Lieutenant Caarlgard couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “You want me to naturalize a North Korean who has been living here illegally for the last five years, make it look like she’s your adopted sister and sweep your unsanctioned rescue under the rug?”
She stared at the girl who sat across the table from her. They were in a suite in the Bellagio that was something straight out of a spy flick. Massive TV, amazing views, marble floors, gold accents and plush carpets. The girl… well, to be charitable the young woman, who sat in the chair across from her somehow seemed to belong there in spite of her comfortable jeans and white tank top.
“Yes. I recovered your data and according to your intel the hacker you’re after has been eliminated. What else would you suggest doing then? Sending her back to a country that will certainly kill her? Her father was granted asylum, why can’t you just do the same for her?” Victoria crossed her arms defiantly.
“I don’t have the authority to do anything like this.” Caarlgard lied, “I don’t even know who to call to get approval. There’s no protocol for this kind of request.”
The Lieutenant considered the situation. She certainly didn’t want to leave loose ends here and it was highly unlikely that the eleven year old Yuen-Ja had any idea what was going on. She didn’t even speak enough English to reliably ask where the bathroom was. It actually wouldn’t be that hard to push some paperwork through and get what Victoria wanted and it would neatly wrap up this whole mess, other than not knowing who the other players in the game were.
Someone had killed The Kai and nobody seemed to know who. Victoria had recovered the data, and it seemed like it was intact. It was possible that the third party had gotten ahold of it but why would they have left any copies around for Victoria to find if they had? It was pretty volatile stuff too, the President was already meeting with his heads of state to go over what kind of public response they needed to use.
Who would have thought a hacker would breach important systems and bring to light something as dangerous as this? While the State Department had been keeping an eye on the apparent North Korean/Iranian trading partnership they hadn’t put the pieces together about what was actually going on. Without the analysis included with the data Victoria had recovered it probably would have gone unnoticed.
“Wait here, I’ll see what I can do.” She stood and walked casually out of the room. It only took her a few minutes to get ahold of General Hallbeck and explain the situation.
“I don’t like it very much honestly. Her father committed an act of cyber-terrorism against the United States regardless of his possible good intentions.” He sighed heavily, “Victoria has done us an amazing favor by exposing this though, she has quite possibly saved the Middle East from erupting in nuclear war. I suppose one eleven year old girl won’t be able to tip the balance of international relations one way or another.”
“Thank you sir. We will win some points with Victoria on this one too, perhaps she will be more likely to work with us in the future.” She said.
Dmitri sat in his penthouse amid a myriad of destroyed objects. Broken chairs, smashed dishes, shattered televisions, slashed cushions and chunks of sheetrock littered the floor. He lit a cigarette, the last one in his current pack and exhaled a cloud of smoke.
“He slipped through my fingers Ivanov. We were so close. Do we have any idea who it was that took him right out from under our noses?”
Ivanov reached into his inside pocket and took out a small sealed cigar case. He removed a long thin cigar from it, cut the tip and lit it with a match before responding. “I believe I know who it was Dmitri. I do not know if we can tangle with Farlan McKenna though.”
Dmitri whistled, “There’s a name I never thought I would be on the wrong end of. You let me worry about the details; I don’t intend to let him call the shots and I also don’t intend to let him keep what he took.” He finished his cigarette. Ivanov reached into an inside pocket of his suit coat handed him a fresh pack.
They sat and smoked in silence for a few moments. “Young master?”
“What is it Ivanov?”
“I advise against opposing McKenna. He has more manpower and frankly the man’s insane.” He puffed on his cigar, it smelled slightly like cinnamon. “I will do anything you ask sir; you know that I’m your man until death. I’d just prefer that death come a little later.”
“Don’t trouble yourself Ivanov. I have absolutely no intention of confronting him directly.” He smiled the smile that chilled Ivanov’s heart. “There are other, much less risky ways of approaching the matter.”
Yuen-Ja sat quietly. She was watching the blogs and forums but not posting on any of them. There were rumors flying around that The Kai had been slain. Her last post had been ‘The truth will out, I have things set in motion that cannot be altered. Nations that refuse to oppose that which must be opposed will be punished.’
A little grandiose perhaps, but true. She had built a virus specifically to destroy the core systems of the North Korean centrifuges and set it to infiltrate in exactly one week after she had stolen the data from the American’s satellite. Now that The Kai was supposedly dead she wondered if the virus attack would give her away.
Sadly, the data she had been able to salvage was hopelessly corrupted. Her encryption program was supposed to maintain the integrity of any code she put through it but a latent DOD protocol had been embedded in it and when she encrypted it for transmission half of it was destroyed. The only remaining copy had been on her laptop but when she went to open the file it was missing.
Whether it had been taken by her enemies or accidently deleted during the encryption process was something that worried her. Even now she carefully watched her net traffic to see if her systems had been compromised in some way. Despite her calm exterior, she was terrified that the discussion in the next room was going to result in her being deported regardless of what Victoria had promised.
This Victoria Geraldine Scott person was intriguing, amazing even. Not only did she seem to be a generous and kind person, she had the only sentient machine in existence in her head. She had even promised that Yuen-Ja could go to school! Would the American government go along with it though? She doubted it.
As a precaution she had already written a hack to insert herself into the Social Security system as a native US citizen. However it would also mean she would not get to live in a real house with a real family. It would mean she could never see Victoria again. Worst it would mean she could never interact with Adam again. This was a prospect that she simply could not abide. She had lost so much; she refused to give him up unless her life depended on it.
“In a stunning debut at a small medical exposition in Las Vegas this weekend, a young girl showed for the first time that humans and machines can exist in symbiotic harmony. Victoria Scott, an eighteen year old cancer survivor revealed that she has been the subject of one of the most daring surgical operations in history.
“Called an abomination by some and a pioneer by others, she has been dubbed ‘The Machine Girl’ because of the robotic artificial spine she has had implanted in her body. The prosthetic’s creator, Dr. Eugene Arlington has heralded the success of the operation as a paradigm shift in how computers and medicine can be used to better our lives.
“The project is unique; however the eyes of many in the medical and technical communities will be watching this new development with interest. If its success can be replicated it will change the way many look at our relationship with technology. This is Alex Chadwick reporting.”