“What the h-” The man began. But then his mental implants sparked and sputtered in a sudden rage, burning holes in his helmet. He dropped to the ground, dead. The other policemen got out of the dropship, and went to their fallen comrade. A camera drone even appeared, recording the event for the night’s news. They didn’t notice Renan slipping away.
Renan climbed up the ladder, and was surprised to find Apple waiting for him.
“Hey.” Renan said.
“Hello, sweety.” Apple cheerfully said. She was sitting cross legged on the ground. Her head was cocked to the side, with her good smile beaming.
“I guess you like me more than I thought.” Renan said.
“Can’t lose my favorite pet.” She purred. Apple got up, and pulled him along. They climbed down the ladder and continued on their way.
The drop ship’s inhabitants were in low spirits as the policemen waited for the machine to take off. They’d lost friends and a good hardsuit. They didn’t even know what did it. It had done the act and disappeared without a trace. It was no hacker. They hadn’t found any evidence of one. It was something else. Something much worse than any hacker. The policeman traded ideas.
Charles the foreigner began the conversation. He was from the European countries, and had a hard jaw line and white skin. He did physical jobs. He was built like a tank. His armor seemed too small for him. “So, what y’all think’s responsible for this?” he said in broken Eurasian.
“Why should we know?” Juan the hardsuit pilot scoffed. He was brawny and dark skinned. He almost looked Asian, with his brown hair and thin eyes. “It killed Thaigo and left without a trace. No hacker’s that fast. It can’t be a hacker.”
“Hackers don’t fry people’s implants. There’s no command you can give them to do that.” Another man, named Sergio, said. Sergio was built like a twig. He was trained for digital work, not stuff on the field. He only came to spool the hardsuit’s operating system faster.
“What ‘bout an AI or something?” Charles asked.
“AI leaves buckets of traces behind.” Sergio said. “And they’re even slower than hackers.”
“Maybe somebody made one that’s more powerful?” Juan said. “Like a super AI or something?”
“It’s possible, but unlikely.” Sergio said. “What if it got out of control?”
“That hardsuit wasn’t very controlled.” Charles said. He shifted on his seat. “It might’ve left a trace on the scanner. I brought it, just in case.” He lifted it up for all to see. Before anybody could protest, Charles turned it on, and watched the text scroll down the screen. He was one of a rare breed, he had no significant implants. He watched the text scroll down. After a few moments, he looked up. “It might still be on here. Take a look at this.” He said, showing the scanner’s screen to the others.