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Trinity RPG - Memo to the McClelland File

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<H1>Memo to the McClelland File</H1><H3><A HREF="corleyj@chronic.lpl.arizona.edu">by Jason Corley</A></H3><HR>
The Old Professor sat primly behind his battered metal desk and regarded the two Young Psions with an affectionate gaze. "I'm sorry, but you two and your...." He twirled a wrinkled, thick-fingered hand in the air as if brushing away smoke "... secret society, the Æon have, really, a grotesquely limited and parochial view of what the implications of psychic abilities actually are. It's natural, of course, and understandable, but you have to start to rise above it if you're to succeed out here."

The Legionnaire sputtered. "Limited? Limited? The implications... are you stupid? The Trinity says that the implications involve the entire human race, maybe the galaxy! That's limited?"

"Yes," the Old Professor said, sighing a little and looking out his window. The Martian sun was small and dim near the thrumming worldshaper towers on the horizon. "You're limited to the big picture, bigger than planets, bigger than nations, or states, or cities, or towns. And always, always, bigger than people. Unity would be a beautiful and marvelous dream if it weren't for the small and uncooperative people that keep messing it up. Isn't that right?"

The Legionnaire blushed a little and fell silent. The Old Professor chuckled paternally. "Don't worry. You aren't the first generation to want to save humanity in spite of itself. I believed as you do many years ago."

The Minister said, "We wanted to ask you about...."

"... my article on the McClelland case?" said the Old Professor. He grinned and touched his bow tie with a gentle finger. "I knew that I would get a visit after I transmitted that out. I didn't expect it to be from two of my best students, though. I wonder how many other people at the University are Trinity operatives."

The Young Minister looked at her shoes. "I didn't think you would write something like that, Professor. I... I don't know what to say."

"You feel betrayed?" he said tenderly. "That I should come out in favor of the decision instead of opposing it as your order would have me?"

The Legionnaire said, "I just don't understand it. You've always been a great friend of the Orders here on Mars, but...."

The Old Professor raised his index finger as if pointing to something on an invisible holo. "A friend to the psions. The Orders I can take or leave."

"Whatever," the Legionnaire said testily, "But now, how can you say that it was right for them to drag that clairsentient through the dirt and let that scumbag go...."

The Old Professor laughed a little. "Well," he said. "If you insist on seeing the case in isolation, and from the isolated point of view of the psion, that's exactly how it's going to look. But I think the case is an encouraging sign of the...."

"Encouraging?" interrupted the Minister. "Encouraging for psions to be hunted by the police just for being a little different?"

The Old Professor sighed and leaned forward at his desk. "I'm very old." he said to the pair. "Will you listen to a story from an old man?"

The Legionnaire relaxed a little. "Sure, Professor." he said, and was about to say more, but stopped himself. Instead, he said, "What's it called?"

"It's got a terrible name. Three-sixty-seven U.S. six-forty-three." said The Old Professor. "But the story is much better than the name."

<HR WIDTH="50%">

About a hundred and seventy five years ago (the Old Professor said) there was a vivacious, vigorous and voluptuous woman named Mapp. She lived in Cleveland, Ohio, with her daughter, on the top floor of a rooming house. We don't know much more about her other than that she was divorced and politically radical.

Late one night, three police officers arrived at her home, searching for a radical suspected of setting off a bomb. They knocked at Miss Mapp's door, but she kept them waiting while she called her attorney. Then she refused to admit them without a search warrant.

Four more police officers arrived, and they forced the doors to the house. Miss Mapp's attorney arrived, but the canny cops would not admit him to the house or let him see Miss Mapp. At the upstairs hallways, Miss Mapp stood her ground and demanded to see a search warrant. One police officer produced a piece of paper and brandished it at her, claiming it was the warrant. Mapp, unimpressed, grabbed the paper and started to look at it. The officer, alarmed, tried to grab it back and a scuffle ensued. Miss Mapp then stuffed the so-called warrant into her bosom. Why are you laughing? Miss Mapp's cleavage marks a great divide in legal history, the warm, yielding balanced globes of Justice... all right, all right, I'll stop.

