Requiem For The Last And Lost
by Simon Field

It was cold.

With psychics, friendship ran deep, mingling. Where one individual ended and another began, sometimes impossible to tell. She knew the others from the inside, knew everything, felt everything. No false intimacy this, beyond the pale shadow that was sex. She remembers Corey.

The city was insane. Four hundred million people, every one a potential criminal. And her word was Law, life and death, she a Judge, her duty to impose order. To dispense Justice. To bust heads, and take prisoners. They had tried the alternatives, Democracy, and it didn't work. And so, the Judges arose.

She remembers.

No viable alternative for the people of what was once the United States, and it was for their own good. Locked up, beaten down, bleeding from the soul. Living in fear, and in doubt, and in terror, because deep down they all knew that one day the knock at the door would be the Judges, coming for them to assess their guilt. And there was one thing all Judges knew - everybody was guilty of something.

The first time she saw the city with telepaths-eyes, she cried for a week.

Corey had said people with beautiful gifts like theirs shouldn't use them to do ugly things.

And then Corey shot herself in the head.

It was cold. And Judge Cassandra Anderson shivered.

'Dear Cass,' the letter had started. The letter that she had only been allowed to keep a copy of when Dredd had intervened and instructed the investigative Special Judicial Squad that she would be cleared for it, or else. Sometimes Cassandra wished she could be like Joe Dredd. As sensitive as a hi-ex round through a skull at twelve paces.

In a strange sort of way she thought Joe probably understood better than anybody.

Duty and responsibility. Those were the only things that could get her out of bed in the mornings. Now.

Judges will not form close personal relations. Nothing must impinge upon a Judges ability to dispense Justice even-handedly. Transgression is to be punished harshly. The Judge that breaks the Law will be sentenced to twenty hard on Titan.

There were exceptions. For the Judges of the Psi-Division where the stresses and strains of operant psychic powers made for occasional aberrant behaviour patterns, a blind eye would be turned. She remembered when Dredd had said that what she mistook for their friendship was nothing more than his tolerance of her defective personality. She also remembered when he said he was wrong, and when he apologised.

Judges will not form close personal relations.

Dear Cass.

She and Corey used to go dancing. A release, the music, from the pressure. They could let it all go, kick back, dress up, dress down, touch skin, Cass looked forward to it so much. She and Corey used to sit and talk, sharing their fears and worries. They knew where to talk so that the SJS couldn't overhear. How to talk. She and Corey. When Corey brought the southern comfort.


Dear Cass.

I don't know why I'm writing this down. It won't alter anything. It won't mask the pain, or wipe out the futility. It won't make me change my mind. It won't keep me alive.

Judges don't think this way. Judges are cold, clinical machines ruled by Logic and Order and Law. But Psis... Psis are different. Psi-Judges have a special gift. And Empaths have the most special gift of all. We feel.


Telepaths didn't feel in the same way that Empaths did. Anderson stretched out of bed, and reached for her uniform. The luxury of a real bed. A private room instead of some anonymous bunk in a dormitory of fifty. One of the perks of being a Psi-Judge, her room, her bed, her privacy.

Corey had joked about how she couldn't wait until she had enough seniority to qualify for a room of her own. Only her room would have more than the standard Justice Department regulation cold-water shower-cube. Her room would have a bath, a proper bath, and she'd buy candles and have bubbles and wouldn't Cass be jealous then. But she could come over and borrow it if she wanted. Come and share.

Psi-Judges shared everything.


I first heard it this morning. I was up on Melville Heights, following through on a hunch, hustling a small-time perp called Rafe Badowski. Creep's nerve broke and he lit out on a runner. I knew how it would feel, before I squeezed the trigger, but I gritted my teeth and took him out with the standard leg-shot.

I'd damped my reaction, but it still hurt like hell.

The irony of being an Empath! We punish the perps... and we feel their pain. A really special gift. And that's when I heard it.

A mournful, low-pitched moan that was so far down the frequency scale it made my insides hurt and my bones vibrate. I couldn't help myself, it literally overwhelmed me. For half a minute, maybe less, I was lost in images of somewhere beautiful, and cool, and fluid... Somewhere unspeakably sad.

Half a minute... then it was gone, and there was just me and Badowski again. Badowski talked. Told me all about the ton of sugar his brother was smuggling in on a ship through the Mega-docks that afternoon. I called Dock Patrol and rode on down. The sun was high and shining, but it seemed to me there was a shadow across it. And that sad, sad noise echoed on in my bones.


The uniform. Anderson had argued with Dredd about it once, about how the damned thing could only have been designed by a man.

