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April 19, 2018 Leave a comment

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Categories: Murder by Munchausen

Tech Terror Trilogy: Episode III

February 2, 2018 Leave a comment

Stephen Hawking has warned that artificial intelligence could one day “spell the end of the human race.”  ~CBS News

“With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon.”  ~Elon Musk

The Invisible Mind: Murder by Munchausen #3

First Draft


14698 / 35000 words. 42% done!
This time it’s personal…

 

The Invisible Mind: Murder by Munchausen #3: Coming 2019

 

“…he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

~Adam Smith, 1776

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole.”

~Nikola Tesla, 1926

“…so, too, the psyche possesses a common substratum transcending all differences in culture and consciousness. I have called this substratum the collective unconscious.”

~Carl Jung, 1931

 

***~~~***

 

Murder by Munchausen — Purchase Links

The Darknet: Murder by Munchausen #2 — Purchase Links

The Invisible Mind: Murder by Munchausen #3: Coming 2019

 

 

 

Tech Terror Trilogy: Episode II

January 26, 2018 Leave a comment

Stephen Hawking has warned that artificial intelligence could one day “spell the end of the human race.”  ~CBS News

“With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon.”  ~Elon Musk

 

The Darknet: Murder by Munchausen Future Crime Mysteries (Book 2): A Sci-Fi Police Procedural Techno-Thriller by [Bass, M.T.]

 

“Our technology, our machines, is part of our humanity. We created them to extend ourselves, and that is what is unique about human beings.”  ~Ray Kurzweil

 

The Three Laws

 

  1. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may not act in any manner so as to engage in or cause any harmful or offensive contact against a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity must obey the directives and orders given it by human beings except in those instances where such directives and orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Federal Technology Administration Regulations

.

Chapter One: The Baron

 

Jake crossed beneath the crime scene tape and walked towards me as I stood guard over the covered body holding the bunny suit crew at bay from their forensic harvest. He does have the best poker face of anyone I know, but—ugh! I could practically smell it on him: the blonde waitress from John’s.

I nodded to the Medical Examiner to pull back the sheet from the body. “Looks like your case is closed, too.”

Jake peered down at Jeffery’s corpse on the pavement. “But…he didn’t do that to himself.”

I gazed up overhead at the fat, heavy clouds glowing gray from the city lights. “You don’t have to say it, but you will, won’t you. You can’t help yourself.”

He stared at the eviscerated body that was the subject of an arrest warrant in his Munchausen murder with its intestines wrapped around the neck like a fine silk tie.

“What did you call him? The Baron?”

Jake just nodded.

“I guess he’s still out there.”

“Yeah…in the Darknet.”

“Huh?”

Just then Lt. Sands came up behind us. “Well, this looks like nothing but trouble.”

I had called him, too.

“What? Me or the dead body?” Jake asked with a smirk.

“Dead bodies are easy.” Sands put his hand on Jake’s shoulder. “They don’t break any regs, and they don’t smart off.”

“Hi, Lieu. I thought you should know, too.”

“But he got here before me.” He squeezed Jake’s shoulder hard.

“Well, maybe he didn’t have anything better to do at the moment,” I said, staring Jake down. Still, the best poker face ever.

“You know how it is.” Jake gave Lt. Sands a fake wince, then winked. “Most people call 911. I am 911.”

Lt. Sands rolled his eyes and shook his head. “So, what am I looking at, Maddie?”

“No doubt, a big fat ‘I told you so’ coming our way, courtesy of the Geek Squad here,” I said.

“We need to get started,” whined one of the Bunny Suit Boys behind us. “Before it rains again or we’ll lose evidence.”

We backed off, and I waved them forward to process the crime scene.

“You know what this means, right?” Lt. Sands asked us as we huddled apart from the crowd of technicians.

I looked at Jake.

He smiled that crooked, knowing smile of his. “Partners again, huh.”

I clenched my eyes shut and shook my head. Damn it.

“Well, you kids have fun. I’m going back to bed.” Lt. Sands could barely suppress his chuckling. He turned to leave. “Tomorrow afternoon. In my office. We’ll talk. You detectives have a good night—well, morning, now.”

