Night flooded through the silent town like thick black treacle, coating the streets with inky, starless shadows. The high glowing lights in the tree-top residences of the upper district dimmed as people settled down for the night, heads filled with dreams caused by the soft treacle-like Sibbanac that had become all the rage in fashionable society. Further down, the clerks that kept the town running streamed home from their offices, clutching their weekly pay-packets. Down below, the more lucky Ground-class scurried to their mud-walled huts before curfew, while the factories and workhouses carried on through the night, run by those people who could not afford a moment without work.
In the center of the village, the large clearing that by day was filled with happy families, and by evening filled with romantic couples, was slowly emptying. The last of the couples left, amid much cuddling and kissing.
Slowly, out of the shadows, four people stepped into the moonlight. They stood in the clearing for some time, staring up into the distant sky.
“Wecca has been compromised” A woman’s voice broke the stillness of the night. One of the other figures, a young man, scowled.
“Quiet,” He muttered. “We can’t too careful.” He glanced sharply at the woman. “And what do you mean by compromised?”
“Captured sir, but we have covered our tracks. She won’t tell them anything.”
“Poison?” He whispered. She just nodded mutely.
Another, older man spoke up.
“She had a sister. Minda. She doesn’t know anything.”
“Use her. Wind her up. In fact, let her stew in ignorance. And work on her. She could be a potential fanatic. Make a note of that.” He gestured towards a younger woman behind him, holding a stylus and tablet.
“But sir, isn’t that a bit harsh? Shouldn’t we just let her get over the death first?”
“No. We would lose the attack. We need it now. And harsh? I’m no harsher than they are. I am what I am because of my government. Don’t blame my harshness on me.”
He snapped his mouth shut, suddenly, and looked at the floor.
“No. That was harsh. I apologise. I live with no emotions, you see, it makes dealing with people almost impossible. Sorry. Do what you think best. She can be used. But yes, we must remember humanity, even in this time off war.”
He looked up again, his face back to it’s usual expression.
“And what are you waiting for? Let’s go. Report again tomorrow.”


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