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The mailers spoke in only general terms of the secret process. Memory is holographic, spread throughout the brain. The IETS captures the eidetic resonance signatures from a billion or so locations. The process is a little like the standard MRI and CAT scans we got in the Air Force. In the IETS process, a little bit of everything the person was would be recorded. The downside of the process was that many of life's smallest pleasures were often sacrificed for the greater "macro" perspective of the memories-at-large. The IETS projects an eighty-percent eidetic capture rate by the end of the century.
To me the whole idea seemed a violation of something that probably shouldn't be violated. But the public didn't think so and the IETS was in business to resurrect loved ones where the loved ones were wanted and, I presume, where they could serve some useful purpose to society.
Still, this meant that Vanessa had at one time had Dad's brain scanned and his DNA taken specifically to have him resurrected — unbeknownst to either Caitlin or me.
Caitlin sniffled. "But he was hardly there, Jordan. I mean, Daddy's voice was weak, frail. It was like talking to a shadow of his former self. A ghost person."
"Caitlin—" I began.
Caitlin calmed suddenly. "It was wrong of Vanessa to do this. It's unconscionable and I won't stand for it."
"I'm not sure I understand," I said. "What's there to do about it? I mean, what can we do about it?"
Caitlin was a junior member of a Ventura-based firm that specialized in tax law. Nothing fancy. Caitlin had made extraordinary professional achievements in her life, but she had been the hardest hit by Dad's death. Dad died while I was flying F-33 Raptors over the South China Sea, so I couldn't really help Caitlin during that period . . . as if she'd have sought my help in the first place. I was wondering why she was seeking it now.
"I want to see him," Caitlin said. The brochure in my hand showed a photograph of the Institute in La Jolla with its Greek statuary, manicured bushes, and freshly mowed lawns. I thought it looked like a cemetery.
"That might cause some problems, Caitlin," I said.
"No," she said. "I've checked the law. We get as much access to Daddy as we want. Vanessa can't hog him."
"Uh, when do you want to do this?"
"Today. Now," Caitlin said. "And I want you to go with me."
"Right now? This minute?"
"I'm on the 210, west of Monrovia. I'll be in Azuza in thirty."
I sighed. Caitlin was our little soldier and now she was up in arms.
I said, "All right then. I'll be ready when you get here." I hung up.
Caitlin, myself and a woman named Nicole Torres, one of her law partners, took the HOV lane on Interstate 5 west into Los Angeles. Caitlin raced her Audi 12000 at a cool 105 mph and it made me more than a little nervous. I no longer like the sensation of speed. The F-33 isn't entirely invisible and for every F-33 we had, the Chinese had three-thousand surface-to-air missiles. I once flew into a forest of SAMs and I received a medal for it, though I never take it out and look at it, mostly for what it brings to mind.
Fog from the ocean had snuggled in the Pacific Palisades when we finally arrived. Vanessa's home was a small mansion in a secluded neighborhood. We walked up the short walkway from the street. With its shields up, Caitlin's Audi looked like a curled armadillo.
Caitlin and Ms. Torres stood shoulder to shoulder on the doorstep. Both women carried large briefcases and looked very businesslike. Caitlin rang the doorbell.
After the usual scans, a woman opened the tall oaken door to Vanessa's mansion. "Yes?" she asked in a diffident tone. "Can I help you?"
The woman was in her late thirties and she wore the crisp gray-and-white tunic of the Institute for Eidetic Transfer Sciences. Her badge said: RACHAEL HAAS. This was not a maid. This was Dad's nurse from the IETS.
"You don't know me," my sister began. "But I am Vanessa's sister, Caitlin. This is my brother, Jordan, behind me. Harl Grozak is our father. We would like to see him."
The woman stiffened. "I'm sorry, but Ms. Grozak left specific instructions that her father was not to be disturbed. You'll have to wait until Ms. Grozak returns from London."
I cleared my throat. "And when will that be?"
Caitlin answered for her. "She won't be back until tomorrow, at the earliest. We sent her to London."
Nicole Torres added, "We had to get her out of town so we could gain access to your father."
The nurse was clearly confused by this exchange.
Caitlin faced the nurse. "Vanessa's on the London shuttle and you can't reach her. Besides that, Harl Grozak is our father and, by law, you have to grant us access."
Rachael Haas tried to hold her ground. "Mr. Grozak, your father, is still recovering from the process."
Nicole Torres thrust an official-looking document at Ms. Haas. "This is a court order. It gives us the right of entry in order to see Harl Grozak. This document supercedes any orders you may have, verbal or written. Present here are his two eldest children and I am a witness to these proceedings which are being recorded as we speak."
Ms. Torres tapped a silver pin that was on the prim collar of her business suit. Only then did I notice that Caitlin was wearing one as well.
The woman at the door still hesitated.
"Besides," I added, trying to inject some lightness into the moment. "We only learned today that our father had been resurrected and I, for one, would really like to see him. I've never seen a resurrectee before."
She said, "I will have to get a message off to Vanessa immediately. She will need to know about this."
Caitlin nodded. "Fine. Do what you need to do."
The nurse took the court order. She then looked at me. "You're the fighter pilot, aren't you," she said.
"I was," I told her. "I'm retired now. Aerospace industry."
"I see," she said. It was sadly apparent to me that Vanessa had rarely spoken to this woman of her two siblings. All that mattered to Vanessa was her father, not our father.