Life is sometimes best shown in the obscure

Written in 365 Parts: 22: Retrieve All Footage

Drick closed the door to the private wash room inside the executive toilets and turned on the military grade scrambler that was in their pack. Once the signal had achieved a steady blocking pattern ensuring a high-degree of privacy Drick opened up a link on a comms implant and waited for the answer.

Drick was using a text-based communication transfer so prepped their thoughts for using the internal speech to type translator. This was an onerous task as the translator Drick had implanted was a very early model. One day they would get it updated beyond being flashed for new words, phrases or languages.

“Waiting.” The first message from Drick’s contact scrolled across the retina display and then auto-deleted itself from all records and logs. This was the preferred communication method of a Slicer called Rodero.

“Landing section thirty seven, executive corridor, less than two minutes ago, retrieve all footage and identify subjects. If possible track currently fleeing subjects. Alter any identifiable element leading to subject who exited or returned to the executive washroom in the previous thirty minutes from this time stamp.”

“Understood.” a long pause, “that has been set in motion and I am receiving all footage. Do you require copies?”

“Yes. To the usual location. I have other work for you.”


“I am uploading a complete data package to the shared area. I want it analysed as much as possible. As many connected details that can be recovered will be appreciated.”

“How will payment be made?”

“You have access to the appropriate account. Take what is needed.”

“You are always so trusting.”

“I know how to find you.”

“Anything else?”

“Clear your workload for the next forty eight hours, at least, I am sure to have more work . To start I want all information you can gain on Volstron Services and Yee On Kline. I don’t need any conjecture or hyperbole, just what can be proven, or reasonably proven.”

“It will be done.”

Drick closed the connection and took a deep breath, not to take a little plunge down a rabbit hole.

Written in 365 Parts: 21: Hyper-Sensitivity

To achieve a hyper-sensitivity to motion and thereby reduce the lag of reaction caused by over-processing elements gained primarily from auditory and visual senses you must learn to un-focus. This in itself seems counter-intuitive.

Centuries ago the effect was noted by those researching combat pilots or game players. The ability to uncouple the visual reception from over-processing in what could loosely, back then, be described as the frontal lobes. Essentially the thinking part of the brain gets in the way. It interferes between the Occipital lobe and the Parietal lobe. Decouple the Frontal lobe by not forcing a focus allows the retina to record all visual stimuli possible and pass it at greater speed to the spatial mapping capabilities of the Parietal lobe.

Practitioners of combat arts also use this technique to calm the mind and gain extra information from the senses related to touch and sound. Adding them to the spatial awareness. By allowing the mind to be free of distraction the Temporal lobe can be stimulated into greater sensitivity. It is apocryphal that blindness was often used as a training exercise to strengthen the relationship between hearing and touch in the Temporal lobe to be associated with greater spatial definition in the Parietal area of the brain.

Drick had released dopamine into their bloodstream to calm the nerves and allow a greater level of resistance to fight or flight theatrics as they slumped slightly in the suit. As the eight teachers moved in Drick allowed their mind to build a complex spatial map adding any understanding of speeds, vectors and force to estimate the attack pattern.

This was in the first second of the combat as Drick allowed the attackers to move in. Drick had already drawn a sphere around themselves which was now the field of combat. Drick would restrict all activity to the inside of that sphere, this was going to be a hand to hand fight and so range played no part in the equations that quickly were built.

Drick felt a surge of energy as at the start of the next second there was a massive drop of epinephrine from the enhanced medulla oblongata and they took an intake of breath that would be audible to those approaching. But what they heard or saw now was irrelevant as the fight was a committed fact. The release from the medulla part of Drick’s brain kept vast stores of epinephrine available still in the adrenal glands while increasing blood flow, heart rate and respiration. It felt as if liquid fire had been poured into Drick’s bloodstream.

Drick saw the first arm swing towards their head. It was fitted with a carbon-resin cestus equipped no doubt with a stunning electrical charge. Part of Drick’s mind had registered the slight whine of electrical circuits charging up, most of these attackers would be fitted with electrical shockers or stunners to reduce Drick’s ability. They were in for a surprise.

The attack came in at head height but Drick’s head was already two feet below the arm as Drick bent sideways. Drick shot a gloved hand up to catch the cestus noting that the charge had been released harmlessly into the combat suit’s armour. The sideways motion allowed Drick to see the second closest attacker.

