Pandemic Edition [sci-fi/humor; mature content] (1 Viewer)

CyberWar

Senior Member
Imperium of Sidhae
Former Federation world Adrantis
City of Gavin's Hope
Sometime around 2630


I am trooper Titus Licinius Severus of Decury Sigma-6, and this is our video blog, Entry 293.


For those who are new to our v-blog, the men and women of Sigma-6 are proud members of Gavin's Hope Urban Security, Precinct 13 to be specific. We are but a handful of the thousands of Sidh assigned to serve and protect the public of one of our great Imperium's latest acquisitions, planet Adrantis.


Adrantis is an urbanized, well-developed secondary world. Some would say it resembles ancient Terra as it was in mid-21st century. As on all former Federation planets, the majority of its denizens are human. Since contested planets like Adrantis tend to change hands often, I expect my tenure here to last about 10-15 years before the Feds send a liberation fleet and our token Sidh garrison has to high-tail it from here. It has happened several times in the past century, I am told. The thing about well-developed secondary worlds is that they are valuable enough for both sides to want them, yet not precious enough to commit a major invasion force or invest in heavy defenses to take or hold them at any cost. Were that the case, the ensuing battle would obliterate the planet's infrastructure and economy, and defeat the very purpose of invading it. So my native Imperium and the human Federation have come to an unspoken agreement of sorts. They allow worlds not quite worth a major campaign to change hands every now and then with minimal violence, usually once every 10-20 years when one side feels the other has been leeching the planet's wealth for long enough. There is, of course, some token fighting involved whenever that happens, just so that the winning side's general can get his medals and the losing side's defenders don't get accused of cowardice. Sometimes they'll even throw in an orbital strike or two against cities or a few civilian massacres for good measure, just so that our respective nations don't forget why they hate each other like the plague. But after that, it's pretty much business as usual, except under a different flag, until the next time. Generals get their medals or at least don't lose face, defense contractors are happy about new contracts to replace military losses, civilian contractors overjoyed about business opportunities in post-war reconstruction, politicians can pat themselves on the back for the job well done, and everybody besides a few million unfortunate casualties goes away happy. Maybe not an ideal solution, but certainly better than the insanely destructive wars of the past that left entire worlds in ruin with little to show for it.


The reason I'm introducing my new viewers to the local politics so extensively is to help you understand the peculiarities of police work in places like Adrantis. Human-majority worlds that aren't firmly under permanent Imperial control are policed differently from the all-Sidh core worlds, or the former Fed planets captured during the Reconquest Wars that have been part of the Imperium for over 50 years now. On the core worlds, things run like clockwork - the authorities command and the citizens obey, no second thoughts, no questions asked. To a Sidh core-worlder, the very idea of dissent or civil disobedience is about as alien as pacifism is to a Skargh raider, something that only the unwashed proles of the outer worlds like Adrantis could come up with. UrbSec on the core worlds consequently tend to be very stuck-up and by-the-book, rigidly enforcing even the most minor of regulations in the absence of more serious crimes to solve, but also more complacent, unaccustomed to expecting trouble from a population habituated to military discipline. UrbSec from former Fed worlds with an established Imperial presence in turn tend to be the polar opposite - brash, heavy-handed, paranoid and trigger-happy. The human populations there typically reside in "enemy civilian containment areas", colloquially known as human ghettos. The ghettos tend to be overcrowded lawless dens of villainy and debauchery run by criminal gangs, the Sidh authorities generally not caring what goes on in them as long as the ghetto residents don't become a nuisance to the good and proper Sidh citizens. The latter are more than content with the status quo that lets them enjoy the services of drinking, gambling, narcotics and prostitution provided within the ghetto anyway. Because of this, keeping such places in some semblance of order often means shooting first and asking questions later, always answering an insult with a blow of stun stick and a thrown rock or bottle with a bullet.


Urban Security from places like Adrantis cannot be like either of the aforementioned types. Despite lacking any rights under Imperial law as enemy aliens and generally being allowed to exist solely at the sufferance of their Sidh betters, humans still make up the majority of the local population, far outnumbering any Sidh garrisons and settlers. Consequently, their sensibilities and delusions of entitlement must be at least somewhat respected and humored. Riots and uprisings never look good on the reports, and the planetary governor can look forward to the sector's Archon tearing him a new one if news of a rebellion make it off-world. Whenever that happens, the governor makes sure that every one of his underlings who didn't do their job of keeping order properly will get torn a new one as well. Law enforcement officers deployed to such worlds must therefore strive to keep a balance between strictness and forebearance, so that the Imperium's new human subjects don't get any delusions of entitlement or continuing with their old permissive ways, yet also don't feel quite as unjustly oppressed as to rise up in arms.


Ever since I started making these records and reviewing them with my squadmates every evening, our work performance has significantly improved. The chief of our precinct authorized the publication of their redacted versions on social media for publicity and educating the general public about our work. While I won't go as far as to claim that this has made me and my co-workers into local celebrities, these videos have attracted us considerable following on the social networks. Sidh and human citizens alike commend us on doing our jobs well and creatively resolving various situations, though I get the vibe that not everybody feels quite as positively about us. The Imperium's social media tend to make sure that any subject pertaining to the government or its policies is discussed and commented correctly - with all the support, enthusiasm and positive attitude due of proper patriotic citizens. As a government institution, Urban Security is no exception. Any opinion that is openly critical of an establishment dedicated to protecting public safety is quite obviously wrong and requires correction before such false ideas can spread and infect the impressionable minds of politically-immature citizens, especially our new human compatriots who have thereto existed in the miserable confusion and anomie of personal license and political plurality. The drawback of redacting such harmful opinions is that legitimate constructive criticisms are often suppressed as well. So I and my co-workers recognize that despite our overwhelmingly-positive public review, we still have room for improvement.


---


Lately, there has been much going on in Gavin's Hope, and on Adrantis in general. Some two months back, a mishap in the local bio-weapons laboratory resulted in a rather unpleasant outbreak. Much of Adrantis has consequently been placed under quarantine, and Urban Security is tasked with enforcing it along with its regular duties.


Now, before any viewer wonders what kind of an idiot would ever place a bio-weapons laboratory in the middle of a city, and furthermore openly admit to it being a bio-weapons laboratory, let me remind that that the said laboratory was operated by a Sidh defense contractor that was likely staffed exclusively by Sidh from the core worlds.

