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Maze Bright: Lost in Cyberia Part III

Fast forward. Noz sits in a dark corner of an internet cafe, sparing a moment to familiarize himself with the computing device in front of him and the hot caffeinated beverage the server provided him with.

The computer is standard enough, the same sort of terminal one would expect to find somewhere on Sivad. It waits patiently for payment information, cursor blinking rhythmically in phosphorescent glow.

Mazzonnoz favors the computer with a smile similar to one might expect the big bad wolf, then enters a series of control characters to bypass the computer's normal login routines.

It isn't hard to bypass this thing's logon requirements. A few fairly simple commands has it believing Noz has administrative access. It blinks patiently.

Mazzonnoz takes a sip of the tea and quietly prepares his terminal for all the evil things he's about to do with it: making the terminal appear like it's minding its own business for any administrator of the netcafe or casual observer, then assembling a few simple search routines and access programs.

The screen glows, bathing the Timonae's face in the flickering light of scrolling screens. A subroutine runs, showing it as working on a standard virus scan while Noz attempts to work his further magic. A blank search field opens on the screen.

Noz's next action is rather straightforward; so much so, in fact, it almost demonstrates a disdain for the government's security procedures. He uses a simple search routine to locate the network address for the New Berlin police's public node, a brief probe from one of the tools he assembled earlier to ascertain how its firewall is constructed, and then uses a buffer overflow attack particular to the firewall in an attempt to grant himself user access.

It takes a bit of time, annoyingly tedious time, but eventually Noz gets himself a basic access to the system.

Mazzonnoz sips his tea when he waits for the network to load, then types, then sips again. Once he finds himself a user account with suitable privileges, Noz co-opts it, and uses the access he has to gain himself unlimited read privileges - a much less risky, and harder to notice, move than attempting to gain super-user access.

Some detective is going to have some explaining to do, eventually, if his activity is ever noticed. But for now, the system believes Noz to be a legitimate user. The menu for the police network displays options of case files, prisoners in holding, transport, and all the assorted rap sheets of any convicts on one side. On the other are the options for administrative work, budgets, personnel listings, and the annual reviews on each.

Mazzonnoz takes a moment to sip his tea and really enjoy the way it tastes in his mouth, mingled with that other, slightly less tangible taste - victory. He calls up a search of case files, prisoners, prisoners in transit and rap sheets for "Roth, Jordan" his eyes trailing to the link to personnel listings as the search runs.

Well, there it is, in all her adolescent glory. She really did get in quite a bit of trouble with that prank on the school. There's also a few shoplifting charges, mostly software. The final entry is the one that assigns her community service and parole for the last two years of her juvenile status.

Mazzonnoz smirks a little, checking Jordan's age. He frowns at her absence in the police system, and looks for a way to co-opt his access to the penal system in order to find access to the hospital system - a service installed to check up on the status of witnesses or hospitalized convicts, for example, or to search for evidence of domestic disputes.

Nope, she's definitely not listed among the current convicts serving time. Or even as someone being charged with a crime. Seems she became a law-abiding citizen after her last escapade. Either that, or more careful. In any case, the police records hold no further information on her. Noz's attempt to get into the hospital records yields him court photographs of people in various states of injury. But that's it. Apparently those records are sent over to the network, but the network doesn't actually have any access to the medical system of Eichenhain Hospital of its own.

Mazzonnoz frowns, searching his cop-user's mail account for addresses from the hospital and then erasing the evidence of his intrusion into the police network.

It's a simple thing, finding the adresses for the hospital, they're attached to the files it sends over. The rest is done perfunctorily, and without much difficulty.

Mazzonnoz takes advantage of the address given - a port for secure-to-secure communication, one that hopefully enables him to slide from the police network and into the hospital network more easily thanks to the assumption that the parties on either end of the connection are secure.

It is indeed easier, though this system seems almost more finicky than the police newtwork. Still, Noz is in, and has the same level of access he did on the previous network. Fancy that.

Mazzonnoz performs his search for "Roth, Jordan" again, this time on the hospital network, then finishes his tea.

Jordan, Roth. Yep, there she is. It's more recent then the police records, only about two years old. It's odd though. The record starts as if she were transferred off the surgical ward, into neuro, but there's no record of her having been on the surgical service. It details the history of a coma for about a month, until she wakes up. At which point she is transferred off again, and again there's no record of where she was transferred to.

Mazzonnoz frowns. He looks through his session cache for Jordan's police record, pulling out his own datapad and taking notes now, piecing together her personal history. Two years of parole, transferred from surgical into neuro, but no surgery in the actual surgical ward. A month of coma in neuro, and then a transfer - somewhere. Noz frowns at that, and pokes around, attempting to ascertain the reason for the lack of information - namely, whether it's because his user lacks the clearance to get it or not.

There's about a two year gap from the time she drops off the police records and reappears in the hospital system. There doesn't seem to be any connection between the two. Poking around reveals nothing other than that Noz has the access to all of the hospital records, there just isn't a record of where she came from, or where she went, anywhere in it.