At the same moment Drick grabbed the outstretched arm, they flipped backwards and snap kicked both feet from the knees into the second attackers neck. Using the gravity negation Drick was able to roll around the first attacker’s arm. Drick’s weight may have been dramatically lowered but their mass was unchanged. Drick used their mass to swing around the arm rotating the wrist and then rolling along the arm towards the attacker’s head noting with satisfaction that the wrist shattered and bone popped out of the top of the cestus.

Drick released the grip and completed the roll so that they were facing the first attacker, by now they had completed a two hundred and seventy degree flip and a barrel roll bringing them face to face with a screaming howling face and in range of attacker number three who received a snap kick to the forehead. The third attacker’s head snapped backwards as the enhanced carbon fibre and kevlar boots smashed their skull.

Drick was not distracted enough by this to not punch the first attacker in the face, bringing the heel of a palm up under the nose and pushing cartilage backwards and into the lower part of the brain cavity.

Drick ignored the screams from attackers numbered two and three and the silent falling backwards of attacker one as they were out of the combat. Drick took a step backwards and then back flipped around an outstretched arm to avoid the next attack, number four who had aimed a shock-stick, a short rod with a high discharge electrical contact at one end. Crude but very effective and enough to place a charge through the suits ablative armour.

Two thirds of the way through the flip Drick tucked legs tight into their body to fall closer to the floor. Then Drick pushed out against the hard surface and grabbed attacker number four around the waist with a head buried firmly into a solar plexus. Drick had grabbed both arms by the wrists to prevent the usage of that stick and drove number four into the ceiling with a sickening crunch.

Number four was not fitted with gravity nulling equipment so they fell quickly, which Drick used to spin around and ride atop their attacker to the floor where they impacted with a loud snap and a scream that was quickly turning to a gurgle.

The first ten seconds of combat were over and four of Drick’s attackers were incapacitated. The other four, a group of two and two singles were still moving in but much more warily. Drick noticed the single attacker who was close to Drick’s rear pull out a different weapon activating a wrist shield as they did. It was a mono-filament whip. That was an effective weapon for slicing whole pieces from someone.

Drick used the nervousness to great effect, turning towards the three attackers who had short stun sticks. Drick screamed and took a step forward. They reacted as expected and stopped, one even took a short leap backwards. This was enough distraction. Drick heard the attacker behind with the monofilament move in as expected. Drick fell forward bending their leg that they had stepped forward with to almost ground level then kicked down and backwards to backflip and spin around their own axis.

As Drick went overhead they were almost pleased to note that the attacker couldn’t keep up with events the attacker raised the whip to attempt a slice along Drick’s body but Drick had anticipated this and already had the attacker’s wrist caught and bent backwards before they could even flick the release catch that extended the whip.

The wrist snapped and Drick easily pried the whip from the attacker as they dropped to the side of them. A quick flick of an expert wrist and Drick lopped off the attacker’s own hands at the wrist where one hand held the limp broken other.

Fifteen seconds and now there were only three attackers left. Number five was passing out and soon would be bleeding out from the loss of both hands. Drick flicked the whip to their other hand keeping a primary hand free for the next manoeuvre. But it wasn’t to be. The three remaining attackers turned and ran.

Drick raised an eyebrow and then restored the gravity to normal on the combat suit. It took less than a minute to search the five attackers and Drick could already hear booted feet running along a corridor nearby. Drick opened the door to the executive bathroom and went inside to a private cubicle. It would be a few minutes before they would look inside and Drick would have some protection in the form of privilege in this restroom.

Written in 365 Parts: 20: Go Two Ways

“This can go two ways.” The voice was calm and confident though Drick could detect a slight quaver that might be nervousness but was more likely to be caused by stimulants.

“Really?” said Drick, “we are going to go with that old cliche? I guess it will be either the easy way or the hard way or you’ll swap one of those out to my way, our way, the fun way, the preferred way, the way that I am underpaid to ensure is understood, the way to some old town where your sweetheart lives? Am I close?”

“Funny aren’t you. The two ways are that you drop the case you are on right now or we give the lesson that you appear to need teaching. I would opt for…”

“Option two,” Drick interrupted. “Sure you would and look you brought seven friends to watch you teach this lesson or are they the rest of the class?”

“We’re all teachers.”

“So this is like a staff room? What kind of school needs eight teachers for each pupil? You must really suck at your jobs.”

