The Lion and The Hyenas

“Lydia has no king. Lydia wants no king. I’ll rule my own life without any king.” – from FLC children’s chant

The lion says to the hyena, “You and what army?”

The hyena replies, “Just wait ’til I’m king. I won’t have to eat carrion with vultures. I’ll have my subjects kill for me. Maybe you.”

Hackers Wanted
A lion is prowling.
Chapter 5

“Scar, you mean that hacker not only escaped, but left no scent for your wolfhounds to track?”

“I’m sad to report such a thing Your Majesty, but yes. Remember how I said we eliminated most of those who have spoken out against your valiant leadership, but a few escaped through our fences to live in less efficient realms? The lion has apparently crawled under a fence and escaped.”

“Are our agents in other countries after him?”

“And our assassins, but we have no reliable vidfeeds or even still shots of him. Our data set consists only of renderings from recent memories by non professionals. Everything relating to him on any network has been corrupted. When we tried to get a description from an offline database, it triggered a worm that devoured his and related information.”

“How was he able to do this?”

“Hemlock thinks this lion somehow attached a custom script to biometrics queued for inclusion in our data bases. It may have been timed, or was keyed to release if a search or update touched it. For our offline systems he would have accessed them locally. It’s just a guess for now, It’s immensely harder and slower to build something, than to destroy it. The advantage is with distributed hackers and crackers, there is no one place to focus our counter attacks. Like roaches or bureaucrats, eliminate one and three seem to replace him.”

Prince Pahl is now clinching his fists in frustration. “But he ran. Are we through with him then, has Hemlock cleared this hacker’s subterfuge from our computers?”

“Yes I believe he is gone for good, his actions complete; his efforts are now likely directed toward other decisive kingdoms. But he has damaged our systems, and even a great and loyal hacker like Hemlock has been overwhelmed by Knight Watchman’s audacity. We had to shut down our remaining offline systems until we can debug. repair, and re-engineer all of our security networks. If we ask help from other nations they will know our weakness, and their searches on our behalf might trigger an attack on them. They might blame us for any damage. We may need to attack them sometime, we certainly don’t want them wary.”

“Tell me Scar, how can you be so sure Hemlock is loyal?”

“He is very loyal your highness. He is not only well paid, but we have his parents and family in one of your guarded compounds to ensure their safety. He sees security as a game, our close protection of his family ensures he plays to win.”

“I assume then that the efforts of this hacker will be cleared from our computers and no longer a problem.”

“Unfortunately not so Sire, the mischief played with our systems may well be permanent, many of our projects will need to be re-started on clean systems. It seems we underestimated his skills; the lion’s response to our initial attacks was a counter attack that corrupted our records of internal affairs in what he must have thought amusing ways. We no longer have lists and profiles of our potential enemies, their names and profiles have been replaced with courtiers and foreign dignitaries.”

“We have other copies don’t we?”

“As you say sire, but we can not bring in new data for comparison without risking more worms or time bombs that would destroy even the existing data. We can’t afford physical printouts of such huge files – we don’t have enough populace to search them.”

Scar seems to consider the difficulties. “We will keep those segregated systems apart, and use them for running unrelated searches – but we can’t upgrade them without undue risk. Any value they had is ephemeral, time is rapidly eroding any profitable use.”

“Scar, I’m quite upset.” Yet even as Pahl says this his fists have unclenched, and he looks a bit confused by the complexity of the situation.

Scar bows to hide his unpleasant smile. “The Interior Department’s National Police are seeking accomplices your highness, they will happen to be those most willing to ascend to your throne. Our tech systems will be repaired, your kingdom’s future is still bright. This is but a brief setback in a minor works program.”

Scarlettia continues in the same breath, only shifting his weight and smiling: “The foreign minister said you were in for a treat tonight.”

“Too right Scar, it would be easy to forget it is only tech we are talking about. Tell my foreign minister I will let that rather grand looking emissary from EllVee entertain me tonight, have him send her sister also. You are dismissed.”

As he leaves the royal chambers Minister Scarlettia signals to one of his officers.

The officer approaches and bounces to attention. “Yes Sir.”

“Select our top assassins and have them eliminate exiled aristocrats we do not control. Judge their efficiency, then send the top three out once again. Make sure they are of pre-Pahl stock, the best may be called upon to create a post-Pahl era.”