Unknown Mission, Part Eight

Continued from Part Seven

Snyder sat at his cube. He took a drink of coffee. Okay, I can hack into the QA system and delete observations of situations where I look the other way at Christian messages, but if I am stealing information from one of the sergeants, I’m going to get caught. I need something permanent that nobody’s going to find out about.

He looked at top his screen. “Logged in to SecureEmpire.mil (American Province).” He snapped his finger. The computer that ran SecureEmp would have all the passwords on it, including master passwords.

Snyder cracked his knuckles, and began the process of  accessing the password file. An hour later, with a few interruptions for some “urgent” situations, Snyder was in. He sat back. I could create a master user here and nobody would notice. Yeah, right.

Snyder skimmed the master users list.

Admin . . . Yeah, let’s hijack the user name of the guy who runs the system; he won’t notice.

DonovanS . . . I don’t have that big of a death wish.


Snyder rubbed his chin. There was a username nobody had bothered with in a long time, seeing as Ivan swung two years ago as of last November 21st. Apparently, the Steward saw no reason to delete his predecessor’s ID. Snyder accessed the user profile and memorized the password. “I wonder what other doors you can open?”

He went into the e-mail server and typed in Ivan’s name and password. A mail box came up with 600 messages, the last sent five days after Ivan died, from a John Kinsey. Subject Line: Rot In Hell.

Snyder smiled, chuckling. “Mr. Kinsey, don’t you know? There’s no e-mail in Hell. Or if there is, it’s all spam.”

Snyder went over to personal folders and saw one labeled “Journal.”

An alert popped up. Snyder scanned the offending web page. A short story with a character named Donovan, but didn’t have anything to do with him. Snyder marked it as innocuous and returned to his find.

Snyder went into the journal and was prompted for a password. He entered Ivan’s password and was in. Snyder went to the search box and entered a search for “Taint.”

March 23, 66 YE

A black marketeer advises me that some of the food was tainted. I couldn’t care less. If those traitors want to eat, they’ll buy my food. I’ll see to it.

Snyder gasped. “Jackpot!”

He began to read through the journal, and memorized dates, names, locations. Nobody would have a problem with Donovan killing this jerk by the time he was done. Ivan deserved to die. Donovan killed him. That made him a hero.

Forty minutes later, Snyder had found enough to hang Ivan, if he hadn’t been already. He moved the journal onto Ivan’s general access page in a subdirectory then went in and edited the server logs so that it looked like Ivan accidentally hit a wrong button and made his private journal public hours before his execution.

Snyder went to the public location of the diary and began to print it. His workstation asked him three times to put the document on an Iboard instead before the printer tray came out of the right “drawer.” With the cranky computer reluctantly spitting paper into the printer tray, Snyder pressed the page button.

Corporal Redondo walked over. “What is it, Snyder? You haven’t had a question for me since you got here.”

“I don’t have a question. I need to see the captain. I hit pay dirt.”

“Well, let me take a look.”

Sure and let you look like you found it. Not a chance. “Sir, this is my discovery.”

“How do you know the captain will want to see it?”

“The captain? Forget him. Donovan the Steward will want to see it.”

“I’ll page him.” Redondo hurried back to his own cube.

Captain Gooding walked over a few minutes later. “Private, this had better be important. I was in a meeting.”

Snyder saluted. “Sir, I apologize. There’s no rush. These are merely papers that prove Ivan was a Machiavellian traitor and double agent.”

“All right, well don’t-” The captain’s eyebrow arched. “What did you just say?”

“I found Ivan’s diary. Apparently he made a mistake and put it on the viewable server.”

The captain grabbed the pages and gasped. “We’ve got to see Major Dread about this.”

Two minutes later, they stood in Dread’s office. Dread seemed to overflow with delight. “Well done, captain, well done. May I talk to Private Snyder alone?”

Captain Gooding left. Major Dread said, “Perhaps I misjudged you, private. I think this is a find worthy of a reward.”

So the pale jerk was coming around. Maybe this would work out. Dread wasn’t entirely sincere, but he had a more positive posture. “Thank you, sir.”

“Snyder, you need additional training, and you’re not going to get it sitting in an office chair. I received a flier just last week for Wilderness Training.”

Snyder’s eyes widened. He’d always wanted to learn how to survive outdoors. This would be perfect. And it’d get him out of this straight jacket and back into cammies for a few weeks. “I’d love to go.”

“Splendid.” Dread turned on his computer and pulled up his folder. “The next training starts in 1800 hours. There’s a $75 late registration fee, but the Empire will be glad to pick it up. I’ll order a helicopter to pick you up in 0200 hours ”

Something felt wrong. “That’s a little soon, sir.”

Dread sent him an annoyed look. “I can understand where you’re coming from, but the next training session is in six weeks. Granting leaves like this is dependent on staffing requirements. We can do this now, but I can’t guarantee we can in six weeks.”

Snyder sighed. And by then, the Major’s gratefulness may have worn off. “Well, if you put it that way, I’ll go pack.”

“Just be at the Helopad by 1725.”


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