Chapter 12

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chapter 11

Eladio hesitated on leaving Hydro. He wanted very much to know where Elana Sokolov was, but concluded Tina could not have found her yet or she would have contacted him. So he followed up with the other person who might know what Granger had been working on: Dr. Grant.

Grant’s office was slightly smaller than Eladio’s, but seemed much more cramped from all the personal items Grant had placed there. Mostly souvenirs from his work here. Pictures of his team, samples collected from research sites, awards framed in locally printed frames, and various knick-knacks clearly given to him by his subordinates. The tone implied he was well liked and respected by his people, which matched Eladio’s own opinion.

“Excuse me, Dr. Grant,” said Eladio.

“Ah, Director, please come in. What can I do for you?”

“I was wondering whether you could help me understand Mr. Granger’s work.”

“His specialty was plant biology. He had been working with Ms. Sokolov on improving carbon dioxide resistance and uptake in a species of Pisum sativum. Why do you ask?”

“Do you know why that would be important to Earthside?”

“Only as it relates to us here. Had they been successful, it would add to both our food stocks, and to a hardier variety that would grow well in the Martian environment. One step closer to self-sufficiency. He expressed speculation that it might also reduce the stress on our scrubbers, perhaps even replacing them, eventually. But I don’t know that it would matter much to Earthside.”

“I see,” A path to self-sufficiency? The Council would not care for that. “Have you his notes up to the day he died?”

“I expect they would be on his tablet,” said Dr. Grant, his brow crinkling in puzzlement.

“I have not located his tablet. It wasn’t with his body, nor in the Hydroponics lab, nor in his quarters.”

“Odd. I would have expected … but no matter. Let’s see if he copied anything to the system.”

Dr. Grant turned to his console and opened several screens, frowning more deeply as each window opened.

“What is it?”

Dr. Grant turned toward Eladio, still frowning. “I am unable to find his reports. Or, in fact, any of his notes. I am sure they were there last week because I looked over them before writing my own report. But none are there now.”

Eladio considered that for a moment, then asked, “Are Elana Sokolov’s there?”

“Let me see…. What in the world? No, they seem to be missing as well. “

“You said they worked together on that project, correct?” At Grant’s nod, Eladio continued, “Then it would seem that someone has gone to some effort to remove that information. Who would have access?”

“I would. Granger would have. Sokolov would for hers, but not his. Possibly Ms. Grady could access them, given her role here, tending the gates of our system and all.”

“Are you able to see if there are other entries by Mr. Granger from the last night he was in the Hydroponics lab?”

“Very well. Hmmm,” Dr. Grant peered at his screen, selected a couple of items, then continued, “Interesting. I do find one item. Seems to be a patent filing. Details aren’t complete on it, but it does list the Pisum strain in the title. Looks like the file is a temporary backup. Perhaps he closed his screen without saving. The time on the file is shortly after twenty-one-hundred the day he died. Do you suspect this has to do with his death?”

“It has crossed my mind. But I don’t know how. Yet.”

“You could talk to Ms. Sokolov.”

“Yes. I hope to. Thank you for your time.”

“Certainly, Director.”

chapter 13