First published in April 2016. As usual, all content is copyright The Invisible Moth.
The sun set over the city of Accadia. All across the region, people were tuned in to the network, to the screens in their homes, in the public squares, on their personal devices as they waited in line for the cinema, a restaurant, or transportation. They were watching a live police chase happening on the outskirts of their city; the police were in active pursuit of an actual bank robber. This type of crime was nearly nonexistent in Accadia these days.
All traffic on the road had been re-routed or forced to the side, and a long line of hovercars waited in place, their drivers and passengers watching the criminal’s vehicle and the police cruisers, lights flashing, zoom past. In the lead among the detectives was the alien, a former military officer called Harrison Fischer. He was gaining on the criminal, rapidly.
Fischer was somewhat of a celebrity around Accadia. He belonged to the group of one hundred thousand survivors of a nuclear war on a now-defunct planet, and now they were spread out across Gaea. Fischer was one of about five dozen that lived within Accadia’s borders. He had been offered a position with the police force because of his military service in his homeland. The citizens had found this an interesting, or irritating, twist in the already-controversial decision made by the Elders to accept so many of the aliens into Accadia.
The passenger in the criminal’s vehicle leaned out the window and fired a plasma gun at Fischer’s cruiser. The cruiser swerved to one side, dodging the shots. Firing back from the automatic weapon mounted on the roof of the cruiser, Fischer hit the rear of the other vehicle. There was a bright flash, the vehicle bucked, then dropped, and crashed into the ditch.
Across the city, people cheered.
Several other police cruisers joined Fischer at the site to arrest the criminals and take their stolen goods into possession. The live feed of the slowing action eventually cut out, with the broadcasters announcing that they were changing coverage to the sports match that had just started in the stadium.
Harrison Fischer was congratulated on his capture, and sent home to work on his report.
When he was first re-located in Accadia, Harrison had been given a house in a small neighborhood on the hills above the southwestern area of the city. It was a two-story building, with large windows and plenty of space inside, far too much for just him, he felt. He was seriously considering getting a pet.
Harrison had been single on the day the bombs went off. He had just returned to his home city, mere hours earlier, from an extended deployment at a military base training new officers. When he realized what was happening, he’d left his apartment and run through the chaotic streets to his sister’s house, trying to find her and his two nephews. They weren’t there. Either they had already fled, or… He hadn’t yet found out. The Gaean Elders said that most of the survivors were accounted for. Most.
He refused to give up hope. Others of his species had discovered loved ones believed dead in a town across the continent from where they had been placed.
It was good to have something to do in the meantime, though. He was happy to have a job. Helping to keep order and justice on his new planet felt good, too.
Harrison took a shower, changed his clothes, and mixed himself a drink. The technology in the house was similar to what his species was used to, just a little more advanced. He stood at one of the huge windows, overlooking the lights of the city center below.
When he couldn’t find his family at their home, he ran back into the street, looking for them. They lived near a school, and there were younglings and their educators rushing around, trying to find safety. The government had sent out shuttles to rescue anyone who was still alive. Harrison had received the message early on his personal comm unit, as a member of the military. There was a shuttle landing in the park a few streets over from his sister’s house. And that school. So he led a group of younglings and the adults to the park. Almost all of them made it onto the shuttle. A few died along the way from injuries sustained in the detonation.
Sometimes Harrison wondered about those younglings, if their families had made it to Gaea, how they were faring in their new environment. He wondered if they thought of him.
But tonight, Harrison just stood at the window and sipped his drink, and contemplated what sort of pet he should get, and simply felt glad to know this world was slowly turning beneath his feet.
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