Homicide Detective Michael Brin is sent to a planet called Morte to find Dr. Brown, a physician who has traveled to this dangerous location to locate an exotic Rose, a plant that might cure cancer.
I sat at my desk, a workstation located on the two hundredth floor.
Tresk, my supervisor, appeared in my contact lenses. He frowned. “I have a new assignment for you.”
My stomach muscles tightened, a nervous response. “What is it?”
“Eighteen days ago, Dr. Eileen Brown, a physician, a member of a team that traveled to a planet named Morte three months ago, wanting to find a cure for cancer, stopped sending three D holographic messages to the Genba, a pharmaceutical company that sent her there.”
“Isn’t Morte also called the Planet of Death?”
“You are well informed. When you reach Dr. Eileen Brown’s campsite, Dr. Aaron will provide more details. Eve, a MFR along with five security guards will accompany you.”
I cringed, shocked because our group would have to spend time on Morte. “Understood.”
He paused, an irritated expression on his face.
I remembered that MFR was an abbreviation for Multi-Function Robot. Since these androids were shape shifters, they adapted to tough situations. This model diagnosed some diseases, performed many types of surgery and piloted several galactic ships.
He said, “The next step is to go to Adem, the company that manufactures Eve. She will know why you are coming. Then both of you will go to Mesu, Fon, Leew, Baoy, and Kava to pick up the guards.”
I blinked, nervous. Mesu, Fon, Leew, Baoy and Kava were jungles. Mesu was on Exo, a moon that orbited this planet, one called Roal. Fon was on Yot, a moon that was close to Exo. Leew was six hundred miles south of Fon. Baoy was on Taen, a moon that was next to Yot. Kava was eight hundred miles west of Baoy.
Tesk glowered. “Do you have any questions?”
“Why don’t you send ARO?” ARO, a team of Adaptable Robots, succeeded ninety percent of the time.
“Four days ago, Precinct Five IT sent six of them to Morte. Five hours after their ship touched down in a jungle clearing, half a mile from Dr. Brown’s camp, they stopped sending three D holographic messages to Precinct Five IT.”
“That is odd.”
Tesk clenched his teeth and said, “Definitely.”
“Did the ARO send any text messages, three D holographic messages or emails to Precinct Five IT after the robots touched down on Morte?”
I winced, rose to my feet, exited the office, then hopped in my car, a vehicle that was attached to the side of this skyscraper. It took off and flew over high-rises.
Before long it landed next to a thousand-foot-high tower. I stepped out. Ahead, an entrance vanished. I entered.
To my left, a teenage white boy smiled. “Can I help you?”
Behind him, a wall moved upward, revealing a room. Inside it, four women, all dressed in camouflaged jumpsuits, leaped over a fifty-foot high barrier.
Behind them, a white woman in a camouflaged jumpsuit dodged to the right and flames, coming from a weapon, missed her by inches. She pivoted and jogged toward me. “I am Eve.”
I said, “Let’s go.” Both of us departed.
I said, “According to my contact lenses files, you’re skilled enough to be a doctor.”
“A well-founded statement.”
I blinked, surprised. “You’ve been trained to fly eight types of intergalactic craft, know how to use fifteen kinds of weapons and can repair eight classes of intergalactic craft.”
She said in a monotone, “An accurate statement.”
“You’re the most versatile android I’ve ever met.”
“I’m a newly developed model that uses quantum chaos.”
According to my lenses, quantum chaos relied on quantum entanglement and subatomic particle intelligence to organize data.
She said, “You have worked on the following cases, MpStation_Four, Dr. Grend’s disappearance, Jade Mountain, Space Station Fourteen, Dr. Nof, and Tavo.”
I paused, surprised, “Correct.”
“You have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, are an expert coder. You have a seven years’ experience breaking through criminal’s firewalls. You have had several girlfriends but haven’t married any of them. Your father was a policeman. You have received three gold stars for bravery.”
“You’ve done your homework.”
“I fulfill my duties as required.”
“Have you used all your skills in the real world or only in three D holographic environments?”
“Three D holographic environments.”
“Judging by that expression on your face, you are disappointed by my lack of experience in the real world.”
“You could say that. Let’s pick up Frank Green first. He is on a moon called Mesu.”
“Yes sir.” She stuck out her right arm. A three-foot by three-foot hologram map of Mesu appeared above it. She pointed at it. A six-inch by six-inch section of the map enlarged, revealing a dense grove of kapok.
I said, “The kapok are too close together. We’ll find out more about a good landing spot when our ship is closer to our destination.”
She nodded, a blank expression on her face. “Acknowledged.” The map vanished.
“Lieutenant Green, a mercenary, is a member of Tiger Company. Locating him in that dense jungle will be taxing.”
A miniature 3D holographic PLC, a planetary craft appeared above her wrist. “This ship is called Intrepid.” The vessel enlarged. Both of us climbed aboard.
I sat in the pilot’s seat. “Can Intrepid increase or decrease its size anywhere?”
On my right, she plopped down in the co-pilot’s chair. “It can only do that in this building.” To our left, the hatch whirred shut.
I asked, “Why can’t it do that anywhere else?”
“Computer servers in this building, machines that use neural computation, augment the ship’s ability to increase or decrease its size. Since there aren’t any servers like this outside this skyscraper, Intrepid will remain the same size when it leaves this headquarters.”
“You take control. Show me what you can do in the real world.”
My colleague shoved her hand through floating computer syntax. The ship jerked upward.
“That is a good start.”
“There is a laser cannon inside the ship’s nose. The weapon comes up and fires when needed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fire.”