Tyser Lanning watched the transporters speed down the CAV-way through a procession of camera feeds.
A pop-up on the screen.
Anomalous speeds detected.
He adjusted his headset and zoomed in to the still-frames of the speeding vehicle. A standard issue lev-han transporter. Kryos manufacture. He bent to the screen, typing notes out upon his computer, mumbling to himself as his fingertips struck the keys.
“Two occupants in vehicle exceeding speed limit on CAV-way N-05. Driver is male, middle aged. Fertilizer courier. Passenger is-” He switched to the next series of footage from the opposite side of the vehicle and paused, grinning.
He opened the secured messaging application and typed in two words.
He recieved a call three seconds later. The voice of a woman vainly suppressing anticipation and panic echoed through his headset’s earmuffs.
“You’re sure its the specimen?”
“Secure it. Immediately. I’m sending some men now.”
“I’d say that deserves a bonus, don’t you?”
“Just do your job, Lanning.”
The line went dead. A fuzz of static hissed in his ears.
“You’re welcome.” He muttered dourly.
“Who’re you talking to, daddy?” A young girl inquired from the door to Lanning’s study.
He whirled and put on a theatrical frown, his eyes narrowing with feigned disapproval, “Reya… what are you doing up this late?”
She looked down at the ground.
“I had a bad dream.”
Lanning’s facade crumbled.
“Tell me about it.”
She climbed up on his lap and nestled her head against his chest, “There was a strange tower. White. Like ivory. Higher than I could see the top of. And all around the base of it, people, screaming. I was there with them. And they started screaming at me, so I ran. Straight to the tower. There was a door but I didn’t have a key… and they grabbed me… and… and then I woke up.”
Lanning rubbed her arms reassuringly. “Its just a dream. Those people can’t hurt you. Your mother told me you were still having trouble at school.”
“The other kids pick on me.”
“She told me that but said you wouldn’t say why.”
“Because of you. They say you’re a bad man.”
Lanning frowned and stroked his daughters hair, looking out the window to the flatlands beyond the edge of the city.
“Don’t listen to them, darling, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Once I finish this job we can get out of here. We can go to the deep colonies. No one can bother us there. Would you like that?”
The girl nodded and smiled and warped her arms around the man’s waist as he sighed and ran his fingers through her hair, as red and stark as her mother’s.