Tag Archives: murder

Not Completely Soulless 4

Sari leaned on the building on the other side of the alley. She patted down the pockets of the coat she was wearing looking for something. It was a men’s small in a dark grey, Cherise was who had initially taken her clothes shopping and had suggested male clothes for more pockets.
Sari was very fond of having places to put things.

From her left pocket she pulled out a packet of cigarettes, removed one and returned the packet to her coat. She continued to pat down herself looking for something else.

 

“Here.” Cherise interrupted noticing Sari’s increasing search speed. Cherise brought up her arms holding her left hand with her palm facing towards herself. She moved her right hand down past her left as though going into a bag that she pretended to hold. Her right hand disappeared as it past the threshold of her left.

 

She brought it back up and it reappeared now holding a light blue safety lighter.

 

“Wouldn’t pyromancy be better?” Sari asked as she lit her cigarette.

“I don’t need to set things on fire very often.”

“Less often than you need to return lost things?”

“Fair point, but I am working on my own endless pocket.” Cherise leaned on the other side of the alley moving her right hand in and out of wherever it went beyond her left arm.

 

“Times really have changed, we never needed to harness magic before.”

“No we just thought we were above it. But more often than not mages witches and warlocks could find a way to beat us.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“Just look at Hank, he doesn’t need a curse to be immortal and he’s not abnormally weak to precious metals”

“or balls of string.”

 

Sari took a long drag on her cigarette. She didn’t mind the habit other than how expensive it was. Even if she could get cancer it wouldn’t kill her. The smell wouldn’t stick to her, it wouldn’t ruin her teeth and the addiction could never form. However the nicotine would give her a short high similar to that of completely consuming a soul casing.

 

There was a time that ravishing a human soul was necessary for Sari to stay alive. With age that dissipated now simply accepting a person’s radiant energy was enough. Even being without it for several days would just put her back into her sleeping state, like her time in the coffin.

 

“So what else were you doing here? Helping with deliveries would only take up an hour or two in the morning.”

“I was going to pop in to help then go shopping. Been saving for some furniture.”

“Well go on then, don’t hang around here.”

“Nowhere is open for like another hour.”

 

*

 

Sari hung around outside smoking cigarettes for a few minutes until she realized she could hang out inside a cafe instead.

 

She went to the nearest one and ordered a Flat White.

 

Although she had tried coffee before her time in the coffin it wasn’t nearly as popular. At the time she had thought it was bitter and could have used something to mellow it out, she had similar opinions to what had been made of the cacao bean during her time in spain before leaving for the new world.

 

Cow’s milk that had been steamed and bubbled probably would not have come to mind. Looking at it now she thought it was probably the idea of a master apothecary but who had left out the magic ingredient when selling the recipe.

 

Supposedly this kind of coffee was invented in this part of the world that Sari found herself in. A clever modification on those types that had come before it.

 

The human’s on this land are very fond of their coffee and Sari could see why. It tasted amazing and would often give her the same buzz as a cigarette only more mellow and long lasting.

 

Being in the coffin for over three hundred years didn’t seem like much time, barely a quarter of the time since she’d been born. But it was a long time for the mortals. Their advancement did not shock her as much as Hank thought it would. Automobiles, cell phones and spaceships are fantastic in comparison to what life was like before but no more amazing than what she had seen magic perform.

 

Sari was witness to the ignorance of her forebears that believed themselves greater than mortals because they were eternal. It was their unwillingness to change that got them all killed. So much for immortal. Sari refused to let that be her end.

 

“Is this seat taken?” Asked a man in a business suit cutting through her fog of thought.

“N-No, it’s not.” The noise of the cafe cutting back in.

 

Sari expected him to take the seat to another table as would normally happen in his circumstance. He sat down in front of her.

 

“Uh?” She couldn’t help but let out an unsure sound. Her shimmer had been turned back on and was at a level which would make any regular human ignore her.

“My apologies, I didn’t mean to startle you.” He had a smooth face but he did not look young, his hair was short slick dark brown and pulled back tightly. The black suit was perfectly cut and retained a perfect shape even as he sat down.

 

“What are you doing here Demon?” Sari finally caught on. This was no mortal, it was another broken soul but inside someone else’s meat puppet.

“Caught up on the new words then I see. I live here. What are you doing here Vampire?”

