“Detective James, get in here!”, called my boss. He does that every day, I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m an intern because he only ever wants me to go on coffee runs. I walked into his office. “Yes, Detective Patterson?” “I need you to drive down to the lab, and see if you can get me a lead on that new missing person case.” Seriously! After six months of intern work, I finally have a case! 

I went to the science lab downtown. When I got there everything was in disarray. I turned on my voice recorder and said, “Clearly there was a struggle.” I was walking around and examining files, when something caught my eye. a huge metal machine. “Woah, that’s a pretty big machine, I said. “ might as well check it out.” I went to examine the machine, and noticed that there was a seat inside. So, I climbed in. When I was in the machine, I noticed  the walls were covered in buttons and switches, so I played around with a couple of them. Suddenly, my body started to feel strange, it was like my whole body was vibrating, and then I started fading out. However, I reappeared a moment later. ”That was strange”, I thought “I better get out before that happens again.” I climbed out, and examined the lab for a few minutes. When I left the lab, I couldn’t find my car. “No big deal”, I thought “It must have been towed.” I pulled out my phone to call the local tow company when a man ran up to me. He was wearing a t-shirt with the name of a band I had never heard of: “the plazmas.” The man said “Cool phone dude! Is that retro? “No, it’s the new IPhone,” I said. “New IPhone!,”the man replied, “Apple closed like 100 years ago!” At this point I was annoyed. “Look dude”,I said, “I don’t know if you’re trying to prank me or something, but I know Apple is still very much open.” The man shook his head and muttered “Someone is stuck in the 21st century.” Considering that it was 2020, I was very confused. I realized my phone was out of data, so I went back into the lab to connect to WiFi. However, my phone told me that it couldn’t connect. I thought this was weird since I had been connected a few minutes ago, but I decided to search the lab for a couple more minutes, and then I’d call the tow company to see if they had my car. While I investigated, I saw a small piece of paper on the ground, it said “do not touch, dangerous time machine!” I was freaking out! Normally, I would disregard this insane notion, but it made total since with the events that had happened this morning. “I must be in the future,” I thought to myself. I knew I couldn’t just stay there, so I got into a machine that looked similar to the one in the other lab, however when I pressed the button nothing happened. “Shoot! This one must not be finished, I said. “I wonder why?” Frustrated and nervous I left the lab. “I just have to figure out who made that machine, and then get them to finish it.” So I started asking people “Hey, do you know who runs that lab?” It took about an hour, but finally someone told me “Yeah, someone named Dr. Andrews. At least, she did run it. She was murdered by an unknown person last week.” Murdered! This could be an interesting case to pass the time until I figured out how to get back. “One more question mam”, I said “Where’s the police station?” “Police station!”, she exclaimed, “I haven’t seen one of those in thirty years. Don’t you know that security droids do the arresting and detective work around here?” “Right of course,'' I replied, “But do you know how I could get details on a case?” “I don’t know, check the news feeds, maybe. Gosh, do you know anything?” I asked people to borrow their phones(that took a while apparently people aren’t very trusting in 2200), and I figured out how to use the newsfeeds. There wasn’t a ton of information on the murder, but it would be enough for now. “Okay, first of all, I’m going to need one of those fancy future phones”, I thought. Once I found a tech store I walked in and asked for “a phone that can receive the news feeds.” The person at the desk looked pretty confused when I said that. “Um sir,” he said, “Any phone can get the news feeds. Is there anything else you need your phone to do?” “Oh,” I responded, “Do any of your phones project holograms, or allow you to create 3D models?” “As a matter of fact,” he said, ”Our newest three phones do both of those things!” “Great!,” I exclaimed, “How much do they cost?” “Ten thousand credits each,” he said. “Credits? How am I supposed to get credits?” “Well, sir you get credits for doing your job obviously, but also for doing kind deeds for people. To receive credits you’ve earned you can either ask your boss, or the person you’ve helped.” “Thank you sir,” I said, “One more question how many credits would you get for detectives work?” “Oh,” he said, “Usually robots do that around here, but if a person could solve a case before they did they would most likely get fifty thousand maybe even one hundred thousand credits.” Perfect, that would be more than enough to pay someone to fix the time machine! “Thank you so much sir,'' I said, “Have a good day.” I ran out of the store as fast as I could. “This shouldn’t be too hard I thought I just need to solve this case, find a scientist to fix that stupid machine, and get out of here.” I went around asking for phones (once again it was a struggle to find someone willing to give theirs to me), and after I checked the news feeds I knew where I had to go first. The last place she was seen before she died was the supermarket, so logically I went there to look for clues. 

It wasn’t very hard to find. There was a gigantic billboard that said marketplace in huge lettering. As I stepped out of my car I received about a hundred compliments on my “Gyper car” (apparently gyper is how they say cool in the future), I said thank you to everyone who complimented me, and got inside the market as fast as I could. I turned on my voice recorder and said “Okay, first I’m going to check the security cameras.” ”Woah“, I said, “There’s a robot walking right past me.” “I’m going to ask it to let me see the security cameras.” “Excuse me robot!”,I yelled, “Could you please allow me to view your security cameras?” The robot said in a surprisingly human voice “State your name and purpose of viewing.” “Um, I am Detective David James, and I have been tasked with solving the murder of Dr. Andrews.” Again in a human voice the robot said “I’m sorry I do not have a Detective James in my database, nor do I know of any humans who were asked to help with the Dr. Andrew’s case.” “Oh of course,” I said, “I’m using a different name because I have to be undercover during this case.” “My current name is (I looked around the supermarket to come up with this) Egbert Creamsworth. I was tasked to this case, but I was asked to fly under the radar, so as not to alarm the public. I guess the government thought people would think it was a more serious case if a human was needed .''Okay,”the robot said, “I’ll add Egbert Creamsworth to my database, however I cannot give you access to the sensitive information on the security cameras until I get permission from a security droid.” “Okay,” I said, “Can you ask one now?” “Of course, sir,” the robot said, “I’ll  call one of the detectives right now.” After a few minutes of talking to a detective, the robot said “The detective said you were never asked to help, but they said that they need the extra help and that you should talk to him now. By the way he is a robot.” “Okay,” I said, “Do you have a phone I can borrow?” The robot transmitted this message for me: “My name is Egbert Creamsworth ”(I said this to try and make sure people don’t know I time traveled if I become famous here or in my own time) “I am a detective and I have solved five murder cases (I haven’t solved any, but I have to talk myself up if I want to get this case). A few minutes later the droid asked “How come you just appeared in the city databases?” “I’m from a different city. I just got registered to this one.” “Okay,” he said, “We need to find the killer fast, I don’t have time to call every city in the area, so I am going to trust you. Be warned though I will be watching you closely.” Great! Now I can use the security cameras. “Okay robot, can you take me to the cameras now?”

