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I Think I Found My Headache

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posted on Jun, 3 2016 @ 04:25 PM
“I remember what happened, Detective. I took a car home late, about five hours after the end of my shift. I was tired, and maybe a little bit drunk. Maybe a lot drunk. It doesn’t matter. I know what I saw.”

Detective Graf Bailys drooped in his chair, on the far side of a small plastic table, which was like polished Onyx, and reflected the two men, like a mirror. Skooter Shork (and yes, that was his given name) sat upright in his chair, which was made of a similar material. The walls of the interrogation chamber had also been fabricated from the highly reflective material, and the overall effect was mildly disorientating, — sober. Graf didn’t envy Shork his hangover, but he had to admit the man was doing remarkably well, compared to most of the Category 22’s he had interrogated over the years, in the tiny room.

Shork leaned forward, to the limit of his chains, and his eyes bulged slightly. “You believe me, right?”

Graf cleared his throat, and nodded slightly. His sub-com thumped slightly against his larynx, and he “spoke” to his agent – Moira – in a frequency Shork couldn’t perceive directly. “I’m going to need the results of his tox, as soon as you have them.”

“I’m uploading them to your Tablet, now, Graf.”

“Thank you, Moira.”

The little man, chained to the floor on the other side of the table tensed, and then relaxed slightly. He was on high alert, of course, because he was in a police interrogation chamber. Everyone who sat in that chair had the same look when they came in, especially if it was their first time.

Shork had never been interrogated in a Landon Interrogation Chamber before. He was also intoxicated, which usually made things worse for the suspect. Only this time – for whatever reason – it wasn’t working.

A landon works by stimulating a suspect’s thalamus through a precise combination of signals designed to induce a relaxed, trance-like state. Gross motor functions are inhibited slightly, as if inside a sensory-depravation tank. Cops like Bailys were immune for two reasons; –they took a pill for motion sickness, daily, and they anchored to a display, on the wall behind the suspect’s head. The display was designed to cast no reflection, and – because of the chains – remained outside of a suspect’s visible perception bubble. This meant the detective performing the interrogation was the suspect’s only anchored point of reference, and that gave a trained interrogator absolute leverage against intentional prevarication.

Shork relaxed in his chair, and leaned back slightly, turning his eyes to the black mirrored ceiling, which reflected scene below, perfectly.

“Does it ever bother you?” He said, quietly.

Graf was reading the tox on Skooter Shork, which his agent, Moira, had displayed the moment before, on the anchor over Shork’s head. “What’s that, Mr. Shork?”

“The light, Detective. It doesn’t have any source.”

“Of course it does, Mr. Shork. The light source is my anchor. It’s appears – from where I’m sitting, anyway – as an external mRad display, just behind you on the wall. It can be read from any angle, on this side of the table, but from your side, it is diffuse and only registers as soft, glowing light.” Detective Bailys was always honest with his suspects. He found that their understanding of the landon mechanism actually made them more receptive to interrogation. He was also something of a Boy Scout and preferred to always tell the truth.

“Well, what is your demon telling you know, Detective?”

Graf shrugged. He knew intellectually why men like Shork hated the Agency; — the artificial intelligence he called “Moira,” –but it still annoyed him. Graf was getting a headache. He sub-commed a request for two aspirin, and Moira complied. A small slot opened in the plastic table between the two men, and a glass of water — on a napkin, next to the pills — slid up and snapped into place. Graf took the pills, and swallowed the water. He dabbed the napkin against his lips, catching a drop or two of water, which dripped onto his neatly trimmed mustache. He crumpled the napkin and placed it inside the empty glass, and the table swallowed it whole.

“Your tox was positive for your allotment, Mr. Shork.”

“See? I told you. I’m not crazy. I never went off-script.”

“That may be true, but it doesn’t explain your story. Tell me about Fargon DeMillar. How did you kill him?”

“It was self-defense. I already told you…” The suspects voice trailed off.

