#BlogBattles, My Writing Journey, short stories

Only Time Will Tell #BlogBattle #flashfiction #Intercept

August 2019 Blog Battle Word Prompt: INTERCEPT

Photo by Adam Muise on Unsplash

“Only Time Will Tell”

By Rachael Ritchey


June glanced at her watch. The analog hands pointed opposite directions. She tapped the glass and frowned. “Three forty-five. Fifteen minutes until–” She gasped.

Glancing left and right, June stepped out in the road and dashed to the far sidewalk. Cars rushed by, alarm-sensors blaring, but if she didn’t hurry she’d be too late. This could not happen… again.

Tall buildings thrust toward the sky with giant one-way digital billboards filling their windowed surfaces. June ignored her face flashing on the screens and the scrolling text alerting the public to her presence: WANTED. JUNE SILVERTON. DANGEROUS. USE CAUTION. SUSPECT IS 5’ 8” TALL. BROWN HAIR. LAST SEEN WEARING BLACK BLAZER, RED PANTS. CITIZEN ARREST AUTHORIZED.

The only good news was she’d lost the blazer. There was no helping the pants, but at least red was in fashion, so she wasn’t the only brunette running around the city wearing red on her legs. It didn’t stop random strangers she ran past from staring openly, some with horror on their faces. But it was the ones that tapped their temples and started waving their arms in frantic gestures while staring at her that worried June the most. She grimaced. Retinal cameras had become the new Big Brother of her world.

An android with the new AI upgrades stepped in her path. “Halt citizen 459-00-5555.” June’s face flashed on the screen built into its metallic chest. She skidded to a halt and gazed frantically around for her best escape route. The robot reached out with clunky arms and fingered hands to grab her arm. “You are under arrest. You have—”

“Screw you!” she yelled and side-stepped the annoying tech. Robots hadn’t yet advanced enough to be quick to judge people’s motives or moves, but after this, she was sure this little trick of hers would make its way into the general AI self-programming upgrades.

She jumped into the street and centered herself on the dotted line between lanes, praying there was enough space to keep her from getting ripped to shreds by passing vehicles. Screams of bystanders drifted and melded with the whiz of cars on the road.

The android stepped out behind her without checking traffic. A self-driving taxi slammed into it and blasted the robot to pieces, spraying sharp bits of metal and electronics everywhere in a rain of shrapnel before coming to a quick halt.

All traffic stopped around June, and she used the opportunity to escape across the street, down an alley where she hoped the cameras were minimal. Pulling up her shirtsleeve, the glare of the time on her watch sent her already racing heart into triple time. Three fifty-two. There wasn’t enough time.

“Gah!” She had to intercept that train.

She exited the alley on the other end and could see the entrance to the subway. It was still too far. Reluctantly, June reached into her pocket, still running toward the gaping archway leading into the city depths. She gripped the remote in her hand and prayed she wasn’t too late for Plan B.

Finger on button, a battering ram—no, a man—slammed into her, the black device flying from her fingers and skidding across the open plaza. June slammed to her hands and knees, the shock of it vibrating through her bones. She looked up to see the brute who’d knocked her down with his foot hovering over her remote… the last best chance… the one solution she was loath to use but had no choice.

“Don’t even—”

“June, June, June. You cannot stop this. You failed before in Los Angeles. You will fail in New York.”

Panting on her hands and knees, adrenaline ebbing from her body, she watched him toe the remote. “You’re wrong, Boniface.”

But she knew he was right. There was less than five minutes, and he had her last resort under foot. Any longer and hundreds of people would die. If he and his cronies kept her from even that, hundreds of thousands would. She’d wanted to avoid both. No one had to die.

With a start, she remembered that stupid gift her old partner had given her for her birthday. The thing he made her promise she’d keep on her even if she refused to use it. “Thank you, Benny,” she mumbled and sat back on her heels.

Boniface stood to his full height and lifted his foot. June smiled and watched a wisp of hesitation slip across his face. She raised her hand, the ring on her middle finger glittering with the faux diamond at its core. With the falsely innocuous object aimed at Boniface, she pressed the gem and released it with a click.

His eyes went wide, and he moved his foot downward, but all too late to stop it. From the end of the ring, a blast of electricity shot, hitting him in the chest and wrapping his body in jolts of lightning. Off balance, he fell backward, his entire body seizing with the energy coursing through him.

