Author : Julian Miles

The cell was spartan yet comfortable. In the functional frame chair, the figure sat with the plain dark blue jumpsuit hanging on him like a drape over furniture. He looked up with weary eyes as the door opened and a well-dressed figure entered. He reflexively pushed for link, but the implanted screen prevented his uplinks with a painless but frightening silence where the world had once been at his call. The figure closed the door and sat cross-legged on the floor. With a smile, the figure spoke in calm, warm tones.

“Hello, Marten. I’m Steve. Executioner’s Counsel.”

Marten stared at this shockingly normal looking agent of doom.

“You don’t look like I expected.”

Steve smiled again.


“So, you here to tell me how it happens?”

“No, I’m here because you have raised concerns. The Executioners will not act without clarity. In action and motive.”

“Look, you have the uplink AV of the event. I killed him.”

“You did. With some considerable overkill, it has to be said.”

“He was a monster, untouchable by law. He oversaw my daughter’s murder and drove my wife to suicide. So I executed him. Simple. Now go tell your bosses to get me dead.”

Marten shifted under Steve’s intent gaze. His uplinks quivered as if they were being queried in anonymous mode, but he received only silence. Steve shook his head and sighed.

“You’re determined to go all the way, aren’t you?”


“You do realise that uplink recorded your investigations? That material has resulted in several people going to the Executioners without Counsel. Which is more than grounds for you to receive Executioner’s Mercy.”

“I killed him! The court said I had reduced him beyond replication or Transit! What does it take to get you to kill me?”

Marten’s desperate stress allowed Steve to drop into his emotional volition centres and read the truth, but by law, Marten had to say it. He had to commit himself.

“I am here because what you did is justifiable and as such, for you to continue to seek Execution has caused the Five to consider Mandating you.”

Marten reacted like he had been electrified. His eyes opened wide and he gasped for air and words before a hoarse croak tore itself from him,


Tears poured down Marten’s face as he continued in a broken whisper

“He took everything and nearly destroyed me. I only stayed to avenge my ladies and make sure my folks were cared for.”

“You mean that you would have ended yourself except that the suicide directives would have reverted your estate to the Treasury?”

“Yes. I want to be with my family. Please. Tell them. I want to go. Their mercy would be a living death sentence.”

Steve sat quietly before wiping a single tear from his own cheek. He watched it dry on his finger. The only real judge of honesty, Executioner One called it. If you felt nothing then you were on the way to being a part of the problem. In the chair, Marten Thompson’s body voided itself and with that spasm, toppled to lie on the floor. Steve stood and turned to face the door. He straightened his suit, then activated his duty uplink;

“Executioner Three. Sanction applied as grounds for Mercy judged to be inhumane.”


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