To understand what prompted the company to make such a seemingly ill-advised decision, let's first consider that the ancient Sidh were designed as genetically-engineered cyborg supersoldiers, with immune systems robust enough to withstand all but the very deadliest exotic pathogens specifically engineered to overcome them. This overengineered immune system has gone nowhere in the modern Sidh as well. Even the average civilian without military-grade immuno-booster augs would only catch mild illness from pathogens that would kill an ordinary human in mere days. A high-tier Sidh with military-issue augmetics could even snort powdered weapons-grade anthrax like synthcaine and drink a bucket of Ebola victim blood with only some mild cough or indigestion to show for it. The few known natural diseases that can reliably kill a Sidh are so few and rare that they can be pretty much discounted as a threat, and even most of the weaponized ones will seldom cause more ill effects than a temporary incapacitation. So with infectious disease being pretty much a non-threat to the Sidh population, it is no surprise that a Sidh defense company would consider a city an adequate place to build a bioweapons laboratory because of logistical convenience, nor be particularly worried about biosafety measures. For the same reason, that company wouldn't be particularly worried about secrecy - in a heavily militarized society that doesn't need much in the way of vaccines or disease prevention, it is pretty obvious to everyone what a "biological research facility" run by a major defense contractor could be researching anyway. In short, were it not for the small oversight of Adrantis being a human-majority planet with most of its denizens not sharing the same super-immunity as the Sidh, this laboratory incident wouldn't have even been an issue. To the credit of officials and defense contractors, they at least had the sense to repurpose this lab to the study of "nuisance strains" after learning of their mistake and work with relatively mild agents aimed at disrupting workforce, draining resources and straining medical services of the enemy rather than mass destruction.



In any case, because of this oversight Adrantis is now dealing with a planet-wide outbreak of "brown flu", a deviously-cruel strain of weaponized influenza that causes uncontrollable diarrhea along with the usual symptoms even in otherwise mild cases. The diarrhea is often triggered by sneezing and coughing, leading to plenty of embarassing incidents and giving the new disease its popular name.


---


Our first assignment of the day is patrolling the streets of Gavin's Hope and making sure every citizen wears a surgical mask. Contrary to what one might imagine, the biggest opponents of the face mask rule are actually the Sidh citizens. For the aforementioned reason of being immune against most diseases, many of them see the whole mask thing as an annoying and pointless inconvenience. The more dutiful citizens understand the necessity of solidarizing with our new human compatriots in this regard, and also realize that the Sidh can still carry and spread the disease even without ever catching it. Others, however, are most reluctant to obey the face mask regulations, and it is for these malcontents that we are out in the streets.
"Sheena, how many spare masks do we have?" our commander, decurion Castus, demands to know from the front of our APC.


"I brought along two boxes of 200 in each," the decury's only ex-human reports, "Should be plenty to spare."


Sometimes it happens that a citizen has simply forgotten to grab a mask in a hurry - in which case he may purchase one for five aurons, the equivalent of the minimum fine for appearing in public without a protective mask. Usually we run into about some five such folks every day, but it always pays to be prepared. Of course, not everybody encountered without a mask is quite willing to cooperate, but the city prefect and the planetary governor himself has authorized Urban Security to use "any means necessary" to enforce compliance.


The public surveillance drones that patrol above the streets soon locate one maskless miscreant, a scan immediately identifying the perpetrator as citizen Aemilia Caeleste, a linguistic software programmer in Gavin's Hope Technicum. A quick run through ORWELL,UrbSec's artificial intelligence, gives us a rough idea of what kind of person to expect. Citizen Caeleste does not seem to be the troublesome type, having no previous run-ins with the law and no history of voicing unorthodox or rebellious opinions. In fact, she does't seem to have voiced opinions of any kind at all, having a minimal presence on social media and appearing to be about as dull and boring as any working-class Sidh.


"Callicrates," decurion Castus turns to our other co-worker who's driving the APC today, "Bring us to the perp!"


"On it, dec!" he curtly nods and puts the pedal to the metal, flipping on the emergency lights as he goes. The traffic is lighter than usual at this hour because of the quarantine and closing of many businesses, so he drives more recklessly than usual, prompting the few puny civilian cars on the street to scamper out of the way with haste. A 20-ton armored personnel carrier always has the right of way, even when it doesn't - which is precisely why Urban Security prefers to drive around in those instead of ordinary squad cars.
We intercept the perpetrator a few blocks down the street just as she is about to cross an intersection.


"Citizen, halt!" decurion Castus thunders on the external loudspeaker, "You stand in violation of Municipal Ordinance No. 255-40 "On emergency quarantine measures", Paragraph 3.1, which requires all citizens to wear respiratory protection rated against Class 2 biohazards in public locations at all times! Stand by to be processed!"


Decurion and Sheena get out of the vehicle to process the perp, while I keep a hand on the APC's turret controls, just in case. Although blasting the perp with a pair of 800-megawatt particle cannons should she try to take of does seem a bit extreme, you never know what might necessitate such action.


"Oh, I'm so terribly sorry, officers...!" citizen Caeleste starts to apologize profusely, "I woke up late for work and forgot to grab my mask! I know, I'll have to pay a fine."


"Since this is your first offense, we'll let you off with five aurons for a replacement mask," decurion Castus explains, gesturing Sheena to bring the perp a mask from our supplies, "Be sure to wear it at all times while in public. Remember, our new human compatriots are not immune like we are!"


Citizen Caeleste begins to thank profusely as she puts on her new mask after making the transaction for the fine, and Castus lets her on her way.


"I wish they were all like that..." he sighs as he returns to the APC. Indeed, since the start of the outbreak, we've had to deal with plenty of uncooperative and even downright aggressive people who refuse to wear respiratory protection, and the most disgraceful thing of it all - quite a few of those perps are Sidh. Some of them have even managed to pick up the bratty entitled human vocabulary about "knowing their rights", an erroneous way of thinking we've repeatedly had to correct with the aid of stun sticks. So little wonder that a polite, understanding and cooperative citizen is much appreciated by UrbSec troops these days.


"Sigma-6-1," Dispatch calls in, "Public disturbance reported in Gavin's Hope Central Mall, divert to defuse, how copy?"


"10-4, ETA four minutes!" Castus responds, "Callicrates, you know the drill!"


"You know, one day he's gonna smash this thing into something really expensive and important..." Sheena sighs, having to hold on as Callicrates again demonstrates his best reckless driving skills.


"Hey, I heard that!" he protests.


"I wonder what this "disturbance" is all about?" I mention.


"Either some bratty entitled human has thrown a temper tantrum over something, or someone's been caught without a mask and doesn't like being told about it," Castus shrugs, "I guess we'll see..."


The mall is only a few blocks away. I use ORWELL to tap into the mall's surveillance feed and get an idea of what we're getting ourselves into.


