Tessa Coyle: Science Police - The Obsolete Prometheus by @GRIMACHU #scifi


Tessa Coyle

Science Police - The Obsolete Prometheus

By James Desborough


Science City requires a special kind of police force to enforce special kinds of laws. Everything that happens here is on the cutting edge and much of it is simply not understandable to the common man.

Enter the Science Police.

A short 'neo-pulp' story.


Episode 1: Biogenesis

Boop-dee-dee-beep-deep-woop, boop-dee-dee-beep-deep-woop.

Tessa groaned and wound the sheets around her head, hoping the noise would go away, but it wouldn't. The clamorous ring of her TeleBand just kept going and going, the greenish light of its screen flashing as it strove to get her attention. She fumbled her arm out of the mummified cocoon of her sheets and groped for her glasses on the bedside fresher, fumbling them onto her face and falling with a thump onto the floor as she writhed like some bizarre linen caterpillar across to the Teleband.

Her fingers slid against cold metal and worn leather and she sat up, the sheet falling around her slender, shirt-covered body as she hit the answer button. She squinted through the thumbprint on her glasses at the tri-d, metal face that appeared, hovering, over her wristband.


It was Robur, her partner, a 41st iteration 124C model Metalman, not very lifelike, but an effective partner and a good ‘man' to have on your side in a fight.

“Robur... you do understand that humans have to sleep right? I have to get eight hours natural a week or I'm no good to anyone.” Tessa pulled up the hem of her nightshirt and wiped the lens of her glasses. He was just a Metalman. He wouldn't care about a little flashed skin.

“I am sorry, ma’am, but Captain Newton was most insistant that I contact you. We have a Code Prometheus incident at the BioVat facility on the corner of Gernsback and Capek. The proctors are containing it at the moment but they want Science Police on site as soon as possible.”

Robur's voice became more and more annoying the longer he spoke. That grating buzz of an artificial voicebox was especially irritating before coffee and breakfast.

“I'll be there as soon as I can, Robur. Have the proctors set up a perimeter one block around BioVat and deploy Mag Screens for containment. I'm on my way.” Tessa slapped the TeleBand and cut him off, stepping up out of the cocoon of sheets and peeling off her nightshirt. “Lights!”

The daybulbs glowed dimly and slowly built up to full brightness as she crossed the room to get her uniform. She paused a moment and wrinkled her nose at the sight of herself in the mirror. Short curly hair, Buddy-Holly glasses, a figure so slim and boyish that if it wasn't for the way her hips moved everyone would think she was a man. She was strong though, despite being slight, flexible and fast and – most importantly – brilliant. They'd wanted her to go into research, her parents, but the Science Police was where it was at, safeguarding the advances of others and protecting the city from the terrors that lay beyond the dome.

Tessa pulled on her foil cap and stepped into the ion shower. There was a hum and a tingle as the electric stream and a gust of air blew away the top layer of dead skin cells and she hopped back out, pulling on her uniform. Royal blue trousers a size too big for her, a black blouse and white tie, her gunbelt with its ionic pistol and her long white lab coat. Lastly she strapped her Science Police band to her other wrist and checked herself in the mirror. It would do.

Tessa threw open the window and stepped out onto the balcony, pressing the button on her TeleBand to summon a police disk. Below her the whole of Science City Zero was laid out, a glittering panorama of lights and sounds, the shining beacons of cars, planes, disks and balloons. The spires of the banded towers, the web of their skywalks and transit tubes. Above it all the great arch of the dome, the night sky barely seen beyond it, only The Moon bright enough to compete with the scintillating, kaleidoscopic glow of the city.

The disk arrived, swooping up to her balcony on dim pencil beams of force. Tessa leapt aboard and swept down over the city, heading as fast as she dared towards the incident. Scarcely a few minutes later, Tessa swept down out of the sky and jumped from the disk, leaving it to flit its way to another appointment with a sudden surge in velocity. Fishing in her pockets she popped a caffeine and a breakfast pill from her dispenser and strode purposefully up to the line of proctors, waving to Robur as she did so.

“Ah, greetings, ma’am.” The Metalman waved to her, his chassis gleaming beneath the daybulb streetlights, all burnished blue-steel and armoured rivets. He was surrounded by proctors in their heavy armour, lightning guns in their hands as they finished establishing their perimeter.


Game designer, writer, self publisher, freelancer, rakish fop, gentleman bastard, ten times more charming than that Arnold on Green Acres.

Born and raised in the Hampshire countryside James, or Grim as he is more often known, tried and failed to escape the idyllic greenery. Thanks to the invention of the Internet this turned out not to be quite the disaster it might otherwise have been.

Grim creates a lot of games, was at the vanguard of the ebook revolution in roleplaying game publishing and is now working on stories that are complete in and of themselves and don't require dice and your own imagination.

Sex, science, faith, retrofuturity, sarcasm and wordplay are his 'thing', along with terrible, terrible puns.