The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.9

To the Interview Room

I duly followed her down a lengthy corridor, having abruptly closed my saliva rich mouth and wiped my own lower lip and chin with my own sleeve. We passed through an area with lots of workstations, occupied I noticed exclusively by males, before Candy reached a door which she opened with her thumb. As the door silently slid open, Candy stepped aside and said,

“Do go through into the interview room and take a seat Inspector.”

I walked through the door and into what was a quite small room, probably no more than 3 metres square. There were no windows, even artificial ones. There was a table, roughly in the middle of the room, and two chairs. I went around the table and sat on the chair that was furthest from the door, with my back almost against the back wall of the small room. Ms. Candy followed me in, closed the door behind her and sat down opposite me.

She opened a tactile notepad on her left forearm and produced a very pointy looking stylus, which she held in her right hand. I must say I hadn’t seen such antiquated technology since I attended some face to face classes at junior virtual school. It made me rather wonder what it must be like to still have to actually write. I also thought, given the width of her very feminine forearm, that she was either going to have to scroll a lot or write very short sentences.

smiled at her and said in an effort to be friendly,

“Well, this is quite a small room I must say. And no windows. I’m surprised that you don’t use VR to at least give the sensation of greater space. It’s a bit claustrophobic if you don’t mind me saying so. We are rather on top of each other, don’t you think?”

To be continued………

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.8

A Vision of Loveliness

After disembarking from the CustodyDroid I reported to a very old and surly looking policeman at an entrance reception desk and deposited the ion battery with him. I then waited for around 10 minutes in front of the now security screened reception desk, until I was roused from what had become a rather soporific state by the angelic voice of what turned out to be WPASO Candy calling out my name.

I stood and walked back over to the reception desk, where a small portal had opened to allow me through to meet WPASO Candy. I have to confess the vision of loveliness that stood in front of me rather took me by surprise. I was kind of expecting to be confronted by a more functional looking being in an armoured suit with granite-like features and muscles. If not real muscles then the BioDroid kind that gives artificial strength to anyone needing it these days for arduous manual tasks. Ms. Candy, as I decided I would now like to call her, was anything other than artificial. Slim in build but with prominent bumps where young females still sometimes had them, her long blonde hair shimmered under the cosmic lights of the station. She looked at me with eyes surely worth dying for and said,

“Inspector Prouff. Good of you to come in to meet me.”

I decided to be cool and responded casually,

“Did I have much choice Ms. Candy?”

I’d decided I would call her Ms. as my mind instantly liked the idea of being more personal with this lady. In addition, ‘Did I have much choice Woman Peace and Security Officer Candy’was a bit of a mouthful. And, in some respects, my choice of a shorter title for her did inadvertently help her out. You see, a combination of 10 minutes of soporific mindless thinking whilst I was waiting to see her, followed by my lower jaw almost hitting my knees when I clapped eyes on the woman, had led to a considerable quantity of drool accumulating in my lower jaw. Consequently ‘Did I have much choice Ms. Candy’ came out with quite a lot of spit, but probably not as much as ‘Woman Peace and Security Officer’ would have generated.

To her immense credit, WPASO Candy showed considerable ‘steel’ in being sprinkled with my spittle, wiping quickly from forehead to chin with the sleeve of her shirt, before saying,

“Please follow me Inspector.”

To be continued…….

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.7

Off to see WPASO Candy

Before I could say anything even vaguely grumpy, the Droid arrived to escort me to the station. It had opened the bay door which was located on the window side of my living room and docked to face me. For a brief moment as the bay had opened, and before the appreciably sized Droid had properly docked, I had struggled not to be blown backward by the blast of external air. As my apartment was on the 723rd floor there was understandably a significant breeze when any of the sealed windows opened.

Reluctantly, I shuffled over to the docked Droid and stepped into its passenger pod. Just as I was bending to seat myself in the passenger seat, a gravelly mechanical voice said,

“Please remain standing until scan complete.”

