Read the first chapter of Murder In Triangle City here.

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The Murder of Marcie Lang

June 7, 2137


Triangle City


A camera facing east along a narrow street in Triangle City adjusted its aperture as the sun peeked out from behind the cumulus cover. As rays reflected off the glassy sidewalks, leaves of young saplings shimmered in the easterly morning light and painted their shadows on pristine lawns. Hover bikes lined the sides of the road, so their cables could reach charging stations drawing energy from the sidewalk’s built-in solar cells.


The camera whirred to the right as a black door opened. A woman with unkempt brown hair, wearing a disheveled V-neck blouse and a mid-length red skirt, stumbled into the morning sun, leaving the door ajar behind her. She limped in one shoe along paving stones to the sidewalk, stopped to lean on a white fence, and yanked the single shoe off her heel before kicking it into the street. After a curious glance at the shoe in her other hand, she dropped it in the grass. The camera zoomed in and registered red stains on the spiked heel.


The woman glanced west, away from the sun and then back toward the east, saluting to shade her eyes. The camera locked onto her face and ran its identification protocol.


:>Marcie Lang
:>No criminal record


Lang shouldered her bag and hastened down the sidewalk. The rising sun drew a golden line onto her dark hair as she swiveled her head to look at the open door and back again. Marcie bee-lined toward the camera waving both hands across each other as she passed beneath. She turned north at the next intersection onto Hope Street, where another camera detected her movement and zoomed in as she pulled her blouse straight. Lang looked around as she passed a digital advertisement displaying a picture of a young blonde woman that invited citizens to come live out their fantasies at Virtual Escapes Virtual Reality Pavilion. As the picture morphed to an ad depicting a man wearing a solid green uniform and wielding a pulse rifle, Lang spotted the second camera, waved her hands again, and dropped another look over her shoulder.


Another camera focused on Lang’s face as she hurried up Hope Street toward a shuttle terminal while the first camera identified Phillip Simmons staggering out of the door Lang left ajar. A trail of blood crept from his temple down to his jaw before seeping into the collar of his unbuttoned yellow shirt. He stumbled to one knee and raised a hand to the wound on his face. After peering at the blood on his fingers, he struggled to his feet and turned onto the sidewalk.


As his bearings returned, Simmons’s clumsy gait became a spirited sprint until he turned the corner onto Hope, where the sounds of his bare feet slapping the sidewalk diverted the attention of the second camera away from Lang. When the Hope Street camera captured Simmons from the side, a breeze blew open his unbuttoned shirt and revealed an object tucked into his khakis. The camera auto-zoomed and identified the device by its handle. It spawned an alert that traveled across the city’s wireless infrastructure to the Triangle City Security Services controller’s station and dispatched bots in the vicinity to respond. Immediately after the signal was sent, the camera activated a shrill siren. Simmons glanced at the camera, glowered, and stuck a finger in the ear closest to it as he yanked the object out of his waistband with the other hand.


All cameras within a block radius of the alerting device emitted the shrill sound. Another camera captured Lang from the front as she hustled up the street while looking over her shoulder to find Simmons closing in on her. Lang ran toward the third camera waving her arms frantically. The white dome of a Security Services bot hovered around the corner thirty yards in front of Lang. She waved her hands, screaming at the bot as she raced toward it. When the bot was within a dozen paces of Lang, she ventured a look back at Simmons, who stopped just feet away and raised the object.


A blinding green light emitted from the barrel of the fusion pistol and a vertical beam sliced through the center of Lang’s face, dividing it neatly in half and spreading. The energy disintegrated the flesh, bones, and muscles as it ate its way to the bottom of her neck leaving only an inch of spinal cord protruding from a melted black substance atop her torso. Her headless body lingered for a moment before finally crumpling to the ground.


A bright blue flash emitting from the bot’s arm and illuminating Simmons’s chest sent him reeling to the ground. He lay still for a moment before reaching sideways for his weapon as the bot charged up a second round. He grabbed the fusion pistol with a shaking hand and turned his wrist just enough to look down the barrel.


He pulled the trigger.


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