The Greater Good

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
There's something that Jacqui has to do, though she's not quite sure what it is. Somebody knows though, and he'll see her through every step along the way...

Submitted: June 21, 2015

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Submitted: June 21, 2015

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The Greater Good

By Adrian Hunt

 

Manny pressed his finger onto the reader at his workstation and keyed in his password; he was almost disappointed when the monitor confirmed that the log in had been successful. He’d thought about calling in sick just to avoid this morning’s task, even nearly made himself late by dragging his feet so much. In the end though, he knew that if he didn’t complete this morning’s ToL someone else would, and he’d rather make sure it was done properly - he didn’t want his client to suffer. Not that he really knew this lady personally - he didn’t - but after spending so long at such close quarters he’d kind of grown to like her. Those ToLs were always the worst. There were of course, those who he couldn’t care less about, and even the odd one or two he almost revelled in.

Manny sighed, and then with a shrug of his shoulders he selected the ‘ToL’ icon.

***

Two stops left.

As the tube train accelerated away from the platform, Jacqui sat, pondering.

She figured her only problem would be Geoff, the concierge, who she‘d grown to know quite well over the past two years or so. She had no doubt that he would recognise her in spite of the new bobbed haircut and chestnut-colour hair-dye – though she was completely aware that most of his attention had usually been on her ass. Anyway, she was sure she could talk him around. 

She wasn’t nervous. She knew that she should be, but there had been a change in her today; her old meek self somehow giving way to a new confidence that swelled in her chest and straightened her posture. She had something that she had to do, and in a few minutes she was going to do it. It really was as simple as that.

The whole thing had started around a fortnight ago. She’d known at the time that her career was over – a stupid mistake was, it turned out, all it took to get herself dismissed from that shitty company altogether. To think she’d given over more than two years of her life for them.

Jacqui gazed around the carriage. Mostly commuters, she thought, along with the odd tourist, though it was still a little early in the morning for them. Some sitting, some standing; some reading the morning news on their various devices. Most likely, her name would be in there tomorrow, her story being read by the morning commuters on the bus or the tube. They’d probably interview the people that she knew too, and they’d all insist that they never saw it coming. Her Mum, her friends…

…Chris.

A pang of regret made itself known as a flutter in her chest. Chris wouldn’t understand this, how could he? She could hardly understand it herself. In spite of what they may think of her afterwards, this was just the right thing to do; somehow she knew this with absolute certainty.

Last stop now - almost time.

Jacqui opened her shoulder bag and checked the contents. Everything was there that she would need, although that in itself was only her travel card and a crisp, sealed envelope. She knew that the contents of the envelope were particularly important, but she had no idea why or what they were - she had no memory of sealing it. There was something else too, something heavy zipped in the inner compartment. Like the envelope, she had no idea what it was. She only knew that she mustn’t open the pouch – not yet.

Satisfied that everything was as it should be, she closed the bag and moved along to the door. As the train rumbled on, she stood watching the patterns of cables and concrete blur past. It was hypnotising, but then she’d felt much like that recently. Probably it was just the stress.

The ping-ping-ping tone followed by the hiss of the door brought her out of her thoughts, and she stepped out onto the platform.

After bustling her way through the rush-hour crowds, Jacqui emerged into the blinding morning sunshine. She didn’t have far to go from the station, which was good – she was starting to get one of her headaches again. She’d been suffering from them for a couple of weeks now; an almost daily occurrence, but somehow they didn’t seem bother her anymore. She supposed she’d just become used to them. It didn’t matter now anyway.

Approaching the building, Jacqui paused, though not for reflection or to consider the enormity of what she was about to do – that didn’t even cross her mind. She stopped simply because she knew that Geoff would be on the other side of the door, and he would have to try to stop her. She’d rather not have to talk her way around him - no, it would be better to just ignore him and make for the stairs. The lift always seemed to be on the higher floors and would take too long to get down. She hoped for Geoff’s sake that she wouldn’t be stopped.

She liked Geoff – she didn’t want him to get hurt…

…maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

Jacqui snapped out of her thoughts, though exactly what it was she was thinking about she wasn’t sure. In any case she now found herself standing on the pavement, opposite the revolving door. What the hell had she been thinking about? Couldn’t have been important, she’d have remember if it was. She took a deep breath, straightened her shoulders and stepped inside.

The stairs were off to the left, on the opposite end of the foyer to the reception desk where Geoff was probably sitting. Jacqui couldn’t be sure if he was there or not – she didn’t even glance in that direction. She simply breezed across and slipped through the door, relieved when it had swung closed behind her.

Jacqui took the stairs two at a time as far as the second floor, then when she was sure Geoff wasn’t following - couldn’t have seen her at all, she thought - she ducked into the hallway and punched the call button for the lift.

***

A couple of close calls, but he’d managed to sort them out okay; Manny was good at what he did. He took a quick swig of his coffee and recalibrated the equipment in front of him. Just the final push now, but as he well knew, the last part was always the hardest.

Instinct can be quite a thing to overcome.

***

At the end of the hallway, Jacqui knew her ex-colleagues would already be hard at work. Some companies did not abide lateness; this one got twitchy if its staff didn’t show up early. Yes, they’d all be there, beavering away in their own little cubicles, making money for ‘The Company’. The thought made her swell with disgust.  