I stood, my arms crossed, as multiple yellow and blue lines of light passed rapidly up and down my body.

“Identity confirmed,” said the gravelly voice before adding, “stolen ion battery not present. Please step out and retrieve. Please step out and retrieve.”

“Oh for goodness sake,” I exclaimed before stomping off, grabbing the battery and going back into the CustodyDroid. The Droid disengaged from my apartment and headed off at somewhat breakneck speed, flashing blue lights working overtime, to the Skystation where presumably, WPASO Candy was stationed and waiting for me.

To be continued……..

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.6

Tiresome Police Procedure

Whilst I was thinking, and before I could actually respond to the question of whether ‘I was me’, she spoke again,

“My name is WPASO Candy and I am aircasting from Skystation 9572/Delta.”

Oh good grief, she was a policewoman. Woman Peace and Security Officer (WPASO) to be precise. Now I knew for sure she would at best be rather odd, if not a complete automatonic buffoon. They were trained for years to be so and were very good at it. I decided at this point it was best to play ball so said,

“Yes, I can confirm that I am Tom Prouff.”

“Would that be Thomas Nigel G’Laxy Prouff?” WPASO Candy responded.

“Yes…..” I said in a long drawn out manner.

“Good,” said Candy before continuing, “Mr. Prouff, were you working on a Cicatrice hovercar  in the hovercar bay on the 75th floor at Starling Heights earlier this morning?”

“Look, what is all this about,” I said in a rather exasperated tone.

“Please answer the question Mr. Prouff,” said Candy quite sharply. “Were you working on a Cicatrice in the hovercar bay on the 75th floor at Starling Heights earlier this morning, yes or no?”

I sighed heavily as I said “Yes,” wondering if the man in the car park had made a complaint about my battery denting his hovercar.

“Thank you,” said Candy before going on, “Whilst working on your hovercar were you approached by a tall dark man offering you an ion battery?”

“I was approached by a man but I’ve no idea really whether he was tall or dark,” I responded.

“You must have some idea what he looked like,” said Candy in a slightly surprised tone.

“No,” I said testily, “I have no idea what he was like. I hardly looked at him.”

“But this man did give you an ion battery?”, continued Candy.

“Ummm, yes, he did,” I answered.

“Well,” said Candy, somewhat triumphantly, “that ion battery was stolen. It came out of a stolen hovercar, the hovercar this man was working on.”

“Oh,” I said, “well how was I supposed to know that? And anyway, so what? It’s an ion battery not a sack of Bryllium or a dead body!! ”

“So what!! So what Mr. Prouff!! This means you are in receipt of stolen property. I am afraid you will need to bring the battery at once to Skystation 9572/Delta where I can interview you and properly establish your role in this whole affair.”

“Role in this affair!!?” I exclaimed queryingly, “I have no role in this affair. Someone gave me a battery that’s all.”

“Mr. Prouff,” said Candy, “in view of your attitude I am sending a CustodyDroid to your apartment now to escort you and the battery to the station.”

At this point, I was getting a little desperate and decided to try the ‘do you know who I am tack?’. To no avail, however, as Candy responded,

“I know perfectly well who you are Mr. Prouff and, as Earth’s leading intergalactic tax inspector, realise you are probably innocent. Nonetheless, this matter needs to be investigated. And this requires you and the battery to be at the station.”

To be continued……

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.5

It’s The Police

So, I directed the Cicatrice back to its storage bay, resolving to head off to Inegin’s with the old battery from the Cicatrice to source a replacement. In the meantime, the brand new ion battery the man in the hovercar park had given me could go on CadabraMart. I was sure to get a few credits for it which could go towards the cost of the new battery for the Cicatrice. Waste not want not, I thought.

I had been back in my apartment for 30 minutes when an aircast interrupted my mindless thoughts of hovercar batteries. I had had time to list the ion battery, that my friend be in the car park head given me, on CadabraMart. It was on at a starting price of 10 credits and there had already been one bid.

