A Game Called Murder - Chapter 2: Megasys (Part 2)

NB: Experimenting with different ways of structuring the titles for these

“Nothing here… what do you mean there’s nothing here?” Bob replied, striding toward Mikhail’s workstation. “Just what it sounds like. I opened the logfile from midnight last night and… nothing! Not even your typical network chatter.” “Let me see.” A worried look crosses Bob’s face as he almost jogs over to the computer. “Huh… you’re right. Not even ARP queries on the capture log. As far as I now there wasn’t any downtime last night until Scott called in. This is… not good.” Mikhail closes the file, taking a few screenshots of it just in case. He then opens the next entry in the folder. Again, nothing. Surprise turns to concern on his face, the unasked question hanging in the air between the two. Leaning in, Bob stops Mikhail from opening the next one in the series. “Hey, Mikhail. See anything with those last modified times?” Mikhail follows the technician’s finger. It seemed to be from a few minutes before. More interestingly, the time given was not uniform between the files. Someone or something had started modifying the entries in sequence, much the way that Mikhail would have looked at them. He scribbles a note on his pad of paper, documenting what he was seeing before his eyes. On a hunch he decides to reload the directory he was browsing and open several other Explorer windows, enabling him to look at each set of the log files from the affected time directly and simultaneously. Sure enough, as he had suspected the files’ last modified times were updating before his eyes except for one far down the listing - it still showed a time that matched when it was supposed to have been written. His hand trembling on the mouse, Mikhail double clicks on the file. ‘File is currently being edited by user Megasys\Scott.Mitchell. Would you like to open it in Read-Only mode?’ Mikhail and Bob share a look. “There has to be some explanation, right?” Bob asks after a few moments of silence. “Yep. There are a few different ways this could happen. Could be someone has stolen his password and we have an insider threat. Could be an account set up by our hacker made to look like Scott’s. Or…” Mikhail’s voice trails off, letting the third possibility go unsaid. “How can we tell?” “From here, we can’t. Need to be the domain admin or have the password to find out if that’s actually his. Alternatively, we could go ask Scott himself, right now.”

[A Game Called Murder] Chapter 2: Megasys (Part 1)

Maybe it was his jaded mentality at having been thrust onto yet another business trip. Maybe it was his anticipation and excitement for his ultimate destination and the company he was to be assisting. Maybe, instead, it was the fact that Mikhail was operating on six hours of sleep if he was being generous with himself - and three of them were on that cramped old plane. Whatever it was, Mikhail knew that he had arrived at his destination not by the passage of time or the sights and skyline of Seattle whipping past his window as the Tesla roared up the 405 to the Bellevue headquarters of Megasys, but by the fact that his cup of coffee was running dangerously low. Getting another one would be a priority when he arrived.

Almost as if on cue, Mikhail feels the Tesla glide to a halt outside a security gate. After a moment’s pause, the light turns green and allows his car entry. Taking up an area of several city blocks, there was no way that he could appreciate all the sights; nor could he tell what took place in any of them. All Mikhail knew was that he was here! He was absolutely brimming with excitement and had to take a moment to compose himself before he made some sort of less than professional first impression. The car glides to a stop in front of an immaculately polished set of glass window panes that towered over everything surrounding him; the lobby beyond, he had to guess, was a three story courtyard, allowing all who entered to feel small when compared to the great heights that Megasys was reaching. One of the smaller panes slides open for Mikhail and he steps in. The lobby is surprisingly barren, with its most notable features being the coffeeshop along one side and the security desk that stood between him and the bank of elevators. A tall and fit man with brown hair steps out from beyond the security checkpoint and strides quickly toward Mikhail.

“Hello, would you happen to be the consultant we are expecting from Houston?” He says with a smile and an outstretched hand. Mikhail gives it a shake as he responds. “From Coyote Security? I’m Mikhail O’Neil, pleasure to meet you.” The man recoils slightly when he hears the name of Mikhail’s firm escape his lips. He leans in. “I would appreciate it if we kept your company’s name quiet. Please.” He adds hastily, whispering. “I am Scott Mitchell, Chief Information Security Officer and, as of this morning apparently, interim Chief Technology Officer, of Megasys. Please come with me.”

A Game Called Murder Chapter 1: The Call

Incoming call from Matt Jones

The phone’s shrill ring on my end table jolts me awake. My eyelids creak open. “I should not have stayed up last night watching the Webwar North American Championships, but it was only the biggest event of the summer so far! Come on, even though I’m twenty-seven this year, I can still enjoy things, right? Besides, T-TE was incredible in the quarters, had to see how they would stack up against the Best of the Northwest!” he mutters to nobody in particular.