Centurion Priyanka Mukhopadhyay was very concerned. She had just commenced a major investigation and she had a number of interviews scheduled today. Yet she was obliged to go into the office to take a video call. Why couldn’t they call her phone?
She paused before entering the headquarters on Nob Hill to view her reflection in a storefront window to confirm that he dress tunic was in order. She was more concerned about not appearing lax in front of her subordinates and in front of her superior, but of course every corner of HQ was under constant video surveillance. As she made her way up to her office, Priyanka had to politely greet a handful of colleagues, but she successfully avoided her boss, Tribune Kobick.
Priyanka settled at her desk and went through the three-part authentication process to sign into the Cohort server. Mohi, her virtual assistant, prompted her with the incoming call. She accepted, and was startled by the disheveled appearance of her caller.
“This is Centurion Mukhopadhyay.”
“Uh, good morning, ma’am. My name is Marco Guzman.”
“I understood this call was to be from a police detective.”
“That’s right, ma’am. I’m a detective with the warren police, precinct 902-12A.”
Mohi identified the prefix as the signifying the nearest local warren, in Oakland. Priyanka tried to stifle her annoyance.
“This is most irregular, Detective. I would have expected to first hear from our liaison at Warren Administration.”
“Yes, ma’am, but WA red tape is less than helpful. My investigation is time-sensitive, which I imagine you, as a fellow law enforcement officer, can well appreciate.”
“Professional courtesies aside, Detective, I must ask how you arranged this call.”
“A mutual acquaintance spoke highly of your diligence and, um, sidestepped WA protocol.”
“And who might this resourceful acquaintance be?”
“Toby, er, Tobias Cowan.”
Mohi began to display Cowan’s rap sheet, but Priyanka didn’t need the prompt. Cowan’s hack of the iBank counterparty epicycle fund was as brazen as it had been clever. Her Prefect had received the credit, but it was Priyanka who had traced each of Cowan’s 20,000 proxies.
“Does Mr. Cowan assist your, ah, department often?”
“We rely on all parts of our community, ma’am. I’m well aware of Mr. Cowan’s proclivities and I assure you he is properly incented to cooperate.”
“That’s gratifying to hear. What could justify this . . . enterprising inquiry?”
“I’m investigating a missing person, and the subject apparently sent confidential medical records to an individual outside the warrens without authorization.”
“I see. And what evidence do you have?”
“Messages and attached files that someone tried to delete after the subject went missing.”
“Did Mr. Cowan have a role in the discovery of this evidence?”
“Has Mr. Cowan provided you with routing certification confirming delivery of these messages?”
“No ma’am, because it wouldn’t stand up in front of a judge, as I believe you know.”
“That’s right, Detective.”
“But you could request a warrant for the route cert.”
“Detective, even if I granted the provenance of your evidence, a warrant request of this sort would require a valid extradition order from Warren Administration, and I’m presuming you haven’t initiated that process, correct?”
“No ma’am, I haven’t.”
Priyanka set her jaw. Guzman pressed on.
“But if you looked at the attachments, you’d see why I need—“
“Detective, if you transfer these confidential records to me, I’d have much more solid evidence of your violation of the patient’s privacy.”
“Yes, ma’am. May I at least describe the subjects of the records?"
“Only in the most general way, Detective.”
“Of course. Twenty perfectly healthy people, ages between 18 and 27, all unemployed, and each file included full body nude images.”
“Any other connection?”
“Only that they all received free vaccination from the missing subject, Dr. Benjamin Payne, and they all reside on the most destitute level in this precinct.”
Priyanka pursed her lips and sat back. She should end this now and get on with her own investigation. Pursuing this further would at best disappoint and at worst jeopardize her career. She looked the warren detective in the eye for another second, then took the fatal step.
“And who allegedly received these files?”
“Hamilton Chadwell, Taxpayer No. 04-29-11-86.”
Mohi displayed the shield icon indicating Chadwell’s dossier was outside her standard remit. She hated that icon.
“I’m sorry, Detective, but procedurally and legally I cannot help you.”
The detective looked resigned. “I understand, ma’am.”
“Call me when you have that extradition order. And Mr. Cowan, as I’m sure you’re listening: be good.”