government officials. Everything we need to sway popular opinion our way, I think."
"That's great," Garibaldi said, meaning it, noticing Lyta's expression was anything but optimistic. "We can bring this thing to an end." But not before I fry Bester.
"That's what I thought, at first," Lyta said. "But then one of my people found something ... disturbing."
"A file that had been sealed for over 65 years, in multiple encryption's. More interesting still, it had a sort of lock that only a powerful teep could trip."
"I've never heard of such a thing."
"Neither have I."
"But you tripped it."
"No. Someone else already had, and had spent almost a year using a high-powered AI to break the code."
Garibaldi nodded at a corpse. "These guys?"
Lyta nodded. "They were still working out a few fine points when this happened, but the major secrets of the document had been known a few days at least."
"You gonna keep me in the dark?"
"No." She tapped on a display, and a starfield came up. She tapped again, isolating a single yellow-orange star. "As far as I know," she said, "this star has no name. It's over 58 light years from the nearest charted jumpgate, and there are no records of any visit to it. Except this one."
"What do you mean?"
"Seventy years ago, Psi Corps sent a covert expedition to the second planet of this star. It never returned and was never heard from again."
"That's impossible. Seventy years ago - that's before we had jumpships."
"True. The Psi Corps ship was a slower-than-light craft, capable of travelling at relativistic speeds very near the speed of light. From what we can tell, it piggybacked on a Centauri vessel to a jumpgate at the edge of their space, then plowed off on its own."
Garibaldi frowned. "Fifty-eight