I spent the largest part of Saturday morning working in the lab. No one was in when I walked through the door, and that part of the morning may have been the best part.
Lost in my thoughts, I worked on a bot that could use a satellite connection. Combined with bots that could tap into a phone line, I’d have redundant communication methods.
Neither of them, unfortunately, would allow real time control.
For a moment, I thought back to equipment in League HQ, specifically the device that had once been part of an extradimensional transportation network. I didn’t know how it worked or much beyond the basics of how to operate it, but it almost certainly offered a way around the problem.
Deciding that there were too many open questions and unknowns there, I pushed it out of my mind. Besides, it was back in Grand Lake, and thus half a country away.
Instead, I spent the rest of the morning working on the satellite bot.
Around nine, I heard music turn on in the distance–something with a thumping beat. I didn’t know who it was, but knowing that it came from the far end of the common area, I guessed it had to be an upperclassman. Most of the labs near the front were theirs.
By ten, I heard talking in the common area. The sounds of welding came from the lab next to mine.
About that time, I began to wish that the lab’s design had included doors. When I’d been shown my lab, I’d been told that they’d used an open design to encourage collaboration and sharing knowledge–the same reason they’d given for putting the larger machines in the common area.
It was a nice idea in theory.
In practice, I wanted to shut the door, and block out the noise.
It was naturally at the peak of my frustration that I heard a knock on the wall. I looked up from the bot’s casing to see Gordon, Gifford’s older brother, standing in the doorway.
Taller than Gifford, Gordon’s muscles showed up clearly through his blue t-shirt–not to bodybuilder levels, but toned. He hadn’t shaved.
“Hey,” he said, not waiting for me to invite him in. “I heard what happened last night with the photographer.”
He pulled a chair up to the table I was sitting at.
“Yeah,” I said, watching his hands. Lee had trained me to watch people’s movements almost reflexively because that was one way to tell if they planned to attack.
That wasn’t why I was watching Gordon though. I had a lot of tools and small parts on the table.
His hand moved toward one of the screwdrivers. “Please don’t touch anything,” I said.
He moved his hand away. “Sorry. I should have known better.”
“No problem.” I thought about moving everything further away from him, but didn’t.
“Gifford forgot to put the dust on his face, and the photographer got a few shots of him. It doesn’t matter though because Hunter trashed the memory cards.”
Gordon grinned at that. “Good for him. He inherited a useful talent. His mom worked with my dad a few times. It caused a little tension in my parents’ marriage back in the day. They got over it though, so we’ve known him for years. A good guy.”
I nodded. “He seems nice, but I haven’t spent a lot of time with him.”
Gordon nodded back. “Well, there’s nothing to worry about, but let’s get back to the camera. Hunter’s not a tech guy like you. Do you think he missed anything?”
“Well,” I said, “that’s a good question.”
It was, in fact, an awesome question, and one that had popped into my a head a few times during the night when I’d rather have been sleeping.
I put down the screwdriver that I’d picked up without thinking. “Most digital cameras,” I began, “have short term and long term memory. It depends on the design, of course, but basically, there’s temporary memory that you might use while processing something inside the camera, and then there’s long term where you actually store it.
“I’m reasonably sure that Hunter trashed the expandable long term memory. I don’t know if he thought to destroy the memory that comes inside the camera.”
Gordon frowned. “Didn’t you ask?”
“Uh… No. He said he’d learned how to do it from his mom, and I’ve only met her once, but I get the impression that she’d be pretty thorough about protecting her image. I didn’t start to worry about that until later.”
He laughed. “You’ve got her pegged. If she taught him how to do it, the memory’s dead.”
I gave him brief smile. “That’s what I’ve been telling myself. I just don’t know it for sure, so I worry a little. Actually I’m also a little worried about the short term memory. It’s not likely anyone would get anything at all off that, but you never know.”
Gordon nodded slowly, following it up with, “But it’s not likely, right?”
“Not at all,” I said. “Anyway, I called Lim, and he had Feds track the guy down. I’m not sure what they did after that, but I know that no photos have appeared.”
His eyes narrowed. “How do you know that no photos appeared? If the guy sold them online, they might sit on them for a day before publishing.”
I’d asked our jet’s AI to watch for photos.
I kept my face as calm as possible. “Let’s just say I’ve got sources that would know if any major online sites had copies that showed Gifford’s face.”
He didn’t say anything at first, but then he slowly began to grin. “What did you do? Did you hack them?”
When I didn’t say anything, he laughed out loud. “Good. The bastards deserve it.”
Then he turned serious. “About Lim. Don’t trust that guy. Nothing against him, but he’s a Fed. Everybody knows the Feds are only involved in the program so they can take over. They’re starting by making us dependent on their training, but soon enough there’ll be mandatory cape registration like in China.”