“You going to drop the case?”

“Which one?”


“Which case? I am working multiple cases at the moment and I have a few that I have had to put on hold as there is no available evidence for me to complete them. Something is bound to come to light sometime though. Not really your problem but it does mean that I cannot be completely sure who you are referring to and which case.”

“The most recent.”

“The triple homicide, well that’s going to be a problem as we have a confession and enough evidence to fry that K-Tag so it is practically closed. Just a paper signing exercise and they are done, they are fully in judiciaries hold now. So since that is it I think we should all go about our day.”

Drick smiled at the confusion that was evident on their would be teacher’s face. “Wait there.” Is all the teacher could say and then they opened what was clearly a private message to someone. They used an implanted wrist communicator and held it up, facing their mouths, so that they could speak quietly and so Drick would not be able to see their lips or any of the scrolled information on the comms tattoo screen.

Drick did have a moment as they did this to note that the comm id was masked and merely a stream of garbage symbols. Cute. However the surveillance package that was fitted to Drick’s suit would be able to intercept the transmission stream, might give Drick something to work with later. Drick knew some of the best data slicer’s in the system.

“Sorry to interrupt,” the lead teacher was speaking low and had a vocal distortion system but Drick could hear them clearly.

“What is it?” A sharp voice, masked by a filter, used to authority though, that was clear from the powerful intonations.

“The investigator says the case is pretty much out of their hands now and is a judiciary matter. I was wondering if we allow them to continue or do you wish us to insist on some other matter?”

“The case is still open, they are lying.”

Drick watched them look up, Drick smiled sweetly. “You’re lying.”

“I am not, are you sure you wanted my last case?”

“They want to know if we are sure they wanted their last case?” The teacher asked his hidden Head.

“The case involved a perp called Marsh.”

“The case involved a tag called Marsh, is that your triple homicide?”

“Oh, that case,” Drick laughed a little, their joy actually involving the fact that the stream had been open long enough for them to have a much higher chance of useful data. “No, they are not my K-tag triple homicide. They are much more interesting. That makes more sense. Let them know that will you?”

“Let who know?”

“Whomever you are speaking to. Do I know them?”

“You don’t want to.” They looked back at their wrist com and spoke into it this time forgetting to raise it so Drick couldn’t see. Drick hoped the micro-cam on the suit was recording all the extra information that was scrolling on this geniuses arm. “They still are investigating that case.”

“Then you know what to do,” the voice snapped with an anger that was clear across the filters and distortion.

The comms unit was swiped clear and the would be teacher stared into Drick’s eyes. “Well will you give up the Marsh case?”

“I’m compelled to say,” Drick paused and tensed then un-tensed their muscles and let the suit take more of their weight leaving them almost languid. It would not be apparent to these jokers Drick had done so, you would need a good awareness of what the suit was and Drick’s capabilities. “No.”

“Time for the lesson then” said the teacher as they all converged on Drick.

Written in 365 Parts: 19: Delivery of Intent

The officer closed Drick’s file. They would be landing soon so it was time to act and not dig deeper into all the missing parts of the narrative they just perused.

Most of it was speculation or here say, anyway.

They were specifically trained. they were judicial approved. They served at redacted locations and did things that were never reported. Same old. Same old. Clearly they were a grown and altered combat model. Clearly they were trouble. But that was not an issue. The officer had noted their tank date. They were an old model. Obsolete.

The officer looked through the database of non company connections and then smiled. They should have thought of this particular connection straight away. They would be optimal. Let us see how the ordained item currently masquerading as Drick faced against a specialist team. They keyed in the personal ident address to initiate a verbal only comlink and were only mildly surprised at the immediate response.

“You have my attention.”

A pause and an intake of breath. The officer in charge hated talking to this particular intellect. They were a microbe, an amoeba, an insignificance, but a useful one. “good, I have a task for you.”

“That is apparent, otherwise you would not have contacted me. We do not have a social narrative.”

“Obviously.” In truth the officer would rather pull their own eyelids from their face than have anything but a clinical relationship with this thing. They tried to keep calm and breathe deeply removing any sense of disgust and dismay. The intellect was a construct. A personality. Once perhaps they may have been an organic but that was before enhancements and downloads to many forms. Switching over a century, or greater, between flesh and electrons had made them a creature. An algorithm that replicated life.

