Written in 365 Parts: 169: Escape

They hurried along the corridor trying to make their pace look like someone late rather than someone running away. Fast, but not too fast. Hurried, but not frantic. Don’t alert suspicion. Don’t get too far ahead of your carefully timed schedule. The computer program would activate in sequence, masking your location and passage, but you cannot be too far out of range as it was dangerous to delude the sensors for too long. Especially now. When you were finally leaving.

They could have laughed. They had managed to pull off decades of deceit and trickery. Now they had pulled off the murder of a colleague. The best part about it was that no one would ever know. Hooper had gone off grid and was masquerading as someone else. No one knew where they were and what they were doing. Bye, bye, Hooper. They were a smear in the desert now, there wouldn’t even be a trace of them. The only recoverable element would probably just indicate the presence of genetic material.

However the use of satellites, drones and secure networks. The bodies being examined in the morgue after a break in. The missing equipment from a corporate store. The numerous changes to Justice Department records in the last few days. All of this was an issue. There was no doubt that some small irregularity might be found. It was time to leave, and collect the very fat pension they had accumulated, before someone in government or corporate noticed something. Time to leave this satellite, job, world, system and persona behind.

Step one was to get off the satellite leaving no traces of how they went. This had been planned way in advance. They had a ticket on a public shuttle, but in the executive section that had private booths. They had a false identity and papers and a good enough disguise. They were currently six centimetres taller and a whole lot slimmer than they had been twenty-four hours before. Thanks to some very fast acting growth supplements and weight reduction medication. It had hurt, even the pain medication had only dulled the agony. But it was needed.

They had untyped their gender. For decades they had been clearly identified as male with a single partner, opposite gender, status. Now they had a new biological tag. They used a clone program to replicate skin cells and regrow their biological identity tag with the assumed identity, who had no gender and no preferences. They also had a faked genetic code. There would be a mandatory sample on the shuttle of a skin scrape on the left hand. They had grown a flesh glove over their hands for this.

They turned a corner and quickly joined the back of a short queue. They had timed it perfectly. This was the final group of boarding passengers. They waited until they were close to check in and then moved into the priority line and presented their ticket. The robot system took only a microsecond to log and scan them in. They placed their left hand on the biological scanner and held their breath as the system took a small slice of skin. A wait of close to ten seconds was like an hour until the screen went green, and they were directed into the boarding tube.

Ten minutes later they had stowed their luggage into a locker above the cubicle and opened the small door. They sank into the seat and adjusted straps to fit their new body size. They set the privacy screen and idly started to flick through the entertainment channels. The shuttle would depart in less than thirty minutes. Four hours of flight time to an orbiting station, and then they would disappear again with another identity. They had done it.

There was a flash on the screen. Someone had indicated they wanted to talk to them. Probably the vessel’s staff. A crew member giving some special courtesy to a high class passenger. Well, they were never one to refuse a courtesy. They hit the switch and dropped the privacy screen and looked into the muzzles of four weapons. 

A squad of justice drones were hovering around their cabin and stood behind them with a harsh smile was Hooper. “How are you doing, Perf?” Hooper asked.

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