The Sequestran Dilemma – Chapter 1.18

Finally, I’m out of here and on to our next mission.

By now I was standing up and glaring at Cat. He was right, my treatment at the hands of the Neanderthals must have left me a bit confused.

You see Cat was Cat, in that that is what his name was. However he wasn’t the original Cat. His Father was and his Father had indeed eaten copious quantities of molten lava beans with unfortunate gaseous build up consequences. Cat, well Cat Junior to be more precise, did not fortunately share his parent’s liking for beans. However, he did, despite my best efforts,  exhibit most of his Father’s other extremely irritating characteristics. You see Cat Junior, unlike his Father had not come to me as a fully grown robot. He’d come as a kitten, with his Father’s DNA, but not fully programmed behaviourally. I had therefore the opportunity to influence him as he grew. I had tried very hard to make him understand that he was with me to serve me. To fetch me things like food and drink and to run errands for me. However, despite promising early results, ultimately he had become just as big a supercilious know-all ashis Father had been, with an ego hard to fit into the vast expanse of the Galaxy.

So basically, ever since he’d reached a year old, I’m not quite sure why it was when he reached that age, he’d started to order me around just like Cat Senior. All of a sudden, once more, I was constantly heading off to do alleged tax investigations only to encounter totally unexpected and usually seriously dangerous circumstances. And Cat Junior always knew more about these missions than I did!!

Once more, as usual, his superior vision of himself led him to start ordering me about and he said,

“Right. Let’s stop messing about here. We’re needed. HQ have a mission for us. We must be off.”

I thought about arguing and asserting my position over the little rubberised monster but, given my recent circumstances and where I was, I thought better of it, simply saying,

“Right. Yes. Duty calls me chaps. Love to chat but my assistant has made me aware I’m needed. Farewell WPASO Candy. Really sorry you stabbed yourself.”

“Oh for goodness sake stop blathering and come on,” said Cat.

So go we did, heading for the hovercar Cat had arrived in. As I strapped myself into the seat next to Cat I started to daydream of all the vile and unsociable things I would do to him once we were home. We’d start with a very long extra-high frequency sonic wash in the kitchen cleaner. Cat Senior used to really hate that. As a smile played across my lips at the thought, my daydream were interrupted by Cat, who said,

“Just in case you’re making plans of what to do to me once we get home, you should know we’re not going home. Our latest mission is on Earth and our orders are to go straight there.”

“Oh,” I said as I started to wonder once again if he could read my mind. Cat Senior had always talked about developing that capability. I then added in a somewhat exasperated tone,

“So where is ‘there’ then?”

“London Central,” responded Cat before adding, “near the Old Thames Bridge to be precise, .”

“Marvellous,” I said, “no space travel involved. Excellent. Ok I guess we’d better get going then if HQ says it’s urgent. But don’t think I’m forgetting what happened back at that station. When this job is over you and I are gonna have a long talk about roles and who’s the boss in this partnership.”

“Of course boss. Anything you say,” said Cat purringly, as he pressed a virtual button and we accelerated off into the night sky.

To be continued……..

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 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

Cat’s theory of nothingness

It was the late Summer of 2225. We were experiencing what in olden days was known as an ‘Indian Summer’. Temperatures had regularly peaked at 47 degrees every day for well over a month and there had been little rain. Use of real water for showers had been banned and the use of sonic showers to keep clean had become the norm. Sonic showers did the job, you certainly were clean after one and it stopped you smelling. However, they did not refresh you as a real luke-warm water shower did on a hot, sticky morning or evening. Of course ever since India had been incorporated into Amazonia, the term Indian Summer had started to be used less. Long hot Summers now tended to be referred to as ‘Amazons’.

Cat and I were between missions. Things had been quiet for a while now, with very few major tax evasions or alien incursions into our lives. It was almost as if Tax HQ had abandoned us. Both of us had resorted to hobbies to keep ourselves occupied. For Cat, this meant preparing for the viva voce for his latest Doctoral thesis on ‘The Theory of Nothingness’. This research topic was something he had been working on for quite some time now and I have to say, he had persistently driven me nuts with his desire to explain his theory to me. He believed that what he had come up with built on the theories of Einstein, Hawking, Bukit, and Jayesh-Mkri to effectively provide an explanation for the creation of the Universe. I, personally, thought it was just so much bullshit and delighted in telling him so. After all, I had frequently said to be him,

“How can something new be created from nothing?”

His response was usually along the lines of,

“You’re a moron. I would not expect you to understand.”

He would then normally spend ages air writing lines of formula that he claimed proved that something could be created from nothing. To me, his formulaic hieroglyphics could have been an order for a takeaway for all I knew. I had recently  told him,

“Look ‘Professor Cat’, when there’s nothing, there’s nothing right? When there’s something there’s something. Not nothing. As something is something, it can’t be nothing, can it?. So it follows that you can’t make something out of nothing no matter what your hieroglyphic ramblings mean!”

