The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.11

My Interview Continues

Typically, just at that very moment, my Cortex thought assistant decided to pop up a notification that the ion battery had now received several bids on Cadabra Universe. WPASO Candy, who was monitoring my Cortex implant scribbled even more furiously on her wrist. I explained,

“Look I didn’t know it was a stolen battery when I put it up for sale. I really just didn’t know what else to do with it. What would you have done?” I enquired with a rather sticky sweet smile.

My attempt to be friendly seemed to suddenly work as Ms. Candy responded with a slight smile around the corners of her mouth,

“It’s ok Inspector, we were always fairly sure that you were not intentionally involved in the crime,” said Candy.

I sighed,  and said half-jokingly, “Well I’m jolly glad to hear that. Wouldn’t want to be clapped in Kliks would I?”

She smiled a bit more widely this time and said, “We just had to bring you in for process reasons really, just to be absolutely sure you were who you said you were. Even if you did try to b sell the battery on, we were always pretty sure you were not involved.”

I could feel myself blushing at the thought that she knew I’d put the battery up for sale the minute I realised it was no use to me. How embarrassing.

She went on, “Look, I can show you what the investigating officer recorded earlier this morning.”

In front of my face, a small square display appeared as she touched her forearm with the stylus she had been using. Handwritten words appeared on the screen underneath the heading,

‘REPORT OF INCEDENT AT STARLING HITES MORNING OF FIFF AUGUST – REPORTING OFFICA TPASO RYAN’

WPASO Candy pointed at the words she was referring to.

‘……. the iron battry is from stolen veerkle 9/42966/AH. The recever of the battery is Inspecta Proof. He is a guvenment officeal so is probably innocent’.

As I read them I blinked rapidly wondering how best to keep anything I might say from sounding sarcastic. I marveled in my mind at the spelling prowess of our law enforcement officers and wondered at the rather dubious approaches they might have to decide whether someone was innocent or not.

To be continued……

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 Carrak

In the 23rd Century parents still have that same old problem of getting their children to eat vegetables. In fact, many parents have the same issue themselves and its all to easy, even in the modern world to just focus the palate on the things that taste best.

Years of research have shown that no matter how many nutrient substitute pills the conglomerates make, people still want, and prosper best, from eating ‘real’ food. OK, a lot of the produce we consume isn’t as natural as it once was. Anyone who has seen a genetically engineered carrot farm, which  has over 300 floors of so-called soil, would attest to that.

However, the fact is most health conscious folk, and the number of those has of course grown since the mass health-related deaths of the early 22nd Century, still want their veg.

Enter Cortex, the company that first gave us the scope to think our personal devices to do what we wanted. Derived from a long-standing collaboration with Yum-Tum Foods, Cortex has finally, with their MK-XXVI Essence chip made it possible for carrots to taste like steak.

In trials the consumption of carrots soared amongst 3-11 year olds and adults. The World Council look set to give approval for the roll-out of the so-called Carrack across markets. It will retail initially as a whopping 17 credits per portion. As a side effect the DisneyGates Corporation are reviving a popular children’s cartoon character called Bugs Bunny. In promotional aircast Bug’s is seen munching at a Carrak and saying the words, “Aww, What’s Up with this carrot Doc?”

What did we do before Droids?

In the 23rd Century, every public place has a full range of artificial intelligences (AIs) or ‘Droids’ that collectively perform a wide range of essential service functions. In some cases (e.g. a public MediDroid) the AI acts as a first line, dealing with minor ailments and sending on or transporting anyone with a serious injury or illness, to the nearest major major medical facility.

The busiest type of Droid in a public space is the SaniDroid. This ‘Jack of All ‘Dirty’ Trades’ effectively deals with anything that might make the average human struggle to hold on to their lunch, (assuming they’ve just eaten lunch). So if anyone throws up in a public space or the lavatories malfunction, a SaniDroid will be there in an instant. Able to clean both the facility, and indeed any individuals who for whatever reason may be less pristine than when they left home, the SaniDroid is pretty indispensable in modern life.

Manufactured, as most Droids are, by the AI-rU consortium, it is estimated that SaniDroid sales and service contracts account for over 75% of this major utility company’s income. AI-rU claim that over 90% of whatever a SaniDroid absorbs is recycled and used in the manufacture of a wide range of consumer products, though their spokesperson was reluctant to reveal which products……..

