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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tales of the Cypherpunk 14


Shilo crawled into an air vent.

Shilo crawled out of an air vent.

He found himself in a rat's nest of tunnels. He found himself in pitch blackness, enclosed by round walls that faded into ceiling and floors that tilted at odd angles. The building slept away the night in a thick black sky which neither moon nor stars could penetrate.

The building was silent as it was dark. Even the radio signals from the outside were muted and scattered, barely perceptible to Shilo's unpowered antenna. To him, long accustomed to the hum of EM in the implants in his Superior Colliculus, it was the sound of the grave.

Still, convection moved the air. Facial vision began to take over. Shilo held his hands loosely, just barely in front of his waist, fingers extended and relaxed. He stepped forward slowly on the balls of his feet, never changing pace or becoming unbalanced. He could stop if he sensed a wall, even with a toe mils from the floor, but there was never a need. The texture and slope of the foam floor guided him.

Shilo had memorized the building's map; it formed in front of him now, like a floating, luminous ball of spaghetti. The RDI Admin building had been designed by computer in the days when space efficiency was in vogue. It seemed alien to human occupants, but in terms of space and weight and power consumption it was impressive. Still, it was a critique of science that all it produced was this flying spaghetti monster.

According to the mental image, a door should be to the right. He strained but could not detect any electric current. It was no sure thing- his own sensors were in silent running mode- but risk was part and parcel of the job.

He entered the office.

It felt small. Shilo unzipped the pouch strapped to his waist and reached in to turn on the white noise machine. It could shield him and his activities from distant EM sensors; it could also set off every alarm in the building. In this one small office, he would take the chance.

A Cypher's job was a calculated risk that took advantage of the systems that others established. Would anyone go to the expense of installing an alarm system in an individual office, behind another one, inside a darkened maze, suspended a kilometer above the ground?

He turned on a head lamp and blinked at the few lumens it produced.

The work station? The tablet? Sensitive data could never be kept on a server, no matter how secure, because it could be intercepted in transmission. Shy unwound a wire from within his pouch and began dumping every storage device in the room.

Far away, an acoustic filter recognized human activity.


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