The officers were not so delicate. They were hardened public servants... sorry, sorry... they were not going to brook with this kind of nonsense. They handcuffed Miss Mapp - no, honest, they did - and reclaimed their "warrant" forcibly, and it promptly disappeared and was never seen again. They then searched Miss Mapp's home from attic to basement, failing to find the bombing suspect, but instead finding some obscene materials. She was prosecuted and convicted for possessing them.

<HR WIDTH="50%">

The Old Professor paused. "Would you have sent Miss Mapp to prison?"

The two were giggling. "No, of course not!" the Legionnaire said with a grin.

"Why not?" the Professor said. "What if the police had found a murdered body stuffed into a trunk in the basement?"

Their giggles subsided. "I don't know." the Minister said. "The police didn't have a real warrant?"

"Would that matter?" asked the Professor.

"Well, yes." the Minister said. "It would have made the search legal."

"Would that matter?" asked the Professor again.

She looked at him and said "Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the people by its example. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it invites contempt for the law; it invites anarchy."

The Old Professor's turn to blush came, and he blushed in the manner of the old, slowly, and without shame. "I am please Justice Brandeis' words are so clear in my old and fuzzy-headed mind. But Brandy has been dead a longtime, and we can reject him if he doesn't have a good enough reason to say the things he says. Why exclude the evidence found in the search from Miss Mapp's trial? Miss Mapp could certainly sue the police officials for the unlawful invasion of her privacy and be redressed with money through the civil system. Why should she also get off the hook for a crime she was guilty of?"

The Young Psions looked at each other. The Professor pressed on. "Surely there is no additional wrong done to Miss Mapp by the presentation of the evidence in the courtroom - the crime is in taking it from her home and there alone."

"Well," the Legionnaire says, "if we put her in jail, the cops would do that kind of junk all the time. They'd never get a warrant for anything, they'd just go right in."

"You're saying that the reason to exclude the evidence is to change the behavior of the police, not to protect the interest Miss Mapp has in a fair trial." replied the Professor.

"Well, sort of, yeah." the Legionnaire said. "There has to be a fair process, starting way back when the three officers arrived at her house. Just making the trial fair, that's too little too late."

The Professor nodded. "But how much of a deterrent is it to police misconduct to exclude the evidence? By the time of the trial, the police are no longer involved in the case. They're probably not even paying any attention to it."

The Minister rubbed her chin. "Even if it is only a small deterrent, Justice Brandeis was right. Agents of the government should not be rewarded, however negligibly, for invading people's rights."

"So what's the answer?" the Legionnaire said suddenly.

"I dunno," said the Old Professor. "But I'm surprised to hear both of you argue so strongly for the exclusion of the evidence, because in the McClelland case...."

"That was different." the Minister said quickly.

"Is it now?" said the Old Professor with a small smile. "But Miss Mapp's breasts are only the beginning of the story. The first chapter. Come back tomorrow and I will tell you the next."

<HR WIDTH="100%">

TO: Neptune 837243
FROM: Chan Guan-yin
RE: Primary Report, Professor Ariss

Legionnaire Simms and I have just completed our first interview with Professor Ariss about the McClelland case. He has not yet explained to us his thesis that the McClelland case was rightly decided for the good of humanity and the psions. However, we have discussed related matters at length, and he gave us the example of a related, ancient case regarding a similar subject.

Before it is decided what should be done with Professor Ariss, I believe it would be fruitful to re-examine the underlying assumption of the Trinity investigation - that if the Professor's views are dangerous to Æon, that his funding should be cut off. Without knowing the full extent of the Professor's analysis, we may be closing our minds to the possibility of error.

As far as I could tell from my mental examinations of Professor Ariss during our conversation, he was not frightened, did not know our true purpose, and did not lie.

<HR WIDTH=50%>TO: Chan Guan-yin
FROM: Neptune Central
RE: Ariss

Conduct no further direct mental examinations of Professor Ariss, but continue your interviews with him. It is possible that he has deceived you via latent telepathic abilities of his own.

<HR WIDTH="50%">

"Now that's stupid." said Guan. "What good am I in an interview if I can't read his mind?"

"You better come anyway," said Mike. "He keeps leaving me in the dust."

"No, no, I'll be there, but still. It's weird." said Guan. "Are they really worried that he might... infect me in some way? That's crazy."

Mike snorted. "No crazier than that nutty story he told us. I mean, I can see his point, it's just totally different."

