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Kyle had known about it all his life, in fact his training had been aimed solely at making it happen. He knew that the event was closing in rapidly.
“Any day now”, he whispered in a confident voice.
“What?”, the gentleman said and stopped right next to Kyle.
“Nothing… sorry to have disturbed you”, Kyle muttered looking at the fellow with wild and staring eyes.
The man gazed at Kyle with mesmerized eyes. Could it be a degen? One of those deemed unfit for social integration? And was that blood on his sleeve?
Before Kyle had to convince him any further the suited man was on his way. There was no chance in hell that he'd deal with Kyle, who at first glance had seemed like just another citizen out on legitimate business.
The technicians were searching frantically, nothing like this had happened for over a century, but now a Bio implant seemed to have totally vanished from the grid, or rather it hadn't shown up at all when Sector Security by coincidence noticed a man who didn't show up during a routine scan. He had been walking down the pavement on fifth as if nothing was wrong with him but the patrol men had known. Nobody used clothes without RFID tags, nobody!
“Listen I don't want excuses I want him brought in”, the official said.
“Maybe you didn't listen the first time”, the technician barked “I said we are unable to trace his implant and the RFID trackers are not picking up on any of his apparel.
“How the hell can that be?”, the official sputtered wildly.
“Under paragraph 453 subsection F in the manufacturing and sales license to any garment maker or seller in our zone, it is clearly stated that no attire can be sold without approval from GovReg….”
The technician cut him short “Maybe the zone transfer checkpoint failed”.
“Failed!!! Are you completely out of your mind, they're doing triple check cycles with state of the art equipment… there can be no failures with that sort of safety margin!”.
“Take it easy, there must be a rational explanation”, the technician tried with his most soothing voice.
“Then give me one, the Sector Security Council is already breathing down my neck. They won't stand for this much longer!”, the official replied.
“Maybe, he made the garments himself and had the implant removed surgically”, the technician offered.
The official burst out into laughter “Don't be absurd man, where would he get the raw materials. Not to say the manufacturing equipment. You saw the clothes on the security shots yourself, they clearly look factory made!”.
“I'm just trying to help, I'm uploading all available data to the Facereq surveillance network, that way we'll have most of the town covered. In the meantime I suggest you have the boys in blue concentrate on Tin Town”.
“Tin Town?… who the hell will want to patrol that area?”, the official asked nervously.
“I don't know, that is your problem not mine”, the technician answered and turned the communication screen off.
Kyle was standing outside a store window, in the evening light he could see his own reflection in the glass. Funny how young I look, he thought while staring at his face like so many Kyles who had gone before him.
It was getting cold, he looked at his wrist console 23:37 the digits read. Kyle turned around and gazed across the street.
The female was a brunette, her clothes were sitting tight against her body. She was very young, perhaps in her early twenties. He examined her appearance with a penetrating gaze. Let's hope she's clear, far too many of them are into something these days, he thought with a chill.
Just as Kyle started crossing the street, the distant sound of sirens made his heart jump. No way!!! There had been no cops in sight…
He looked at his implant scanner:
Civilian: Female: Age: 23
Worker: Class 9
Prior convictions: NONE
NFI, Kyle couldn't help but smile. No Further Interest! Yeah that was exactly what the bureaucrats had in people these days.
Kyle looked straight into her eyes, they were pale green fading into blue, without any signs of addiction. “Anywhere we can talk” he demanded.
“What you got”, she answered, staring right back at him with eyes that almost made him forget who, or why he was there.
“How much”, Kyle asked pulling himself together.
“250 Units take it or leave it”, she replied as a sweet smile crept across her face.
Kyle gestured at his wrist console. She lifted her arm revealing one of the newer Nagata & Smith consoles with built in worldwide video and audio conferencing system, a feature he wasn't sure he liked so much.
A few seconds later the consoles were pressed against each other and the transaction completed.
The untraceable e-cash in use was a thorn in the eye of any control hungry officials but there was nothing they could do.
E-cash had come into use right before the RFID lobby could assure the implementation of RFID technology into the monetary system and the powerful Free Trade League kept it that way.
“This way she said”, and started leading Kyle into the maze of ragged sheds that made up most of the inner city.
“Damned I had him right here less than a minute ago”, the officer shouted.
“Then why didn't you take him out”, one of the arriving men demanded.