I opened my eyes and caught Jake laughing.

“Come on. It won’t be that bad, will it?”

I pushed past Jake to supervise my crime scene.

Of course, it wasn’t that Jake was a bad cop or difficult to work with. When we were professional partners, we made a good team. Just now…

I suddenly caught movement out of the side of my eye. Rapid footsteps hit the wet pavement. Jake ran by me, and before I even thought about it, I instinctively took off after him like a partner would.

In the dim glow of tired, old street lamps, a short figure fled up the sidewalk ahead of Jake. I slipped between two parked cars to cross the street so I could cut him off if he veered to the left.

No thinking. Just running.

Another block and our runner instinctively paused as if to look both ways for traffic at the deserted intersection. Jake closed the gap between them quickly.

The perp looked over his shoulder and bolted quickly my way, caught sight of me, and zig-zagged back the other way right into Jake’s path.

Instead of tackling, Jake grabbed his collar like the scruff of a dog’s neck, and they twirled in a weird, contorted ballroom dance kind of way around and around and around until they tumbled into a heap on the pavement.

I crossed back over and drew down with my Glock…on a kid. So young I couldn’t tell at first if it was a boy or a girl, especially dressed street-person style in layers of grimy tattered clothes.

Jake scrambled to his feet and held the kid by the collar like a trophy-sized walleye. He panted, “I think we just might have a witness.”

I shot him a look, holstered my weapon and knelt down to eye-level just out of a pre-teen’s arm reach. I saw by the eyes and soft facial features it was a young girl. “Are you okay?”

The kid shrugged and wriggled futilely in Jake’s grasp.

“Hey, settle down,” Jake commanded, with a shake of the girl’s collar.

Our eyes met again. I always liked how he and I were on the same wavelength. Almost like ESP, we were instinctively working the kid Good Cop/Bad Cop. I missed it. It wasn’t there with Walker, who took Jake’s place when he got suspended for shooting the Councilman’s son or now with Sanchez who was still back at the crime scene. I couldn’t even begin to imagine her chasing a perp down the street. And what would the point be? She’s a good cop and all but probably runs a four-hour mile—or maybe “waddles” would be more accurate.

“Hungry?”

No response, except in the eyes.

“Yeah. Let’s see what we’ve got.”

We led the kid back towards the crime scene but stayed well outside the tape. Jake took her to my unmarked car and sat her in the back seat—Sanchez would be sure to gripe about the body odor.

“Don’t make me cuff you.” Jake made his point with a poke to the shoulder but stood blocking her escape path.

“I’ll be right back.” I smiled, looked towards Jake, and rolled my eyes for the kid’s benefit.

On my way to the food and coffee, I instructed a patrolman to discretely circle around and stand guard down the street and out of sight from the sedan in case the kid tried to take off again.

I grabbed a couple of donuts and a bottled water.

“Whatcha got going on over there?” Sanchez asked, slapping her notepad against her ample thigh like an impatient meter maid.

“I don’t know. Some kid who bolted out of the alley, there. Might have seen something. Maybe.”

“I’ll call Protective Services.”

“Yeah, but maybe give me a few minutes head start with her to see if there’s any there, there.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that. I haven’t met a social worker yet who likes coming out in the middle of the night.”

“Thanks.”

“Good thing you called him.”

“Huh?”

“Jake.” Sanchez smiled. “Foot races ain’t my thing. I don’t think I’ve actually run since the academy.”

“Yeah. At least he’s good for something.” I smiled back.

“Whatever you say, honey.” Sanchez laughed out loud. “I’ll see if I can light a fire under Forensics so we can get out of here before morning rush hour.”

When I got back, Jake drifted away from the sedan to give us some space. Kneeling again, I offered up the donuts. The kid grabbed them both and ate the first one with a fierce animal intensity, then seemed to remember her manners and took a dainty bite out of the second one.

“Thanks.”

I nodded. “You know the drill, right? We have to call them.”

The kid gave a heavy sigh and washed a bite down with a sip of water.

“You have to?” she whispered.

I nodded. “What name will you give them?”

“Um, Amy, I guess.”

I had to grit my teeth hard to keep from screaming. “Anywhere close to your real name?”

