Full Name: Kiara Juna Bond
Preferred Name: Kiara
Family: Father, Chase Bond. Mother, Vivian Bond.
[ALERT indicated person(s) identified as missing]
Location: SYSTEM FAILURE
Jason aggressively clicked the keyboard mouse, as if reloading the page would unveil more information. The three dots would bob for thirty seconds before the system decided the impossible: It didn’t have any information on Kiara Bond.
Her father’s rebellion was predicted by the system - his headpiece detected anger when Chase was shown advertisements for anything technology related. By the time he had thrown his daughter’s cell phone out the window of their 50th story apartment, the odds of running away peaked at 95%.
A warning was promptly sent out to the nearest Force base, and within an hour law enforcement was forcefully knocking on the door. The recommendation to detain Mr. Bond was the only warrant they needed - the system could be counted on. It caught crimes before they occurred, easily putting detectives out of business.
Kiara watched, her face stony, as her father fell limp without the Force stepping foot in the apartment. The system predicted the time they would arrive, predicted her father would be making dinner, chopping onions with a large government-issue knife. In avoidance of conflict, it simply sent the right electrical signals to send him into REM sleep. Her mother opened the door, her hand violently shaking. Kiara knew she would not fight, or the system would have disabled her as well.
Taking a single step away from the men, she stooped down to grab the discarded knife. It fit nicely in her fist, her fingers gripping the graphene hilt. The system immediately detected the unusual action, already monitoring the cameras. It tuned into her headpiece, collecting the data for later analysis. Weighing the chances she would do something violent, if it was more than 50 percent at any moment she would be on the floor as well.
But Jason, one of the many officials who used the system to locate and determine the motivation of perpetrators, was hitting a wall. Somehow Kiara was acting in such an erratic way as to fool the system. It would not betray the information of what she was feeling, or why she might have picked up the knife, without being certain on the statistics. However, while the system could not determine her next moves or motivations, the Force still had Kiara’s tracker. If the force had not detained her yet, she would be found in a day.
Not wanting to leave his office empty-handed, but not having much of a choice, Jason packed up. The system was working constantly in the background, and if by the end of the day it didn’t figure Kiara out, Jason would pay her a visit at the detention center.
Kiara was surprised the system had not disabled her as soon as she picked up the knife on the kitchen floor. But it wasn’t her acting, otherwise, she would never have stooped down to grab the hilt. She would not have exited the apartment, taking the elevator all the way down to the old underground parking lot. Kiara would not have walked, barefooted, across the cement towards a lone gas vehicle. She would not have touched the dirt-stained handle to open the door and climb in, pulling the blindfold from beside her over her eyes. The system could not predict her movements because they were not hers.
She still had not dropped the knife, and a stab of pain cut through the side of her arm, the knife making a shallow cut. Dropping the knife, Kiara internally cringed at the loud clanging of metal on cement. Tried to focus on taking a step backward, moving in a way her anonymous captor did not facilitate. Instead, she pinched the cut until a small metal bulb came out. A tracker, she realized, I just cut out my tracker.
And by the time whatever trance she was in broke, she was blind, bound, and heading in an unknown direction. The system she and everybody else entrusted their lives to had not alerted the Force in time to save her. Because it didn’t understand what she was doing, unable to factor in an outside force.
She was utterly alone.
“The tracker was cut out.” Jason tried to explain to his boss, Martha, who was waiting outside his office. She believed he was slacking and had not done as much research as he should have. “We found it with traces of her blood in the abandoned underground lot under her apartment building.”
Martha forced herself not to yell at Jason, he was only relaying the information. He was not responsible for the dead-end, only the bearer of bad news. “And the cameras?”
“We have her going down the elevator, looking panicked, but the cameras in the lot don’t show her there.”
“You’re sure she took the elevator down to the lot? Didn’t get out on the main floor, even through a back way?” Martha tried to keep the strain out of her voice.
Jason was irritated with her questioning, she spoke as if he had not considered the possibility himself. “I checked all of the footage.” He was much more skilled at keeping emotions out of his voice. A perfect Force Head, relaying the information without opinion seeping through.
“What did the cameras on the parking lot exit show?” Martha was careful to phrase her words as to not be condescending.
“Nothing, the cameras were disabled hours before her father was even flagged.” He was frustrated too, unable to solve the mystery. The system was short-circuiting with the effort of figuring out Kiara’s motivation, and of no help. Nobody he had talked to had ever seen such a thing happen.
