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Although it is a novel rather than a short story, this sounds very like (one of the) plots in "Singularity Sky",by Charles Stross, first published in 2003. The particular sub-plot deals with the "Festival" arriving at a planet called Rochard's World. It makes contact with the inhabitants by raining down cell-phones from orbit. Quoting the ...


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Is it possible you're remembering Queen of Angels (1990) by Greg Bear? The first storyline follows LAPD Lieutenant Mary Choy, detective/investigator as she tries to hunt down a criminal, Schlege, who is organizing and committing vigilante acts of torture. The first part of her arc concludes with a major police raid against his people ("Selectors")...


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