(This was my entry to a New Scientist screen writing competition January 2015)

A man wakes up next to a woman he doesn’t recognise: exactly as usual. His face-blindness no longer perturbs him, since he has strategies for checking people against memories of their distinguishing features.

Later, his robot car encounters not just the usual freeflowing traffic, but almost no vehicles at all. The guard at his office, the one with the freckles near his temple, looks agitated and waves him through, without opening either of their windows. Without smiling.

A news summary in the lift to his lab refers to some kind of bio-weapon atrocity.

“A virus…damages face and voice recognition…unknown attacker…advise the use of Quaerex smart goggles…”.

Perhaps people will understand now what his life has been like. As a Quarex employee, at least his small shareholding will now ratchet up in value.

Two days later and everyone is reliant on the recommended visual prostheses. The man’s colleagues, still shaken, are goggling an address by the President.

“Situation is now calm…national emergency averted by our ingenious Tech Corporations.”

An out of court deal to stop cartel proceedings against them has been reached.

The man, although now paper-rich, feels uneasy. No mole on chin. Eyelashes too short. Who was that guy?

He taps his ear to call his boss and glimpses what he has learned is his reflection in the wall of the projected-glass cubicle.

His own voice, on loudspeaker, announces to the room,

“Face Not Found. Intruder. Inform the authorities.”