Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) wrote,
Dave Van Domelen

Story Fragment: Henry the Eraser

Henry was an Eraser. Unfortunately, the cops knew he was an Eraser, which made his meager postcognitive talent pretty much unmarketable. Any time a police Postie determined a crime scene had been wiped by a previous use of postcognition, Henry was on the list of Usual Suspects. And that meant no one was about to hire him. But the only reason he'd even gone into business as an Eraser was that when he took out that huge loan to get his Postie gene triggered (that worked on about one percent of the population), he ended up unable to get more than the vaguest and shortest of impressions (that happened to about 99% of those who had their Postie gene activated).

Y'see, when Posties were discovered, it revolutionized law enforcement, but it didn't end all crime as many had hoped. Postcognition isn't like looking through a telescope into the past, it's more like doing a carbon dating test...you destroy the sample in the process. So, even though all it'd get Henry was a vague impression and a splitting headache, using his psychic talent would still scrape up all of the vibes floating around the area, making it effectively impossible for another Postie to check out the same time and place.

That led to Erasers. If you were serious about keeping your business hidden from prying Posties, you hired one of the 99 percenters who sucked at info-gathering but were just fine and info-destroying. Sure, there were legal ways to make a living as an Eraser. But most of the jobs, and most of the really good money, involved destroying evidence. And Henry had almost paid off his loans that way before he got sloppy and a forensic Postie caught a glimpse of him leaving a site he'd wiped.

(Yeah, you can try peeping all the way to "here and now," but cop Posties are trained to look around the edges for anything an Eraser might miss, which usually included the Eraser himself.)

It wasn't enough to charge him with anything, but it put the eye of the law on him, and work dried up. And interest on the remainder of the loan didn't.

And you didn't need the still-mythical precognitive talent to know what would happen if he defaulted on that loan, given that a broker had sold it to one of his previous clients....
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