Leaving No Traces

Characters: Klevetati Yoshino

Have you got a dark spot on your past? 
Leave it to my man, he'll fix it fast ...
     – "Sign In Stranger," music and lyrics by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker

“Sh, Kuri-chan, I don’t have time to play right now.” Yoshino picked the cat off the desk, set her on the floor and tossed a ball of industrial goo past her into the corner of the room. As Kuri bounded off after it, Yoshino sighed, sat back down and checked the status of her login.

She smiled to see the Centauri text scrolling across the screen. She flexed the fingers on her left hand as she slipped the voice-synth crystal into the port with the other. Within a few more seconds, she was back in the network of the MoldarGold Central Finance Bank on Centauri Prime.

The first step was to check the messages between the system admins. She’d been very careful last time, doing her best to cover her tracks and the manipulations in accounting that netted enough money to buy the freedom of Mira Trassano’s family. But the networks and the language of Centauri were still new to her, and there was no telling how sharp the opposition was.

She gnawed on a stalk of me’teen, a Minbari sweet, as she read. Sure enough, at least one of the sysadmins had noticed a few anomalies in the account balances, and was preparing to do a full audit. Not that it could be traced to Yoshino, but it was remotely possible if the system was audited it could lead to trouble for Mira or her family.

Yoshino swapped out the voice-synth crystal for another. “Happy62 callup, display local,” she said, and a small window appeared on the screen, allowing her to review the code she’d developed against just such a contingency.

It was a relatively simple worm, the basics of which she’d picked up off a Centauri elite — that is, hacker — netsite. The first thing she’d done when she got into the Centauri computer networks was look for kindred spirits — and she’d found them in abundance. She had even made a few friends.

It had been a pleasant surprise for Yoshino to discover that the hacker community throve on Centauri even more than on Earth — though, on reflection, she realized she shouldn’t have been too surprised. When it came to clannish politics, spying and infiltration tactics, the Centauri put her own ancestors from the days before the Shogunate to shame.

Her reverie was cut short as a chime sounded, announcing a message from someone else in the network. As she glanced at the message which appeared in another small window, she relaxed.

Geisha! the message read. Hey, how are you? What’cha doing in here?

Coutari, hello! Just checking up on my last visit. Good thing too, I think someone might have seen my handiwork.

Uh oh. What’cha gonna do?

Give ’em a little present. They’ll be so busy picking up the pieces they’ll forget me.

Hey, KEWL!!!

Better go. I wouldn’t want you to get caught in the backwash.

Got it, see you around.

He vanished, and Yoshino smiled. Some people were the same no matter the species. Time to get to work. The worm looked like it would work just fine.

“Happy62, transfer local to remote.”

She chewed a little more on the me’teen as she waited for the program to upload. She wasn’t even sure how many lightyears the tachyon beam had to cross, or how many jumpgates it passed through. Hopefully it would go through uncorrupted.

Finally her terminal chirped to tell her the upload was done. Yoshino quickly swapped the program crystal out, replacing it with the voice-synth one again. She’d need the voice password authorization to execute the program.

“Happy62, execute.”

She sat back and watched the program run for a few seconds before logging out. The worm would seek out the network’s hubs and crash them hard. It would be possible to rebuild the data — given proper backups — but it would be extremely time-consuming, and any anomalies would be put down to the reconstruction.

Of Geisha and her work, there would be no trace.

Yoshino smiled. It felt good to be back in business.

(C) 1999 Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.


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