"Yeah," said Guan. "Well, we'll draw him out. I think he likes us."

"He likes all his students," admitted Mike. "I had him for Lunar History."

"I had him for Twentieth Century Art." Guan said, smiling a little. "They broke the mold."

"Yeah," Mike said. "Thank god." They laughed.


THE Old Professor was waiting for them in the rainstorm. The crashing sounds of the crackling ozone and the sparks of lightning from the towers raced across the sky, and he stood at the middle of the downburst, wrapped in a slicker and layer after layer of clothes. They shivered in the freezing rain but stared up with him at the boiling clouds. "I miss rain," he shouted above the howling wind, sucking in a heavy, low-oxygen breath after each short phrase. "Someday we'll have natural storms here. Or you will. I'll be dead, I'm sure."

"I have a feeling you'll still be teaching History of Philosophy when we're dead and in the ground." shouted the Minister. They all laughed and The Old Professor took them both gently by the arm, with the paper-thin skin of his hands lightly brushing their skin.

Inside the lobby of the University, they were moving towards the elevators when the Old Professor said suddenly, "Let's just use the downstairs conference room. You can't see the storm fields from my office."

The Legionnaire blinked. "Sure." he said quietly. "Sure, that would be great."

The conference room was dim and too large for them. The Old Professor stood at the window. "Have you thought at all about Miss Mapp?"

"Yes," the Minister said. "But there's a difference -- Miss Mapp was just keeping something in her house. Jason McClelland was out in public -- in fact, he was robbing a convenience store. That's a completely different situation."

"Ah," the Old Professor said. "That's very good. Let me tell you another chapter of the story, and then see what you think of Mr. McClelland's robbery."

"Does this one have a terrible name, too?"

"Oh, yes." the Old Professor said. "And it also starts in Cleveland."

"Where is this Cleveland place anyway?" said Mike.

"It's in the Blight now." the Old Professor said. "Right on the edge. I think it got reclaimed eventually. I'm not sure if it's still the center of search and seizure jurisprudence, but it's something to think about if you ever plan on going there."

<HR WIDTH="50%">The name (the Old Professor said) of this chapter in McClelland's story is three-ninety-two U.S. one. One sunny afternoon, Mr. Terry and his two friends were walking through downtown Cleveland, when they happened to be espied by Officer McFadden. Now, Officer McFadden was no detective, he was just an ordinary patrol cop, but he noticed Mr. Terry and his friends loitering around a store - they would walk up the street a short distance, turn the corner for a while, then walk back and look in the window.

Officer McFadden then approached the trio, hailed them, and began speaking to them. He asked their names, but the men were reticent. The gallant officer then grabbed Mr. Terry's arm and turned him to face him directly, and reached out, and patted Mr. Terry's breast pocket, finding therein a gun, which the officer appropriated. Upon frisking the other two men, Officer McFadden discovered another pistol. Mr. Terry was arrested on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, convicted and sentenced. He would have preferred, of course, that the gun not be admitted into evidence against him.

<HR WIDTH="50%">

The Old Professor looked out at where the lightning strikes had started to pound the storm fields into a furious glow of ionizing moisture particles and crackling thunder. He said "Should it have been?"

"This is stupid." the Legionnaire said. "Of course the gun is evidence. He was carrying it, wasn't he?"

"So the police should be able to stop anyone on the street that they choose and search them." said the Old Professor evenly, staring out into the tempest.

"Well, no!" said the Legionnaire, "But if he thinks something is up...."

"Your honor," said the Old Professor in an exaggerated Southern drawl. "I saw that there Legionnaire on the street and I knew trouble was a'comin'."

"Okay, okay," the Legionnaire said irritably. "But they can't just stop and search everybody...."

"So if you have your hands in your pocket, clutching your one-shot scatterblaster, pointing it at this stupid copper's belly... oh just let him ask you one more question and you'll scatter his spine across the pavement... there's no legal way for the policeman to survive the encounter?" said the Old Professor.

The Minister frowned. "What if the policeman were authorized only to search as far as was necessary to maintain his safety?"

The Old Professor chuckled. "That's what the court said. But why should we let a policeman in the street have more authority to legalize a search than a judge in a courtroom?"

