015 – Another Discovery

Part 2

vers 1.0

Brad transferred to a smaller single pod for the last leg of his journey. The stench of the crowds transferring tonight was heavy with travel commute stress.

Rubenz thought the smell alone was enough to give him a headache.  It wasn't the first time he wondered if the headache was just a mental thing or if there really was a type of accumulated air pollution triggered by such high numbers of people.

He mumbled, "Why the do I keep making these stupid trips to crime scenes?" So what if he closed cases a little slower?  While he did like having the reputation of being fast, it was the closing of the case that was most important.  He just couldn't completely rely on the recorded version of the crime scene alone.  If that cost him one closed case a year, it was too many.

When he got to his house, there was a digital delivery message on his door.  He walked inside, and opened his digital mail box as he walked towards the kitchen.

There was a flashing red urgent message from Goozmos, the monopolistic media company that controlled most of the content, entertainment and news on the internet.

Your personal contract needs to be updated and signed.  Until we receive your updated contract, we will have to hold all revenue earned on your accounts.  If the updated contract is not received within a three (3) day period, your pending earnings will be forfeit.  If the updated contract is not received within five (5) days, your account will be placed in suspension for a period no less than 1 year.

"Shit," Rubenz said to himself.  “That's all I need”, he thought.

He forwarded the message to his automated legal advisor program.  It processed for about thirty seconds and came back with a rapid message stating,

"The new contract has changed in two substantial ways:
1.  The new agreement calls for your release of your personal image to be used, reused, repurposed, modified and broadcast at the discretion of Goozmos in return for an increase in usage rights revenue for this image at a rate of $0.2346 cpm.
2.  Your account level as been graduated to the status of 'Temporary Web Celebrity" which entitles you to access to Goozmos talent agents, at a fee of $0.00000063 of your web contents total cpm, including the use of your personal image.

In layman terms, Goozmos feels your personal image has greater value as you are now a temporary web celebrity.  They will hold your account and all revenues, past and future hostage, until you agree to their terms.  As they are a monopoly and have greater legal resources than your personal financial statement currently indicates, it is advised that you agree as quickly as possible and return this agreement.

*DISCLAIMER - Personal Automated Legal Advisor Wizard Inc is a subsidiary of Goozmos Inc, an independent legal review would be advised.

"Well that can't be good.”  Brad flipped over to the news and was treated to a video of himself shuddering in an orgasmic like way with that damn P3nis stuck to his forehead.

" . . . and an Atlanta Detective was caught enjoying himself during an investigation . . ." the commentator was saying to her anchor sidekick, who was laughing like a damn fool as they looped that section over and over again. "... this video went viral 15 minutes after it was broadcast live to the internet during a routine investigation into the homicide of the infamous King of the Whack Jobs . . ." the anchor continued.

"... family members are calling for the removal of Detective Rubenz from the case as his head is not in the game apparently.. Meanwhile, spoof videos, mixes and other versions of the video are circulating faster and faster.  Estimates indicate this viral video may break new records as it has already been remixed 142,532 times and growing!"

Brad clicked off, pulled up the agreement, signed with his finger on the touch screen and sent off the document back to Goozmos as fast as he could.

"Holy Shit!  This is going to be embarrassing as hell, but it might just pay for his early retirement and after the job the press was probably going to do on him, he might need that money even sooner."

He did a quick mental calculation on a modest one billion views / one thousand x a modest twenty-three cents that was about two hundred thirty thousand dollars or four years salary.

He needed to do some more things to fully capitalize on this fast wave, but he didn't have time.  He still had a crime to solve.

He pulled up his research list.  He needed to better understand the technology, some basic background information, and some technical details, especially about the cause of those welts.

He performed a couple quick searches, and tracked down the name of Razel Tulley, Phd, MD, who worked at Walter Reed Hospital.  Tulley had apparently been involved in several key areas of research and development with prosthetic systems.

