First Draft Excerpt from Work in Progress

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This will be the third book in the Politics of Empire Series when it's done; the working title is The End of Childhood

Cascaya worked as a programmer for the system patrol, which explained what the demons wanted with her. If she could bollix up the interrogatory responses, or make it seem like invaders had passed interrogatory even for a few seconds, that could be a critical advantage. I messaged the patrol, indicating I had evidence she might have been approached for treasonous purposes, and to evaluate her work for compliance with interrogatory standards and security.

Since I needed to wait for an answer, I moved on to the other prospective traitor. She lived in the Weiburz arcology, out on the fringes of Sumabad, up in the hills. Like Cascaya, Hessonsi's job was something that might be able to hide enemy attacks - surveillance and sensory processing. Theoretically, she was a weather technician, but since those were also the people who would be expected to be the first to report mass incursions by the fractal demons, this was a vulnerability. The weather on the Rosette Worlds was watched but rarely influenced. It was the weather on the two annular habitats that they kept under control, lest storms and other phenomena with anywhere from two seconds on up build to unmanageable levels. I knew the Golden Ocean on Sharanna Prime was eight or ten seconds in length - four or five million Earth kilometers. A major demonic incursion not promptly identified could build to unholy levels - at least sixths, maybe eighths or ninths. It would be damned difficult to defeat an demonic concentration with those numbers. Like Cascaya, Hessonsi was a natural state offspring of a Guardian. Like Cascaya, I matched her event line to the event line which had interacted with the nephraim. I sent her employers an alert that she was suspected of colluding with the demons, and to crosscheck her work and notify me of what they discovered.

Since I did not yet have solid evidence of cooperation with the fractal demons, I needed to wait until I did. Their employers were alerted; any additional treachery would be quarantined before it could do any damage. If I'd had solid reason to suspect something imminent that would kill lots of people before it could be repaired, yes, I could have arrested them. In the absence of that, bringing the weight of the government down on individuals on the mere suspicion of intent would do more damage than waiting. M'Don's Equations were merciless in their illumination of the damage abuse did. Politicians of my original home had lived in denial of those facts, expecting to be long dead before the damage came to a head. The Imperial hierarchy expected to live long enough for the metaphorical chickens to come home to roost; had they been the sort to willfully ignore damage, they would have had their reign and their lives shortened by revolution long since. JeSarba had been Guardian for nearly three thousand Imperial because she tolerated no needless abuse in her Viceroys.

But before I could decide whether to return home or undertake a different errand, I received a response from the system patrol. Cascaya's work attempted to insert a false code for allied craft into the system.

How many of you are prepared to give testimony to this?

Four, Investigator. We can document the code it was done under. If it wasn't Cascaya, it was someone to whom she divulged her access in violation of her contract.

Please send your documentation to me at my official address. I will be in touch about official testimony. I'm sure you're already aware that where one person has succeeded another might also have

Yes, Investigator. We've already begun a thorough audit of the entire list. I'm sure if I'd been physically present he would have patted me on the head like a little girl, but that was expected. If I hadn't mentioned it, I'd have been negligent. Some people, all they see is the work they personally have to do. Now my report could reflect that detail - and someone from the military or with a rover's commission could be assigned to follow up. The man had - through no fault of his own - suffered a security breach. It was understandable he would be prickly and defensive about securing that breach.

Which left the job of taking Cascaya into custody. I checked the workload for the Enforcers, and they were down two bodies at the moment. When there were about twenty Enforcers scheduled for an entire Secundus district, that might be a big deal. Given the situation, I supposed it would be best to do it myself. I walked to a nearby portal, and used it - I didn't want to drain myself to travel three ithirds up against gravity. When entering a potential confrontation, never drain yourself.

I was a couple ifourths away from her apartment on the same level. I began walking when there was a report of laser fire in the corridor right outside my destination. It didn't take much imagination to figure out what had gone on. System patrol had revoked her access and notified her of contract termination, and unless she was completely oblivious, she had to be aware of what came next.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on June 17, 2020 8:11 AM.

Preparing the Ground - Now an IHIBRP 5 star Recommended Read was the previous entry in this blog.

First Draft Excerpt of Work in Progress: The End of Childhood is the next entry in this blog.

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