"I'm sorry?" said the Minister.

"If Officer McFadden had decided to go and get a warrant to search Mr. Terry and his friends, he would not have the required probable cause to search them, and the warrant could not have been issued." the Old Professor said. "Yet if Officer McFadden approaches Mr. Terry, he can search him all he likes, if he somehow feels that he is in danger...."

The Minister frowned. "That doesn't make much sense." she said. "But if we exclude the gun...."

"Mr. Terry and his fellow cohorts are free to rob and pillage another day," said the Old Professor. "What about Mr. McClelland?"

The Legionnaire looked up sharply. "What about him?"

"Mr. McClelland posed no immediate threat to the clairsentient who spied upon him. Surely her justification for using her abilities on Mr. McClelland was less than Officer McFadden's justification for using his on Mr. Terry."

"Wait," the Minister said. "I know the real difference. The real difference is that the clairsentient wasn't a police officer. She doesn't have to be subject to the same restrictions as police officers. She doesn't act with governmental authority."

"And so she doesn't have to follow the law? Even I can see the problem with that, Guan." said the Legionnaire.

The Old Professor bowed to her. Behind him the rain smashed into the dry rocks. "The last part of our story." the Old Professor said. "Tomorrow."


She was just sitting down to type the report when Mike burst into the room and said "This is just fucked up, Guan! I thought McClelland was open and shut! Now I keep going in circles. I went to look up more about this stuff but of course it was all gone from before the war."

"People like Professor Ariss are the only ones that keep that stuff alive." Guan sighed. "Them and Æon, of course."

"Oh, yeah? Them and Æon? Well, how come Æon didn't tell us any of this junk? They just gave us a copy of his little article thing saying that McClelland was good for psions and not bad, how the hell were we supposed to know all of this stuff about police and searches and guns and stuff? Nobody's thought of this crap in years, nobody but professors, you said it yourself! Something's fishy about this."

Guan paused. "I think you're right. I don't think we're really hereto find out why he thinks the McClelland decision is right. I think we're meant to find out something else entirely."

"Well, what?" said Mike.

"I don't know." She turned her almond eyes towards the window. The stormfields were empty now, the towers still humming on the pale red skyline.

<HR WIDTH="50%">

TO: Neptune 837243
FROM: Chan Guan-yin
RE: Primary Report, Professor Ariss

We have completed our second interview, with the same results as the first. Professor Ariss' opposition to the Æon position on the McClelland decision appears to stem from his civil libertarian convictions.

We have a final meeting with him tomorrow.

<HR WIDTH=50%>TO: Chan Guan-yin
FROM: Neptune Central
RE: Ariss

Your information confirms what we suspected. We believe that Ariss is in league with the Federated States and hopes to turn the Martian colonies over to them. He is an influential citizen and could do us much damage. You are to discover the truth of this allegation and find any evidence of his connection with the FSA. Mental contact is re-authorized and physical force is authorized at your extreme discretion.

<HR WIDTH="50%">

"Well, god damn." Mike said, reading over her shoulder.

She was breathing evenly. "I'm going to go make some arrangements."

<HR WIDTH="100%">The cold wind made a hiss in the audio of the phone image. It was Guan. "Mike, put on your clothes and come downstairs. I'm at the paybooth just outside the lobby. Hurry. Delete this message." She hung up before Mike was fully awake. "Christ." he said to the dark cool air of the dormitory. He got up and slapped the wall panel. "What time is it?" he yawned, and started pulling on his warmsuit.

The wall panel was saying "It is now zero six twenty three Erebus Standard Time" when the door hissed shut behind him. He pulled on his boots in the elevator and came out blinking into the dim horizon sun of the Martian morning.

Then, a message came to him, He never got used to telepathy. It didn't sound like Guan's voice in his head. Not like in the vids where the hero looks up and the voice plays on the soundtrack. It sounded like Guan herself -- not her voice -- was there, and he knew she was. "It's me. Be at the Sector 93 Scar in twenty minutes. Be sure you're not followed."

"Shit." he mumbled, and went in the opposite direction to get some breakfast and shake any tails he saw, which he didn't.

