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   keyboard and asking himself questions in authoritative voices when the

   paper jammed in his printer. Damn. He had to start all over again.

   Finally, after a tiring hour of auditory schizophrenia, he had the

   perfect tape of office hubbub.

  

   Mendax pulled out his partial list of Minerva users and began working

   through the 30-odd pages. It was discouraging.

  

   `The number you have dialled is not connected. Please check the number

   before dialling again.'

  

   Next number.

  

   `Sorry, he is in a meeting at the moment. Can I have him return your

   call?' Ah, no thanks.

  

   Another try.

  

   `That person is no longer working with our company. Can I refer you to

   someone else?' Uhm, not really.

  

   And another try.

  

   Finally, success.

  

   Mendax reached one of the contact names for a company in Perth. Valid

   number, valid company, valid contact name. He cleared his throat to

   deepen his voice even further and began.

  

   `This is John Keller, an operator from OTC Minerva in Sydney. One of

   our D090 hard drives has crashed. We've pulled across the data on the

   back-up tape and we believe we have all your correct information. But

   some of it might have been corrupted in the accident and we would just

   like to confirm your details. Also the back-up tape is two days old,

   so we want to check your information is up to date so your service is

   not interrupted. Let me just dig out your details ...' Mendax shuffled

   some papers around on the table top.

  

   `Oh, dear. Yes. Let's check it,' the worried manager responded.

  

   Mendax started reading all the information on the Minerva list

   obtained from Pacific Island, except for one thing. He changed the fax

   number slightly. It worked. The manager jumped right in.

  

   `Oh, no. That's wrong. Our fax number is definitely wrong,' he said

   and proceeded to give the correct number.

  

   Mendax tried to sound concerned. `Hmm,' he told the manager. `We may

   have bigger problems than we anticipated. Hmm.' He gave another

   pregnant pause. Working up the courage to ask the Big Question.

  

   It was hard to know who was sweating more, the fretting Perth manager,

   tormented by the idea of loud staff complaints from all over the

   company because the Minerva account was faulty, or the gangly kid

   trying his hand at social engineering for the first time.

  

   `Well,' Mendax began, trying to keep the sound of authority in his

   voice. `Let's see. We have your account number, but we had better

   check your password ... what was it?' An arrow shot from the bow.