A DET-ROT STORY

Donald Kenney (donaldkenney@gmail.com)
Last Update: Fri Nov 29 16:27:32 2013



Editing notes

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-- And so we resume back at Sol Station with Jur and Gan huddled in the Imperial Marine enclave ...

"Jur" said Gan. "I didn't want to bother you before, but the accident with the shuttle?"

I looked up

"It wasn't an accident" said Gan.

"Eh?"

"It wasn't an accident. Someone deliberately released the safety interlocks on the shuttle and kicked off the thrusters while you were outside the air lock."

I guess I'd really suspected that was the case. I wasn't really surprised. I thought about it for a while. "But why go after me? What good would killing me do anyone? It's not like I'm hot on the track of anyone or anything."

"I've given that some thought" Said Gan. "One possibility is that they think you know something. Maybe you don't, but they think you do?"

I shrugged that off. I don't see how.

"Maybe you know something, but don't appreciate its importance?"

"Could be, but I can't imagine what. I don't think I know anything relevant that you don't know. Would make a lot more sense for you to have an accident than me."

"Maybe it's something you could do. You're better with the computer than anybody else on the base."

"Could be, I suppose, but I don't see how that would help us. I suppose that you could bring in a gang of computer experts and tear the station machines apart. Maybe they will find something. But didn't Jor do that when he was here? What's the likelihood that I would do something he couldn't? Not high I think.

"Not High" agreed Gan. " Unless it is something that was done since Jor left. We should be able to check that pretty quick?"

Yup. But don't get your hopes up. Got any other possibilities?"

"Something you own maybe".

I laughed. "Three changes of clothes? My musics disks? My Persputer?"

Gan mulled that over. "Your persputer maybe. It's unique right?"

"Well, Yes. but not that unique. Jor didn't have any trouble getting into it, and I imagine his persputer has ten times what I have. Nobody tried to kill him."

"Jor said there were unauthorized programs running on your persputer. What do they do?"

"Just some code cracking stuff. There were some oddly encrypted messages in the station mail bag out at the depot. It's trying to break them."

Gan looked perplexed. "You raided the station mail and found illegally encrypted messages?"

"Sure. You know me pretty well. What's surprising about me going through the mail?"

"You going through the mail? Nothing at all. Exactly what I'd expect. Do you think you are the only one who goes though the outgoing mail? We check every bag and I can guarantee you that there have been no non-standard encoded messages incoming or outgoing through the station mailbag in the past 20 years."

"'Au contraire', I assured him. One each incoming and outgoing when I was out at the portal. And another in shuttle 3. Probably still there."

Gan thought a while. "We'll go look for it in a bit. But if they knew you had been perusing the mail, it won't be there, or it won't be the same message. So why kill you? And if they don't know about your snooping in the mail then there is no reason to kill you. Besides, if they knew you'd been messing with the mail, wy wouldn't you be in the brig. Messing with the mail is illegal.

I wondered briefly, just what you could do to create a punishment zone worse than general duty at Sol Station. I decided that it might be possible and that the whole idea was depressing. Meanwhile, Gan was still thinking aloud.

"Who sent the outgoing and who was the incoming addressed to?" He asked.

"The base commander and sector commander respectively. But if someone(s) unknown is getting to the mail after you screen outgoing and before you screen incoming, it wouldn't matter who it was addressed to, right?

"Good point, but if a message somehow gets past the incoming intercepts here or at sector, would you want it to go to someone who would be almost certain to investigate it? Besides which, if you weren't really sure of what you were doing, how would you hide an illicit message?"

"Me? I'd embed it in advertising fliers that no one is going to read?"

"Exactly. I think we can take it as a given that the folks in charge have something going on the side because if it were anyone else, they'd use advertising fliers or something else to looks innocuous for a vector.

"And whatever they are up to is probably why they tried to kill you. If we ever figure out what they are up to, we'll probably see why they think you are a serious danger."

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