July 5, 2008

Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 47 (Kite Infiltrates the OMNINet Part II)

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

When you enter an office building on a Saturday afternoon, the first thing you think is that you must have missed the alarm bell. Acres of cubicles are deserted, stripped of their organic inhabitants, now a quiet and still refuge for sleeping computers (few of which are turned off on Friday afternoon), pictures of families and friend and smelly work shoes, tucked under the retractable keyboard.

It was the pictures that always struck Kite. These were icons of hope, images of desire and sometimes visual tombstones and reminders for all office employees that for a few brief moments each week, these people weren’t stuck in a cubicle breathing in the dust of hundreds of other clock-punchers and drones. Or that they weren’t breathing in the chemically unstable and highly toxic fumes of the poorly made chairs, desks and rugs, all mass produced with cost-efficiencies in mind, and not the health of the end users.

They were tiny glimpses of joy in otherwise dreary lives that were surrendered to corporate gods that sucked them dry of more than half their conscious lives, but left them too tired to do anything productive with their non-work lives to be able to get out of this seemingly endless caustic environment.

The other part of the equation that Kite was always quick to remind himself of is that these were the lucky ones. As North Americans, these people didn’t have to worry about the quality of their drinking water or getting lung cancer at 22 from pesticides strewn on plants that they were picking at a rate of $2.50 for 16 hours of work per day in places like Chile, the Philippines or Mexico. North Americans were fortunate that they could actually leave the work space for more than 60 hours over the course of the weekend whereas the people that rarely saw the sun that made their shoes, tools for weekend reno projects and cameras to take these snapshots of their colourful lives, were happy to get a supervised bio-break twice a day.

Cubicles. These small stages of industrial life were beige and white coffins that protected their inhabitants from a rising a simmering global population that would literally kill them for a chance to sit on their arses and play Solitaire for a few hours a day while complaining about how badly “they” are treating Paris Hilton.

They were a reminder to Kite that if we were truly meant to be the shepherds of the earth, the sheep we controlled would eventually grow fangs the size of mammoth tusks and devour us for our crimes against them.

They were reminders that class warfare on a global scale was inevitable and that we would all get what we deserved. Except, of course, for the folks that were rich enough to build bunkers up on the Rocky Mountains that they would hole up in while the less prepared inhabitants of the planet destroyed themselves over where the next sub-development should be or how much one company should get as resource royalties over another.

Kite had entered the building successfully with his week’s worth of paperwork and went into range of the meeting room, which was on the eighty-eighth floor.

He arrived about three hours before the meeting and was very annoyed. He thought he had anticipated everything with respect to recording the meeting proceedings and that he’d be at home now, well away from this creepy place, but with no signal, there’d be no evidence.

He was frustrated by his inability to make progress. He could pick up some chatter from the catering staff and some cleaners, but when they got to certain locations in the building, the transmission cut out completely. The meeting room had a very obvious “cone of silence” surrounding it, probably a simple electromagnetic field that would prevent the transmission of any sound beyond the walls of the room.

An awful realization came to Kite: his plan was working, but it wasn’t.

He sat in a cubicle that belonged to Elaine Provo, intending to use her computer. It was still on, but was in sleep mode. Kite quickly tapped the mouse and keyboard to be met by Microsoft’s all too familiar log-in dialogue.

He waited a moment, and as he did so, he took in a quick inventory of Elaine’s surroundings. On the desk was four picture frames. The first two were in single 5”x8” frames showing her and a nice looking military-type in wedding shots and the other a frames letter than thanked her for her husband’s loyalty to the US Army. Joseph Provo had disappeared in Iraq and had not been heard from for weeks, at least according to the letter. The fourth was a picture of a relatively new born child, dressed in a set of pink, yellow and orange pajamas.

Kite sat in Elaine’s chair, lowered it, and typed a few quick keystrokes into the computer. With Microsoft, most people know that if you hold the “CTRL-ALT-DEL” keys all at once, you will get the Windows Task Manager when you’re logged in or the Password Manager when you’re not.

What most people don’t know is that with older versions of Windows, all you had to do with passwords was to hold CTRL and ALT and then tap DEL twice and then you’ll get a login window. All you have to do now is type in “Administrator”, leave the password blank and you’re in with the rights and access of an administrator. In other words, you’ve got access to anything.

Within a few minutes of working on the computer, Kite was using her IM, or instant messaging, service sending comments to Chaos and Hummus, being extremely careful to avoid specific dialogue that might implicate anyone, including poor Elaine.

Kite (as Elaine Provo): SNAFU. Can’t capture.

Providers (their nickname): Try turning it on.

EP: Bite me

Providers: Don’t go there.

EP: Real suggestions?

Providers: You’ll need something inside.

EP: Not possible.

Providers: You’ll need to Kenobi the force field.

EP: Not enough time.

Providers: Call in ERT?

EP: Too loud.

A long pause followed.

EP: Help?

Providers (after several moments pause): Follow elevators. Do a plant with riders.

EP: Done.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the “language” that’s used by your kids and others in the chat world, you might not recognize the details above. Basically, Chaos and Hummus had recommended that Kite follow the elevator activities and then identify when someone might be in one of them. It’d have to happen after the meeting started because if he tried something earlier, he might put a plant on someone, only to find that they’ve done something like hung up their coat. Somehow, it didn’t seem likely, but with Kite’s luck, it was certain to happen.

Kite spent the rest of the afternoon monitoring the flow of elevator traffic. Using Pigeon’s worm, he was able to access a custom program that would let security see the movement of all users as they went in and out of the elevator, based on the security card that they used. He yawned as he watched the constant stream of people moving up to the eighty-eighth floor, but didn’t see anyone move in the elevator after the scheduled start time.

There were times when Kite was a little hard on himself, thinking that he’d never get a break or that he’d be a permanent icon of ineptness, but today he finally felt some relief: a person entered the elevator about thirty minutes after the start of the meeting and hit the button for the main lobby.

The name on the security card was Griffith Garamond.

(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 48

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 .