A Death

It was the city’s twenty-fifth gun homicide in forty days, the eighth in five days, statistics that Lasko detested. If the street’s intelligence was correct, the street wars were heating up. Not surprising; it was a good time to own gun stocks.

Traffic whizzed past him, barely heard. He was in the safety corridor. Invisible but effect, electronic cloaks prevented people from walking into the street except at safe places and times, and the cloaks turned cars back. Even if a person were to walk into the street, the cars’ systems would brake and steer the vehicles around people. It always worked.

But Lasko was a police officer. His systems permitted him to go through the cloak wherever and whenever needed. Impatient and preoccupied, he cut through it to reach the murder scene. He expected the oncoming traffic to stop. Most did.

One car didn’t.

Hitting Lasko, he was dead within a few minutes of impact. It was the first traffic death that year, and the first pedestrian death in thirteen months. Citizens were instantly distraught and leery of using their cars. The systems had failed. If one failed, others could as well. They didn’t want to die. Debates opened up about what to do. Commissions were formed, and investigations were launched.

As that transpired, two more people were gunned down in the city’s growing street war. All sighed.

That was the price of freedom.

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