He was surprised how easily the BS flowed from his mouth. Dak knew what the people wanted to hear and he figured if he promised them things along those lines, they would be kept as happy as he could expect.
Maybe being a politician wasn’t so hard, he laughed to himself.
He finished with a quick retelling of his recent encounter with the series of cloned assassins. The press ate it up. Action and blood sent their fingers rapidly typing over their glowing Personals.
Things hadn’t stay that easy for long. As he expected, he couldn’t escape without a question session. The first dozen or so he fought off with comments about learning more about the perpetrator and other such vague garbage, then a reporter whose face was vaguely known to him broke in.
She was tall enough to be seen over most of her fellows and about a hundred miles from unattractive. Long auburn hair rolled past her narrow, perfectly painted face. Her eyes would have ruined it for him. Where Erin’s were trusting and full of hope, this woman’s were made of gray ice, holding only contempt.
“Hello captain, Lacy Law here,” her terse voice chirped. “What you have said is all very well and good, but what about real changes. Others have spoken out on such ideas as stricter ID enforcement and even setting up checkpoints. We know those Bodyjumpers prefer to possess younger better looking bodies. It has been suggested that such body types receive extra scrutiny.”
“You yourself fit that profile. Would you be pleased to have this additional limits on your freedoms?”
She couldn’t quite keep the red out of her cheeks at the backhanded complement, but quickly recovered. “In order to help keep this dangerous underground behind bars, certainly.”
“It still makes me wonder who you’d be after. The little old lady that had enough money to Jump into a younger body and is just out buying her bread or the trained assassins like the man who attacked me or the crew that gunned down the former Mayor hopeful, Homes. Let me tell you from personal knowledge that man that came after me wasn’t pretty. All I think such policies would do is make it a crime to be attractive. Is this the type of world you would want to live in?”
“Personally, I would expect them both to be locked up. Isn’t that the law Captain Dak or does the man in charge of this new task force think we should be lenient on these lesser Jumpers just because they haven’t used their changes to hurt anyone yet?”
Choosing his words carefully, he said, “As a Public Enforcer officer I have pledged myself to uphold the law. I think you can count on my continued vigilance on this issue. If the amount of crime committed by Jumpers doesn’t decrease over the next year I will hand in my resignation voluntarily.”
Nodding, this finally seemed to satisfy her and he was able to get through the rest of the questions without suffering anything worse.
His office was still in transition and this became a great excuse to go get some air. He ran into Matthews on the way out the building. “You okay Dak? You look a little pale.”
“It all comes with the new position I guess. Can’t say I like talking to the press.” He ran a hand over his brow. “I wonder if I’ll be able to get used to it.”
Matthews brightened. “Oh yeah, congrats on the new position. I guess it will be Captain Dak now.”
“What would you feel about being the first man I hire on?”
Matthews took a step back. Since he was the only other non-clone working for the Jumpers, Dak figured he would be a natural choice. “I’ll have to ask,” Matthews answered strangely. He soon departed a stiffly and Dak couldn’t help but wonder which Jumper might be holding Matthew’s strings. Shaking his head, he thought he might have the answer. He only hoped he was wrong.
* * *
The scent of stale smog burned his noise. Trash blew like city leaves. Even near the PE building bums and dregs fought for a hand out. His vehicle was secured below, but Dak felt like walking. He passed the taverns that most of the PE grunts frequented.
He felt less a part of them than ever. What was he a part of?
Dak really wasn’t a big one for drinking before sundown, but he felt he needed one. He headed into a nicer establishment hoping that he would find it empty. He was right. The sparse patrons lurked in dark corners huddled over tables. Fine suits mixed with low cut dresses. Conversations ran from afternoon affairs to cooperate backstabbing. Ignoring these, he headed over to the reflective plastic bar.
Massaging his temples, he looked down, while he waited for a hopper. “Hard day captain,” it was a voice that had already been haunting him. Opening his eyes, he saw that Lacy Law had helped herself into the adjacent barstool. “Having a drink before two pm. I see that he are off to a great start hunting down the Jumpers.”
Turning towards his hopper, he took a long pull before saying. “I was supposed to meet a contact here that had a list of known Jumpers, but with a Posher Cleb like yourself around here, he probably won’t show.”
She looked around uncertain. “You aren’t serious?”
“If you had only shown up ten minute’s later you might have had a big scoop.”
She waited until he was looking her way to cross her trim legs. Her gray business skirt did little to hide her looks. Years of police work left him wondering if she was hooked on some type of speed or if it was some fascist exercise routine that kept her body so tight.
“Perhaps you’ll let me take you out to dinner tonight and you can tell me all about it.” Her manicured nails lightly traced his hand. “You fought back well today. Most men crumble when I go up against them.”
“That must make you very proud,” he said while moving his hand away.
“So what about dinner? No one needs to know.” Leaned forward, exposed more of her toned body.
Staring for a long moment, he then slammed the rest of his beer. “No thanks, I think I’m going to be putting in long hours for quite a while. Her intake of breath was so loud that many of the patrons turned to watch, as he turned his back to her and existed back into the faded sunlight.
Find out more about the Skinjumpers of New Cluster Here!