Than’yhidre stood on camera in perfect poise, having just disarmed her opponent in front of an audience of millions, and ready to deliver the fatal blow. As a null-dancer, she was trained from girlhood as part MMA fighter, part bounty-hunter, part performance artist, and part media star.
She had been hunting her target for weeks, a clue here, a clue there, until finally assembling the whole tapestry and zeroing in on her quarry in this week’s episode, the object of her hunt being a mass-murderer responsible for the deaths of some very important people, to put him down before he killed anyone else.
Than’yhidre’s ruby irises and subtly pointed ears would mark her as a Kai’Siri, as would her perfect fangs — slightly longer, sharper, canine teeth characteristic of human species Homo sirugensis. But that would be a deception. Than’yhidre was born Terran, illegally trafficked by an interstellar cartel to Sirug, and sold to a wealthy family, then mind-wiped, and surgically altered before being raised as Kai’Siri according to local traditions.
Her ability as a fighter distinguished her at an early age, and so she was sent to train in the Academy as a null-dancer, a ritual combatant who hunted primarily psionic targets, and the most dangerous criminals, for fame and glory, and the entertainment of the masses.
Her target stood before her, having just lost his hand after pulling out a weapon. The votes were just coming in from the audience: thumbs up, let him live and arrest him, thumbs down, off with his head. In seconds, the online poll had been fully counted. Thumbs down. So be it. The audience must hate this guy, she thought. She acted in a single, swift motion as her Midukk Yokku blade parted head from shoulders. The corpse fell with a dull thud to the floor of the squalid room. She flicked her blade clean of blood before sheathing it. As the credits rolled for this week’s episode, she headed to her temporary quarters to rest, exercise, mingle with the camera crew and ready for the next recording session.
She would be given another dossier on her next target. Too late. It was already on her reading desk as she opened the door to her sleeping quarters. She looked it over. Hmmm. A telepath this time. Really dangerous, this one. Convicted of mind control- induced homicide, escaped from an asteroid prison facility just this month. Suspected of several other crimes, including illegal use of psi-drugs, emotive tampering, and technological mind-boosting of normals.
She threw the dossier to the floor. This was getting to be too much for her. It was one fight after another, and she nearly always won. The audience loved it, loved her, but she realized that it was only for the action, the thrill of the chase, and the confrontation at the end of each episode. The audience loved her for her moves, for her blade. She needed a change from this, something that didn’t involve arrests and executions each week.
She resolved to see the producer before the next cycle about the ideas that had been floating about in her head for that vacation she’d been promised in her contract…
She had just the thing in mind for that!
To be continued…