The incessant beeping finally got Rand active enough to stick out his hand from under the fur skins and pull the phone back under it.
He listened to the panicked voice for a minute.
‘You know my price?’
The voice confirmed.
‘On my way.’ he said and hung up.
He tossed the phone aside, reached out for the stereo controls and turned up the volume on the nu metal to get his adrenalin going. Grunting slightly he got up, walked out of his truck, stepped into the pond it was parked next to it to the surprise of the people walking there and dove under water.
When he waded out of the pond again he felt better.
‘For shame!’ a woman said. ‘I should call the police!’
He halted for a moment and looked at her. He thought she looked as stiff in that business outfit as she sounded.
‘You could, but then you’d have to wait until I fix the damned network first.’ he said and walked back to his truck.
The woman looked at her mobile and saw the “No connection” alert on it.
The guards heard his truck coming and quickly opened the gate to let him in. He stopped it in front of the data centre where a nervous manager hurried out the door.
‘I’m so glad you’re here!’ he said while Rand got out and walked to the back. ‘We’re trying to block and reroute but can’t get a fix on the sources!’
‘And that’s why I’m here.’ Rand said as he opened the back, pulled out a box and shoved it into the manager’s arms. ‘Hold that will you.’
He grabbed another box and walked to the door followed by the manager.
Inside he found the local team checking screens displaying resource usage of the backbone and moving around disconnecting and reconnecting cables.
‘So, nasty?’ he asked the one who was telling the others where to go.
‘This is Nano, head of our technicians.’ the manager said to introduce her.
She turned around. ‘You might say that. Looks like every blockade gets rerouted.’
“Cute.” he thought looking at the white rodent-like girl in loose punk clothing. ‘I guess you haven’t found the source?’
‘Nope.’ she said and gestured at one of the screens. ‘The system shows no pattern we can use. We tried blocking part of the traffic but it’s no use.’
‘You can put the box down now.’ Rand told the manager.
‘Ah, right.’ he said and put it down. ‘So can you help?’
Rand watched the different screens. ‘You better hope I can otherwise this mess is going to explode.’ he said, then opened the boxes.
‘Here, have these plugged into all major connections.’ he said holding up one of the small blue boxes with a variety of connectors dangling from it.
She nodded and instructed her team on where to connect the boxes while he pulled out his portable with seperate screens and hooked them up.
‘And now?’ she asked.
‘Let the magic begin.’ Rand said and fired up his favorite music.
They watched as datastreams filled up the screens.
‘What’s all this?’ the manager asked.
‘Deep packet analysis of the core meta-data controling the workflows of interconnected network hardware while sampling the frequency rate of standard and non-standard redundent protocols with my own developed dynamic algorithms.’ he said winking at Nano.
The manager looked for a moment more, then nodded. ‘I see. Impressive.’
Nano had to look away to keep burting out from laughing.
‘Well, I’m going to meet up with my boss.’ the manager said. ‘I leave it in your capable hands.’
‘I’m surprised you didn’t tell him the boxes work on a pragmatic agile environment.’ she said chuckling.
‘This is usually enough technobabble to shut them up.’ he said and punched up a couple of graphs. ‘But there is some truth to it.’
She watched the graphs. ‘Tell me your secret?’
‘I could, but then you’d have to become my permanent girlfriend.’ he said scrolling through a list.
She grinned. ‘That top secret, eh?’
‘Nah, just hoping you’d be interested enough to take the offer.’ he said and grinned. ‘Gotcha.’
She looked at the screen. ‘What, really?’
‘There are sixteen nodes communicating on rotating protocols with each other. They hide by mimicking the normal traffic on the backbone. This Chameleon group is really good.’
‘So, you actually just found a great algorithm for traffic analysis?’
He shrugged. ‘It took a lot of work.’ he said, printed out a list of the node connections and handed it to her. ‘
It works, doesn’t it?’
She grinned and told her team to disconnect the nodes on the list and retrieve the boxes.
Rand powered off his portable and screens and stashed them back into his box. ‘Don’t bother trying to get anything from the nodes. They’re encrypted and will selfdestruct when they don’t get any communication for a while.’
‘You know this Chameleon group?’
‘I had to deal with them before.’
She watched the alerts die down on the monitoring system. ‘Job well done.’
‘Danke.’ he said, putting away the boxes he got back one by one from the team.
He was securing the boxes in the back of his truck when the manager came up to him.
‘Thank you so very much! The federal police is on its way to take the nodes for investigation.’
Rand shook his hand. ‘I hope they’ll find the bastards who wrecked your peaceful data centre.’
‘I’m sure they will now that we have their servers.’ the manager said and walked back triumphantly.
‘Heh. Don’t count on it. They don’t have the necessary evil attitude to invent ways to get into other networks.’
Rand said as he closed the back of the truck.
‘What do you mean?’ Nano asked.
‘While they disrupted your backbone they pulled data from one of your banking clients.’ he said and pulled out another printout. ‘They will have rerouted the data several times by now so we’ll never know where it went.’
She looked at the traffic data. ‘Son of a bitch.’
‘Yeah, unless someone makes a dumb mistake the group’s safe and sound.’ he said walking back to the front.
He looked back at her while he saw her putting away her mobile.
‘You know,’ she said wrapping her arms around his neck. ‘I really am interested in those algorithms you developed.’
He smirked slightly. ‘Only that?’
She smiled deviously. ‘Well, I suddenly have a couple of days vacation coming up and I want to be intellectually stimulated among other things. Your proposal doesn’t sound bad.’
‘I guess I’ll just have to allow you your trial period then.’ he said and touched her nose with his. ‘I planned to stay out in the savannah for a short while, get in and try not to be disappointed.’
She grinned. ‘I don’t think I will.’