She parked the Zawazaki ZX-10R Ninja and looked at her slim wrist-band. “Yessss,” she cheered… from her home in Chennai to office, she had made it in only 15 seconds! I am glad I saved up to buy this winged mean machine.
A nasal voice interrupted her self-admiration, “Good morning, madam.” He stood in attention, his hand plastered to his forehead in a salute.
“Good morning, Taambe. Why the frown?”
“Madam, one more…” He hesitated and stopped short of completing the sentence. He ran to catch up with her as she had already walked ahead.
The fiberglass partition scanned her iris and without a sound, it opened up, giving a view of the expansive green lawns. They stepped on a pedal which took them down 70 floors to the investigations department.
Her stomach grumbled as the aroma of vada paav* hit her, but she had no time for breakfast. There were more pressing matters which needed her attention.
She was about ten meters away from her room when the doors slid open, after having scanned her iris. “Good morning, Detective. The walls are ready for streaming,” announced an automated voice from the ceiling.
The hempcrete* walls sunk into oblivion as ghastly images popped up. She sighed.
A young girl again. Murdered. Eye socket empty.
Victim lying on the floor. With nothing but red lipstick and red nail paint.
Her lobstick* desk turned white, and black text appeared on it.
In mid 20s
Murdered in her bubblepod*
“Hmmm… Taambe the MO seems to be the same as the previous 4 cases.”
“Madam,… this guy is psycho, even this time he wrote on the mirror with red lipstick- I’M ANGEL OF DEATH.”
Detective Vijailakshmi turned to the walls again. “Show all 5 cases”.
On her command, the wall displayed details of the five cases. Her ear-piece beeped–‘call from Forensic Lab’
“Good morning, Madam, transmitting a report to your desk,”
She focused on her desk as the text files minimized and the lab report filled up the screen.
Victim died by asphyxiation. Raped after death.
“Taambe, find out if she had a profile on Twinder?”
“Ok madam,” he nodded. “Boogle, get me details of Victim no 5’s social life” he spoke to the solar-powered cell phone attached to his wrist.
“Is my Uni-copter* charged up?”
“Yes, Madam, all solar receptors are powered to go.”
With a nod, Detective Vijailakshmi walked towards the hangar. The miniature copter ballooned up on detecting her presence. With a biometric scan, the fibre glass doors opened, and she got into the official vehicle. The lights on the screen blinked, “Good morning, Detective. Enter coordinates of destination”
With a press on the purple buttons, the Uni-copter whirred to life and lifted her off into the sky, its solar powered wings spreading their arms far and wide. “I want aerial surveillance before landing”
The giant bird parked mid-air as she surveyed the area with her AI powered binoculars. “Details please”
An automated voice came from the binocular’s speakers.
‘Victim entered the pod at 2130 hours. Unaccompanied. Lights were on the entire night. Temperatures of two humans detected on the infra-red thermal scanners. No movement captured in radars in 200 m vicinity from time of death till arrival of police squad.’
Hmmm… interesting. As in all the previous cases, the killer had escaped undetected from all the radars. How is he getting away? She surveyed the area for any more clues, dismayed; she instructed for a touchdown.
Her earpiece beeped–‘call from Taambe.’
“Madam, she was also on Twinder.” His high-pitched voice rang in her ears. “She had a date last night at a restaurant–‘The Revolving Electron,’ but he never showed up. It’s the same profile–HOT KILLER. Saala*” he cursed under his breath.
The Uni-copter’s dashboard displayed the photograph sent by Taambe.
A young lad, fair, clean shaven, coffee brown eyes. Looks like an actor… No wonder girls find him attractive. Had I been younger, I would have fallen for his charm too. She let out a chuckle.
The Uni-copter landed and self-parked in the greens outside the victim’s bubble pod. A face scanner on the pod’s walls scanned her and let her in.
Detective Vijailakshmi was not surprised by the scene inside. It was a replica of the previous four cases.
It was a fortnight ago when her boss Chief Aiyer had called her, “Viji, I have a strange case for you in Mumbai. Our team there is at their chips’ end and has requested for your help,” and he had handed her a nanocellulose* drive.