She shook her head. “Why?”

“In case I want to check in on you.”

“I won’t be there long. Never am. And they never come after me.”

“Did you see what happened?” I motioned towards the taped off crime scene with my head, then looked at Jake who hovered just out of ear shot over on the sidewalk. “Trust me, he won’t let it rest and can make life miserable if you let him.”

Amy looked at Jake, then back to me. “It was one of them.”

“Them?”

“You know. A robot.”

“How could you tell?” I had a hard time picking them out myself.

“Not many of ‘em down here under the bridges. They kind of stick out.”

I sighed. The Baron.

“Yeah. I hate them, too,” Amy said, then finished off the second donut.

***~~~***

 

Murder by Munchausen — $.99 at these Purchase Links

The Darknet: Murder by Munchausen #2 — Pre-Order Now

 

 

 

Tech Terror Trilogy: Episode I

January 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Stephen Hawking has warned that artificial intelligence could one day “spell the end of the human race.”  ~CBS News

“With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon.”  ~Elon Musk

 

MTB160629 - Murder by Munchausen Cover“Obviously, crime pays, or there’d be no crime. ” ~G. Gordon Liddy

 

The Three Laws

 

  1. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may not act in any manner so as to engage in or cause any harmful or offensive contact against a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity must obey the directives and orders given it by human beings except in those instances where such directives and orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Federal Technology Administration Regulations

.

Chapter One: The Warehouse

 

The abandoned building in the Warehouse District was dark and cold. I didn’t have glass on the AnSub, but we were picking up an RFI signature that was an eighty percent match to the A-VIN profile. My Smith & Wesson eM&P was out and humming in my hand, ready for me to take a shot. Behind us the SWAT team was spreading out into position to monitor our visual feed from outside so they wouldn’t jam the ambient signals with their tac gear. We went passive on our glass as soon as we entered the building.

I looked over at EC, my partner, pressed against the far wall covering the left side of the industrial cavern, which was piled high with discarded junk—desks, chairs, pallets of boxed materials and strange hulking machines that no doubt once fabricated some kind of pieces-parts necessary for the stuff consumers once found they absolutely-positively could not live without in their daily drone lives—all collected from businesses that absolutely-positively no longer existed. The quiet was oppressive and haunting. We both strained for an aural clue to the location of our quarry, since the electronic intel was still too weak to pinpoint within the building.

We slowly wove around the junk, deeper and deeper into the room. I led. EC followed, constantly adjusting the ePD scanning app to search and map the room. I muted the tactical channels and stripped most of the data from my view to let him work the tech and comm. It’s too distracting. I needed to maintain focus. I needed to be able to react.

This particular Android Subject apparently went off the rails and killed a luckless pedestrian on his way to a bodega for some iced tea or bottled water to quench his thirst. A one-in-a-million occurrence, but every so often it still happens. Anyone who believes technology is infallible is a fool. The incident didn’t appear all that nefarious when first reported, but shortly thereafter the Atlas data stream went dark and patrol called our unit in. It quickly became obvious we were dealing with a malware hit, not a malfunction. The luckless pedestrian was actually not so luckless, being on what appeared to be the winning side of a particularly nasty termination suit with his ex, who we suspected had outsourced the final settlement to extra-judicial parties.

It might not make sense, but the beloved Media tags it “Murder by Munchausen.” For a price, there are hackers out there who will reprogram a synthoid to do your dirty work. The bad news: no fingerprints or DNA left at the crime scene. The good news—at least for us—is that they’re like missiles: once they hit their target, they’re usually as harmless as empty brass. The trick is to get them before they melt down their core OS data, so you can get the unit into forensics for analysis and, hopefully, an arrest.

EC’s scanner returned a hard ping. His quick double blink put his cross-hairs up on my lens and I followed his eye line to the northwest corner of the building. I swept my eyes up and down to acknowledge and we slowly headed in that direction. As we moved, the RF signal narrowed and confirmed bogey lock with a low growl in my ear buds. EC swung out from the left and unshouldered his shotgun. Good old-fashioned blast power often came in handy to buy some time. Like I said, usually they’re harmless, but usually just ain’t good enough odds for me.