Turns out both of the decurion's guesses are right. The human security guards are arguing with a very upset well-dressed middle-aged human female without a mask. Predictably, she "knows her rights" and persistently demands to see the mall's manager.


"Great, looks like we're dealing with one of THOSE types again," I groan, "Our next perp is a Mrs. Karen Lonsdale, married to a Mr. Jamie Lonsdale, owner of a luxury grav-car shop. Formerly a business lawyer and as of now a housewife with two children, twins. She is reported to have a history of frivolous litigation and harassing business managers over perceived poor servic e. She is also active on social media and a known sympathizer of the so-called anti-vaccination movement."


"Pffft! Karen...!" Sheena chuckles loudly, leaving the rest of us baffled. "It's a human stereotype of sorts. Back on my homeworld we used to call women like that "Karens". No idea why, we just did," she explains.


"Well, that's just wonderful..." Castus grumbles, "And outsiders wonder why we Sidh believe in eugenics and survival of the fittest..."


Truly enough, as entitled rich twats with the attitude of spoiled five-year-old brats weren't bad enough, we also have to deal with various conspiracy theory nutjobs who have become especially active during this time of crisis. Among these is a certain "anti-vaccination" community, which seems to believe that vaccines are in fact a trick by the government. As to what purpose this trick is supposed to achieve exactly, opinions seem to vary wildly within the conspiracy community. Typical guesses tend to range from inducing autism or creating dependence on "big pharma" drugs to mind control or mass genocide via covert sterilization. Funny thing, the conspiracy nuts aren't entirely wrong in that all of the said has been tried at some point by either the Imperium or the Federation. What they don't seem to understand is that if the Imperial authorities really wanted them dead, sterilized, hooked on drugs or made into mindless flesh-drones, they would not need to resort to such elaborate schemes. Ask anyone who has ever rebelled against the Imperium...


As the APC rolls to a halt near the mall door, Castus, Sheena and I make our way inside. Sidh bygoers greet us with a nod, while humans tend to give us a wide berth. Despite various attempts to improve our image with them, such as installing screens showing emotes on our chestplates, many of the human population still seem to be intimidated by our bulky suits of powered armor. Good thing on one hand, as it certainly makes any miscreants think twice, but not so good when dealing with law-abiding citizens.


"...I'm telling you, I'm not putting that stupid mask over my nose until your manager comes and shows me exactly where it says I must wear it over my nose!" we can hear Mrs. Lonsdale already from the far end of the hallway. Her voice is screeching and very irritating, like scraping a blackboard with a chalk.


"And I'm telling you for the twelwth time, ma'am - it is in both the city ordinances and the store regulations! As long as you are wearing that mask like that, you are not going in this store or any other in this mall!" the security guard argues, apparently just stalling time until we arrive to take care of the problem.


"This is an outrage! I swear I will sue this whole store, and you personally!" Mrs. Lonsdale shouts, "And where's your damn manager?!"


"What seems to be the problem?" Castus speaks as we arrive at the scene.


"Thank God, finally..." the security guards groan in relief, "Officer, this woman is wearing her mask improperly and refuses to..."


"Oh, just look at that, calling cops on an honest citizen who doesn't submit to this arbitrary tyranny!" Mrs. Lonsdale intterupts him, tapping a few holo-keys on her gilded custom-made tacticom, and starts to film us. A lot of humans seem to have this annoying habit, as if that would prevent us from enforcing the law with all necessary severity.


"Mrs. Lonsdale, the municipal ordinance..." Castus begins but gets rudely interrupted.


"What ordinance?! Show me that ordinance, officer! The city ordinance says everyone must wear protective masks in public places, but it says nothing about having to wear it over the nose!" Mrs. Lonsdale protests, "I can't breathe with that thing over my nose! And how do you even know my name, officer? You haven't asked for any ID, and I haven't shown you any! Have you been spying on me?!"


"Mrs. Lonsdale, while the Municipal Ordinance No.255-40 indeed does not explicitly describe how protective masks are to be worn, it is based on common knowledge and advice on the Imperium's medical experts, who have repeatedly informed the general public on proper use of protective masks. It is therefore to be understood that this common understanding also applies to Ordinance No.255-40. Breathing difficulties regrettably do not exempt you from this ordinance, except by special dispensation granted by a properly-qualified medical specialist, which you clearly do not have," Castus explains, "As for obtaining your identity, we are acting well within our authority by using the public surveillance system and citizen databases."
"If it doesn't specifically say that I must wear my mask over the nose, then you cannot legally make me do it!" Mrs. Lonsdale insists.


"Ma'am, I can assure you we can, and we will," Castus patiently explains, "Refuse to comply, and you will find that law enforcement has changed tremendously since the time you last worked as a lawyer."


"Is that a threat? Are you threatening me?" Mrs. Lonsdale raises her tacticom almost to Castus's face as she records, "I want your name and badge number, officer! I will report this to your supervisor!"


"I am decurion Castus, ID number 257-890, and these are my partners trooper Sheena, ID number 705-789, and trooper Severus, ID number 655-409. Please do record and report everything, chief Lysandros of Precinct 13 will be most pleased to review it and decide in our favour, as will the Justicar, should you try and push your luck with the court," Castus explains with a nonchalant deadpan expression, fiddling with his tacticom until the holo-display projects a document with several lines highlighted for Mrs. Lonsdale to see, "But before you do, consider this directive, issued and signed by the planetary governor himself. It expressly states here that Urban Security is authorized to use "any measures necessary" to enforce quarantine and public safety measures, which includes physical coercion. Now, I believe you are smart enough to realize that we can physically coerce you to wear that mask properly if you persist on your current conduct, and there's not a whole lot you can do to stop us. Sheena?"


"In short, ma'am," Sheena states sternly, producing an industrial stapler, "You either put the mask on yourself, or we do it for you with the stapler!"


"You know this is all going online, right?" Mrs. Lonsdale keeps filming us, but her confidence begins to shake at the sight of the stapler. The behavioural analysis software of my armor suit indicates an elevated heart rate and fear response in the perp, meaning we're pushing the right way.


"If that's the way you want to go, we can also detain you for flagrant violation of public safety measures and refusal to obey a lawful order by a law enforcement officer," Castus continues, "And if you persist with your disruptive behaviour, we might also throw in proliferation of intentional disinformation, and that's already just a step away from anti-government sedition. Yes, we know about your little anti-vaccine fan club on social media, and I can sure you the Justicars will not find that to be just an innocent pastime if we bring it up. You might go to a labour camp for a minimum of five years, and your children will most likely be taken from you as a "socially-harmful element" and placed in a state orphanage. Chances are, by the time you see them again - IF you ever see them again - they will be all grown up and converted, with shiny eyes and neat augmetics like ours. So what's it gonna be - the mask, or the stapler and the cuffs?"

