Mia Brown was on a roll.
Why haven’t the police got to the bottom of this? she shouted at her rally at the Jerry Fox/Tom Jehl Pavilion at McMillen Park and, of course, over the thousands of Taus in the city tuned to her.
Nov. 21, 2062, was just two days before the Thanksgiving weekend election. As she spoke, local politicos watched as her approval ratings went up and Mayor Robert Gonzalez’s dropped.
Why hasn’t the police chief been included in the super-secret investigation the mayor is supposedly conducting? she shouted. There probably isn’t any investigation at all. Everyone knows that water is going to Henry Manufacturing, that the mayor is pulling favors. We need a new mayor to expose the corruption.
If I’m elected I’ll appoint Wayne Robotics President Nelson Wills as head of water security, and we’ll stop this theft of our valuable resource. And we need to stop all these people from coming into our good city. That’s why I will require every business to document the work permits of its employees.
Angelica Lewis looked at her Tau and shook her head. The deputy mayor could see the Gonzalez re-election campaign slipping away, riding the slow trickle of the St. Marys River until it stopped, dried up and disappeared. If Miles Armstrong, the consultant she hired to look into the water theft, could prove Wayne Robotics was stealing water from the St. Marys River, Nelson Wills would probably rat her out for taking freebies, and her career would be finished.
Sitting a few blocks away in Cindy’s Diner, Shelby Loredo and Miles Armstrong were alternately taking small bites of their soy burgers, exchanging glances and looking at their Taus.
Loredo examined her Tau, then closed her eyes, then looked at the ceiling, then at Armstrong, then back at the Tau.
Something’s not right, she said. Sadie Palmer assigned me to do some spin control on how Kekionga Optics batteries failed on these river meters. They failed all over – why is this data showing that the ones on both sides of the Main Street bridge were working?
Loredo accessed a report that showed the meters out all along the St. Marys, yet the data that Emilio Vasquez from City Utilities showed Armstrong indicated they were working and pinpointed the big drop-off near the railroad bridge, where Armstrong found the abandoned pipeline.
Can you find earlier versions of the status of those meters? Armstrong asked
Already done, she said, handing her Tau to the city’s water security consultant.
Armstrong studied the earlier version of measurements from meters in the St. Marys River. Then he looked at the schematic Vasquez provided showing the pipes going into the river.
I need your help, he told her.
Here’s what I want you to do.