Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
I’m sitting in a luxurious café on the seafront at Torslit, watching ten-metre-tall purple waves break across the dome, when a news article catches my eye on the ever-present infofeed.
“Police today released the constructed image of a human they wish to question in connection with several gruesome murders across Fabulon. The suspect stands one point seven metres tall and speaks with a Churuish accent. If you see this male, notify a polipoint immediately. Do not attempt to approach, engage, or apprehend this dangerous being.”
The image is of a bearded everyman in a plaid bodysuit, with an old scar on one cheek and dragon tattoos curling round his forearms.
I wait for the words linking him to killings on worlds like this one, but – as usual – they never come. Even if they did suspect, I doubt it would be broadcast. But, every time, I still wait for it. Like all of my kind, I’d like my art to be appreciated. Which is the eternal dichotomy: to continue my art, I must be free. Which means I must remain unknown.
This modern age affords me ways to ensure my body of work will finally be realised. In the age-old tradition of bank deposit boxes, Datavault operate on the liners that flit between the many worlds of man. For a fee, you can securely store information with them. That data will never be released unless one specifies the release criteria, and the recipients.
The Lenkormians pioneered the forever drives that power the vehicles of a hundred races. They also provide certain specialist services for those with the wherewithal to avail themselves of them. In my case, a life monitor. Upon my irrevocable death, my datavault will unload its contents to the ten highest-rated intergalactic news outlets at that time. My reign of termination will become public knowledge.
Not just dry schedules of the dead, either. I pride myself on trying to record as comprehensive a view of this incredible existence as I can. After all, what point is there being innovative if I cannot attempt to prevent any from surpassing me?
From humble beginnings with a classmate back on Earth, I am currently a forty-year veteran of ending sentients. My variable facial features, shifting scars, and transient tattoos came compliments of a long-demised agency, and government, who recruited me for my tendencies and potential.
They made the mistake of thinking they could control me by threatening my family. When I decided the time had come for me to leave, I ended my family. In the aftermath, I’m sure they discovered that many who’d worked on or with me had already died in circumstances that would only be suspicious after they paid attention to the minutiae. By the time those revelations reached those who would rightly be alarmed, the few targets I hadn’t taken care of were dead and I was somewhere out amongst the stars, performing murder under new skies.
As high tide has past and my drink is done, I’ll save this introductory piece for deposit when I board the liner in a short while. Torslit has been good to me, but an overindulgence at an isolated waystation will cause a commotion, and it can’t remain undiscovered for much longer. Therefore, I must away. The people of this planet are so welcoming, it seems a shame to waste such trust. I only have myself to blame. When practising years of restraint, the occasional massacre is inevitable. Likewise, the subsequent need for swift relocation.
If you’re reading this, my name was Walter Naguel. I would have relished killing you.
“When I decided the time had come for me to leave, I ended my family.” Ouch, strong stuff. Nice little speculative jolt, though – entirely within the spirit of Christmas.
Well, he’s certainly giving. Not sure if anybody wants to receive, though. 🙂
Phew, no ‘catch me if you can’ clarion calls, but the flavour of Jack bubbles beneath.