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"In science fiction one can say a great many things that are unpalatable, because it's expressed as science fiction you can slip it past their defenses."
- Frederik Pohl

Deadman's Device  
  A device implanted beneath the skin of an operative who is to be sent on a hazardous mission.  

Should the operative die, the Deadmans' Device (DM) instantly sends a message which is relayed to friendly headquarters. The automatic message simply conveys that the person is dead, without being able to say how or why.

'What I mean, two ops went in at the beginning of this. Security or someone got them. We know that because they had deadmans under the skin. Their dying triggered message rats from their ship.'

He smiled again, a grimace. 'The [location] is that dangerous, they went in with DMs?'

'Yes.' Bohz tapped his head behind the right ear. 'Mine. Ottodoc [the ship's automatic doctor] is set up for implants. Up to you what you do.'

From Shadowspeer, by Patricia Jo Clayton.
Published by Unknown in 1990
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Thanks to an anonymous reader for this item.

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