Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Beach day!  I've scribbled down notes for a story and when I drag home tonight, sunburned, weary, and full of seafood, I'll finish it.

Meanwhile, here's yesterday's magnum opus:
Michael Swanwick

 The case began with a rain of meteors over the Mare Nectaris base.  Most buried themselves harmlessly in the lunar regolith.  But one punched through the dome of a research facility, exploding the laboratory and killing four scientists.  Within minutes, a detective was on the scene.  The political counselor, being human, of course took considerably longer.

When she arrived, the first question she asked as, “Was it natural?”

“If it was, then we’ve just discovered a new ore.”  KASSATTI held up the largest chunk of meteorite it had been able to recover.  The metal glinted in the harsh sunlight.  “This is pure steel.  Which means we’re dealing with either murder or typical human incompetence.”

It is a little-known fact that while humans cannot become detectives, all detective mechanisms are based on human psyches.  Thus the lunar criminal detection unit known as KASSATTI was originally programmed from a brain scan of one Ricardo Icassati Hermano.  Presumably that accounted for the ironic edge to its observations.

“Do your job,” the woman snapped, “and don’t mouth off about humans.  We are, after all, your superiors.”

“I wonder,” KASSATTI said.  “Wouldn’t a superior being have taken into account the fact that all research is routinely backed up offsite before arranging to destroy a scientific project and murder its researchers.  Wouldn’t he – or, as if may be, she – have known that trying to stop a very promising line of artificial biological intelligence constructs would immediately cast suspicion on any nearby members of the radical anti-robotics group Humanity Only?  Particularly one who had carefully positioned herself so she’d be the first human being to arrive at the scene of the crime afterwards?”

KASSATTI focused its lenses steadily on the woman, her face invisible behind her vacuum suit’s visor.  “I think there’s blood on your hands, counselor.”

“Oil, too,” the counselor snarled, drawing her laser.  “Die, you tin-plated, jumped-up toaster!”

Which provided irrefutable video evidence for her trial, after KASSATTI’s off-site backup memories were uploaded into a new body.


1 comment:

Michael Swanwick said...

My thanks to Matthew Brandi who pointed out an unfortunate typo in the last line. (I had written "trail" instead of "trial.") I appreciate the heads-up.