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – Act III

Siluria and Our Mission

For this mission we had been sent to Siluria to start new tax framework negotiations with the Silurian Ambassador. Siluria was an Earth-like habitable planet discovered around the end of the 21st Century in the XXi Regus 7 star system. Silurians were the dominant species on the planet and were basically bi-pedal reptile-like beings, with huge eyes and even ‘huger’ teeth. They were however, despite the teeth, generally an extraordinarily friendly and placid civilisation. They are one of only two extra-terrestrial groups that have made proactive contact with Earth with a view to meeting and sharing knowledge and expertise. And they did, of course, give us Baffleberry juice!!

The Silurian way of living was quite uncomplicated compared to the daily life of humans. They did have rudimentary technologies for communication (so they could phone home when they needed to) but they didn’t have the lifestyle ‘tools’ that Earth had. So they didn’t need vehicles to move around on their planet and they only ate vegetables and fruit. They also didn’t wear clothes as they had no obvious dangly or otherwise private bits to hide. Procreation apparently only really involved their tongue. They had quite tough and wrinkly skins that varied from pale brown to almost black. So, all in all, they led a very simple life on a daily basis, enjoying a very temperate climate that hardly varied as they went through their equivalent of a year.

Trade was limited with Siluria primarily because they had few needs and therefore didn’t need to import much and had only a limited number of items to export. Their two main exports were Baffleberries and Silurian silk rugs. The latter were unique because living Silurian silkworms were incorporated into every rug. The rugs were very popular on Earth as you could buy a small one and then, if you ever moved to a larger place, you could trigger the growth cycle of the worms and watch the rug grow to fit the space. Downsizing was a bit of an issue as there was no equivalent means of shrinking a Silurian rug. In addition, Silurian silkworms have remarkably strong legs which meant that on occasion a rug could go walkabout unexpectedly!!

Baffleberries on Siluria were quickly determined by the early explorers to be essentially delicious and then, by the inevitable scientists, to yield a juice with remarkable antioxidant properties. The juice rapidly became popular on Earth as a natural way to address the aging process and have a sometimes yummy drink for breakfast. Baffleberries got their name for a number of reasons. First, it was never easy to work out when the bright green triangular shaped berries were ripe, so farming them was something of an art. Not only that but from the consumer side, their flavour could vary enormously from sweet raspberry, banana-like, to something like raw onion. Consumers never really knew whether the Baffleberry juice they bought at the cloud market was going to bring a smile or a grimace to their face. However, committed Baffleberriers (members of the very popular Baffleberry club which made someone very rich) didn’t mind too much if they got one of the fairly rare onion flavoured batches – wrinkles were kept at bay and that was the most important thing. Silurians, in contrast, didn’t really care because they were wrinkly by nature, so Baffleberry juice was exported to Earth quite cheaply. And finally, as if that were not enough to baffle, the juice, when refrigerated for longer than an hour, became totally invisible. This meant that you never quite knew how much you had left or worse, if you were in a rush in the morning, how much you had actually poured out into your glass!!

Cat had by now finished his investigations and announced,

“Well, that is worrying.”

“What is?” I enquired.

“Sabotage. It was sabotage.”

I felt my eyebrows head towards my hairline as I said,

“You mean someone tried to kill us? Or rather me, because as we all know you’re pretty indestructible.”

“Yep someone tried to kill us.” responded Cat, “and I may have a pretty tough coating but in a full-blown crash at the speeds we were going at, I too would wind up in quite a large number of pieces, albeit generally indestructible ones. Anyways, we don’t have time to dwell on it. We’ve surfaced and we are being met.”

To be continued………

The Trees Fight Back

Carbon dioxide levels were at critical levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. Even the US President agreed the problem was real. Deforestation was a major contributing factor.

Genetic engineers had developed a transposon that when introduced into trees markedly reduced the amount of carbon that a dead tree released into the atmosphere.

Application of the gene technology to mature trees meant that deforestation could continue even faster.

But the trees were smarter than we realised. They had their own underground genetic engineers. Pretty soon an unsuspecting human race was being affected by a range of deadly airborne viruses that the trees had generated. Whole cities became de-populated of humans one after the other. The ultimate solution to reducing carbon dioxide generating practices had arrived.

The Mosquito Virus

In 2175 humans were devastated by the Mosquito virus, a contaminant from outer space. Serendipitously, scientists at Clone-a-Cat discovered that a transposon in the DNA of a genetically engineered cat called Azz-Lex, could neutralise the Amora virus. Implantation of the ‘Azz-Lex transposon’ became the miracle cure that saved humankind.

Treatment did, however, lead to people who periodically chewed grass and vomited or needed to squat on sand to pee. Absolutely everyone wanted to be waited on hand and foot, eat or sleep, so nothing ever got done.

It was much better than dying unless of course, you were a dog.