The heart of a hacker
This Week's Special
Location: Xiulan Song' Quarters
Hacking was not nearly as interesting as the movies made it out to be. There were no strange puzzles, no fancy graphics to represent firewalls, just code, millions upon millions of lines of code for Xiulan to pick through, a task that would have been made even more boring for Arturo and Zane to watch if she didn't have a monitor on her desk. She didn't need one usually, the information was transmitted straight to the receptors in her brain, but she pulled an old monitor out so that Arturo and Zane could see what she was doing.
"Ok, I think I'm in," Xiulan said, then took a heavy drag from her bottle of spiced baiju; she always worked better if she was a little drunk. The monitor now displayed Mack in security getting interrogated by Carnahan, and then the holoprojector playing his 'proof' of Mack firing on Carnahan's entourage. Xiulan sat back in her chair with a heavy sigh. "Well fuck me," she said, then took another heavy drink.
Zane stood behind Xiulan's desk sometimes glancing at her monitor as lines and line of mind numbing code scrolled by and staring at the interface line she had plugged into her head. He found it equally fascinating and horrifying. "Do you see things, you know like the numbers and stuff, flying by like that?"
"I have no idea since I can't see what you see," Xiulan answered as she continued breaking the code.
As the monitor began to flicker with images of Mack, it redirected his attention. He watched as Mack directly shot at the minister, standing there like the bad ass of bad asses. "Damn! Did she totally just do that. She like totally blasted his companion." Zane was impressed. "Play it back! Play it back!"
"No.... There's no way, no way!" Xiulan said, but did as she was 'told' and played it again.
"That..." Arturo started to say. "No. That is flatly impossible. It has to be a fabrication!"
"It has to be, but so far I'm not detecting any of the usual video compression artifacts that occur when trying to fake this kind of thing. There's no sheering of the images, it all looks and plays smoothly. Whoever did this is good at what they do, but don't worry, I'm better!" Xiulan said with determination as she attempted to tear the video to pieces to discover who had framed her Jiejie! Tapping almost violently at her keyboard, she ran various debugging programs on this piece of evidence to reveal the real killer, and as the image of Mack firing into the crowd played over and over with each successive program, it began to lose integrity. Soon the image of Mack fell away to reveal someone else, someone she didn't recognize, not that she would recognize that many people as seen through her computer.
"I gotcha, you sonofabitch, whoever you are!" Xiulan said with a grin as the image continued to clear up.
Zane moved up closer to the screen as the pixels shifted around forming something new from jumbled chaos. His excitement grew with each passing frame. "It's.... It's.... Who the hell is that?" Zane exclaimed. The picture focused on a woman, hair tied back in a tight military bun. Not anyone that was familiar from the skyplex, but it clearly wasn't Mack.
"I have no idea," Arturo said. "Orchidea, can you run a... what do you call it? Facial recognition scan?"
As Xiulan continued to work on identifying the woman at the root of the image, Zane moved closer to Arturo. "We gotta get this out so people see it. The station Administrator is a sell out. Can't you get it to your boss to transmit all over the Plex?" Zane asked.
Arturo grimaced. "I could try," he said. "I would rather ask Sasha Petrovich, but perhaps you are correct. He might not want to anger federal authorities. Mister Udinov, on the other hand, may be less concerned about such things." Arturo sighed. "Of course, this may also mean owing a favor to Nikolai Udinov, which could result in my being asked to do something I would not be able to come back from." Arturo looked at Xiulan. She was swiftly becoming his new family. That meant Mack was also family. Family was everything. "Give me a copy of the video file. I'll get it to Udinov and ask for his assistance."
Zane looked at Xiulian as she continued to work. He didnt much care for how Arturo looked at her, but technically he was there first, so a kid like him really shouldnt get in the way. Still, his martial arts teacher, and freind was the first woman he had felt like kissing since Nat had broken up with him. Figures... not much chance of that happening.
She was still working diligently on identifying the woman's face, but she managed to hold a data stick back for Arturo to pick up.
"Thank you, Orchdea," Arturo said. "Leave this with me. Do not worry. I will do all I can to save your sister." He leaned in and kissed her gently on the cheek. He nodded at Zane, and then picked up his sword cane and left.
Zane watched as Arturo walked off, turning his attention back to Xiulan. He gave her a shy smile, totally ignoring the fact that she is blind. "So...." he started. He could see that she was completely enveloped in the task at hand working the computer interface and apparently performing four different tasks simultaneously. "Uh... I guess I can see if Arturo needs a hand. Call if you need us." he waved and uneasily withdrew from the Dojo, not really sure what he could do to help. Least he could do is get up and see what was up on the decks.