Jason was about to take a break for dinner when Vivian Bond broke through the doors of the unit, her curly hair filled with frizz and roughly pulled into a ponytail. “Put me under a truth detector, now.”
The vehicle slowed to a stop, and Kiara barely managed to keep from slamming into the seat in front of her. After a few moments, the door beside her opened and four rough hands pulled her out of the vehicle. Despite the predicament, Kiara found relief in her physical ability to struggle against them. In the way, she could dig her heels into the pavement, before they dragged her and the skin rubbed against the rough surface.
Instead, she squirmed as much as she could, kicking the knees of her attackers. The effort did nothing except slow the speed at which they transported her, but when it became clear she would not cooperate, she was slung over one’s shoulder. With each step he took, the impact drove his shoulder into her stomach.
Desperate and unwilling to go forward, Kiara flung her weight away from him. He allowed her to fall, but she had not thought far enough to predict the impact. The pain echoed through her, but only one thought was chorusing in her head. Run, run, run.
“You are a pain to hold onto.” She heard one of them mutter as she stumbled, blindly running away from the pair. Managing to fling off her blindfold, blinding sunlight reflected off of the abandoned blue Walmart sign. Making the mistake of turning back, she saw the two men staring at her. One of them held a tranquilizer, and without seeing it fly through the air, a dart pierced her shoulder.
She fell limp once more, this time with the gift of unconsciousness.
Jason, with no more than a pause to evaluate Ms.Bond’s mental state, rushed over to take her into the interrogation room. He had to brush the dust off the tables, as it had been abandoned for so long. Her arm was still shaking as he hooked up the most recent truth detector apart from the system. Its many wires suctioned to her forehead, collecting information through harmless radiation. When it was ready, he had his phone ready to immediately collect information.
“My husband was a member of a rebellion group, I think he called them the Secretum Society.” She was rushing her words, and they were flowing over one another to create broken sentences. “He was always worried about being detained, saying something about Kiara. Gods, I can’t remember what he said!”
“It’s okay ma’am, calm down,” Jason said, setting his hand on hers. Her eyes were still wild, but she was making the effort to breathe slowly.
“No! No, no this is bad, I wasn’t supposed to tell you but Kiara’s gone anyway and-” Her voice took on a desperate, pleading tone. “You have to find her, or they will kill her when they think my husband confessed this. Find her, you have to find her!” Ms. Bond burst into tears and was inconsolable. Jason stayed with her for half a minute longer, before opting to continue the investigation.
“What did she say?” Martha asked, waiting just outside of the interrogation room door. Of course, she could have checked the cameras, but it was usually the system’s job.
But he just shook his head. “You should probably console her, she was too emotional to say much. I think she was just desperate.”
Martha raised an eyebrow but did as he suggested. His heart was racing, but he just grabbed a Force hovercar and set the address of the abandoned Walmart on 22nd street.
Kiara awoke with a headache, and aftereffect of the tranquilizer the Force chose not to remove. It was a punishment, they explained to the press. For those who fought against being detained intended to break the law, and a headache is nothing in the grand scheme of things. But Kiara cursed the decision as a sharp spike of pain exploded through her skull. She thought it would be brought on by light, but a blindfold once again obscured her vision.
“Hello?” She called, her voice not echoing. Hearing another’s faint breathing she continued blabbering. “I’m not sure why you are detaining me but I think you might have the wrong person because I don’t know wha-”
“It’s impossible for you to be the wrong person.” A man’s voice came from directly in front of her, the same one who shot her by the Walmart.
She considered his words for a moment. “Because you planned this. Because you were the one who controlled my movements! You-”
He cut her off again. “You need to stop talking before you say something that will get you killed.”
Slumping in her seat, Kiara tested the strength of the metal handcuffs keeping both of her wrists behind her. She was sitting in a cool chair, likely an old metal one, not designed for comfort.
“What do you want from me?” She tried. There was no response. “How did you make me do things against my will?”
A cold barrel of an old-style gun pressed into her forehead, and immediately Kiara gasped and pursed her lips. There would be no more conversation.
The only thing capturing her attention was a gun fired in the distance.
Jason found four men leaned up against the old Wild Wing restaurant, dressed in clothes used before the Recycling. A faded pair of jeans which should have been given to the clothing department to be revamped into a more washable, durable fabric. Wearing such things would only mean they didn’t care if people detected them breaking the rules. Because they had likely already done worse than keep clothing.
For a moment Jason debated turning back, but one of the men pointed at his figure, and two of them began making their way toward him. Whether he wanted to leave or not, it was too late.
