“Would a live test be available? All the theoretical possibilities sound very exciting but a real demonstration now would help tremendously to validate these claims. For me personally, to actually witness true results is far greater than just hearing your stated facts and figures. I’m sure our readers would feel the same way if I vouched for seeing it perform well in my news story.”
“Agreed. I assume you have something in mind, Mr. Braddock?”
“As a matter of fact, yes I do. I have a friend who’s been missing for a few weeks and the leads have gone cold. The authorities have exhausted all traditional search methods of finding him. I just happen to have one of his baseball caps in my car. Can you scan it to see if it has enough of his DNA to utilize for your tracker system?”
“Certainly. If a hair follicle or skin cell is present on the material, it should be enough to get a reading. Is your friend from this local area? I should point out that while we could just as easily track his whereabouts on the other side of the planet, it wouldn’t be very simple to go now to those pinged locations. It’s much easier for the two of us to verify the test findings if they are within the local area.”
“Makes sense. Yes he is. His family is greatly worried but are still hoping he will turn up. When he vanished, it was as if the whole world just came along and ‘swallowed him up’. There’s been no trace of him found anywhere, so far. It was because of his mysterious disappearance that I discovered your research team through the Kickstarter page. I was looking to see if there were any experimental techniques available to locate missing persons, when I read your synopsis. To be honest, I was quite skeptical of the incredible claims you made but after talking to you in person, I’m kinda excited now. How many others in your organization understand this amazing technology as well as you do? I only ask because it would give me a clearer picture for the article if I spoke to all key technical personnel.”
“Well, all false modesty aside, I handle all of the technical details of the project. My partners specialize in financial support and marketing. I’ve built this scientific technology from the ground up. Marrying biology and mechanical engineering is my niche. The others have their own specific departments. Now, shall we scan your friend’s hat to see if we can get a reading?”
“Yes. Let me go get it. I’m anxious to see what your bio tracker can do.”
After scanning the brim of the hat for biological traces of the missing man, the device located a satisfactory reference point to use. Immediately the computer began analyzing data and sending out corresponding pings. In only a few minutes it directed their attention to several known places associated with his DNA. The first few positive pings were at the man’s gym, at his apartment downtown; and echo feedback, there at the Bio tracker headquarters. Most exciting, the GPS coordinates for a nearby national forest area registered as the largest feedback.
“That is amazing! He must have lost some hair in the shower at the gym he has a membership with. I bet your system points straight to the shower drain. Obviously he would have plenty of DNA remnants at his apartment too. What do you make of the ping here at the office?”
“That is most likely from his hat, itself. Our system just tries to tie all related DNA sources together. I’m sure if you put the hat back in your car, our tracker unit will reflect that movement after we refresh the feed. The big news is the large ping at the national park! Maybe your friend just decided to rough it for awhile and failed to tell anyone about his extended camping trip.”
“Ah, you’re probably right about the hat. It’s likely causing a false positive reaction. Let me go toss it in my back seat.”
“Our satellite feed updates in real time. The strange thing is, the DNA ping followed you out to the parking lot as I suspected it would. Then it mysteriously followed you back inside! Could you have accidentally gotten one of your friend’s hairs on your clothing?”
Mr. Braddock smiled in a very vacant way and then sat down gently. “I have to apologize for this poor charade. The truth is, your machine is detecting his DNA inside MY body. You see, I killed him in that forest and left his remains in a shallow grave. I guess the DNA from his cooked flesh hasn’t decayed enough to not show up in your device. I had to find out what your technology could do; and if any of your partners understand it. I regret that I must also eat you too. I can’t leave anyone alive that is capable of locating his body; or now, yours. I am truly sorry for using the journalistic ruse. It’s the only way I could find out what I needed to know.
Your invention really is amazing but I’m going to have to destroy all of your records and burn down the building to cover my tracks. I enjoy killing people too much to stop and your work here is a huge threat to that.
In an article never to be published in ‘The Cannibal Times’; the headline might simply have read: “Bloodhound Killer strikes again! Haha I’ve never had Pakistani food before. Goodbye Mr. Amir. Prepare to die.”