Author: David C. Nutt

Michael had been hunting this last psychic for the Company for the past seven years. All the others were dead, and while dispatching the powerful, and arrogant psychics was dangerous, it was easy to find them. They usually wound up as warlords on nearby planets, as mysterious billionaire gamblers, or rapidly rising stars of academic institutions, corporations, and the odd government elite. They all followed the same profile: little or no history and then they are powerful or famous. Occasionally, a target Michael tracked was not psychic at all- just some poor bastard who had a charmed life full of lucky breaks. Michael killed them anyway. No one should be that charmed or lucky. Best not to take any chances.

This last target was an exceptionally slippery character. Twice Michael had been in the same town, on the same planet. Twice he had missed the target by mere minutes. The file on this target did not say much other than “Non weapons-grade abilities. Limited range and influence.” There was a blurry photo of the target and some hand-scribbled notes. The most intriguing, one short sentence “more dangerous than we realized.” Michael shook his head. No, just good at running.

Michael sighed contentedly. It would all be over tonight. Michael would dispatch the last psychic left on the books. No more threats from psychics, even if they were Company made ones.

Michael was out of range. He had to get close, make this job look like death during a robbery as there was nothing remotely dicey with this one. No rivals, no slighted lovers, jealous friends, no hateful neighbors. No chance to arrange the usual frame job that kept the Company’s hands clean.
The target turned down the alley. Michael smiled. He was taking the short cut tonight. A lucky break. Michael swung wide as he rounded the corner and picked up his pace. Based on the target’s average walking speed, Michael would intercept him in five steps.
Instead, the target had sped up and turned to face him. Michael smiled. Too easy.

The target held his hands wide to show he wasn’t armed. “Look, I don’t want any trouble. All I want to do is be left alone. I’ve tried to make you forget about me, but it hasn’t worked. What’s it going to take to make you stop?”
Michael sighed “Stop? I’ll never stop. You make me forget I eventually remember. You cloud my vision, it clears up. I’ve read your file. You’ve got nothing left.”
The target nodded. “Then do what you have to do.” The target turned his back to Michael.

Michael took out his Company transponder and pressed ‘erase’. He then ground it under his heel. From the sheath secreted between his shoulder blades, Michael withdrew his ceramic knife and in one quick motion slashed both of his own femoral arteries. Michael fell to his knees.
The target sighed. “There was no other way?”
Michael was getting light-headed. “No, this was the only way.”
“Sorry.” The target said.
“No problem.” Michael cheerfully replied, laying down.
As the target walked away, Michael suddenly realized just how dangerous a man of limited influence could be.