Unfortunately, though they broke the rules, they had access to the latest technology. A tranquilizer whizzed past his forehead, they were shooting to disable. They wanted answers, Jason already had them. It took one shot of his ElecTro, and the air current around them was alight with energy. At once all of them, including the men at the door, keeled over in shock. Waiting until they went unconscious, Jason walked past their bodies and into the restaurant. Pressing the brick five down and two left from the top right corner of the wall, he sucked in a breath as a passageway opened.
“Freeze, and drop your weapon!” A deep voice came from beside him, and against his will, Jason froze for a second. Then he remembered he didn’t take orders from members of the Secretum Society.
When he reached for his weapons, he found the attacker had already torn them from his belt. Jason was better trained, though, and launched himself on top of him before he had a chance to load the weapon. Grabbing the first thing he could find - an old pistol - Jason shot the man. The sound made his ears ring, but the man fell over. Jason was unharmed but barely escaped.
Descending into the cold, humid basement, he heard two sets of breaths to the left. As he pushed open the barn door with his foot, he was met with two familiar faces. Strapped into a metal chair, her mouth tight and lacking her usual smile, was Kiara Bond. Holding an identical old pistol to her forehead was Tyler, the same smirk Jason had burned into his memory.
“I see you were expecting me,” Jason said gravely, loading the pistol from upstairs behind his back.
Kiara shrugged, and at the motion Tyler turned toward her, pushing the barrel harder into her forehead. She flinched at the movement. There she was, a hostage, and still, she tip-toed her way to danger, pushing herself further in a vain attempt at bravery. But her hands were bound, her legs tied together, and there was nothing she could do but hold her tongue.
“Chase was taken in for potential disobedience and rebellion, it was not voluntary. He didn’t report you, you can let the girl go.” Kiara sighed, she knew Jason well from when her father brought him over. He had yet to learn her name?
Tyler sneered. “So what brought you here, to try to valiantly save Kiara?”
Jason stirred at her name, making brief eye contact with her as if to apologize for forgetting it. She could not see through the black fabric. “I had prior knowledge of your plans.”
The pistol was flipped around to face Jason, and Kiara’s shoulders sagged in relief, but all logic was screaming it was not yet time to let her guard down. “A shame you had to die.”
“No!” Kiara screamed, but it was not heard over the cracks of a gun firing, she could not hear over the ringing of her unprotected ears. Her eyes still blindfolded, she had no idea who was at the receiving end of the shots.
“Jason!” She called, mentally praying he was alive.
Never taking his hand off his shoulder, he dragged himself over to her chair and used his ancient swiss army knife to cut through the rope wrapped around Kiara’s legs. At the motion, she relaxed and stopped fighting. Once they were free, he pulled himself onto his knees and removed her blindfold. Her eyes adjusted quickly to the dim basement, finding their way to Tyler’s still body before jerking them away.
Jason slowly made his way to Tyler’s body, fishing through his pockets until he found the key to Kiara’s handcuffs.
It felt like an eternity before Kiara’s wrists were no longer bound, but when she was free, she immediately shrugged off her sweater and crouched down to help Jason. He grunted in response to her putting pressure on his wound but did not say a word to dissuade her. Though she knew her position was one of danger, she would have no hope of getting out alive without him.
When Jason’s shoulder was wrapped up roughly with her sweater, the pair slowly made their way up the stairs to ground level. What was not lost on Kiara was the way he still gripped the pistol, his mouth pursed in a straight line. While it was undoubtedly rude to talk, Kiara was not on the receiving end of a gunshot, so she felt freer to speak.
“You know why I was captured.” She started, pausing with him as he stopped.
Jason turned to her, his brow furrowed. “You really should have stayed quiet, I almost forgot you were there.”
“I get that a lot.” Kiara shrugged but took a nervous step back after Jason began digging for something in his pockets. “What are you doing?”
“Trust me, this is better for everybody.” It was an unfamiliar device, shaped like an ancient radio, but the antennae were cones made of flimsy plastic.
Kiara tried running, but he tackled her before she made it one step. “If you don’t want them to kill you, you’ll cooperate.”
“Get off me!” Kiara struggled under Jason’s weight, as the flimsy plastic suctioned to her forehead.
After a few seconds, she couldn’t remember why she was fighting. Or where she was, she grasped for the memories but they slipped through her fingers, disappearing into the abyss. When she began asking a torrent of questions, the strange man finally rolled off of her. She didn’t understand what occurred, but she followed the strange man into a Force hovercar, and he drove her all the way home.