Dominant Deception [Black Ops Brotherhood 3] (Siren Publishing Classic) (8 page)

BOOK: Dominant Deception [Black Ops Brotherhood 3] (Siren Publishing Classic)
4.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“So, how many computers did you work on yesterday?” Jack asked as he relaxed back in his chair.

“Twelve,” Anna answered, relaxing as well.

“Do you know how this virus was launched?”

“I was told that there was an e-mail from the base commander’s office. It asked for a receipt, sir. I put out a message to the base about it.”

Jack stood and walked to his fridge. He took out two bottles of water and returned to the table, resuming his seat. He offered Anna one of the bottles and she took it tentatively. She seemed to relax a little more. He smiled at her. She took a drink and resumed her work.

“Thank you, Captain,” Anna said, not looking at him.

“It’s hot outside,” Jack said and Anna smiled politely. He took a drink. “Can you tell me who this affected?”

“Mostly directorate and headquarters offices, sir.”

“And did you deal with all of them?”

“Yes, sir.”

“What else does this virus do?”

“Sir, if I may, what’s this all about?”

It seemed as if Anna shrunk back into her chair when she asked her question.

“I’m just curious,” Jack said gently.

“Like I said, sir, I put out an alert. Are you concerned about damage to your computer?”

“I don’t know. That’s what I’m trying to find out. Doesn’t it seem a little strange to you? Think about what happened and how it happened. Think about who it happened to. I guess I just have a suspicious nature.”


* * * *


Anna had thought about the problem Captain O’Malley had just presented and she was miles ahead of him. Someone had obviously hacked into the e-mail servers and grabbed addresses. She’d sent off a message warning her chain of command yesterday. It was still in the process of being approved when she went home. Anna said nothing and returned back to work. All his questions were making her nervous, and if she wasn’t careful she would screw up his computer and that was the last thing she needed. But, the captain seemed genuine and interested. This was new because most of the time the people she helped just wanted their stuff to work. They didn’t care what she had to do to make it work or keep it safe. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see him watching her.

“I’ve thought about it, Captain, and I believe I know what happened. I also know that I cleaned up the systems I worked on. There were some services that started, but that wasn’t all. There were some registry entries made to the system that left holes and vulnerabilities in the networking services.”

Captain O’Malley leaned forward. She had his full attention. “Go on.”

“It took me a long time at the first office I worked with. When I initially got the call, it was from military Manpower. The active duty assignment’s office was also affected, and here both of those offices are headquarters offices.”

Captain O’Malley never broke eye contact with Anna. “How do you know you’ve cleaned it up?”

“Because I went back and looked at the security logs on the individual computers as well as the e-mail servers. I found a pattern. There was a very unusual username after I rebooted the computer. In fact, that username was created three days ago. I checked last night. I chased that name on every computer that had the virus. I also chased it on some of the servers so I sent a message to our branch office to forward to my headquarters for a posting as a security threat.”

“You’re pretty thorough, aren’t you? What’s the status of the message?” Captain O’Malley asked.

“Isn’t that why you called base ops and asked for me instead of the on call?”

“Excuse me?” Captain O’Malley asked puzzled.

“You must’ve gotten the alert and seen that I was the point of contact.”

Captain O’Malley looked away for a moment and shook his head. “Mac called you. He must’ve seen it.”

There was a pause as Anna returned to the computer. She was confused for a moment, and the captain seemed to be confused as well.

“As far as I know, it’s still being approved, sir,” Anna said.

“Who else knows about this in your office?”

“Just my colleague, sir. Our squadron is out at Lackland.”

“Pull the hard drive,” Captain O’Malley said quickly.


“Pull the hard drive and let’s get a new one that’s never been used before. I want the machine rebuilt.” Captain O’Malley got up and left the office.


* * * *


Jack made a beeline for his master chief’s office. Even though he was required to have an executive officer, his go-to man was his master chief. Mac’s reading stack was almost down to less than one-third of the evaluations for all the enlisted in the group.

“Mac, we’ve got a problem,” Jack said as he threw open the door.

“Now what?” Mac questioned without looking up.

“Remember that incident at Quantico with that flash drive?”

Mac’s head came up suddenly, knowing exactly what Jack was talking about. It was the first incident in which SOCOM had been involved in the cyberterrorism game. SOCOM had become involved because records that contained information about Marine Strike Force Recon personnel had been compromised. SOCOM and the Department of Homeland Security were still investigating to see what sensitive computer server had been broken into. The military still had no idea how much information had been stolen.

They discovered the hack when the computer that had been compromised was moved and a jump drive had been discovered. They managed to find a partial finger print and traced the hack to Marco Lima, or Esteban Ramirez-Merles. Lima had recently hooked up with terrorists from Pakistan. The Navy Criminal Investigation Service and the CIA were still trying to determine if the servers were safe and just how much information on special operations personnel from the Marine Corps had been compromised.

“Based on what the computer chick just told me, we might be dealing with something similar if not the same thing,” Jack said.

“Oh, hell. What are we doing about her? How much do you think she’s guessed?” Mac asked, throwing his pen onto his desk.

“A lot more than I’m comfortable with. She’s got a message going through her chain of command for approval to announce this to the world.”

“We’ll have to stop that message, Rock. What are we doing about
?” Mac repeated and Jack looked away. “She can’t be running around talking about this, not until we get a handle on where it’s coming from.”

Jack had already thought about this situation while he and Anna talked.

