Moses sat cross-legged in the tree stand overlooking Crim Valley, watching the village below. For three days he observed the villagers going about their daily routine and he was getting aggravated. This was retriever work. But orders were orders, so he calmed down and waited for further commands.
He blinked, answering his headset.
“Yeah, go ahead.”
“Sanchez spotted a truck convoy heading in your direction two days ago.”
“Don’t know. There were no armored cars, just trucks. They seemed to be travelling light, moving fast.”
“Coming from the south?”
Moses puts down his binoculars then leaned against the long leafed pine as he massaged his forehead.
“I’m tired of going in circles with these villagers. Just send in the damned retrievers and bring them in already.”
“You know the rules,” the voice said. “Assimilation must be voluntary. Otherwise we’re no better than slavers.”
“Yeah, yeah. If it was up to me I’d dragged their assess behind the Perimeter kicking and screaming. They’d thank me later.”
“That’s why it’s not up to you.”
The rumble of heavy vehicles stole Moses’ attention. He lifted the binoculars, looking to they ragged highway snaking through the dense pines.
“The trucks are here,” he commented.
“What do you see?”
The vehicles sped down the highway then veered onto the two-lane leading into the village. They continued into the central square, filling the roundabout before stopping and blocking traffic. Christopher Tolbert, the village elder, emerged from the elders’ compound covered in his rank robe, his gray beaded braids bouncing off his narrow shoulders. He strolled to the trucks, his hands opened in the traditional village greeting. A dozen armed men leapt from the truck. One of them leveled his automatic at Christopher then emptied his clip into the man’s chest.
“Slavers!” Moses shouted. He clambered down the tree then sprinted to his bike.
“Back up is on the way,” the voice said. “Hold your position until they arrive.”
“Not enough time,” Moses said. “I’m going in.”
“Moses wait! You can’t…”
Moses checked his weapons then started the bike.
“Yes I can. I’m a neutralizer, remember?”