Carlos always admonished Juan Jr. by saying out loud before each training session, “Don’t get famous when prowling under someone’s technical skirt. This is NOT consenting adult voyeurism.” Juan even got into the habit of repeating it after their sessions.
In the case of the situation over the United States, Quip was quite specific that he didn’t trust that the existing methods would work. As snooping on the communications wasn’t an option, Carlos was testing the capture and copy method. It was critical that this be done as the transmission egress was completed and before the ingress was aware. It was a timing nightmare that was practiced repeatedly in a simulator by both Carlos and Juan Jr. Data transmissions were so rapid that Juan Jr. had built a signal aware program to help mark the delineations needed to capture those message segments.
The recent testing this morning, after some tweaking to Juan Jr.’s program, appeared to consistently grab the copy without any detection by the sender or receiver. Carlos was both saddened and elated that Juan was much quicker at this grab than he was.
“Excellent, Juan. That’s the ticket. I suppose it’s your years of rapid entry on your various devices that gives you those quick fingers and light touch. Either that or I am getting old.”
“Uncle, you’re not old. Your expertise in riding the satellite digital waves is phenomenal. To be honest, when Mom sent me, I figured I could learn all you have to teach in a couple of days. I have been here for weeks and now feel like I am just beginning to get the subtleties of this technology. I don’t know how you figured out the methods to cloak your transmissions when you did, but at least I can now do that.
“It is a combination of frequency hopping and randomization to make sure you’re not just parked on a single listening data stream. This makes one too predictable and therefore easy to catch. Are we ready to grab a few of these exchanges between JOAN and the other devices in the cluster?”
“Yes, I think it is time. We want at least six segments. Based on the timings of the exchanges we have tracked, there is an 89% chance that over the next seven minutes we will see several bursts being exchanged. Copy as many as you can, and we will hold them in the secure area. I don’t want them transmitted back to here, in case we trip a sensor chip that tips the devices off.
“Are you ready, Juan?”
“Yes, sir. Watching for the start of exchanges, now.”
Juan Jr. was as still as a statue focused on the tracking monitor. Without a word and barely a perceptible movement of his fingers, he moved for four seconds, then stopped.
“I have a dozen segments, Uncle Carlos. They are en route to the secure encrypted cloud location. We don’t know the contents, but based on our testing, they each have content. What’s next?”
Carlos dialed his encrypted mobile device and put it on speaker. “Quip, the packages are at the destination.”
“Excellent. Who did the final copy, you or Juan Jr.?”
“My Yaqui sense tingled, so I went for excellence. Juan Jr. did the grab. You were right, he is faster. I will send the promised brandy with the next package. I do pay my bets, Quip.”
Quip chortled a bit, then replied, “I certainly appreciate that but I prefer the rum you last time, thanks. Juan, you did good. We will get the segments and see if we can decrypt them. Thanks for the efforts, regardless of the contents. I know it can be tough under pressure.
“After this is decrypted, I think you should both try for interrupts on the drone and other ground AI robots. Even with all the intelligence in them, there are commands which can be interjected. You never know when we might want to understand the exchanges that might activate or deactivate these devices. Think of this as a man-in-the-middle attack, but only for the good guys.
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