Probability

Your rating: None
3.857145
Average: 3.9 (7 votes)

Detective Summers sat across the desk from me, leafing through a file and letting me sweat. The cuffs cut into my left hand. My thumb tingled. Slowly, the sensation was spreading into my other fingers. Detective Lombard fixed me with a glare and sat drinking a small cup of coffee. He did that annoying thing where he sucked air in before the liquid got to his lips, and then sighed after drinking; Suck-sip-sip-sip-ahh.

"There are only two possibilities: yes or no," said Detective Summers. Lombard sipped his approval. “It’s a simple question, John,” Detective Summers said. “Were you at the Yukon last night with Tony?”

“I want to speak with my lawyer,” I said. It was an easy lie. I’d like nothing more than to avoid every jail cell, interrogation room, cop, and lawyer until the day I die—old and happy—but we can’t always get what we want. Summers and Lombard exchanged a glance. Lombard shrugged and got to his feet, taking his coffee and suck-sip-sip-sip-ahh with him. Summers leaned back in his chair, waiting for me. I awkwardly scratched the side of my nose with my shoulder, and ignored the lump in my throat.

“I hate uncomfortable silences,” Summers said, fussing with the file, “makes me want to talk, say something to fill the hole.” He drummed some fingers on the edge of the desk, a hollow ringing sound. “We know it was Tony and his crew that hit the casino. Got them on video feeds, possibly hairs at the scene.

“Back in the old days, we’d have detectives and forensics scouring every inch of that place, trying to chase alibis, run leads, make matches off of partial prints, and trying to get facial recognition through masks. Thanks to our city’s Quantum Analytical Engine, we can take all of those exobytes of data, and sift through it”—Summers snapped his fingers—“like that.”

I tried not to roll my eyes. I couldn’t guess how successful I was. Summers wasn’t even looking at me, just fishing for a reaction. “Our predictive model said that there’s an 83% chance that because you two are close, Tony told you all about it.” Summers whistled. “Predictive model also says that there’s a 51% chance that you were on Tony’s crew that hit the casino.”

Summers leaned back in the chair, lacing fingers behind his head. He was fidgeting like a crack addict --it made it really difficult not to fidget myself. “Eighty-three percent is good enough for me. I’d lock you up now, but since the court ruled that quantum computing can’t be used to predictively convict criminals, even for serious shit like this, I guess we’ll just have to do it the old-fashioned way.”

The wait was long. I tried to ignore losing feeling in my thumb. Had they even called the lawyer yet?

Summers leaned forward. “Simple question, John. Yes or no.” Summers punctuated the next sentence with a tap between each word, “Did. You. See. Tony. Yes. Or. No.”

I had been there, but I hadn’t seen Tony. I wondered why it mattered, and what I could tell Summers to shut him up. My lawyer told me to never say anything to the cops. Always ask for representation, always wait until they get there to say anything. I couldn’t imagine what I was confessing by saying it, but not knowing kept my mouth shut.

“Lucky for you, predictive models also gave us a few other options,” Detective Summers said, licking his lips. “Hernandez is in the other room with…“ He paused to think. “What’s her name… Julie?” Summers nodded to himself. “Julie is in there, singing like a choir girl. She doesn’t want to go to jail, not with her little girl at home.”

I was uncomfortable with the image. Julie didn’t know anything, but that wouldn’t stop her from making a plea to keep her daughter. “I assume this is being recorded?” I said. Summers gave me wide-eyed innocence , shaking his head ‘no.’ Liar, I thought. “Law-yer,” I said. Summers gave me an oops-you-got-me look, and took a recorder out of his coat pocket, shutting it off and putting it on top of the file.

Summers leaned forward. “You got a weight on your conscience, John?” he asked.

“No,” I said, “just curious why you thought I’d fall for that.” This was the moment that Link, my lawyer showed up, decked out in a cheap suit and glasses. Detective Lombard came back in as well, sans coffee.

“Detective Summers,” Trevor Link said, “my client has invoked his right to an attorney, and you should not have continued questioning him without me present.”

Summers innocently protested , “We were just talking to pass the time,” he said with a wide smile. He gestured at me, maybe hoping I would confirm.

Instead, I said, “He said I have an 83% probability of knowledge, and 50/50 I was there.”

Link glared at the detective as he sat down. “I just pinged the Analytical Engine, and it looks like less than 30% probability of knowledge, and just over 10% that he had any involvement.” Link scoffed , “Why even pursue my client, with such low probabilities?”

“Social media connection with other suspects are very high,” Detective Summers grumbled, “they posted at a similar location and time.”

“You’re going for a social media conviction?” Link said with a laugh. “What a waste of time. The DA’s office has a 30% conviction rate with non-violent robberies.” Link scanned his tablet. “There’s a—wow, a 79% probability that the DA’s office will offer a plea deal that doesn’t include jail time, even if you manage to bring any charges.”

Link cleared his throat. “So cut the crap. What is your deal, and how do we get out of here?”

About the Author: 
Matt is a writer who loves brownies, science fiction, and his wife. Not necessarily in that order.