“I couldn't move against him, he killed 2 of our agents the last time we tried, we're under strict orders to wait for backup”, the young officer replied.
“No chance of finding him now huh McKenzie?”, the uniformed man asked one of his squaddies.
“Not a chance Sir. By now he will already be deep within TC, it's to dangerous to pursue him into that hell hole.”, the squaddie answered.
It was early morning when Kyle reemerged from Tin City, the worst slum on the whole continent, but hey it provided excellent cover. From time to time Sector Government would bulldoze an area of the settlements, but the strained financial resources could not match total restructuring for the next twenty years or so and while that lasted it would still be a safe haven.
Free Flying Taggers, Kyle thought and shuddered. It was merely a question of time before they were miniaturized enough so that no one would notice them. Today they might be big and clumsy because they needed massive computing power and great range. But what about it when they were small enough and they had enough Taggers connected in some sort of collective system, like the communication satellite clouds which obstructed almost all space travel, what then?
Kyle blended into the crowd. He was safe here, there were to many people for a Tagger to pursue him and even if it did manage to get a fix, someone would probably blast it out of the sky with a homemade weapon of sorts. The Gun Control Council had never been able to foresee how easy it had become to produce high quality weapons in your own back yard.
Today, Kyle thought as he walked down the street.
“Look, it's him”, a little girl shouted pointing at Kyle. At that instant he realized he'd been spotted. My face must be all over the networks by now, why the hell didn't I think of that? Kyle cursed to himself.
He had to do something, but there were to many people. I'll be blasted if I neutralize her, he thought ripping the stunner out.
Screams filled the street and a young patrol man suddenly appeared in front of him. “Freeze”, the officer said and pulled out a gun.
Kyle just managed to throw himself down before the gun spoke, he rolled over and took cover behind a trash can, that was way too close!
He got into a half upright sitting position and let his stunner release a surge.
The officer gave a surprised gasp as the energy charged particles hit him, his finger contracted around the trigger and a second row of shots spewed from his weapon as he fell motionless to the ground.
3 more uniformed men appeared at the scene, one of them stopped by the body lying on the street “Officer down, Need Ambulance by City Block AD/3.
Kyle whisked around the corner like a bat out of hell. How long? he thought gasping for air.
The past few moments had seemed like hours and Kyle had lost all track of time.
His garments were torn and he was bleeding heavily from the pounding his body had taken. Suddenly he slipped and skidded across the rugged surface. He had a hard time getting back up and he wasn't more than halfway there when another volley of shots came straight at him.
A burning sensation spread from the entrance point. Not now, he thought as he tumbled into the gutter. Dark spots cluttered his vision as he struggled to get up again.
With a resolute move he went for the gun and as it dawned upon him, terror started creeping into his mind, he had lost it!
The pain was unbelievable when a second shot hit him. He wagered for a moment. The officers came closer. They fired again but Kyle predicted it and managed to throw himself into safety behind the nearest corner.
“Where'd he go”, one of the officers shouted frantically looking around the empty street.
“Don't worry, he lost the gun”, an officer shouted and bent down to pick it up.
Just then a powerful jet of steam burst out from the exhaust pipe where the gun had been lying. The officer growled loudly and stepped back completely blinded.
“I… I can't see”, he shouted and dropped his gun. His face seemed carved in stone and with a horrendous and frightened grimace he fell down onto his knees. Tears started running down the blistering cheeks and while the sheer horror of the situation dawned upon the officers Kyle decided it was time to slip away.
“Thank you”, Kyle mumbled pulling himself toward the fence, he was halfway there when he heard the voice again.
“Freeze Police”, it boomed.
Kyle could see across the harbor and there she stood in all her beauty. One arm reached for the sky holding a beacon of light that symbolized the very thing that evil forces were doing all to suppress. The folks in Sector Government had been very careful, she was a symbol to the world, even after the war it had been fully restored to her former self. Hypocrites!
Kyle seemed to remember the years before the implants, he had been in his early twenties when they'd perfected them, but he and others had taken precautions.
Well not the Kyle he was now, the original Kyle.
The Kyle who had the money to set up the organization, the Kyle who had foreseen what the implants would bring.
“So much for that brain trust”, he mumbled as he turned his head toward the officer.
Kyle studied the policeman's face, he was very young. Perhaps in his late thirties, just out of the academy, all eager to show the world what a man he was.
He smiled at the officer “You won't fire”, Kyle said with a good amount of certainty in his voice.
