“Strictly speaking, entirely proper committee business,” he answered. “However, my tipster does not want his identity to be known, not to mention that if he is right there will be modest political implications. He mostly wants to know if his source is right or feeding him a line, but the source is at zero removes from the issue.”
“And the issue is? War with the invincible host of the Orglons? Planets falling out of orbit?” Ariel asked.
“I see two subsubcommittees of the Republic Grand Senate,” he answered. “I’d like their public records for two weeks each. Yes, those will be large datablocs. “ He put a sheet of paper on her desk. She meticuously copied in her proper Spencerian copperplate handwriting the committee names and the dates, then thought for a moment.
“This group,” she said, “is part of a strength through diversity stream. They showed up on my radar by accident, because a year and a half back they suddenly they gained several senior Republic Counselors as members, as opposed to very junior members and an executive secretary to ride herd. Folks had me looked hard, but until then they’d been concerned with representation of minority political sentiments on large committees, acting as flak catchers against groups thinking they were mistreated, and after the addition they continued in exactly the same vein. We spent a lot of time on that, to no gain.”
“And in that two weeks there are two specific threads that are the actual interest, but they are possibly very sensitive.” He pulled out another slip of paper. “And our embassy on Mogado seems not to have mentioned them.” He supplied two more lines of text, which she duly copied.
“To be discreet, next Monday,” she said. “Though the new anonymizer computer is supposed to remain ignorant of who is asking for information on what. Shall I just hand over the files, or may I pretty please peek at what I am recovering?”
“You get to look,” he answered. “And, I gather, figure out what they actually mean , as they are well disguised. If it is real, many people will be interested.”
She made a mock hand salute.
“In that case, I’d best be on my way, before neighbors gossip,” he said.
“You’re several hours too late for that!” She giggled. “They gossip whether there is anything to gossip about or not. Perhaps we should be seen having lunch together. Then they’d be sure your stops were not business.”
“The Desertview Cafe?” he proposed. “Tomorrow about noon?”
“A bit earlier if you can? The gossip mongers eat at 11:30.”
“11:30 it is,” he answered.