“I need you to stay focused, Mr. Shork,” the Detective insisted. “I need to understand how a man of your particular classification came under attack from an SVR-22.”

“I don’t even know what that is,” Shork confided.

“I’d be shocked if you did, Mr. Shork. An SVR-22 is a garbage collector.”

Shork finally gave in to the landon, and slumped against his chair. “How is that even possible?” he pled. “That man took everything from me. He threw me into the street. He seemed to be in total control of our Division. I thought I was ruined.”

And just like that – the interrogation turned to Skooter Shork’s crazy Mandala Factor story; –the one he had so eagerly shared with the arresting Orbys, a few hours ago, –against the advice of his attorney.

His contention was fairly straight forward, and was recorded on his public record. He had confessed to the crime just after the Orbys arrested him at the scene. His attorneys holo-call was also on record. He had begged his client to remain silent, but Shork wasn’t having it. Shork insisted that DeMillar – the victim – had actually been the aggressor in the situation, which was categorically impossible, given the victims classification. All SVR’s were engineered to remain passive at all times. They performed their jobs diligently, and were restricted – by design – from ever doing harm to a GEN-25, –like Shork.

Detective Bailys reviewed the victim’s allotment, and he was up-to-date at the time of his death. He couldn’t have been the aggressor in this scenario. It was impossible. But Shork wasn’t lying either.

The aspirin wasn’t working. Graf felt his temples throb.


Skooter Shork was a GEN-25: accounting. His work classification had been set in college, and he always received top-marks from his supervisors, who were GEN-27’s. Shork’s particular job was for Division 4, who managed several dozen buildings filled with tiny apartments, which are allocated to City employees, as part of their compensation package. Shork was responsible for the division ledger, and kept detailed records of all city expenses related to gen-relocation and other residential property management concerns. Despite his specialty, Shork had not relocated himself since college. He still lived in the same flat he had been assigned to after graduation. There was no question he should have upgraded, but voluntarily keeping a smaller residence was not a crime.

posted on Jun, 3 2016 @ 04:25 PM
Shork lived alone at the Akademy; — a nice building, by all accounts. It was functionally similar to the building Bailys himself had been assigned to, after graduation, and he had since moved twice. His first move came immediately after his promotion to Detective. Larger quarters, and a direct wireline link into the astranet was his reward for his commitment to his classification, and for his loyalty to the City. His second upgrade came a few years later, when Bailys was assigned to the Homicide division as lead detective. His new apartment featured a larger kitchen, and a view overlooking the white triangle; — the Hub of all judicial activity in this sector. Shork, on the other hand, had remained at the Akademy, in spite of his two promotions. He spent most of his time reading, and appreciated the spotty Wi-Fi.

Shork had been a good worker, in spite of his eccentricities. As the owner of the ledger for his division, he worked diligently to maintain records of his division’s profitability. Shork was also a throwback; — he loved reading, and had no interest in recreational-XP. These were the reasons he listed on his record when he refused to upgrade, and they were fine, of course. There was no law against reading, or even being disinterested in the re-lived experiences of actors – GEN-17’s — who are paid to live more interesting lives than the average gen, and offer their XP for sale on the astranet.

Shork had never dated anyone seriously, and had never been married. He was category 12 asexual, and had few friends, outside of work. He was reasonably well liked there, though he was considered a robot by most of his co-workers; –especially the Cat-9’s (and below), who prioritized things like romantic relationships. They classified him as a likeable robot — like domestic housecats — on his last peer evaluation matrix.

Shork had no record of violence, or even anger. His allotment forbids both, except in self-defense. Bailys found him inscrutable. His allotment included drugs designed to enhance both, under certain specific situations. This was normal, given their respective assignments. That’s why Graf expected a misallotment in Shork’s tox report, –but there was none.

The allotment system had been in place for generations. Each person was assigned a cocktail of drugs, by the agency, at graduation, suitable to their classification and category. This allotment could be modified, of course, based on many factors, but generally worked to keep each man or woman in a box. Inside the box was the thing that had eluded mankind for centuries, prior to its formulation: –stability, and to a lesser degree — happiness.