“I will”, the young man answered in a thin trembling manner.
Kyle turned his head. No other way, he thought and swung his legs over the fence.
He didn't want to stop now, nor could he. The slug hammered into his body as he leapt from the fence. Where the hell did that come from, Kyle wondered as the pavement came closer at an unpleasant rate.
“Damn it, he was unarmed”, the young officer shouted.
“So what”, the older one answered indifferently and holstered his gun.
The pain was excruciating and as Kyle pulled his body towards the iron bars he felt his body being drained for all life. Somehow he managed to get up against the crimson bars by the waterside.
The young officer was over the fence and started instantly toward him.
Kyle gazed straight at the officer who seemed somewhat uneasy by the gray staring eyes which seemed to pierce straight into his soul.
Before the officer was close enough to notice, Kyle slid the little scanner into the dark cold waters. The bubbles from the acidic meltdown he had initiated in the device barely made an impression on the wrinkled surface.
The young officer turned his attention to Kyle “What are you smiling for”, he asked with a surprised look on his face.
“You'll find out soon enough”, Kyle whispered “At least I'm free now”.
Then everything darkened, Kyle felt a surge through his body and a strange sense of relief washed upon him.
“And you are absolutely sure it wasn't self inflicted?”, a gray clad official said.
“We can't be absolutely sure, but the probability that any one could tamper with the device is very close to none.”, the technician answered.
“Good, the President was very worried when he heard of the incident, just imagine the consequences if it was possible to alter or inflict such damage to the implants that they no longer registered on the grid. Too bad we couldn't question him”.
“Yeah too bad…” the elderly officer answered with a heavy sigh.
“What was his name again”, another of the suit clad officials asked.
The technician glanced at his screen “Kyle Monahan, born on the upper East side, 2058. No family, no social contacts beside work, he wont be missed”.
“Good thing it is over though”, the official muttered.
“You got that right!”, the officer whispered.
Deborah Sanders was the first one they lost contact with, but within minutes hundreds of implants disappeared from the grid.
Alarms went off and personnel raced into action, in his office James Brooke, Chief Executive of the Governmental Sector Control looked at the screen that was built into his desk. Hundreds of names scrolled by during his brief glance.
The following hour they lost contact with more or less every implant in the country.
He was right in choosing us, Brooke thought and nodded as he let his eyes move away from the screen.
Phoenix rising, he pushed the intercom button with a content look on his face.
“Miss D'Arcy, could you bring me some coffee please…?”. “And make it Black”, he added.
“Excuse me Sir, Black coffee?”, a puzzled female voice crackled back.
“Yes, black if you please, to hell with the damn ulcer”, Brooke answered grinning.
“But BioWatch won't approve..”, the voice tried.
“Not to worry Miss D'Arcy. I don't think they'll notice it now anyhow”.
The section below is kept mostly for historic reasons, most of it appeared on the website where the story was first published. (I have slightly edited it - removed obsolete links etc. and added new at the bottom).
Reality has far overtaken my original thoughts on this technology as well as other technology in the story. All we can hope for is restraint from the powers that be so that our society is not turned into an Orwellian nightmare of unthinkable proportions.
Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) is very real and being put to use every day in shop burglar alarms etc. and with miniaturizing leaping ahead at tremendous speed along with plummeting computer prices, tagging clothes to keep track of humans will soon be quite possible on a large scale. RFID clothes or tagging is actually an idea that some politicians talk about as a useful measure for the police and security organs. With recent developments in sub-dermal computer chip technology I am worried that the scenario you've just explored does not lie too far ahead in the future. The short story Implant was originally thought up and partially written between 1990 and 1995. I hope you have enjoyed reading it and that the story brings out further interest in my writing, feel free to send me your comments.
Some tips on interesting background information:
In my story I have hovering drones easily spotted and the protagonist thinks about miniaturization and swarms, todays reality is Micro UAV's and swarm technology allowing autonomous systems to interact are a reality.
For some pretty impressive stuff in Micro UAV development see http://www.proxdynamics.com/
Caspian - A consumer site dealing with RFID http://www.nocards.org - For those that care
A Finnish politician that thinks implanting / chipping people is a really good idea: - http://www.metropolitan.fi/entry/finnish-politician-suggests-people-be-embedded-with-a-chip-to-prevent-misuse-of-social-welfare-benefits-abroad