By David K Scholes
The virtual reality urban pacifier simulations helped but they did not fully prepare me for my first mission. There is no substitute for experience.
I brought up the rear in one of ten four person units fanning out from Urban Pacification Central towards the infamous mile high Turnbull residential tower. .
We had two combination punisher/heavy lift bots with us as back up.
En route we encountered disorganised resistance. From em bikers and truckers, star trooper vets, youthpaks and some other objectionables. It threatened to be nasty and we called in a jumbo drone support ready to level “expendable” “corridors” if need be.
Yet when the assorted objectionables realised we were not after them or their particular neighbourhood many of them faded away. Or just perhaps it was the sight of the jumbo drone.
I had a soft spot for the tough star trooper vets and was glad they didn’t push us. I was even more pleased to know that they were not nearly as well equipped as we were. The vets were held together with whatever bits and pieces came to hand. Particularly the younger ones returning to Earth after the collapse of Central Governments. Some of these ex-star troopers were more third rate cyborgs than men.
In my deflector equipped state of the art armour with 10x10 exo-skeleton (10 times normal strength 10 times normal speed) and drug boosted I could afford to be a little smug.
Our urban pacification doesn’t just mean killing people and levelling suburbs. Of course sometimes it does but that’s not what we are all about. We could be called out for anything from major out of control partying or a major industrial clean up to a full scale urban rebellion or even an invasion of the Megalopolis. Though lord knows why anyone would bother to invade us.
The Turnbull tower stuck out like a sore thumb. Huge car parks lay around it with many of the nearby buildings flattened. .
The vast acres of parking around the tower had been the scene of some sort of battle. Tangled wrecks of old trucks and cars. Huge volumes of concrete had fallen from the scarred building. Unexploded ordinance lay about the area.
I looked up in wonder at the building. Intended to be totally autonomous it had been built when engineering standards were at their highest. Despite all the damage done to it the colossus, anchored deep in the bedrock below it, stood unbowed as structurally strong as ever.
We put the punisher/heavy lift bots to clearing the car park area.
Then all forty of us entered and swept the building. We did it by the book.
It seemed such a ridiculously small number for such a colossus but our mission was limited. Key agitators were to be arrested, certain individuals were to be freed and escorted safely away, med centres were to be put back on line, power was to be restored in certain areas.
The heavy duty bots later came in to the lower floors.
As a final act we fired a one month noise suppression envelope over the building. Perhaps it seems silly but there had been noise complaints from what passed as neighbours and we had to act upon them.
I realised that we would be back here again in three months or less to do the whole thing again.
Later as we turned back towards Urban Pacifier Central I knew that three of our number had not made it. Jill, Ted and Xrrlth were all just as dead as Julius Caesar. Of course their exo-skeleton backed armour was still working. On automatic bringing them home with us. We flanked them to ensure they weren’t molested.
We tried never to leave even our dead behind. It had happened once or twice and the locals had stripped their armour and exo-skeletons and done things to the bodies.
Back at Central I got out of my pacifier armour and supporting exo-skeleton. It took me a while. This was followed by an air blast massage and I fell into an old fashioned hot tub. The “forever young” drug I had taken before going on the mission had now completely dissipated.
Then I staggered into my wheel chair and fell asleep even before my android nurse aid could wheel me into bed. With some variations much the same thing was happening in other rooms to my fellow pacifiers.
It still seemed to be our secret that most of us were old, disabled or both. With only the technology; the exo-skeleton armour, the heavy duty bots and the drones giving us the edge.
Someone out there in the sprawling Megalopolis had to know the truth about us but it didn’t seem to be common knowledge. If it were we would surely encounter a more organised more determined resistance. Perhaps even direct attacks on Urban Pacifier Central
My hope was that while the no longer repairable technology held up and we pacifiers remained young enough with the drugs that we could possibly maintain the status quo.
The truth is we urban pacifiers in each major megalopolis are the last links to any kind of order.
When we are gone there will be nothing but total anarchy.
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The author has written over 170 speculative fiction short stories many of which appear in his seven published collections of short stories. He has also published two science fiction novellas (all on Amazon). He has been a regular contributor to the Antipodean SF, Beam Me Up Pod Cast, and Farther Stars Than These sites. He has also been published on 365 Tomorrows, Bewildering Stories, the WiFiles and the former Golden Visions magazine. He is currently well advanced with a new collection of science fiction short stories.