The Sector 93 Scar was just what it sounded like: a great ugly gash in the smoothed roadway of Sector 93, about seven feet wide and fifty feet long. They had repaved around it, and put up a plaque with a memorial poem on it, and a warning sign, and a railing, because this is where the Aberrant had landed, and this is where the Taint lingered. There was no danger to go and stand in it for a short time, to stare at the sky and shudder, but it was strong enough to disrupt psionic abilities and Mike was surprised Guan wanted to meet there, on a deserted street in a ruined area of the city, where the air recirculators were off and the oxygen was thin, in the freezing cold morning, just before they were to see...

He stopped. She was standing there, in the middle of the Scar, with Ariss, who was in a thermal suit and had a breather on, looking cold and disconsolate. He walked up to her quickly, stepping over the railing.

"I told him." Guan said to Mike instantly.

"What?" Mike said. "You told him what?"

"I told him the foundation that pays his salary gets a great deal of its money from Æon, and that we thought we were supposed to determine whether or not that salary should be cut off." she said.

Ariss gulped in a mouthful of air from his breather. "If they cut off my salary, I won't be able to stay. The University is still on shaky financial footing. Most of the colonists don't have college-age children yet..."

Guan glanced at him, then back to Mike. "And I told him about what we found out last night. About what we were really supposed to find out."

Mike stared at her. "Oh, hell. Hell, hell, hell!" he said. "You drag me out here in the freezing cold to tell me that you...."

Gain said sharply, "Mike. Mike, listen to me. You don't know who we're reporting to, do you?"

Mike breathed out heavily. "No." he said. "No, I don't."

"He's a clairsentient. That's why we're meeting here. This is the only place he can't find us or the Professor."

Ariss sighed heavily and ran a hand through his graying, wispy hair, again, like brushing away smoke. "You don't know about the McClelland decision," he said quietly.

"We're learning." Mike said, forgetting Guan for the moment. "I want to hear the end of the story. You're the only one that knows this stuff."

Ariss looked at him. "It's worse than you think. Do you know why I know the McClelland decision so well?" And Guan's breath caught in her throat, and she didn't need telepathy to see that something was wrong

Professor Ariss said simply: "I wrote it."

"Oh, hell, prof!" cried Mike. "That's fucked up!"

"You wrote the McClelland decision?" Guan said incredulously.

Ariss nodded. "Judge Alderson was in my class at law school on Angeles Platform," he said miserably. "We go way back. He transmitted asking me for advice, and I sent it to him. About three-quarters of the final written findings were mine."

"Oh, that's just great!" Mike said. "You're out for sure, Professor Ariss... oh, man, this sucks!"

Guan paused. "Calm down, Mike." she said. "We need to think about this." She paused, and turned to the old man. "Do you have any notes, any papers about this? We were supposed to bring back any physical evidence."

Ariss looked at her for a long moment, then nodded. "I have a hardcopy of the final transmission I made to Alderson. It's in my desk."

Guan replied, "Honestly, I'm not sure what to do, but you need to give that paper to us when we meet today. Our contact could be scanning your office right now."

Professor Ariss grinned ruefully, "I wish him the best of luck. You haven't seen the inside of my desk."

Guan smiled at him and shook her head a little. "All right. Here's what we're going to do. The three of us leave the Scar separately, by about five minutes each. We meet at Professor Ariss' office for our meeting as if we hadn't met before. We'll take the paper there and speak for a while, then... .well, we'll decide what to do afterwards."

"You mean you'll decide what to do." said Professor Ariss. "I won't have any more input."

"You've done quite enough, I think." Guan said sharply, then reddened at Ariss' mild, imperturbable gaze. "I'm sorry." she said quietly. "But we swore an oath. This is important work."

Ariss replied mildly. "I suppose it is." And he turned and left the Scar behind, his slow, small steps moving him up the deserted street in the cold, thin Martian wind. Guan and Mike watched him go.

"He's fucked, isn't he?" said Mike.

"He's fucked." Guan agreed. "But I don't know how fucked. Not yet."

Mike was adamant. "I want to hear the rest of the story."

Guan laid a gentle hand on his shoulder, as much to steady herself as to reassure him. "Yeah." she said. "Me too."


They sat together in his office for the last time. The Old Professor had a thick roll of flimsyfax bound up with a rubber band in his hand when they entered, and without a word he handed it to the Minister. The Young Psions sat down opposite him and he retook his seat.

