The Case of the Flaming Serpents 

I’m a robot detective. My name, in places where time runs forward, is Trey Taylor. My first name becomes trev when time runs backwards, and in the realms beyond death, I need no name, for what need is there of names when everyone you meet is filled with overwhelming awe at the discovery of their continued existence? 
There have been murders. Flaming serpents have been used to disembowel human targets. I’ve yet to find what links the attacks. The serpents attack the mouth, replace the intestines, and either slowly kill by interfering with the digestion process, like a parasite, or immediately, by disembowelling. 
I’m called to a home where flaming serpents are suspected. I enter through the open door. Inside, a servant wrestles with a serpent. It burns her face, splitting her head in two, but she continually heals, and the flaming serpents strike again. 
I realise there was no link between the previous targets. Someone was randomly targeting the population to see what resistance it offered, if any. Like an evolving species, adapting to the limits of a new environment. 
I talk to the servant, our flow interrupted by the melting and reforming of her head. She tells me she has something inside her, that regenerates her. The Cohort, she calls it. It counteracts the effects of the flaming serpents. They can’t kill her, merely inconvenience her for a while before she kills them. 
Someone is controlling the serpents. They’re the real enemy. I return to the training ground. I need a weapon to kill these serpents. I train with a chainsaw, using it as a weapon, practicing with my officer in a sand pit. 
The perspective changes. It’s a later time. I’m in an isolation camp. Everything I described was in a tv show. Old robots don’t retire, they end up here, isolated, in case my faultless memory reveals an unwelcome truth. The TV set flickers off. I walk across the grass. Larger robots come in, and grab any robot like me, I’m the last of my kind. This triggers a memory. Something I’d hidden. They are looking for me still. I changed my markings and serial number, swapped personalities with another robot. His life has not been so eventful. Programmed to serve, he was happy to help. The memories flood back. The case of the Flaming Serpents. I have to escape this involuntary retirement, there’s work to be done. 


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