Illustration of a woman with long hair, pronounced eyebrows, and full lips, against a red background.

Future Tense Fiction: “Mika Model,” by Paolo Bacigalupi

This short story was commissioned and edited jointly by Future Tense and ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination. It is the first in Future Tense Fiction, a series of short stories about how technology and science will change our lives. A short excerpt follows below; head over to Future Tense to read the full story.

The girl who walked into the police station was oddly familiar, but it took me a while to figure out why. A starlet, maybe. Or someone who’d had plastic surgery to look like someone famous. Pretty. Sleek. Dark hair and pale skin and wide dark eyes that came to rest on me, when Sergeant Cruz pointed her in my direction.

She came over, carrying a Nordstrom shopping bag. She wore a pale cream blouse and hip-hugging charcoal skirt, stylish despite the wet night chill of Bay Area winter.

I still couldn’t place her.

“Detective Rivera?”

“That’s me.”

She sat down and crossed her legs, a seductive scissoring. Smiled.

It was the smile that did it.

I’d seen that same teasing smile in advertisements. That same flash of perfect teeth and eyebrow quirked just so. And those eyes. Dark brown wide innocent eyes that hinted at something that wasn’t innocent at all.

“You’re a Mika Model.”

She inclined her head. “Call me Mika, please.”

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