The emote screen on his armor chestplate displays a very angry face and a fist repeatedly smashing another face, signalling clearly that his patience is running thin.


"You can't do this! I have rights..." Mrs. Lonsdale weakly protests, realizing that Castus indeed means business.


"Ma'am, whatever rights you may think you have expired on the day the Imperium took this planet. Right now, you have only privileges, the extent of which depends solely on the goodwill of the Imperial authorities and your cooperation with them," Castus puts hard facts before her, "So what will it be - the mask or the stapler?"


"Alright, alright, I'll put on that stupid mask!" Mrs. Lonsdale finally concedes, grumbling as she pulls her mask over her nose. The security guards let out a sigh of relief.


"See, wasn't that hard, Mrs. Lonsdale!" Castus suddenly cheers up as if nothing had happened, "Thank you for your cooperation, and have a good day! Stay safe!"


Mrs. Lonsdale's expression should burn the three of us to ashes as she departs on her business, quietly muttering something about the Sidh being "worse than Nazis". I don't know much about ancient Terran history, but that sounds like a compliment. I've learned that if a human likens you to a Nazi, you know you are doing your job right - strictly, remorselessly and by the book.


"Emperor's blood, what a cunt..." Sheena grumbles, "Pity we didn't keep her yammering a little while longer, so that I'd have an indisputable excuse to use the stapler!"


"Come to think of it, we could have used some rough publicity on social media," Castus agrees, "Oh, well... The day is still long."


I find myself in agreement. An amateur video of us stapling a mask to a perp's face posted online would generate some outrage for sure, but it would also show that we mean business about enforcing this quarantine, and anyone who thinks we're just messing around with that stapler should think again carefully.


---


After returning to the APC, the next couple hours pass uneventfully. We cruise around the town along our usual patrol route, running into another two citizens who have forgotten their masks. Both are cooperative and cause no trouble.


Callicrates proposes a lunch break and we are about to hit our usual spot, "Angie & Chloe's". Owned by a cute lesbian couple, this diner serves the best burgers and donuts in the city. Veteran followers of our v-blog will already know about this place, how it used to be the city's establishment of choice for avant-garde artists and sexual deviants before the Sidh took over Adrantis and Urban Security consequently scared them off. Not that the owners complain - even if the previous clientele was probably more to their liking, Urban Security eats and pays thrice as much as any unsuccessful wannabe artist or left-wing sexual minority political activist could ever hope to afford.


Just as we are about to proceed to the diner, a call from Dispatch wrecks our hopes for an early lunch.


"Sigma-6-1, this is Dispatch," the AI dispatcher drones in her feminine synthetic voice, "Arson in progress on an SCR tower, detain or terminate at your discretion."


"10-4!" Castus affirms, "Probably another one of those conspiracy nuts! Let's go get those assholes!"


I find it most ironic that after six centuries of state-sponsored vaccination, there are still crazies among the humans who believe it is somehow innately dangerous or harmful (asides from the few isolated cases of government experimentation when it was actually the case). Evidently, prevention of infectious disease has had the unintended side effect of letting the stupid contaminate humanity's genepool and proliferate. Among the anti-vaccination kooks, there's one group that seems to stand out even by conspiracy nutjob standards. These folks believe that "vaccine-induced" diseases are somehow spread or aggravated by SCR towers. Someone really should forward that idea about radio-controlled viruses to bioweapon researchers, they could make a fortune on military contracts if they could somehow make it work.


A Subspace Communication Relay tower is basically a scaled-down version of the FTL communication hubs found in major cities of any colony rich and developed enough to have them. It greatly speeds up communication within a star system. An FTL transmission is essentially a jump, same way starships jump from system to system, only with mass-less electromagnetic waves as the payload. Still, opening a rift in space-time for that transmission takes huge amounts of energy, so the the regular FTL comm hubs store messages from around the world in servers and transmit them in bursts during comm sessions at set times of a day. Since interstellar comms by government and military institutions are prioritized over civilian traffic, getting a regular message out - for example, sending an e-mail to your miner cousin working in the local asteroid belt - can take a whole day or more. Fortunately, that's where the SCRs come in. They bypass the main FTL hubs entirely and send FTL messages straight to the recipient within the same star system. Now, most reasonable and sane people, human or Sidh, would without a doubt agree to the utility of such installations. A small but very vocal minority of crazies, however, believe the SCRs emit hazardous radiation and spread disease, and seem hell-bent on razing them by means of arson and even improvised explosives.


"Do we capture or terminate?" Sheena asks. Good question, considering how Dispatch authorized to capture or kill at our discretion. As far as the law is concerned, people attempting to destroy state property are terrorists and therefore liable to summary destruction.


"Let's get there and see what we're dealing with first," Castus instructs, "If any of those punks are armed, we're taking them down, no further questions asked. If not, we'll see from there. Severus, can you get a drone or camera feed up?"


"Working on it, dec!" I respond, working on the APCs surveillance terminal to access the relevant surveillance feeds. My efforts are soon rewarded with a real-time access to the nearest functional CCTV camera about half a click away from the target, and the re-routing of two surveillance drones towards it. The attackers are apparently smart enough to have disabled any cameras located on the site itself. Soon enough, however, the drones are in range and I run a scan of the perps. The fools have tried to disguise themselves with ski masks, oblivious that the facial recognition technology of ORWELL AI can identify them even with masks on, as long as the structure of their faces is reasonably visible. There are five perps, three males and two females, none of whom seem to carry any weapons besides jerrycans of fuel. One of the perps, the apparent ringleader, directs the others to douse the SCR's power conduit with petrol.


ORWELL identifies four of the perps in moments. Predictably, all four of them belong to the online conspiracy community, actively sharing and promoting their unscientific nonsense about SCRs somehow spreading the "brown flu" to anyone who will listen. The two women, a Ms. Sandra Brown and Ms. LaKisha Trevor, are also known environmental activists with a history of disruptive protests at various industrial facilities. A noble goal, perhaps, but utterly misguided in terms of achieving it - because it's obviously much easier to stand shouting and waving a placard decrying industrial pollution than to make those industries more efficient, ergo less polluting. ORWELL also identifies Ms. Trevor as an affiliate of the Human Emancipation Front, an organization of dangerous extremists who believe humans are treated unfairly and discriminated by the Imperial authorities. So far their activities have been limited to protests, street riots and vandalizing of monuments dedicated to historical Sidh military leaders, ironically including some who espoused very pro-human views in their time. Although her involvement with the HEF seems only marginal and largely limited to attending protests organized by them, I make a point of flagging Ms. Trevor as a higher threat than others. Who knows what dark anti-social schemes the extremists may have planted in her mind...


