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The Extractor

In 2028 the US Government took a dramatic swing from Democrat and Republican to Technocrat. After over twelve years of decline into the superstition of religion and the fear it breeds, the population rose up and replaced those running on old ideas and replaced them with those who had scientific knowledge and acumen to change the course of the country.

Technocrats and the Technocracy movement abolished old ideas keeping the country from progressing. Instead of interfering with scientific progress that might offend the religious we jumped into the deep end and made real change. One of the first major changes, after hard fought years was the removal of tax-exempt status for any religious organization involved in politics at any level. There was first outrage yet afterwards the populace found progress, real progress towards fixing the country and the world was happening. What faith and fear held back inquiry and investigation into the worlds of science blossomed new generations and ideas.

The movement first embraced in the U.S. quickly expanded to include countries around the world, the people wanted what was now possible and mostly wanted to stop living in fear and lies from the media and their leaders.

Many changes to fundamental ideas began to emerge as a result – climate change was a top priority that everyone worked to correct. Poverty, disease and education were challenges readily accepted with legitimate ideas to fix by the new reigning majority of the world. Unthought of collaborations between scientist in once unfriendly countries led to many discoveries in medicine. Technology which had stunted in the mid 20s suddenly blossomed once again with ideas once only dreamt of in old comic book movies.

The world had changed – most would say for the better. Though some still longed for the day when people would bow their head in subservience to an invisible god – most looked askance at such superstition and fantasy. Nothing stopped people from practicing their religious beliefs, no matter how backward, but nothing was done to encourage such teachings or practice either.

Johnson Theil thrived in the techno world, it was all he’d ever known. An early adapter, he quickly mastered new technologies and ideas that the older generations seemed to struggle with. He was fascinated with hover tech and tinkered with three different vehicles in his garage in his off hours. He graduated from school near the top of his class and had many different options to choose from for his career path. Mostly he just wanted time to be by himself and an Extractor seemed like the right course to take. After an additional five years of education and apprenticeship he began working for the government in this sometimes shunned field.

Johnson’s parents had only wanted him to be happy they said, but he knew in his heart they had hoped he’d choose a different path, something with acclaim and promise. But the more he studied the principles and ideas behind Extraction the more he wanted to be involved and help people during this time. He felt a type of kinship to those he visited, he seemed to see what was really going on and he thought understanding that made him whole.

His thirtieth solo job, he took his hover cycle to the listed address – the appointment with Peter Kearns, a retired professor living just south of downtown Phoenix. He had a suitcase with him, carrying not just a few days clothes but also the standard gear required for any mission and he was ready for the long haul. He had been briefed on Peter, his request was only a few days old and he knew all there was to know about his reasoning, circumstances and trials that might pop up. He was cocksure, the job was old hat at this point one more day at the office.

What Johnson didn’t consider was Peter’s daughter Katelyn.

When he pulled up outside the Kearns’ estate she was waiting for him. Hands on her hips, fierce glare at him and he knew he was in trouble. He wasn’t sure who she was but her whole presence cast forward a sense of superiority and leadership. Whether she was a local religious nut or home owners association member who didn’t want his kind around – either way he was prepared to be stoic, firm and complete the task at hand.

Katelyn walked up to him as he was unloading his hover bike and just glared. He kept his face down and waiting for the incoming storm he knew was behind her eyes.

“Get Out!” she yelled, “I don’t want this, he doesn’t want this, not really. He’s just hurt right now, I can help him get better.”

Sizing her up he decided the direct approach would be best. “He’s filled out all the required forms, by law we have to honor his request and see follow procedures. I have to proceed as he requested, it’s his right. You know his rights on this matter weigh more than yours, whomever you might be.”

“I’m not interested in what the law says on the matter, he’s my father and he cannot do this. I will not allow him to do this. Go, just go!” she cried.

“Ah, you’re Katelyn then.” he replied “You’re father has been through a lot. Consider his pain, his sorrow here and how much release we can offer him.”

“Does my sorrow amount to nothing, the sorrow at losing not just my mother over the last year but now him, and in his barbaric way. It’s too ridiculous to consider – you create a cycle of death with this program.” she was prepared to win the argument, she so needed to not lose her father. “What’s to stop me from calling for the same when he’s taken from me? What’s to stop me from wishing for death?”

Johnson knew it was pointless to argue with her or mention her two daughters and loving husband at home, or promising career in intergalactic travel. He gave her what he considered his comforting look and didn’t know what to say. It was always tough when other family were involved with the decision. Tough on them and the volunteer.

Peter Kearns wanted to die, and by laws established since the beginning of the Technocracy he was entitled to do so. Johnson’s life work was to enable such transitions with grace and purpose, yet most considered him an assassin and vulture because not only did he have the honor of killing the volunteers, he also harvested their biological material for others. Organs, blood, all the vital necessities used by current medical technologies to produce cures, prevent disease and any number of scientific miracles.

Katelyn wasn’t done yet, his comforting look did nothing to suppress her anger or fear at losing her father. She so desperately wanted something to work, anything to work so this man would leave.

“Listen”, she said, “can we just go somewhere and talk about this? I just want to tell you about my father and what’s he’s been through and how I’ve seen him get through so many other things after struggling. I just know he can get through this too with time.”

Johnson considered, nothing in the protocols said he couldn’t just sit and listen to the daughter of his subject. He nodded and she led him towards  cafe just across the way. A cup of coffee or two while listening to a story or two and this will be all over and we can move on – they both thought.

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