Author : Matthew Forish

My call sign is Belle – I don’t have a real name, just a designation: ASC-a217.5. I stand about four-foot-two – pretty short even for a girl – and weigh in at a paltry eighty-four pounds. There are plenty of children larger than I am. Of course, I was designed this way. My size was selected specifically when I was engineered – it was an asset in my line of work. I could slip through spaces too small for most people, and I tend to blend in to a crowd

Tonight I was attending a diplomatic ball. I was dressed in an elegant blue gown, classy without being overly showy – the better to blend in. My hair – long at the moment – was up in a fancy but conservative style. I hated long hair – it got in the way – but it was necessary to keep up appearances on this assignment.

Standing against a side wall, I scanned the crowd. There were a number of overtly-dressed and armed security guards at the entrances to the room, and my trained eye noted five special agents – dressed in finery and mingled with the crowd. That brought the total security presence in the room to fifteen, plus the advanced security drone that hovered near the ceiling.

I noted my partner, dressed in the guise of a waiter, moving about with practiced ease with a tray of drinks. I was the only one who noticed the tiny devices he was scattering around the room. As he passed me, I snatched a glass of brandy from his tray – my eyes catching his signal that he was finished.

Moving toward the dance floor, I lifted the brandy to my lips and savored it for a moment before my bio-toxin neutralizers rendered the alcohol impotent. Such was the price of my unique abilities. After draining the glass, I deposited it on a nearby table and continued my advance. I spotted my target among the dancing couples. He was paired up with a visiting ambassador from a backwater world.

As usual, none of the guards paid any attention to my tiny frame as I cautiously approached my quarry. One of the special agents glanced my way and smiled at me, before continuing his subtle scans of the crowd.

I was right behind my prey before the drone finally noticed me. It’s blaring alarms were cut short as the stun-pulse flashed out from every corner of the room. Most of the guests and all of the uniformed guards dropped from the pulse, which barely registered as a tickle in my enhanced neural pathways. Only my target, the special agents and the few dignitaries wealthy enough to afford high-end neural implants were standing now – as well as my partner and I of course.

My target turned around in confusion, spotting me for the first time. I drew a slender blade from among my stylish hairpins and took one quick slash across his throat. “You should have voted no on that amendment, Senator,” I said quietly as the shock registered on his face, his life slipping through the gash in his throat – his nano-meds unable to contend with the counter-nanos set loose by my blade in order to save him.

With my partner at my side, I dashed for the nearest window. The special agents moved to intercept us, but were thrown back by the sudden concussion of a cluster of explosions that covered our escape. As we leapt through the shattering glass and plunged into the blackness below, I noted with satisfaction another job well-done.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows