“Well,” Matt asked. “Find out anything on our blip.”
Perry looked around cautiously and then turned and spoke a little louder than he usually did. “No, I think the new uniforms will be just as ugly as our current ones.” Matt, in a state of confusion, kept up. Perry started to walk with him. “Kramer is waiting in the lobby.”
“Uniforms?” Perry knew he was talking about the unidentified man in the park. Why the change of topic. Did he suspect they were being spied on? Matt tried not to look alarmed.
“Molly showed me some pictures, the committee has decided on the new design. They say it will soften our image with the public.”
“Alright,” Matt responded. He could play along. Everyone who entered or exited the building was cataloged and tracked; surely, he didn’t suspect people in the department. “Are we currently having public relations problems with the colonists?”
“Not that I am aware of.” Perry continued to look furtively.
“Then, why do they need to make us look “softer”?”
“Sociologists think our image might become a problem.”
“Preemptive fashion faux pas?”
Perry stopped without warning as they rounded a corner. “Quiet, listen.”
“Understand, if we are to talk about this anymore, we do it my way. In my time.”
“Sorry, is there a problem.”
“Dales,” Perry shook his head. “You still don’t understand. You’re part of the system, and you still don’t get it. They can follow us, Dales. They can track us. Every camera can be set to watch us; every com unit can record every word spoken near it. I think we’re safe here.”
“I think you’re getting paranoid.”
“Coming from you, that’s a joke.”
“It takes warrants and judicial approval to do what you are suggesting. What makes you think smugglers and drug dealers have that kind of access?”
“The ID code, Dales. It was executive level.” Perry spoke softly and scanned the path in front and behind them. “The connection was someone in the colonial government, someone high enough up to block access to their data. You don’t think they can track us.”
“There isn’t supposed to be any crime on Sirius.” Matt’s heart dropped. He’d seen enough corruption back on Earth to know that people with power, particularly political power, had ways of making themselves invulnerable. That kind of power in a world with total surveillance sent a cold chill down his spine that settled in the pit of his stomach and almost made him vomit. “Especially not white-collar crime.”
“There is crime everywhere, and every government has spies. Be careful to keep your thoughts quiet. Be especially careful around anyone who may have entered your life recently.”
“Are you talking about Miss Cochetti?” Matt’s mind rebelled at the thought. She had been the only good thing that had entered his life in the past few weeks.
“It is possible, or maybe your partner. Whoever it might be would have to be placed to keep an eye on you. Someone who will gain your trust, to learn what you know and keep tabs on your movement?”
“Whatever man,” Perry retorted. “Have you ever heard of a spy who acted like a spy? Dales,” he whispered. “Maybe we should let this wall stand.”
“The men who attacked me?” They could have been hired, thugs. If their boss had that kind of authority, could he also have their ID’s classified? Do you think we’ll get an ID off of them?”
“No.” Perry turned and continued to walk. “I’ll let you know when I find out more. Nevertheless, I’m going turtle on this, sorry. If something comes my way I’ll pass it on, but I am not looking any deeper.”
He turned and walked away just before entering the lobby. “Feel better?” He spoke loudly again.
“Just tired,” Matt responded, more than happy to the change the topic. Could Jill be a spy working for someone who is running drugs into the colony and hiding their activities behind a wall of political influence? He didn’t want to believe it. Nevertheless, he did meet her shortly after being taken off the investigation. She did know a lot about the drug trade and, and he was attacked leaving her apartment. No, he wouldn’t allow himself to believe that his gut wouldn’t let him. He didn’t know why, but he trusted her, and he needed to believe that she was trustworthy.
Kramer was waiting for him, thumping his feet impatiently. “See what promotion does? It makes you slow.”
“Back off, I’ve had a long week.”
“Who’d you piss off this time?”
“Wish I knew. Let’s get this over with. Chief said you’re my escort. I just want to get home.
“Good. I hope we don’t have to make too many rest stops before we get you home, I got work to do.”
“Don’t worry about me.” Matt thought about the last thing he ate.