Open-case

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Part 1

Much of humanity's future is like it's past. In the late twenty first century technology had advanced far enough to allow for artificial intelligence to be cultivated, not into the war machines so many feared but into something more. Almost a new life form. Along with the controversy of IF it was a new form of life or not came bigots. Humans who felt they were a superior life form, that the robots we created should be our subjects and servants rather than companions and friends. As so, like all of humanities past, violence broke out. There were protests, demonstrations and eventually laws. In time the world came to recognize robots as their own creatures and granted them rights. The hatred boiled, them simmered and eventually diminished to a dull ache in the past.

20 years after the integrations of A.I. into modern society though, there was still hatred, and as the distant roll of thunder rippled through the air Sasha found herself ill at ease. She tugged her raincoat just a little tighter around her collar and continued her walk home. She hated closing shifts at the little flower shop, especially on nights that threatened to rain. She was waterproof, to an extent, but she still disliked the feeling of water on her skin, it sent harmless shocks of electrical fear through her. Her rubber boots sloshed through another puddle as she passed an alley, when out of a shadow an arm snatched her black hair and yanked her into the alley.

She screeched, and tumbled backwards further into the darkness. Another set of hands seized her arm and flung her further into danger. She finally looked up and saw a huge burly man, flanked by two more, less muscled but equally thuggish looking men. The man in front brandished an aluminum baseball bat, marred by dents and scuffs that didn't look like they were caused by a baseball. The man to his left was fiddling with a wicked looking knife and sporting some black rubber gloves while the man to his left hand a single hand in his pocket while the other clasped a crow bar at his side. "P-please...I'll do whatever you want, just leave me alone" Sasha stammered and recoiled from the group. They simply leered down at the helpless woman and the lead man took a single step forward causing Sasha to scream. The shrill piercing voice was cut short by a swift twang of the metal bat impacting her across the side of her face. Sasha's head bounced down and then back up in an instant, emitting a single shower of sparks from her ear.

The flesh on either side of her ear was torn and the hard plastic skull under it was clearly shattered where the bat had struck her. The swing had also done a significant amount of damage to her eye, cracking the glassy lens and permanently damaging the optics. At this Sasha began to wail, her voice distorted slightly. She wasn't able to see the knife wielding thug approach her and certainly didn't see him plunge the blade into her throat, slashing it wide open before climbing on top of her and, with his rubber glove covered hand, roughly tug free the speaker in her neck and whatever wiring he could drag with it. Sasha's screams died immediately after that and the night was silent again. Another peal of thunder rolled over the city.

Sasha was just barely raising back up to try and see her assailants with her good eye when the sole of a boot slammed into her face, pinning her by the head to the back wall of the alley. It only held her there for a moment before she slid limply down the wall and crumpled in a fetal position. Her A.I. still online, and her body mostly functional, she figured her best course of action was to play dead and maybe they would leave her alone. As she lay still the sensors laced in the soft skin on her shoulder registered a brutal impact as the bat wielding man let loose another vertical swing with his bat. More of her skin was torn free as her shoulder joint was crushed. She felt herself being dragged to the center of the alley by her damaged arm, alarts filling her vision as more and more of it tore free. Then with one final toss she landed face down, her arm now fully removed from her shoulder. Only the remains of the connection joint could be seen inside the shreds of flash and the oozing hydraulic fluids.

Unseen to her, the biggest man nodded to the others and they all stepped around her. One booted foot fell heavily on her head again, crushing more of the plastic that made up her skull, and another stomping into her lower spine. That�s when the crowbar pierced her back, just below her artificial ribcage and to the left of her spinal column. Her natural reaction was to scream again, and her jaw moved as well as it could, but there was no possibility of sound. There was a wrenching motion as the hard metal of the crowbar began lifting her spine up and out of her dainty body. Shoving with all his might and growing frustration the man finally stopped and took a small step back before kicking viciously at the crowbar, attempting to leverage it with brutish strength. After two swift kicks Sasha's metal and fiber optic spine snapped jaggedly in half, the sharp shards of it breaking the skin and some of the fabric of her blouse. The men withdrew and fled quickly, satisfied with what they had done. Sasha was still online, at least online enough for the torn and ruined flesh on her back to register the droplets of rain that were now starting to fall. She could feel the water slipping into her torso, unable to move her legs and clawing weakly with one arm.

