Petra turned toward him and stated, “I know that when your head is on a swivel and the oscillator mechanism is driving your cranium back and forth there is usually a discrepancy between what we are being told and what you are seeing. So, do you want to talk about it, Jacob?”
Jacob smirked slightly as he replied, “Are you insinuating I look like a cheap electric desk fan when I’m working? No wonder I can’t get a date over the Internet. Ah well.
“What I’m seeing is nothing. There is nothing wrong. No firewall rule anomalies, no unauthorized login attempts, no brute force login attempts in the log files, no tampering with the log files to cover up any bogus activity, no out-pulsing of large data files at the wrong times of day, or any escalated admin privileges for anyone who doesn’t already have them. Basically, the clubhouse has only admitted regular members.”
Petra puzzled over Jacob’s lassie-faire attitude towards his research and then asked, “Then the color of the sky in this picture is a proper blue, or am I missing something?”
Jacob continued, “Either we have come to the wrong place of the time/space continuum in this part of the galaxy, or everything had a wholesale makeover of the environment just before we got here. I mean, it’s fuzzy where I would expect stuff to be, but no one has tampered with the personality of the environmental log files. I am going to dig a little more in a couple of areas, but it appears that Roslyn is right about everything being locked down and tamper-proof.”
A satisfied tone from the person behind them offered, “I told you everything was as it should be. Now you two have been at it for hours without a break. I’ve ordered in a light snack for your consideration. This permits you to disengage, but not have to go off premises. I know how it is to get wrapped up in something and not want to leave the building because navigating the building security on your return can be quite disruptive to your thinking processes. Oh, before you go, let me get a photo of you two for my scrapbook.”
Before Jacob or Petra could move away from the computer screens or stage a nice couple’s pose, Roslyn had taken several photos with her fruit phone.
Then she shooed them into the kitchen area and stated, “Not to worry, I’ll log you out of the computer while you two snack.”
As they moved into the kitchen area, Petra again could see that Jacob was contemplating something, so as soon as they were out of earshot of Roslyn, Petra asked, “Jacob, you have that look again that suggests you are trying to solve a programming problem. However, let me interrupt your thought processes long enough to say that, as an encryption specialist, it occurs to me that you are looking exactly where they expected you to look, which is why it appears pristine. Which suggests…”
Jacob nodded and finished her statement. “We are looking in the wrong place. How did you get to be so brilliant and pretty, my dear?”
Their flirting touches with their observations did not escape the watchful eye of Roslyn, standing at the doorway of the kitchen, as she announced, “How do you feel after your light snack, hmmm? Do you need an evening break for dinner, or do you want to prowl some more on the systems I’ve provided?”
Jacob was somewhat irked by Roslyn’s smugness but politely responded with a slight knowing smile, “You know, Roslyn, I think after ten hours of this we need to disengage for the evening and start again fresh tomorrow. I have some ideas about a different attack vector that we can launch tomorrow.”
Roslyn was uneasy with Jacob’s disarming attitude toward tomorrow’s exercise.
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