True they once were grown and birthed as any other organic but the shift from electronic only to cellular relationships as a base source for understanding had taken something from them. Maybe the dramas of ancient ages were right. Maybe the energy activity that recorded image stole the soul. When you passed from form to form a little piece of you was lost. It was certainly true of the intellect they had contacted.

“I have work I need you to perform. It will require a significant lesson but it will have to be discreet.”

A glare, “Who. Cease with the extraneous verbiage.”

“They go by the current disposition of Drick and will be landing at south-east quadrant in a justice central shuttle in forty-five minutes. Do you have the resources and capabilities.”

“I will send two operatives. The spaceport is heavily monitored. We will only be able to engage with low level force. Though that is only the method and not the outcome. What is your desire.?”

The officer smiled. “My personal desire is termination with extreme prejudice. But the order I must convey to you is to ensure they do not pursue the current activities. You should be warned that they were tanked as a military grade. Specifically enhanced.”

“That will cost extra. I will send double my usual team.”

“Your usual team is only two. Send quadruple at minimum.”

“That is excessive and will draw attention. So many people increases the chance of secondary and tertiary witness and detection.”

“It will be taken care of. As will the extra fee. If there is a misunderstanding of a stop to their activities then terminate with prejudice and I will ensure that this is covered.”

“I do not care for mere assurances. I require a claim identity so that I have a legal route to pursue with your authority.”

The officer glared, trust was irrelevant this identity only dealt in cold assurances. They ran the request through processing and noted it was the assistant to the commander who authorised and notarised the request. “here is your authority and claim route. You are covered. Do not fail.”

“Failure will not occur. It is one organic. No matter how well they are trained or altered the four teams I will be dispatching will deliver your intentions.”

Written in 365 Parts: 18: Enhancements

Drick walked out of the executive bathroom and noted that all eight of their new friends were in the same corridor. They had made a small effort to look like they belonged there but standing around in three small knots was not helping their cause. All of them looked apprehensive probably juiced up with at least their own adrenaline and if they had sense combat enhancing stimulants.

Drick had changed in the bathroom into a tight fitting combat jumpsuit that was fitted with a number of enhancements of its own. There were two major additions to a normal suit, energy absorption and gravity nullifiers. The energy absorption was effective against wave and pulse weaponry primarily, though it would also work on other energy types including kinetic. It wouldn’t stop a direct attack but it would take some of the force out of any impact. The gravity nullifiers were not powerful enough to let Drick float, though they would give Drick an effective one third of their normal weight.

Drick had specific differences in their biology from most organics, even those that had been significantly changed from a base human genotype. This was to give greater enhancement to specific skill sets as well as overall performance and durability.

Drick had a heightened set of senses such as sight, hearing, smell, touch, pressure, balance and gravity and could also detect toxins and changes in angle from enhanced sense of balance.

Internally Drick had a greater control over metabolic functions including adrenal and pituitary glands. Drick could control the excretion of chemicals in their bloodstream. Drick’s internal body composition included restructured cell functions and skeletal structure allowing more flexibility and a range of movement not possible to others.

Drick had been gifted, and they would have laughed if you said it that way, with extended life span due to cellular repair from a biologically enhanced metabolism and further gene alteration.

Drick had been operated on post birth as well to further reduce exposure to damage. Most of Drick’s organs had been enhanced or altered to give latent functions and redundancy. Drick could function with many of their organs shut down or in a far reduced capacity. Drick could resist higher pressures, gravity, radiation and toxic exposure allowing for navigation in harsh environments.

These pre- and post-fetal changes were only a part of what made Drick different. There was a specific path chosen that Drick had spent nearly one hundred and sixty years undertaking that gave them decades more experience than the combined group that had been sent here.

Drick smiled and swept their head slowly from one direction to the other taking in all of the people in the corridor. “I’m ready when you’re ready,” Drick said with a slight smile, “time, I believe, for a lesson to be taught.”

Written in 365 Parts: 17: Surveillance

Drick walked through the Shuttle Terminal keeping an eye out for Krennar but also casually scanning the crowds. Drick had a growing sense that they were being watched, and maybe even followed, since clearing customs control a few minutes beforehand.

Drick was not surprised. It might not even be related to this particular case. They had made a number of enemies and there were plenty of people who likely felt that they would have cause to follow Drick. There was a significant likelihood that any investigator would acquire enemies. One of the primary functions of any insurance investigator was to save the insurance company money, or to make a claimant more money. Either way someone was going to pay for it and the investigator got more reward the more saving or cost involved. That attracted notoriety and aggression.

