Kyra and her team were poring over genealogical records and creating programs to sort through them more quickly, hoping to catch a break but their efforts so far had yielded few rewards. They hadn’t uncovered any connections between the people on Phil’s list or the residents of Adamsville, but as they’d barely scratched the surface of available records, Kyra remained hopeful. She’d heard the suggestion that more information might be gleaned from the polluted energies Sasha had recognized but wasn’t holding out a great deal of hope. Finding the owner of that energy was a lot like matching DNA. You had to have something to compare it to. Besides, unless the actual polluting was done by one of the people they sought, there would be nothing to tie this elusive person or persons to anything.
Fortunately, Kyra had some brilliant computer minds at her disposal and they were improving the sorting process almost hourly. Between themselves, they’d made it a sort of competition. The programmers vied to see who could come up with something to sift through records faster. Their competitive natures were further stimulated by their desire to be the one to find the missing link, so they continually sought records even in the most unlikely of places.
Kyra, herself, focused on the more difficult to navigate European records. Countries like Poland required you to know the city you wanted to search, and many surnames had multiple spellings. Many records simply ended after World War II when entire families were relocated or exterminated courtesy of Hitler and the Nazis. The same was true, albeit more recently, in parts of the Middle East. Kyra leaned in closer to the dual monitors on her desk, alternately firing off a barrage of keystrokes, and watching data scroll up the monitors. She thrived on a challenge and felt certain at least some of the answers lay, as the British would say, “across the pond”.
They had learned early on that tracing links between the residents of Adamsville was a waste of time because most of them were related in one way or another. Crossing one search off their list did little to decrease the number of records left to sort, but it was progress. Reaching another dead end, Kyra stood up to stretch before heading off in a new direction. As she stood, a boy named Ty approached her timidly. Looking up, she smiled. The kid was brilliant but painfully shy, so she treated him like a feral cat, moving slowly and speaking softly to avoid startling him.
“Do you have something, Ty?” She sat down and leaned back in her chair.
“Well, I’m not entirely sure.” Ty answered, shifting from foot to foot. Kyra offered him a chair in hopes he would relax a bit. “We’ve found a couple of anomalies in the family history for the second candidate on the list, and some of the same ones for the fifth. “
“What kind of anomalies?” Kyra raised an eyebrow, intrigued by Ty’s announcement.
“The kind which lead me to believe the records might have been altered.” Ty replied.
“Can you write an algorithm to test records for all of the candidates as well as some of the townspeople to determine whether the same anomaly occurs elsewhere?”
“I kind of wanted to run it by you before I did, so I don’t waste time on something which might be another dead end.”
“Do you think it will be a dead end?” Kyra wanted Ty to learn to have more confidence in his abilities, so she pushed him to commit to the theories he conceived. She’d already learned from experience he was able to visualize a problem in full, 3-D, holographic color.
“Frankly, Kyra, I’m not sure, but I don’t believe so. I can’t prove it scientifically. It’s more of a gut feeling, which makes it harder for me to accept its validity.” Ty’s words reminded Kyra his logical and creative minds waged a never-ending battle for control. She knew if he ever learned to reconcile the two, his ability to solve the most complex problem would be nothing short of incredible.
Smiling to herself, Kyra understood Ty’s concern. The young man lived his life in accordance with things he could prove. Gut feelings rarely warranted his attention. Since their lives had veered many degrees off-center lately, the idea of a typically logical person beginning to trust his seemed perfectly natural. Experience had already proven Ty’s instincts were disturbingly accurate.
“Ty, if you’re convinced it could yield results, you have my full support.” She assured him.
“Does that extend to obtaining help with the programming? I am somewhat deficient in the area of defining search parameters.” He admitted humbly. “I just don’t spend much time around people, you know.” Ty’s reclusiveness and lack of social skills were common knowledge around the compound. Kyra and a few others were subtly but consistently working to help Ty overcome his shyness. His request for assistance was a huge step for him even though she had to suppress a snort at the idea Ty was deficient in anything connected with computers. Yet she was gratified to see he was finding it easier to work with other people.
“Sure. I can get you a couple of extra heads to work on this. How about Jim and Marcy?” She suggested, knowing these two were a lot more in touch with the world beyond a computer screen than most of her “techies” while sensitive to Ty’s interpersonal limitations. Ty’s face lit up like a kid watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, so she knew she’d given him the names he had in mind.
Kyra quickly dashed off an email to the two, asking them to meet with Ty as soon as possible, forgetting in her excitement she could have contacted them telepathically. Ty slipped silently from the cabin and she returned her attention to her own monitors. Scanning the information her program had spit out while she was talking to Ty, she mentally discarded most of what she read. One item jumped out at her and she recognized it for one of Ty’s anomalies. Something about place of birth and parentage just didn’t add up. Before speaking to Ty, she might have attributed it to less diligent record keeping, but now, she wondered. Which begged the question, why would someone try ...