She inserted the drive into his desk, and it came alive with the details. She felt the hair at the back of her neck stand up.
A young girl, naked. Dead. Raped. Eye balls missing.
“It’s a murder case, Viji” her boss informed her in a serious voice.
Murder? Where had she heard that word? She spluttered, “Ziri, what is a murder” she froze as Ziri pulled up the definition.
‘Murder–the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another. Last reported case of murder was about 250 years ago.’
Now she remembered, she had read about rapes and murders as part of police training. It shocked her that something like this could happen in the 24th century.
They lived in a clean world. Rivers flowed pristine, skies were always clear and blue. Birds and animals were unharmed. Pollution, sewage, traffic jams, poverty, disparity, discrimination, killings… these were historical subjects stored in the government monitored info-clouds. Not a single 24th century human had ever experienced these. It was an uncomplicated and beautiful world they were living in.
“I am on it, Boss,” she assured him.
“Viji, I have complete faith in you. Only you can solve this.”
And in the next moment she had flown to Mumbai to work on the most gruesome case of her life.
In a matter of two weeks, four more similar incidents happened which shook the entire world.
Her ear-piece beeped and a text message glowed on her wrists, “Viji, this killer is getting out of control. I cannot have another incident on my hand. I need an update NOW.” it was Chief Aiyer.
“Ziri call Taambe,” her voice echoed in the victim’s pod. “Taambe, create a profile for me on Twinder. Make it just like the victims”
“I’ll catch you, bastard.” She swore under her breath.
You have a match
Her ear-piece beeped as a message lit up on her wrist. It is game time, buddy! Her sensuous bikini picture had appealed to Hot Killer.
Hot Killer: Hey babe, wanna meet?
Babe21: Sure… When n where?
Hot Killer: Kaffe Koffee Night. Tonight @ 2000
Babe 21: Can’t wait to see you…
Hot Killer: Wear something red. I will be waiting.
He hid behind the gigantic tree outside the Kaffe Koffee Night… waiting for her. Come soon, dear. It is game night… he loved playing and winning, slow and steady.
Only this time, he didn’t know he was being played.
He was restless and looked at the slim time band again. 2030 hrs. Bitch, how dare you ditch me?
He typed on his see through palm phone,
Hot Killer: Hey sweetheart, I am waiting for you
Immediately a reply flashed –
Babe 21: Sorry, got stuck at work. Will plan later.
He cursed under his breath and huffed towards his Bestla Car 2.0. Unknown to him, in the darkness, the flying nano SPYBEES had caught his movement and image.
Detective Vijailakshmi sat huddled in her Uni-copter. Her eyes fixed on the dashboard in front of her. The purple lights came to life with the report from SPYBEES.
Name – HANGEL DEFATO
Background – Computer engineer from the prestigious Bambridge University. A Palladium medallist. Lives alone in Mumbai. His parents were scientists working with the government, now settled in Goa. No siblings.
Why he would do something like this is a mystery, and why isn’t there a single photograph of him in any of the info-clouds. I guess we will know the answers soon.
She instructed Taambe on her plan and entered Kaffee Koffee Night, long after the suspect had left. Robots directed her to a seat, scanned her thoughts and brought a steel tumbler with a dehydrated pouch in it. In a zepto second*, it transformed to a steaming tumbler of vegan filter coffee. Ah, just what I wanted.
“Good morning, madam… As instructed by you, we have implanted SPYBEES above his bubble pod. Also, under his Bestla Car 2.0. What an amazing vehicle, madam! Its acceleration speed is from 0 to 1500 in 1 sec and also…” he stopped mid-sentence as the walls behind the detective came alive.
The walls synched with Twinder were now displaying a message from the suspect.
Hot Killer: Hey babes, you free tonight? How about dinner at Razzmatazz?
Taambe’s eyes popped out as she replied.
Babe21: Sure, see you @ 2100
“Madam, are you sure this is a good idea?”
“It is Taambe. Trust me, this is the only idea.”
Heads turned in her direction as she entered Razzmatazz. In her red vegan leather pants and high boots made from pineapple leaves, she was dressed to kill, literally!
