Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

On a far balcony, people are starting to panic. A crystal goblet flashes rainbow reflections as it tumbles, the hand that held it snatched backwards so quickly the goblet falls straight down. The holder was my target: now more a thing of art and geography than a man in an expensive suit.
“Successful removal noted. You are stood down while the projection is reconfigured for this deduction.”
I heave a sigh, drop down, and crawl from the rooftop. The heat radiated by the air conditioning stacks should conceal my presence from thermoscans and my stealth suit will keep me from being seen, providing I move slowly. Laborious manual checking of security footage might find me, but will reveal nothing. Just another anti-corporate fanatic distinguished by the use of an anti-personnel missile instead of a rifle or bomb. They know about the theft of the missiles and will write this off as an unfortunate occurrence of domestic use. I must have bought it from the organisation who stole the weapons.
We stole them, and will use them with care for targets we cannot reach by other means. Ideally, our work should be achieved without overt displays of murderous violence. As little disruption to the everyday as possible is the aim.
“You have three minutes to get below ground. They’re instituting an area-wide snapshot.”
For a victim of his standing, it’s not surprising. The proximity of enough satellites to allow it is inconvenient, but lift shafts are ideal for plummeting thirty floors. The trio of crash foam grenades combine with my armour to ensure I’m only going to be bruised tomorrow.
Scrambling from the foam, I exit the shaft into a basement car park. It’s the work of moments to pop the lid on a drain and quickly make my way out, disappearing into the sewers.
Our founder, Jason S, enshrined our duty: “Corporates are not evil. Governments likewise. Only people can be evil. Presented with a regime where moral codes are at odds with accepted mores, the influence and protection of the pack will encourage aberrant behaviour. The mission must be to remove those who would enable environments of evil within the organisations they influence or lead. No casual slaughter, no public presence.”
His influence inspired the work that led to IDEAL, the program that assesses the power balances and shifts that wrap our world in layers of influence and reliance. From its impartial assessments, there comes a list of targets and a sequence in which they need to be removed. Each success results in a re-evaluation of the remaining target pool. Some targets drop as the one who would have led them to do evil has been removed. Others rise as a new evildoer rises to prominence in the inevitable power-vacuum created by our action.
It’s a slow task. To be sure, we have to be meticulous within an application of predictive mathematics like never before.
We’ve made mistakes. Two of our own have had to be targeted and killed. There is much about this work that makes many of us uncomfortable. But, we are agreed: what mistakes we make are still better than the evils we prevent.
I often ask myself if we are the ultimate necessary evil. If IDEAL targets us as the final targets of our work, I will have my answer.