Author : David Shute

They’ve had me running assassination jobs for awhile now. Terrorists, political loose ends, and the occasional despot in between bigger jobs.

It kicked off with Nan Kang-Dae, a North Korean defector picked up by the Chinese authorities. His government had managed to turn him into a firestarter, a pyrokinetic. Unaware of this the Chinese sent him back. Some time after the mental safeguards were put in and before brainwashing he managed an assisted escape and fled his homeland.

Had he been left alone the safeguards would have prevented him from ever accessing his abilities. He’d have been free and harmless. Instead the Chinese sent him back and the North Korean brain butchers finished the job.

We’d been on the cusp of this for awhile; the arms race merging with the human race. They put me together piecemeal with implants, injections, and a swarm of nanobots.

I lost my fatigue response and the physical need for sleep went with it. This allowed a constant stream of extended training and conditioning sessions. I can run pretty fast and I have pretty impressive strength, but my real selling feature is extreme resilience. We’re talking dropped from a plane over North Korea without a parachute resilience. That’s how they sent me in for Kang-Dae.

The poor bastard’s eyes looked empty, like he hadn’t slept a moment in his entire life. His fire took most of my clothes and all of my hair trying to stop me. It hurt like hell but verified I was fireproof. I also learned that I could tear a man’s arms off if properly motivated.

Getting out of the country was the hard part. Still, you can cover a lot of ground when you don’t get tired, don’t have to stop to sleep. Some of the jobs have relied on that particular side effect of my modifications.

I’ve tried sleeping. I can feel it gnawing away in there, at the edges. I need to shut down but my eyes won’t stay closed. If I relax for too long my muscles twitch, urging my body to move. I keep trying.

I’ve completed all the training they can throw at me. For the most part I’m left alone; alternating between bloody field work and laying in a darkened room telling myself that this time I’ll sleep.

They’ve tried replicating my results. It hasn’t taken. They must have missed documenting some variable the first time around. More’s the pity. The formula they hit on seems pretty good on the surface. None of my targets have measured up yet at least.

The last job was an internal problem. Their inability to recreate their successes with me has done little to hamper their other programs. This was their first successful test, relatively speaking, with super speed. He flipped a switch. They’re not sure why but something broke and they sent me in.

I gave him a free shot. In the time it took me to react he got in about forty. He threw me around pretty good but that was the extent of it. I let him go at me for a couple minutes with a vain hope of perhaps.

I think he mistook my apathy for confusion or fear. He got too close and I grabbed him by the throat. I found myself looking into another pair of tired eyes and snapped his neck. Another job well done. Another disappointment.

Maybe the next one.

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