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Not Completely Soulless 3

“Do you normally walk to work like that? You’ll destroy someone’s personality.” Hank asked.

“Just having a sensitive day. It’s not a permanent effect.” Sari looked but did not sound apologetic.

“In most circumstances. But humans have a complex psychology, a single moment of that could irreparably damage someone’s self image.”

“If their image was that fragile then it would do them good to rebuild it.”

 

Hank sighed and swivelled around in his chair, back to filling out some forms. He was still wearing his big woollen coat so Sari assumed he wasn’t staying long.

 

“What are you doing here anyway, you don’t have a shift till later.” Cherise’s voice came from a short haired ginger cat sitting another chair beside Hank.

“I came in to help with the deliveries. You know having animals in here violates health codes.”

 

The cat gave a little shake as though getting a static shock, then swiftly became a woman. After catching up on recent media Sari started to liken shifter transformations to bad CGI. She had remained clothed through the shift with the help of an amulet that Hank had provided. Unlike Sari, Cherise could feel the cold and as such wore a thick dark jacket, black pants and a scarf almost the same colour as her cat hair.

 

“My fur doesn’t shed unless I fully regress into an animal state.” Cherise looked about Sari’s age but that didn’t really mean anything in this room, each of them being at least a hundred years old. She had her hair down, another health code violation, it was shoulder length and dark brown. Her normal brown-green eye colour had come back but her iris was still a feline slit shape instead of the human round. “Imagine what they would say if they knew about you turning into a big mosquito.”

 

Cherise and Sari enjoyed giving each other a gentle ribbing but it was all in good fun. It was hard to take offence when you’ve outlived a civilization or two.

 

“There are no deliveries today. They’re changing the route so we get them Mondays now.” Hank said without looking up.

“Wait… It’s not Monday?”

“How do you not know what day it is?” Cherise asked tilting her head with her remaining feline intent.

“You try being in a box while the rest of the world changes the calendar on you.”

 

There was a knock at the front door of the shop. “See, deliveries.”

“That’s not a delivery.” Hank fluidly got up from his chair, moved around the front counter and went to the door.

“Wait. What is it then?” Sari asked, genuinely confused. Cherise said nothing but knowingly smiled.

 

Hank opened the door for the new arrival and in the same motion cast a small spell dulling Sari’s shimmer. “No, you can’t be.” Sari started to figure it out.

 

“Travis, hello. You’re here for the interview yes?”

“Yes. I-I-I am.” A timid boy just over eighteen stood in the doorway.

“Cherise, Sari, some privacy please.” Hank motioned his head at Cherise indicating that she should take Sari with her by force if needed.

 

Cherise grabbed Sari by the hand and pulled her out into the alley behind the store.

 

“A human! You’re going to hire a human?” Sari put on some anger as the situation seemed to be something she should be angry at.

“No, we’re just interviewing one for a position.” Cherise didn’t respond to the anger, she knew it wasn’t real.

“Are you interviewing anyone like us?”

“Well we’re definitely not interviewing any vampires.”
“You know what I meant. Like you and me, Cain’s brood.”

“Brood? Is that what you call us?”

“Does Cain’s Children sound any better?”

 

“You’re right.”
“That you’re going to hire a human?”

“No, brood does sound better.”

“I will bite you Cherise.”

“If we get any non-human applicants they have a higher priority at the moment but there hasn’t been any.”

“How can there not be? Every supernatural in this town know about us.”

“But they aren’t looking for what will likely be minimum wage work. We’re a pizza place not the Refuge. Maybe we’ll get lucky and hire someone who doesn’t know they’re like us.”

“A Taniwha? That could be interesting actually.”

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The future is all long hallways

The city’s police department took up one of the largest buildings in the city, not including the housing Agropolises. It doubled as a civil defence base with the firepower of a capital class ship. Capable of lifting off the ground and leaving the atmosphere in the event of planetary emergency. Unlike other buildings, which had compartments that would separate from the main structure before leaving Earth.

 

I walked down the white plastic hallway of the Nova’s floor towards the elevator. The walkway was empty, no posters or active screens. The only alleviation from the blindingly lit walls were the black, red and blue lines. Indicating where there were hand-holds in the case of low gravity, the way to the elevator and the way to robot processing. Not that robots needed that line to tell them where they were going.