At this Cat would usually emit the heaviest of sighs and, after turning his eyes up to the heavens, quietly say something like,

“What hope is there for humanity when genetics continually outputs humans as evolutionarily challenged as you. Can you not understand that your concept of nothing is simply too simple? What you perceive as nothing may well be something when placed against new and inspired variations of the basic laws of physics.”

“So basically,” I responded, “what your trying to tell me is that nothing is something. So if that’s so, smartass, your theory of nothing is nonsense.”

“Huh?” Cat responded, “Please explain.”

“Well it’s simple,” I said. “If nothing is already something then your theory on how to create something from nothing is totally flawed because if nothing is already something what’s the point?”

That kind of statement from me would simply leave Cat in a near catatonic state and he would stare at me, not so much incredulously, but more like he simply wished that someone would end my life for him.

Anyways our arguments about nothing never really led anywhere, and Cat just continued on his determined task of proving his theory through the production of myriad lines of calculations. These were spread across literally the equivalent of what would be about 3000 pages in an old printed book. He had been told that his viva voce would be likely to last several days. Indeed the length of his thesis was one of my bones of contention and I had said to him,

“Well, 3000 pages worth certainly proves the principle of creating something from absolutely nothing!”

At that, he would screw up his rubbery little face into the very best scowl he could manage, before projecting a very large ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ airsign in front of his nose and returning determinedly to tapping away at the table screen of his personal computing assistant.

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?”

The Silurian Silkworm Affair – The Final Act

Into the Light

As we emerged from underground we were surrounded by what was a mix of Silurians and security guards from Earth. The Silurians were chit-chatting away in their grunt and squeak like way but they seemed to be working with rather than fighting the Earth security personnel, which seemed positive. Cat spoke as we stood in the clearing again and a VanityDroid started to gently clean me up.

“Once I saw the idiot being dragged off I realised that it was likely that the worm he was riding would be heading off to the nest. As I always have a tracker on the buffoon, I knew we could follow, so I alerted Earth security. I also told them the rough coordinates of the nest and sent out a homing signal so they could be here when we emerged. With the evidence of the nest, the actions of the Ambassador and the files that show the genotype of the genetically engineered Silurian silkworms that were to be sent to Earth, we have all that the Silurian authorities need to act.”

At that I noticed the Silurian Ambassador being escorted away by four other Silurian officials.

I still had no idea what Cat was on about so I picked him up by the scruff and marched a few metres away from the rest and said to him “Before I re-boot you all around this forest will you tell me what is going on precisely.” He glared at me, clearly annoyed at the indignity of being scruffed and said “I told you just a short while ago if you bothered to read the Inspectorate’s airmemo’s properly you would know. The Silurian Ambassador is in league with the Mud Lizards on Amora. He hatched, together with the Mud Lizards, a plan to flood the Silurian rug market over time with silkworms that at the flick of a genetic switch would grow into monsters on Earth and terrorise the planet. In exchange, the Mud Lizards would ensure he would become King of Siluria. Earth intelligence picked up information about this plot early last year. Our job was, on the pretext of discussing a new tax framework, to find clear evidence to convince the friendly Silurian King of his most trusted aide’s treachery. The Ambassador trying to cook you plus you accidentally finding the worm’s nest is all the evidence we needed. The Silurian King will now make sure that the Silurian Ambassador is punished and that his work with Mud Lizard genetic engineers is destroyed.” I stared at him in disbelief and just said,

“But I came here to talk about taxes not to become intimate with giant worms!!.”

As I felt my temper rising I caught sight of the Silurian King, with his crown wobbling on the top of his head. I therefore quickly recovered my composure and marched back towards where the King, Joosthava and Krokus were standing and, with Cat hovering at my side, I said,

“Well done everyone for your help in making my plan to apprehend the Silurian Ambassador a success. I could not have saved our two planets without you. Earth and Siluria can now continue together in peace and prosperity.”

Joosthava applauded enthusiastically at my words and cried “Bravo” whilst Cat’s eyes rolled backward as he shook his head and said,

“You crass, moronic twerp.”

I ignored him and took the plaudits. The King looked very pleased, ambled right beside me, squatted and pee’d on my feet and up my legs. Cat roared with what can only be described as maniacal, hissy laughter and managed to say,

“Looks like the King is marking his new territory.”

Joosthava said, “Oh no, dear Inspector, you really are very unlucky at times.”

I looked at her with a kind of ‘smile grimace’ and watched her slowly start to grow taller in front of me, as I started to slowly sink into what was now the King’s toilet.