June scrambled forward and picked up the remote. Holding it tight to her chest, she glanced at her watch. Three fifty-nine. With a sigh of relief, she hit the button. A distant explosion buried underneath the city vibrated through the ground. She could feel it in her throbbing knees and watched the shocked people milling about her tremble with the shaking earth.

It wasn’t how she wanted to stop the organization Boniface worked for, and she hadn’t stopped them permanently, but at least they couldn’t rain down their special brand of terror on this city. Not today. And if she had anything to do with it, not ever.

Another AI-upgrade approached her where she sat on the ground. “June Silverton. You are under arrest. You have the right—”

“Hold. AI Protocol 2-4-Zed-Alpha-9. Back down,” a man’s voice rang from behind June.

She glanced up and back to see her former partner rushing forward with a group of uniformed SWAT members. His detective badge swung around his neck. At least the force hadn’t upgraded that shield of gleaming steel. She grinned and took his outstretched hand, pulling her to her feet.

“About time, Ben.”

“What can I say? I’m always last to the party.”


To read more Intercept Stories: (a link will be added here next week or go follow the Blog Battlers blog to subscribe & get auto updates)

To write your own story, head over to: https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/blogbattle-intercept/ for more info, simple rules, and to comment a link to what you wrote for the prompt!

40 thoughts on “Only Time Will Tell #BlogBattle #flashfiction #Intercept”

  1. Great work! I’m partial to Thrillers anyway, but you did an excellent job with the pacing, setup, characterization, all that. June does very much seem to be a character whose (mis)adventures I’d like to follow. The love/hate relationship we have with our tech is here to stay, methinks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. 🙂 I’d like to be a worthy thriller writer, so it’s definitely a skill I’ll be working to improve. I’m glad you like June. I think she could use some development and a future in the fiction world. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful story, Rachael! Excellent pacing, gripping story line, a perfect balance between character and scene building, and a rising tension that pulled me across the finish line in a satisfied but mentally exhausted heap. Well done!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not normally my cup of tea, Rachael, but the echoes of the comic book characters of my youth (especially WonderWoman) drew me in. I’ll stay tuned for the next exciting episode. PS – I’m assuming what you meant to say was ” but at least they couldn’t (rain) down their special brand terror (of) on this city.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL Yes. I think my ROYAL brain always wants to REIGN over everything. Thanks for pointing out the typos.

      It definitely could have that comic book feel. 🙂 Thanks! What do you prefer to read most often?

      Like

      1. One of the dozens of jobs I’ve had was a junior proofreader on a regional daily newspaper (which left me with a legacy of a sometimes helpful and sometimes annoying compulsion that used to drive my staff mad in later life). I enjoy novels with engaging characters (even if I don’t like them), short stories, well-written spy/mystery/detective stories, investigative journalism and humour.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Proper proofreading a useful skill to have in the writing sphere. No matter how well we think we’ve proofed our own work, though, errors always seem to sneak in.

          I think it’s difficult to really good, fresh spy/mystery/detective stories, so I don’t try. haha You are well rounded as a reader, I’d say. Do you write much the same?

          Like

  4. Not bad at this pantsing lark Rachael lol. Very futuristic and set me lurking towards Minority Report for some reason only my word association functions. And nothing to do with quarterbacks either!

    Of course June clearly has the capacity to add to another book series now too!!!

    Great way to kick of the month too. Even inspire me to have a go…which I intend to do… just don’t blink or time will….hang on that’s Dr Who…weeping angels…I digress again…

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this one!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. River Song was an awesome character. I’d like to see her back now though lol. I’m with you too. Short stories expanding as the characters start following one around in head space. In fact I have had a few conversations with writers from BB on their pieces to that effect too. I now need a Bad Wolf emoji just for you lol

        Liked by 1 person

            1. I had a penchant for Tom Baker as he was up when I was first watching it. Great to see him later as the librarian too. With you on those ones too. Matt Smith I did like as he was obviously loving it. The one I think could have had mileage at the time was The War Doctor played by the late John Hurt in the fiftieth anniversary episode. That ones still a bit of an enigma methinks.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. I am a little partial to June. She doesn’t like new tech and avoids it where she can, but she also knows it is part and parcel to her world with neither good nor evil on its own. She presents and interesting thought experiment for me personally. 🙂 That all to say, yes! I hope we see more of her. I’m curious to see how pragmatic she actually is. Do the ends justify the means and so forth. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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