Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

The man coming round the corner blinks as I punch a killrod under his ribs and through his heart. By the time his body completes its slide down the wall, I’m over the barrier and extracting the other killrod from the receptionist’s eye socket.

My killrods are embedded where the smallest two fingers of each hand used to be. At rest, they protrude thirty millimetres and are concealed by prosthetic fingers. Extended, they are eight centimetres long.

The media insists on calling them ‘covert weaponry’. I fail to see how a man unable to make a fist can fit even the most basic requirements of covert operations. The false fingers are so the public won’t raise the alarm before I reach my destination and start killing. I’m not covert. I’m what gets sent in when covert has failed and the killing still needs to be done.

“Gloves, sitrep.”

They call me Gloves. A play on ‘gloves coming off’, I presume.

“Entry and reception areas quelled. Moving to laboratories.”

Someone has set off an alarm. Time to increase my pace.

The guards are good, but expecting someone who obeys rules and cedes to threats. By the time they are dead, I have been shot twice.

The next guards are ex-military. It makes no difference. I get shot five times, they die. I have to pause while my internal mechanisms expel a bullet that is jamming my shoulder. As it clatters to the floor, I hear someone swear.

“You’re a Teelow!”

I had not expected to be recognised, but hobbyists abound. I break from course of action to kill the geek, then return to plan.

Three floors and eighteen kills later, Professor Wilson Rodriguez looks up at me from where he cradles his wife’s body in his arms.

“Why can’t they let this technology out? It could help so many.”

“You’re asking the wrong end of the spear, Professor.”

His eyes go wide as my killrods punch through his throat.

“Target quelled. Exit path required.”

“Response was too quick, Gloves. Bin yourself.”

I run to the nearest waste processing chute and dive in head first. The trip down to the basement only inflicts superficial injuries. The trash shredder at the base of the chute is another matter. By the time I exit its smoking remains, I’m carrying my left arm in my right hand, with clothes and flesh hanging from me. Given the way my pickup driver turns pale and vomits, this must be a new level of ruin for me.

“Oh, God Almighty on a bloody harvester, you’re a mess. Turn about so we can snap a rear view.”

I catch an incredulous whisper: “Fucking hell, Tim. You can see right through him in places.”

We were created from a concept engendered by a film, of all things. Consciousness was an accident, they tell me. My name’s Cameron. I enjoy poker, am fascinated by photographs, and know over a hundred discrete ways to kill a human.