What happens when the hunter becomes the hunted…
“The final Future Data field trial started five years ago and was originally focused on one man, Avilon Revid,” the woman went on, this time giving a slight, supercilious nod to Cista Tyran to acknowledge her previous mention of the name. “It seems that was something of a mistake, in retrospect.” She paused and shot a meaningful look at Jecks, who frowned.
“Right. But at the time the evidence was highly convincing,” he said, a little too quickly.
Five years ago? Playing catch up, Grim realised, that implied Avilon Revid had not died in the Specials and had — presumably — been released. Which was probably the most chilling piece of information he had encountered so far in this briefing. No wonder there was so much secrecy being padded around this. Politically sensitive was not in it. If word that Revid had been released ever became general knowledge, there would be a massive public outcry from Central all the way out to the Periphery and so many scalps demanded that even the top echelons of Central government would not be safe. He glanced at Cista Tyran and noticed she was looking thoughtful. He had a distinct feeling that it was not news to her.
“So we have an interesting situation in which a half-run field trial has caused a number of issues and left some highly irregular loose ends. Ends we thought had been tidied up, but which seem to have re-emerged onto the scene.”
The woman sat back clearly satisfied she had said everything that needed saying. Grim, translating the obscuring words, took them to mean that despite what the presentation had implied, there was evidence that Chola and Baldrik were still alive.
“Right,” Jecks said into the strained silence. “So we have the job of clearing up a potentially critical mess. Just because the Future Data project was aborted does not mean that the consequences it was predicting have also been terminated. In the original plan, there would have been a sweep of all those — ” He hesitated fractionally, but enough for Grim to notice that he had needed to find a different word to his first choice. ” — implicated in the project to ensure none of them was left at large, endangering the security of the Coalition.”
“People like Avilon Revid?” Grim found himself asking, feeling just a little appalled at what he was being told.
Jecks shook his head. “No. Not at all.”
“Avilon Revid is dead. He died in the ‘City in a turf war,” Cista Tyran said, as though it was a well-known fact. “But seriously, sir — it’s not like — “
“Right,” Jecks cut across her. “That is a very valuable point. Avilon Revid is not an issue for us to worry about anymore.”
“And Baldrik and Chola are?” Grim asked, faintly relieved to be assured that at least Revid had not survived to make this mess worse than it looked already.
Jecks gave a half-nod and looked at the unknown woman who cleared her throat.
“Kahina Sarava is a genius. A highly flawed genius. But that does not detract from the power of her mind or the quality of her achievements. We have to take very seriously the consequences that were foreseen by her work.” She gave a tiny nod as though she had just explained everything.
“So what you are saying is that even though this Future Data project failed to predict things correctly — you still think the things it predicted incorrectly might happen?” Cista Tyran asked, her tone sweet and convincingly ingenuous. Grim found himself warming towards her.