“Things are going to get very problematic around here,” Drick walked over to the sideboard and poured Krennar a malt whisky from the wide selection of drinks. “Here,” Drick passed Krennar the drink and noticed that they swirled it a little, and savoured the scent, before tasting.
“It’s good,” said Krennar, “hell Rodero you have real talent. If I didn’t know it wasn’t real I would swear that it was.”
“Some of it is the memory of the taste in your mind,” said Rodero, smiling, “the rest is, as you said, pure talent.”
“How problematical?” Krennar looked at Drick. “You want to let me know more? Or is this a case of minimum need to know?” Krennar sipped at the drink.
“I will tell you as much as I can,” said Drick. “Some of it I cannot tell you. It is a matter of professional courtesy that I keep some details back. I made a promise.”
“How about I explain what I think you need to know, and then if you feel you need to know more, ask questions and I will fill in what I can?” Drick raised an eyebrow and smiled slightly. Drick moved over to the drinks once more and poured a large vodka and slipped some ice into it, looking at Marsh Drick noticed him nod and poured the same for him. Rodero was already nursing their own particular cocktail mixture that likely was infused with more than just spirits.
“We have a copy of pretty much everything that was on their server stack. Don’t ask what was on there as it is a lot and most of it I haven’t looked at, and nor will I. Someone else paid for that privilege. Don’t ask how and where we got it, as I won’t tell you that either.”
“I think I can guess.”
“You can guess as much as you like.”Drick smiled, “Onto the important bits. I have a confession from the chief of their operational security that they had planned to kill Hooper.”
“Hooper’s dead?” Krennar stood up.
“No. They’re alive. Very alive. We knew that they’d be targeted and we took steps to avoid it. They have been coming down like a hail of bastards since this event happened. They clearly are willing to sacrifice whatever they can to kill Marsh and stop any investigation. It stinks. It goes high up. So we have been planning every step and guessing their moves.”
“That must have taken some thinking?”
“Well I have a lot of experience of dealing with this level of shit. Centuries of it. Whereas Rodero here was given a lot of access to some very powerful intellects and a group of the world’s best slicers to help them narrow down probabilities. Don’t ask them how they did it as you will be on the sorry side of a conversation about differential equations and something called statistics and other such crap. Upshot is, we had good guesses as to their every move and so we prepared for all of them.”
“How was the data collected? I know those types of systems. They are more protected than half of the best military networks.”
“There are always gaps in any security. What had to be done was avoiding the system locking down entirely. Thankfully I had noticed the overconfidence of the operations staff. So I relied on that to wager they would keep the system in full backup and recovery mode. I kept someone alive to use their own extremely fancy implants against them. On the bonus side I also got a confession of the assault on Hooper and infiltration of the Justice Department, theft and fraud. A whole shebang with intellect imprint to prove the data is not faked. I need you to get that to Hooper and to secure a copy elsewhere as insurance.”
“I can do that. Where is Hooper?”
“They are in Justice Central. Hidden away doing their own little investigation and pretending to be dead. They should break silence very soon and that’s when you’ll be able to contact them and hand over this package of proof. There are some accompanying pieces of evidence, like the fact that Volstron had an illicit mech in their lobby. There’s enough for the Justice to get warrants and do a full study. The sensor footage on the data files we will give you should be enough for a conviction.”
“You said it went higher?”
“It does. Some high ranking executives in Volstron and Yee On Kline have been feeding massive sums of money and post-service boardroom positions to civil servants and military officers. All high ranking. They have been buying silence and secrecy. They are hiding something in the outer system. I have a vague idea about what it might be. I am not sure but my gut tells me that it is connected to Marsh.”
“You have proof?”
“Well that’s where it gets interesting. I don’t have anyone in Volstron or Yee On Kline. However our security chief, and the criminal gang he worked with, kept very extensive details of every call, payoff and deal they made. They also made secret recordings. I have those. I can let you have some of them, the rest are promised to an associate.”
“Who is the associate?”
“I am not going to tell you, I told you that you can guess. They financed this whole operation. When I delivered the initial data they wanted from the nightclub, with extras, they opened up some more finance to me. I have a meeting with one of their operatives shortly where I will be using that credit line.”
“Do you need anything more from me?”
“A couple of small things. I need a highly experienced surgical team and some tickets on very specific craft. The aftermath of this operation is going to be extensive. They will not be bothering to be discreet. Marsh and I will soon have a big bounty on our heads. Larger than before. So I need to get a long way away from here. But there are a few things to wrap up first. I need to find an experimental geneticist and visit the outer system. I can handle both of those myself. You need to get the other items I have asked for. Questions?”
“When you say you are going a long way away, I guess that means forever?”
“So I will not see you again?”
“No. But I will be leaving you with that information. Trust me, someone is going to cover most of those people. They will not allow a scandal. That’s going to be very good leverage for someone like you. I also will be leaving you a sum of whatever funds remain after we leave.”
“Will you not need funds where you are going?”
“I will make sure that we are well cared for. The rest is left to you, Hooper and Rodero.”
“When do you go?”
“At this point this conversation is wasting my time? Any more questions?”
“No. I expect I will see you one last time. I will go and start with preparations.”