She had been eluding her pursuers for eternity, it seemed. The sweat on her body felt almost like a second skin, born of a mixture of fear and desperation; tightly controlled and held in check but a real, living entity nonetheless. The desperate fear was born when her palm flower began to blink steadily some nine hours ago. In another fifteen hours the blinking would cease and the flower would turn black. And she knew exactly what that meant. Mandatory suicide. She would be obligated by society to report to a local Sleepshop to embrace death with open arms. Or, if she chose the other option - which she had - she would be branded a coward by society, hunted down like an animal and terminated by the DS Squad.
Men and women were physically trained through grueling means to become DS agents and indoctrinated by the city's central computer to pursue and execute subversive members of society whose sole crime was wanting to live beyond the age of thirty. They were ruthless and unmerciful killers, feared by all except a small minority whose will to live outweighed the threat of being relentlessly pursued should one decide to escape from the city to a place referred to in certain circles as 'Outside.' A few runners had actually managed to elude DS and reach their goal of departing the city, proving it was a possibility after all.
She decided to follow suit.
Having disappeared far into the darkened catacombs of Cathedral, she looked in every direction, her eyes scanning her surroundings. So far she could see no one else in her immediate vicinity, but instinctively knew this was not to last for long. Sooner or later there would be DS agents infiltrating this place, searching for her. If they managed to find her here the termination of her existence would arrive sooner than it would have had she stayed put where she was and picked out Sleepshops to enter. Or perhaps her eventual fate would be even worse than death.
In certain runners' circles she had heard whispered tales of a place known only as "rehabilitation" where the most intelligent of the subversive elements comprising the city's population were suddenly taken by special DS agents and never seen again. Usually this happened at night; a person's living quarters would be raided by DS and its occupant brought to this special place for re-indoctrination by the city's central computer for unknown purposes. Rumors abounded of lobotimization and the fusion of living flesh with electronic pieces in which the unfortunate victim was to serve at a Love Shop as a living mannequin of a kind. Plainly, death would be a blessing in comparison, but the voice that lived within her said incessantly life was preferable to either.
So Jessica 6-8753589R plunged deeper into the night-black labyrinth to which she had escaped, knowing full well sooner or later her pursuers would be here shortly. Wiping the sweat from her face, she looked around in the catacombs for the entrance she had been informed of into a long-unused and forgotten underground labyrinth that eventually would lead her Outside. The entrance to this passage, she was almost certain, was located somewhere within this immediate vicinity; all she had to do now was to find it and DS didn't have an ice-statue's chance in hell of finding her.
All the while, she was keeping in mind the possibility of one DS agent in particular who could very possibly follow her into Cathedral. A female, this agent had joined the force as soon as she had reached the legal age of doing so, which was twenty-one. Considered by many as one of the most formidable DS agents of either sex, she was among the most ruthless and dangerous of them, boasting among the highest kill scores of any Sandman or Sandwoman in the city. It was also rumored in runners' circles that this agent in particular had a secret personal affinity for hand-to-hand combat and rather enjoyed wearing her quarry down physically in this regard before termination, especially female runners. Jessica found herself wondering whether this one would be pursuing her...
Leia 14-9454138C couldn't fathom for what possible reasons her quarry was foolish enough to choose this godforsaken catacomb to elude DS of all places. Certainly the occupants residing in this section of the city would tear the woman to pieces if the rats didn't. No runner dared enter Cathedral after nightfall of his or her own volition unless they were desperate, insane, or simply stupid. It was ultimately of no consequence, the Sandwoman decided. This woman had chosen to abandon her duty to the city and would have to accept the consequences now. There was no turning back for either of them. Leia was a DS agent with a job to do, not to mention a reputation to maintain as one who never allowed her prey to escape.
She watched from an unseen position as the woman - Jessica 6 according to the computer readout back at DS Headquarters - moved silently through the shadows as if in search of sanctuary from her pursuers. The woman for the most part stayed out of sight, to the point where she was virtually invisible to the untrained human eye. She was indeed a bright woman, this Jessica, Leia conceded her at least that much; the way she disappeared into the darkness most DS probably wouldn't have located her too easily. The runner was quite clever and resourceful as prey, but Leia was ultimately more so as a huntress, as she would shortly have to demonstrate to her.
She continued to stalk her unsuspecting quarry ... moving silently in the darkness as Jessica was, much like a snake feeling out the intelligence and tenacity of its dinner...
A snake, she repeated to herself inwardly, welcoming the implications arising inside her at the thought. Leia found herself reveling in the simile as she watched Jessica traveling further into the shadows. It was quite some time since she had pitted herself physically against another female, specifically another female who had opted to place herself in the same situation Leia's quarry presently was. She could feel her excitement steadily growing as she continued watching the woman, receiving furtive views of her skin as the dress the runner wore revealed the skimpy bikini-like underclothes in which she was clad.
Leia's excitement rose to a fever pitch. She would creep up undetected on the woman, enjoying the feeling of alarm the runner would surely feel knowing she was being pursued, and strike when the precise moment came. She would wrap her limbs around her unsuspecting victim's frame and crush the very fight out of her until the oxygen was forced from her sleek body. The mental picture of Jessica squirming desperately while caught in a perfect textbook scissor-lock almost robbed Leia of her breath. At this moment she could feel her thighs squeezing the hapless woman, feel the soft flesh giving way between her crushing embrace.
And then, when the runner was systematically reduced to little more than a breathless, defeated tangle of arms and legs lying on the floor, Leia would retrieve her Gun, pull the trigger, and the homer would tear its way into her helpless body, ripping her apart from the inside even as she howled in complete agony, until nothing was left of her but an unidentifiable jumble of organs.
Taking care not to needlessly alert Jessica to her nearby presence, Leia silently unholstered her belt, peeling off the skin-tight black leather DS uniform. Hiding her vestments and utilities in a place she was certain they would not be found by those miscreants living in Cathedral, she returned to her full height, revealing what she was clad in underneath. Her only vestments now were an equally tight-fitting black vinyl ensemble that most closely resembled a bikini. The material, hugging her body like a second skin, provided total freedom of movement that guaranteed the runner would not suspect her physical presence. Enjoying the feeling, she resumed stalking her prey, moving farther into the shadows herself in a parallel path higher up and off to the side.
Alone in the darkness, Jessica suddenly felt a change in the atmosphere around her, suddenly suspecting she was being watched. Pausing mid-step she drew in breath and crouched low to the floor. She looked around to discern whether there was someone following her. No one was in her direct line of vision as she glanced furtively in every direction, but she felt watched all the same. Jessica imagined it could well be Leia stalking her in the gloom; she knew the Sandwoman enjoyed playing cat-and-mouse with her quarry before striking, almost as much as engaging with it physically. Her muscles tensed as she continued into the dark shadows, anticipating a strike from the woman, which could come at any moment from any direction...
From her position of watching, Leia sneered to herself as Jessica attempted to ascertain where her huntress could be at the moment. But, something was not right here. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but after a while she began to realize there was a possible method and purpose as to the seemingly pointless direction in which the runner was headed. At first, it appeared as if Jessica was fleeing aimlessly, seeking nothing else but to escape her pursuers, but as Leia watched she began to piece it together. Why was this woman only sticking to the shadows, as opposed to wandering blindly in Cathedral in her flight? As she pondered this, it suddenly came to her! There must be some sort of an unseen passageway somewhere in here!
.... There is more of this story ...