Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Endless Horizons - Encrypted Messages

The Endless Horizons - Encrypted Messages

Tso leaned back, fingers unconsciously stretching beneath his tipless gloves.  Digital lines of the Solarnet peeled away from his vision finally as he de-jacked.  The Solarnet here was not encrypted particularly well, and he’d found what he’d needed with relative ease.  Listings of work, job offers and ticket numbers danced across the console.  He’d done a little bit of background work on a few, but the pile was largely untouched.

Splicing security channels he listened to the network chatter for a while, before taking a tour of hardlines and protocols that was decidedly…less on the legal side.  Never hurt to be in tune with the locals though.  The static of chatter continued as he stood up and stretched out his legs.  His bunk room was shared with Hernando, although near as he could tell the Navy tended to spend more time in the engine room and the bridge.  Their room was impeccably clean except for the shared workstation table, scattered over with mechanical parts and machine scrap on one end, and synth-plastic wrapped electronics on the other.  Tso was building a spare arm-comp on his own time with scavenged parts, although he’d need to hit up a real hi-tech city for some odds and ends soon if it was to keep progressing.

Snapping a micro-com into his ear and extending the mic down to rest alongside his neck, he activated it and synced it to his main comp with a flick over the sensory-damper.  “Guin,” he addressed the name for his secret AI, “Update messages.”

The comp whirred and data coalesced while the AI processed his request.  Idly he bit into the last third of a protein-bar ration, but found it decidedly dry and cardboard-like.  He’d head to the galley when this was done.

“One unread message, Tso.”

“Show me.”

The screen filled with encrypted gack, some mishmash of pseudo-Algerian and Cyrillic characters. Tso’s eyes narrowed, he hadn’t used that cipher in years.

“Decrypt, use the D-448 package.  And de-sync from the Solarnet before you start.” He waited, noting that the Solarnet modem lights abruptly shut off.  Idly Tso pulled a fresh cig from his worn leather and silver case.  He didn’t light it in the bunk room, out of respect for Hernando, but tucked it behind his left right ear, opposite the micro-com. 

“Message decrypted.” Intoned Guin.

“Read it.”

And a voice he hadn’t heard in years began, “Well, isn’t this a surprise…”