The ringleader takes longer for the AI to identify than others, but for all the bigger surprise.


"Dec, we have a Sidh among the perps!" I exclaim in shock and surprise, "Not only that, looks like he's directing the whole thing!"


"Emperor's blood!" Castus exclaims, "How could one of our kind possibly fall for such primitive delusions! Unless... unless this is a false flag operation, and he is a dangerous terrorist using the human nutjobs as expendable pawns! I'm calling for backup!"


As hateful as it is to admit, the Sidh too have their own crazies and extremists. Some are just disgruntled with a particular institution or the government in general, others have fallen prey to foreign sedition, and still others are just common criminals with a claimed political agenda to give themselves an air of respectability. I try to think of a reason why any of them would enlist the aid of deranged human conspirologists and destory a communications array. Then it strikes me this is most likely meant to be a diversion from something else.


"Abort that backup, dec!" I exclaim, "I think we should handle this on our own!"


"Are you crazy?!" Sheena protests, "Who knows what surprises those terrorists have in stock for us!"


"Exactly," I explain my reasoning, "I think this is just a diversion, and drawing in the whole town's UrbSec on them is just what they want."


"There's something off about this guy, though," Sheena speaks, likely reading over the perp's dossier on her HUD after I've tranferred it for my teammates to see, "His personal record seems very... vague. A Sidh who's been around for 43 years would surely have accumulated a much more elaborate record, while this just lists some fairly generic facts about his personality and employment history."


Indeed, after a second look at the main perp's dossier I am compelled to agree. Citizen Petrus Catullus, currently employed as a civil engineer, has been activated 43 years ago and immigrated to Adrantis shortly after the last Imperial takeover of the planet 5 years ago. He has no criminal record, more curiously - no social network activity older than 2 years, and generally nothing that would suggest gradual radicalization or extremist views before suddenly subscribing to the local conspiracy nut channel. His record just doesn't stand up to closer scrutiny. With the kind of access that ORWELL AI has, even a relatively inexperienced UrbSec officer like myself could compile more personal information on an individual over a weekend simply for nothing better to do, and ORWELL is anything if not meticulous at what it does.


"Dec, looks like they're about to set that SCR on fire!" I inform after a quick look at the drone surveillance feed, "How do you want to go about this?"


"Callicrates, put pedal to the metal!" Castus instructs, "Sheena, Severus, deploy the Harriers!"


The OROK-25 Harrier urban pacification drones are the latest toy in Urban Security's arsenal here in Gavin's Hope. I've been told the've become an instant hit with Urban Security precincts policing the human ghettos on other secondary worlds, significantly reducing officer casualty rates during raids in gang territory. Armed with a dual blaster turret with lethal and non-lethal ammunition, a sturdy grappling clamp and engines powerful enough to carry a man, the airborne Harrier can pursue fleeing suspects, kill or incapacitate them and deliver them straight back to the operator. Our APC has six of them stacked in racks mounted on the back of its turret.


As Callicrates accelerates the APC, I and Sheena get to work, each taking control of three drones. A small pneumatic charge blasts the compacted drones clear of their racks before they unfold and hum to life in mid-air. Under our guidance, the Harriers then arrange into two formations and speed off towards the targets.


"Lethal or non-lethal?" I ask Castus.


"Non-lethal unless armed and resisting," the decurion commands, "Let's capture them for interrogation. The Sidh perp is a priority."


"Roger that," I affirm and return to piloting my drones. I can see and hear everything from their viewpoint on my helmet HUD, guiding them via neural interface. The Harriers soar across the landscape at treetop height until coming in range of the SCR. Their sensors immediately lock on to targets, different-coloured brackets indicating Sheena's targets.
"Oh, crap, it's the fuzz!" I hear one of the human men shout out just as he's pouring a line of gasoline to light up the tower from a safe distance.


"This is Urban Security! You are under arrest for trespassing and attempted sabotage of state property! Stand fast with your hands raised and prepare to be processed!" I instruct them via the drones' loudspeakers, "Resistence will be met with deadly force!"


"Fuck you, pig! I ain't going to jail!" the man exclaims and takes off, the other perps following the suit and scattering in different directions.


The closest perp who made the snide remark doesn't make it 10 meters before the closest drone puts a stun dart in his back. Even from up here I can see a wet spot grow around the crotch of his pants as he twitches on the ground uncontrollably. One of the women, Ms. Sandra Brown, makes it just to the fence surrounding the SCR, where the perps have cut a hole to access the site. Stricken by a stun dart, she too bites the dirt, literally as her face hits a rock as she falls, and Ms. Brown rolls on the ground shrieking and bleeding profusely from the mouth. Sheena's target perps drop just as fast, except for their ringleader Mr. Catullus. Somewhat surprisingly, he merely cringes when struck by whole three stun darts, plucking them out of his flesh and running as if nothing had happened.


"Damn, the bastard must have military-grade augs to resist that!" Castus exclaims upon witnessing the scene, "Hit him again!"


With all six drones now focused on Mr. Catullus, we oblige, and literally pepper him with with stun darts - to the exact same effect of merely slowing him down. Removing the darts, the perp reaches the vehicle he and his companions arrived in - an antiquated petrol-fueled pickup truck - and takes off moments before our APC finally arrives at the scene.


"Continue pursuit, we can send the drones to collect these punks later!" Castus orders, "Ain't like they're going anywhere with those darts in them!"


Callicrates obliges without further ado. After all, it's not often that one gets to be the driver in a high-speed car chase involving a 20-ton APC.


The next five minutes pass like a scene in an action film. We race through the suburban district that surrounds the large forest park where the SCR is located, staying close behind the pickup truck as it desperately attempts to elude us. I and Sheena have left behind two of our drones on automated mode to keep watch over the stunned perps and stun them again if necessary, so that leaves us with only four drones to assist in pursuit. We might have technology and a more powerful engine on our side, but the fleeing perpetrator is a surprisingly good driver for a civil engineer, and his lighter vehicle is more maneuverable. He avoids obstacles with ease while we have no choice but to go through them.


Three destroyed civilian cars and one severely traumatized human family later, I'm finally able to line up a shot from the turret without risking collateral casualties. The dual particle beam vaporizes the truck's rear left quarter and blasts a glowing crater in the pavement, the explosion sending the truck in a violent roll. After doing seven flips on the side, the vehicle finally stops upside down and catches fire. Tires screeching, our APC stops a safe distance away, turret aiming at the driver's position and the drones surrounding the wreck.