“I’ll have a chat with her commanding officer, as soon as I find out who that might be,” Jack said.

“And then what?”

“I guess I’ll have her reassigned here until we get this under control,” Jack said simply.

“What’ll she be doing here? Hell, we don’t know anything about her, Rock,” Mac said, pointing out an obvious security flaw.

“She’s in this now whether we like it or not. And
, my friend, are stuck with her until we figure this out. We can’t let her go. I told her to pull the hard drive out of my laptop. I don’t want to lose that virus. I’ll get it to Chief Brooks as soon as I get to Coronado. I want you to go and get me a new hard drive while I talk to her some more.”

Mac stood and followed Jack out into the dark passageway that led back to the command office.

“When you get back, I want you to run her life’s story,” Jack said.

“How detailed you want it, boss?”

“I want to know the results of her last pap smear,” Jack said with a smile.

“Are you sure this is a professional interest you have?” Mac quipped with a grin as they reached Jack’s office.

“You never know.” Jack shrugged.


* * * *


Anna sat, staring at the wall, wondering what she’d said to elicit the reaction she got from Captain O’Malley. What was he so paranoid about? She’d figured out how to clean it up. She sat back. This would be a long day. Rebuilding a machine could take all afternoon and most of the evening. She started to run the inventory program on the machine to see what applications were on it and if there was any data.

As Anna looked down the list she groaned. There were several applications she had no access to. They were all Navy and Special Operations custom programs. Hopefully these applications were all on a server somewhere and someone would be available, on a Saturday afternoon, to allow her access. She had the inventory program open on the screen when Captain O’Malley returned with Mac behind him.

“Anna, what kind of a hard drive do you need? I’m going to go buy one,” Mac said.

Anna minimized the window she’d open. She opened the devices window and looked at the list of hardware for the machine. She found what she was looking for as Mac sat behind Captain O’Malley’s desk with pen in hand.

“Let me see. It looks like a 2.5 SATA, eighty gigabyte,” she said, reading the information before her.

“Where can he get one around here?” Jack asked.

“There’s Altex, if you leave the base and keep driving…” Anna gave Mac directions to the computer store.

“Got it,” Mac said.

Anna looked at Captain O’Malley. He was watching her again as he resumed his seat.

“What else do you need?” he asked.

“I need all the software for the machine. I have the inventory here, but I need to print it out.”

“Hit print.”

Suddenly Anna felt very stupid. She could feel herself blush.

“Yes, sir. I would have but I wasn’t sure where it would go,” Anna said.

“I can get the software when I get back.” Mac smiled.

Mac left and Anna felt very alone.

“Hit print. Let’s find out where it goes,” Captain O’Malley said.

Anna hit the print button on the toolbar and listened. They heard the large multifunction copier start up and print the document outside in the front office. Captain O’Malley walked out of the office and returned with the papers she’d printed. He handed them to her and she began to study them. Anna looked away as if considering something.

“It’ll be a while until Master Chief McGuire gets back. I can show you on this computer how this thing works and what I’m talking about, if you want to see, Captain,” Anna offered.

“Please do. I don’t want it cleaned up. Leave it intact.”


* * * *


Anna led Jack through areas of the computer he never knew existed. She dissected the system registry and configuration files too quickly for Jack to follow. Several times he had to slow her down and ask for an explanation.

“Because I haven’t cleaned up the files, the user name will not appear on your machine. It won’t until after I clean up the virus and reboot,” Anna said as she finished.

“It’s hot out there. I don’t think the Mohave gets this damn hot. What’s going on?” Mac asked as he placed the bag on the table.

Mac had caught Jack leaning in close behind Anna.

“I’m getting an education, Mac,” Jack said with a smile.

“Really?” Mac asked.

“When she pulls this hard drive, I want it locked up. Need to know only. And, Master Chief, right now, only you and I have a need to know. Understood?”

“Aye, aye, Captain.”

Jack turned to Anna and assumed his natural air of authority.

“You will not discuss what happened here. You will not do a report or whatever it is you do when you document these issues, do you understand me?” Jack said to Anna.

“Yes, sir,” Anna answered quietly.

“I need to get a hold of Dixie. I may reschedule my TAD for next week. I want to see how far this thing goes.” Jack moved to his desk.

“What else do you need?” Jack asked Anna.

“Software,” Mac and Anna answered at once.


* * * *


Anna pulled the hard drive from the computer and installed the new one. As predicted, it took her three hours to put all the applications back on the computer as listed in the inventory. About halfway through the reinstallation of the computer, Mac decided to call it a day. She and Captain O’Malley were left alone. For some of the more specialized applications, Captain O’Malley had to get in touch with his headquarters in Coronado, California. Anna was given brief access to the Special Warfare Command Intranet. She completed the installation, tested everything, and finally announced to Captain O’Malley that the computer was operational. It was late in the day when she walked outside and called Tammy.

Chapter 9


Randolph Air Force Base, Texas

Field Grade Officer Housing

July 26, 2008/2255 Zulu


Jack walked into the kitchen of his house from the garage and made a beeline for the refrigerator, pulling out a beer. His head was swimming because of the lack of sleep over the last few weeks and the hectic pace he was keeping at work. It was all starting to take its toll and now this—virus outbreak. He needed to have his group operational within the next three weeks. He thought about the events of the day.

BOOK: Dominant Deception [Black Ops Brotherhood 3] (Siren Publishing Classic)
4.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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