July 6, 2008

Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 49 (Kite Reports Back)

By liam

Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 49 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

“All right lads,” Kite said as he settled back into the room that he was renting with Hummus and Chaos. “The shit, as they say, has hit the fan.”

“You know … that expression has always created such a foul image for me. Why would someone be throwing feces against a moving turbine and then equate that action to getting serious?” Hummus asked honestly.

“Good point,” Kite answered, getting momentarily distracted by Hummus’ curiousity. “So … what do we say then that’s not an over-used cliché that’s also to your liking?” Kite asked sarcastically.

“It’s not that it’s over-used, well … it is. It’s just that … well, it’s a pretty disgusting metaphor when you really think about it. I just want to know: why would someone be throwing poo at a fan?”

“Ugh. Fine. Is it OK if I say that we’re in deep? Does that work for your gentle demeanor?”

“You don’t have to get harsh, dude. I’m just making a point. And yes, that will do fine. But next time, can you please try to be a little more creative? Some people think of comparisons with recent examples, such as ‘We have just a few more chances of getting through this than a kamikaze pilot has of making it to dinner after a morning raid’?”

“Nice,” Kite said smiling. “I like that one. Or how about ‘an Arab making it through pilot school after 9/11’?”

“Now you’re getting it. But those are about odds of success. And they take advantage of over-used stereotypes. I don’t like being racist. Besides, we’re talking about serious issues, right? Something big is brewing. So …” Hummus said as he pretended to think with his left hand propping his head in the air, “how about ‘we’ll have to be as busy as a lobbyist around budget season’?”

“I know you’ve wanted to use that one for a while, but it doesn’t have the impact I’m looking for,” Kite answered. “We’ll have to think of some good ones on the way home when this is all done.”

“Would you ladies SHUT UP and get to the task at hand?” Chaos interrupted.

“Sorry dude,” Kite apologized.

“No problem, man. It’s just that you’re eating into my gaming time.”

“OK …” Kite started, “let’s get back on topic. We now have recorded evidence that the owner and operator of one of the largest corporations in the world where he very clearly states that he has plans to destroy one of the most densely populated cities in the world. That’s all.”

“Dude,” Hummus said. “Some feces is seriously going to hit the turbine.”

“No shit,” answered Kite sarcastically.

“I think I’ve finally got everything that you were looking for … and that you hired me for,” Kite offered as he greeted Diana. It was the first time that they had made physical contact.

They agreed to meet in Harlem. There were spots in this borough of Manhattan that were still void of security cameras and close-circuit TVs and despite its reputation as being a criminal cesspool, it was actually getting to be quite a decent area of New York.

“Great,” she said curtly. “Bring it on. What is all this stuff?”

“Sure,” Kite said slowly, not expecting his contact to be so tense considering what he was about to reveal.

“These are your assets,” he said as he prepared his document and tools. “I’ve got some history with several mid-level managers showing every key-stroke they’ve made in the last 96 hours. It seems the OMNINet is breeding a lot of dissatisfied employees, given the activities that I can see on the recordings.” Kite dropped a single CD disc covered in a microfibre screen for protection on the table in front of them.

Diana looked a little surprised. “What’s this?” she asked.

“I saved all of the log files of the guys showing their computer activities when they were at work. Some of them seem fairly oblivious to the notion that their activities might be tracked, but at the same time, the OMNINet should seriously update its monitoring system to weed out some of the wackos.”

“Very interesting. How did you get this?”

“Honestly speaking, it was fairly easy to get,” Kite said smiling as he dug into his pocket. Normally, in a situation like this, the other person in the conversation would at least duck or flinch by Kite’s actions, but despite this being their second meeting, Diana knew that Kite was not the type to wield a weapon.

“This,” he demonstrated, “is a wireless USB key stroke tracker. It’s plugged into the cable that goes from your keyboard to the computer and it tracks everything you do. It integrates with a microfilm that I place over the monitor so I get a virtual video recording and reproduction of all of the actions of any user.”

“Amazing,” Diana said with a hint of respect in her voice. “How do you get this set up without raising questions?”

“Testosterone is a great weakness in all men,” Kite said proudly. “All you have to do is set yourself up as a tech admin with a specialization in radiation issues. Companies hire you because you offer them a chance to avoid liability issues related to the antiquated computers and screens that they bought shortly after Apple made the PC popular and managers love the idea because any time you threaten their virility, they freak out.”