"Attention, perpetrator! You are surrounded! Come out of the vehicle with your hands raised! Resistance will be met with deadly force!" I announce over the drone loudspeakers.
"This is Urban Security! The situation is under control," Sheena in the meantime addresses the numerous citizens who have left their homes to investigate the commotion, "For your own safety, stay inside your homes and do not approach the crime scene! Urban Security reminds that interfering with law enforcement is a criminal offense!"


"Maybe he's unconscious or crippled," I suggest when the perp shows no sign of attempting to leave the burning wreck, "We should get out and extract him before he burns up in that car!"


"Agreed," Castus nods, "Sheena, Severus - put those drones on auto, we're getting out!"


We relinquish the direct control over the Harriers that proceed to set up a perimeter and keep away nosy civilians as is the standard procedure. The three of us in the meanwhile grab energy rifles from the APC's gun rack and exit, cautiously approaching the burning car with our weapons aiming at the driver's window.


No sooner are we half-way to the wreck when the perp begins to show signs of life, struggling to get out.


"A little help here, officer?" he beckons to Castus with a bloody hand, not a hint of hostility in his voice.


"Keep him in your sights," Castus orders, locking the energy rifle to the magnetic slot on his armor's back and unholstering a handblaster instead. With the might of his powered armor, he easily tears away the car door and pulls the perp out by the scruff, battered and bloody but still very much alive, and throws him down at our feet with the blaster pressed to the back of his head.


"Easy, officer!" Mr. Catullus protests, "I surrender!"


"Citizen Petrus Catullus, you are under arrest for trespassing on state property, attempted arson and attempted sabotage of state property of a strategic value, and for leading a conspiracy to commit a crime. As an Imperial citizen, you are entitled to have your case reviewed by a Justicar," Castus informs the perp while placing him in handcuffs, "Do you require medical attention?"


"No, I'll be fine, officer!" Catullus speaks, spitting out blood as we drag him to the detainee cage in the rear of the APC.


"Whose number is this?" Castus demands as he searches the perp and indeed finds a note with a number in his chest pocket, "Another one of your terrorist buddies? Or maybe the guy's who hired you to make a diversion for him? Anything you want to tell me?"


"Enter it into your system, officer," citizen Catullus plainly states, "By now you should have noticed some things about my personal file do not add up. Ask ORWELL to verify that number's connection with me, and it should clear things up."


"Severus, do it!" the decurion hands me the note. I sync up with the APC's terminal and type in the number on my tacticom.


"Emergency authorization code confirmed. Declassifying personal dossier now..." ORWELL informs me.


Turns out our latest prisoner's real name and title is Special agent Marcus Aurelius Odoacer, Domestic Security Counter-Terrorism Division. Most of his file remains classified, revealing only enough information for us to verify his true identity. The code is apparently meant for such cases, to identify one as DomSec in case of being arrested while undercover.


"Great, we just busted an undercover DomSec agent!" I grumble, forwarding the relevant file to my companions.


"You four really messed up my whole op," the agent explains, though he doesn't seem particularly angry or upset, "This was supposed to be the final loyalty test before those conspiracy freaks would admit me into their little terror cell. Now we'll have to infiltrate a different agent all over again."


"It was an honest mistake, Agent," Castus apologizes as he uncuffs the agent, "How were we to know..."


"If you had called in for reinforcements like you were supposed to, the station would notify you that terrorist incidents are the jurisdiction of DomSec and they will be taking matters over from there on," agent Odoacer explains, "You'd be sipping your afternoon coffee and eating donuts now without a worry in the world, while I would be a member of a human extremist terror cell now. Out of curiosity, why didn't you?"


"We thought... I thought this was merely a diversion to something bigger," I explain, "So I told our decurion and he made the call to take care of this without alerting the whole city's UrbSec. Besides, it would've been a shame about that SCR if it had burned down."


"A bold assumption, though not entirely unwarranted," the agent states, "The tower would have only received superficial damage though. Those clowns accepted me because I posed as an engineer familiar with building these things. They thought I'd help them to bring those things down for good. But was obviously not going to destroy a valuable piece of comms equipment for them - the components that would be damaged or destroyed by the fire could be replaced in a day. Small loss compared to infiltrating and taking down the whole network of terrorists. I guess now we'll just have to do it the old-fashioned way..."


Domestic Security isn't exactly open about their methods, but I can already picture that the "old-fashioned way" entails nothing good for the other detainees, waterboarding likely being the least unpleasant among the "enhanced interrogation techniques" authorized on terror suspects.


"Why did you run, Agent?" Castus asks, "You could have made the whole thing much simpler by surrendering there and then."


"Had to make a show for the others," the agent explains, "I might still be able to salvage some of this mess if they believe I'm with them when you bring them in. Put me back in cuffs when you do and maybe pretend to be roughing me up. Oh, and one other thing - all of this is classified, so it goes without saying that my real identity will not appear on your after-action reports. I don't think I have to explain what the penalties for compromising a Domestic Security agent are."


"Absolutely, Agent!" Castus nods, "But we have this whole incident recorded on our helmet cams, who is going to take care of that?"


"Your commanding officer will be informed of the situation and have the footage redacted discreetly."


Castus nods and obliges while I and Sheena reassume control over the remaining drones and command them to collect the immobilized perps and bring them over to us.
Minutes later, the drones hum in, each carrying a payload of a very upset prisoner. They roughly drop them before our feet and fly to the top of the APC's turret, where they land and fold up on small platforms that then fold back down into the drone racks.


"You can't do this!" one of the women, Ms. Trevor, protests as she's being given a rough patdown by Sheena. The latter has made a point of disengaging her helmet so that the perps see she's a woman. Human females tend to be very touchy about the idea of being searched by men, and although Urban Security couldn't care less about some uppity humans trying to sue for harassment, the standing policy is not to antagonize the local beliefs and conventions more than is absolutely necessary. Meanwhile, I and Castus pretend to be busy beating and kicking Agent Odoacer, having set our stun sticks to minimum power, while he plays his part screaming and calling us pigs and Nazis. I can't help but wonder if the humans will buy into such words coming from a Sidh, but then again, these conspiracy freaks aren't a very bright lot and certainly seem impressed enough to loudly support their buddy's struggles.
"Ms. Trevor, I would keep my mouth shut in your shoes," Sheena in the meanwhile enlightens her perp, "You are already charged with trespassing, arson, sabotage and resisting arrest, and on the verge of picking up terrorism charges as well. Don't make me add contempt of law enforcement to that. And for that matter, failure to wear a protective mask!"
"Is it 'cuz I'm human?!" Ms. Trevor shrieks, struggling as Sheena shoves her in the back of the APC, "This is discrimination! Human lives matter!"