Homicides were therefore rare, but still happened occasionally. They were almost always a direct result of a misallotment, but were occasionally due to a suspect’s intentional diversion. Intentionally diverting one’s allotment was a crime in Bubbleonia, and the legal consequences were dire, indeed.

The tox reports on both men had been conclusive, however, and indicated that neither man had gone off-script, intentionally or otherwise. The landon interrogation chamber was Detective Bailys’s last recourse, under the circumstances, and it had revealed no evidence of lying, on Mr. Shork’s part. He had killed Fargon DeMillar in self-defense; –his allotment allowed for nothing else – and Millar, for his part, had been the aggressor. There was no question of it. Except that DeMillar’s allotment also demonstrated that he to, was incapable of the act. Detective Bailys found the entire situation impossible. And his head rang like a bell from the apparent discontinuity.


Skooter Shork worked late the night before, and then had dinner with his coworkers to celebrate the promotion of his undersecretary, — Lydia Tonks. He had several drinks with dinner, and had left the restaurant drunk, but still well within the limits of his allotment. Shork had taken a jumpcar home, afterward. His car was a V2, assisted-driving, and this was also perfectly legal.

Shork arrived sometime after midnight, intoxicated, but still within his limit. He normally took the lobby elevator to his apartment, on the third floor, but it was out of order. He stumbled up the stairs, and there was a gash on his right temple, presumably from a fall. Surveillance cameras in the stairwell show that he was alone, and did not lose consciousness. Shork, of course, remembers the incident quite differently.

In his version, he met the victim, Fargon DeMillar, coming down the stairs. The two had never met, and Fargon was agitated. They exchanged words, and Fargon pushed Shork down, causing the injury. Shork had blacked out, and he didn’t know for how long. When he came to, he was on the street in front of the Akademy. The doors were locked and no one came to answer the buzzer. Cold and tired, he walked around to the backside of the building, and collapsed in the alley, next to the refuse collection array. There, he slept until morning.

When dawn arrived, Shork awoke to find DeMillar standing above him. The man was still agitated, and begin to shout at and kick Shork, demanding he “move along.” Shork protested, claiming to live in the building, and offering to show ID. DeMillar stomped off to report him, leaving Shork alone, next to the refuse.

Shork got up from the pavement, and tried to get his bearings. He was hung over, and his head was pounding. He wandered over to a parked cubby, to inspect his head in the side mirror of the vehicle. It was then that he realized that he had been assaulted. He attempted to holo-call the police on his mRad, but discovered it missing. His identification and other personal effects were likewise –absent.

DeMillar returned a few minutes later, and became enraged when he saw Shork, standing near the cubby jump-car. There was an altercation, and DeMillar violently attacked Shork, bare hands around his neck. Shork says he nearly blacked out again, but managed to throw the man off. In the confusion, DeMillar struck his head on the cubby, with enough force to break his neck, and died instantly.

After that, Shork wandered back to the front of his building, and entered the lobby. There he made a call, using the buildings paging system, to his lawyer – Jak Hillby – and to the local police Orbys. The Orbys responded quickly, and took Shork into custody immediately, without incident. The investigation concluded that — due to an unplanned maintenance issue — there is no useable surveillance footage of the events which Shork describes, behind the Akademy.


“So what happens now, Detective?” Skooter Shork, inquired with visible resignation.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Shork,” the Detective replied. “Neither of you were diverting, and there was no misallotment. Neither should have been able to respond to the events you describe with violence of any kind. His classification forbids violence against gens, and yours forbids violence – except in self-defense.”

The detective rubbed his temples with both hands, and Shork looked at his own, tears rolling down both cheeks.

“I’m afraid there is nothing I can do,” the Detective said, finally. “You are free to go.”
edit on 3-6-2016 by 0zzymand0s because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 3 2016 @ 04:57 PM
a reply to: 0zzymand0s

Very nice!


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