The aircast call was a personal private one, from an address I was not familiar with. I answered, mainly out of boredom and said,

“Hallo.”

And then I added my usual joke, “Who’s calling the ‘Buridium Blast’. Not many people remembered that air-gameshow but I used to watch it avidly when I was a child. And just saying ‘Buridium Blast’ sounded cool even if most people had never heard of it. Normally when I answered an aircast like that there was stunned silence, except when it was Cat of course. He would normally respond with “If you can’t say anything sensible please shut up and listen.”

This time it wasn’t Cat, yet there was still no stunned silence. A female voice responded instantly with,

“Am I speaking with Thomas Nigel G’Laxy Prouff?

No one had called me Thomas in the last 20 years so  my initial response was along the lines of,

“Eh. Who?”

The rather monotone female voice responded with,

“The biometric data I have collected over the call tells me who you are but for procedure, I’d  be grateful if you could confirm I am speaking to you.”

Goodness, I thought, shall I just say ‘Of course you’re talking to me’. But then it dawned on me this must be some sort of government official. Only a government official could ask a question in such a stupid way. I wondered if she was somebody from the tax office.

To be continued…….

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.4

Trouble or what?

So there I was, with my head and shoulders stuck inside the engine compartment where the ion battery normally sits, trying to work out what connection goes where, when there was a sharp tap on my shoulder. Oh-oh, I thought, I had wondered if his initial reaction had been too good to be true. This was where the trouble was going to start I was sure.

I raised my head and shoulders sharply, banging my head on the raised cover of the engine compartment I was working on, as the man from the other Hovercar said,

“Hey, nice vehicle. What’s the problem?”

Whilst wondering whether this was simply a polite preamble to wanting recompense for the dent in his hovercar, I responded,

“Ion battery is totally flat. Won’t hold any charge. So can’t start the engine. It’s a real pain.”

“I might be able to assist,” said the man.

Before I could say another word he went back to his hovercar and reached in through one of the doors before returning to me and saying with a smile on his face,

“Here have this one. Might help.”

Just as I was about to say actually it wouldn’t help because the battery in a Cicatrice was so special that any old battery simply wouldn’t do, he was gone. Well, to be precise a very sporty looking drop top hovercar pulled up beside us and the passenger door opened. As it did I caught a glimpse of a very blonde female figure with legs I’d need a rope ladder to climb. Then in the blink of an eye, the sporty hovercar was gone with him in it. Whilst my mind marveled at both the sleek sporty car he’d gone in, as well as the sleek, sporty driver, I stared at the totally useless, new battery that he’d given me. It was twice the width of the Cicatrice’s battery so would never fit into the battery compartment, never mind connect up to the ion battery ports.

To be continued……

The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.3

Oh, this could be embarrassing……

I turned around, with an expression that mixed embarrassment with fear I’d say. Somewhat reluctantly I strode across to the other hovercar to retrieve my flying ion- battery. By now the person who had been working on that vehicle had stood up and moved around to the side of the hovercar, presumably to inspect the damage. I looked and saw a dent in the bright red bodywork. This could be difficult I thought. Could he prove the dent had been caused by my battery I wondered? I’d better start off by being polite I thought. Especially as he was quite large in the vertical plane.

“Hi,” I said, “sorry about that. The ruddy thing slipped out of my hand. No harm done I hope?”

“No,” the man responded. “No harm at all. All good.”

I must confess to being slightly surprised by his response, but internally breathed a sigh of relief, as it looked like I was going to get away with accidentally reshaping the bodywork on his vehicle.

I quickly picked up my escaped ion battery and turned and marched back to my hovercar, inspecting the battery as I went. It certainly was an odd shaped battery and couldn’t possibly be replaced with a standard ‘off the shelf’ one. I decided to take a look at refitting the faulty battery into the Cicatrice, just to practice e in preparation for when I could get a replacement from Inegin’s. I figured this would reduce the risk of damaging any new one when I came to fit that.

To be continued……..