Paranoia (042 of 170)

—of —
by Joseph Finder
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Paranoia by Joseph Finder. Copyright 2004 by Joseph Finder.
All Rights Reserved. Sharing not permitted.

Part Two: 21 (Cont'd)

They can be software, like computer programs, or actual hardware devices. But you had to be careful about installing the software versions, because you never knew how closely the corporation's network systems were being monitored; they might be able to detect it. So Arnold Meacham urged me to use the equipment.

He'd given me an assortment of little toys. One was a tiny cable connector that got plugged in between a computer keyboard and the PC. You'd never notice it. It had a chip embedded in it that recorded and stored up to two million keystrokes. You just came back later and took it off the target's computer, and you had a record of everything the person had typed in.

In a total of about ten seconds, I unplugged Nora's keyboard, attached it to the little KeyGhost thing, and then plugged that into her computer. She'd never see it, and in a couple of days I'd come back and get it.

But I wasn't going to leave her office empty-handed. I looked through some of the stuff on her desk. Not much here. I found a draft of an e-mail to the Maestro team, which she hadn't yet sent. "My most recent market research," she wrote, "indicates that, though GoldDust is undoubtedly superior, Microsoft Office will instead be supporting BlackHawk wireless technology. Though this may be a disruption to our fine engineers, I'm sure we all agree it's best not to swim against the Microsoft tide...."

Fast work, Nora, I thought. I hoped to hell Wyatt was right.

There were also the file cabinets to go through. Even in a high-tech place like Trion, important files almost always exist on paper, whether originals or hard-copy backups. This is the great truth of the so-called paperless office: the more we all use computers, the more reams of copy paper we seem to go through. I opened the first cabinet I came to, which turned out to be not a file cabinet at all but an enclosed bookcase. Why were some books kept in here, out of sight? I wondered. Then I looked closely at the titles and I whooped out loud.

She had rows and rows of books with titles like Women Who Run with the Wolves and Hardball for Women and Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman. Titles like Why Good Girls Don't Get Ahead ... but Gutsy Girls Do and Seven Secrets of Successful Women and The Eleven Commandments of Wildly Successful Women.

Nora, Nora, I found myself thinking. You go, girl.

Four of her file cabinets were unlocked, and I went for those first, thumbed through the stultifyingly dull contents: ops reviews, product specs, product development files, financial.... She documented seemingly everything, probably printed out a copy of every e-mail she sent or received. The good stuff, I knew, had to be in the locked cabinets. Why else would they be locked?

Pretty quickly I located the small file-cabinet key on Lisa's key ring. In the locked drawers I found a lot of HR files on her subordinates, which might have made for interesting reading if I had the time. Her personal financial records indicated that she'd been at Trion a long time, a lot of her options had vested, and she traded actively, so her net worth was in seven figures. I found my file, which was thin and contained nothing scary. Nothing of interest.

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