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Chapter 14

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      Tristan was looking at the house through binoculars, watching Emerill leave. He was a few blocks away because the human had spared no expenses with his security system. The perimeter had Alient cameras, who ever they saw was transmitted to a central system, which would compare the image with a database, if someone was on it the house's occupant would be warned. The system didn't simply use someone's face to recognize them; it used body heat patterns and bone structures. He wouldn't be able to fool it with a disguise, he would have to insert a program in the system itself.

      The landscape around the house was covered by a sensor net, like the camera they were linked to a central system, probably in the same location as them. this was a simpler system, but it also made it more difficult to circumvent, when it was on it raised the alarm as soon as it detected someone. Getting the code to turn it off would be simple, but the system also had a pattern recognition program. If the Pattern was broken, the alarm also rang.

      Then there was the door locks. Tytanial was the best ones in existence. The casing was made so it couldn't be opened without being taken out of it's housing, taking it out of the housing without the proper code sounded the alarm. Getting the code wouldn't be sufficient, each key had a sensor that could instantly read the fingertip's detail, finger prints, heat pattern, capillary distribution, and match it against the authorized users.

      He would be able to trick the cameras and the sensor net, but he wouldn't have the time to break that lock. To enter the house he would have to rely on human flaws; which was why he had spent the last two weeks observing the house, and he'd found his way in. Every other day, early in the morning Emerill let in an older female. A few hours later she would open the window on the second level as she cleaned the room. She left the opened until she had cleaned the entire level.

      Intercepting the shut down code for the sensor net when Emerill used it had been simple, anyone could do that. He'd then setup a transmitter and programmed it to shut down the net for two minutes at the same time every day, while the female was cleaning the second level. The first few times it happened someone came to verify that everything was ok and that there was nothing wrong with the net. After a few days it became incorporated within the pattern program and the system stopped noticing it.

      The cameras required a little more work. He had to find where to security company kept the system. He couldn't just hack it; everyday they did a check of the integrity of the system. He also couldn't simply install a transmitter near the system to insert a program; they did random visual checks of all their equipment. In the end it was simpler to just shut down the entire block.

      Right on cue the power relay to where the security company kept the system analyzing all their camera feed exploded. A moment later the sensor net shut down and Tristan ran toward the house. He jumped on the awning over he entrance door and then into the open window.

      The female wasn't in the room, which was good. He wanted to avoid having to kill her, if she didn't show up to where she went after working here it might raise suspicions. He didn't know how long it would take him to get the information he wanted out of Emerill.

      Staying out of the female's way was simple; she was too preoccupied with her cleaning duties to notice anything else. Once the stairs were clear he went down to Emerill's study, it already smelled like it had been cleaned, so she shouldn't come back here again. He silently looked through the man's desk, taking the power pack out of the Azeru he had hidden under a drawer.

      He didn't find anything useful in the room so he sat down in one of the comfortable looking chair and waited. It was a few hours later when he heard the door open. Emerill thanked the female and wished her a good evening and closed the door again.

      He walked pass the study doors once and a few minutes came back to them. He slid them open and stopped moving on seeing Tristan. He looked at him for a moment, his eyes narrowing. "What are you doing here?" he asked as he walked to his desk. There was no fear or even worry in his tone, just mild annoyance. "I thought you said I'd never have to see you after you got what you wanted."

      Tristan watched the man as he poured himself a glass of whiskey. This wasn't how he had expected him to react. He hadn't expected him to panic, the man hadn't run a multi-planetary corporation without being able to remain in control, but he was acting like they knew each other.

      "So? What do you want?" Emerill asked, putting the decanter down and looking at him. At first the look was casual, but then more intense as he studied him. "You're not him, who are you?"

      "My name is Tristan."

      "What do you want?"

      "I want to know why you arranged to have me imprisoned."

      Emerill looked at him as he took a swallow. "I'm not sure I know what you're talking about. I've never seen you before now." Tristan flicked a data chip on the desk. The man thought about it for a moment and then placed it his computer's reader. He sat at the desk as he read the file. He leaned back in his seat once he was done and looked at Tristan with a grim expression. "So, you're one of his victims too."

      "Who's victim?"

      "He's a Samalian, like you. For years he was my secretary. I thought I could trust him, but then I discovered that he'd been using the company's resources to fund illegal operation, under my name. This was obviously one of them."

      "Justin," Tristan said. It made sense, Justin had always preferred manipulating others into doing his dirty work. He also hated him enough to arrange to get him imprisoned. And he would have been sufficiently overconfident in his plan not to conceive that he might escape.

      "You know him." Emerill said.

      Tristan nodded, "what did he do to you?"

      "He stole my company." Emerill said bitterly, "When I confronted him about what he'd done he didn't even deny it. He then told me instead that if I retired gracefully and cede the position to him none of it would ever come to light, otherwise I'd be the one blamed for everything. So I did. I figured the board members would oppose him and throw him out, but he must have had something on them too."

      Tristan looked at the human, he wasn't afraid, he wasn't seeing Tristan as his enemy, or even someone to worry about, they were both Justin's victim, they had something in common. "Where is he?" he asked in an even tone.

      "As far as I know he's still running Luminex."

      "Do you want your company back?"

      Emerill looked at him, "how are you going to do that?"

      "I know how he thinks; he's going to have files documenting every plan he made who he tricked and how he did it."

      "If he thinks you're after him, won't he destroy them?"

      "He's going to try, but he never bothered learning how technology works, so he's going to miss something."

      The human studied him a moment longer, "what is it going to cost me?"

      "What ever he stole from your company."

      They were silent for a few minutes while Emerill thought about it. Tristan didn't pressure him, his answer didn't really matter. He knew who to go after now, and where he was. He was going to dig through his files regardless, but he wouldn't have a use for the files documenting all of Justin's projects. If Emerill wanted them he would simply forward them to him.

      Emerill nodded and Tristan stood. "Then I'll be in contact with you soon."

      "Wait," Emerill said, before Tristan exited to room, "this is going to help you." He was holding a non-descript keycard."

      "What is it?" Tristan asked, taking it.

      "It's an override key for the company building. It's going to pen every door you encounter."

      "Justin will have had it deactivated."

      "He doesn't know about it; no one does. I had it made when the new building was built. I always thought it was a good idea to have a backdoor in case someone tried a hostile take over. After he forced me to retire I thought I'd use it to find the evidence I needed to get my company back, but I never had the courage to do it."

      Tristan turned it over in his hand, this would certainly make things easier.

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