Cern sat down at the tiny desk the ISD had assigned to him and began sifting through the various files on Kip Heren that he had loaded from the population database. There wasn't much there besides a brief bio, port records, ship registration and a couple of short data clips from security sensors, not to mention the two reports he had written on previous failed arrest attempts. Nothing he hadn't seen before. He scanned the bio once more. Name: Kip Heren, Place of origin: Seruylin-44, Time of origin: N/A, etc. A completely unremarkable bio, hardly different from billions of others. In the corner there was a small photo, probably taken from a security monitor, showing the typical dark gray face of an outer-system man, quite different from Cern's central-system reddish hue. For a moment he gazed at the time of origin section.
"How old is he, I wonder." he muttered to himself. It wasn't unusual for the centralized population database to be missing a few bits of information, or even whole people. With populated planets scattered around the galaxy holding countless numbers of people, keeping track of everyone becomes a futile effort. But surely there must be a time listed on something. He scanned through the records and ship registration, but nothing showed up. His curiosity now growing, Cern again logged into the database, but this time he went to the Seruylin-44 local registry. There, in the inhabitant data section, he found a strange note: Colony abandoned as of N214.6.714. No currently registered inhabitants.
See archives for past records.
“Well, yet another mistake for central pop.” he sighed. But something didn't seem right. N214.06.714 was over 400 standard years in the past. How could that kind of mistake even get into the database? He figured it must have been altered intentionally, but it would take someone pretty high up to change central population. It wasn't a particularly important point. All Cern had to do was catch the guy. But now he was starting to get interested in this chase.
“Who the hell are you, Kip Heren?”
The planet Purple-82 was a brilliant, sharp crescent of violet as Kip approached from the night side. The system's relatively small star gave off a red light which had led the local flora to evolve a unique kind of photosynthesis based on a bright purple chemical.
It was just minutes before sunrise at the city he was heading to. A small mining settlement that wasn't even big enough to have a spaceport, and thus wasn't likely to have much of an ISD presence. Exactly the kind of place he was looking for. There wasn't even so much as an I.D. request as he made his approach. “Well, thanks for the welcome.” he chuckled to himself. “I hope there are still people living on this rock.” The first wisps of atmosphere began buffeting the hull. Kip set the auto landing system, leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes.