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He stated, “I’m an Adjudicator.”
“See the circle on the calendar. I have to go out and do it again. I can never complain. Let me explain, but first I must take some refreshment.”
He took a gumdrop out of the Everfilled Jar.
“This jar knows my thoughts, my wishes. I desired to throw the whole thing out the window but then it would be filled up again, just like that. And here they are, lemon gum drops, my favorite. And littering is a major ecological crime, as is farting. Methane, a major green-house gas, is strictly regulated. There are meters on everyone’s body from the day we’re born. Good credits are given to those who fart less. The truth of the matter is 40% of human populations are walking methane factories. It is a great form of taxation. Every body agreed those who polluted should pay.”
“I am not DNA prone to produce methane, but cows are. Large herds of cows were eliminated generations ago. Now only small numbers of the animals are allowed to breed and then again in especially environmentally controlled enclosed fields. Methane being a very potent gas is harvested for those activities that required natural methane for the sports population, specifically the indoor environmentally controlled go-kart racing crowd.
“I am one of the Hunters. All Hunters are licensed by the National Revenge Assembly, a bureaucratic subdivision within the Justice Department, an august group of citizens whose only desire is to see that the laws of the land are respected. Since all citizens are given all we desire and are free from want, and no one should have any want in our society. Want is The Capital Crime. Some of us desire to hunt. We don’t want to hunt. We simply desire to help maintain the balance in our Most Free From Want World.
“Every one has all they desire. Those who are found to want, and adjudicated as capital criminals, are allowed to go through a final form of trial. Our society gives every one what they desire. The final argument is conducted under the Human Hunting Laws. And the one found guilty could desire trial-by-combat.
In order to achieve a balance in the hunt revenge game that is required by our natural psychological make up, the NRA decrees hunting as the following, as I will explain, and we are given the opportunity to hunt, only the game is a condemned human. However, if he or she succeeds in break-freaking through the barrier of hunters or manages to kill one of us in the hunt, the criminal is deemed worthy and reformed of want by dint of God’s grace and set free. It’s a wonderful game. So far I’ve managed to adjudicate ten criminals. I’m called The Top Adjudicator.”
Today the hunt is in the break-freaking game preserve. The planets rotation is about to cut the natural light from the preserve. This is the best time. This is when the hunted ones get careless thinking they are about to cross the border. The Adjudicator studied her profile and figured she would try to use the river exit; so unoriginal.
I pop another gumdrop into my mouth. It is sour and my cheeks pucker. That was a good one and it brings a tight smile to my face. My rifle is resting on the sandbag as I chamber a .308. The specially made kill-bullet glides in silently. The bolt locks like jeweled clockwork. I turn on my infrared scope. The cross hairs align for 500 yards. There is no wind.
She was condemned for expressing too much undesire and wanted too much to have diversity, to allow change. She had something to do with cyborg designs. Silly girl. She should have kept her mouth shut. She knew better. I don’t care too much about personal data for this game. Too much gets in the way and I over analyze. They all panic out here.
They said if she had her way, then we’d all be just a mess like the old days of total chaos and confusion. We are so free from want. Everyone is happy and those that aren’t, soon learn one way, or another.
Between the breaths: I see her face, I squeeze the trigger. All I hear is phhhht. The suppressor keeps the noise down to a respectable level. I don’t even need earplugs. That would allow her to possibly sneak up on me. Well not this one. That only occurred once and I was almost willing to let him escape. He was good. He could have been one of US.
He called me a stooge and tool for the National Revenge Assembly, corrupters of the old constitution. He should have just terminated me, no talk. I couldn’t let that slide. That’s what a side arm is for.
She’s down. My job is done, and such pleasure. My sensors are surely reporting my happiness to the National Revenge Assembly. I will be rewarded. Strange, there is no confirmation…but it happens.
I have a great desire for steak and potatoes tonight. And then, who knows.
I make the call again, nothing. I walk to where my RPV is just landing. I walk slowly. Before boarding I stop, turn, and look back at the killing field. I can’t believe I see her face in my memory. She was cute, too bad.
Something is burning inside me. I look down. I‘m bleeding, what the… My hand covers the blood. Then I hear her voice.
“You think I was stupid enough to do like the others? I’m allowed a review of the Hunters just as you are of your intended victims. I know you like to lay and wait by the river. You shot my cyborg. I saw you look at your communicator. Of course you didn’t get a confirmation. I will take your machine and leave you here as you would have left me.
Oh, one last thing.”
My brain registered the muzzle flash.
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