Plain View (a three-paragraph story)

It’s been over two decades now since we saw the last crime in Malang. We didn’t have much in the way of crimes even before the first version of WisImage. WisImage itself started not because of crimes, but because some young developer proposed to help stop the spread of COVID 19. He combined AI, connected cameras, and the early version of block chain-based image circulation to come up with a warning message related to health protocols. People were constantly reminded of wearing masks, wash hands, and maintain physical distance. It did halt the rapid surge of infection rate, and people consented to having their photos taken by their imaging devices at random. Strangely enough, it snowballed–nicely that is–into reducing crime rate. Crime was indeed virtually impossible with cameras taking our pictures constantly and making moves to remind potential perpetrators.

Lately, however, we started seeing unusual occurrences. Fires started in some places, burning structures or buildings to the ground. There are indications of arsonry. We ran WisImage footages from road cameras and domestic cameras to find suspicious movements around crime scenes. We checked cameras and various imaging devices all over the city. We found nothing. This is probably the only time WisImage fails to prevent crimes. It seems that we’re dealing with a police-thief game. People say, no matter how smart police are, the thieves are smarter. Our heavily image-controlled community has made it difficult for potential thieves to move, but thieves might have gotten smarter. In the absence of human policing, the responsibility falls on my hands as a civil servant to find digital traces of those thieves. I’ve gotten used to relying on WisImage so much that it’s quite a struggle to solve problems on my own. 

I haven’t found any clue. I do believe, though, that some very evil group is working in the dark. You all know how people believed that black holes existed because we couldn’t see them and find any other visual evidence of their existence. That’s exactly how I started believing that there is indeed an evil group lurking somewhere in Malang. This evening, I’ve been trying to work on a note to tell everyone in my unit. I keep getting trouble visualising my thoughts. My work station has defied my command several times. I’ve checked my domestic camera and found that no one is trying to get closer to my proximity. When I checked my domestic cameras, however, I kept finding that they were pointed at me and I had to guide them around to check the perimeter. Is this evil group trying to stop me? Most probably. But where are they? Who are they? I started smelling fried cable somewhere near me. If the evil group is here to get me, at least I need to know who they are. The cable started burning right behind my work station. I checked my domestic cameras and found at least three of them were monitoring the fire. Wait. Am I dealing with …?

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