So far it was a textbook job. The search was largely automatic. Narrow beam transceivers queried the chip in each pedestrian's identity card and ordered it to beam the data back. A transmitter was in place at each entrance; able to scan up to 300 cards a second without the owners ever becoming aware they were under scrutiny. At full capacity it would have made an irritating buzz. At the moment it only clicked intermittently. Eventually it would scan the target's card and they would have him –
"Sir! Target located. West-side entrance."
Munroe looked up at the screens. The cameras were locked onto the target. The man's identity card – automatically commanded to transmit – flashed his position on the tacticals. A second or two later his files arrived from records. The video image and data flashed up on screen in a repeat loop.
"Receiving telemetry," his earpiece buzzed. A dozen or so other voices whispered similar words. "Target identified and located."
Icons began to shift position. Munroe switch his gaze from the tacticals to the real-time view and back again.
"Target has spotted us."
Damn. The target returned to his car. It pulled away as two operatives reached for the door. One of them pointed at the car as it departed. Instantly data appeared on a screen.
"All units converge on target vehicle."
"Patching into traffic net," a technician said, "satellite link on-line."
The displays changed to show traffic flow. Munroe watched as the target's vehicle became swamped in the congested roads. His own vehicles crawled nearer. They made better progress but were still hindered. Foot units already closed in.
"We've got him!" he said, allowing himself a little excitement, only then to watch some random fluctuation in traffic open the roads. The target's blip began to move clear.
"Almost out of real-time telemetry range."
"I can see that. Dammit! We need to see where he is. Not where he's been."
The vehicle lurched as it moved into the flow of traffic. Even with the sirens blaring outside, movement was restricted – not much room for motorists to clear them a path. Should have waited for the rush hour to pass, he thought angrily. But then they might have missed the target. He thought quickly. The data was still on screen: the security override from the target's onboard computer. A few key presses later and the digital keys were dispatched to his units.
"To all units within range – kill his motor."
On the very edge of range, the blip slowed and stopped. Munroe relaxed a little. Another keystroke overlaid the traffic system with the street plans. The target was on foot in the main shopping district. Already the blips representing his men converged on that area. This time they really had him.
"Okay, target is on foot and unarmed. I want all weapons made safe. Remember we're here to put on a show. Make it good!"
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