The Man in a Suit

December 2006.
Something I started, but never could wrap my head around the concept properly, so ended up shelving this idea for a while. A long while… Anyway, it’s about a man who dies, and is able to place himself in a robotic form to discover how he died. I was trying my hand at murder mystery with a form I was already used to, that is, science fiction. Let me know your thoughts on what I have. I may not return to this story for a long while, but I have ideas in the future for a crime mystery.

I died. Two days, five hours, 27 minutes and 3 seconds ago to be exact. How I know this right down to the precise second, I couldn’t exactly tell you. All I know is up till then, I was alive and well. I was Stephen Edwards, and this is my after-life.

Stephen felt like he was in a dream. He was floating somewhere, someplace that felt so vast, so immense, that there was no limit to the space he found himself in. Stephen looked around to get his bearings and his vision adjusted quickly. Encircling his form was a myriad of shapes, flittering about at high speeds from one location to the next. No, not just shapes, they were numbers and letters, words and entire strings of integers. From this, he knew at once where he was. Finding out why was the next step.
“Nash! Nash, where are you?” Stephen called out into the abyss. The speeding characters paid no notice to him, although an entire swarm nearly ran him over. “Nash!”
“I am here, Stephen. You do not need to shout.”
Stephen turned sharply. Caught off guard, he pushed back what seemed a few feet away from a bright red orb that hovered in front of him. It took him only a moment to realise that it was indeed his friend and creation, Nash.
N.A.S.H or Neurotronic Autonomous System Hardware was Stephen’s primary access point; in short, Nash was his helpline to anything in this new world.
“Nash, what’s going on?”
“Your biological form has ceased to function, so therefore your central mainframe automatically uploaded your engrammatic image copy to my port, thereby enabling you, Dr. Stephen James Edwards to exist in a virtual form.”
Stephen just nodded. He came to this conclusion already. Normally he stored digital copies of his entire brain, neurological activity and all, primarily in case he ever forgot something important. Stephen suspected engrammatic copies could be used in this manner, but had never tried it himself as it would just feel too weird.
“Do you have any idea why I’m dead then?”
“We are unable to ascertain the cause of your death, Stephen.”
Stephen raised an inquisitive eyebrow. “Why the hell not?”
“Because we cannot locate your deceased form.”
“What? Explain.”
“Your deceased form does not register on the laboratory internal sensors. Your body simply is not present in the laboratory for examination.”
“So, what? Has it been taken away by the local authorities or something?”
“There has been no record of a request for them.”
Stephen pondered a moment. “How long ago did I just die?”
“Approximately 7 seconds ago.”
“And what time is it now?”
“00:51:07, Andor Central Standard Time.”
Stephen frowned. Normally he would finish up his lab work sometime around 10:30 at night, with the last thing he would do was backup his engrams to the central mainframe. Which meant anything happening after that time wouldn’t be recorded until the next day. So now that left two unanswered questions; where his body was and what was he doing at such a late hour that resulted in his death in the first place.

Steadying himself in this unfamiliar virtual terrain, Stephen needed to come up with the answers.

One Response to The Man in a Suit

  1. This is really cool Chris! I’d love to know more. You successfully grab the readers attention at the beginning and keep it simple enough that even a non-Trek / Sci Fi fan is drawn in to wanting to know more. There is heaps of tension and plenty of excellent questions buzzing around in my brain. Who killed him? Where is his body? How will he find out? How will people react to him inside his robot? Will he even let on that he’s still conscious or might that be dangerous?
    I am also keen to see more of the relationship between him and Nash. What is Nash like? Does he have a personality? How similar is it to Stephen’s, given that he has been storing Stephen’s ‘backup mind’ all this time?
    Exciting!
    I hope you do give this one another chance, it deserves it!
    – Beaulah

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