San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Source Point Sequence 4

“Miss Forrester, are you able to tell this board any useful information regarding the January hacking attempt?” the chairman probed.

Forrester silently mused, “Only that it wasn’t an attempt, just a stunning success.”

“No sir, nothing other than what has already been said,” Forrester said.

“Very well then, this council has found you negligent in your duties as Source Point Security Manager.  Given your otherwise sterling record and reputation, this will only be a warning and a loss of bonus money.  See to it that this doesn’t happen again.”

“Yes, Mr. Chairman.  Thank you.”

Forrester excused herself and exited the hearing chamber, pausing at a trash can to vomit.  Wiping her mouth and still feeling a little sick, she looked over the balcony.  A crowd of protestors gathered outside the building.  Most likely anti-artificial intelligence people upset at the disproportionate gap between those who could afford and use technology to better their lives and the poor and disenfranchised who couldn’t afford most products on the market.  Cyber prosthesie, implanted rebreathers and Omni tools could all be purchased by those with the money, extending their life expectancy while the lower class members of society went without.

Forrester had accepted her security manager position hoping to curtail the lucrative business practices Source Point was engaging in and to democratize the distribution of technology—or at least that’s what she had hoped to do while sitting in her ethics classes.  Now she felt like a cog in the machine, helpless against the rising tide of AI-centered backlash.  Hopefully, that would soon change.  She had recently approached the Chairman about her ideas to allow the poor to access Source Point’s vast reserves of less expensive tech for a discounted rate.  In exchange for lower prices, they could live longer and lead productive lives, maybe one day becoming good members of society.  At first, it seemed like the Chairman was going to laugh her out of his office, but the more she talked, the more he listened and became supportive.

A state of chaos greeted her as she returned to her office.  Tech personnel swarmed from computer to computer.  Dread hit her as she grabbed a passing engineer, asking “Hack?”

He shook his head.

“Someone reverse engineered our requisition services and spammed everyone in the Baltimore area with the access codes!  We’re getting pinged every second for orders: food, credits, and tech.  We can’t access the original hack because we’re all busy handling the fake orders,” the engineer said.

Forrester had swept past him, entering her office and slipping on her Virtua gloves.  Activating her interface, she slipped into Source Point’s cyber space.  The room flared as it turned to an open space filled with floating access points.  A tall, glowing woman appeared before her.  Clad in the armor of Joan of Arc, Joan the AI spoke in a soothing tone.

“I see you are attempting to catch your hacker, Miss Forrester.  Might I suggest a movie instead?  That might be a more successful endeavor.”

“Spare me the banter Joan, run all scans on this digital signature.  I got it from the personnel, but it doesn’t look familiar.  He must have left a trail though.”

“Scan complete.  You are mistaken however; this signature matches the same ID of the January hacking.  No doubt it’s the same man.  It also correlates with some activity on our forums.  Evidently the hacker had an encrypted conversation with one of our off-site admins.  I’ve isolated his code and prepared it for you.”

“Save that for later, Joan.  It’s time to go hunting.”

A glowing white trail flared on the ground below her.  Crouching forward, she set off in a sprint.  In the virtual world, her pace felt like 100 mph.  As the trail glowed brighter, the hacker detected her and was now attempting to shake her off.  E-mines and spam mites flew at Forrester at impossible speeds, but she dodged them with ease.  Her confidence grew as she neared her quarry, but was immediately squelched as she slammed into an invisible wall.

“Warning, the hacker has manually ejected and is impeding our process,”  Joan piped in.

“Damn it!” Forrester exploded, punching the wall.

The hacker was less than 5 feet away, but he might as well have been 5,000 miles away.

“Joan, access a proxy server and ‘depixel’ this screen.  We may be able to get an ID on this guy.  When it does, focus on the face and take his picture.”

The wall in front of her slowly came into focus, and she saw the blurry outline of a man pulling off his gloves before slouching forward.  The pixilation finished as he looked up.  Forrester froze.  She recognized his face.

Damon Wade.

The man frowned as he looked at her.

“You always knew how to exhaust me, Karen,” appeared on her screen.

Read part three here.

Read part five here.

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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Source Point Sequence 4