This idBot program is invading everything #Excerpt from A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen @kayelleallen #SciFi
In this scene from A Stolen Heart, Luc is about to enter an elevator/lift in the Thieves’ Guild. The elevator car moves up, down, and sideways to traverse the huge building. He’s on his way to an important meeting.
idBot sees everything
After Luc left Tonio’s office, he visited the Arcane Level library on the thirtieth floor, checking data to prepare for his meeting with Ms. Lexius. He headed for his office, but when the elevator opened, Grand Master Aerlray de Clare stood inside.
Focus, not dwell. Move forward.
Gathering his patience, Luc entered and pressed the button for his floor. “Aerlray.”
“Luc Saint-Cyr.” The man smiled like a predator. “The man I’m looking for.”
“Oh?” Luc kept his back to the doors. “Why’s that?”
“It’s been brought to my attention idBot’s poking its nose into our files.”
“Is that so?” Floor numbers in idBot green scrolled around the top of the car as it moved downward. Ten floors to the first turn. “That phrase ‘idBot sees everything’ is literal.”
“But it’s scanning confidential data. Contracts. Personnel. Sealed adoptions.”
And why was he trying to hide those? “IdBot needs to know what it’s protecting.”
“A lock on a door doesn’t need to know what’s behind the door.”
“IdBot’s more than a lock. It gathers intel about its surroundings. It’s a living, breathing system that can actively protect its owner.” He owed Shohn Lexius for that tidbit.
“I don’t care about any of that.” De Clare puffed himself up. “I want it to stop. Now. Pull idBot back from this invasive search, Saint-Cyr. It’s setting a dangerous precedent. The Guild won’t tolerate it.”
He’d switched to using last names. Interesting.
“Aelray, if you think a threat will deter me, you don’t know me.”
“No threat.” De Clare held up both hands. “But this idBot of yours is meddling where it doesn’t belong.”
“Oh?” The car slowed, shifted direction sideways. “What is there to hide?”
De Clare pointed at him. “I’m not the only councilmember who dislikes these invasive searches. This could have serious consequences if it came to a vote.”
Good. Let it. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Because you own idBot.”
“Let’s say a tech company hires one of our people. Signs a contract for corporate espionage, but it’s bungled. Things go badly. What’s the procedure for a complaint?”
De Clare stepped back. “Why are you asking me? You know the procedure.”
“That’s right. I do.” The car slowed, headed down again. “Procedure doesn’t say ‘go to the Grand Master and whine.”
“What’s your point?”
“When the Guild installed idBot, it came with a book of procedures in case anything went wrong. I didn’t write the book, but I can guarantee you that nowhere in it does it suggest hassling members of the board or the owner.”
The man stiffened, mouth set in a straight line. His usual cocky self had deteriorated into a petulant boy. “Are you going to stand there and tell me this isn’t your doing?”
“What isn’t my doing?”
“Look, Saint-Cyr.” De Clare arranged his robes of office. “This idBot of yours is poking through employee files, intake records, and financial statements. It’s rifling through everything.”
Excellent. More proof. Luc bared his teeth in a pseudo-smile. “You mean it’s searching databases in order to back them up and provide security for every aspect of the facility?” The car slowed. “What the system was purchased to do?”
“That’s exactly what I mean!” Spittle showed at the corners of de Clare’s mouth.
“Why is that a problem?” The doors opened and Luc took one step outside. He wedged a foot to block the elevator from closing. “Got something to hide?”
De Clare took a full step back, shoulders against the wall. “I want it to stop.” He jabbed a finger toward Luc. “Now!”
Luc released the doors. “Then call the Help Desk.”
A former space pirate who’s gone straight rescues a vulnerable child adept at breaking into things. By protecting him, Luc unlocks secrets that threaten to topple the powerful king Luc once loved. Luc must send the boy away, out of danger. Somewhere safe. Somewhere private. Nowhere near him. Even if this little one has already stolen his heart…
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Kayelle Allen writes space opera with larger than life, unforgettable characters. Come walk in her worlds and meet them.
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