My name is Barnabus Chow. I'm a detective, Thirteenth Precinct, Greater Silicon Valley. I am the run of the mill gumshoe in an era when almost no one chews gum anymore.
My nose has me on a trail and I have to follow it to its end: there's something new and nasty in the Valley and we don't have a handle on it. There's a drug aimed right at the sort that have been coming here since long before I was born.
AnSenseScence. We don't know what it does, just that it sends the schmuck who takes it into a coma. A coma they never come out of. One that makes them the ultimate burden on the state: they cannot be restarted, rebooted or brought out of whatever or wherever junkies take it. No one has come back. I doubt anyone ever will.
AnSenseScence is not the first code drug, but it seems to be aimed at everyone. It spreads like wild fire and tempts the cybernetic, adult or teen, and especially the intelligent. I don't get that: they really ought to know better. We advertise the consequences, broadcasting the latest find of comaphiles (official name) or what we call them, the ASShats.
We've never found a dealer. We have even trolled the deepest bowels of the darknet. We never ever seem to find someone dealing. Yet it crops up, comas out and disappears again with far too much regularity. Its becoming the top threat to Silicon Valley. It even took out a Boogler heir.
I'm on my way to Sad Sack, Sacramento. Its that hunch, that scent of a trailer that's leading me there. I thought, what if we are looking n the wrong place. What if the AnSenseScence source was just outside, close enough to infect, to make intrusions, but far enough away that we cannot get a finger on them.
We'd even checked and rechecked through all the gobs and schmobs of data. Big data was nuthin compared to what we have now. Privacy was taken out back and shot by its owners, just like a real people ought to with their sick dog. Or so I'm told. Shooting a dog in this era would send up state for twenty to life: you're not their owner, but their companion. Remember that, you don't own animals these days and the plant rights groups are on the rise, so enjoy your salad while you can.
No, I doubt they have anything to do with that. I'd hit Berkeley and its Cyborg Free Zone before I did that: cops are exempt, but my paint and clothes would need a new update. Eggs get everywhere and don't come out easily.
The trip to Sad Sack ought to take 20 minutes, but aircars are banned in Old Cali. Too many rich, dumb bastids falling from the sky in the early days, so traffic it is. On the ground. I'd take the train, but the smell. geez. High speed trains are free, but Almighty Dollar, I can't take the bums. They commute these days, from Sad Sack to San Francisco where they get their benefits. Who can prove they live local? They carry no tech outside of Frisco and no one goes into the tent city in the old financial district. Occupy City they call it, but I don't care enough to ping Oraclapedia.
My Boogler car will get me there, eventually.
There's a guy who knows a guy in Sad Sack who says he knows where AnSenseScence comes from. The nose knows and it says this is something. Maybe not what I think it is, but if someone is claiming to know sumthin then, it'll be the first.
As I enter the city limits, I ping my presence, intent and duration to the local PD. Territorial claims are as strong now as they were when Humans threw sticks at each other and waved our genitals in the air like male chimps. The words used are different, but the genitalia is still gets the same treatment. Even the bag to the balls at the end. No need to get into dick waving with the locals.
Finally, the Boogler drops me off. Its a 90s cafe: in a crack house theme. Hate these places. A nasty place form a nasty time and they celebrate a nasty habit in the nastiest ways. A Fooker meets me at the door: a faux hooker, really the maitre d. Dressed in how it was imagined to be. I broadcast my contempt and badge number and she sniffs and tells me to go to the back.
She's a fleshy, so she probably barely catches all the layers of my disgust. She hasn't upgraded as much as the Valley Boys do. Whatever floats her boat, just keep her dirty bio parts off of me.
Patrons as sprawled everywhere in a mocumentary style for 90s cafe. Sprawled and high on sumthin. I'm queasy. Not from the drugs. Who gives a rats so long as they can get them, don't harm anyone and get a Boogler home. its the fact they are biologicals. dirty, nasty things. Grow up already and cyber up, damnit kids.
There's two sitting there at a console, a really, REALLY old school game console playing some italian game. Or so I think. I'm curious but I don't want to show any interest in anything other than my objective. Who knows what I might catch. My final op to remove my last bio bit was in two months. Then I can be bio queasy free. Sorta. I'll never lose my distaste for them I think.
I push my way through the last door. The Back. In back. So fakkin 90s.
There's a woman sitting there. She'd be stunning if not for the fact she was a bio. gah. Get excited and then WHAM, something nasty like that.
She looked up and demanded to know who I was.
"Barnabus Chow, GSVPD, 13th Precinct. You are Sadie Mist? I was told you were a woman to talk to, Ms Mist about AnSenseScence."
She affirmed and despite being a bio, she sent me cyber credentials, a block bit with her records and birth, and then encryption keys. That impressed me. I sent my public back. She might have data worth reducing if she wanted to keep it encrypted. Someone might know we'd talked, but not what. Not since the Iranians had unleashed the QuantVirus that ripped the heart out of any Quantum Computer that even touched contaminated data.
She started streaming. Names, dates, actions, time stamps, blockchain links, people, places, things. The torrent went on and it didn't stop. I was shocked and surprised: she was a bio and shouldn't have that capability. Then I remembered she was a bio and her shit was in my head now. I grew grew. Good thing the blushing bit was turned off in my body. I'd be embarrassed and grossed out.
I signaled I'd be back after I reduced the data. She nodded. She seemed appropriately neutral and blank. I made it to the door, when pain shot through me. I jerked and fell. My servos spasmed and I flopped around on the floor. The part of me that was not terrified and in pain was appalled I was on the floor where bio crap had been. I mean, dude, shoes.
I flipped and flopped and stopped.
She walked over.
"Detective, thank you for coming. I've been looking for the right host. The one that would allow me to infect Silicon Valley and roll back the cybernetic stranglehold. You ARE that perfect host. You go everywhere. You are unchallenged. You have root access on so much, being effectively GSV's security admin. You are a geek's wet dream. If that geek was try to hack the world.
"I'm sorry though. In my quest to save Humanity's soul, I'm going to have to crack a few eggs. One of them is you. We'll be starting with your free will and I hope that'll be enough. Don't worry. You'll enjoy it. Everyone who takes AnSenseScence loves it. Its your perfect simulated life. We'll just remove those inconvenient memories and wallah. You'll have solved the case and get the promotion, even the last bioectomy. All in your mind.
"You body though. It will go around sharing AnSenseScence, to each and every over cyberred ASS HAT, like the nickname by the way, and in turn, with your credentials, they'll spread it, too. The ones who were the trial runs will join you, your body in helping you spread it. They'll never know they were helping either.
"The other police and whatnot first. Then we'll spread it by net and plane. China? Japan? I'm sure AnSenseScence will mutate at some point. Just imagine the shambling masses spreading it. Only we bios are safe. Too bad, so sad, look and see what you could have had. As they used to say in the 90s, before this sick thing took hold of us.
"Hold still, Detective Chow. Oh, wait, you can't move. I'll make sure it won't hurt. Promise. Good bye, Barnabus."
And then I woke up. I was at home and there was a knock at my door. I shivered. That bioectomy couldn't happen fast enough.