period. Eliminating all the Mordens he had already checked, he found only one additional record of birth: May 25, 2223 in Summit, New Jersey. From there he traced the opening of a retirement security account when Morden was in his teens. The thumbprint matched, and the face-though much younger-belonged to the man he had met. His first job was at the Michigan State University bookstore. Elric checked the school's records, was surprised to find that Morden had earned his Ph.D. in archaeology, with a specialty in archaeolinguistics. After graduation, Morden had gone to work in EarthForce's New Technologies Division. His records there were closed. Elric would send a computer demon to breach the security and retrieve them.
Elric found an identicard photo of the adult Morden; it was definitely the same man. In June 2248, the retirement account records showed he was married. In October 2250, daughter Sarah born. Then in May 2256, both wife and daughter died. And at the beginning of last year, January 2257, Morden's retirement account had been closed. He was registered deceased.
Which did nothing to illuminate the situation. What was a dead archaeologist doing at their convocation?
Alwyn had said that Morden grew upset at the mention of ISN, the Interstellar News Network. Elric followed the hunch and accessed the ISN archives, which were open to the public. He searched under Morden, found a cluster of dates around May 2256. He called up the first news story. The anchorwoman announced that the Io jumpgate had been destroyed in a terrorist bombing. At the moment of the explosion, a ship with over five hundred passengers had been entering the jumpgate. As she spoke of the grieving relatives, they showed a swarm of reporters surrounding Morden. As they yelled out questions-"How