Designed to Pursue

Androids have lived side-by-side with humans for nearly six centuries. Olivia was an Omnis Lacrima model. Officially registered as OL-174. She was supposedly the first generation to have suppressed emotional output. She and over five-hundred others were created and employed by the Kourou Constabulary. In the four-hundred years since her construction, humanity spread across the galaxy exploring and settling new planets. These events set a precedent for an interplanetary cooperative, which unified all peoples, flesh and fabricated alike, under one galactic law thus eliminating the need for independent law enforcement.

Olivia worked as an enforcer for the Cooperative of Interplanetary Alliances, commonly called the Cooperative, for two-hundred years before retiring to the planet Fryst located in the Perseus Arm. Its frozen landscapes resulted in few human colonies. Criminals often thought it was a good place to hide, which is why Olivia set up shop as a bounty hunter. It was an easy way to make a living. Her mechanical body could withstand the extreme temperatures. The only trouble she had was finding parts should she need a replacement, but she kept a stockroom full of anything she might need.

She was sitting at the small table, her left hand disassembled, when a call came in. She tapped the screen and a man’s face filled it. He had a short beard, tan skin, and a scar across his forehead. The notes informed her that this man, Kayden, was last seen pursued by authorities near Hestus and may have fled to Fryst. The bounty was sixty-thousand credits. The kicker was that he needed to be captured alive.

“Not bad,” Olivia muttered, “What did you do to deserve such attention?”

She scrolled through the information. There wasn’t much that stated why he was such a desired target. A few major thefts, but nothing to warrant such a bounty. Olivia wondered what the Cooperative was keeping to itself, but then decided it didn’t matter. They would pay her the full sixty once she turned him in.

She reassembled her left hand and tested its responsiveness by gripping a baton. The middle finger was still not closing tightly, but it would do for now. She grabbed her thick coat and set off toward town to see if she could find any news about a newcomer with a scar on his forehead.

Three hours at the local tavern proved beneficial. Humans always seemed to lose control of their tongues with alcohol. A few guided questions and subtle head turns prompted a local merchant to recall having seen Kayden in his shop just yesterday. Olivia started visiting each hotel in the area beginning with the least amiable. Her third stop proved fruitful.

She walked in and approached the ragged man behind the front desk.

“Hi,” she said.

“A room will be two-hundred credits a day,” he replied.

She smiled and tapped on her communicator. She pulled up the picture of Kayden. “Have you seen this man?”

The ragged man looked at the picture. Olivia knew Kayden had at least stopped by if he wasn’t upstairs at that moment. It was a tell she picked up easily. A slight widening of the eyes.

“Never seen him. Two-hundred a day. Want a room?”

“Would you tell me where he is for five-hundred?”

She knew this type. He would tell her anything for the right price. He looked her over as if his mind wasn’t already made up.

“Let’s see the credits first.”

She pulled out five chips and laid them across the counter. The ragged man reached for them, but Olivia shield the chips with her hand.

“They’re yours once you tell me where he is.”

“He’s out.” The man’s eyes kept searching through her fingers for the credits.

“So he has a room here?”

“Yeah,” he said, nodding up the stairs while his eyes remained fixed, “Three fifteen.”

He reached for her hand, but she leaned in to stop him. “Last question. Where is he now?”

“Don’t know. He’s got the room through the week.”

She smiled and lifted her hand from the counter. The man nabbed the credits and examined them while Olivia walked upstairs to wait for her mark.

After several hours, she heard the key slide across the reader outside. The door opened and a few moments later the lights came on to reveal Kayden exactly as he looked in the photo except the beard was slightly larger. As soon as he noticed her sitting in the corner, he bolted.

But she was faster. Before he made it to the stairs, she had a strong grip around the back of his neck.

“Kayden. So nice to see you,” she said.

“Who are you? What do you want?”

“I don’t want anything from you, but the Cooperative does. So much that they are going to pay me sixty-thousand creds as soon as I hand you over.”

“I can pay you more than that.”

She looked at their surroundings. “I doubt that. Even if you could, I don’t accept stolen creds.”

She walked him down the stairs and out the front door. The entire time she had him lifted six inches from the floor. As they made it into the street, her hand became unresponsive and she dropped him onto the snow-covered street.

He ran while she examined her left hand. The motor functions had failed. It simply hung limp before her. She sighed as she thought of the repairs it would need.

Then she looked up to see Kayden a few hundred meters down the street. A grin spread across her perfect synthetic lips. She liked a good chase. She crouched, then launched herself in his direction. She could max out at eighty miles-per-hour in good conditions. She took it easy in the snow. Kayden was still burdened with his heavy coat and humans could never run well in the snow.

She caught up to him in a few seconds and kicked his right shin. The bones cracked upon impact and he went down screaming. With her right hand, she lifted him and tossed his soft body over her shoulder. She made her way to the only Cooperative station in town. The entire walk there, she weighed the pros and cons of which parts she would need to fix her left hand. Then again, sixty-thousand credits would be more than enough to buy her the finest replacement.

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