Not that Drick didn’t come to this particular game with a whole host of other baggage and people who would prefer Drick vaped or at the very least crippled or imprisoned.

Drick saw Krennar and moved toward them noting in the reflection from a vid screen that two other people, both nondescript in casual, but bulky, clothing change direction slightly and then take up positions to keep Drick and Krennar in sight. Drick had two friends at least to play with today, there were probably at least double that number if Drick were being made to estimate.

Krennar was sat at a coffee booth with three empty cups in front of them. They looked more tired and, although it felt impossible, more grumpy than earlier in the day. Drick sat down with their back to the wall so they could see Krennar and have a good view of everyone else as well.

“You took your time,” Krennar snarled.

“I wasn’t the one flying the shuttle, as well you know. You had my flight number, you could have tracked it and got here in time to meet it.”

“Yeah, well, I had stuff to do nearby and then couldn’t be bothered to go anywhere else. Besides this is all expenses.”

“And tax deductible so you win both ways, am I right?”

“Wouldn’t be drinking this muck if it weren’t profitable somehow.”

“Did you get all the stuff I asked for?”

“Most of it is in the bag at my feet the rest I left in the hire vehicle.”

“Is either the vehicle or the parking paid for?”

“Nope. I will also be charging double for all of these extra services.”

“Of course you will. Were you followed here?”

“I was not. Or at least my personal surveillance service didn’t pick anything up. However I did file some documents on your perp, Marsh, while here and since then I have acquired that interesting looking organic sat opposite. They have a small droid with them and it has been attempting to monitor my communications and even this conversation.”

“That’s sweet. I assume the slight distortion I can see means that you have countermeasures including something to stop them lip reading.”

“Full set. Scramblers, sound nullifies, even, as you can see, a holo-projection that changes physical appearance, speech and limited movements.”

“Legals always have the best devices.”

“We are given special dispensation. Judiciary rules allows us to have private conversations with clients at any time. So we are allowed military grade counter surveillance technology.”

“What is happening with Marsh?”

“I am heading to interview them now. Just to get an understanding of the person. I have already had all material, including investigative material locked down so that we can inspect it first. I couldn’t get the charges dropped but they are being reviewed, we shall see what becomes of that. You know that someone else is pushing to have them as their legal representative with their own out of system investigator? I have been made a generous offer to move on with my life and leave this matter alone.”

“You thinking of taking it?”

“If it were anyone else I might have considered it for a while before refusing. I do have principles, but everyone has a price. I am not stupid enough, however, to ever think of failing you.”

“Aw, sweet.”

“You and I both know that it is only because you know where all the bodies are buried.”

“Of course, like the good little investigator I am, I did all the digging.”

“My shuttle is ready to leave. I assume you will be returning to justice central.”

“I will but not for at least twenty four hours if things pan out the way I expect.”

“Well I would advise you to be careful and discreet but that is almost the opposite of your usual modus operandi.”

“Ah, dead languages for the win.”

Drick watched Krennar walk towards the section of the port that housed private shuttles. After a moment the organic Krennar had identified stood and went the same way. From the look of their build and dress they were not carrying any weapon that could get past the door scanners. Krennar would be okay, especially since Krennar had a droid in stealth mode hovering over them. Drick wondered if the organic was aware that they were likely in a targeting sight the entire time.

Drick picked up the bag that Krennar had left and opened the front zipper after disabling the lock with a sweat print. There was a pass card for the executive bathroom and a passcard for a small hover vehicle. Drick had wondered where Krennar might have stowed the special items they needed to put on under the outfit they had in the bag.

Drick headed to the executive washroom noticing that they were wrong, there were at least eight people watching them.

Written in 365 Parts: 16: Feel Really Bad

Drick blinked a few times to clear some of the sleep from tired eyes and flicked the holo-display to mirror. Drick looked into their own tired eyes, noting that the bloodshot pattern did not complement the light grey of their irises. A slight smile at the thought of anyone who knew Drick’s private number would care how they looked and then they flicked the screen to the incoming call. It was Hooper and they looked less happy than a few hours before.



“Well we’ve established a naming routine once again. What have you got for me?”

“A chance to give this case up again, if you wish?”

“How so? And why would I? I told you I was intrigued.”