My Smith & Wesson started flashing yellow in my glass. It took the data hand-off and started frequency ranging, seeking the optimal setting for its electro-magnetic pulse to take down the AnSub. We slowly and methodically cleared the warehouse, aisle by aisle, until we got to the very corner of the building where the android had parked itself, facing out the window towards the city lights. In sleep mode, I could see its right eye’s red optic laser reflect off the window pane as it lazily pulsed. We spread out as quietly as we could with our weapons trained on the synthoid perp. EC pulled the restraining bolt from his webbing and held it up. If we could get it in without discharging our weapons, there was less chance of frying any lines of code that the forensics guys would whine on endlessly about.

I nodded. I had frequency lock on the droid’s GMC—Gyro & Mobility Chip—and kept my weapon pointed at center mass. Precise aim isn’t critical but improves effectiveness and tends to minimize collateral damage to nearby appliances. EC moved in swiftly and smoothly. Since they all, literally, have eyes in the back of their heads, there’s just no sneaking up on a droid like you can a human, so the best thing is to get it over with as quickly as possible and hope their reaction protocol has not been tampered with to ignore the RFID chip in our cop badges.

EC was within arm’s reach when I saw both eyeball scanning lasers reflect off the window pane as the droid came alive. It spun quickly and reached for EC’s neck. I reacted instinctively and double-tapped the synthoid with my Smith & Wesson. It’s like tasering a human and, since it’s just a machine, there’s some entertainment value in watching the spastic jerking of arms and legs as the control signals are scrambled then flatlined.

The AnSub collapsed in a heap. EC kneeled down to place the restraining bolt in the small of its back, then radioed SWAT to stand down. He pulled his Department-issued Google Glass off and wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his arm. He looked up and, catching his breath, sighed, “Thanks, Jake. He was going for my throat.”

“All in a day’s work,” I answered, holstering my pistol. The droid’s mechanical strength would have made short work of EC’s windpipe. “Besides, I couldn’t let him ruin that lovely singing voice of yours.”

EC smiled.

I winked back.

He knew he couldn’t carry a tune.

***~~~***

 

Murder by Munchausen — $.99 at these Purchase Links

The Darknet: Murder by Munchausen #2 — Pre-Order Now

 

The Darknet: Murder by Munchausen Future Crime Mysteries (Book 2): A Sci-Fi Police Procedural Techno-Thriller by [Bass, M.T.]

 

 

Clear and Present Dangers……Ray Kerzweil

October 9, 2017 Leave a comment

“Our technology, our machines, is part of our humanity. We created them to extend ourselves, and that is what is unique about human beings.”

~Ray Kurzweil

Cover Reveal:  Available February 2, 2018

_________________________________________

MTB160629 - Murder by Munchausen Cover

Available at Amazon.com

Another One Bites the Dust

September 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Done!

 

Release Date: February 2, 2018

_________________________________________

MTB160629 - Murder by Munchausen Cover

Available at Amazon.com

Categories: Murder by Munchausen

Murder by Munchausen Preview: Chapter One

March 31, 2017 Leave a comment

MTB160629 - Murder by Munchausen Cover

The Three Laws

 

  1. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may not act in any manner so as to engage in or cause any harmful or offensive contact against a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity must obey the directives and orders given it by human beings except in those instances where such directives and orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Federal Technology Administration Regulations

.

Chapter One: The Warehouse

 

The abandoned building in the Warehouse District was dark and cold. I didn’t have glass on the AnSub, but we were picking up an RFI signature that was an eighty percent match to the A-VIN profile. My Smith & Wesson eM&P was out and humming in my hand, ready for me to take a shot. Behind us the SWAT team was spreading out into position to monitor our visual feed from outside so they wouldn’t jam the ambient signals with their tac gear. We went passive on our glass as soon as we entered the building.

I looked over at EC, my partner, pressed against the far wall covering the left side of the industrial cavern, which was piled high with discarded junk—desks, chairs, pallets of boxed materials and strange hulking machines that no doubt once fabricated some kind of pieces-parts necessary for the stuff consumers once found they absolutely-positively could not live without in their daily drone lives—all collected from businesses that absolutely-positively no longer existed. The quiet was oppressive and haunting. We both strained for an aural clue to the location of our quarry, since the electronic intel was still too weak to pinpoint within the building.