Mazzonnoz frowns, checking for Roth's name in the current inpatient/outpatient records.

No, she's not there-- or at least not listed as there. The last thing on her is when she is transferred back to the corner of No and Where.

Mazzonnoz scratches his temple. "Tricky girl," he mutters, and access the zeroes and ones of the files with information missing- looking, of course, for the signs of Jordan's handiwork in data manipulation.

If it was Jordan, she was damned good, because there doesn't seem to be any trace of it.

Mazzonnoz frowns a moment, then transfers a picture of Jordan from the AES employee records on his datapad - which is itself heavily fortified, security-wise - onto the terminal. Then he runs a search algorithm to match any record in the hospital that has an image on it, with Jordan's picture.

And again, nothing. There wasn't even a picture associated with the original file.

Mazzonnoz blinks at that. A little miffed, Noz decides to dig deeper - first, by reading the electronic mail of the doctors assigned to Jordan's case, from the beginning of her stay in surgery to the end of her stay in neuro, sorted by reference to Miss Roth. He checks his watch while the algorithm runs.

There isn't a lot of commentary on Jordan in any of the emails. Mostly a standard exchange of requests for a consultation with a specialist. One of them mentions a 'device' that seems to be giving them some trouble, and in that one there's also a comment that the physician wishes the damned Ward shared information better. And that seems to be it.

Mazzonnoz cracks his knuckles by pressing his hand against his chest, then digs for other references to the Ward, preferably something /from/ someone in the "ward" which would reveal its network location.

It occurs to Noz that searching through a hospital database for references to 'ward' is likely to bring millions of files back to him.

The specialist listed-- a Dr. Steven Rapscik-- isn't someone on hospital staff. The email address is actually to the University. The response he sends back is just a standard where and when query, and that he'd be happy to take a look.

Mazzonnoz frowns. University. The information cached from his session finds its way onto his datapad, which hums cheerfully and quietly as it accepts the data. Noz opens a second session and, without guile or premeditation, simply reads what the University has to say about Professor Rapscik.

Professor Rapscik is both a professor and a doctor, an M.D. Ph.D, who specializes in the medical applications of nanotechnology. He teaches a class on Tues and Thurs from 1:00-2:30, and has office hours every day from 11:00-1:00. His office and phone number are listed, as well as several journal citations on the research he's done in the area.

Mazzonnoz frowns, apparently dissatisfied with what he finds. Then, accessing Jordan's file and those of one or two others who have been transferred away in similar fashion, he sets them aside. Then he moves to give himself read-write privileges on the system necessary to create files with identical fingerprints to Jordan's and the others.

There are indeed a few more files like Jordan's. However, they are far less happy than hers. Of the ones matching the search exactly, there are two. Both of those arrived in a similar condition-- but when they left, about a year later, they were still IN comas. Another three are only a partial match. They transferred in in a similar fashion, but it shows where they transferred out to. The morgue.

Mazzonnoz raises both eyebrows. "You, Miss, are a successful experiment ... or a fluke." Noz attempts a search on the two who were still in comas when transferred out - one in the hospital records, and again in his other, "innocent" session, in the Waldheimer news outlets.

There isn't any further mention of them, like Jordan they seem to disappear back into nothingness.

Mazzonnoz frowns. Instead of searching for the lost ones, he conducts a different search. In the comm directory ... for their families.

There are several people whose last names match the two lost ones-- Hellstrom and Blume.

Mazzonnoz tries this: Searching the comm records from before Hellstrom and Blume left, then correlating the results then with the modern-day results that have one fewer name now than they did four years ago.

Comparing the old list to the new list isn't really necessary, once Noz pulls up the adresses. Neither of the two involved resided at the same location as any of the people matching their last name.

Mazzonnoz takes the Hellstrom and Blume he's looking for, and asks the directory to look back and see if his Hellstrom and Blume ever lived with any other Hellstrom and Blumes.

That proves more successful. Nicholas Blume lived with Marjorie and Henry Blume until he was 19. Gerald Hellstrom lived with Abel and Sarah Hellstrom until he was 21.

Jackpot. Noz notes Marjorie and Henry Blume's address and comm number; likewise with Abel and Sarah. After a moment's thought, he performs a similar search routine for Jordan's parents, then for the people who wound up in the morgue.

All of those are easy enough to find, and come up without much effort on Noz's part.

Mazzonnoz stores the names, then goes about covering up his tracks on the systems he visited as his session time on the terminal approaches longer than he is comfortable with.

Again, this is fairly easily accomplished. The cursor blinks innocently at Noz as he returns it back to its normal functions.

Before he leaves the hospital system, Noz writes an innocuous piece of code - burying itself beneath the permissions and authentication code of the hospital's system, a backdoor that lets him back into the account he had used for this session, whenever he wants it.

See alsoEdit

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