“Another legal team is asking for access and want their own investigator applied.”

“Who are they?”

“They’re not people I am that familiar with. Legals are from a large city firm, looks like they usually deal with corporate affairs, the investigator is an out of system individual. They are not here but will, I guess, be on their way. It was an impressive looking team. Six of them in very nice suits and they arrived in a private shuttle.”

“Well that is interesting. So someone with a lot of money is involved which makes me all the more curious.”

“Curiosity can get you killed.”

“So can getting in my way. Anyway like the old proverb I have a number of lives and a lot of satisfaction. What else do you have?”

“I got the report from the scene of the accident. Looks like they pulled your perp out of the rear, so they weren’t driving. Your legal is right now applying to have their K Tag dropped. Bloody legals, they haven’t even arrived here yet and they are already backing up my day with form filling.”

“That likely to happen? The tag drop?”

“I doubt it, still too many unknowns in this case at this point. I reckon the auto-judge is going to respond with a suspension of charge and not a dropped case.”

“That seems likely. No harm in trying though and it keeps Marsh locked in the system for a bit and out of my hair while I run errands. What else you got?”

“A bad feeling about all of this. The rest of the reports from the crime scene seem to say little. I think that someone is covering matters. Which would match how everything else stinks.”

“Well that’s peachy. I am looking at the reports now. Seems like the local security from that management company turned up with a significant number of organics and bots. That doesn’t seem usual or warranted. Thoughts?”

“It could be linked to the gangs that were reported.”

“Were they causing much issue on the upper levels?”

Hooper looked at their pad for a few moments, “nope. In fact the justice bots were only doing a low level sweep in pairs. No organic support as there was no immediate threat. So that’s another nicely odd touch.”

“You know I think that I might accelerate my investigations. Which gang was reported as being in the area closest to the crash?”

“Report says it was the Street Kings, got a few faces and names if that would be of use.”

“You know it would, you looking to get a meal as well as drinks out of me.”

“With the feeling I got in my stomach, this is going to cost you more than a dog and a jug.”

“Send me all the new details, and if you happen to have any views of those legals or the off-system investigator that would be helpful.”

“You don’t ask for much do you?”

“You know me, always a slim request as I hate the details. When have I ever been a bother?” Drick smiled sweetly and then burst into a grim laugh at the same time as Hooper did. “Feels like we are approaching atmosphere as the gravity is starting to kick in. Catch up later. Thanks Hooper.”

“Sure, later.”

“Oh and Hooper?”


“Be a little more discreet and watch your back. You’re right this is starting to feel really bad.”

Written in 365 Parts: 15: Bad Memory

The klaxons had finally gone silent as the last of the atmosphere was blown out into space leaving just the flashing lights to evidence the alert. Every screen showed an evacuation command or arrow to an escape route. The same calm words and bright, but not unfriendly, colours to induce a sense of urgency without panic.

Drick adjusted the breather unit and ensured that it was firmly attached before launching up from the deck where they had fallen after the initial explosive decompression. Rubber boots scraped gently against the floor offering no grip until Drick activated the magnetic clamps. Drick looked the corridor up and down. No sign of any others. It had only been moments but the corridor was clear.

Calming themselves with slow breaths and a relaxed attitude Drick took a few cautionary steps making sure to roll the boot off the deck and snap back on from the heel to activate and deactivate the magnetic grip. It wouldn’t do well to throw oneself into a bulkhead or out of the tear in the side of the hull.

Drick walked towards the bridge and main officers stations. They cannot have been the only one to put on a mask in time, they also were not the only one with regulation environment suit and boots. Surely they were not alone. Hopefully though there were no more activists. One breach in the hull was enough.

Drick reached the door to the forward section and noted, with a small amount of relief, that the airlock section was intact. From the readings on this side of the door there was a breathable atmosphere beyond. Drick started the process for cycling the airlock clear so they could safely enter and checked the door seals to ensure there was no obvious cracks. The act of bending down to check the bottom seal was the element that saved Drick’s life as the harpoon bounced off the airlock door just a few centimetres above their head scraping a thin tear across Drick’s suit as it did so.

Drick rolled and tried not to scream in surprise or panic as the harpoon was reeled back on a high tensile cable. The harpoon unit was a recovery device used for snagging ore samples or lost equipment. Magnetic ejection of a tungsten spear on a mixed fibre cable. It would easily spear straight through Drick and whomever was using it was aiming for the head.

