These are all largely working titles for now. I might come up with something far better, probably will, and when that happens I'll track back through and edit things like this.
Anyway; the state of play on Earth, and on its colonies on Luna and Mars, is that the regular police force has been supplemented with specialised psychic troops whose main mission is to find awoken psychics.
The Psy Ops - known as the PO to most - are specially trained psychics. They fall into the middle group of gradings at Mars Base 3; those too weak to go on active duty on the front lines, but strong enough to withstand training and the predation of their classmates. Officially, they exist to bring in sixteen-year-olds who have manifested psychic powers. Everyone with psychic gifts must be registered at Mars Base 3 school where they will be trained and monitored. They have immunity from prosecution and the power to enter any home. They are generally not corrupt, however; MB3 does a good job of weeding out those who are not loyal. They also gather information on dissenters, machine sympathisers, and ensure that they are brought to justice.
There are POs in every city on Earth, in the slums on Luna and in both Mars Bases 1 and 2.
POs are dressed in black leather with reflective helmets. They wield small pulse rifles, designed to fire a ball of plasma which can be tuned to stun or kill.
It wasn’t even dawn when they crashed through the front door. None of us were up; I got to the top of the stairs about the same time Dad came out, dressing-gown flapping out behind him. There were men downstairs, in the hall. Shouting.
Something itched at the back of my brain. I crept down the stairs and peeked around the wall. There were three men in black, two of them wearing helmets that had curved mirrors hiding their faces. The third had short black hair and a scar down the right side of his face. All three had small guns.
“What the blazing hell d’you think you’re doing?”
“Mr Daniels,” the man without the helmet said. “Your daughter. Where is she?” One of his eyes was milky, but he was staring Dad down. The tag on his uniform said ‘Heinman’.
Dad wrapped his dressing gown tighter around himself. “Get out of my house!”
One of the soldiers walked into the kitchen while the other one moved into the living room. Heinman shook his head.
“In a moment, we will leave. We will take your daughter and leave. Today is… a day of significance for her, yes?”
I saw Dad’s face go pale, but I already knew what it meant. Today was my sixteenth birthday. The day when you find out if you’re a psyker or a norm. The tickling in the back of my brain grew into heat.
“You can’t just take her,” Dad said, but he didn’t sound very convinced. “We have rights!”
“You do. She doesn’t.” Heinman cocked his head to one side. “She cannot stay here. We will take her. Train her. Make her safe.” The two soldiers came back into the hall, still looking around.
I stood and began to creep back up the stairs. Perhaps I could pack a few things before they found me. Almost immediately from downstairs I heard Heinman snap, “On the stairs. Now!”
Boots thudded on the stairs. I ran to my room and slammed the door, suddenly afraid. No lock, of course; Dad didn’t approve of locked doors. I took a last look around my room; none of my childish things seemed like they mattered anymore. Then they were through the door, nearly taking it off its hinges, bringing with them the smell of cold leather.
Heinman walked into the room, carefully stepping around last night’s underwear. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from his single eye, framed by the scar.
“Good morning, Miss Daniels. May I be the first to wish you a very happy birthday…”
The heat in the back of my mind blossomed into a burning fury. I saw Dad behind Heinman, saw my anger mirrored on his face.
“Calm yourself, Miss Daniels,” Heinman said, but I heard a note of uncertainty in his voice. The heat surged.
Both soldiers let go of me, yelling, holding their hands; the leather was melting away, dripping onto the carpet, but I couldn’t stop staring at Heinman. He threw a thin hand up in front of his face to ward off the heat, and I suddenly realised that I could see my cupboard, the worktop, the carpet, all blackening, thick smoke billowing.
“Neutralise her,” Heinman said, and the two soldiers brought their guns around.
“No!” My hands shot out, twin tongues of flame lancing towards the men. They passed straight through them, leaving gaping holes, burned black at the edges, and the soldiers sank to their knees.
Heinman threw his hand out towards me. “Enough!” he roared, and I felt a cooling pressure on my mind. The heat suffusing my entire body grew less and I leaned heavily on my cupboard. Numb, cold, I heard him say, “Now do you see, Mr Daniels, that she cannot stay here?”
“Come,” he said, turning away and walking out. I followed. Dad’s face was wet with tears and I moved towards him for a hug, a gentle touch, anything, but he took a step away from me. I met his eyes, saw fear there. I let my arms drop and walked down the stairs.