The Old Professor said, "Have you thought any more about what we talked about yesterday?"

"I haven't thought of much else," Mike said eagerly. "I have a question. Isn't this whole thing about balancing? I mean, on the one hand you don't want to let people get away. And if you're talking about suppressing evidence, that means you think whatever you are doing is important enough that it's all right to let guilty people get away. Because if they weren't guilty they wouldn't want the evidence suppressed."

The Old Professor nodded with a kind smile. "Go on."

"So it's a balance between police power -- whatever form it has -- and whatever the power is against." Mike paused lamely. "What's the word?"

"The interests...." prompted Guan, reading it out of his eyes.

"That's it! Thanks. The balance is between police power and the interests of the innocent. Right? Because on the one hand people don't want to be robbed, and on the other hand they don't want to be hassled by the cops." Mike finished.

"Very good." the Old Professor said and chuckled a little. "You've identified the main conflict -- there are some other, related issues, as we described in the chapters about Miss Mapp and Mr. Terry -- but you have found out its essential core. But I've got bad news for you."

"What?" Mike said, grinning.

"It doesn't mean a damn thing." the Professor said, grinning back.

"What?" Mike said again, his grin sort of hanging in the air in front of his face, unsure now.

"The last chapter." the Professor said. "Or, perhaps, the second-to-last."

<HR WIDTH="50%">

This chapter has a bad name, but it's not quite as awful (the Old Professor said) as the first two. It's called the Fourth Amendment. Many hundreds of years ago, there were two neighbors in Virginia, both named George, who went to help create a new nation. And one of the Georges came home angry, because the agreement that would lay the foundation for this new nation had no provisions in it to protect, as Mike says, the innocent from the police. It hadn't been so long ago that George's own house had been subject to random searches by soldiers looking for rebels. The other George was more famous and more practical and was so angry that the first George had refused to sign the agreement that they never spoke again.

However, the first George was a practical man as well, and he began political agitation for something to enforce the rights of people in the new Republic. Within a few years he had succeeded. The Fourth Amendment was born. It said that people had a right to be secure from the invasion of their privacy by the government. It lived hundreds of years. It stretched out its arms to cover Miss Mapp and Mr. Terry.

But it died, too. Murdered in its bed. Go to a courtroom in the FSA today and you will not hear of Miss Mapp or Mr. Terry. You will not hear of the Fourth Amendment or George. You will hear of military necessity. You will hear of soldiers following orders. And you will hear of money, but you will not hear of whether a person may be secure on the street or in their homes or in their beds, because it is a settled question.

They may not.

<HR WIDTH="50%">

The Old Professor stopped. "And that, until McClelland picked up his shotgun and went to a convenience store, was the end."

The Legionnaire stared at him. "What?"

The Old Professor looked right back at him without saying anything.

"You mean... it doesn't matter?" the Legionnaire said. "We went through all that to get here? It doesn't make any difference?"

The Old Professor looked out his window at the pale red soil of the quad. "That's right." he said. "The story ended there. Now think about Mr. McClelland."

The Minister's eyes were shut. "Mr. McClelland," she said, "was found out by a means that the court rejected, and the evidence that found him out was suppressed."

"So what?" said the Old Professor.

"So... there are now some means." Her eyes flew open. "Oh. After McClelland, there are some means by which the police are not allowed to invade people's privacy. Oh god."

"And if they do...." said the Old Professor, looking to the Legionnaire.

The Legionnaire said slowly: "If they do, then they aren't allowed to use what they find. Like with Miss Mapp."

"Precisely," said the Old Professor. "The story of Mr. McClelland did not end a reactionary decision exploding from the throat of a psion-hating nation. It was a small but courageous step away from the dictatorial state and towards the heritage of the stories of Miss Mapp and her breasts... Mr. Terry and his gun... and a thousand others. Mr. Katz in his phone booth. Mr. Miranda in the interrogation room with his confession before him. Mr. Lopez at the train station. Ms. Alejandro with her implant. They're all waiting back there, waiting to ask us their questions, and Mr. McClelland's story ends with a promise that we will hear the questions, because they do matter. Whatever the answer."

He paused. "They matter." he said again, and looked out the window.

