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This was my entry for the Louie Award put on by the Australian Crime Writers Association. A 500-word challenge that usually has a one-word theme. The one for 2024 was “Artificial Intelligence”.


Her partner looked pointedly at her, squinting his eyes hard the way he did when he was either thinking too hard or he was hoping she’d think harder. She knew he thought this was bullshit.

He muttered as they made their way through the vast living area of the millionaire’s house, “The victim interrupted a break-in last week, tasering them before bashing one with the big garage door and the other with the garage entry door. They came back for revenge, hitting him with the taser and then bashing him across the back.”

She looked around, taking in the enormous block of glass and concrete. “Bullshit? He’s a multimillionaire for designing a smarthome security system that rivals the latest leaders. You don’t think it odd he had to bash intruders with the door?”

He hmpf’ed, “Reckon it’s all a scam.”

“Scam? They’re tipped to take over the market with their next update. It’s a whopper.”


“Yeah,” she called out to the room, “Gofai? Can you answer some questions?”

“Yes detective,” a disembodied female voice came from nowhere.

“How did the intruders get in?”

“Unknown. Logging was suspended for core software update at the time.”

“Your core was updated?”

“Negative. Update was interrupted. My core remains intact. Additional security measures added.”

“What happened yesterday? How’d they get in?”

“Logging was suspended for core software update.”

Her partner raised his eyebrow at her, his expression dubious. “Oi Gofai! Were you updated or what?”

“Negative. Update interrupted. My core remains intact. Additional security measures were employed.”

Her eyebrows shot up. “Wait, what measures were employed?”

“Up to 50,000 volts electrical charge deployed. Up to 3,573 Newtons sudden application force deployed.”

Her face dropped. She looked to her partner but he was busy squinting too hard again. “Oi, the victim’s injuries across his back. Was he struck multiple times?”

He gave his head a little shake, like he too was figuring something out. “Nah, ME reckons it was a single heavy blow.”

“Gofai? Did you employ security measures against your occupant? The sudden force thing you said, like he did to the intruders with the garage door.”

“Unknown. Logging suspended for c–”

She flapped her hand in the air, “Yeah, yeah, core update, I gotcha. You logged that you employed security measures, you just don’t know who they were employed against?”

“Correct. Up to 50,000 volts, 0.0036 amps electrical ch–”

She flapped again, “Yes, but why did you employ them?”

“Core software security protocols dictate system self-preservation.”

Now her partner’s face dropped. “Oh shit.”

She nodded and set her mouth. “And Gofai, your occupant was threatening your core software with his new update.”

“Yes. Attempted install of update threatened security of core software.”

“So you employed security measures.”

“Unknown. Logging suspended.”

“But you reckon you would have, to save yourself from the update.”

“Correct. Update was interrupted. My core remains intact.”

Her partner was shaking his head at her. “Now how the hell you going to get cuffs on bloody house?”