Her A.I. knew what was happening. She was dying, here, in this alley way. It was her grave now. Sure, she had minimal insurance on her body, but they would only store her A.I. for up to 6 weeks, and without enough money to buy a new body, she would be deleted. The water trickled quicker into her body as the black rain clouds dumped into her. Water eventually reaching her power core and shorting it out, causing enough excess heat to melt the holding cage it was housed in, then burning through her synthetic chest, scorching the front of the new blouse she had just bought yesterday, and melting half an inch of pavement before eventually cooling enough to lodge itself there. She had been killed in the worst way possible for a robot...slowly, and without any means of salvation. She simply had to wait until she was destroyed.


"This is kind of disgusting" Jill said from the side of the alley. She leaned against it in a casual stance. A panel in her arm open and the screen inside of it displaying the information on the victim. "Sasha Page, model SG548901, online for 3 years now." Jill said, snapping shut the info panel on her forearm. Her partner, Kyle, was pacing around the ruined woman. The cameras in his own eyes capturing the scene of the crime in as much detail as possible.

Jill pushed off of the wall she was leaning against and started to pace towards the back of the alley, snapping on a pair of gloves as she did. "looks like Ms Page here ran into some undesirable folk and they did her some measure of harm." Kyle only grunted in approval of her statement. Moving from the body to then stare at the small pieces of discarded electronics. Her voice module, and the shattered pieces of her eye. Finally walking over to her discarded arm. Jill just watched him, Kyle wasn't much for conversation when he was on the job. She knew she just had to let him finish taking in the scene before she would get anything. She thrust her hands into the pockets of her blue uniform pants and just waited.

"yeah" Kyle said eventually. "forensics should be her soon to remove and data drives from the victim and get to analyzing it." He said it in the same way someone would mention when the mail truck might finally deliver the monthly bills. Jill knew he hated seeing this kind of crime, he had once been a victim of the same thing, but poor Sasha here had been really messed up. Whoever did this had come prepared, they knew what they were doing, and they were doing it with some kind of intent.

A white van pulled up behind Kyle and Jill's squad car. In black letters across the front and sides read "EVIDENCE." The forensics crew had arrived. Two men hopped out of the van and collected a red toolbox from the back. The curtly nodded to Jill and Kyle, letting them know that they were dismissed. Jill got in the passenger side of their patrol car and Kyle into the driver�s seat. "I'm heading back to the station, I have to unload these videos for the case file, and oh god the paper work" Kyle said, his normal cheer returning. Jill nodded, she was due for a tune up in the maintenance bay. "Wanna come with?" Kyle said looking sideways at Jill, "You know, maybe you could do the paperwork on this one...for once.." he trailed off. "Golly would I love to but wouldn't you know it, I'm due in the maintenance bay by ten thirty. Looks like this one is all yours tiger" Jill said and slugged Kyle in the arm, resulting in a mock grunt of disgust. "fine" he muttered and pulled away. "This case reeks of premeditated" Kyle said, Jill couldn't disagree and glumly nodded and kept her eyes on the road ahead.

Part 2

Kyle's squad car easily cruised through the streets of downtown Chicago. It was just after rush hour and long before the lunch rush would clog the streets. Jill had remained mostly quiet, silently reviewing the footage from the crime scene, passing it through her A.I. hoping that some kind of pattern would arise. It hadn't. But the fact that violent crimes against robots were on the rise was clear, more than the random domestic dispute or hate crime. This smacked of something larger.

Kyle pulled the car up to the curb at the CPD maintenance facility and glanced over at Jill. "You sure you don't want to help out with the paper work?" He said, hopeful to have a small amount of company while writing the reports.

