The procedure is simple enough. You provide a stimulus, check to see what neurons fire, and then target them for elimination just like you would if you painted a target for a precision warhead.

Once she was on the floor, I knelt around her, squeezing inward with both knees to keep her prone. As that dirty bitch Caleb is so fond of observing, the same techniques you use to look good in a formal dress are the ones you can use to subdue someone in a formal dress.

“Read the words on this card,” I said, holding it up.

“Fuck you,” Sanderson said, between clenched teeth.

“Not when I’m on the clock, sweetie,” I said. It was really just for the sake of a personal joke; Sanderson was about fifteen years too old for me, and I could see the ghosts of several lasered-off tramp stamps now that I was up close.

I applied a little shock with the “joy buzzer” – much more effective than a gun, in my experience. She couldn’t even scream; the same mechanism that made every nerve fiber burn made her completely lock up.

“Let’s try that again, shall we?” I said. “Speak clearly, so the electrodes on your skull can hear.”

“Merger…acquisition…inheritance…board of directors…” Sanderson read.

Some prefer nanobots, but they leave more of a trace, and can even be tracked back to their manufacturer. I prefer targeted ionizing radiation; there’s a higher risk of cancer and brain damage, but it’s untraceable. And if we’re being honest, the folks that hire me aren’t concerned with cancer or brain damage.

Sanderson responses had lit up the scanner beautifully; I made a few quick notes on my phone and then switched it to “kill mode.” The brief, intense burst of radiation left her passed out and slack-jawed on the floor. I rolled her on her side and poured out her drink; anyone who stumbled in would think she’d just gone on a bender.

You might think it would just be easier to kill a target. After all, that kills every memory you want gone, and can be done remotely from blocks away, or via a drone. But not so often as you think. People who have recently been disinherited are always a major draw, as are business competitors. Kill a good idea, but keep a young and hungry VP from ascending to CEO.

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