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