Michael Brin, a homicide detective, is sent to a sparsely populated moon called Fara to find two missing scientists.
It was the year 4012. After spending a month with Vee, my phone rang. I said, “Hello.”
Tesk’s face appeared in my contact lenses. He said, “I have a new assignment for you. Five days ago, on a moon called Fara, two Botanists on Jade Mountain, a peak that is near the north end of Maask Island, Dr. Gamin and Dr. Ief disappeared. Find out what happened to them.”
I scowled. “Understood. Are there any police or towns on Fara?”
“No police and no towns. There are only a few villages and a camp. A race called the Nait live in the villages. I just sent more information into your contact lenses.”
“Why don’t you send in UA’s to find them?” In many cases, Utility Androids were sent to alien planets or unexplored moons to find missing persons, help scientists or mining companies.
“Eight months ago, Bioscan Incorporated sent three UA’s to a location in the Jade Mountain area because of a scientist there, Dr. Frand, a Bioscan employee, asked them to. The UA’s never made it to the scientist’s camp they call Rise. Normally, three UA’s could reach a camp like that in two days.”
I winced, shocked. “Did Dr. Frand or anyone else find out what happened to the UA’s?”
“No. They disappeared without a trace. Six months ago, executives at Chema Labs decided not to send anymore UA’s to Maask because those robots are expensive. Anyway, we’re sending you to that same location.”
My stomach muscles tightened, an irritated response. “So Chema Labs executives are going to let the police do most of the dirty work.”
“Brin, that’s your job. If you don’t do it, we’ll send somebody else.”
I paused, teeth clenched while information scrolled. Both scientists were sent to Jade to study huge succulents, Xerophytes that are only found on that mountain’s slopes and the surrounding Bo Wa, a jungle, nowhere else on Fara or any other moon or planet in Alpha Centauri A’s planetary system. According to Dr. Gamin, bacteria and viroids inside several succulents might cure leukemia. Months later, other scientists, Dr. Ray, Dr. Smith, Dr. Frand, and Dr. Jonef joined them after finding out there were over eight million plant species in the Bo Wa.
“A few seconds ago, I sent a new application into your lenses. It deciphers slowly. When any Nait speaks, you will hear a life like English translation through your earplugs that is similar to their real voice. When necessary, translated text will appear in your lenses. Because of their different ages and experiences no two Nait’s speech will sound the same.”
I said, “Can you tell me more about the Nait?”
“You’ll find out more about them soon.”
I thanked him for the information and hung up.
Vee put on her lipstick. “I may not be here when you return. Being alone is hard for me.”
I scowled. “I’ll miss you, but my job requires a lot of traveling.”