This time I called Jet into a private room. Not just a private room. The private room. The most secure room in the facility that was inhabitable by people. The most secure servers were not places a human wanted to go. After Jet had cleared the triple airlock, he looked shaken. Slightly more shaken than usual, anyway.
“Have a seat, Jet,” I said, gesturing to one of the dozens of luxurious chairs around the conference table. “Something very important is going on and I think you might have some insight. First, though, is your promise that nothing we say here will leave this room. I make the same promise to you.” I paused for effect, pinning him with my stare. “Get that? Nothing.”
Jet nodded meekly and sunk into the closest seat, using the table for support.
“I need to know everything you can tell me about the Raids,” I said. “What they’re like. Why people do them. Why you did them. You don’t need to identify anyone, of course, but I really need to know as much as possible.”
“Um,” Jet said. “Can I ask why?”
Huh. Hadn’t expected that. “Fair enough. Okay, sure. Remember: this is top secret.” I drew a deep breath. Some part of me was terrified of letting someone else in on the secret. On my theories. But a bigger part of me was relieved. “Dad was obsessed with the Raids. In his mind, they were the last big threat to corporate sovereignty and the adamant security of the central server.”
I took a sip of whiskey, idly wondering how much of the bottle it would take me to get through this. “He dedicated the last parts of his life to figuring out how the Raid sim was so successful at providing an ongoing challenge to the sec teams at the CSO. It’s been going on for decades and they still have to be on the watch, even though the sim itself doesn’t seem to have changed in all that time. Hell, from what I hear it’s been going on so long that a lot of the Raiders don’t even know it’s not just a game.”
Jet nodded. “There are a lot like that. It’s mostly about the rankings these days.”
“Right. So. He realized that he needed an insider. He tried bribes and moles. But Raiders are an insular bunch with a pretty solid hatred for the corps, so he had no luck. So he began work on a software probe. Something that would get inside, leech data, watch the streams. Pull as much info as he could get his hands on from every avenue. It was probably one of the most sophisticated neural networks a corp has ever put together.”
“Okay,” Jet said, his eyebrows slanted. “So what do you need me for?”
I took another deep breath. Swung back the rest of my glass and reached for a refill. “He called it Project Delilah.”