Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

“What do you mean you lost her? This is Central, the most surveilled planet in the galaxy. How do you lose a two meter tall three armed gal?”

Gens Adamant had the grace to look crestfallen, and so he should. He may be from a long line of scientists, but by all the Sacred, he should have kept the gal under tighter survey.

“With respect, eminence, your last directive enabled her escape.”

The bald-faced cheek of the man! Trying to turn his failure of ward into my problem. I let my frustration tinge my voice as I replied.

“How exactly can ‘pretty by late twentieth century standards’ cause that?”

Gens looked about as if seeking an escape route. Good. Maybe he finally understood the scale of the disaster he was party to. He ran his hand through his un-gelled hair and tried to straighten his rumpled low-weave suit.

“Because she seduced one of my technical staff.”

I raised my hand for silence as I composed myself through the waves of disgust. How depravedly venal. I waved for Gens to continue.

“He gave her access to his terminal. Your eminence knows of her capabilities?”

Stupid man. Of course I knew about her specification, she was built for me, the ultimate in privacy drones, and decorative too. Smart enough to anticipate interruptions and dynamically stall trespass into my data space. I nodded curtly to him, not deigning to reply.

“She didn’t do much, he told me before he was cauterised. Just used the access to fill gaps in her education.”

So the gal was knowledgeable now? She would need flushing before adding to my domestics. Gens maundered on,

“But she did something else. I presume you gave her your imprint to ready her for staging?”

Of course I had. What use was my privacy drone if she couldn’t see my data to protect it? Really, the man was just fishing for a way to escape blame. I nodded again.

“She used your imprint to add some additions to her directives.”

I looked at him. His disingenuous look hid something. I gestured for him to continue.

“She increased the breadth of the suites you ordered for her, and added features from your private guardsmen.”

I composed my voice before calmly querying him;

“But she couldn’t get anything offensive? It would be beyond her design protocol.”

Gens nodded.

“Of course, eminence. Nothing like that at all. But she seems to have interlaced the privacy suites you gave her with the personal combat countermeasures from your guards.”

Really, I wish he would get to the point. I fixed him with a gimlet stare and brought him back on track.

“This is all very informative, but how does this relate to the fact you have lost her?”

Gens reply was immediate,

“We have lost her because unless she wants it, she cannot be seen by any form of surveillance.”

I sat there and ruminated. Gens had the effrontery to interrupt my deliberations.

“Eminence, I realise the potential here, but you have more serious problems.”

The gall of the man! How dare he come here with his failure and attempt to advise me. I simply glared at him. He paled, but continued.

“She has your imprint, eminence. She knows about the three year duration you place on your drones.”

Ah, that could be awkward. She could take umbrage at that.

“Your recommendations, Adamant?”

“Revise your security and data space. Change your imprint and move your funds…”

I raised an eyebrow as Gens trailed off. He seemed to be struggling with something. Finally he spoke again.



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