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Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 3: Principle One

John Barnes
Faster-Than-Light Reading
John Barnes, Author
7/31/2015
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This is the third installment of a ten-part science fiction series, running Tuesdays and Fridays on Light Reading this summer. Need catching up? Go here: Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 1: Family Business and Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 2: Warning Shot.


Yazzy was nodding slowly. "You're right, or at least we're probably hacked and NItCo is definitely hacked. Six seconds after they sign us as a contractor, our main subcontractor asset gets a massive, scary warning shot."

"Speaking as your main subcontractor asset, this concerns me," I said, sounding a lot braver than I felt.

"So what do we do about it? Do we drop the contract?"

"Never. Principle One, you know?"

"I do know. And if I didn't know, my husband would tell me over and over, and if he ever forgot you would. You're right."

"Well, to start, tell Dusan to shut down, purge and clear everything. I mean everything. I'm doing the same here. I'll figure out how we're getting back in touch sooner or later, or I'll watch for anything from you. Till then, love you, sis."

"I love you too, Yip. You can always go by Mama and Táta's on Thursday mornings and just hang out when Dusan and I call; at least that way we'll get to see each other before all this is wrapped up."

"That's a good idea. I'll do that."

I said, "House, assume whole system penetration, assume buried bugs in both executable and data, assume negatives are false. Download, clean and reupload everything, internal and all cloud, going back to the last clear and clean; spot-check in case they had some way to slip something in the archives. Overall, maximum sterilize everything, assume damage worst case, assume source and paths unknown. How long till you can report?"

"Estimated time to complete that is 24 minutes."

I turned back to Markus. "Principle One?" he asked.

"Dusan came up with a list of principles when he and Yazzy started the company. Principle One is that if we ever let anyone scare us off a job, everyone will know we can be scared off a job, which would be the end of ZIS."

"Makes sense. So do I have to stay down here till your house reestablishes security?"

"Probably advisable," I said. It didn't matter actually but it was a chance for small talk with Markus. "How 'bout them 'Jacks?"

"Football or basketball?"

"I follow both."

That got the talk going, but just at the brink of agreeing we should go to a Humboldt State game together, my stupid house finished all the security checks.

Markus bounded out of the chair (relieved? disappointed?). "I'll go look around up top."


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"I'll do one more check on electronic security."

House had found plenty of breaches. That meant there had to be much more it hadn't found. Ever since the Yan-Dimri fast factorization algorithm had flipped the advantage from the encryptors to the cryptanalysts, only isolated systems could be really secure (at the cost of being really useless). Of course, that was also why there was so much money in either side of encryption, penetration and security.

Markus returned. "All right. Nothing hiding in the bushes for several miles around, no detected aerial activity, no gadgets I can detect in the garden or the house. You can come on out."

Next Page: Meet the Face of NItCo

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DHagar
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DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/31/2015 | 7:48:37 PM
Re: #3 - Principle One
John, the mystery deepens!  I am looking for the double meaning in Principle One.
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