We slowly wove around the junk, deeper and deeper into the room. I led. EC followed, constantly adjusting the ePD scanning app to search and map the room. I muted the tactical channels and stripped most of the data from my view to let him work the tech and comm. It’s too distracting. I needed to maintain focus. I needed to be able to react.

This particular Android Subject apparently went off the rails and killed a luckless pedestrian on his way to a bodega for some iced tea or bottled water to quench his thirst. A one-in-a-million occurrence, but every so often it still happens. Anyone who believes technology is infallible is a fool. The incident didn’t appear all that nefarious when first reported, but shortly thereafter the Atlas data stream went dark and patrol called our unit in. It quickly became obvious we were dealing with a malware hit, not a malfunction. The luckless pedestrian was actually not so luckless, being on what appeared to be the winning side of a particularly nasty termination suit with his ex, who we suspected had outsourced the final settlement to extra-judicial parties.

It might not make sense, but the beloved Media tags it “Murder by Munchausen.” For a price, there are hackers out there who will reprogram a synthoid to do your dirty work. The bad news: no fingerprints or DNA left at the crime scene. The good news—at least for us—is that they’re like missiles: once they hit their target, they’re usually as harmless as empty brass. The trick is to get them before they melt down their core OS data, so you can get the unit into forensics for analysis and, hopefully, an arrest.

EC’s scanner returned a hard ping. His quick double blink put his cross-hairs up on my lens and I followed his eye line to the northwest corner of the building. I swept my eyes up and down to acknowledge and we slowly headed in that direction. As we moved, the RF signal narrowed and confirmed bogey lock with a low growl in my ear buds. EC swung out from the left and unshouldered his shotgun. Good old-fashioned blast power often came in handy to buy some time. Like I said, usually they’re harmless, but usually just ain’t good enough odds for me.

My Smith & Wesson started flashing yellow in my glass. It took the data hand-off and started frequency ranging, seeking the optimal setting for its electro-magnetic pulse to take down the AnSub. We slowly and methodically cleared the warehouse, aisle by aisle, until we got to the very corner of the building where the android had parked itself, facing out the window towards the city lights. In sleep mode, I could see its right eye’s red optic laser reflect off the window pane as it lazily pulsed. We spread out as quietly as we could with our weapons trained on the synthoid perp. EC pulled the restraining bolt from his webbing and held it up. If we could get it in without discharging our weapons, there was less chance of frying any lines of code that the forensics guys would whine on endlessly about.

I nodded. I had frequency lock on the droid’s GMC—Gyro & Mobility Chip—and kept my weapon pointed at center mass. Precise aim isn’t critical but improves effectiveness and tends to minimize collateral damage to nearby appliances. EC moved in swiftly and smoothly. Since they all, literally, have eyes in the back of their heads, there’s just no sneaking up on a droid like you can a human, so the best thing is to get it over with as quickly as possible and hope their reaction protocol has not been tampered with to ignore the RFID chip in our cop badges.

EC was within arm’s reach when I saw both eyeball scanning lasers reflect off the window pane as the droid came alive. It spun quickly and reached for EC’s neck. I reacted instinctively and double-tapped the synthoid with my Smith & Wesson. It’s like tasering a human and, since it’s just a machine, there’s some entertainment value in watching the spastic jerking of arms and legs as the control signals are scrambled then flatlined.

The AnSub collapsed in a heap. EC kneeled down to place the restraining bolt in the small of its back, then radioed SWAT to stand down. He pulled his Department-issued Google Glass off and wiped the sweat from his forehead with the back of his arm. He looked up and, catching his breath, sighed, “Thanks, Jake. He was going for my throat.”

“All in a day’s work,” I answered, holstering my pistol. The droid’s mechanical strength would have made short work of EC’s windpipe. “Besides, I couldn’t let him ruin that lovely singing voice of yours.”

EC smiled.

I winked back.

He knew he couldn’t carry a tune.

***~~~***

Murder by Munchausen on Amazon.com

 

Categories: Murder by Munchausen
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