Witness — Process Test and Story Reminder

So I’m trying like mad to come up with a better publishing process than my buddy Patrick has figured out so far for WordPress (So many heinous steps, ugh) and I figure, why not throw in the beginning of a story we were poking at, and I ran over with a surfacer?  Anyway, here goes:


Every time the pod slides shut, I take a bath in other people’s memories.


“John Harris.”


“…Thought Police.”

“Invalid field. Occupation?”

The smirk would have been impossible to hide, even if I’d wanted to. “Detective. Section Three, Eye-Ops Division.” You had to find some way to laugh about it, or you’d never survive. Knowing that every day, from the moment you clock in, you’re legally empowered to invade the minds of every man, woman, and child in the district, you need to find some sense of the absurd, or the sheer weight of responsibility would crush you. That’s why I’ve taken to smart-assing to a computer voice, outside the division building. Just gearing up for another day on the job.

The shunt slipped into my skull, and the screen in front of me glowed to life. Behind my head, the air-conditioning began to spin up, settling into a comfortable white noise. Metal clicked on metal, and I sighed. “Case #42483. Subject 12, replay key points.”

The gunshot was deafening, the flash of light just catching the corner of my eye. I started, turning toward the shadows of the alleyway, and even though panic set my heart thudding in my chest, annoyance started creeping in around the edges. I’d just bought that hot dog, dammit, and now I went and dropped it.

Another jump, a new pair of eyes. I was wearing bifocals. At the sound of the gunshot my head snapped up, adrenaline shooting ice into the pit of my belly, crawling up my spine. A white man in a red hoodie and jeans leapt out of the alleyway, hands up to attempt to obscure his face. I caught a glimpse, though; angry, wild eyes, frightened. Flecks of blood, barely noticeable against the brighter red of his hoodie, but purple on his jeans.

A longer jump, as the pod cached the memory. I was an old woman, old enough for cataracts to blur away the edges of the world. I was worrying about my husband’s will, and would I have enough to pay the creditors. My joints ached. The sound of the gunshot startled me enough to jerk my head toward it, and I watched a man in red lunge out of the alleyway, something black in his hand. He didn’t look my way as he ran out of sight.

I was a young girl petting her cat on a windowsill. A man was running through the alley my our home, talking on a phone.

I was a robot camera, atop a city bus. My attention was on a hooded figure, infra-red still picking up the clear bloom of heat from the gun. I had rudimentary weapon-detection algorithms, but the figure was not preparing to board me. Thus, I would hold the data in memory for an hour, then, if no queries had been made of me, delete it. Seventeen minutes later, a query was made.

I was a flying traffic drone, analyzing automated traffic routes. A mild anomaly turned my attention, for a moment; jaywalker. Male, running across the street, a red hoodie being discarded in the nearest trash can.

I was a young man, thoughts of his next hit of crack drawing everything else towards it. I reached into the trash, grabbed the red sweater, looking up just in case. Nah, the guy with the brown hair was still legging it down the street, gradually slowing to a walk. Something heavy was in the sweater. A gun, still warm. Man, I could sell this, get three good hits…

I was a taxi driver, asking no questions of the man who waved down my car, why he was panting. “#32 Huxley Avenue,” he said. The computer had read his Witness implant number, and registered him: Philip Joller. Suspect #1.

The evidence was circumstantial, but it was enough. I flipped the feed down for a few minutes, scratching my arm, and patched into the department’s legal AI.

“Suspect #1, Philip Joller. Probability of prosecution? Circumstantial evidence, no direct witness.” The AI calculated, talked with the defendant’s AI, and the Crown Prosecutor’s AI, and before I could finish scratching, came back with a reply.

“Eighty-three percent. Philip Joller accepts the standard plea bargain of Manslaughter. Fifteen years, release after eight and parole for the remainder,” the computer reported, briskly.

I swore, but it was as good as I was going to get, and I knew it. I signed off on the case, shut down the pod, buried my face in my hands, and indulged in a bit of hard-earned misery. I hated being in the crack addicts. They craved, and craved, and craved, and even eight or nine jumps later, I’d still feel the cravings. Eight jumps was always the minimum, before that need would go away, and this one had it bad.

And the drones. My head was throbbing, thanks to the residual impressions, leftover from those damned drones. All the programming wizardry in the world, and still nobody can translate code to human senses, exactly…

Well, that’s a start at least, I know I can preserve things from Scrivener.  Now to see what I can to in GDocs


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