“Welcome home, Detective,” S.A.R.A. chimed in a feminine, techno-electronic voice. The video wall above the couch switched to my personal newsfeed as the lights brightened. Video messages, case records and entertainment programs opened in rapid succession, layering one over the other until the entire board resembled a giant, noisy-as-hell collage.
“Home,” I grunted. My mood only worsened when I discovered that my roommate had attempted to make dinner for us again. Sauce splatters and dirty pans were everywhere. This was an especially impressive effort—not even the overhead track lighting had been spared. Living with your 22 year old, uber popular niece might save on the rent, but it didn’t do your sanity any favors.
I’d just started to fill the sink when our carbon reinforced entrance door opened. “So what is it tonight, Caledrian or Balanese?” I called out, dunking the last of the silverware into the rising, sudsy water. Her sob-filled, panicked gasp sent a jolt of adrenaline racing through me. In one fluid motion I wheeled toward the door, drew my Police issued Laser pistol and flipped off the safety. Three men stood behind Cassie, and a thought-controlled slave bar was fastened around her throat. Knowing that it could sever her head in less than a microsecond, I reluctantly lowered my weapon.
“We meet again, Alexis.”