Negotiations, Part 2

“Okay,” Slaiton said. He shut the door behind him, leaving Whent, Satasha, and himself in a barely-lit closet of a room. “So I just made a promise to a possibly insane AI that I have no idea if I can keep. Opinions?”

“Are we talking like physical transport off-site?” Whent asked. “Because that might be possible. If Hellard cooperates.”

“Assume he doesn’t,” Slaiton said.

“Then unless you pull of a major precedent-setting legal maneuver with the corporate council, we’d be stuck trying to replicate her system and copy the data,” Whent said. His eyes turned sidelong to Satasha.

“I love the idea of that, sirs,” Satasha said. “And I would sign on to a project like that in a heartbeat. Give us two dozen people, access to Hellard’s research, and about a decade and we might even be able to pull it off.”

“I’m not hearing much I like,” Slaiton said. “Either one of these involves Hellard’s resources. And confident as you may be in my political skill, Whent, I’m not about to try to force corporate secrets over to the CSO. I’d be lucky just to be fired.”

“So what, then? We give up?” Whent said. “I didn’t much like the sound of the vague alternatives she was giving if we didn’t cooperate.”

“Neither did I, Secmaster,” Slaiton said. “And I’m far from giving up. It just means we’ll have to swallow our pride on this one. New mission. Get me in touch with Hellard.”

“Isn’t he still in his suite?” Whent asked.

“Boarded up behind the best security Arestech has to offer,” Slaiton said. “Breaching rounds did more damage to our hearing than that door.”

“With internal comms down with the power, I’m not sure what you expect us to do,” Whent said.

Satasha grinned and punched Whent in the arm. A friendly gesture, Slaiton guessed. “We know there’s at least one channel open, right? Wanna bet we can trace a feed through to the room through the net?”

“Wouldn’t she notice?” Whent asked.

“Not if we do it right.” Without waiting for permission, the young secop was out the door.

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