The robot waiter scanned her thoughts and brought her ice cold water. A text appeared on the cell phone attached to her wrist.
‘Madam, I picked up the stuff from his bubble-pod.’ It was Tambe.
The robot scanned her thoughts again and brought her a small dehydrated packet. She placed it on the hot stainless steel plate in front of her and watched in glee as it turned to her favourite dish, vada and saambar. Aahhh bliss! A child-like grin appeared on her face and the robot reciprocated her smiles. She dug into the tasty food without a care, and yet she knew his watchful eyes were on her/ she was being watched.
She typed a message,
Babe21: Hey, you getting late? I just ordered something light.
In the darkness, his wrist and his face lit up. He had been watching her. Her sexy attire thrilled him. Bitch.
He typed a reply,
Hot Killer: Oops, sorry babes. Held up at work. Gotta cancel.
He watched her face drop. He smiled. Victory!
She had hoped he would follow her but was surprised at being alone in the troposphere, with only the nocturnal avians for company. She parked her Zawazaki ZX-10R Ninja outside her pod when her ear-clip rang, “yeah Tambe”
“Madam, he is inside already. I will enter when you ping”
“Ok,” she disconnected and stepped on a pedal. It scanned her iris and took her three floors down.
The living room was untouched. She felt safe with the Armatix iP100* safely tucked in her boots. Only this morning she had received it, along with the SPYDERS and SPY-VAMPIRES. The Chief had approved the gadget’s issuance, considering the seriousness of the case.
She set the controls on her finger print enabled wrist band and walked towards the bedroom. Game time, buddy.
He had seen her enter the pod. Anytime now, his eyes had an evil twinkle. He couldn’t curtail his excitement anymore.
Her experienced eyes knew where he might be hiding. Without further delay, she entered her bedroom. Switched on the night lamp and lay down on the avocado mattress*. She had activated the motion detection based SPYDERS and SPY-VAMPIRES into position.
It’s your turn now, buddy. Come on.
She didn’t have to wait for long. Coming out from his hiding spot, he entered her bedroom. Wow, you asleep already. He took the kapok* pillow and pressed it hard on her face.
He was in for a rude shock! Thousands of nano SPYDERS appeared from nowhere and meshed a web around him. “What the hell is this,” he screamed, and struggled to break the spider silk web. The webs were made of strongest fibre known to mankind and only Robots could cut them with infra-red laser cutters.
Detective Vijailakshmi stood up and smirked, “Game over buddy!”
Taambe stormed in that very instant. The sight of a uniformed cop scared him further.
“You bitch, you have set me up!” he screamed.
“Saala, you killer. Talk respectfully to madam.” Taambe scowled and kicked him hard.
Detective Vijailakshmi pointed her Armatix iP100 gun at him, “Speak.” His eyes popped out. “I touch this button and you are dead, speak now you sadist.” she thundered.
His silence irritated her. It’s time to show him I mean business. “SPY-VAMPIRES in position now” His face turned white as black micro-chips pierced his body, and sucked out blood.
“Aahhhh!!!” His blood curdling shrieks shook the pod. The detective and her assistant froze as they had never seen the SPY-VAMPIRES in action. “I beg you. Please make this stop. I will tell you everything” he screamed, entangled in the web.
She paused the SPY-VAMPIRES’s sucking action, but they continued to sit on his body. And then he started speaking…
“I killed those girls, but it’s not my fault. They asked for it”
“What do you mean?” Detective Vijailakshmi roared.
“You will know when you remove my mask.”
“Mask? What mask? You think we are fools?” shouted Taambe.
She walked towards him and peered at his face. It felt real, as she peeled a thin layer of his skin.
“Ughhh….” Tambe spat out loud.
She fell back in horror.
“You bitch…” a jet of saliva landed on the detective’s face. “I was about 14, when I had a freak accident in my mom’s nuclear-chemistry lab. All this technology is a waste, tsk tsk… none of the doctors could fix my face”
His skin was translucent, exposing the underlying veins, muscles and bones. There were no eyebrows and his eye-balls looked like stone. His lips were the shade of charcoal.
