Friday Flash Fiction: Person of Interest

After last week’s Friday Flash Fiction, I decided that this week I wanted to write one that would continue where that story left off, more or less.

I’m not gonna lie, the photo prompt made that a challenge:

image on a male anime character with silver hair

However, let it not be said that I don’t rise to a challenge!

Person of Interest

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

Doyle circled the holodisplay, stopping when she was on the side opposite Andrews. In front of them stood what could only be described as a cartoon character: killer body, silver hair, almost elfin features, and an outfit that looked like it was out of a science fiction story. And yet, it looked real, in some way that Andrews couldn’t put words to.

Doyle put her hands on her hips. “There are actually people in the Upload who look like this?”

“When you can look like anything you want, nothing is off limits.” He didn’t mention that these were outliers, that most people opted to look the way they did in analog, albeit maybe the way they did in their twenties or thirties, and ten pounds lighter.

Still, he hoped it got his point across: if they were looking for a murder suspect in the Upload, they couldn’t go by appearances.

“For people with sufficient technical skill or the money to pay someone who does, they can change their look on a whim, too.”

“And there’s no forensic evidence in the Upload,” she muttered, almost to herself. “But out here we wind up with a dead body and no witnesses.”

“No witnesses yet, at least,” Andrews said.

Doyle returned to his side of the holodisplay. “Here’s what we’ve got on our vic.” She waved her arm and the display changed, bringing up a stack of documents and an image of a fortysomething woman with brown, close-cropped hair and narrow eyes to match her sharp-looking suit. “Alexa Grayson, forty-five, executive at Lunacorp. Single, never married, lives in New York City. Parents live upstate, a sister in old Chicago. All been notified.”

The image looked similar to the body in the Upload, but there were subtle differences. Nothing that he could put his finger on immediately, but enough that if he’d passed this woman on the street, he might not identify her as the same person he’d seen in there.
“What was she doing in the Upload?”

“Vacation. Wanted to go to an island, her sister said, but those are kind of hard to come by now.”

Andrews could hear the smirk in her voice and knew what she was thinking: rich, bougie, maybe a little of she probably had it coming. Doyle grew up poor and angry, and had held onto the angry part.

Not that either of them was getting rich.

He glanced over. “Hey, you’ve got a little something on your chin…”

Andrews gestured with his fingers at a streak of film clinging to the left side of her chin. It continued, he noticed, on the front of her shirt. Doyle wiped the back of her hand across her face.

“I had a coffee malfunction with my latte this morning,” she said.

“Obviously.” It was Andrews’ turn to smirk. “For a detective, sometimes your lack of attention to detail astonishes me.”

“It’s just a coffee stain, geez.”

“Probably why you can’t hold onto a relationship. Do you forget their names before the second date?”

“Bite me, Andrews. It’s not like you have any better luck with men.”

“Yeah, but I’m not trying.” He returned his attention to Alexa’s image. “Did she go on vacation with anyone?”

Doyle shook her head. “Went alone.”

“Did she meet with any Perms while she was inside?”

Doyle flipped through the document stack. “The staff at the resort were mostly bots, a couple Temps, and the proprietor.”

“Yeah, he seemed nice..” Andrews crossed his arms. “You know what, I want to see him in person. We should bring in that little old granny.”

When Doyle didn’t respond, Andrews looked away from the holo toward her. She held a finger just in front of her ear. When she released it he could just faintly hear the click of the call disconnecting.

“That’s gonna be a little complicated. He’s in the morgue in Paris.”

“Great.”

“Hey, I’ve always wanted to go to Paris.”