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Liverpool Corporate Strata

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Off the Grid / at ground level

The many faces of Estelle Fischer

 

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Technology / Dysfunctional Technology

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Memory and  Memory loss

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Shortages and unrest

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Trees and green spaces

Epidemics

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 User: Jules Stewart

 D.O.B 05:09:2060

 Occupation: Pattern Surveillance Officer

 Resides: Liverpool Corporate Strata 19

 Verification rating: 89%

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Part 1.

Blank - for your imagination to fill...

Uncategorised

 

Investigation Number: 167

Entry 2.

Otterspool Skypark, constructed in the fifties. At the time the highest park in the country on top of the tallest building in the city. Now Fort Sefton, Dingle Rise, Pierhead Towers, Everton Heights and all of the rest of the corporate Strata built since dwarf it. Light has to be reflected down by a system of mirrors so the few remaining real trees can survive.

    I’ve set my reality in the park as Far East, tropical, the flowers vibrant reds and pinks. I head for the pagoda to sit and contemplate the case. My ears full of a droning insect soundscape, wasps, mosquitoes, flies.

    On 16th July here, or somewhere here about, was as far as Estelle went and then disappeared. The records show a retina scan on entry and a selection of Far East and Insects, number five. Strange choice for a woman her age, probability would suggest Contemporary Sculptural With Wind Chimes, number eight, or a fantasy setting like Minotaur VII with accompanying score, number fifteen. Was this a random selection?

    Guesswork is all I have, no clues, just me blinking at a blank screen. And of course the Memory Store, if anyone has anything to contribute use the links to the right.

    Estelle was in the park no time at all. The only recording we have is the retina-scan, no images captured by surveillance lenses. She vanished five seconds after she arrived. No exit noted.  The waste from the park cleaning bots has been filtered, drones searched walkways, surfaces, corners, no trace. Nothing.

    A red headscarf catches my eye. I know before the wearer comes into sight around the side of the pagoda that she will be a lady of eighty plus. She will sit on the bench opposite, take out a red box of Crispy Crunch Critters from a red basket. She will lean forward and make crumbs as she eats and when she finishes she will tip the box and shake out anything left. She smiles as tiny crabbots scurry about ready to clear up all the mess she’s made.

    I have a connection to an archived clip that my Granddad migrated from some old platform, my Grandmother, feeding ducks in Sefton Park, clapping her hands together to spread the last breadcrumbs. They were regular visitors to the Palm House before Fort Sefton was constructed.

    I wonder what reality settings this lady has, Grassy Bank With Pigeons, number nine or Lake With Wild Fowl, number eleven. She stands and runs both hands down her front, brushing off stray crumbs and then reaches behind to re-smooth the back of her skirt again as she bends to sit back down. All this exactly as I've watched her do countless times when I scanned through the park's surveillance footage.

    She looks straight ahead but her sight is fixed on the network field of vision in front of her. She’s reading, her eyes flicking across the text. In her right hand she holds a collection of charms. Hooked on one finger she clicks them back and forth with her thumb.

    Noticing that it’s nearly ten past two I walk over to speak with her. I wave so as not to startle her, and say, ‘Good afternoon. Can I speak with you for a moment.’ I reveal my credentials to her over the network. ‘I’d like to ask a few questions about a young woman who went missing from this spot four days ago at about this time.’

    She pays no attention. Her focus remains fixed on data.

    ‘I believe you were here when she disappeared.’ I persist. ‘Do you remember seeing her?’ I send her an image of Estelle over the network.

    Then suddenly, the lady in the red headscarf rises, slips the charms in a pocket and hanging her basket on her arm strides off, back to work. Estelle’s image bounces back to me with an alert ‘do not disturb.’ Of course, number 37, secluded spot.

    I return to the bench no nearer to knowing anything. The one potential witness oblivious to anything going on around her, attention focused on another reality.

    As I sit back down my backside feels the cold of the concrete. The edges of the pagoda bleed slightly into the surrounding green as grass, this is old tech now, not too stable and the gold lacquer shimmers.

    Time to find another park regular and hope for better luck.

    A white haired fella, wearing white trousers and shirt with a white jumper tied around his waist always hovers on the walkway above, leans on the railing, shoulders hunched, like an old bird. His hands are often clasped around a cricket ball, a real museum piece. The crowd only knows what he’s waiting for. No sign of him today. His spot is vacant so I wander up and around the walkway lined with bamboo and take up his vantage point myself. I lean on the railing. Great view of the entrance, he must have seen Estelle arrive.

    Today a slow trickle of people wander in from the elevator hall, they pause at the retina scan. Some already set, regulars, others linger, switching between settings to find the right mood.

    A couple come in arm in arm and lean their heads together conferring about which reality to share. They both smile as they step into their environment. I’m guessing it’s a new relationship.

 

 

 

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