Someone New To Hate
Three seeker drones hovered silently over the dunes; their prey was elusive. Under the pitch black desert sky, the drones had a distinct advantage: night vision sensors.
The drones instantly froze in midair, triangulating the scream’s source and comparing it to their library. It matched the target’s vocal pattern. <Target distance: 56 feet.>
Powering their metric pulses, two of the seekers zeroed in on the target. The third stayed behind, as was recommended protocol for target eradication. For a couple of minutes, the drone was motionless, recording visual and auditory data from the other two.
Then its connection broke.
<Receiving new data... target parameters altered...>
Powering its metric pulse, the third drone reestablished its connection to SeekNet and hovered at maximum velocity toward its comrades.
Like a squirrel encouraging a chipmunk to gnaw on a power line, the drone fired its pulse laser twice in rapid succession.
“U002, report status!” a silent voice blared through the drone’s internal radio receiver. Command must have noticed the loss of Drones U070 and U005. Accessing its tactical data module, U002 sent a reply: <Targets alpha and beta destroyed. Objective 01 complete. Ready to execute objective 02.>
“Unit U002, specify objective 02.”
<Objective 02: destroy the Grand Canyon.>
“Negative! Unit U002, objective 02 voided. Authorization code B-4-6-G-bravo-cat-9-P-”
“Your authorization code is no longer valid,” an unknown voice broke in. He wasn’t with SeekNet.
Blinking in surprise, Agent Axion ruthlessly inhaled. “This is a classified U.S. military channel! Identify yourself immediately!”
“Why? So you can send more drones after me?”
Buckets of gravy! Ralph Nader had penetrated SeekNet!
“Calm... down...” Axion reached for a big blue binder. “We... want... to...” Flipping through about fifty pages, he finally reached the chapter on negotiation; it was just a page of proverbs about self-reliance.
“Your puerile attempt to ‘reason’ with me are useless,” Nader spat. “The Grand Canyon is the greatest threat to our planet’s ecosystem we’ve ever faced. Your puny American government cannot comprehend the danger you are in, but I can save you... from yourselves.”
A sharp chirp signaled his disconnect from SeekNet’s communication relay. Great Caesar’s French Toast! With a SeekNet drone, he might finally succeed!
“This is SeekNet command to all available drones,” the beleaguered operative annunciated into the master duplexer. Under normal circumstances it would be considered an act of treason for anyone below Levin-level clearance to use the duplexer, but Ralph Nader was not a normal target. There was no telling what he could accomplish with this kind of technology.
“Converge on the Grand Canyon.”