In 2038, the Federal Live Stream Act was officially passed by an overwhelming majority. The act, considered controversial and bucked by a small minority, required all Citizens of the World to receive a microchip implant in order to participate in commerce (i.e. to buy food, housing, etc.) The Chip, as it was commonly called, killed, once and for all, the need for cash and keys and provided The Flag with the GPS coordinates and a continual live stream, of all chipped citizens. This feed was sent securely to the Flag’s Intelligence headquarters in Moscow.
All live streams were recorded and saved but none were accessed except in cases of Suspicion or during the investigations of committed crimes. However, it was not due to these assurances from The Flag that the Stream Act passed. Studies (and common sense) had indicated that the Chip would significantly reduce the number of terror attacks and other crimes perpetrated globally and the citizenry, worn down by ever climbing increases in terror attacks and crimes, sacrificed its privacy to The Flag in order to see these numbers fall.
Three years after the Stream Act passed, Brock came into my office, said: “You need to see this,” and played for me the recorded stream of a missing young woman by the name of Kate Phillips.
Miss Phillips was a Resistor who did not wear a Chip. Still, it was rare that anyone went missing anymore. Cameras were virtually everywhere and even Resistors, though they did their best to elude them, were under near 24-hour surveillance as a result.
“Right…here,” Brock said, pressing Stop. “Poof.”
“Glitch?” I asked.
“Not according to the Lab.”
“Again,” I said.
Brock replayed the recording. On the screen, Kate Phillips ran from the camera and it followed her. Panicked, she looked over her shoulder with increasing frequency as the camera closed the gap between them. When the pursuer drew close, within six or eight feet, Phillips leaned forward and vanished.
“And they know it didn’t glitch,” I muttered, more to myself than to Brock. “What happens when you frame by frame?”
Kate Phillips was looking over her shoulder at the camera. The camera was close, within ten feet or so. Brock stopped the recording. He advanced the frames one-by-one and then Kate Phillips was gone.
“Huh,” I said. “Anybody got a theory?”
Brock said: “Me and Evans think she fell off a ledge or into a hole or something.”
I shook my head. “No…Who’s chasing her anyway?”
“Boyfriend. We have him in custody.”
Brock went back and advanced by frame.
“There,” I said.
We studied the still shot. Brock nodded and whispered: “Her legs are still there but her upper body…”
“She didn’t fall in a hole,” I said. “She dove into-”
Brock’s eyes got wide. “The Resistors have Transport,” he said with a disbelieving tone.
“Moscow,” I said. “This is 29468-LT. Patch to 79354-CL. Stat.”
“Live stream patched,” an automated voice replied. Another voice, this one human, said: “Pretty busy here, Carter. What do you need?”
“Colonel, the Resistors have Transport tech,” I said. “You’re going to want to see this.”