Bringing Up the Screens

It’s been an interesting morning, mostly due to (1) having no internet access at Panera, which kept me from getting out this post earlier, and (2) having some guy semi-hit on me there while bestowing all his worldly knowledge and also simply ignoring everything I’d say.  Ah, the joys of womanhood.

But, even with the distractions, I managed to finish up the next scene in Chapter Nineteen.  Both are under fifteen hundred words, which is short for me, and makes the chapter less than three thousand words so far.  Believe it:  I’ve got a scene three times longer than that, so this is an accomplishment.

They seem so . . . tiny.

They seem so . . . tiny.

The current scene sees the headmistress coming into the Security Center to speak with Isis, and while Isis is getting permission to up their security level, this happens:

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Having never seen her security people at work under these conditions, Mathilde marveled at their efficiency. She was about to ask Isis a question when Tamera spoke. “Isis, we’ve just received a message from SDNF.”

Isis responded instantly. “Show me.”

Mathilde listened carefully. SDNF was the Sociedad para el Desarrollo de la Nueva Futura, the sister school of Edinburgh located in Valparaiso, Chile. The headmistress was suddenly taken by an unease, for if they were experiencing a problem . . .

Tamera popped the message up in the center of the room:

To all Schools on This Network; to Isis Mossman:

We have experienced intrusions against our outer screen similar to those reported by ECMI, as well as tentative probes against our Phase One firewall. Probes are intermittent but not random. Initiating Security Level Two protocols immediately; will stay in touch with network as long as possible to advise all of our on-going situation.

“They addressed it to you as well.” Mathilde turned towards Isis, who was continuing to stare at the message. “Is that usual?”

“Estrarel knows me well.” Isis turned to the headmistress. “Something’s going on down there; if she’s going to Level Two, then she suspects something bad is coming.” She looked past Mathilde to her staff. “Holly, splice our third tier servers into the firewall—and let me know the instant something starts bumping against us.”

“Yes, Chief.”

“Tamera?”

Isis’ second spun around in her chair. “Yes?”

“Get the guillotine in place.” The guillotine was an enchantment that would cut the school’s internal network away from the external Foundation networks as well as the public Internet. “Set it per standard orders: voice actuation on either yours or my command.”

“I’ll have it up in two minutes.” Tamera turned to her display and began working.

Isis didn’t bother trying to sway the headmistress with a lot of preamble. “Valparaiso wouldn’t have went to Level Two without good reason—and that bothers me. Suhaila—” She moved in behind the woman. “Contact Dragon Home, Thunderhead, Loongana, and Hayasaka, and ask them if they’ve noticed any unexpected hits against their firewalls. Particularly Thunderhead and Hayasaka—”

Mathilde was somewhat confused by the request. “Why those two?” She knew those four schools were the next largest behind ECMI and SDNF, but she didn’t know why Isis was singling out South Africa and Japan.

“Thunderhead and Hayasaka have a higher percentage of mad scientists than straight-up witches.” Isis slowly returned to the center of the room. “They’ve both got a hell of an advanced network, and that makes them both juicy targets.”

“What’s your thinking here?”

“Someone’s trying to hack the networks. That’s the impression I’m getting from the SDNF message, that someone’s trying to access their servers. With Edinburgh going dark, I’m wondering if someone decided to take them head-on and physically access their systems.” Isis glanced around the room. “They’re an older school and even with the improvements I’ve helped them establish, there are spots there that could be rendered vulnerable.”

There you get to see some of the other schools in The Foundation, and you even know where two of them are located.  These are places that I put together back in October of 2013, during the period when I was “making things up” to build my world, and now I get to use them.  Just for the record, Dragon Home is in Sweden and Loongana is in Australia.  With that you now know the names and locations of six other schools besides Salem.  The Foundation, they appear to be everywhere.

Then again, I did say they were The Pond once, didn’t I?