Drick managed to get behind a chair that was fixed to the bulkhead moments before the harpoon sailed past them again. This time it tore a fist sized hole through a small table. Drick checked the damaged suit, it wasn’t leaking air but the outer layer had been ripped and the inner latex layer exposed.

Drick knew they had only a second or two before the harpoon would be fired through the chair they hid behind and into them. But that was all Drick needed. The first shot had given a rough position, they were hiding behind a bulkhead. But Drick had rolled a long way across this room and they would have had to step into the doorway the get that next shot. This position meant the attacker was exposed with the tear in the bulkhead behind them.

Drick quickly unslung the oxygen bottle on the outfit and loosened the safety release. Then rolled at high speed across the floor to the bulkhead opposite the door. By now the assailant would be tracking Drick as they became visible from behind the chair. Drick felt a bead of sweat roll down their spine at the thought that they were in a cross-hair.

Drick reached the wall and deactivated the magnetic boots. Drick used a full leg thrust to push against the wall away and slightly upwards directly back towards the doorway. Drick had a second to look up and see their assailant. A figure in a soft environment suit holding the bulky harpoon ejector. Drick saw the look of surprise as they fired below Drick’s arrow like form. Then Drick rotated in the air and brought booted feet into the victim, legs opening at the last minute to wrap around as they both now tumbled towards the breach.

Drick had a moment while the assailant, disorientated, flailed around. Then Drick smashed at their faceplate with the oxygen bottle they had unhooked. A grim smile played across Drick’s face as the mask cracked and there was an instant explosion of oxygen.

The assailant panicked which was what Drick wanted. They let loose the ejector and placed their hands onto their mask to stop the flow of precious air. Drick had hoped this would happen. They grabbed the ejector before it could float free or be knocked away and spun it around. The assailant saw too late what their error had been but barely had time to move their hands before Drick fired the harpoon and shot a hole through their helmet pinning the harpoon into the ceiling.

Drick had less than a few moments to enjoy the victory as they were still spinning towards the breach in the ship’s hull and there was an annoying beeping in Drick’s head.

Drick shook themselves but the beeping wouldn’t stop. That cannot be right, there was no beeping, there was… Drick opened their eyes and looked at the inside of the holomask. A memory, just a memory. They were dreaming of the past and there was an incoming call beeping for attention in an annoying fashion. Drick reminded themselves never to go to sleep in zero gee again, too many bad memories.

Written in 365 Parts: 14: Evidence Disposal


The voice was calm though the officer in charge knew this to be deceptive, they were clearly very upset and this wasn’t going to change. The officer looked at the vidscreen and tried to keep their tone neutral and passive as they responded. “Situation is now under our complete control and evidence is being collected and disposed of in a timely fashion.”

“Expand on evidence and the manner of its disposal.”

“There were several vehicles involved in the incident, these have been located and sent to repair or recycling. Structural teams are working on the damage to road and buildings. We have locked down almost all of the footage from any non-controlled cameras or monitors. We calculate there is a less than one percent chance of anyone having footage that could be compromising.”


“We have requested all information on the vehicles that were in the nearby vicinity that were not company controlled. There is a slight issue there.”

“What issue?”

Again the voice was calm but there seemed to be more menace in that statement. “The incident involved most of the evening security team. Once it became obvious that we couldn’t prevent the involvement of the judiciary before removing any potential problems the commander in charge ensured that all monitors, cameras and digital evidence was secured safely for the period of the entire incident.”

“That is an acceptable approach. Why is that an issue?”

“They did not secure full information on everyone who was in the area at the time. it is conceivable that there were vehicles we were unaware of now that may have witnessed something. It is also possible that there were people on foot or small gliders. Since we no longer have any footage or sensor information it is possible we may not have covered everyone who may be a witness.”

“Who might be a witness?”

“There was gang activity in the district. That is why the judiciary were so quick to the scene of the incident. It is the cause of our current issues.”

“I don’t like issues.” There was a deep intake of breath. “However this is proceeding in a manner that is tolerable if not desired. Now tell me the bad news you have been avoiding.”

The officer in charge took a moment to steady themselves. This was not going to be pleasant. “It would appear that the organic survived the incident unharmed. They were detained and because the judiciary drones couldn’t determine what had occurred they were assigned a K-tag and taken to the judicial central processing.”