Prosthetics had made rapid advancements since soon after the start of the Afghanistan War at the turn of the century.  Shortly after the first decade of that war, researchers were already making progress in the direction of developing prosthetics that could be hard wired, almost literally, into the brain.  They weren't pretty and the surgery involved was even uglier.  But the results were distinctly functional.

The hardware weighed less.  It was more functional, recharged in reasonable amounts of time, and restored a significant amount of mobility to soldiers and later other people that had suffered traumatic injuries.

About the same time, other researchers were making rapid advancements in systems that grew real skin, faux skin, materials that looked like skin, even skin that grew on inanimate objects.

There were obvious things missing, such as a pulse, warmth, or in some cases coolant that brought the temperature of the prosthetic up or down to something close to 98.6 degrees.

Research seemed to hit a plateau until about 8 years ago.  Most functionality could be restored in operation, movement and appearance, but there were two areas that lagged significantly.  The first major area involved tactile feedback systems.  These systems slowed down response times just a fraction of a second in all prosthetics such that movement was still just slightly mechanical in appearance.

The other major area was surgery.  It was still a very invasive surgical procedure.  Depending on what area of the anatomy was being wired back in, surgery could take days.  If multiple prosthetics needed to be attached, such as an arm and a leg, or fingers and toes and an eye, the patient would either have to endure a marathon of surgery that could take up to twenty hours or they would have to come back for repeated surgeries, undergoing, surgery, recovery, adjustment, and repeat for each prosthetic.  That could drag out for months or years.

This time and surgery and planning was insanely inefficient and expensive.  Plus, it always increased the possibility of complications, infection and rejection.

Dr. Razel Tulley had zeroed in on this problem and had focused her research and efforts on finding a 'plug and play' solution.  She wanted to entirely eliminate the need to perform an invasive neurosurgery.  Furthermore, she wanted to minimize the deficiencies in tactile feedback.

One news article described Dr Tulley as, "...smart enough to realize that the two problems were connected.  She isolated and interpreted the actual signals sent by the nervous system.  She identified a method that utilized communication networks in a universal way such that any nerve could function as a contact point for input and output in short, an incisive breakthrough."

Once translated, she then went about designing a contact patch that could interface directly with nerves through the skin.

Her research was speeding along at this point.  The only problem now was finding a method for attaching, 'sticking' the prosthetic to a person such that the attachment could hold the weight of the prosthetic and maintain the intended functionality.

Humans had dabbled in ways to attach prosthetics for hundreds of years, using everything from straps, to screws, surgery and implants and more.  This was never ideal.  It might create chaffing at best, and severe pain or life threatening infections at the worst extreme.

Fortunately, Dr Tulley had the backing of the Defense Department.  The defunct NASA space agency happened to be sitting on a dead end technology.  They had developed something of a tractor beam, a 'ray' that could capture an object in space and pull it in without physically having to touch that object.

The technology worked, but had long ago been replaced with more efficient technologies that required less energy.  It seemed that the tractor beam required large amounts of energy the further away an object was located.

However at small distances of millimeters, the energy required was minimal.  Some NASA researcher had actually solved the attachment challenge long ago.  They had used the tractor beam to lock new attachments of space stations to one another, like magnets.

Prosthetics were developed that essentially had this micro tractor beam technology built in, as the device made contact with skin, which itself had a micro charge of electricity, a connection was completed and the tractor beam activated, which then pulled itself closer, tighter and firmly to any dense mass identified as a stable system, such as bones in a skeletal system of a human.

It was a brilliant adaption and allowed plug and play prosthetics to advance quickly, however, the research articles didn't discuss the demand for prosthetic sexual devices or prosthetics as consumer products that could be bought off the shelf.

Brad replayed his conversation recorded with Jenny earlier.  He re-experienced his amazement that she was ... . had been married and married to the murder victim.  He realized he would need to inform the family of the murder in an official capacity.

He did a quick check of the file he had for Terrence McBoyd.  He was married to Jenny McBoyd, no children.  Terrence was previously married to Karen Chanier with one daughter age twenty-four.

That was damn close to Jenny's age.

