Friday, January 28, 2011

Fiction Friday - Series 3: Chapter 17

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9
Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16

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The capsuleer common deck on the Impro station was busy when I met Nhi'Khuna and her associate a few days later. I had spent the time getting familiar with the station and using a couple station contacts of Nhi's to make sure I would not run into Rusack unintentionally.

We sat in an open air cafe - the open air being the cavernous and well lit station deck which actually felt like being on a planet on a city street without the vehicles... there was even a small occasional breeze- and sipped typical Gallente drinks, a standard coffee for me while she had a Quafe Red Special and the newcomer ordered a Amarrian tea I had never heard of before.

"Kirith, this is Eamon Delvara. He works for IPRC, occasionally flying with us but he specializes in the more mundane activities of system AI security." I extended my hand and after a slight pause the other man shook it. It was rare you could not tell if a man was Gallente or Caldari but Delvara had that unremarkable look mastered. "I've talked to Eamon about our situation," Nhi continued, " and we've agreed that he can help us. For a price."

"Price?" I inquired as she took a drink.

"One million ISK," the other man finally spoke. Caldari accent, I thought to myself. Then the words sunk in.

"A million?" I asked incredulously. "That's a little steep, don't you think?"

Delvara bristled. "That's a friend's discount for what I need to do."

"Well what the hell does a million buy these days?"

"Kirith, relax. The price is excellent and appreciated, Eamon." she said as she nodded at Delvara. She then pulled out her comm. "This is a map of level 23 commercial district. This bar here," she tapped the screen, "is The Lucky Hanger bar and grill. Its where Rusack does most of his meetings. In fact," she zoomed the floor plan in, "there is a table along the wall here which is 'his' regular table.

"In two days time he is planning on meeting someone there, according to the Lucky Hanger's reservation system. It will be middle of the station's afternoon so it should be fairly quiet. Kirith, you will go in and do what you need to do. Here is the name of someone on station that can get any tools you need for the job." She pressed a button and my comm chimed in response. "Don't get caught before the appropriate time."

"Yeah yeah," I answered.

"Don't 'yeah yeah' me, I'm not your fucking mother." She waited while I had the presence of mind to blush and then continued. "Now, normally any serious disturbance kicks up the automated security AI for the deck, which then informs the station security AI and informs the guards on every level to be alerted as necessary, tracking the suspects from the point of disturbance to the point of detention by guards, locking lifts and escalators and checkpoints along the way. In other words, the noose tightens pretty quickly.

"What Eamon is going to do is route that message from the local AI meant for the station AI to himself impersonating it. The guards on level 23 will know something is going on at the Lucky Hanger, but the rest of the station will be oblivious. That is not easy hacking so shut up about the price.

"Once you get off level 23..."

"How do I avoid the guards on level 23?" I interrupted.

"Oh right." She took a card out of a pocket. "This pass is for station maintenance staff and will only work once. She here on the floor plan, "she pointed back to the map, "there is a access stairway to level 22 or 24. Slide the card, get in the stairwell and go up or down one, and you are off level 23. Ok?"

I took the card.

"As I was saying, once off level 23 you go to the main lift, go back to the capsuleer level, get on your ship, and get the hell out of here. Eamon can't hold off the AI security bot forever as it will get suspicious when you disappear from its zone and no authorized notification from up the chain come down. Understand?"

"Got it."

She and Eamon finished their drinks and got up to leave. My coffee was barely touched.

Two days until Rusack finally answered to what he did to my brother.

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