“So you describe the screen as a radiation guard,” Diana said, finishing Kite’s train of thought.

“Exactly. It’s fun taking advantage of male ego.”

“OK … so you’ve got a pile of recordings showing a bunch of middle-level morons job hunt and search porn, but that’s not what really what I was after.”

“Fair enough, but their actions were enough to lead me to something that I could eventually act on. From their notes, meeting announcements and email messages, I got this,” Kite announced proudly as he thumped a digital voice recorder on the table and pressed play. The voice of Garamond came in loud and clear:

… All of you will be responsible for specific actions following the implementation of our plans, but you will not reveal anything about the potential origins of what will happen.”

“And what will happen?”

“We will bring China to its knees.”

Diana reeled in horror, but she tried her best to compose herself so that she did not give herself away to Kite. “This is outrageous,” she stammered. “This would be tantamount to a declaration of war on China.”

“No kidding,” Kite said dryly.

Diana continued, speeding up as she spoke and pored forth several conclusions about what she had just heard. “But this could be tomorrow or next year. Or a complete ruse. Are you sure they don’t know you were listening? Are you sure they didn’t find the device? I need to find out WHEN this is going to happen if it is going to happen as they’ve described.”

“I know that … and I’ve already started working on it,” Kite answered, anticipating her next direction.

“Great. Looks like you’ve set yourself up for a second contract,” Diana responded excitedly.

“Yeah … um …” Kite said sheepishly. “And I’d love to take you up on it, I really would.”

“But …” Diana interrupted coldly.

“Look,” Kite said as forcefully as he could. I had to make a lot of sacrifices to get this far and I really need you to understand that I can’t take this any further. Garamond. He has me pegged. He’s seen me. And don’t forget that Eddie knows me. Half the company has seen me working on their computers. Everything is cleaned up – I did most of that on Saturday before security could do any serious sweeps for wireless devices – but I’m a known commodity in the main building and there’s no way I can breach their security again. And after using Pigeon’s info last week to get in, I’ve probably put him in more danger than he deserves.”

“You mean Sasha Pigeon, the guy that Eddie used to date?”

“Yeah,” Kite answered, suspecting more was coming. “How do you know about him?”

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you need to know that Pigeon showed up dead yesterday morning. Officials said it was from complications from his disease, but since when does ‘natural causes’ include rope burns and bruises on the wrists and the crushing of one’s esophagus?”

Kite looked horrified and his colour changed like a bucket of titanium white paint had been dumped on his head. “Oh my god. That’s horrible. I didn’t realize that … but … how do you know those details?”

As he spoke, his physical reaction was to vomit. And he did. Twice.

Diana stepped back to give him some room, and she had to turn away because she didn’t have much of a stomach for that kind of response. Luckily they were in a fairly secluded location – they chose a small park in Harlem – and were left pretty much to themselves.

Kite was overwhelmed. He had never felt like this before, not even when he found out about his parents, which he can’t really remember. All he knew was that he never wanted to feel like this again. His physical reaction was so extreme because he immediately convinced himself that he was to blame for Pigeon’s death.

“Here, use this,” she said as she handed him some tissue. “About the details. I um, I have access to some information about the OMNINet as well.”

“What do you mean?” Kite asked, not fully returned to his senses.

Diana changed the topic quickly. She didn’t want Kite to know any more about her than he had to. “You’re going to have to finish what you’ve started. I don’t know how you’re going to do it, but we have to find out when Garamond and the OMNINet will do what they plan to do to China, whatever that might be.”

“I do have one idea and wanted to see what you thought before I tried it,” Kite suggested.

“What’s that?”

“I’m going to enlist Eddie Manchester,” Kite answered confidently.

“How the hell are you going to do that? He going to blame you for Pigeon’s death!”

“He will, but I’ve got two things that might appeal to him. First, despite who I am or who I am not, he is still someone who might trust me as a friend. Second, I have something from that big meeting that will convince him that he’s working for the wrong people.”

“What’s that?” Diana inquired.

“A recording of Garamond basically admitting that they plan on using Eddie as the fall guy for their plan.”

(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 50

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 .