"yep, all yours big boy. SOME of us like staying in tip top shape." Jill said, mocking Kyle's known history of going months without tuning up his own systems. Though she couldn't pass judgement on him, he wasn't built from scratch like her. Kyle had been in more than one work related incident, and slowly over the years had the majority of his body replaced by cybernetics. Eventually opting to finally just fully convert. Along with that came all his old habits of forgetting to check in for maintenance and tune ups. Jill on the other hand was assembled and programmed from the ground up, and her maintenance schedule was set in place the moment she rolled off the assembly line.

Kyle huffed, finally giving in to Jill's almost goody two-shoes approach to up keep on her body. Jill slipped out of the car with grace and ease, and as usual Kyle snapped a quick shot of her rear end with the camera in his eyes. Filing it safely away for later in a private folder on his hard drive. Some old human habits die hard. She did do a good job maintaining her body after all...

Jill closed the door, and bent down and peeked in the window, signaling Kyle to roll it down for her. She placed her arms on the edge of the door and squat down. She looked Kyle sincerely in the eyes.

"As soon as I'm done I'll come find you. We can go over the footage together. And don't slack off on the paperwork just to try and leave some for me." Jill said, before standing up and walking smoothly towards the front entrance of the maintenance facility.

"get out of my head Jill!" Kyle called to her, she raised a hand and waved without breaking stride or turning to look at him. Simply signaling that she heard him. Kyle rolled up the window and drove off, heading towards the CPD central office.


Jill walked through the double doors to the unremarkable grey building. The moment she crossed the threshold she connected to the internal wireless network there and received an administrator level request to suspend her human emulation software. The authentication was correct and so, her face melted into an expressionless mask. Her blinking stopped along with the appearance of breathing. She still sucked in fresh air to pass over her processors. He hands came to rest at her side and she walked directly up to what looked like a metal detector.

The concept of it might have drawn a chuckle from her, certainly from Kyle. The idea of a robot walking through a metal detector was ludicrous, if this were actually a metal detector. There was a young man sitting on a stool next to a stack of large plastic tubs and a computer terminal. He snapped to attention a little too quickly as Jill walked up. "Unit MPS971344C reporting for scheduled maintenance." Jill said in a flat tone without bothering to make eye contact with the man there.

"Right on time, as usual Jill. You know the drill, leave your equipment here and proceed to the scanner."

Without another moment of hesitation Jill reached down and drew out her side arm, a slim black pistol, and pressed the button the handgrip to eject the magazine into her waiting hand. She set the magazine into the waiting tub, followed by her tilting the gun into the palm of her hand and pulling back the top slide to eject the cartridge that had been waiting in the chamber. Placing the errant bullet and the gun into the plastic tube she moved to the webbed belt on her hips and unbuckled it. Dropping it into the tub as well. Finally, she reached up to the tight bun on the back of her head and pulled free the bobby pins that had been holding her it in place. Wavy auburn hair bounced down to her shoulders. Jill put the pins into the tub.

Jill Knelt down, tugged up her pants leg before setting about untying her black boot. She repeated the exact process with the other boot, then stood up and removed her footwear and socks before dumping them into the tub. Dale, the man sitting on the stool smiled vaguely, this was his favorite part of his job. Sure when the male cops came through he had to watch them get undressed, but the units like Jill made it all worth it. Jill was in the process of unbuttoning her blue police issue top and shrugging out of it. She didn't fold it when she put it in the tub. Next she unclasped her bra and put it in the tub and finally went to work on her pants and white cotton panties. All in the tub without much ceremony.

Jill stood at attention for just a moment as her processors ran through a checklist of equipment and made sure everything was in place. Dale took the sight of Jill, one of his favorite officers, and her perfectly crafted body. Everything from her cute little booty to her perfectly proportioned breasts. She was, in a word, perfect. She better be, she was built that way. The ideal law enforcement and public relations officer. Specifically designed to be easy to talk to, comfortable to be around, and as Dale noted, the ideal human replica. One of many that the CPD had ordered upwards of two years ago to inexpensively bolster their presence on the streets.

