Author : James Langley

Dr. Livett tapped at the graphene strap around her wrist and the beachside illusion dissolved into nothing. She stood in the sterile, empty white room; the fragrant ocean breeze replaced by the smarting odour of bleach. She redressed into her uniform, the white pyrowool jumpsuit that clung tighter than a leotard, and with a few taps of the graphene strap a wall panel opened with a pneumatic hiss. The metal tray slid out and floated into the center of the room, the Nuclea-Ion energy field holding it in static levitation. On the tray lay the corpse.

Liren Smith, found dead at his apartment, was a retired caretaker for the international electronics company GlobeTech; renowned for its robotics, Nuclea-Ion Energy discovery and subject of countless conspiracies.

Starting her autopsy, Dr. Livett swiped fingers across her wrist strap and GlobeTech robotic arms folded out from the ceiling and, under her instruction, began the internal examination. The Y-shaped incision was cleaved across the chest and down the abdomen, the skin folded back before Nuclea-Ion lasers made short work of the ribs and breast plate. The robotics operated with mechanical precision and computerized routine as coronary arteries were pulled and spliced into Dr. Livett’s view. A heart attack was quickly confirmed as the cause of death, the autopsy room’s inbuilt surveillance system recorded the proceedings for future reference.

It was here she found it, the wire. The small strand of synthetic copper barely protruding from the ventricle’s tissue. There was no reports of Mr. Smith ever having a pacemaker so she investigated further. For over an hour she scraped away the muscular tissue, her intrigue falling away to concern as she discovered the entire organ was moulded around an intensive network of wires and electronics. She performed an intensive database search but found no medical technology that could explain the findings.

She tapped her wrist strap and the surveillance system shut down; her mechanical assistants slid out of sight. She retrieved her own instruments and continued the examination manually, feeling sweat prickling her brow. The liver and lungs presented as identical electrical structures and the lenses in the eyes were of quartz glass. She summoned a microscope and began checking tissue samples; the skin and muscles were void of organic cells and Liren Smith’s ersatz blood bore no trace of erythrocytes.

Dr Livett stepped back and steadied herself.

“Its not human,” she whispered to no one in particular, more a statement to confirm her own assumptions. Did anyone know about this? Was she supposed to know about this?

She started as the intercom buzzed and her superior’s voice filled the room

“Dr Manning, you have disabled the electronic and surveillance systems.”

“Yes, sir” she replied out loud, her voice trembling through a parched mouth, “I’m tired and thought I could concentrate better if I conducted the examination myself.”

“Yes, well GlobeTech is aware of this and is not pleased. They have a representative here to question you. He’s on his way down now, stay where you are.”

“What? Why?” she panicked, had they been watching her the entire time? She tried to close down the autopsy but her access to all systems management systems were barred.

From outside she could hear the sound of fast approaching footsteps and she activated the illusion program. The door to the autopsy room opened with a purr as the program swirled into life, obscuring the open corpse with the view of the beach, bathed in the glow of the setting sun.

As rough hands grasped at her, she breathed in the fragrant ocean air.

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