Dust: Chapter 07 Part 3

Kitty growled and looked a dagger at me. “Fantastic. By now they’ll have footage of the car.”

Know anywhere we can ditch the car and lie low?” I asked.

We can catch a train out of Melbourne at Southern Cross station. I know back doors into their system. And Metlink’s pattern recognition software isn’t as well protected. I can mess with it easy enough.”

The light changed to green and Kitty put her foot down again.

Tachi interjected. “So we take a train out to a rural community with no CCTV and plan our next move.”

[It’s worse than that.] Moe-moe said. [As soon as you get out of the car any images of you the cameras manage to capture will be passed around CCTV networks all over the country. As soon as a match comes up anywhere the authorities will be alerted. You may get away on the train but they’ll just need to contact the police at the other end.]

Holy Crap! The bouncy ball knows things.”

Kitty pursed her lips thoughtfully. “We might not have to worry about Metlink at all.” Kitty said.

Kitty took the corner rather than go through the next set of lights and took us down into the underground carpark of one of the swankier malls in the area.

[PR] Kitty cyped. [Can you search around the J for anyone who knows anyone who’s ever pulled a hack on ‘The Chase on Elizabeth’ and can you search for all the big companies that trade in the the Chase and see if anyone’s pulled a hack on any of them?]

[On it.]

What’s the plan?”

Kitty took us down another level to find a space. “A mall like this will have its own security system, but unlike Metlink the authorities will need a warrant before they can access it.”

[Ha.] PR laughed. [You play on easy mode Kitty-girl.]

I put two and two together by the time she parked the car. “You wanna hack the mall’s CCTV and take our images out of their software?”

Kitty smiled at me. “Give that man a prize.”

With that I felt safe enough to pop the doors and follow her into the food court.

Can you do something like that on the fly?” I asked. “I mean don’t you need to do any recon or hunt for passwords or something?”

[Actually]. Super Moe-Moe Ball chipped in. [For a setup like this you’d probably have an easier time going in through their security cameras. I got a look at one on the way in, I’m searching for its model now.]

Kitty put her bag in her lap and unzipped the main section. She paused as she reached in to power up her machine. It took me a second to realise she was looking at Atom’s bag.

Didn’t you say Atom took control of an arcology’s security network?”

I did.” I said. “I know what you’re thinking. Stop.”

If he can move as quickly as you say he can he’d be our best bet to get into the CCTV network before the police can get a warrant.”

You seem to forget that the moment you plug him into the matrix he’ll shoot Silicon Dreams an SOS telling them exactly where we are.”

[No I won’t.]

So.” Kitty shrugged. “They’ll know we’re in the mall soon enough.”

Yeah the cops will know, I’m not worried about them. Last time I checked they’re not on speaking terms with Righteous Chrome Fist.”

[But Dust, really I won’t.]

[Grownups are talking now Atom.]

Patriot Rap appeared between us, saving us from getting any further sidetracked. [No-one we know has ever hacked the building and the few hacks against any of those companies were too far back to be useful now.]

Kitty wrinkled her nose. [So much for the easy way I guess. Moe-Moe this is your area of expertise, what do you recommend?]

[Well the good news is: The security system of your mall was built to be affordable and easy to upgrade. The cameras Kitty’s looked at so far are all the Wilkinson CM25 model which run off USB. If you can access one of the cameras you’ll only need to splice into the USB cable to get onto their computers, from there I can provide you with a virus that’ll give you backdoor access to the system itself. Spoofing their pattern recognition software from there should be a cinch.]

I did a double-take at that. [It can’t be that easy. In Neotokyo we…]

Moe-Moe interrupted. […you were dealing with a system designed to prevent intrusion. This isn’t a top-flight cybernetics arcology, this is shopping mall. This system’s primary focus is to lower insurance rates and corroborate incident reports.]

I shrugged. [That’s a nice theory but what are you basing that off?]

[Look at the guards Dust] Kitty said. [Even their uniforms are unobtrusive. They don’t have shoot to kill authorisation like Kawada’s people.]

Moe-Moe’s avatar nodded. [It’s a whole different game down at this level.]

I hadn’t actually noticed the guards on our way in, which only underscored their point. They were wearing business attire that you could only tell were uniforms because of the word ‘Security’ stitched into the back of their collars.

[Now.] Kitty said [PR can you source us some replacement images from CCTV in your area?]

[Do my best. Knowing security around here most peeps in the system will be black dudes.]

Kitty nodded. [Go as far afield as you need to.]

I raised my hand. [Be a little noticeable if you start monkeying with the insides of one of their security cameras don’t you reckon?]

Kitty frowned at me. [Do you want this done fast or do you want this done quietly? We don’t have time for both.]

I sensed my questions were annoying Kitty and shut the hell up.
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