Category: Wrote in 365 Parts

Written in 365 parts: 5: What Year Were You Born?

“Well you are in a prisoner transport, or what you said was a prisoner transport, so it follows that you are or prisoner, or a guard.”

“Well I am not really either of these,” Drick responded, “and I think it would make better use of your time to work out your own issues. You are being recorded, you understand that don’t you? And monitored?” Drick watched Marsh look around at the camera they had already mentioned. “Yes that’s a pretty standard camera unit able to see across a broad spectrum with a sensitive microphone. But the arresting officers implanted a monitor as well.”

“What the hell do you mean by implanted?” the voice was raised and again Drick noted that mostly it was fear based anger response. The biological readings all verified this assessment.

“Try to remain calm, this display will not help and if you become agitated there will be automatic countermeasures, it is built into the monitoring system. There are a number of issues that I would like to raise with you and to get more clarification on, this will likely help you.”

“Who are you?” Eyes narrowed again and a suspicious look to the face.

“My name is Drick, I told you that already.”

“But that doesn’t tell me who you are? What you do? Why you are here?”

“None of that matters at this exact moment. Let us return to your memory and what you remember. You will be asked to give an account of yourself and if you don’t have a clear understanding then they will pull the information from you.”

“How exactly are they going to do that?”

“There are a number of techniques for extraction, some of them passive, some not quite so.”

“I don’t understand why this is happening to me. This doesn’t seem right. Everything is wrong and I don’t recognise any of the things around me or what you say. Like the tattoos that can move and give information, or being in a craft that you say was in space, well why wasn’t I floating?”

“Well they are both easy to answer. They are not really tattoos, they are surface implants that have display capabilities. You can get auto-pigmentation implants but these use photon emitters. The gravity is because these vessels are fitted with artificial gravity and inertia compensators.”

“But that’s not possible, how is that possible? That’s all sci-fi bullshit isn’t it?”

Drick bit thoughtfully at the inside of a cheek. “Tell me Marsh, what year were you born?”

Marsh stared for a long moment, “twenty thirty-eight, in Kendal, Cumbria.”

Drick frowned hard, “well that explains a couple of things if it is true, Marsh.”

“Of course it is true, why wouldn’t it be true?”

“Well mostly because the twenty first century ended hundreds of years ago.”

Written in 365 parts: 4: Re-entry

“Well I told you my name. I’m Marsh. I grew up in Cumbria and I used to be in the military, I think. Some of that is really confused as I don’t recall leaving it.”

Drick stayed still and quiet for a few long moments. They were weighing up the options and at this point they were all heading into very uncertain territory. “Look, Marsh, I don’t know if that’s your real name or a nick you use, but there is something badly wrong. Everyone, I mean every person has a skindent. Heck even people who didn’t have one from a Tube Tag, and it does happen, get one as soon as possible. It is how you do anything. You couldn’t move without one.”

“Well I don’t have one.”

“What’s the last thing you remember?” Drick sucked a deep breath in, “do you remember being sprayed, anything just before that?”

There was a loud rumble outside the walls of the vehicle and the panels started to shake. Drick noticed Marsh looking around fearfully.

“What’s happening?” They yelled out in a mild panic, “are we crashing?”

“Atmospheric re-entry, don’t worry about it.”

“What the hell do you mean by atmospheric re-entry? Are we in space? How come there’s a gravity? Did we go to the moonbase?”

Drick laughed, “No, who calls the moon colony a base. We are headed to the justice facilities for processing, investigation, trial and possible incarceration. Though with a K tag you are looking at some form of a custodial sentence, Marsh.”

“So are they on Earth? Or did we go into space for some other reason?”

“Earth, what you mean dirt? Or are you talking, Earth, earth? As in Terra?”

“Of course.”

“So you’re a Terran?”

“Isn’t everyone?”

Drick stared at Marsh again for long seconds trying to work out if they really believed what they were saying or whether they were trying some ruse. It felt real and the monitor that had been injected into Marsh and was scanning and uploading data to Drick’s retinal plant was saying that they believed what they said. But it was all so impossible.

Marsh spoke, “hey, your arms and legs?”

“What about them?”

“You are not bound or shackled and you don’t have this plain outfit on.”

“Well I don’t have a plain outfit, no, but you were arrested in that suit. As for restraints, why would I need them?”

“I guess you don’t, I imagine it is just K grades and similar, violent types. I would have thought all prisoners would be treated the same.”

“They mostly are, Marsh. But whatever made you think I was a prisoner?”

Written in 365 parts: 3: People Call Me Marsh

“I’m not sure,” again a strong look of confusion, “everything is all jumbled in my head.”

