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The Authority

A trio of Authority agents entered the back of the theater. A woman flanked by two men, the men wore black trench coats falling to around their ankles over their black uniform of slacks and button up shirts. The woman’s trench coat only fell to a bit above her knees, and wore a tanktop. All three had the Authority’s distinctive round mirror masks as well as the official armband, white with a single black square in it.

While the play continued on un-interrupted, the three agents walked deliberately down the center isle towards the stage. A fourth agent stood there, facing them, whatever emotions may have been playing across his face hidden behind the masks mirror. A group of regular police suddenly stormed out from behind the stage, surrounding the actors and dragging a large crate to the very center of the stage.

“Sargeant, please open that, if you would,” the woman ordered.

After a few moments with a pry bar, the police break open the side towards the audience. A slurry of clear packages filled with a glowing blue liquid spill out across the stage. The audience let out a great collective gasp as the contents came into view, and then began to whisper amongst themselves.

“Agent number 2453, Vance, Cameron J., you have been found guilty on the charge of captial Graft, as well as accessory to felony smuggling and drug trafficking. As a first time offender you have been granted the right of pennance and shall be detained for the next 48 hours to meditate on your deeds. As it seems you have placed your own gain above your duty to this people, you have shown a clear lack of understanding of the principle of non-identity. Such being the case, you will be delivered to the Authority Medical Center after your detainment to undergoe premanent face removal surgeory. Once you’re rehabilitation is complete, you will report to the Authority Training Grounds to requalify for field duty.

If at any point you cannot or will not return to the field, you will face permanent interment at an Authority run prison.” The female agent cast judgement on the fourth agent, betraying no emotional inflection at all in her words. The agents that had followed her quickly took the fourth agent into custody, leaving her behind to watch the police lining up the theater’s employees and players to take in for questioning.

“Ma’am, I don’t doubt that face removal is a terrible punishment, but why would you allow someone like that back into the ranks?” an audience member asked. The female agent did a heel face turn to face the civilian, but found herself frozen in place once the woman was in view. Beautiful, the word hung alone in her mind, all other thoughts blown away by the slim woman’s visage. “Ma’am?”

With a start she recalled the question, and her purpose for turning in the first place. “Many agents loose their way at first, the principles of non-identity are difficult for even the best of our ranks to fully master. Thus agents that loose their way are at least given the opportunity of an object lesson. Still, they only get one second chance.”

“And have you ever needed that second chance?” The faces of the woman’s friends, which had been locked in a permanent state of shock, suddenly changed to silent horror. The agent merely rolled up her left sleeve to reveal the shiny metal of a permanent IV plug.

“Everyone makes a mistake sometime.” With that she turned towards the exit and walked out.

Later that night…

She stared at the ceiling through the cameras built in to the mask. With a small bit of fumbling she picked it up and held it looking at her face. The mechanical eyes perfectly recorded the smooth flesh that had once been blue eyes that others had called piercing. It was the first time she’d thought of her own eyes in over three years.

More than her own face though, the face of that woman from the theater haunted her mind this night. Her emotions were causing her body to feel hot, and nerves that had been dormant for years to sing all over her body. The way her stomache was tying itself in knots was what finally convinced her though, it was definitely love, or at least infatuation.

It was a dangerous feeling. Emotions could cause her to be irrational, to change her priorities and objectives. A threat to her non-identity had emerged, and the more she thought of how it might engulf her… the more she wanted it to.