The Bad Guy Wins in This One - Chapter Twenty One (Marco)

“Do you see it?” Hargrave asked Marco. The Doctor stared intently at the information before him, mentally reconstituting their actual meaning from the numbers. There was a lot of it. Robert and Hargrave’s team had done an admirable job gathering all of the information they possibly could about Larry Mulheim’s life.

“It’s date stamps. One for a purchase at a convenience store and one for a video chat log. They…are rather close.”

“And this?” Hargrave asked. He pointed out a connection with the first couple of numbers then quickly showed him several other connections and Marco frowned.

“But this is…” he wondered if Hargrave ever retired whether he might join his team in the private sector. How he’d spotted such minute connections was impressive. Marco’s ability helped him direct his team down certain paths and interpret the results, but he relied a lot on Robert and his programs for the intermediary steps. The programs were statistically reliable, but to so quickly find individual connections like this was incredible. I see the forest made up of trees, but he can’t see the trees because he’s finding individual fallen leaves. The two of us together could do really great things.

“The date stamps are from his computer using his home IP address and the local corner store a couple of miles away,” Hargrave said. “At the time he didn’t have a car, nor is there any indication he owned a bike. The date stamp is such that running full speed based upon this recorded treadmill data he still should have been a couple of minutes short of reaching home.”

“So what you’re saying is that he should not have been able to make that video?” Marco asked.

“Well, it’s possible that he borrowed a bike or car. Or his treadmill running speed is slower than his speed running outdoors or that someone borrowed his card for the purchase. And that’s assuming all the equipment was working properly and the times are right,” Hargrave replied. “So we need to see the videos if we can get them. Also, I want all specifications for every bit of equipment involved, from the computer to the servers.”

“Ok, we can do that. But then what? Even if we look at the information and it seems certain he shouldn’t have been able to make the video, what does it get us? That’s flimsy circumstantial evidence that something was tampered with. Robert’s programs can’t find any evidence that his files are fabricated and you said your best hacker doesn’t have anything more than the same vague unease you got looking at the financial data.”

Hargrave nodded thoughtfully. He was gazing at the information in front of them but Marco could tell he wasn’t really seeing it. His teeth ground down.

“You’re right. By itself this gets us nowhere. But…what if we looked at the code? If my guy thinks something is wrong then there probably is. I’ve never tried my powers on computer code before, but if even one of our abilities works on it then maybe we can turn something up.”

“I guess we can try,” Marco said. “I’ve never really thought about doing that. Robert’s always performed quite adequately in that field. I can’t write any, but just maybe I could interpret it.”

“Good, then we have a game plan. Remember we have a general meeting with Blue Skies members tomorrow morning,” Hargrave said.

“I could hardly forget. Yves is taking his position as coordinator very seriously,” Marco said. “I must have half a dozen emails reminding me about it.”

Hargrave snorted, “Considering half of our members come from his construction crew, you’d think he wouldn’t bother with so many emails. Even I got a few and I’m the one who called the meeting.”

Marco could only shrug, smiling slightly. As serious as their current task was, he couldn’t help but feel a bit of pride that people of so many different backgrounds were risking their safety to come together and help rebuild their nation.