City council of King City had voted the closed circuit security feeds to be dropped as it was deemed non-essential and a waste of taxpayer money.
The taxpayers had reasons otherwise.
It wasn’t an intrusion of privacy that bothered the citizens. It was the fact that there wasn’t someone there watching the endless hours of security camera footage for the latest threat. In a town where giants could destroy city blocks in the matter of hours, there was a need for extra security. Volunteer groups would man the camera walls and note out any suspicious activity.
The beauty of the system was that there was too much information for anyone to bother digging through. Practically everything was recorded, video, temperature, all light spectrum. Need a spare terrabyte of random information to create a new encryption key? That information was for sale, first three minutes of every hour from every Tuesday since the creation of the system. Sociologists would pay for access to the feeds, watching the patterns of people. Certain small community theater groups would stage plays and acts. Ghost hunters no longer had to be on site, they would pay to get access to the feeds and watch hours of empty houses. The system paid for itself.
Fortunately for the citizens of King City, the police had access to some of the best brains and tech heads. It was a valued resource in tracking and pursuing wanted felons.
Watson had his own roots in the local information technology community. He had his own computers digging into the feeds watching and running the recognition programs, several citizens were being watched. He also had several favors that he called in to work on the data that his programs were collecting. There was just too much of it to handle off of one person.
53 citizens. Only a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the population. So far from the data, each were long term residents of King City. There was absolutely nothing extraordinary about any of them. None lost someone during the past alien invasion. No injuries or asset damage during the God wars from the two years past. There was no huge magical influence that seemed to have cropped up in the past 5 years. That was practically the only part of them that was different. They were so plain and ordinary.
But Watson had technology and innovation in his blood. A third generation inventor from the east coast, his families blood rooted deep with innovators and creators for generations. Being such, he dreamed in vectors and formulae. He closed his eyes for a moment, recalling the look on Monks face.
It was true, there were more questions than answers.
And if Monk was confused, that would eliminate out the Divine. No bored gods, demi-gods, or god-touched were behind this one. At the slightest hint of smugness or cryptic phrase, that would have changed the variable. Monk had done the same on several other occasions on cases that seemed to stump him on first impression. It was a bit of professional courtesy they paid each other, despite their chosen paths.
That left a couple other options.
Magic, which Watson tolerated, but despised as he could not follow the mishmash of rules. Say the wrong phrase while having a little bit of jello under your fingernail and you could potentially cast a curse. There was no rules, unless you knew the past history of all the cultures and folktales. Then you’d have a fighting chance. Besides, there were the freelancers who could handle that option if it came to it.
The other option was science and technology. What device could bring other people through the library. Teleportation? Wormhole? Time Travel? All of these were probable causes, but the output was all wrong. Teleportation usually was reported with sudden increases in airpressure, momentary humidity increases forming from the displacement of air. Wormhole would show some signs of matter cohesion. Inexplicably, solid objects would pass through each other near the point of the wormhole. Things like that tend to get reported. Time travel? Their dress and mannerisms were of normal current citizens. Unless they were really good studies of the time.
And there wasn’t any sign of mad scientists, bored inventors. No sterile gloves in the garbage, no discarded energy cells, no sudden lightning storms.
Goodstone was tempted to run full scans on the building, but even that could change the way how the library or the phenomenon functioned. First, observe the output from the building. The extra people. The computers, search programs, and the favors were called in. There was nothing else he could do, except wait, and watch each of them himself. Or wait until he had a clear mind and all the proper data.
He leaned back in his highback chair, noting the small squeak from the spring and hinge. Looking to the clockwork on the wall, his mind calculated the position of the gears, and decided it was either too early to go to bed and too late to continue working. Digging through the journals on his desk and almost tipping over the inkwell, he found his clipboard and list of projects. His eyes glazed over and focused on the radio, reaching over he turned it up gain and worked the brass knobs to tune in.
Perhaps there would be another distraction for the night. And if things went his way, there might be a common harmony amongst the noise of radio signals.
-To be continued-
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Tales of King City : Balance by Pearce Kilgour is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.
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Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://pearcekilgour.wordpress.com. But you should really ask him first… send someone to rub his neck, feed him a gin and tonic, that would be the best… in fact he thinks the world would be a better place if everyone got neckrubs.