99 Degrees of Torsion Page 3

The three sat in cofused silence as they watched the Tri-V from Central Broadcasting. The Central Broadcasting network had a history of being almost instantaneous with the general crime statistics.

Generally crime hovered at or near 70 percent saturation. This was a complicated equation with greater crimes meriting higher percentages, and a theoretical elimination of all crimes meriting a negative percentage.

"We interrupt this program for a special report."

The news announcers head appeared superimposed over a trash container absent mindedly placed on the Tri-V viewing table. Derago moved it as the crime graph was displayed.

"The crime percentage for this sector of space, that is the Sol system, is near 20 percent."

There seemed to be an almost inaudible gasp as Derango and his co-workers watched with the maintenance engineers who kept the thermal and pressure systems in check each night.

"The previously recorded low for crime was reported 50 years ago, just after the system-wide defeat of the "Soul Suckers", the non-sentient space-fareing lifeforms that would leave a person without memories and will. As soon as it was discovered that the psychic energy created from the non-stop viewing of "The 3 Stooges" was detrimental to their make-up, they were swiftly dealt with."

"We dont know the statis of the centauri system as of yet, please stay tuned to this program for further updates. We now return you to your regularily scheduled program "The 3 Stooges Do Mars"."

What had taken place to bring crime to such an all time low? There were reports of bank robberies in progress, and the bank robbers just turning around and walking away without taking any money. There were purse snatchers who, after taking a ladies purse, stopping in mid-stride, turning around, and handing the victim back her purse, all the while sporting a blank, confused look on their face. What had happened... What INDEED?.?.?.?.?.?.?

At first some scientists thought it might have something to do with the "gel". But gel users werent the only people affected. There were ordinary housewives who, just for the seeming heck of it, would aggressively smash the lettuce heads in the produce aisle, and not be able to say why they did it. Hmm... it really makes you say Hmmm. Hmmmmm.... Hmmmm.... INDEED?.?.?.?.?.?>.?.