“This man is Mike Patrick. He called me earlier today asking for help with his group’s commodity trading anomaly. This timeline represents his life from a late start in college based on his age, until present. He currently heads up a group based in New York City called ePETRO. ePETRO is a group of petroleum-based holdings that has historically been very prescriptive in their product’s production and distribution.
“Mr. Patrick is the son of an Asian mother and an American father of Irish descent, both presumed dead. He was sent to boarding school from an early age for education and to presumably make something of himself. His father was killed during his early military career and never saw his son. There was, however, a death benefit from the military paid to his mother. That is when he was sent to boarding school. He kept out of trouble in school through high school, and his records indicate he was in the top of his class always. There are gaps between his exit from boarding school and when he attended college in Texas. Possibly he was finding himself. There is a hole in this time, but that could be due to a number of things including poor data retention practices which are common for these years in many areas outside of government.
“I met him when I worked in New York as a pen-tester. He had a problem in his data center that I traced. I found him to be a particularly annoying man in his treatment of the staff. A bit overbearing, likely accentuated with his large build, yet almost inscrutable in his facial features. He liked my work and was very forthcoming about how he located me when we spoke.
“He has asked for help in finding out the production count inconsistencies that are being reported as a part of the ePETRO collective.” Jacob changed to the next slide which showed numbers and production graphics. He waited for the team to review them, when Wolfgang stood and walked a bit closer.
Wolfgang pointed as he commented, “This shift right here, three months ago, is the point where the downward pricing started. Can you overlay that with the pricing in the same increments?”
Touching the wall, Jacob pulled in the next slide and paused for it to be viewed.
Wolfgang continued, “See what I mean? Jacob, how did you know to assemble this presentation in that order?”
“I guess I have been around you long enough, as well as listening to the problem as Mr. Patrick outlined it. What I see as really interesting, however, is the global buying over the same period that ICABOD assembled.”
With that he changed the slide, and there was indeed an inconsistency with this new information.
Otto intervened, “I see the differences, and it does look like a problem, but this modeling is only for the last four months. In any of the commodities markets, four months is like a breath, not totally indicative of a trend. Or have I forgotten my economics?”
“Otto, you are correct!” Wolfgang agreed. “However, the lines during the same period should track, and these are like polar opposites. Something is odd in the numbers. A further study of these numbers over a longer period of time along with other factors mapped into here is definitely warranted.
“What does Mr. Patrick want, Jacob?”
“He asked that I specifically come to his headquarter offices and take a look at his data systems and verify that he has no issues. He refused me remote access and has removed any external access from all the database sources and all applications. If there is a trail, he wants me to find it. All staff has been given an unexpected holiday with no access to the office whatsoever until the issue is identified, and a solution put into place. He wants me on site tonight or first thing in the morning.
“I suspect his Board of Directors is not happy, but the frozen state will stem the asset shrinkage for a few days.”
Quip had been somewhat distracted during most of the discussion up to the point in the discussion where the four months of commodity was discussed. He interrupted, “Could this be connected to any of the railroad issues that the U.S. government has us looking into?”
Otto shook his head and replied, “I don’t see how that would work, but we cannot discount it. I have been checking while listening, and Thiago’s current interests do not have any relationship with ePETRO. When you look at it historically, Wolfgang, it might be a prior business cross point that we can keep an eye out for.”
Petra suggested, “Jacob, I think you should go and take me along.”
Quip snickered but quickly looked away as he stifled it.
Petra, with her eyes on the screen and totally composed, added, “If this is a programmatic issue with the data, you might need some added encryption breaking support. Two pairs of eyes would likely be better than one.”
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