 

The robotic police force which I was technically a part of came in three parts. The uniformed officers that patrolled the streets, the muscle, were given rudimentary intelligence. They could talk to people, assess dangerous situations and attempt to achieve peaceful outcomes. There is no empathy or emotional simulation in their programing, they cannot be threatened or bribed.

 

For more complex situations the muscle is connected to the brain, the second part of the force, truly artificially intelligent robots that can communicate orders directly to uniforms. These artificial life forms work together to make more human decisions around how the law is supposed to be interpreted. Of course keeping with the rules set by the earlier founders of the force, ultimately there is a human element.

 

The augmented police force, detectives and government agents are all born human. They can have any kind of cybernetic enhancement, usually the more the better.

 

I flicked on my AR, the hallway remained the same, no point in advertising in a place no civilian has ever walked. In the bottom right corner of my vision there was a blinking message icon, I brought it up. My hyperspace window had been approved, while the message was active on my AR it surrounded the edges of my focus in white dots that zipped passed like I was in a soft blizzard. I’m not sure why that’s still part of the marketing scheme for hyperspace transit rings. Even if you could see outside your ship in hyperspace no-one thought it looked like that.

 

An elevator arrived for me just as I got to them, I hadn’t requested one, the superintendent of the building had noticed that I was walking this way and that I still wasn’t on duty. It would have accepted me walking right past the open lift and taking the stairs, only adding more data to it’s profile on me. Likes to walk down twenty flights of stairs sometimes. I stepped into the elevator and held my hand over the control terminal to interface with the superintendent.

 

My ship had been taken out of the docking bay and brought to the launch terminal by the time I reached the hanger. I could say that I was one of the lucky ones who managed to have their own ship, unlike those would eject their housing compartment and use it for this kind of flight. I do feel lucky but I did put a lot of work into this ship.

A twenty six R eight Hellion that I’ve modified myself. Took me almost my entire service on the force to put her together. It was a lot of working credits just to purchase the chassis, not just because the market had just crashed when I bought it but the R eight series ended with the twenty six, ten years before I was born making it, basically an antique. The creation of hyperspace transit rings had lead to the discontinuation of a lot of commercial spaceship manufacturing.

 

As part of the universal bill of rights every living human was provided with healthy housing of at least one hundred and fifty six square metres in living space. Among requirements for air, water, food and recreation. Further amendments to that right had made it so the house had to be capable of exiting earth’s atmosphere in the event of emergency. Once the transit rings went online this meant everyone could take a long visit to the edge of the galaxy without the need of a faster-than-light drive.

 

It also put the commercial interstellar transport industry out of business, but I’m sure most of them bought shares in the transit rings.

 

The superintendent lowered my ship down holding the airlock at the end docking platform I was standing on. The red paint had started to get a bit worn due to small debris impacts but that only made me appreciate it more. I could see her registered name just underneath the wing ‘The Scutum Crux’. It was printed in black surrounded by an artistic impression of the galactic arm.

 

The door opened with a slight hiss from the small amount of decompression.

 

I entered and the door closed behind me. Interfacing with the ship immediately I started the exit sequence. The docking clamp moved us, me and my ship, to the docking bay exit. I reached the bridge shortly after we halted at the exit. The bridge was an empty gray room at the front of the ship, an R eight straight out of the factory would have had screen on the wall to display ship information but I never installed one during my refit.

 

Once my AR fully synchronized with the Crux I requested a place to sit, a chair protruded from the construct-gel I had covered the interior with. Now comfortably strapped in my new seat a set of controls formed in my AR. Not physically there, physical controls would be too slow, but tactile because my mind was directly interfaced with the ship.

Earth’s airspace laws only allow polarized magnetic boosters at this height. They didn’t need the added heat of exhaust thrusters, not that I had any on board. I flicked on my mag-boosters filling the hull with an exacerbated hum. The docking clamp let go and I was in free fall for a split second before the docks magnetic field repelled my ship’s.

 

The gray wall in front of me became an exact image of what was outside the ship. We could easily make glass that would be strong enough to withstand space but when space-time was stretched around a ship in traditional hyperspace only certain materials could polarize correctly, glass was not one of them.

 

I edged the Crux until we reached the end of the hanger. I was lower than Nova’s office now but the view of the city was just as enticing. The AR ads not picking up the ships sensors as a person’s augment, instead there were neon strips of white, red and green highlighting the airways, building edges and empty parking spaces.

 

The nose of the ship dipped and we fell down the side of the Police precinct.