Jill stepped over to the metal detector like archway anchored in the middle of the floor just as another officer entered, this one a male. Dale silently grunted to himself. At least Jill gave him an eyeful. He snatched up her tub of belongings and scanned the barcode on the side of it with a small handheld scanner. Grumbling to himself that they could afford a fleet of highly advanced robots, but not a new scanner. He scanned the barcode and his computer quickly filled in the information into a waiting field which pulled up Jill's profile and a "start maintenance" button. He clicked start and turned to the newcomer. "Officer James, please leave your equipment here and step up to the scanner." he said, curtly, placing a fresh tub in front of the officer.

Meanwhile the beige archway where Jill stood in hummed softly as a scan ran over her body, checking for any sort of foreign substance like microscopic nano-droids, explosives, or anything that was amiss. It dinged obnoxiously after a few moments.

"Step onto the yellow pad officer Hastings" Dale called from his perch. Dutifully Jill took two strides forward into a box of yellow tiles on the floor. Next to it was a red, then blue, then green. As she stood there a mechanical arm swung down from the ceiling tipped with a long thin polished chrome like appendage. The multi-jointed arm lowered itself to Jill's rear and thrust itself up in between her cheeks, lifting Jill off the ground. Inside of her body, the tip had opened into a claw like appendage and had grabbed onto the base of her polycarbonate spine.

The arm whisked Jill through a side door that had just slid open and into the maintenance facility proper. Jill joined the rows of other officers in for either scheduled maintenance or repair. Gliding smoothly along past automated repair bays. Inside of which lay, stood, or suspended numerous other officers as mechanized arms disassembled or reassembled each in some fashion. Jill came to rest right outside one such bay. Inside there was another officer in the process of being repaired. This one a fair skinned woman who looked like she had taken some sort of large caliber bullet to the face. Half her head was missing and shredded pieces of metal and frayed wiring were visible along with shards of circuitry. She too was suspended from a multi-jointed arm like Jill and stayed that way for the duration of her maintenance. Jill was barely active, conserving power as she waited. After fifteen minutes the automated repair arms in the bay had disconnected the androids head, extracted the hard drive there and deposited the damaged head into a disposal bin. The body would be stored for either spare parts, or with any luck another officer with a crippled body could have her head transplanted onto the waiting body.

With the previous occupant serviced and cleared out of the way, Jill was brought into the service bay. The arms descended on her body, each arm terminating in some kind of multi-tool appendage. Since Jill was only in for a tune up most wouldn't be used today. One arm moved up to one side of her head and rotating to a blade like attachment. Taking a moment, it lined up perfectly with Jill’s hairline and drove itself into the flesh there, which parted easily. A small whoosh sounded and Jill's hair plate lifted neatly off of her robotic skull, revealing a hard plastic plate, perfectly rounded save for several data ports there. Another arm moved to remove it from her head and set it on a small shelf to the side of the bay. A second arm came in and drove a similar blade like attachment under the flesh of the face plate left on Jill's head. It also detached itself and was promptly set aside.

Once Jill's hair and face were removed a smaller arm moved into place, a nozzle sprayed a small amount of cleaner on her glassy eyeballs and another with a rotary buffer spun up and polished her eyes clean. Meanwhile an arm with a plastic tube lined with bristles inserted itself down her artificial throat and into her torso, clearing any and all obstructions in her artificial esophagus. Soon her face was reattached to the front of her skull after itself being buffed clean. another arm moved into place in the hairless back of her skull and inserted a plug into one of the waiting data ports there.

Jill's service data was soon flowing out of her digital brain and into the maintenance mainframe. Everything from active time to power levels to the smallest of calibration errors. Most of the data points were well within acceptable limits, but there was a reoccurring error in her left leg. It had almost caused her to stumble during a foot chase 2 weeks prior. It wasn’t enough to warrant any immediate service at the time, but it would be corrected now.

