& cplSiteName &

Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 8: Automatic Kidnapping

John Barnes
Faster-Than-Light Reading
John Barnes, Author
8/18/2015
50%
50%

This is Episode 8 of a Light Reading original science fiction story. Need to catch up? Start here:

Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 1: Family Business

Or find all the episodes here: Faster-Than-Light Reading.


The tranquilizer must have included a paralytic, because I couldn't move, plus a euphoric, because I was becoming happier and happier about being abducted. Clearly they did not intend to kill us right away. Such nice people!

After a while, the van pulled over someplace. A couple of them dragged and rolled us onto the rear seats and belted us in. Another one played back an audio recording of complicated directions to the self-driving computer.

They all got out of the van and shut the door, and the van drove away. Very clever. Good to be in the hands of such professionals.

Could we help the local cops notice that we were tied up in a van with no driver?

Apparently not.

I literally could not move a finger or a toe; my head hung over to the side, and I was probably going to have the mother of all cricks in my neck. My face felt like slack soggy clay on the front of my skull.

Markus could have been a warm sandbag slumped against me. I hoped he wasn't too badly beat up; probably losing the fight had been rougher than just being grabbed and tranquilized like me.

I couldn't even open my eyes to read a road sign. Overwhelmed by helplessness, jet lag, and drug-induced indifference, I fell asleep.


When I woke again, my hands were bound behind my back. I was lying on my side on a reasonably comfortable surface. I tried slowly opening my eyes. They opened.

Markus was about a meter away, strapped to a cot, his face toward me. Like mine, his hands were bound behind him. I could see the lines holding his pant cuffs down; his ankles were tied together too. I flexed my feet and confirmed that I was tied there too. As soon as I worked the ankles, the bonds tightened; they loosened after a few seconds of lying still. Taking precautions not to activate the smart bonds by squirming very slowly and without much pressure, I got my head into a position where squinting confirmed that bands of something strong held my calves, hips and torso to a cot, and that I was tied in exactly the same way as Markus.

I tried moving my mouth; it was dry and my tongue felt thick, but I worked my jaw and sucked saliva a little more, and eventually thought I might be able to talk, if Markus ever awoke.


Want to know more about the cloud? Visit Light Reading's cloud services content channel.


I heard a mix of whining, whirring, and grinding noises behind me. Ignoring the threatening squeeze of the smart bonds, I raised my head as far as I could, turning to look sideways, and saw a printer-assembler powering up in the corner. A piece dropped into its out-hopper. One robot arm picked it up and put it on the assembly frame; the machine went on humming and buzzing as it made the next part. Having nothing else to do, I watched as it used two arms to hold the two just-completed pieces together, printed a screw, then used a screwdriver arm to attach those two pieces and set the combined unit in a different position on its frame.

Next Page: The Taste of Failure

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
NFV's promises of automation and virtualization are intriguing, but what really excites service providers is the massive amount of money they could save.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Huawei Videos
The Power of Next-Gen Unified Communications

8|23|17   |   04:46   |   (0) comments


How Huawei's unified communications and videoconferencing platforms are saving time and money and improving customer experience for users in Italy.
LRTV Documentaries
Phone Review: Moto Z2 Play

8|22|17   |   1:54   |   (0) comments


Light Reading Mobile Editor Dan Jones reviews the Moto Z2 Play, which he calls 'a nice modern Android phone with good battery life and one of the nicest cameras' he's seen. The Moto Z2 Play is a Gigabit LTE-ready phone, but we were not able to test speeds that fast in the US.
LRTV Documentaries
Three Gets Smart(y), BT Invokes Twitter – The Recap

8|21|17   |     |   (0) comments


From Telecoms.com, a recap of the week's telecoms talking points. It's been a week of gimmicks as Three tests out a pay-as-you-go sub-brand called Smarty; Comcast
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
VMWare VP Brings Women Up With Her

8|16|17   |   6:49   |   (1) comment


It's an art and a science to make mentorship, inclusive leadership, diversity and promotion of high-potential women work, says Honore' LaBourdette, vice president of Global Market Development at VMWare.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Spectrum Wars – The Recap

8|15|17   |   2:22   |   (0) comments


Service provider 3 has filed a lawsuit against Ofcom over 5G spectrum auction in the UK.
LRTV Custom TV
Say What? Facebook Unleashes AI Anarchy – The Recap

8|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


A recap of the week's talking points on Light Reading's sister site, telecoms.com. Facebook AI programmers had a bit of a brain-fade as they allowed one of its AI applications to invent its ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Women Band Together to Help Girls Do STEM

8|2|17   |   9:35   |   (1) comment


Supporting women both inside and outside of Fujitsu is a top priority of the telecom vendor. Yanbing Li, Fujitsu Network Communication's director of System Software Development & Delivery, shares why it's important, but why there's still a long road ahead.
LRTV Custom TV
If You're Not First, You're Last – The Recap

7|31|17   |   08:18   |   (1) comment


In case you missed it, Amazon's 1% stock increase helped Jeff Bezos dethrone Bill Gates as the richest man in the world. Also, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Tech President Preps Workforce for the Future

7|26|17   |   5:47   |   (10) comments


AT&T is focused on the software-defined network of the future and is reskilling its workforce to get ready too, according to AT&T's President of Technology Development Melissa Arnoldi.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Why AT&T May Dump Home Security Biz
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/21/2017
Verizon & Friends Bust Through Gigabit LTE in the Lab
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/21/2017
WiCipedia: Dolly Babes, Manifesto Backlash & 'Brotastic' Failures
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/18/2017
Disney, iflix Team Up to Take Down Netflix
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 8/22/2017
AT&T Spreads Fiber & G.fast Wings
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 8/22/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Animals with Phones
Talk About a Custom-Made Workstation! Click Here
Proper ergonomics indeed.
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.