A new crime app was just launched in Baltimore that provides users with up-to-the-minute information on crime and other emergency situations right to their phones so they have the opportunity to run away and get to safety. When this app was highlighted on the news, they noted that another feature is that witnesses can post live video of the event (Which seems to go against the “get to safety” plan of action), or post warnings when they see something going awry.
That led me to think about Scattergram from my book UNDERCURRENT. When Phelan and Ariana are on the run, they duck into a lunchroom for a bite to eat. Let me say here, that I included a couple of pages at the end of the book listing the food that Phelan ate throughout the book. Maybe I was hungry while writing. But that lunchroom is where those two are spotted in the Public Services Dome.
There’s this kid who sees Phelan without his disguise when he slips if off in a moment of poor judgment. The kid, not sure if it’s really him, simply calls out Phelan’s name, and when he looks up, the kid snaps a photo with his wrist-comm. When I was thinking about Scattergram, I imagined it doing basically what the crime app is doing now, where somebody sees something, and the Scattergram app (which is more of a social media thing, really) is how they say something.
So when the kid snaps Phelan’s photo, he clicks on the app and it simultaneously goes to “the network” and also to the police. They now have the photo and a location tag, and they can dispatch officers right away to capture the notorious Phelan Maxwell. Of course, he manages to elude the police for the time being, and the two of them make a clean getaway.
But the network gets the photos too, so those people are using their own Scattergrams to snap photos and tag his location, and so now the people on the street can track Phelan much more quickly than the police can. I threw a little twist in there too. The Undercurrent network is secretly helping him, and when they start getting the photos, they do something to throw the public and the police off the trail. I probably shouldn’t go into that here though. . .
If you’d like to read about Phelan, you can find the book at the other end of this Biqi-net address: