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
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 —
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,
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
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)