Bad Code, Bad Bad

A bit of something that may eventually get used in a story . . .

The phone on Rada’s desk blinked twice then chirped. That’s interesting. Who’s calling from inside the network? She reached over and picked up the handset. “Manx One.”

“Manx, it’s Chips One,” Captain Rhoswytha Ahkai’s voice said. “I’ve got some code I need you to look at. It’s en-route in a secure folder.”

Ut oh, that doesn’t bode well. And why was the head of xenotech sending something computer related to her? Rada opened her personal computer and tapped into the Regimental intranet. The packet arrived and she pulled it, sending the folder into a special quarantined part of her unit’s memory and processors.

“Got it, Chips One. Anything I need to know before I look at it?”

“Uncertain, Manx One. We found it during a line-by-line bug hunt and the wires can’t make heads nor tails of it.”

“Hmmm.” That boded even more poorly. Rada stifled the urge to pull on a pair of surgical gloves before touching the keyboard. “Stand by.” She triple checked the security walls between the secured section, the main processor, and her ship’s own computers, as well as pulling out of the intranet. Then she opened the file. “Sweet mother of matter! Damn it, Chips One, you sent me a fifty kiloton nuke!” Rada recognized the worst bit from her training and without thinking began typing the nullification codes. “Come on, come on,” she half-prayed under her breath in Trader. “You’d better still work.”

As she watched and typed, the codes worked enough to change the program into an “execute on command” from a timed trigger. “OK, Chips One, I hope to heaven that the wires didn’t try and open that little parcel.”

“I don’t think they did.” A long pause. “What is it, and what will it do?”

“It’s a killer code, flash replicates and overrides the master command controls in . . .” she rattled off a string of file types and functions. “In short, it will gut, strip, send the data elsewhere, and then destroy our hardware as a parting gift.”

After a very long pause, Rada heard a deep sigh-like exhalation from the other end of the line. “I take it this is not of domestic manufacture.”

“No. No, most certainly an exotic.”

Another loud exhalation. “Right. Time to go scream at a low bidder. Chips One is clear.”

“Manx One is clear.” Rada waited until the scrambler whine clicked off before returning the handset to its cradle with exaggerated care.

Meanwhile, outside the lab door, Colour Sergeant Anthony Lee paused, one hand on the door latch, as he glanced up to triple-check that the door light remained green. As he started to pull the door open, a verbal explosion issued from the lab. He paused, listening in growing awe as Commander Rachel Na Gael’s curses and maledictions began in English, flowed into German, then Trader, and finally something else he didn’t recognize but that sounded hissy and most impressive. Lee waited until she paused for air to poke his head in.

“Pardon, Ma’am, but is this a bad time?”

 

(C) 2015 Alma T.C. Boykin All Rights Reserved.

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4 thoughts on “Bad Code, Bad Bad

    • Not thus far. Since the entire work is not available on the site, or for sale here, they don’t seem to mind excerpts being available. That is one reason why I took down Language of the Land before I put up the next book, though. That and so readers wouldn’t get confused if they went looking for back-episodes of the latest Saturday book.

  1. Torture. Pure, undiluted torture. Give me just enough of a taste to get me hooked (especially since I’m currently reading the Harry Irons trilogy, book 4), and then walk away. You’ll pay for this, TX, the next time I’m in Manhattan.

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