There would be looks of surprise and confusion when they saw her; they’d all bob their heads up to peer over the divisions at the distraction - what did Geoff call it? Prairie-Dogging, that was it - but she knew that in the end there would be shock and revulsion. Good, they would deserve it! The bitter feeling that was welling up inside her Jacqui couldn’t quite explain – it wasn’t her former colleagues that had fired her – but it felt right somehow to hate them. Her blood boiling, she strode into the room.

“MORNING EVERYONE! ALL WORKING HARD?” she yelled as she burst through the door. Heads shot up immediately, just as she’d predicted. “Just thought I’d pop in and say a final ‘farewell’ to you all now that I’ve moved on. I won’t keep you too long, Mr Simons wouldn’t want – Oh and speak of the fucking devil! Here’s the arsehole now! How’re things, Mr S? Everything going along well without me?”

Mr Simons flushed red in the face as he emerged from his office. “Now Jacqui look, I know you’re upset but…”

“Upset? Oh no, you have me all wrong, Mr S! I mean, come on! What do I have to be upset about? It’s not like you FUCKING FIRED ME, or that I CAN’T PAY MY FUCKING BILLS, or even that I’M GONNA LOSE MY FUCKING HOUSE! Mr S. just stared. Jacqui turned to her left, and found her old colleague, Rick, sat where she’d expected him to be. “Hi Rick, enjoying the show? I’d just like to leave this with you – don’t worry, it won’t explode or anything. It’s just…” She handed him the envelope, “just… it’ll make sense when you read it okay?”

Jacqui turned her attention back to Mr S, who she now saw was edging towards the front desk; and the panic alarm. “Ah-da-da! You don’t want to do that, Mr S!” she said. Mr S’s eyes widened.

“Oh my GOD! She’s got a GUN!” Jacqui couldn’t place the voice that said it, but when she looked down at her hands she saw that they were right. With absolute certainty, she suddenly knew what she had to do.

Jacqui levelled the pistol at Mr S, watching the pathetic prick quiver as the piss began forming a wet patch in the crotch of his trousers. Full of sudden hate, she squeezed the trigger and watched with delight as his brains exploded against the wall behind him, splattering across the company slogan – ‘SimCorp Insurance – Reap ALL that you have sown’.

Laughing manically, Jacqui turned on her heel and sprang at the fire-escape, pushing down on the release bar. The alarms immediately sprung into life. In a trance, she cocked her leg over the railing. She didn’t stop once, didn’t pause for thought for even a split second. She simply glanced over at the car park fifteen floors below; and jumped.

***

Manny checked the vitals monitor and the video feed, both of which confirmed that the ToL had been successful, then made the sign of the cross.  He didn’t know why he always did this - Manny wasn’t a religious man – it just seemed sort of… appropriate.

Still, it was kind of sad. He’d come to know Jacqui quite well during the past few weeks of the monitoring phase, learning her mannerisms so that he could write the best core program into the nano system that had been injected into her spinal cord around six weeks ago; one that he could manipulate to ensure the result. This was what he did – bringer of death, Terminator of Life – and as grim as it may be, he did it very well. The world would view Jacqui’s actions as the tragic result of a mental breakdown; her death as a simple suicide. Only a few would ever know any different.

Turning back to the main screen, he logged on to the database and punched in the ID number 41446887F, taking a swig of coffee as he waited for the profile to appear on the screen.

 

Name: Jacqueline Kearney

DOB: 19/03/2022

Diagnosis: Cervical Adenocarcinoma - stage 1

Diagnosis Date: 27/06/2053

Diagnosing Physician: Dr. Michael Steel

Date of Nano-system Bolus: 02/08/2053

Route: Intrathecal

Nano-system Function: Cognitive Reconditioning of:

  • risk aversion
  • professional skills/ ability
  • social behaviours
  • recognition of second-party consequence
  • recognition of third-party consequence
  • self-preservation

 

Termination of Life (Date): 19/09/2053

Termination of Life (Time): 0823 hours GMT

Termination of Life (Method): Catastrophic Trauma - Suicide

Termination of Life – reported story:

Following the termination of her employment contract, Jacqueline became depressed, demonstrating increasingly negative behaviours, ultimately... CLICK TO EXPAND

Termination of Life Witnessed By: Manwell Palmer

Humane Termination of Life? (click to select) YES  NO

 

Manny always clicked ‘YES’. Everybody did.

In a world where resources were limited and the population count out of control, there was simply no sense in curing an illness like Jacqui’s only for her to starve along with the rest of the world when the inevitable famine came. Simply put, there were just too many damn humans on the planet; curing illness became a stupid thing to do. Sometimes MI6 threw a little work their way on the side; someone that needed to be ‘dealt with’ like Mr S, but that was never recorded on the system. For Manny, it just made the job a little more interesting.

 Of course, the general public must never know any of this – they would go on blissfully unaware with no more than a shake of the head at the news of another tragedy.

It was regrettable. Not the way the human race had envisioned its future, but in the end it was, Manny reasoned, for the greater good.

 

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© Adrian Hunt. All rights reserved.


© Copyright 2018 Adrian Hunt. All rights reserved.

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