May 3, 2020:

Police Inspector Ping Zhing knows his trade. The important thing is to project calm in crisis. With his final four hairs combed-over and his eyes fixed manfully on a dead woman's breasts he types notes with both thumbs, actually it's his grocery list but nobody needs to know, or anyway it began as a grocery list before his attention wandered and now it's a note to his wife, whose conversation with a delivery boy he simultaneously monitors though the Happy Spouse virus he's thoughtfully included with the cell phone he bought for her birthday.

A Mantis goes before him. Stick-figured, insect-like, tall, dressed in white head-to-toe with shining gold earrings and red-painted lips, gender indeterminate but the reedy voice suggests female. He thinks she's his boss. It's not entirely clear. He does what she says and they're both happy that way.

"The Fourth New York Volunteers," she says, authoritatively. She has the calm of certainty, a quality he admires and spontaneously defers to.   Where she strides purposefully through the scene he patters after, keeping up, typing with both thumbs, projecting calm.

Beside them a peripatetic AI does the real work. The intelligence of this model is entirely non-emergent. It scans and processes in fixed patterns: chemical composition of the residues, blast direction, shards and shrapnel, distribution of blood and body parts and blackened tablecloths. These data are straightforward to correlate with past statistical distributions. It's simple machine learning but to Ping it seems like magic, with his attention on his wife's tone of voice and his sudden deep illumination that the number seven is central to Christianity, though he thinks better of sharing that insight aloud. The AI's metallic voice grates agreement: "The Fourth New York Volunteers."

The Mantis nods and gives Ping his orders. "Two hundred twelve," she says, authoritatively. "Two each for the firemen. Two hundred for the soldier." Leaving Police Inspector Ping Zhing to sort the details.