A special arm with a single padded claw moved into position above her knee cap and clamped down. The claw continued to close its jaws until the simulated skin on her leg stopped pressing inward and it had a firm hold on the leg. Another arm moved up and cut the flesh all the way around where the leg joined the hips, gently grazing past her rear end and her perfectly smooth sexless crotch. Once the skin was cut, another arm swung in and swiveled to a hook like tip which it used to undo the 5 locking points on Jill's leg before the claw arm moved it away from her body. At which point most of the arm retreated from her body and stayed tucked away for a full five minutes until another leg could be brought up from the warehouse and moved to her bay. Once there two arms with much smaller padded claws peeled the skin down the leg about 3 inches. Once the metal and plastic internal workings of the leg were revealed it moved into place, aligning perfectly with the locks that had previously been undone. The hook clad arm moved in again and began clipping the locks into place. Once done the leg retracted slightly, making a firm connection. Data confirming the legs connection and workability flowed through Jill's dormant android brain and into the mainframe, which then sent the command to finish the job.

The small claw like arms rolled the flesh back up her leg until it rested on her existing hips. A new device armed with sharp scissor like appendage trimmed off the excess flesh there and finally sprayed on a matching skin toned sealant. After that Jill remained inert for another twenty minutes while software updates, patches, and fixes were applied to her software though the cable in her skull. Once done her hair was reattached and a jet of high pressure air blew any debris from her body and from the repair bay. Jill's body was then moved out of the bay to make room for the next robot. It moved back across the maintenance bay and back to the lobby. The arm set her back down in a matching yellow square and the arm that had been holding her aloft retracted itself from her rear end.

As soon as the arm removed itself from her body Jill's face seemed to light up. Her expression returning and she began blinking and simulating breathing again. Her human emulation software had come back online and as such she stretched her arms above her head, arching her back and letting out the smallest of squeaks before walking over to a waiting tub filled with her gear. She set about dressing herself once again, tucking her shirt neatly into her pants, fastening her webbed belt again and reloading her firearm.

"see you in a month Dale!" Jill called to the man over at his computer terminal who looked dreamily at her and smiled.

"Yep, see you in a month!" he called back as Jill strutted out of the building. The central office was across the CPD campus, ten minutes or so and her and Kyle would be working on the paper work that she was sure he was slacking on. She sighed to herself and began a brisk walk on her new leg.

Part 3

"get out of my head Jill!" Kyle called to Jill from the squad car. He watched her from the window until she entered the building, then turned his attention back to the road ahead. HE pulled away and cruised across the CPD campus to a little two story tall building containing nothing but offices and cubicles. It was Kyle’s least favorite building to be in because he only came here for one reason, and one reason only. Paperwork. It was the bane of his job.

When he was still human, or mostly human, he joined the police for to make a difference. Like most doe eyed cadets, he knew that Chicago was a big city with a lot of crime, but he wanted to do his part to make it better, safer. It was through this drive to make things right that he eventually found himself promoted through the ranks to sergeant and after a solid three years as sergeant he moved to detective.

He was assigned to the technological crimes division and assigned a partner, Jill. By the time he’d made detective he had already started the slow and admittedly painful conversion to cyborg. Having lost his left arm in a sting operation. Kyle at the time didn’t mind, and in fact enjoyed the boon of having the arm. It allowed him a certain degree of extra capabilities. Not long after his legs were crushed in an accident during a high speed pursuit.

Recovery and physical therapy were arduous, and he considered himself lucky to be alive. Luckier still that Jill was there with him the whole time. She was programmed for compassion and was clearly given an extra dose of cheerfulness when she was constructed because her ever persistent optimism helped him though much of the two-month long hospital stay. During which it was discovered that there was more severe nerve damage and his entire lower torso and legs were replaced.

After the replacement was completed and he was back on his, now synthetic, feet again, he was assigned mostly paperwork and reports as a means of slowly reintegrating him back into the force. Kyle and sitting still didn’t seem to mesh well. He found himself in a bar or alone at his apartment drinking heavily and wishing for an end to the stacks of papers.

