The Search is On

Slaiton walked into the chamber creatively named “Server Room #3”. It was packed with a dozen men, a full inspection team. He had one assigned to every server room in the building. He did not want to appear to be going soft on this.

That was one reason, anyway. He also wanted this to be over as fast possible. Every motion the CSO made in this scenario was going to be picked over by the corporate council. Plus, the longer he took, the more likely Hellard would find some legal way of weaseling away.

Of course, it would be a lot easier and faster if he could tell the teams what they were looking for. They had told him as much. Secmaster Whent, fresh from his forced sabbatical, had made it very clear that Slaiton was being entirely unreasonably in his expectations. The greasy man had been much more forthcoming when Slaiton opened up the pocketbook along with the restricted equipment closet. Giving geeks new toys was always good strategy.

So now he had dozens of the top security professionals in the CSO – possibly the world – poring over every inch of Persephone’s internal servers. You’d think, given a day to work, they’d have actually found something by now. A tag, an encrypted file, maybe a nice, ripe smoking gun if he was lucky.

Instead, they were sitting around in piles of cables looking as bewildered as college freshmen in a 101 lab course. It was like they’d never even seen a computer before.

“It’s like I’ve never even seen a computer before,” Secminion Archavia said when Slaiton asked. “It’s that different. The architecture is generations beyond anything we’ve worked with outside of tech demos. I’m pretty sure even the hard memory is based on a distributed neural network model.” She scrunched up her nose as if even the idea smelled awful. “Which I would say is damn stupid, except whoever designed this was far from that. I’m pretty sure they didn’t think like a human being.”

Slaiton pinched his nose and slugged back his hour-cold coffee. “Have you had any luck with the equipment Hellard was using?”

“The Secmaster is on that personally,” Archavia replied. “New toys always go to the top, as always. It might help, I guess. It might also take a week just to figure out the UI.”

“Carry on,” Slaiton said, his voice carefully leveled. He knew intellectually that these were the best and the brightest, trying everything they knew and working at full capacity. Instinct bred in the CSO Academy told him they needed a swift kick and a sergeant screaming in their face. Slaiton tamped that down and moved onto the next server room.

There would be time enough for yelling later.