He thought it was practical. A one-piece synth-leather jumpsuit, kevlar armoured, blade resistant, proof against radiation and poisons, the material was porous, efficiently removing sweat from the skin, and the colour, blue-black, gave just the right message of Thou Shalt Not Drokk With Us.

She thought it was hell to put on. A one-piece tight-clinging rubberised nightmare of a uniform that wouldn't have looked out of place in an underground fetish club. And it was a demon when you needed to pee, not everyone enjoyed having to strip near-naked in order to use the bathroom. Dredd hadn't taken that observation well.

Corey used to joke of how female Judges had to possess superhuman bladder control. Cass had replied that female Judges were superhuman, full stop.

Now the uniform was a comfort to her.

First one leg, then the other. Sliding down into the cold tight clammy embrace. Cassandra stood and tugged. The uniform gliding up around her ass, her waist, encasing her legs, clinging to her flesh, this morning ritual begun.


I don't know what it was made me look back at the city. So beautiful from out there at sea, when close up it's so crude and ugly. I had this nagging feeling... Like somehow I was seeing it for the last time.

That's when I heard it again.

A Humpback whale.

We had a lesson on them at the Academy once, 'Our dying world', I think it was. There were only 20 of them left. Pollution - radiation - climate changes... the whales just couldn't cope.

Sixty tons of sleek grace... sixty feet of intelligent mammal heading for extinction... And it was singing. I closed my eyes and tuned in to a fluid world of weightless ease. It sang of ocean deeps and ice floes... of killer sharks and lovers... distant waters... Distant days. It was the last of its kind. And it was dying.


Anderson had found the body herself. A gunshot ringing out from Corey's office. A run. A door kicked in. Splinters. A pool of blood. More than a pool, a lake, a fountain. White. Splinters of white amidst the grey. Corey used to dance so beautifully, but there was no elegance in her death. No poetry. No grace.

She shrugged her arms into the uniform with a roll of her shoulders, the metallic zipper icy against her flesh. Serrated, drawn together as she tugged up the fastener, resting beneath the swell of her breast, deep breaths. No underwear, she wanted to feel it, her armour, against her skin. Against all of her skin. The Law, her lover. Anderson shivered.

The zip ran up to her neck, hands swept down, moulding the sheer blue-black perfection around her own sculpted body. Feeling stronger. Stretching.


Badowski's brother and his crew chose to shoot it out. We took them down hard, of course, that's what we do. But there must have been some kind of booby-trap. The world exploded when we came up alongside.

Images of blood - death - destruction. Then peace, as I lost consciousness and sank beneath the waves.


We hunted them. We slaughtered them. We turned their world into a garbage tip, and poisoned every breath they drew. We did everything short of nuke them... And the very last one saved my life.

It sang, and I lay still upon its back. And I felt what the whale felt. I knew what the whale knew. I was there when the last giant said goodbye.


Boots. Judge Anderson wriggled her toes down inside, these were made for cracking heads, light-weight alloys, steel-mesh weave, yet more synthetic leather. Even the sound they made when walking on plascrete had been engineered, nothing left to chance. Hi-grip on slick surfaces, so you couldn't slip in the blood.

Pads, gloves. A Judges gloves had high-density lead sewn into the knuckles. Years of combat training. Walking weapons. Meat machines.


It was twenty minutes before the H-Wagon picked me up, no other survivors. Med-Check said I'm okay, no ill effects, take a couple days off anyway.

But I'm not okay.

I'm hurting inside, deep down in my mind, in the places only the Psis know. How did the world turn out so ugly? Why do we have to be so cruel? So stupid?

You're my friend, Cass. You understand. I can't do ugly things any more. That's not what special gifts are for. But hey! Don't grieve Cass. I'm privileged. I heard the last giant sing.

Love, Empath Corey.


Judges will not form close personal relations.

Dredd had spoken to her about it, after. When he'd brought her the copy of Corey's final letter. He knew alright. The reasons why. You never knew when it was going to be you, with the bullet in the brain, so what sense was there in having friends. Dredd had seen it all, done it all. She should have listened to him.

Her gun lay on the table beside her bed. Gun and badge. Helmet. Glistening.

She didn't like wearing a helmet, she said it interfered with her telepathy. Which everyone knew was a lie. Cass just liked to feel the wind in her hair. Corey had always liked her hair, a great unruly mass of strawberry-blonde. Corey used to run her fingers through it, joking how she couldn't hope to ever catch it.

The helmet felt good. The gun felt good. The badge. Clipped above her heart. The badge felt good.

No comfort.

Oh Corey.


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