“It seems that he is spending more money than he should legitimately have access to, My Lord” my advisor reported as he duplicated the screen he was reading and passed it to me.

I flicked through its contents, lifting first one eyebrow, then the next. “He tried to hide his assets under different names,” I said to myself. “It's a good thing we uncovered this. Assets of this size show a significant income outside of his legitimate earnings; we need to investigate. Suggestions?”

“I suggest we hand this case over to the Auditors, My Lord,” he swept a hand across his screen to send a suggested outline of an Auditor engagement to the screen I was still holding. I knew he had also prepared a plan to let the Executive Branch handle the case – quietly and permanently.

I was not my father, I preferred to do things in the open. I erased the preliminary plan, and pressed a button on my desk. “Computer, get the Auditor in charge to my office.”

Acknowledged, My Lord, the computer answered faithfully. “Let's make a public statement that the Empire does not condone black markets or illegal trading or any other kind of illicit activity,” I told the Advisor. “My father preferred to do things his way, I prefer to do things my own way.”

The Advisor nodded politely, reminding me that I might need to replace him soon. I had no need for yes-men, I had need of advisors. Tomorrow's update from the Economics Advisor was one I was especially looking forward to, that man would argue with his own shadow. I had learned more from him than I had learned from my school teachers.

“While we wait for the Auditor,” I said, “Let's proceed with the next point on the agenda. What was last night's casualty rate?”

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