Stem City P.D. was called in. They closed down Yuni Novelties while their cyber-crimes unit argued with the store managers and conferred with the owners of Erickson Entertainment. Everything changed when Drake Engstrom from Stem Corp arrived with his own team of cyber-security experts.
Engstrom was not in the mood to show off his million cred smile. “I will hit Erickson and Yuni with heavy lawsuits if you don’t cooperate with us. As a matter of fact, I’ve got half a mind to buy your company right now and start dismantling it.”
“We are talking about proprietary hardware and software.” The Pakistani owner replied. “We cannot simply allow your people to open up our merchandise and start digging through it.”
“You can, and you will.” Racine said. “So far, five people are dead at the hands of your sex dolls. Guess who is at the top of our list of suspects?”
“We did not kill anyone!” The owner cried out.
“But your merchandise did.” Engstrom reminded the man, while the other two owners, also Pakistani men, cowered behind the first.
“Can we focus on the bigger picture here?” Varriano announced.
Engstrom turned to face him. “What is the bigger picture?”
“I may have to say some things that Stem Corp does not want to be known by the general public.” Varriano cautioned.
“My security team stays.” Engstrom decided.
“So does mine.” Racine said. “Three of the victims are under S.C.P.D. jurisdiction.”
“We must also stay.” The lead owner argued. “The fate of our company is at stake.”
Too many people, Engstrom counted. Too many sets of loose lips. “All right. Varriano, I am telling you to be very, very discrete in present company.”
“I’ll try, boss.” The detective nodded. “First off, and I understand this is proprietary, but it is important. What kind of memory drives are used in the Yuni sex dolls?”
“High capacity flash drives.” The owner said. “The best on the market.”
“How much do they cost?”
The man shrugged. “On average, eight to ten thousand credits each.”
“The same type of memory drives used in expensive virtual reality game settings?”
“Yes. Basically the same type.”
Varriano addressed Engstrom next. “What if I said that a Q-drive was used to overpower the sex doll’s flash drive and take it over?”
“That’s impossible.” Engstrom answered. “The Q-drives are too highly advanced to be compatible with anything available to the general public.”
“You mean fully compatible, with quantum back and forth interaction between a Q-drive and a Q-server.” Varriano clarified. “Humor me for a minute. You’re a rich guy. I’m sure you live in a big house, with a lot of expensive furniture and fine food. What if you came over to my place? I live in a cube, right. You walk in and you don’t like the small space, and you don’t like my interior decorating, and you don’t like what I have in the fridge.”
“Is there a point to all of this?” Engstrom questioned.
“I’m getting there. A guy like you can walk into my place, no problem. You might not be able to do everything like you could at your mansion, but you’d survive there if you had to, at least for a short time until the Q-settings start to degrade. Now, let’s say your mansion was right next door to my cube apartment. If my door were open, you could throw things into my place without even going inside. You could throw in a nice, juicy steak, if you wanted to, or an old hamburger. Whatever you want.”
“And?” Engstrom asked. “Your point?”
“Somebody in a quantum environment is opening the door to the memory drive in the sex bots, and tossing things in. Things like instructions to kill certain people, including two people from FVL that happened to figure out what was going on.”
“The software files have a totally different structure.” One of Engstrom’s techs said. “If you transferred anything from the Q-drive to any other kind of drive, the data would show up corrupted.”
“You think so?” Varriano asked. “Even if we are talking about a quantum drive that is not fixed by its very nature?”
“Like I said, it’s not possible.” Engstrom repeated.
“You remember the Q-drive I gave you?” Varriano replied. “How do you think I found out who was on that thing? I took that drive to a Virtual Reality games place and I got plugged into it with their servers. The guy in that drive, he couldn’t get out. I couldn’t give him anything, I couldn’t do anything for him, really…”
“They’re not compatible systems.” The tech argued.
“No, they’re not.” Varriano agreed. “But, the guy in the drive didn’t leave the drive. He stayed in there and I went into his place to interact with him. You know what else? I fucked him. That’s right. He said he was lonely and he wouldn’t give up the information first, so I fucked him and that’s when he told me his details. That proves to me that a door can be opened between a Q-drive and a regular drive, and that at least some sort of minimal activity can cross between the two, because I crossed over no problem. Was that full compatibility? No, it was not. Was that enough of an opening that it could be possible to send code out of a Q-drive? Yes, I think it is.”
“Detective,” Engstrom said. “You’re not supposed to fuck our VR memory people.”
“That’s beside the point, you numbskull!” Varriano rumbled back. “Who is intelligent enough to figure out they can send code out of a Q-drive, when they’re inside of one? You know who I’m talking about. That would be one Dr. Holbert Gammon. You know, the head of research at EFH? I’m willing to bet that the Q-drive with Gammon in it is plugged into a virtual reality simulator right now, and that the simulator has ties to China.”
“Here we go with China again.” Engstrom rolled his eyes. “This is not going to take long to research. There aren’t that many virtual reality businesses out there. We’ve got the colleges, the hospitals, the game shops…”
“You mean like U.C.S.B.,” Varriano asked. “The college where Gammon was arrested at during the China protest? The college he taught at?”
“Shit, you’re right.” Engstrom realized. “I’ll get a security team out there right now!”
The executive stepped away in a hurry, to be sure nobody would listen in even though a lot of important information had just been disclosed.
Everybody stared at Varriano, some with awe, others with disgust, still others with confusion.
“You can’t interact between drives like that.” The Stem Corp cyber-guy persisted.
“I got my dick on, end of story.” Varriano said.
“Did you really fuck that virtual guy?” Racine asked. “You’re just like that hot chick from the movie, who ended up having sex with the future guy. I’m so jealous! You need to introduce me to that virtual guy so we can be on the same hero level!”
“You kidding?” Varriano asked.
Racine shook his head.
“You’re not kidding?”
To be continued.