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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Metallic Heart - Chapter 30

 Lily met me in front of Noella’s the next morning, just as we agreed.
 “Come on up,” Noella said, inviting us in, but Lily looked hesitant.
 “You can trust me Lily…I promise that Noella will be able to help you.”

“It is not that…” Lily paused before continuing, “It is just…well…
Ardis, what if I was responsible for Aron’s death. How will I live with myself?”

 “If it was you, this scan will prove that you were not acting on your own accord.  No one will blame you and no matter what…you should not blame yourself.”

Lily seemed to consider that for a moment.  “Okay…I am ready to know the truth.”

Lily seemed to be much more eager once she made it up to Noella’s home. “So how do we do this?”  She asked.

Noella had a smug look on her face, but she kept whatever she was thinking to herself at my request.  Luckily I had the foresight to ask her to be on her best behavior upon Lily’s arrival.  “I have rigged my sleep pod to do a full system software scan and feed the data to my computer,” she was more than happy to explain.
“Ingenious,” Lily said looking sincerely impressed.

“I know,”
Noella quickly chimed in, “Too bad the scientists never thought of it”.
I allowed Noella that small snide comment seeing that she was doing me a huge favor, but I do not think Lily appreciated it much.
Lily did not let the comment go without a response though, “Well, we scientists are responsible for a lot of other things that you probably take for granted.”

“I am sure,”
Noella said sarcastically, the smug smirk once again appearing on her face.
“So I just sit in here then…as if I am going to sleep?”
“Actually, you will be asleep while I run the scan,” Noella corrected.
“Luckily I trust Ardis then,” Lily responded as she sat back into the sleep pod.
Although the situation was serious, I was slightly amused at Lily and Noella’s banter.  It is no secret that the two of them became slight enemies when Lily, the least qualified of the two,  was hired over Noella to work in the science labs.  Since then, Noella’s whole goal in life was to outdo anything that the scientists came up with, especially Lily.  If Lily’s research discovered something, Noella worked twice as hard to perfect it or make it better.
Once Lily was in the pod, Noella made sure that Lily’s system had totally shut down before moving to her computer.
“How long do you think this will take?”  I asked.

“Well, seeing that it
is Lily, I am sure that there will be a lot of BS to get through before I can even get into her system,” Noella said, only slightly joking.
“Behave,” I chastised playfully.

“Yes ma’am,”
Noella said quickly getting to work.
Only moments passed before Noella called out to me. “I think I see something,” she said.
“She has definitely been affected by a virus…one much stronger than the one that infected your system.”
“Really?”  I asked moving in closer.
Noella did not respond right away.  She instead worked diligently typing in some type of coding into her computer.
Ardis, I think that Lily’s exposure to the virus was repeated several times.  Whoever wanted to infect her system made sure to do a thorough job.”
Noella continued, “Do you see this red bit of coding here?” She asked referring to a series of red letters and numbers that she pointed out using the curser.
I walked over to take a closer look.  “Yes…what is it?”

“It is a very malicious Trojan.  It works to erase your system memory, meaning that at times Lily probably did not even remember what she had done only moments earlier.”

“That definitely confirms what she told me.  Can you tell if she had anything to do with President Aron’s death?”

“I will hopefully know in a few minutes.”

Noella worked for a little while longer.  When she had found everything that she needed, she walked over to me to report her findings.  “She did it…Lily killed President Aron.”

I was already pretty sure, but hearing it out of
Noella’s mouth, knowing that she had proof was almost too much for me.
“How do you know?”  I asked, although I was pretty sure that it was all there on Noella’s computer in back and white.

“The command that directed her to kill him was all over her system files.  It seems that her system was hacked with commands for her to develop a close relationship with President
Aron. Once she was able to get close to him, all she had to do was simply reset his system, leaving him vulnerable.”
Noella continued, “While his system was busy resetting, she could have easily blow torched his head plate, melting his entire central processing unit, motherboard…everything.  He never even knew what hit him.”
“So what do we do Noella?  We both already know who might be responsible for this whole thing.”
“We need to break into Chas lab…tonight.”

This worried me.  “Is everything ready for that?”

I continued, “And what about Lily?  Surely she will let Chas know what is going on.”

Noella seemed to consider this.
“As long as I have her hooked up, I can erase all signs of the virus.  Any programming he might have implanted would be eradicated.  It would be like a full system reset.  She would no longer be under his control.”
“Do we have a way to shut down all of the security in the lab without setting off any alarms?”
Noella pulled out my cell phone that she borrowed from me when we last met in the park.  “This has been programmed to take care of everything.”
She continued, “Each number on your phone has been programmed to a corresponding security camera or robotic guard…”
“You will know which button to use at what time because I have programmed everything in order.  In other words, camera 1 can be deactivated using the first button.  The cameras in the lab have a 10 second lag.  Your phone has been set to shut them down in 3.  You just hold each button down until the light on the camera shuts off.”
“The phone will also serve as a walkie talkie.  I will be close by with my lap top.  Anything that you cannot operate using this phone, I will hack from outside.  We can communicate with the phone.”
“It seems you have thought of everything,” I observed.

“I hope so…when you have gotten what you need, you can reset everything and leave the labs undetected by pressing and holding pound, pound and the number three.”

Noella handed me the phone.  “So…are you ready?”
I sighed and put the phone away before responding,  “I guess so.”
“So, what about Lily?”  I asked.

Noella turned to look at her. 
“I promise to take good care of her.  I will upload my virus protection and she will not have to worry about any further intrusions…”
“I may even upload some software to make her smarter too.”


“Just kidding,” she laughed.

“I guess this is it then.  Go ahead and take care of Lily…I will meet you at the labs at midnight,” I directed.
“Sure thing,” Noella said as I left.
She immediately went to her computer and began the upload.



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