UN Real Paine
Book Two of the Paine Saga
Published by J. B. Durbin
Copyright 2014 by John Brian Durbin

Chapter 1 - Corvis

In addition monopolizing the computer market, the Corvis Foundation indirectly controlled most of the governments of the world.  When the plague struck in 2020, the bacteria that caused it mutated and began to destroy the chlorophyll-producing plants it infected. Grain crops were the hardest hit. Then, animals died from starvation. As the plague spread it attacked plants worldwide, causing governments to collapse and billions to die.

Steven Corvis, CEO of the Corvis Foundation, came up with a prototype plasma engine. The engine was very simple in design, had a high lift capability, was easy to assemble and operated on liquid hydrogen. The foundation offered its design to the New United States Government, which immediately put it into production and began to launch space platforms as orbital farms to replace the foods supplies destroyed by the plague.  Of course, Steven Corvis had already set up assembly lines in Northern California and Oregon and controlled the market. He also kept all the patents to the software needed to operate the engines, asked for and received protection courtesy of the New US Army and all the food and electricity he needed to run his operations. He became the most powerful man in the world overnight, constantly expanding his far-reaching empire.  Although his sense of entitlement and imperviousness yielded him great power, it also contributed to his belief that he possessed immunity from rules because of wealth and position.
Leaning back in the chair at the head of the conference table, Steven Corvis looked at his grandson, Danny. Unlike himself, Danny was over six feet in height. Steven was very short in stature, and it bothered him. To even the playing field, he always sat in a custom-made chair which dwarfed the others around the table, making him appear to be much larger than he actually was. As he tapped his foot on the rest built into his chair, he looked at Danny and silently chuckled as the taller man had to sit up straight just to reach the tabletop.
Steven looked at the data scrolling across the screen embedded in the table-top and asked, “Are you sure it works?”
Danny smiled and pointed to the microphone embedded in the table top. “Go ahead and ask it.”
Steve thought for a moment and said, “Jillian Corvis, eighty nine.”
Two seconds later, the screen showed a map of Paris, France.  A small dot was moving down the Champs d’ Elysees.
“Damn that woman, she is always shopping!” He asked, “How do I know you just didn’t get the computer to track her?”
Danny sounded hurt when he said, “Try someone else, someone well-known. You’ll see it works.”
Steven glared at his grandson. “I will make it simple.  You said it was for famous or powerful people. Computer, Adelmo Garcia, the ambassador to Argentina.”
It took the computer four seconds to find Garcia.  The map showed he was over the Caribbean Sea, and moving very fast.
“Computer, what is the ambassador’s destination?” Danny asked.
“He is currently heading for the United Nations to attend a special meeting called by Secretary General Baum. Would you like me to inform you when he has arrived?” the electronic voice asked.
Steven interjected, “No. The meeting is not our affair.  Cancel request.” He turned to his grandson, “Danny, how did you get the computer to do this?”
“It is very simple, actually.” Danny got that look Steven hated, the superior one he always used when talking down to people he considered mentally deficient, like his grandfather. “I coded it to identify our nanoprobes.  The billion or so we’ve produced in the past six months are fitted with a tiny transmitter designed to acquire and imprint the genetic code of whoever undergoes meditube treatment. Many rich and famous people are using the technology to reverse the aging process.  I mean, look at yourself, Gramps.”
“You know I hate it when you call me that!” Steven stood up, almost reaching out to slap his grandson, but stilled the impulse.  He sat back down in his chair, glaring at Danny. “Use that term again, and you will no longer be working for me,” Steven quietly vowed.
“Sorry, Grandfather.  I will not, I promise.” Danny did not sound at all contrite as he continued. “That code is then sent to the mainframe here at the labs and stored for future use.  We can now track the most important people in the world just by accessing their medical records.  Not only that, but the nanoprobes record conversations. Simple, yet brilliant.  And no one knows what we are doing or how we are doing it.”
“How can you keep this a secret?  Who else has access to the technology?  I know you didn’t do this all on your own. You can’t be that smart.”
Danny looked down at his feet for a moment, and then raised defiant eyes to his grandfather’s.
“The six programmers and two doctors who worked on the project did so in complete secrecy.  They were allowed no outside contact until the project was complete, then they were given a going-away present: a trip to a tropical island.” He paused. “Unfortunately, the lifter carrying them to their destination had a major malfunction and went down over the Pacific Ocean. We sent out search parties, but they never found any wreckage.  It was as if the lifter was swallowed up by the sea.” Danny looked down at his feet again. “I did what I thought needed to be done.”
Steven leaned back in his chair and put his hands behind his head.  “No, you did what you knew you had to do.  If word of this leaks out, we are in deep trouble.  I do not want any of our technology becoming public knowledge, ever.  Do you understand?”
Danny nodded. “Of course I do.  It would all be blamed on me.”
“We wouldn’t want anything to fall back on you, so forget everything you ever knew about this project.” Steven said. “Now let’s get on to other work.”
The meeting ended three hours later, and Danny left the office, his head swimming with the strategies that his grandfather planned to put into place.  As he was walking down the hall to the elevator, he thought about how late he was for his date; he hoped she was still waiting at his favorite downtown bar.
In the penthouse office, Danny’s grandfather typed a command into his computer console. He reread the transcript of his grandson telling a woman he was trying to impress that he could listen in on anyone at any time.  Steven knew Danny was a borderline alcoholic, and that the secret he had would not stay a secret for long. Hesitating for only a moment, he typed a new command into the computer. He whispered, “I did what needed to be done.” Thirty seconds later, the building shook as the elevator crashed into the basement.
He looked at the screen for a moment and said, “Danny Corvis, thirty seven.” Ten seconds later, the computer showed him a blank screen with the words SUBJECT NOT FOUND scrolling across the screen.