Author : Gray Blix
They met after hours in her office.
“Dr. Molloy, I’m Detective Buckley,” he said, flashing his ID and a smile. “Thanks for agreeing to see me.”
He sat across from her, scolding himself for inappropriate thoughts about the way she filled her chair. She was intimidated by his bulk, which overflowed his chair.
“You want to talk about Schrei.”
“Yes. The recent victims, tasered and smothered. Schrei’s MO.”
Forcing a smile, “You think he has risen from the grave?”
“No, ma’am. I think there’s a copycat killer, and he’s going after anyone connected with Schrei’s prosecution — the arresting officers, the DA, the judge. You consulted on that case.”
“Which puts me in danger.”
She didn’t look like any criminologist he’d ever seen, except on TV.
“Right,” assuming an upright posture, “as I said on the phone, you need protection. That’s one reason I’m here.”
“I’ve been assigned lead on this case, and I could use your help. Your book on Schrei is remarkable. Did you gain those insights from reading his digitized cube?”
“‘Reading’ it? The cube is not an ebook. It contains petabytes of compressed data meant to be recovered as a whole, a fully functioning human consciousness. You can no more read a cube than you can read a mind. That was my point in the book. My insights were the result of painstaking analysis of behavior, patterns, clues, forensics . . .”
“Of course, I didn’t mean to imply otherwise,” noticing an object on her desk, “Is that the cube?”
She placed it in the palm of his large right hand.
He stuttered, “Whose idea was it to upload the mind of a serial killer?”
“His cancer progressed to stage IV during the trial. Since he hadn’t been convicted yet, he had every right to arrange for the upload by GPM.”
“Guardians of Perpetual Minds.”
“So, like cryonics, freezing heads and keeping them in cold storage? Only with images of minds stored in cubes? Weren’t they supposed to hang on to those cubes until technology advanced and they could transfer the contents to . . . what? A computer, a robot, a body?”
“Any host capable of assimilating digitized minds and allowing them to resume consciousness. When GPM went bankrupt, unclaimed cubes were up for grabs, so the university acquired them for research purposes.”
He decided the shade of her red hair could not have come from a bottle. She was the real thing, genuine from the tip of her hair to . . . everything below.
Bringing the cube up to eye level, “This thing could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Once a killer, always a killer.”
“Yes, it is likely that Schrei’s recovered mind would have the same primal need to kill.”
He felt a twinge at her uttering the phrase ‘primal need.’ The content of that sensitivity training course he’d been required to take evaporated from his memory.
Leaning forward, “I need you, Dr. Molloy. Please . . .”
“Consult on the case, Detective Buckley?” she said, finishing his sentence as she gently removed the cube from his hand. “I’ll do better than that.”
Her free hand pressed a taser against his neck and 50,000 volts left him writhing on the floor, where she smothered him.
“I’ll make you a hero who gave his life trying to warn me, trying to protect me,” she said as she pressed 9-1-1 into her cell phone.
She dragged him into the hall, and while she waited for the police to arrive, she went over her story, how she had arrived late for their meeting and found his lifeless body at the door to her office.