"No, Ms. Trevor, you are under arrest because you are crazy conspiracy theorist who tried to burn down an expensive SCR tower over the false belief in it somehow proliferating disease," she patiently explains, "Maybe playing the race card could get you your way under the old regime, but I can assure you it will not work on us."


The other perps prove hardly more cooperative, requiring a few motivational prods of stun stick and a threat to blast the detainee compartment full of OC on our way to the station to get them to behave. One of the men, a Mr. Billy Bob Jones, keeps on ranting about how the Imperial government plans the genocide of subjugated humans through covert sterilization and engineered pandemics, in which the SCR towers play an instrumental role.


"Mr. Jones, as a Sidh I can assure you we aren't much for elaborate schemes when we want to kill something," I can't resist myself from saying, "Now, since none of you are wearing protective masks, I am required by law to put them on you."


"No! You're not putting that thing on my face, tankie filth!" Ms. Trevor begins to protest, "Who knows what you clankers have laced it with before!"


"Sheena?" I sigh with frustration and turn to my female collegue.


"You can either have the mask, or the mask and the stapler," she informs them, demonstrating the stapler, "Doesn't matter which to me."


"Better put on those masks, friends," agent Odoacer prudently advises, "UrbSec doesn't mess around with idle threats."


Grudgingly, the perps accept the masks put over their faces, and remain quiet after a repeated threat of getting flushed with OC if so much as a peep comes out of the cage.
"Dispatch, this is Sigma-6-1, all perps in custody! Requesting emergency cleanup crews on our location and the SCR tower."


"Well done, Sigma-6-1, deliver the perps to the Hall of Justice for summary judgement and continue your patrol..." Dispatch instructs when suddenly a male voice, clearly a living person's, cuts in: "Belay that, Sigma-6-1, you are to deliver all perps to Domestic Security compound instead!"


"Identify yourself!" Castus demands. One breach of protocol a day is enough for him.


"This is Ezekyle Arkangelos, Deputy Director of Domestic Security on Adrantis," the man speaks, "We would very much like to have a little... chat with your perps."


"Understood, Deputy Director, redirecting to your facility, ETA 10 minutes."


---


We proceed to the DomSec base, a fortified compound on the outskirts of the city. The final destination for all rebels, terrorists and political dissidents who have managed to irritate the Imperial authorities enough to warrant Domestic Security intervention. Only the feared DomSec agents themselves know what happens to prisoners within these walls, for hardly any who are taken here are ever seen again, and the few who are tend to be very quiet and evasive about their experiences. I frankly pity these four humans who let their paranoid delusions born of base ignorance get the better of them. For all her victim complex and belief in persecution because of her race and species, Ms. Trevor is a single mother of two. Her children will most likely never see their mother again or know what happened to her, being placed in a state-run orphanage and indoctrinated into Sidh ways. By the time they are adults, they will most likely convert and scoff at the very fact that they once used to have a mother like the rest of the "cunt-borns". Mr. Jones also has two kids and a beautiful wife waiting for him at home, except they too will never know what happened to their father. His wife will no doubt report him missing to Urban Security, and if she knows anything about his views and ill-advised hobbies, maybe demand to know if he's been arrested. She will be turned away and told no man of such name has been taken into custody lately, because this whole incident will be declared classified by DomSec. Mr. Jones will likely remain on the missing people list for a few years, then be declared legally deceased, and his family will move on, his wife finding herself another husband. Whether these four will be interrogated and executed or sent off to serve a life sentence in a far-away penal colony under a different name is fundamentally irrelevant. They will for all practical means and purposes cease to exist as soon as the gates of that DomSec compound close behind them, and the pitiful thing is that they have nobody but their own poor choices to blame for that fate.


Either way, their fate is out of my hands and I am just doing my duty delivering them to it. I trouble myself with such thoughts no longer.


Our trip is interrupted by an unusual call from Dispatch.


"Sigma-6-1, unauthorized commercial activity and interference with traffic has been reported in vicinity of your location. Can you respond?"


"It's right along the way," I point out after the incident location is shown on the city map, "We could make a quick detour and take care of this. Ain't like 30 minutes here or there will matter much to DomSec."


"Agreed," Castus approves and calls in, "Sigma-6-1 to Dispatch, diverting to investigate!"


With the surrounding area being a sub-urban residential district populated predominantly by upper middle-class humans, I can't help but wonder what kind of "unauthorized commercial activity" that might further interfere with traffic could take place here. It's certainly unlikely to be drug dealing, drug dealers being unlikely to find many customers in districts like this one.


We soon spot our perps as we arrive in the reported location. Turns out a bunch of kids have set up a lemonade stand on the roadside, and some neighborhood grouch with nothing better to do has called UrbSec on them. A quick scan of the kids reveals no criminal record or history of antisocial behaviour, but the same cannot be said about the caller, a 65-year-old female resident of this neighborhood with a history of making frivolous reports to UrbSec.


The law regrettably requires us to respond even to such reports, so we park the APC on the roadside with emergency lights on, and step out to investigate. Our appearance visibly startles the kids, but at least the two girls manning the lemonade stand bravely stand their ground. Being the most experienced with children and humans in general, Sheena steps forward to talk with them.


"Good afternoon, young citizens! We have received a report that you are operating an unauthorized business and obstructing traffic here," she does her best to sound friendly while still observing all the necessary formalities. The small emote screen on her chestplate displays a smiley face, putting the children slightly more at ease.


"We're just trying to sell some lemonade, ma'am!" the older girl explains.


"I told you that mean old Mrs. Pratchett would call the cops on us again!" the younger girl, apparently her sister, exclaims.


"So this is not the first time you have been reported?"


"No, ma'am! Mrs. Pratchett lives over there, across the street," the older girl points, "She's always so grumpy and mean, and never lets us kids have any fun, always threatens to call the police on us! Are we in trouble now?"


"Well, young citizen, that depends," Sheena states, "Law and the letter agrees that you are conducting an unauthorized distribution of soft drinks, and have placed your stall on the road which may interfere with traffic. However, in light of extenuating circumstances, I am willing to look the other way and even help you out!"


"What does it mean - extenuating circumstances?" the younger girl asks, struggling to pronounce the word.


"It means - circumstances that make you less guilty before the law," Sheena explains, "I will have to ask you to move your stall away from the road to the far side of the sidewalk. You will no longer be interfering with traffic, and that should also place your stall on private property which I understand belongs to your parents, meaning Mrs. Pratchett can no longer complain about your presence on a public space. And since the law requires that vendors of soft drinks be registered, I will help you with the paperwork to make your lemonade stall an official business."