 


 

So uh, Happy Holidays and New Years.

I was on holiday there myself for a bit. Then when I came back to work I had completely lost the rhythm of writing. Once I had finally got it back we had a heat wave and when I wasn’t too hot to write I was too tired to.

And thus ends my impromptu hiatus.  Until the next one

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Taidan for fear

I think my upstairs neighbor is dead.

There is a pungent smell seeping through the decayed seal between our compartments. It could have just been an animal stuck between my ceiling and her floor. Although the only things I could imagine getting in there would be a pigeon or seagull but I’ve never seen a bird get this high. A rat would have had to climb from the bottom and they probably wouldn’t get past the environmental filters on the first floor.

I’ve been out of town the last few weeks so I couldn’t draw any further conclusions.

The ceiling didn’t look any different, no stains or liquids. My bare walls and floor were just as normal. I entered my kitchen, nothing out of the ordinary. My refrigerator greeted me and told me that it was empty except for a few condiments that weren’t due to expire for a few more months.

I told it to order a restock and it complied.

We didn’t really talk, me and my upstairs neighbor. I’ve only met her once or twice in real life. Once, when she moved in because she wanted to apologise for the noise the moving bots made when they brought in her stuff. The second time and maybe third time was in the elevator when I had come back from somewhere.

I replayed those memories from my datastore.

She was a beautiful woman, in that traditional kind of beautiful where her smile was infectious even when she was hiding it behind half glances and her dark hair. I couldn’t find a memory where she told me her name. She had a tattoo on her shoulder, it was a character from the Taidan language.

I didn’t know that we managed to translate the dead scripts we had found on their homeworld.

My onboard translator gave me the meaning without me even asking. It meant fear, but in like a substantial noun kind of way instead of just a concept. I turned to leave the kitchen and my refrigerator advised that my groceries would be delivered shortly. I told it to pick them up from the mailslot as always.

I left my apartment and went up a flight of stairs.

There wasn’t any police tape in the corridor or over her door physically or in the Augmented Reality space. I was kind of hoping there would be, because if someone had been found dead and it wasn’t a murder then I would have seen it on the newscast no matter where I was.

I knocked on her door, there was no answer.

My AR flicked on as I requested and I sent a virtual knock there was no response. I asked the central computer if this room was occupied but I wasn’t allowed to query other compartments information. I did a quick check on Facebook to see if I could find her page, she didn’t appear to have one or it was private, I wouldn’t blame her.

I put my hand on the access panel, it beeped and blinked red denying my access. The gears in my arm spun up quickly and I crushed the panel.

Once the door was open the smell spilled out into the corridor. In my AR I could see that this floor was now on security alert. The police would be here shortly even if I hadn’t already alerted them by using my arm like that in the building. I took a step inside and the lights flicked on. She was there on the ground surrounded by blood soaked carpet. Her apartment filled with modern furniture that was sprayed with blood.

I made sure not to disturb the crime scene as I knelt next to her.

She was definitely dead, her skin a pale purple and her head and arms were contorted. Must have been dead for a while as her body had started to swell and parts of her were turning green. With the way she had landed, face down, I could see the back of her head under her hairline. There was no memory core interface, some people had it further down their back but her dress was ripped open and there was no sign of it.

I don’t think she’s ever had a memory implant, she wouldn’t have been uploading her conscious to the cloud.

Her tattoo was gone, it was cut from her body, I couldn’t see it around the room but I wasn’t making any more steps to limit my disturbance. The smell had long since been filtered out by my internal bio-hazard detection. I used my AR to bring up a list of compounds my nose detected, all the signs of death but also faint traces of Cocaine and Heroin. Not illegal but definitely curious, a fleeting high when compared to the kind of experiences augmentations can give.

She wouldn’t be able to be regenerated without a memory backup, she only had one life.

I wonder why someone would want to take it away.


Leesandra is probably going to sit down for a little while guys. I think I may have gone into it half-cocked again but I really don’t want to reboot her again. So we’ll leave her where she is until we can piece together a plan.

In the mean time we’ll be working on Whiskey and Maeve (I hope).
And just exercising my writing muscle when ever I can with what ever I can. This means that there are going to be a lot of short stories on here,  a lot of them won’t make complete sense and may or may not be part of something bigger. I hope you enjoy this.

In other news its my birthday so Happy Birthday to me.

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