The Bastard trips up...

Year 1995 - Episode 2


"So what you're saying is that the network is wide open to hackers?" the boss asks.

The department Brown-Nose nods. I, however, shake my head.

Guess who he believes?

"Well, what have you been doing about these security holes?" asks the boss, now more than a little concerned.

"Ah..."

I consider the topic carefully for almost a nano-second prior to providing my answer.

"Not a thing."

"But our network is wide open. The security implications are horrendous!"

"That is correct," I say. "My much maligned co-'worker' has hit the nail right on the side with his diagnosis of our situation, which I will now attempt to summarise.

"In the unlikely even that someone manages to pick both the seven-pin tumbler locks on one of the comms room doors, bypass the alarm systems and security cameras, then open the locked FDDI cage, or alternatively, smash their way through six inches of reinforced concrete piping buried four feet under a busy suburban road, then tap into our fibre-optic cable without us knowing...then yes, we are wide open.

"However, if as I surmise this is a thinly disguised ploy by the departmental Brown-Nose to edge his way one rung up the perk ladder into a trip to look at new security software, then I believe that our exposure to danger is somewhat overstated."

"Did you say trip?" the boss asks, eyes gleaming.

EVERY TIME A COCONUT!

"Yes," Brown-Nose chips in innocently. "Just to a manufacturer in the US who has some software to quadrupally encrypt data streams while retaining data integrity and not impacting bandwidth."

Of course, as soon as the word 'US' pops up the boss has visions of himself overseeing the 'evaluation' procedure at a convenient beach, staying at the nearest resort because of its central placing.

Right.

Brown-Nose smirks as his dreams of a holiday on the company come to full fruition.

It seems almost a crime to take his dreams and strike them with the iron bar of reality, but network engineering is a dirty job...

"Well, that really does sound like a good idea. However, I believe that there is some quintupally encrypting software with a manufacturer who is presently on a six-week tour of the States that I'd already lined-up a meeting with."

To add to the impact of my statement, I flash a sheet of paper with impressive writing and letterhead as proof. They are not to know that it is in fact from my lawyer who is attempting to defend me from some libellous allegations of an illegal wiretap at my previous workplace (a sordid blackmail allegation completely fabricated by some other employees who were jealous of my six figure salary and my five minute working day).

Flashing the paper at this stage is of course unnecessary, as the boss wants to believe this...

I tip him the 'junket-nod' with:

"Hopefully we'll be able to catch up with them as they had booking problems and had to review their venues and dates."

Now the boss has carte blanche at junket level. His two options are either he goes with Brown-Nose to the States for a brief holiday with a small amount of technical content, or he goes to the States with me, expenses-paid for five weeks, never quite catching the manufacturer, returning home empty handed and still needing to find some encryption software (in other words, up for another junket), no technical content, with the minor danger of alcoholic poisoning.

Choose the first option and Brown-Nose will wilt under their respective inspections.

The Boss smiles. I smile. We both smile.

Brown-Nose sobs - he knows what's on the cards.

"Of course," I say "we don't really want to muddy the waters of purchasing and spread ourselves too thinly in researching this. A small team to concentrate on the hardware should do."

Engage cover-up plan.

"Yes," the boss concurs knowingly, ".. too many cooks and all that. Some technical reshuffle seems called for... I hear there's an opening for a technical consultant in our site maintenance division in Hartlepool."

Tears well up in Brown-Nose's eyes as he contemplates his next five years of gardening and rubbish bin emptying...

"That will do nicely sir. Book the tickets now?"

I try not to think of it as spite, just seeing the job through to completion.