Archive for November 2nd, 2006

November 2, 2006: 11:30 pm: UMC

After checking into his room, Chong was called to a small meeting of dignitaries prior to dinner. Most of the delegates to the peace meetings had stayed including the representatives of the defeated countries.  The business of the meeting interrupted by the bomb, had been mostly introductory and ceremonial. Tomorrow the treaty would be signed after the remaining few disputes over wording had been hashed out.

Most of the terms of the treaty had been worked out beforehand in diplomatic conferences. Most all the remaining changes were small concessions to the defeated countries, who had not been invited to the diplomatic conferences. Minister Narang of Britain called a few principles to meet before dinner to discuss the one true point of negotiation, the term of the occupation.

“Ah, President Chong, thank you so much for coming on such short notice.  It’s been quite a day hasn’t it.  Please come in.”

Chong was impressed that Narang opened his own door. It was something Chong  would have done and worried that his effort at being modest would be misinterpreted as unsophisticated.

The leaders of France and Russia, China, Mexico, and Canada were in attendance.

“President Adams is on his way. He’s the last one we’re waiting for.  Can I get you a drink?” offered Narang.

Chong asked for a water, and to his great shock, Narang went off to fetch the drink himself.

“We have no servants here tonight Chong. This meeting is supposed to look as if it’s about the treaty but it is not,” said the French President. “While you have proved a great help in the bombing investigation, we already know who set the bomb and why. We’re meeting to determine an immediate course of action tonight.”

Chong tried to look nonplussed. “How can you be so sure?”

“Because the criminal left word with the heads of Europe and America. His name is John Ford.  He’s not a Fundy but he is a Terranist and he beleives the UMC should be removed form Earth at once.  He wants his victim to know everything about why he is dying.  He’s after you Mr. Chong.  He wants you dead.”

: 10:31 pm: Technology

During an interview on CNN this evening, Michael J. Fox compared using older existing stem cell lines to using Windows 95. My wife and I were both working on our laptops (Windows XP and OS X) but it caught both our ears.  I laughed and Eileen said, “Did he just say that?”

: 6:38 pm: UMC

The guards had Chong almost all the way back to the elevator before he collected himself.

“Stop.  We’re not going to run.  I want to find out what happened here.”

“Sir, it’s not safe,” started one of the guards.

“I’m not interested in that right now.  Get me to the security center.”

The guards took the President to the area they had been told to use for security questions where he was referred to the actual security offices.

Outside the office, a functionary attempted to brush him away.

“I’m sorry sir, but we’re busy pursuing leads on this.  If you’ll just remove yourself to a safe location.  We’ll update your ministry as soon as possible.”

“I’m not going anywhere.  I want to talk to the head of security now,” said Chong.

“Sir.  I’m terribly sorry this has happened but it is just not possible for you to speak with the head.  He is dealing with this situation. He has no time.”

“He’ll make time for me.” Chong pushed his way past the outraged man.  He had decided if he was to be viewed as an offworld backwards ruffian, he might as well act the part where it benefited him.

With the functionary on his tail he found the head of security at his office going over a report.

“What is the meaning of this!” cried the security chief, standing up as Chong burst into the room still followed by the functionary and the two UMC guards. Lawrence had chosen to wait outside.

“I am President Richard Chong of the United Moon Colonies. You mkay remember us as one of the reasons you’re not in a compulsory religious internment camp right now.”

“Mr. President, I uh… understand your indignation, howver I am trying..”

“Shut up and listen to me! Your mole planted the bomb using a detrailing device.  I recognise the signature of the blast from mining work at New Canaveral. A detrailing device like that leaves a DNA goldmine in it in skin flakes because of the intricate setting mechanism, if you can find it. They bury themselves after detonation.  I can show you where if you’ll allow me to accompany you to the blast site.”

“Our mole?”

“Yes mole. It’s the only way a detrailing device could get in this place. They’re not unobtrusive unless you bring them in in small pieces over time. Now do you want my help?”

The security chief had less of a look of surprise than the UMC guards, but still showed some.

“Right this way.”

Chong left the guards posted outside the great hall and spent a few minutes investigating the blast site. The French team working on the site showed no small amount of confusion over what he was doing. He crawled around on his knees, seeming to sniff the air over certain patterns of crakcs in the wall and floor.  After about five minutes of this odd behaviour, he called Lawrence over.

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing Lawrence?”

Lawrence looked uncomfortable, shifting his gaze between the staring French workers and his boos, the President of the UMC.

“What is that, sir?”

“Come on Lawrence. Don’t pretend we didn’t spend two summers deep under New Cav recovering these damn things for beer money. It looks like a Terran-made Caterpillar brand and I think it dug and detonated.  Right there.” The President finished pointing to a black indentation in the floor where several cracks seemed to meet in a starburst.

Lawrence lost a bit of his self-consciousness as he looked.

“You know you’re right.  Those are hard to come by.  Seems unlikely, but it sure fits the pattern.”

“Hard to come by on Luna you mean. Not so hard to come by in France when the factory’s in Stuttgart.”

The security chief finally intervened. “I’m sorry but I’m not following what you are saying. Do you mind explaining?”

Chong felt a little glow of pride at this.

“Of course chief, I’m sorry. It looks like your mole used Caterpillar brand self-detonating detrailer device.  A detrailer is a mining machine.  Without getting to much into it, it blasts rock to cover up marks made by other mining equipment. If you want a real smooth overlay, you need a self-detonating detrailer.  One that blows itself up after it’s done.  In a mining situation this leaves a perfect aftermark.  Something you can deal with.  In the halls of Versailles it’s not so pretty but it’s essentially the same thing. The detrailer blew off the wall creating a leveled path here, then buried itself over here and blew itself up.”

“You said something about Stuttgart I believe?” The Chief was starting to think like a security man again.

“The beauty of self-detonating detrailer for a criminal, is that it leaves no trace. If you don’t have someone familiar with these kind of devices, you’ll never find it and never know what did it.  But I recognise the pattern.  It’s the mark of a Caterpillar Detrailer.  They’re made her on Terra at Stuttgart. If I were you,” and here Chong began to assume a more presidential air. “And I wouldn’t presume to give orders to such a highly capable man.  But if I were in your situation, I might try digging down under that black mark and running DNA tests on anything you find.  Some organic material might have survived the blast. I would also call Catterpillar in Stuttgart and find out who has obtained Caterpillar Detrailers in the last few months and if any have gone missing.”

The Security Chief ordered his functionary to do just that, then turned to Chong. “Thank you very much.  I am sorry about the confusion earlier. How may I reach you if I have further questions?  We are lucky to have an expert such as yourself willing to assist.”

“I believe I’m staying here. Unless those arrangements have changed?”

“Well in light of the current situation I hardly think someone such as yourself would want…”

“Oh I want,” Chong smiled. “I want to be as close to this as possible. That detrailer was a prelude, nothing more. I intend to prevent the sequel from occurring.”