“Try to not over think. When they sprayed you it would have had a mild anaesthetic mixed in along with the other chemicals. They call it a pacifying attack. That’s not what I would call it as I think they would make anyone mad as hell, but the mix is strong enough to incapacitate you so that you can’t do anything about it. So I guess pacifying works. Anyway that’s going to mess with your short term memory and add to your feelings of confusion. So let’s go longer term. Do you have a name?”

“Yeah, sure people call me Marsh.”

“Well, Marsh, that’s a start. People call me Drick. You want to share where you’re from as with your arms strapped behind your back I can’t see your skindent.”

“My what?”

“They must have given you a heck of a dosage of that, or maybe you just react badly to it. Your skindent. The identity tag tattooed on your wrist.”

“I don’t think I have one.”

Drick raised an eyebrow and laughed, “sure you do Marsh, everyone has a skindent, you can’t even buy a glass of water without one. How do you pay if the vendor can’t access a register to draw from an account?” Drick shook their head, “look,” they said moving so Marsh could see their arms. There were tatoos going up the forearm from the wrist, they moved updating to show different symbols and shapes or graphs. Marsh could see current time, heart rate, tasks lists and other information in one tattoo while a band on the wrist scrolled constantly with a range of numbers.

“I have five of them,” said Drick, “the wrist one is of course my tube tag but I got the others for various helpful functions. Everyone has a tube skindent Marsh, you get it implanted when they pop you out as a new birth.”

Marsh shuffled round so that Drick could see the arms strapped behind. Drick stared at Marsh’s wrists. Stared at them for a long time before speaking again. “Shit” was what they finally said. “You don’t have a skindent Marsh. Who the hell are you?”

Written in 365 parts: 2: What Do You Remember

“Do you know how I got here, or not?” The civil tone was making a rapid run for the hills now and Drick could see the eyes narrow despite them being slits from swollen cheeks and brows.

“You don’t need so much attitude, it isn’t going to help.” Drick kept a neutral tone.

Drick watched as K14792 stared and then looked around the transport. They seemed to be confused with a furrowed brow as they looked at the almost blank metal box they were in.

“What type of vehicle is this?”

“As I said, it is a prisoner transport. Pretty standard one. Metal box, toughened steel walls, roller-shutter doorway, camera in the corner, vents in the ceiling for air and so they can pump it full of gas to shut us up if we get too rowdy. Fairly standard stuff. I am guessing this is your first time in one? So this your first crime, or just your first murder?”

“What?” A raised voice but out of surprise and not from anger. They looked shocked, eyes were wide and mouth slightly agape. “Who said I did a murder?” the anger was returning to the voice now.

“Hey,” Drick kept a calm voice, “don’t get stressed, you could be innocent for all I know.”

“Who said I killed someone?”

“Look,” Drick wished they had more than a few feet between them in this soundproofed metal box, ‘no one said anything at all. They tossed you in here and said nothing about you at all. I was just going from your designation.’

“What designation?”

“The K, you know what that means, right? It stands for killer, only people who have taken a life someway have a K designation in the prisoner ident.”

“I haven’t killed anyone, or at least I don’t remember killing anyone,” they looked around confused and shaking slightly, “I don’t know where I am or how I got here and I certainly don’t remember any damned murder.”

“Look if you’re aiming to lessen your sentence by claiming some amnesia or mental illness, you’re out of luck. The authorities here will not believe you.”

“I am not trying anything, look I don’t know what is going on.” They were shouting with anger and possibly fear.

Drick tried to smile despite feeling worried, ‘okay calm down. I am not calling you a liar, just letting you know how things stand. Why don’t you tell me what you do know. What do you remember?”

Written in 365 parts: 1. Where Am I?

“So how did you get here?”

There was a dry cough before the rasping reply, “what, where, where am I?”

Drick watched as they struggled to sit upright, hacking up dry lungfulls of air and squinting through teary eyes. “You need to slow down or those restraints are going to cut into you. Try blinking, your eyes will be dry and itchy from the spray.”

“What happened?”

“Well that’s a query with a fiscal tag.” Drick snorted mirthlessly.

“What?” spitting to one side with eyes still streaming.

“Million dollar question. You want to be careful with spitting if you’re caught they will gag or bag you.”

Drick watched as they took a few minutes to stop coughing and for their eyes to clear enough to sit up properly. They looked at Drick. Not too bad looking even with the puffy eyes and busted lip. Nose could be a little shorter, hair less of a tangled mess, that might not be from the method of detainment.

“Where am I?” Calmer and more controlled, almost a civil tone of voice.

“Prisoner transport vehicle.” Drick smiled with no detectable warmth yet not cruel. “Looks like they tagged you as K14792.”

“How did I get here?”

“Well now, that’s where we started,” Drick gave another little laugh, “that’s the question I asked you.”