The room was silent. The Minister rose quickly. "I think we have to go." she said. The Legionnaire was silent.

"Do what you have to do," the Old Professor said without looking back at them. They didn't say good-bye. They couldn't.

<HR>"I think he's right." said Mike on the way back to the dormitories. The sun seemed far away.

"I know you do." said Guan.

"This is fucked up." repeated Mike.

"It is." said Guan.

There was a message for them at the dormitory desk:


was all that it said.

In the dormitory, Guan shut the door hard. "He'll be up soon. He can see that we're home now."

"What are we going to do?" Mike said.

"I don't know. I'm going into the next room. Stall him when he gets here and I'll see what I can pick out of his thoughts. Say I'm busy typing up the last report." she said.

"Okay," said Mike uncomfortably. "I'll try."

<HR WIDTH="50%">

The ISRAn stepped through the door when the Legionnaire opened it. "I don't think we've ever met." he said. "I'm Mike Simms."

"I know," said the ISRAn. "I've read your file. Do you have the last report ready?"

"Guan... er... Minister Chan is finishing it up now." said the Legionnaire. "Do you want something to drink?"

"No," said the ISRAn. "I want this project over with."

"Hey, me too." said the Legionnaire. "The Prof isn't such a bad old guy."

The ISRAn's eyes narrowed. "I suppose you found nothing, then." he said suspiciously.

The Legionnaire held up a hand. "Hey, don't get me wrong. We did our duty. He's just a little off kilter on this one thing. But pretty harmless."

"Harmless," said the ISRAn, and laughed mirthlessly. "Fortunately, your previous reports were sufficiently detailed to help us come to a preliminary decision. He'll be cut off from funds and deported from the colony."

The Legionnaire stared at him and spluttered a little. "You already decided? Well, what the hell were we here for?"

The ISRAn looked at him. "We know he is -- at the very least -- an ideologue opposed to Unity, and because of this he will be moved from where he can do us damage. But if he is more, if he is a collaborator...." He left the threat hanging, but in the next room, Guan could sense it, pure as crystal and twice as sharp. She turned to the minicomp.

The Legionnaire was stunned into silence for a moment. "Well, whatever the Trinity says," he mumbled finally. The door to the next room slid open and Guan was there, her uniform buttoned up tightly.

"Hello, Minister." said the ISRAn, bowing slightly.

"Hello," she said. "I have the final report here." She held up the disk.

"Do you mind if I read it here?" said the ISRAn smoothly.

"Not at all." she said, sitting down stiffly opposite him.

The ISRAns diskreader was slim and black and expensive-looking. "You mentioned that he gave you some papers?" he said, pointing to a place on the text.

"Yes," said Guan, passing over a small stack of holoprints. "Old stories, mostly incomprehensible. I think he's going senile."

The ISRAn laughed. "Yes, I suppose so." He looked at the papers, then tucked them away into his travel case. "Is there anything else?" he said.

"No," said the Minister and looked at him with her blank, blank eyes.

"If there is," he replied mildly. "You know you cannot hide it from me."

"There isn't." she said tonelessly.

The ISRAn stood and looked around the dormitory. Then he closed his eyes and looked again. The Legionnaire glanced to the Minister but her lips were pressed together and her gaze was straight ahead.

Finally the ISRAn nodded to them. "I was told to check." he said somewhat apologetically. "There was some fear that your affection for Professor Ariss might have clouded your judgment about him."

"Sacrifice is the keystone of the order's tenets." said the Minister, looking at the ISRAn's face but not a millimeter behind it. "It was not hard to see our duty."

"See that you remember that." the ISRAn said in a voice he thought was ominous, and stepped out of the door.

There was a long pause and the Minister finally relaxed. "Oh god." she said softly. "Take a walk with me, Mike."

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They walked through the lunchtime crowds of the miners swarming through the glossy prebuilt restaurants of Cheaptown. They walked past the glittering spires of the water collectors and the roaring thunder of the worldshapers. They walked along the smooth sidewalks and the broken red ground. They walked to the Sector 93 Scar without saying a word and stepped inside it.

"What happened?" Mike said. "What did you do?"

"They were going to kill him." Guan said. "I don't know. I just. Not after what he told us. Not with all that he knows. It would be such a waste to destroy his mind, his knowledge...."