“You do not understand how hard life has been. I am a palladium medallist, you know? And yet what’s the point… people like you have ridiculed me my entire life. Just because you are good looking, you think my life is worthless. And that’s why I decided to punish all you cold-hearted bitches”
“Arey saala, enough with your sob story. Tell us what you did to those poor girls,” barked Tambe.
The killer glared at the detective but started speaking as the SPY-VAMPIRES crawled on his skin and the SPYWEBS tightened.
“please, please stop this!” he begged, “I created a fake profile on Twinder and sent messages to arrogant girls like you. Taken by my charming photo, these vain girls would respond. Being the genius that I am… I would hack into their personal info- cloud and replicate their iris image.
I would set up a date and watch them from afar. I enjoyed watching them being stood up. They deserved it. But later in the night I would sneak into their pods, using their iris data. Surprise!!” He cackled, “It was fun and exhilarating to see the terror in their eyes when I would take out my mask. Ha ha, can you believe? 2 of these foolish girls fainted!”
“I would torture them nice and slow, I felt powerful when these ladies fell at my feet, begging for their lives. Playing with their lifeless bodies gave me a satisfaction and happiness, which I had never experienced. You see, detective, I never had a friend to play with.
Red is my favourite colour. I would always beautify them with lipstick and nail paint and make tender love to them. Of course, I always remembered to take my souvenirs–their little eye balls!” His maniacal laughter sent shivers down the detective’s spine.
“I always made it a point to wear my apple-peel protective gear. I bet it would surprise you to know I made them myself? And you know what the best part is? After I wear it, I become invisible to even the most sophisticated radars, and I leave behind no prints or DNA. ”
Taambe’s hands trembled as he placed a mason jar on the table. It had 10 eye balls inside. Her stomach curdled at the grotesque scene.
“Saala… you do all these evil things and then have the audacity to write I’M ANGEL OF DEATH!” Taambe punched him again.
Detective Vijailakshmi couldn’t listen in silence anymore, “You are mad!” she screamed. “From where the hell did you get all these ideas? I am a detective and yet I have never heard or seen anything like this”
“ha ha… it’s unimaginable for imbeciles like you.. But for a genius like me it’s no big deal. I love hacking and once by luck I hacked into the classified 21st century info cloud. I stumbled upon old movies in which shunned guys would punish egoistic girls. It felt as if they had made those movies just for me. And that’s how I planned everything to T. You cops are so foolish, they didn’t even know ANGEL OF DEATH is nothing but HANGEL DEFATO – my real name! All this while I was announcing my identity to the world!
If not for you bitch, I would have taught a lesson to many more snobby bitches.” He spat venomously.
Chief Aiyer’s face flashed on the wall, interrupting his outburst “Good job Viji and Taambe. SPY-BEES streamed his confession live world over. It’s time to punish the ANGEL OF DEATH.
WINTERPOL is here to take him. His punishment would be a lesson for all humans. Our world is beautiful, we don’t want any evil influences from 250 years ago.”
Detective Vijailakshmi and her assistant Taambe heaved a sigh of relief as WINTERPOL’s team loaded the criminal in their flying patrol car.
I wrote this story visualising a beautiful world 300 years in the future, where the ills of mankind have been left behind and technology is a friend who is put to best use. It’s a world of flying cars and bikes with no traffic jams! A cruelty free world, where humans love and respect plants, animals and each other. Environment friendly alternatives are used in everything right from construction to clothing to powering vehicles.
I know it’s a far cry, but no harm in dreaming, right?
Vada-pav – a vegetarian fast food dish native to the state of Maharashtra.
Hempcrete – a mixture of hemp hurds (shives) and lime, sand, or pozzolans, used as a material for construction and insulation
Lobstick – biodegradable plastic made from lobster shell
Bubble Pod – house made of eco-friendly materials, where the ground floor is a greenhouse tent and rooms are under the ground.
Uni-copter – self flying, solar powered helicopters used by police.
Saala – swear word
Nanocellulose drive – a USB drive made with biodegradable alternatives
Zepto second – a trillionth of a billionth of a second
ARMATIX iP100 – futuristic palm sized gun
Avocado mattress – mattress made from sustainably harvested sources
Kapok – super soft silky cotton like fiber
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