One hour later and Hooper knew that he had him. It was a him. In the end it was almost obvious who it was., Though if you would have asked Hooper he wouldn’t have believed it to be true. The guy was nosey, but it was always in a friendly way, a caring way. They were always seeking to make your life easier, help out and even cover for you if you were overworked or in a jam.
Which, he now knew, was entirely part of the plan. It was no doubt a method by which they kept suspicion away, and also learned more than they would from other techniques. They were a great guy, one of the team, someone to rely on and who was always there to help out. They didn’t need to be covert about their interest. They could hide inquisitiveness under the disguise of friendship.
Hooper had always found them to be a little too ingratiating. The type of organic who needed to constantly give in order to win favour. Hooper felt that it was a trait to mask something. He put it down to the man being a bit weak and easily confused, but that was obviously just an act. Hooper had to admit that it was a good act. He would have never placed him as a covert operative. Clearly a clever and dangerous one.
The computers were now placing the certainty that they were in each of the three suspect locations. These were three separate buildings where the data had been changed to hide their presence. They were good at hiding themselves, this organic. They had used that software cleverly. But once you had the key to how it worked you could undo any change to sensor readings. Hooper had reversed the alterations and now had a clean set of reports.
Someone had gone to the most expensive coffee shop in Judiciary Central. They had purchased a coffee and a hot chocolate and paid in credit bars which are virtually untraceable. However the shop paid its taxes immediately to avoid interest rates and so the transactions showed. They had gone to the storage locker room and drank their drink. However Hooper’s suspect didn’t go to the coffee shop, the officer on watch did. So very clever. They weren’t hiding themselves, they were hiding their unwitting accomplice.
Hooper knew how the conversation would have gone. His target would arrive and smile as they always did. They would have some pretext to be there, since they ran most of the clubs, events and societies there were lots of reasons for them to talk to people that wouldn’t be official or related to a case. Anything related to active investigations was strictly recorded and monitored. Anything requested for a closed or cold case was recorded. They would have offered a drink, they had done that with Hooper lots of times. They would have made note of the old injury and sent the officer on watch to get the drinks. That gave them time alone in the storage lockers to do as they pleased. Since they could alter the data later and make themselves invisible to records they could have free reign of any location. The software was sophisticated enough to mask logins. But Hooper guessed that they had acquired login cards and methods to access systems using other people’s details.
It was smart. It wasn’t overly complex once you had the ability to re-write sensor data. And if you were a desk sergeant, who had quarters at central and ran all the paperwork, it was clearly surprisingly easy. Hooper would have doubted that anyone could get away with this, had they been asked beforehand. But, since the whole of internal investigations was run using the tight sensor analysis and observation by computer, a system that had been corrupted, no one would have found out. Not unless they did what Hooper had done and known that someone had falsified data. The system believed itself unbreached and infallible.
They must know they had been burning their bridges with the attack on the mortuary and the plains. Even if Hooper had been killed and the trail gone cold at that point, a trail would have been established. The next time a full audit was run the missing missile platform would be discovered and a full investigation would be the natural outcome. So Hooper guessed that they had to be preparing to bolt, or had already gone.
Hooper prepared an initial report and sent it to the Artificial Intellect Judge that had authorised all of Hooper’s progress. To keep things tightly contained he was working with an outside agency who had their own legal representation at the highest level. It was the protection division arm of the government. A smaller, but no less influential, judicial arm who normally only concerned themselves with political legalities. Hooper needed an outside agency. He knew that Justice computers and systems were compromised so had to have an organisation that was close, but still separated.
Hooper sent the report through a security coded channel and at the same time pulled the waiting messages from the server. There were several short messages, mostly from the four people he trusted with the information of him being alive. He opened the most recent one first. It was from Drick and it had just four words, ‘We have a confession’.