This is kind of a continuation of ‘Taidan for fear’ so if you haven’t read that one, I suggest you go back and do that.
Nova turned away from me, giving away the truth of her appearance. She became a flurry of random pixels, a ‘snow crash’ was what I’ve heard some people call it. The holographic avatar was designed for face to face communication nothing more.
“What were you doing there?” She turned back to face me, the pixels realigning to my vision like stepping out of the rain.
“I could smell something dead.”
“Well of course you could, why didn’t you just call the Superintendent?”
“The super should have picked it up before I got there.”
I looked around me, Nova’s office hadn’t changed since I went on leave four months ago. Soft black carpet, small green couch and matching single chair. All immaculate.
Her hologram moved behind her long metal desk and appeared to sit. She wanted me to know that she was upset with me, holograms can appear however you want them to that didn’t have to represent your current state. Nova had made her avatar look like herself as many do, dark skin, big green eyes and purple, dead straight hair.
“We put you on leave for a reason. So that you could stop working so hard.”
“I had a nice vacation.”
I walked over to the window. Nova had a corner office with a window large enough to see the horizon. It was under the cloud layer which meant I could see the city tonight during the scheduled rain cycle. The reds and blues of the bustling metropolis twinkled in the water droplets. I could see my building from here but not my floor.
“It wasn’t long enough. So you’re staying on leave.”
“That’s fine. Have you followed my lead.”
“Can you at least tell me what you found out?”
The hologram squinted at me.
“You aren’t planning on working this case.” That wasn’t a question.
“No, I’ve got tickets for an off world trip actually.”
“Fine then. We couldn’t find her missing tattoo in the Earth crime database.”
I shifted my weight onto my other foot but kept looking out the window. An automated police drone flew past on its way to the detainment entrance. It looked like it had a passenger, at this time of night it was probably vagrancy. Not that they wouldn’t have had a home to go to, but a lot of people get too drunk and can’t make it there.
“So we had Interpol check all the databases from the inner systems.” Nova liked to talk through all the steps. I half wished I hadn’t asked. “But there was nothing there either.”
I brought up my AR, still looking out the window. The view became a sea of colour and flashing lights. Advertisements. In the Real Reality, even in the Virtual one, advertisements have been regulated beyond affordability. Cannot be targeted at children, must be in context, cannot be for ingestible substances. But in AR those regulations don’t exist, they can’t be regulated, AR above the last floor of any building was declared free game and written into the Declaration of Virtual Realities and Matrices.
“But obviously you described it as a Taidan character so we had the embassy from that sector send us their database. As it turns out, that is the gang symbol for a Yakuza style gang they have out there called…”
“Well yeah, but in Taidan. Not sure how they pronounce it though. There probably isn’t even one. The gang is supposedly based on the Taidan homeworld. They mainly deal in drugs, ones that are still illegal in that part of the galaxy, but they’ve been working up into the slave trade. We’re checking incoming and outgoing to see if we catch any of them in our space.”
“Can you send me any information you get regarding this?”
“You’re now added to the case file.”
“Thank you.” I turned away from the window and started to leave.
“So where’s the destination of your off world adventure? I hear that the Virgo Constellation just got a new luxury space station.”
“Not sure yet. Probably the Taidan homeworld.”