Posted by BigWords on November 4, 2009
The Delos ninth floor suite was spartan and ordered according to utmost productivity, the cubicles of each employee laid out in grids that delineated responsibility for specific routines, programs and updates. Most of the employees felt comfortable leaving their plastiglass walls clear, but they were fitted with the ability to turn opaque for personal space. Dakota, an expert on apps for the artificials, was one of the few who kept their cubicles sealed and opaque throughout the day. She was the head of the team responsible for creating new interaction protocols and finding ways in which to improve upon older apps. The work was complex, demanding and had seen eight people rotate through her department in the past six months, but the challenges was what she thrived on.
Her comm chirruped, interrupting her concentration. It was a garbled message from an unknown sender. Cursing the glitch she set about recreating the stream from which it had emerged, linking in the Delos supercomputer’s abilities.
The computer hesitated, then ran off a stream of letters, numbers and symbols. Inside the mail was a file link, though the message had somehow degraded. The message was readable, after a fashion, but didn’t seem to make much sense when taken out of context.
:: LOL! M4dc4t dr1v3r. $catch$ linky ::
:: W00t!!! plz c0pee ::
Dakota opened the attachment through the main computer monitor and placed her comm back on the table beside her. The monitor flickered, turned black, then began playing the video.
The smashing and crashing was the first indication anything was wrong, but it was only as the splashing of colored liquid against the interior of the opaque cubicle began that anyone thought to check on the programmer. As the door to the cubicle was opened it became clear that things were not right. Dakota stood in the middle of her work space, brandishing a smashed comm, with which she had used to hack at her arms, neck and chest. Sprays of blood covered most of the inside of the cubicle in large arcs. The moment that the door was opened, Dakota, wild-eyed and bleeding profusely, ran.
Dakota didn’t deviate from her course straight out of the cubicle, and even the window didn’t slow her down, screaming and yelling as she fell to the concourse below. Her body hit on the roof of a hov, the impact sending the vehicle into the concrete road beneath and showering the street with sparks. Rolling from the roof, she fell in front of a truck moving in the other direction and in mere moments became the first confirmed suicide in Delos’ eighty year history.
Adway looked out of the window, then back to the cubicle, disbelieving the brutality with which Dakota had managed to end her life. “Why did the window fail? These are designed to survive the onslaught of a hurricane.”
“She’s a programmer, and the windows are controlled by complex electronics.”
“She had the foresight to switch off the security system before she jumped, and yet the inside of the cubicle looks like Jack the Ripper had a party in it.”
“The job is one of great pressure.”
“But still… None of this seems unusual to you?”
The Delos spokesman shifted uncomfortably.
“I’ll need to review her computer activity just before she…” He whistled, mimicking the woman’s fall.
“I’m afraid that all of the software Ms. Melville was working on is covered by company security. You would need a court order before I could allow you to inspect anything on her computer or the main server. It is vitally important that the integrity of all-”
“Okay, okay. I get it. You’re scared of industrial espionage.”
“The police force isn’t exactly known for integrity. I do apologize if this is at all inco-”
“No, I get it. Really, you guys need to lighten up.”
The smashed hov below, the shattered plastiglass, and the stain of blood on the road reminded Adway of the photographs taken during the riots which had taken place before he joined the force. It was amazing that one person could manage to cause so much damage in mere minutes, though an air of doubt hung in his mind as to the casual use of ‘suicide’ when describing her death. The need for an investigation was a formality, but in this case it was one which he agreed with.
“I’ll be back with that court order.”
“And I’ll look forward to your return, detective.”