"Did you destroy the transmission?" Mike said.

"No." Guan replied. "I couldn't. It's...." She looked up. "It's too important for that, I think." She unzipped her coat and unbuttoned the flap of her uniform, shivering with the cold as she peeled it away from her chest. She untucked it deftly and withdrew the crumpled flimsyfax from just beneath her small breasts, then quickly rebuttoned her uniform.

"So what are we going to do?" said Mike, looking down at it in her small hands.

"Keep it." she said, sorting through it. "Here, you take half and I'll take half. Professor Ariss will be off the planet before the month is out. But there's got to be someone else who knows. Somewhere. We've got to find them and we've got to get this... well, I don't know. I know we're supposed to get things settled, but I don't want this settled. We've got to get people stirred up about this. Otherwise all the work the Professor did will be for nothing."

Mike understood instantly. "Yeah." he said. "Right on." He tucked the papers away in a pocket. He made a face. "This is the first time I've ever done something against the Trinity."

"We're not against the Trinity." she said. "But this isn't any of the Trinity's business."

And there wasn't anything left to say. They stepped out of the Scar and back onto the flesh of the colony, into the icy wind beneath the pale reddish brown sky, arm in arm, wondering what would happen next.


Concept: student prodigy cum secret agent
Allegiance: former Ministry, now Aeon Trinity
Aptitude: Telepathy

Investigation 2</TD></TR><TR VALIGN=TOP> <TD ALIGN=LEFT>INT: 4</TD><TD ALIGN=LEFT>Academics 2
Bureaucracy 1
Interrogation 2
Subterfuge 2</TD></TR><TR VALIGN=TOP> <TD ALIGN=LEFT>CHA: 3</TD><TD ALIGN=LEFT>Etiquette 2
Savvy 1</TD></TR></TABLE>

Backgrounds: Allies 2, Citizenship 1, Contacts 3, Mentor 1, Resources 1
Aptitudes: Mindshare 3, Empathy 1
Willpower: 6
Psi: 4

Chan Guan-Min was born in the Chinese Free Trade Zone. Her early life as the favored child of a minor zaibatsu executive put her on the fast track to success, especially since her great intelligence was noted at an early age, putting her in the best corporate educational facilities. However, after she was tested positive as a latent psion, a rebellious streak sent her from her home -- Aeon Trinity became her new family, and she was sent to the Martian colony to study at the University and be one of Aeon's eyes and ears on the rugged frontier. She is an unremarkable Oriental woman: short and slim, with a low and soft voice that she always uses with perfect timing. She and Mike Simms have a great filial affection, even though she has much better contacts within Aeon itself.

<HR WIDTH=50%>

Concept: student athlete cum secret agent
Allegiance: former Legionnaire, now Aeon Trinity
Aptitude: Psychokinesis


Backgrounds: Allies 3, Followers 1, Resources 2, Citizenship 1

Aptitudes:Cryokinesis 1, Pyrokinesis 2, Telekinesis 1

Willpower: 6
Psi: 4

Mike Simms was born in New York, but his family was attached to a group of smugglers and black marketeers, so he was always being packed up and moved from one city to another, never staying long enough to make friends. This was tough for Mike, who is a gregarious and friendly person. When he tested positive for psionic latency, his family saw it as a godsend -- he couldbe their new muscle. He saw it as a way out, and never looked back. He struck up a friendship with the quiet and reserved Chan Guan-Min when they were both assigned by Aeon to Mars and they've been fast friends ever since. Mike is a hands-on worker on the fringes of the colonies, working with University scientists to help expand and accelerate the terraforming efforts. He's not at all stupid (despite what you may think of him from this story), but he is not very good at expressing himself -- having someone like Guan around to give his mind a gentle shove every now and again has helped him greatly.

<H3>Dedication</H3> brandeis.gif

This story is dedicated to Justice Louis Brandeis, who said:

"The progress of science in furnishing the government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wiretapping. Ways may some day be developed by which the government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home. Advances in the psychic and related sciences may bring means of exploring even unexpressed beliefs, thoughts and emotions... Can it be that the Constitution affords no protection against such invasions of individual security?"

<font size="-1">-- Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 48 S.Ct. 564, 72 L.Ed.944 (1928) (dissenting)</font>

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