Earth — New Maryland at the Planetary Bureau of Investigation — 2256
Beyond the slew of case files resting on my desk. I spy Chief Isaac in his office on the phone, pacing about like a caged tiger. Apparently, whatever is going on has the Chief’s panties in a twist. And then, his gaze falls upon me and so does his anger.
“Agent Franklin in my office now! Shut the door, sit and listen up. The top brass wants an old unsolved case, closed ASAP. Starting today, you are being reassigned to this case.”
“But Chief Isaac…”
“No buts Franklin start packing. Your destination—Perfection.”
En Route to Perfection — 2256
The first settlers to arrive on Proxima Centauri b renamed the planet Perfection. From there on the name stuck. Perfection is roughly 4.2 light years from Earth. That makes this a twenty-year jaunt across the galaxy. A good thing Friday and I don’t sleep or eat or breathe or have a life.
“Friday, be a sweetheart and cue up the J.R. Holmes case.”
“First off Franklin, I’m not your sweetheart. I don’t socialize with the lesser A.I.” Friday is the ship’s level-three A.I. and my partner. She has the sexiest voice you’ve ever heard.
“I’m told Friday that virtual sex is as good as the real thing and relieves stress associated with long voyages.”
“Keep dreaming Franklin that will never happen. Cuing up the latest reports on the case.” She transmits the data to my head. I can see what she sees and vice versa. “I knew one day I’d get into your head Friday.” And she says, “Ha-ha very funny. Now all jokes aside, from what we know, this J.R. Holmes has murdered thousands of settlers across the planet spanning decades. And all within the last hundred years. The anomaly our suspect has not aged a day since the first murders. This would make him roughly a hundred and fifty years old. Though not implausible, except for the fact that…”
“He hasn’t aged a day. I get that. So what is he exactly? A simulacrum an immortal an alien a time traveler. What?”
“A simulacrum, impossible. The Laws of Ethics are hard-wired into our circuitry, ’thou shalt, not kill’, being the first tenet. This leaves us with an immortal, plausible. An alien, plausible but unlikely. A time traveler, also plausible but extremely unlikely.”
“No Friday, that leaves us back to square one. In the meantime, until we can figure out how this guy is staying young. I’d like you to monitor all planetary communication. Of one thing I am certain, this guy will kill again and again.”
Perfection — 2276
During the twenty-year excursion to the planet. Holmes managed to make time in his busy schedule for an extra two hundred murders. More videos of this monster surfaced showing he hadn’t aged a day. Unfortunately for the victims, Friday and I were no closer to solving this case. We decided to leave orbit and touchdown where the killer was last seen. A cow town, known as New Texas.
“Alright, you got me what’s with the Stetson and Cowboy Boots?”
“When in Rome Friday do as the Romans do, Aurelius Ambrosius.”
“Ah Saint Ambrosius. You are aware Franklin that what he actually said was, ‘When I am at Rome, I fast on a Saturday; when I am at Milan, I do not. Follow the custom of the church where you are.’”
“Isn’t that what I said? For a level-three A.I., you often trip over comprehension. A design flaw associated with the lesser A.I.”
“Ha-ha, you’re funny Franklin.”
Using my best western accent I say, “I reckon I is little miss.”
Perfection — New Texas — 2276
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