2020 Annual Literary Contest

Short Stories

Tony Ryan
Calgary, AB

Detective Shute stood transfixed over the female lying on the floor . She was young and beautiful.. She was also very dead… She looked to have been violently assaulted, with most of her clothes ripped from her body…Most upsetting, her eyes had been gouged out.. This was now a sign of the times. The killer was making sure she could not identify him , even in death.. The detective’s thoughts turned to a social media posting he had seen recently, about tech giant British Telecom.

British Telecom first started developing a special microchip in 1996 . It took them 30 years to shrink the chip down to a manageable size , in accordance with Moore’s Law, and to figure out how to collect and analyze all the data needed to make it function adequately..

With 12 terabytes storage capacity, yet smaller than a grain of rice ,the microchip could now be implanted behind the right eye, . Wires, each one a hundred times thinner than a human hair, connected the chip to the various sensory organs. The receptors of the optic nerves, tongue, skin, inner ear and olfactory glands constantly transmitted information to the chip to be analyzed and stored. Thoughts and emotions, once believed to be the hardest concepts to be recorded, turned out to be the easiest when it was confirmed that all feelings and moods had a chemical origin in the brain.. All that was needed was to record the brain’s chemical response to the sensory inputs and then you knew what the person was thinking and how they were affected. Everything a person experienced, every second of their life, could now be collected and stored.

A selling point to convince the public to support this endeavor was the postulation that a woman with such a chip implanted would be able to identify her attacker if she was raped or murdered. This would greatly reduce the likelihood of such a crime then taking place.

Given the enormous cost associated with having such an implant, that suggestion now seems rather naive . Still, as Detective Shute was discovering , a criminal committing such acts was taking no chances.. Hence the eye gouging..

Shute no longer recognized the society he had been protecting these past twenty years…The wealthy all had the chips implanted and clones of themselves arranged so that they would , in essence , never die. When their bodies failed or they suffered misadventure, the information in the chip was copied to the chip in the newborn clone and life continued again, memories intact.. Infinity ,at last…if you had the money…

All sports were now redundant ….Every new prospect could have his chip formatted and then reloaded with the data from the best player in the world in that sport…Every striker a Ronaldo… every boxer a Mohammed Ali..

The wealthy nations of the world now dispensed with ground troops entirely in their wars… Initially, every basic camp lasted about one day…enough time to take the new recruit and implant the data from the best soldier in the Forces.. Battles don’t last long when you have a million Rambos on the ground , unless you a facing another million Rambos..Then, the redundancy sets in.. Hence, satellites, drones , A.I. weaponry and nuclear electromagnetic disruptor devices were now the order of the day…Poorer nations aligned themselves with the richer ones , or perished..

The whole world was rapidly changing to an Uber capitalistic system. Obtaining the money necessary to pay for the chip implants and the cloning now trumped everything else.. If you had the money , you could live forever.. If you were poor, you died..

Shute’s thoughts went back to his task at hand.. Solving the crime.. Catching the killer.

Good, old fashioned detective work would be needed this time.

That never went out of style.