Continue to Next Chapter - 016 – The Widow

010 – Advice from the Rookie

Version 1.2

Brad had to smile when he saw the image staring back at him via HUD. The tall lean and healthy body of Amber Ryenstall would put a smile on anyone's face.

Brad ‘had’ to smile for a different reason. Brad smiled because it was habit when answering a HUD video chat. You just never knew who would pop up in front of you. His grandmother had raised him to have the good etiquette of always answering with a smile.

"Smile when you answer and the person contacting you will be more inclined to smile back and that just makes a conversation easier." She would repeat. She had been a State department diplomat for twenty years and she knew what she was talking about.

Despite his grandmother's good advice, Brad smiled mainly because every time he saw Amber he instantly thought of her as 'the Rookie'.

Years earlier Amber had been a new police officer on the force. Brad himself had only been on the job a few years himself. Several of the other police officers, especially the women on the force had gone out of their way to test Amber. Practical jokes, in the field quizzes, things designed to prove to Amber that she was a Rookie and needed to accept that and learn from her superiors or the closest bully available.

Despite the fact that these on the job training episodes sometimes got a little out of hand, they did serve a legitimate purpose. It was indeed important for rookies to look to more experienced members of the force so they didn't get someone killed with their book learning. Everyone knew it was just another type of socialization, but it did work if a bully didn’t take it too far.

Amber had responded, well, differently. During a very embarrassing encounter, she had managed to allow a handcuffed suspect to not only escape from inside the police interview room, but also to handcuff her to the chair and take her uniform, leaving her dressed in the suspect's clothing.

All of this was on video, and that video was used at trial. Everyone got to see a lot more of the Rookie than was typical. Two senior officers had been somewhat complicit in the situation. They had attempted to set up Amber in a less dangerous and revealing way and Amber's response had been atypical.

But Brad had been amazed by a follow up situation. After the first event, conventional wisdom in the office had it that Amber probably wasn't cut out for this line of work, and a couple more episodes like the first would help the brass see this and turn her loose. Amber, however, had other ideas. She deftly handled the next few curve balls thrown her way and even managed to save Brad's life during a high speed chase on an escalator involving a genetically modified Lyger, a cross between a Lyon and a Tiger.

Brad attempted to take Amber under his wing and offered to mentor her, partly out of gratitude and partly out of respect for her work. Ironically, after helping as her mentor for a year, Brad and the rest of the department learned that Amber was actually with internal affairs and no rookie at all. In fact 2 years later Brad was working for Amber, who as it turned out was Brad's senior by 8 years and far more experienced.

Amber was now his official mentor! That irony always made Brad smile, he loved nothing better than irony mixed with a little paradox if he could get it.

"I hear you are up to your armpits in stiffs." Amber said smiling with a devilish grin.

Brad glanced past his HUD display and said, "It is about half and half, stiff and not so stiff." He figured half the department was laughing at the crime scene predicament he was working on by now as his video feed of the crime scene was uploaded and processed in the station.

"All joking aside Brad, pay attention on this one, Political Attention. Your victim is the nephew of one of the Joint Chiefs and the son-in-law of a serious defense contractor. Your guy there was very, very connected."

"Shit, the curve balls keep coming on this case, and I've barely even started in on the crime scene yet. As far as I can tell the only thing this guy was connected to was some extra twisted sex games. Should have guessed there would be politicians close by." he replied.

"Yep, you should have. Seriously, now put that brain of yours into Aderol mode and focus. This case needs to be closed fast, preferably before tomorrow night. That same Joint Chief just finished up a troop review and is flying back to the States tomorrow afternoon after a meeting with the new Shah of Iran. We need, you need to put a lid on this quickly. Otherwise the department is going to start looking for scapegoats."

"Thanks for the friendly warning and heads up on the time line. Anything else?"

"That's it for now."

"I'll stay in touch" Brad said and watched her image fade out replaced by a penis hanging from a hook stuck in one of the carton containers.

Continue to Next Chapter 011 – The Base Falls Off <-8