“It’s goin’ down tomorrow, ain’t it?” he asked.
“Not good enough!” Lisa snapped. “Not if everybody knows about it today.” She slammed the desk with both hands and was on her feet. She turned to me. “Now what?”
I didn’t know. Was it already too late? How could this have happened? What was Leon thinking? I felt my forehead become moist with cold sweat. What to do? I needed to talk to somebody, but who? Leon? I turned to Jonny.
“That server has to go down now! Who do we call?”
“Leon, I guess.” He was still unconcerned.
No, I needed to call Daniel. Only he was in a position to take immediate unilateral action. Damn! I didn’t know his number.
“Lisa, how do we get Danial Smith’s number?”
“I have it,” she responded. “You mean the red-headed sys-admin at the Key Center, right?”
She practically flew across the room as she hurried over to her bag. Tearing it open she began emptying the contents in a frenzy, creating a pile of her belongings on the floor in front of her. She finally found what she was looking for and straightened with a red address book in her hands. She set it on the desk and began rapidly flipping through the pages. Meanwhile I still held the phone in my hand with the open connection to Leon. I hurriedly told him I had to hang up, without bothering to explain why. When Lisa found the number, she called it out and I dialed.
One ring. Two rings. Three. Four. It was the middle of the business day; somebody had to answer. Doesn’t Daniel have voice mail?
“Chase-Manhattan EFT operations, this is Daniel,” came the familiar high-pitched voice with the slight lisp.
“Daniel! Carl Raymond here. We met at the Money Mill meeting in Washington. Is the Key Translation Center still up?”
“Oh hi Carl. Yeah it’s still up. Word is that it’ll be up until the end of today and then that’s it.”
“But word has already gone out! Everybody knows we plan to shut it down. Including the millwright! Doesn’t anybody realize that once we’ve tipped off the millwright he might react with an all-out blitz? And we are leaving him with about four hours in which to do it.”
Daniel said nothing immediately, but Jonny was listening to my side of the conversation and he asked, “How much time would he need?”
Lisa answered before I could. “If he uses a script or a program he could completely hose the entire banking network in about ten minutes.” Jonny blanched visibly.
“She’s right,” I agreed.
“Oh no!” It was Daniel’s high-pitched voice on the phone. He couldn’t be responding to Lisa because he could not possibly have heard her.
“Carl, you there?” Daniel asked.
“We’ve got dozens of hits here. All in the last few minutes.”
“What’s a `hit’? What are you talking about?”
Danial’s voice was strained. “I… I… I’m looking at a dump of recent activity here for the Key Translation Center. Carl, the number of requests is way up. Way more activity than normal,” he stammered. “Way more,” he repeated. “It should be less than normal. Most legit banks have stopped using the center already.”