July 5, 2008

Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 45 (Kite Infiltrates the OMNINet)

By liam

Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 45 of the my online book "Excited Delirium". Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index

9/11 really fucked things up for Kite. Well, it fucked things up for a lot of people – 400-odd bystanders locked up in Guantanamo, UN Peacekeeping, the several thousand people that went into work thinking everything was OK in their world, anti-war activists, and so on – but for Kite, 9/11 drastically altered the way he had to do business.

Getting into buildings, be they corporate, government or any other structure that housed information that Kite was hired to retrieve, was a cakewalk a few years ago compared to the environment today.

Today, the levels of security were upped many notches, to a point of crippling the regular organic flow of people that make a daily routine of going in and out, unaware that their every step was being recorded and logged.

With any luck (and a lot of perseverance, something Kite wasn’t really a good bedfellow with), he’d be out before his job got too difficult and common-place black operation security tools like biometric retinal scans, universal finger-printing, and RFID tags embedded under your skin like a UPC tattoo were fully implemented and were a standard part of day-to-day activities like getting on the bus or taking a crap.

Kite knew it would happen. Just another Reichstag fire-like event involving planes or bio-chemicals would push the US to declaring martial law. Or at least give some of the powers that be the excuse to do so. And he also knew it wasn’t something that could be fought with any skill or deftness. The only two people that opposed the Patriot Act back on September 13, 2001 were also the only two that found a package of Anthrax with their morning mail. Coincidence or warning, take your pick, but fighting the fight would soon be impossible for folks like Kite.

All Kite could hope for is that the window of opportunity didn’t close before he could earn a few more bucks and get out for good. Again, he presumed he wasn’t alone on this. Several bloggers, activists and other folks that were a little sensitive to what was happening (OK … the tinfoil hat types), were already out and were actively commenting on the decline from their caves in the middle of the Canadian tundra or somewhere in New Zealand.

When the lockdown happens, and curfews become routine (and Kite was convinced that they would), it would spell the end of the oblivious, consumer-driven lifestyles that we enmesh ourselves with. Kite didn’t really care as long as he was sipping wine on the porch of his 200-year old villa in south France.

As part of his strategy to get more information on the meeting, Kite considered staying in the OMNINet building overnight, if only to ease his actual entry to the building, but with regular camera sweeps and temperature monitors to detect people in the building, it wasn’t work the risk.

No, bureaucracy would have to help him out so he could enter Saturday evening without raiding alarm bells. Having Pigeon’s info was a vital first step.

His security card info was useless. These small cards have chips in them that expire within 12 months of issuance, but Pigeon’s card was cancelled weeks before he was fired. It was just deactivated when Eddie gave him the boot. Standard protocol. If Pigeon had lost his card or needed a new one after the cancellation, but before deactivation, it would have flagged all kids of paperwork to avoid any embarrassing situations for Pigeon, given that hew was in security himself.

However, most security folks rarely think of the repercussions of firing a tech-savvy employee. All somebody needs to do when they’re on the inside as an employee is plant a file known as a “worm” on the company server if they feel like things are going off the rails with their employer. Today, many techies simply do it out of habit, mainly because of the temporal nature of contracting jobs and company loyalty in general. When people get fired, it’s the techies that call up their employer’s servers and database and start deleting files, changing names and generally, messing things up. It sound awful, but so does paying talented programmers $18 per hour and firing them when they’ve created systems that will generate billions in cost savings for conglomerates.

Pigeon was in this group of tricksters: he was never sure about his relationship with the OMNINet, so it was actually something he did early on his arrival at the desk, but never thought it was something he’d have to use.

Once the worm was activated – usually with a basic phone call and by punching in the right sequence of numbers – a disgruntled employee like Pigeon could call up the worm, modify access codes remotely, tap into servers and get any kind of paperwork they wanted.

We all know the story of the Trojan Horse and this is no different.

Kite dialed in from a library so that his call couldn’t be tracked (at least not within the next few days) and was able set up access codes for himself. He then wandered over the to the next public access computer, typed in a few codes and URLs, and was able to access the Technology Department’s “Requisite Order Form” folder and files within a few minutes. From there, he obtained a copy of the “Contractor’s Right to Enter During Non-Business Hours” form, put Eddie’s signature on it and then printed off a copy.

Kite thought of doing something like dropping a batch program on the main server that would eat up space as it made redundant files, but thought about a few previous slips in judgment he’d made and left well enough alone.

He smiled at the thought that we was growing up and was actually thinking ahead for a change.

(Note: "Excited Delirium" is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 46

Did you miss a chapter? If so, click here to see all chapters or click here to go to Excited Delirium: Chapter 1 (Prelude)

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Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License .
Based on a work at www.exciteddelirium.ca .