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Next of Kin, Chapter Twenty-Six: 32%


  11:58:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 812 words  
Categories: Next of Kin

Next of Kin, Chapter Twenty-Six: 32%

Twenty-Six, 32%

?On second thought, I won't be needing that car.?
Martens stepped out of the passenger side. The officer driving got out from behind the wheel, and walked over to my door and opened it.
?Let's you and me go for a drive,? Martens said, and walked around to the driver's side.
It's a little known fact that squad cars have metal detectors in them- provided you get into the back. And I had a gun used in at least one attempted homicide- even if it was my own, and I wasn't sure whether or not there might be a weapons charge associated with carrying it.
Since the passenger door into the front was open, I got inside before he could decide to have me get in the back.
?You've been a busy little beaver,? Martens said, and pulled away from the curb before I had a chance to buckle my belt.
I latched my belt, but it was too late. Our interfaces both went red, accompanied by a chime, and a message popped up on my screen, ?Moving traffic violation, failure to properly utilize safety equipment.?
?Cancel that,? he said, and the message disappeared. ?Finicky damned machines.?
I relaxed back in my seat. The last time I'd met with Martens, I was still a relative innocent. But I had a head full of gray tech, and I'd been mingling with dead zoners.
?I saw you interrogate Archer. It was kind of fun. But I'm going to have to ask you not to do that again.?
?Why's that?? I asked.
?Because the arrangement we had with your brother, we now have with him.?
?And that arrangement was...?
?Police override, not that I expect that to actually take, now.?
It hadn't. ?Why's that?? I asked.
?Because you went under the knife in a dead zone. I imagine they scraped every last bit of our tech out of you and replaced it with cheap African knock-offs. We've already started changing up all the passwords, so if you need access to anything that's suddenly locked off, that's the reason. Come to me, I can get you access. That is, provided it's not about pursuing Archer.?
?But what was the arrangement??
?I can't go into details, because I'm pretty sure you're still broadcasting, or at least potentially recording. All I can tell you is you need to lay off him.?
?And if he killed my brother? Are you telling me that if I believe it's him, that I need to quit the investigation.?
?I couldn't tell you that. It'd be against the law for me to advise you to stop a lawful investigation. What I can tell you, is I'm pretty sure your head is a turduckeon of malicious machinery, and that I wouldn't have to try hard to prove not only that you knew they would put that crap into you in the dead zone, but wanted it to happen. Our IT department doesn't get many chances to root around inside black tech, I'm sure they'd relish the opportunity. You have any idea the kinds of penalties that come along with operating a pirate interface??
?Enlighten me,? I said.
?Black tech can get you fines northward of several years of your typical income, and jail time into the decades.?
?Seems harsh,? I said.
?A pirate interface can act almost like patient zero. It can be used as part of a bot network, used as a hotspot for illegal pornography, criminal communication, distribution of viruses. You name the illegal conduct, and it can be jury-rigged to aid and abet it. Sometimes all it takes is a single pirate interface to create a new dead zone. So we take them seriously, as a threat to our society. Just like we'd take it seriously if you continued to threaten our operations by going after Archer.?
?And it's not just you we're worried about. Tara and the baby. They're going to need help. Nobody wants to see her slip back into prostitution- though admittedly, you airing that dirty laundry in the investigation probably is going to make it harder for her to find gainful employment. All the more reason she's going to need the support of her family. We understand each other??
I realized how a big a liability the gun in my waistband really was. I'd stopped worrying about him finding it, and now really wanted to use it on him. I was half-way convinced that my new interface could override his systems as well as the camera, that I could get away with it.
I needed to get away, before I did something stupid.
Thankfully, we pulled up outside of me apartment. My car was parked there already, with the uniform that drove Martens to me leaned against.
Martens held the door locked. ?Yeah,? I said, ?I got it.? He released the lock, and I got out.

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