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Half Breeds- Part Two

His actual title is “Resource Liaison.” Parole officer is a more accurate term. Since more than 40% of me is enhanced prosthetic or combat tech, I’m government property. Subject to recall and deployment at any time.

Sometimes I wonder if there was a debate over the 40% demarcation, or whether it was just slipped in a bill that no one read.

Every soldier has a tracking RFID that they use to keep tabs on us. Of course, it’s just a given that most of us disable it ASAP. The parole officers do their best to keep up with us, we do our best to not be kept up with. Technically it’s against the law, but the bureaucracy is already in place with the federal funding... what are you gonna do?

Still, if Smiley Face has found me, it’s game over for now. Might as well drop by and see him. For old times sake.

His office is in a shiny tower in Westwood. I take the Metro up to Union Station and switch to the Red Line. It’s all hustlers, kids, and homeless until Union Station. Then it’s all suits and college students. I never forget how much I stick out, but I’m never more aware than when I’m headed to the West side.

Finally, past the entertainment lawyers and the war protesters, I’m at the federal building. I get in line and wait my turn for admittance. Just for fun, I pick apart the security systems. There are a dozen ways a guy like me could trash this place. It’s been done before. Walter Reed was torn apart twice before they perfected The Conditioning.

Once, I’m spotted in line, the security guards move me to a special entrance. No point in going through the weapons detectors.

After I’m fitted with an EMP device, I get to take the elevator up. It’s kind of a joke, but it’s protocol. There are weapons trained on me every floor. I used to get nervous about this, but now it’s kind of funny. What are they gonna do? Kill me? They’ll just bring me back with some new gizmo for some goddamn conflict that no one else cares to do.

After enough upgrades, you stop being disposable.

He’s sitting in his overstuffed chair. He’s in a black suit and tie, but he’s still wearing that uniform in his mind.

“Your RFID went off-line, James.” He smiles. That same smile.

“Bad manufacturing,” I shrug. “You should look into the Vietnamese market. Superior craftsmanship.”

“We’ll do that. Have a seat.”

My chair is made of surgical grade stainless steel with cushions hand sewn by orphans in Bangalore. It’s comfy.

“You know, that’s defacing government property.” He points to the new paint job on my arms.

“So take it out of my pension. Olive drab wasn’t my color. You like?”

He studies the art carefully. “The jaguar is nice. You’re not Aztec, though. You’re Cherokee.”

I shrug. “Whatever. All us indigenous folks tend to look alike to gringos.”

He smiles again.

“Which ‘-istan’ am I headed to now?” I guess.

“Beverly Hills-istan,” he smirks. He flicks a data stick across the room. I catch it between two fingers and insert it before he can drop his hand.

The download is pretty slow due to the encryption. It takes me seven seconds to break it.

“Private security for a senator?” Hey, what do you know... I can still be surprised after all. “Isn’t that Secret Service’s detail?”

“You’ve been transferred. Here’s your hard copy.” He pulls a stack of papers from his top drawer. “Guess the strip club’s going to need a new bouncer for a while. Dismissed”

I’m not moving. He doesn’t like that.

“Look, it’s an easy assignment. Most guys never pass the psych to get out of the division. You should be happy.”

“Is that what I should be?”

He taps a pen on the tablet on his desk. Endorphins and dopamine rush through my system. I think of an old show my grandpa used to watch... “Ve haf ways of making you happy.”

“Well, since you put it that way...” I stand. I’m not going yet, though.

He’s starting to get pissed. He’s got an early tee time. His organizer is paging him. He taps the pen a few more times. The Conditioning will be kicking in any second. So far, there’s no way to hack around it. I just want to push it as long as I can.

8.43 seconds. Like riding a bull.

“Yes, sir.”

He nods. “See the lab on the way out. They’ll fit you with a new RFID and update your ware. Dismissed.”

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I'm enjoying this story

Good second part. I especially like the bull-riding analogy.

One thing I think you need to be careful of is the believability of the Conditioning and the RFID - if they have this powerful control over him that he can't get rid of, why isn't the RFID system part of that? That is, be careful that you aren't allowing him to only cut the puppet strings that advance the plot. Does that make sense? I don't think you've crossed any lines that make the readers say, "Wait a minute, that doesn't make sense". But I think the potential is there.

Anyway, looking forward to part three.