I slap at an inoculation-mozzie on my neck, as I aim my harpoon launcher at the heat signature of the deer that runs across the forest floor, the swelling sounds of Smashing Pumpkins "Cupid De Locke" filling up my ears. The deer stops, taking shelter underneath a tree. I squeeze the trigger. CRACK! The deer falls down, and turns translucent as several spinning chunks of meat appear. Epic Victory: Clean Kill! a deep voice shouts as the celebratory text repeats the sound across my field of view. I see my hunter level rising at the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Haha, suck on that Nguyen. I clamour down the branches of the tree, retrieve my harpoon, wrench the deer open with my implanted hand claws, then put the meat inside my metal jaw and chew. It tastes like pork, but gamier. It’s deliriously good. The other Reavers run out from their hiding spots, and jump and cheer around me, picking up the meat, and tearing into it. Soon, only a skeleton is left. A Reaver hoists it up over their shoulders.
The men grumble as I glide out of the teleporter with my arms outstretched. I bow my head and crack a smile, too small for anyone to notice. They look at me in anger and disgust.
We thought they'd bring him back in shackles, blindfolded, with combat bots at either side of him. But Damien is alone when he descends from the transport ship, looking awkward, or embarrassed, more than anything. The ship departs behind him and the hanger closes. I lose sight of him as he steps under the threshold of the observation deck. Simon looks at Adrian, who shrugs.
The paper says ‘full communism,’ just like every other piece of paper printed out before it. In the control room, in response to a thought-command from me, the lead technician jabs the button for recalculation again, and again, and again…