"Really? You mean I will have my own company, like the grown-ups?" the older girl exclaims with a mix of joy and disbelief.


"The law does not specify a minimum age for starting up a business company, so yes, you will have your very own company."


While Sheena helps the girls rearrange their stall and browses through her tacticom in search for the proper paperwork, I and Castus must engage several concerned parents who have come outside, alarmed by our arrival.


"Please, officers, don't fine them!" one mother pleads, "They're just kids trying to make some money!"


"No doubt it's that mean old bag Pratchett again!" her husband gives an angry look in the direction of Mrs. Pratchett's residence.


"Do not worry, citizens, we are merely educating your children on the formal aspects of entrepreneurship," Castus reassures them, "After instructing them on the proper documentation necessary for the legal operation of a soft drink vendor, my partner here will assist them in officially registering their enterprise. As long as they observe other regulations pertaining to commercial activities, which they can learn about by consulting the Hall of Justice or Ministry of Commerce legal assistance AIs which are both free of charge, Mrs. Pratchett will have no legal grounds of complaining about their business."


Indeed, a few minutes later, young citizen Laura Helden and her sister Cassidy are now officially registered as the lawful owners of "Helden Sisters Lemonade Company", a tax-exempt micro-producer and vendor of soft drinks with a legally-protected brand name. Granted, for a fully-impeccable formal registration the girls will still have to apply for a Public Health and Sanitation Department certificate within the next month, but I don't doubt these two have the spirit and commitment to get that done as well. In gratitude, the overjoyed girls promise to tend all Urban Security officers to as much lemonade as they want for free whenever they come around.


---


We arrive at DomSec compound about 30 minutes late. The Deputy Director who awaits us with a group of his men in black unmarked powered armor is visibly displeased.
"I was already starting to think they had overpowered you and taken off," he grumbles, "Let's see those terrorist scumbags now!"


I open the back of the APC, and it becomes immediately obvious that something is off. One of the men, going by the name of Cletus Jackson, has been very quiet and compliant for all this time. Now he's visibly shivering, a fevered expression in his eyes.


"Officer, I think he has it! I think he's got the brown flu!" Ms. Trevor fearfully points at him, squeezing as far away from him as possible in the opposite corner of the cage along with Ms. Brown.


"No, it's just... Just... AAAA-CHEW!" Mr. Jackson protests and suddenly sneezes. Moments later, his face assumes a deep red tinge of embarassment as the stench of excrement wafts in the air from him.


"Awww, man!" Callicrates exclaims at the sight, "I just washed the damn cage this morning!"


"Disgusting..." Deputy Director Arkangelos grumbles as he covers his nose with a kerchief and steps back, "Men, take these scumbags to detention! And make sure to hose this shitbird down and give him something for his... condition before you put him in lockup!"


The DomSec troopers drag the prisoners out of the APC, liberally shovering them with kicks, blows of stun sticks and blasphemy, giving some to their own infiltrator as well to keep up the appearance. Mr. Jackson looks especially miserable, walking bow-legged in an effort to avoid physical contact with his soiled pants while shivering from fever and cringing under the merciless beating. The women scream, struggle and protest loudly about such flagrant violation of their rights and demand to see their lawyers. They haven't yet gotten their heads around their dismal situation, or the fact that their entire species in the Imperium have no more rights than what their Sidh betters please to extend them. I can't help but pity them. UrbSec doesn't go out of their way to beat or humiliate detainees more than they have absolutely earned by resisting or talking back. Domestic Security evidently isn't bound by such standards, and the current attitude of the two women isn't going to win them any favours in a place like this.


"Now, despite the fact that I should have your asses for screwing up our operation, I won't," deputy director Arkangelos turns to us as soon as the perps are out of sight, "You demonstrated commendable initiative based on the information available to you, and I will make sure to inform your centurion that you are to be commended for resolving this incident rather than punished. I do expect, however, that the next time you encounter anything that could remotely be related to domestic terrorism, you follow the proper procedure and call in for backup so my organization can be notified and take care of the situation as is their duty and prerogative. Needless to say, this whole incident is classified, so you might want to be careful about what footage you publish on that v-blog of yours!"


"Absolutely, sir! Thank you, sir!" Castus thanks on our behalf.


After signing the prisoner release forms and confidentiality agreement, we set our course back to the station since our shift is about to be over.


---


And so ends our patrol on Day 293. After receiving back the redacted footage of the day, there's no high-speed chases, no drone takedowns, nothing that would suggest the incident at the SCR would ever have happened, and we are forbidden under penalty of 25 years of hard labour to ever speak of it in public. It's as if the incident never happened, because officially there is no domestic terrorism in the Imperium. DomSec merely makes sure that no information that would contradict this narrative ever makes it to public media.


But frankly, I don't feel very sorry about it. I get the feeling that our fans and local residents will respond more positively to us putting entitled "Karens" in their proper place and assisting young citizens in their first steps into entrepreneurship, as opposed to action-packed chases and arrests of real and perceived terrorists who would frankly benefit more from thorough education than whatever DomSec has in store for them.


With that said, I'm trooper Titus Licinius Severus from decury Sigma-6-1, and this is our officially-authorized Urban Security video-blog. Stay safe - stay at home, and have a good day!

Long live the Emperor!
 

The Carcosan Herald

Senior Member
Another cracking piece as usual, not much to say in terms of negative critique. A COVID-inspired pandemic being tackled in the most hilariously Sidh way possible - with liberal application of raw, unfiltered logic, violence and/or the threat of violence. But special mention has to be made of the lemonade stand scene. Being intimately familiar with the darker aspects of the Sidhverse, it was nice to see a more (dare I say) human side to the warrior-cyborgs, something we only really got to see last time in the short story with the Empress and her 'special delivery'. Sprinkle your works with more scenes like the lemonade stand and you have yourself a people that are so much more than genetically-engineered killing machines.

There were a couple of grammar and spelling burps that didn't slip past me though. Below is a list of the worst ones that caught my eye, coupled to suggestions for correction:
"let me remind that that the said laboratory" - no need for 'the' - and unless Severus has a stutter, only one 'that', please

"quick run through ORWELL,UrbSec's artificial intelligence" - the space bar is indeed a thing

should she try to take of - presumably, you mean 'take off'?

"over perceived poor servic e" - poor servics and es are a dying fad. Poor services, however, are all the rage

"But was obviously not going to destroy a valuable piece" - I can only guess that 'But I was' would be the right choice

"embarassment" - I knew the extra 'r' in embarrassment was hiding somewhere
 
Last edited:
Top