Jake and Marcus especially had a long day ahead of them: they figured that they could probably squeeze in six interviews/ examinations today, doing the final two tomorrow.
After hearing Spyder’s comments about Dr. Kirishima on the previous evening, they already had some idea of her hard line – verging on fanatical – approach to the project, and this was a theme which continued during the interview. Of course this might just be a mask, but if it was they failed to see through it.
St. Cyr was a different and strange kettle of fish. Beautiful, blonde and with an exquisite french accent, she asked as many questions as gave answers, and seemed intent on testing them as interviewers and medical examiners: she made Marcus blush more than once during her physical. Her manner might have raise suspicions, and was certainly provocative. However the fact that she had only been on the base for a year made her one of the less likely suspects.
For similar reasons they ruled out the two Research Assistants, Parvati Souza and Ares Jones. Despite Ares radical background he seemed intent of making money and being with girls, and it seemed probable that he had already made some inroads with the female base staff. Souza did seem to be not telling the full truth however, and perhaps she knew something she was not prepared to discuss.
“Maybe we could get the Doc. to chat up this Ares fellow” suggested Jake.
“Good idea. I’m sure she’d just love that” grinned Marcus.
As they were about to break for dinner Marcus received a wave from Doc. Orlov, and the pair decamped to the small admin office situated in the base sub level, where Katrina and Spyder had been going through the monitoring data. Paul and Jonas were already there drinking a cup of coffee. As they approached the office small mono wheeled handibots scuttled past en route to their various maintenance tasks, either on the base machinery or in the kilometres of subterranean tunnels which stretched in a vast web from the base into the rock beneath the seeding areas: some of these stretched for more than 100 km. On the rare occasions when actual staff needed to traverse these for any distance they knew there were small buggies which could drive through the main tunnels: they had seen all this on their arrival tour the previous day.
“Someone has definitely been altering the data” said Doc. Orlov. “It looks like about once a month for the past year at least. The saboteur is systematically biasing the data to make the soil seem warmer than it really is. Terraformers using the bogus data could end up under-heating the region, which would throw off the whole terraforming program for years”
“And that’s not all” said Jonas. “It looks like there’s been direct damage to physical equipment too. Notably the Drones, which i guess they use much like we used them doing our survey last year. Props bashed about – as though with a hammer. They’ve been jury rigged to functionality, but they are nowhere near as reliable, and I guess the temptation is to not use them as much.”
“So the computer data has been altered?” said Marcus. “I bet not many base staff are capable of that.”
“We need to find out who” said Jake. “Let’s rejig this evenings interviews.”