Solaris Rising 2 by Ian Whates

Solaris Rising 2 by Ian Whates

Author:Ian Whates
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Tags: Science Fiction
Publisher: Rebellion Publishing Ltd
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


From the balcony of a concierge suite – the only tenth-floor room whose door wasn’t locked – the city was a dark expanse silhouetted by random fires. No lights in the nearby industrial park, and the distant skyscrapers were nothing but black, lifeless shapes looming in the starless night. Sharon thought there ought to be the sirens of first-responders – police cruisers, fire trucks, ambulances – but she heard nothing other than an occasional gunshot. The airport was on the other side of the hotel, so she couldn’t tell whether the jet which had crashed there was still ablaze. Probably not, and if its fire had spread from the runway to the hangars or terminals, those living in the Wyatt-Centrum would have known it by now; the hotel was only a mile away.

A muttered obscenity brought her back to the balcony. Dale was seated at a sofa end-table they’d dragged through the sliding door; his laptop lay open upon it, connected to Cindy’s satphone. He’d hoped to get a clear uplink once he was outside, and a top floor balcony was the safest place to do this. And it appeared to have worked; gazing over his shoulder, Sharon saw that the countdown had disappeared from the screen, to be replaced by the NSA seal.

“You got through.” Cindy stood in the open doorway, holding a flashlight over Dale’s computer. The satphone belonged to her, so she’d insisted on coming along. Sharon had, too, mainly because Dale might need protection. After the incident in the kitchen, there was no telling how many ’bots might still be active in the hotel, as yet undiscovered.

“I got there, yeah... but I’m not getting in. Look” Dale’s fingers ran across the keyboard, and a row of asterisks appeared in the password bar. He tapped the ENTER key; a moment later, ACCESS DENIED appeared beneath the bar. “That was my backdoor password. It locked out my official one, too.”

“At least you got through. That’s got to count for something, right?”

Dale quietly gazed at the screen, absently rubbing his lower lip. “It does,” he said at last, “but I don’t like what it means.”

He didn’t say anything else for a moment or two. “Want to talk about it?” Sharon asked. “We’ve got a right to know, don’t you think?”

Dale slowly let out his breath. “This isn’t just any government website. It belongs to the Utah Data Center, the NSA’s electronic surveillance facility in Bluffdale, Utah.” He glanced up at Sharon. “Ever heard of it?”

“Isn’t that the place where they bug everyone’s phone?”

“That’s one way of putting it, yeah. Bluffdale does more than that, though... a lot more. They’re tapped into the entire global information grid. Not just phone calls... every piece of email, every download, every data search, every bank transaction. Anything that’s transmitted or travels down a wire gets filtered through this place.”

“You gotta be kidding.” Harold appeared in the doorway behind Cindy, apparently having found the restroom he’d been searching for. He’d tagged along as well, saying that Sharon might need help if they ran into any more ’bots.


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