A message arrives for Jeffrey Corris from the Martian Superior Court: The warrant on Plantagenet’s holdings has been served and the materials should start arriving in the next few hours.

The AI assistant inquires: “How would you like these materials filed?”

“How much are we expecting? Or do we know?” Corris asks, looking over the details of what the warrant wanted. “Have the forensic accountants work on anything financial. Have the interns go over communication. And ask the counsel’s office to send over some assistants to go over any memorandum, and legal documentation there may be.”

“I am uncertain which elements you may find most valuable, but the alert manifest specified several million terabytes of data,” the AI replies. “An initial review indicates that Mr. Plantagenet may not merely have supplied his corporate and personal real estate holding data, but also entire digitized libraries – music sound files, holovids, novels, encyclopedic compilations of ancient literature and massive galleries of modern and antique art.”

Corris sighs, shaking his head. “Create an algorithm to filter out anything non-relevant, then sort and distribute for analysis. Can that be done?”

“Perhaps,” the AI answers. “What would you deem relevant?”

Corris sighs, his head tilting down while it shakes. “Financial information, internal communication.. Filter out anything non-media, I would say. At a first glance, does anything stand out as odd or out of the ordinary?” The councillor begins to get frustrated with the AI.

“That will take some time to determine,” the AI responds. “It would be useful, Councillor, to have a frame of reference to provide context to the inquiry so that I might efficiently establish appropriate search parameters. Lacking that, perhaps a disgruntled former employee who might have reason to offer information about their former employer?”

“Start there then.” Corris snaps back at the AI. “Expand to include any family issues in correspondence, threats, financial irregularities.  There must be something in there. He knows more than he’s letting on.”

“An accountant named Frank Amisen left the company under a cloud about six weeks ago,” the AI informs Corris. “Internal company documents suggest he was leaking information to CBN about some of Plantagenet’s business dealings.”

“What sort of business dealings?” Corris replies, stepping behind a desk and picking up a random pad to see what’s on it. “It may not be Mister Amisen who is behind it, but perhaps Plantagenet was into something, or dealing with those, who have a lot to lose.”

“News accounts on CBN refer to contracts with the Sivadian Navy,” the AI replies.

The councillor scratches his chin. “What sort of contracts? Is there anything in his financial records to support these news reports?”

“It appears that Mr. Plantagenet’s company held the contract for construction materials for several ships built by the Sivadian Navy, including one destroyed in the recent skirmish near the Line of Pain,” the AI answers. “The Sivadian government is currently investigating all companies involved in that vessel’s development.”

“The Nall destroyed the ship? Or something else?” Corris replies, sitting down. “Why would the Sivad investigate companies involved in development?” He pauses, thinking it through. “Unless they were concerned that, perhaps, someone gave information on the ship to someone?”

“A large sentient creature of unknown origin tore the destroyer in half after snatching and demolishing a Sivadian cruise liner,” the AI answers. “You may recall it was all over the news. The construction company is under investigation for potential issues with the ship’s design.”

Corris waves his hand, “The news… Fear mongers. Half of it is made up. I try not to pay attention to anything that doesn’t directly involve Mars, or the council.” Remaining silent, Corris ponders his next course of action. “I suspect we will find more answers on Sivad. Send a message to the appropriate people on Sivad with a request for information and a meeting. They can come here, or I can come to them. Why do I get a feeling that this is going to be about more than a ‘missing’ kid.”

“I will place a request with the management AI assigned to the Sivadian government ministries,” the Martian AI confirms. “You will be notified once I have a response.”

By Brody

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