The mere mention of report writing still made Kyle annoyed, he let out a huff of hot air, fresh from the bank of processors in his chest and looked at the dull grey cement building. Turned off the car and got out, letting the door to his cruiser close behind him. He reached the metal handle of the front door just as he saw someone approaching with a hand cart. Kyle was nice enough to hold the door open as a man clad in grey overalls scooted past, a woman that could have been Jill’s twin lashed to the cart with orange straps. Kyle noted that while her body could have been Jill’s exactly, her hair and eyes were different colours and her face was a completely different structure. Kyle smirked, same line and series, but different officers.

Kyle moved into the building, his skin sensors noting how cool it was inside. It was summer outside but there was no need to freeze out a whole building. He walked up to the check in desk and rapped a knuckle on the plexiglas window as no one was around. Eventually a frazzled looking older woman came into view from a side door and tapped the intercom button.

“Hi, sorry, our normal check in bot just tweaked out and had to be pulled out. Uh, what can I do for you?” The woman said.

“I’ve got evidence and a report to turn in from this morning. Case ID CP34871.” Kyle said, tapping the side of his head with his index finger.

The woman squinted at the badge on his chest and nodded. Pressing the intercom again she told him he was cleared to enter and there was a small buzz and clunk of a heavy lock being disabled. Kyle stepped through the door to the right of the station and half-heartedly waved as he entered.

The evidence room was the last room at the end of a long and boring hallway. Kyle placed the palm of his hand on the badge reader outside of the room, thankful that he no longer had to remember to bring his keycard any more, the RF chip implanted in his hand was all he needed. A similarly heavy lock disengaged and Kyle stepped in.

A simple wooden desk sat to one side, flanked by rows upon rows of wire rack shelves. Each one filled with tubs, baggies, and other containers with evidence in them. Towards the back were larger items, a few bicycles, large hard cases with firearms in them, and several severed robotic body parts in large clear plastic bags. Kyle hoped they were robotic anyway.

“Officer Roak, so good to see you. You have a recording to turn in?” There was a chipper young woman behind the desk, sitting at a computer there. Her smile almost annoyed Kyle as much as her overly happy tone. Kyle sucked in a deep breath, not out of necessity, but because that’s what he would have done had he lungs.

“yeah, and then a pile of reports to right, can we make this quick?” Kyle said, letting his annoyance show. This woman, he knew, wasn’t programmed to show some emotions like offense or annoyance, she was simply here to make sure this room was cataloged and run properly.

“of course, just a moment while I create a log file. If you would be so kind as to open a data port for me, we can get started.”

Kyle on the other hand still retained all of his human emotions. When he was fully converted every last synopsis was digitized, so he felt annoyed that this little robot was treating him like a machine as well. He grumbled to himself and thought about snapping back, but knew that the only outcome to that was his further annoyance and an unneeded delay. So instead he stepped around the desk to the recording station and reached up to his head and began pulling off the hairpiece there. His short shaggy hair piece clicked off the back of his head and he let his hand fall to his side, still clutching the top of his head. With his other hand he tugged on a data cable and plugged it into a waiting port on his head, he of course got it turned the wrong direction, looked at the plug, then jammed it into the port the right way around.

He closed his eyes and waited for the connection to the CPD data share to show up. Once it finally did he copied the video files, snapshots, and a text file of his testimony about the scene into the newly created case file. He stood there for a whole ten minutes while the files copied and finally dismounted and disconnected from the network. Replacing his hair piece, he walked to the door.

“Thank you officer Roak, have a good rest of your day!” the little robot woman called after him, even as the door clanked shut mid-sentence. Kyle navigated his way through the building until he found the little cubicle he was assigned to on the second floor. Starting up the bulky laptop that was always there, because why would he need to take it with him. He began logging in and started the arduous task of filling in the report details and pulled a paper report off the top of a stack of nearby blanks.

“why the hell do we still use paper” he grumbled to himself and began filling it out.


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