I searched through security footage for an hour, and I finally saw Dr. Andrews! She was in the produce section buying broccoli when she walked into a man and they got into an altercation. I decided to tell the detective droid from earlier what I found because the man could be a suspect. I had a message sent to the droid detailing the footage. A few minutes later, the suspect was in the room with me. He had been brought in by two police droids.

The man was named Harold Styne he had dark hair and brown eyes, he seemed to have a nonchalant attitude about the whole thing. As if a person had not just been killed. “Can you tell me about this?”,I asked, showing him the footage of his fight with Dr. Andrews. “Yeah, she stepped on my foot so I yelled at her. It’s not like I hit her, why are you asking me this anyway?” “I’m asking you Mr. Styne because Dr. Andrews was murdered 10 minutes after your little fight, and from the footage I can tell she didn’t apologize, so tell me, did you have a bad day at work and decide to take it out on a girl who was rude to you?” “God no,” the man said,”I would never, but I know someone who would.” “Who?” “I saw him on the talking in a parking lot with a woman,” said Howard, “She said she better give her “the machine” or there would be consequences. I don’t know about you, but that sounds awfully suspicious to me.” Oh no, I thought, if this woman he’s talking about is in fact the killer I could be in trouble too since I used that machine. I better catch her fast. “What did she look like?”, I asked. “She was white with blonde hair, and brown eyes. She was short probably only 5’3 or 5’4. “Okay,” I said, “We’re going to keep you here until we identify that this woman is real. After that you’re free to go.” A few robots and I proceeded to go through the footage of security cameras in the city’s parking lots (there were cameras everywhere in the city), and after an hour or so we found footage of Dr. Andrews talking to a woman who fits our profile. Unfortunately, there was no audio on the security cameras, but I figured Howard’s report along with the footage was enough to bring her in. I let Howard out, and prepared for the next suspect.

Her name was Molly Higner, she was the leader of defense in the city. “Ms. Higner, tell me about your conversation in the parking lot with Dr. Andrews two weeks ago.” “Glady,” she said, “She created a machine that I thought could be a help to the security of the city, so I asked her to give it to me.” “What was this machine Ms. Higner?” “I can’t say,” she said, ”it’s confidential.” “But I thought you didn’t own her machine.” “I didn’t at the time, but I do now. We had an agreement that if something happened to the doctor her invention would go to the city.” “Ah, so you had a motive then?” “Motive? I beg your pardon. Of course I wanted her machine, but I wouldn’t destroy my reputation for it.” “We’ll see,” I said, “I’m going to have the murder weapon and crime scene  examined, and if we find out you killed her, you’re going to jail for a very long time.” I left the room and found a team of forensic droids, I asked them to examine the knife Dr. Andrews was stabbed with. It came back negative for fingerprints, or any DNA. That was kind of what I expected. After that they examined the lab, and they actually found a blonde hair! When the hair was compared to the hair we took from Ms. Higner, it matched! I went back into the questioning room to tell her. “Ms. Higner your hair was found at the crime scene. You’re under arrest.” “Detective”, she said, “You don’t understand! Dr. Andrews’s technology was dangerous, and she was irresponsible. She built a time machine because she wanted to bring her dead sister back! I couldn’t let her do that, who knows what repercussions that would have had.” “That doesn’t give you the right to kill her,” I said, “You could have gotten law enforcement involved, but you shouldn’t have taken matters in your own hands like that.” At this point two robots were there to take her to the jail. “Take her away,” I said. 

“Thank you, detective,” said the robot, “I’ve transferred 100,000 credits to your account.” Yes! Now, I just need to fix the time machine, and get home. “Excuse me robot, is there a scientist I could see about a machine I’m trying to fix?” ”Well,” said the robot, “Dr. Slane is the most successful scientists in the city. I’d talk to her.” So I went to the address the robot gave me and asked her to help fix a machine. I didn’t give any details, I just told her I needed help fixing a machine I made, and that I’d give her 60,000 credits for it (I needed the other 40,000 for the materials). It took her a couple of hours, but she was able to fix it. Turned out that a gear had fallen off, and Dr. Andrews never got to fix it because she was murdered before she could. 

I thanked Dr. Slane for her help, and got in the machine once she left. When I pressed the buttons this time...it worked! A few seconds later I appeared in the other lab. I found my car and sped straight to my office I thought days had past, turned out it had only been 30 minutes. However, there was still one problem: I still needed clues for the missing person case. I asked my boss who exactly the person was. He said “I thought I told you, it’s Dr. Cynthia Andrews. She went missing last week ``''Right of course,” I said, “I may have an idea of where she is.”

January 16, 2020 03:05

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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