“That is not optimal. It is essential they are recovered or disposed of. I will not accept any other solution.” The voice was raised and edging towards real anger. “Have you managed to obtain legal representation so that we can block judiciary from interfering? If you have there must be no links back to us, there is already too many loose ends and potential issues.”

“I am afraid that there is a problem with that.” The officer took a deep breath before continuing, noticing that the superiors face had a look growing upon it that gave them real fear. In the past such a look was a prelude to someone being deleted. “There was an investigator already in the prisoner transfer vessel. They have placed the organic under their investigation and already had a legal put a lock down on the organic. They have initial control. Would you like me to have our legal teams look into a solution?”

“Naturally. This is most unacceptable. I would have expected this to be done immediately when the organic was recovered by the judiciary. Why did that not occur?”

“I am afraid that the officer in charge was concerned with an immediate response to evidence disposal to prevent detection of the events. They didn’t fully focus on the judiciary. By the time I was assigned the investigator had already had the organic assigned to them.

“Who is the investigator?”

The officer tried not to let a smile of fear cross their face, this was not going to be news the superior would tolerate well, not if the file assignment to the investigator was known, “they are currently using the name Drick. Though we know them as.”

“I know who they are,” the superior snapped. All trace of a calm voice was now gone, “assign as many resources as you need, we must cover all traces of evidence. I don’t care who you have to retire to do this, clean it up.”

The officer in charge nodded to a blank vidscreen as their superior cut the connection. They sighed slowly and opened up the file on the investigator known as Drick, no sense in not knowing what they were up against.

Written in 365 Parts: 13: Blood Patterns

Drick looked over the crash report for a second time trying to fix, from the very brief details that had been gathered, some of the events that led to the death.

Perp had been in the vehicle with a dead body when the bots arrived on the scene. They were moments ahead of a security team from Volstron who maintain the section on behalf of the city governors and corps. Judiciary bots had been close by, about four levels down patrolling a tunnel section which had reports of drug activity and gang crime, usual for the lower levels, but a good enough reason as to why they were first on the scene.

Vehicle was a hover car, saloon styled and suitable for up to five passengers. Not capable of full flight but used the highway magnetic repulsion coupled with emergency grav. lifters which were also used for steering. It was a pretty standard design for vehicles that would never leave the city and would never travel except from garage to garage. Some of the more luxury vehicles had full flight capabilities, but those were the reserve of citizens of less limited means.

Drick pulled up an image of the crime scene on the holo-display of the headset they wore. The judiciary bots had done a standard three hundred and sixty degree rotation before even attempting to recover anyone so the foam was untouched.

Drick noted that the vehicle looked like a fleet car. Standard grey with a serial number on one side, looked like a logo above the serial but there was too much damage for instant recognition. There was extensive damage to the body with the vehicle missing all of its plexiglass panels, the hood and at least one door as the left drivers door was absent. Drick chewed on a lip, then enlarged the view of the drivers door hinge. They couldn’t be sure but the hinge looked as it was tore outwards, so maybe the door hooked on something, Drick would have to check that.

Drick paused and realised that there was a stain on the foam near the door. It was blood, so it was the left-hand drivers seat ejector that had failed. The vehicle wasn’t new but it was well maintained which added further issue to the foam ejector failure, unless the ejector had been in the door. That might account for why the foam didn’t shroud the victim. Drick tried to get a viewpoint to see more but the initial three sixty hadn’t angled enough to zoom in closer on the foam.

Drick pulled up another view this one showing the foam and doorway from a different side, lower down as the bots examined the scene. There was a lot of blood over the foam, some of it mixed in which was intriguing. Drick moved and rotated the view to capture the failed ejection nozzle and that’s when they noticed the blood pattern on the ceiling. There was a spray of blood along the interior leading towards the door and window.

Drick had the system calculate patterns and direction of blood flow and compute a model for what might have caused it. The system gave a fast response. Wounds were consistent with arterial spray caused by massive head trauma. What was interesting was that there were two spray patterns with something that separated them. Almost as if the murder weapon was wedged into the head and neck.

Drick would know more when the autopsy arrived but it was more of a puzzle. One thing was certain they were alive when that incident happened as the blood spray was impressive. Which means that the cause of death was possibly not by beam weapon, and since Marsh wasn’t covered in blood, they were not in close proximity to that trauma when it occurred.