Thursday, September 8, 2011
No One To Trust Excerpt
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Excerpt for No One To Trust by Julie Moffett
When I was seven my older brother Rock gave me a camera for Christmas. The science of photography fascinated me—the angles, depth and lighting. But I was more interested in how the camera worked than in what I was pointing it at. Fast-forward a few years and here I am, a twenty-five-year-old, single, white, geek girl who can’t take a decent picture of anything.
I’m also a semi-reformed computer hacker, a numbers whiz and a girl with a photographic memory. The whole photographic memory thing is totally overrated, though. Every human has the physiological capability. Most people just don’t have the film.
Lucky for me, I’ve got the film, but I’m also stuck with a geeky reputation. Counter to the stereotypical image, I don’t wear thick glasses held together by duct tape and I no longer own a pair of high-water pants. On the other hand, I’m no Miss America—just your basic tall, skinny girl with no curves and long brown hair. I double-majored in mathematics and computer science and have zero social skills. These days I’m employed by X-Corp Global Intelligence and Security, as Director of Information Security or InfoSec for short. It sounds impressive and maybe it is, but I’m so fresh in the job, I can’t be sure yet.
This morning the top company brass, including me, had an important client meeting. Actually, it was our first client meeting, which made it all the more significant, not to mention nerve-racking. At a few minutes before ten, I grabbed a cup of coffee and my laptop, heading into the conference room. One of the cofounders of X-Corp, Ben Steinhouser, was already sitting at the table looking over some papers, his bifocals practically hanging off the edge of his pudgy nose. He used to work at the National Security Agency, or the NSA, just like I did and is a living legend among hackers, programmers and cryptanalysts. He is brilliant, difficult and unconventional, but by his sheer genius, he commands everyone’s respect. He intimidates the hell out of me, even if I try to pretend he doesn’t. When I first met him, I reverently called him “Mr. Steinhouser.” He glared at me and told me if I called him that again, he’d fire me. I’m still not sure if he was kidding.
“Hey, Ben.” I tried not to wince as I called him by his first name. It’s not easy to pretend to be comfortable when you’re nervous as hell.
Ben glanced up at me and I’m pretty sure my knees knocked together. “You’re punctual. That’s an admirable quality in an employee. Did you have a chance to look over the materials on Flow Technologies?”
Apparently not the type for small talk. Me neither, although a simple “good morning” would have been nice.
I nodded. Why did I need to be here? My job as InfoSec Director required mostly identifying and assessing threats, vulnerabilities and attacks on our clients’ networks and then implementing plans to either mitigate or eliminate these threats. Client acquisition was not in my job description and frankly, I liked it that way. Not much of a people person.