When I arrive at work, Carrie is already there. Now I know she sleeps, because I've seen it, but I think she's one of those people who can only sleep a couple hours a night. She's constantly at work, even when she's at home. Except for our encounter, I've never seen her do anything but work. She's such a contrast to Ellie, who seemed to nap a lot of the time, and sometimes slept in well after noon, even after going to bed before midnight. I've never seen anyone sleep as much as Ellie, or as little as Carrie.
On the minus side, Carrie looks pretty disheveled today. Her hair's a mess, and she has that sheen on her face that people get when they don't wash. I sigh, knowing how awkward things are becoming. Carrie beams at me when she sees me come in. I wave at her through her window. She beckons me over, and as I get over there she wraps her arms around me.
"I've missed you," she says.
"Yeah," I reply. "I don't think we should be physical in the office. You never know who's watching."
"Aww. OK. I'll wait for later."
I try to break away but she kisses me on the cheek.
"Listen," she says, "I've been doing a lot of investigating, trying to figure out stuff. Fortunately I made a backup of the disks. I broke through a couple of security layers, and I'm beginning to find out more about fingerprinting."
I peer over her shoulder at the display.
"Remember how I told you everything has a unique signature? If you cross-reference this signature with memory engrams, you can see that if you read a person correctly, you can tell what objects they have in their memory."
I look at the diagram. "I don't get it."
"Jeez, Alex, do I have to spell everything out for you? If I can detect fingerprints in your engrams, what does that mean?"
A shiver runs down my spine. "You'd be able to read my mind."
"In a limited way, until the technology improves. But that's just the start. Since these fingerprints can travel through networks, what else does that mean?"
I shake my head. Carrie scowls at me.
"Come on. If you're typing on a computer, and the computer is connected to the internet, and the internet can transmit fingerprints, and fingerprints are read by the servers in Building Four, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?"
She's almost livid at me for not catching on quick enough. "It means that Infinitae can read the mind of anyone who's using a computer on the net."
"Yes!" she cries. "Now for the coup de grâce. What happens if I take a fingerprint, transmit it back over the net to a specific person. What do you think might happen."
I think. She starts to speak but I raise my hand. "I'll get it," I mutter. "That person would see a picture of the object."
"Ahh Alex, so close. No. If the fingerprint were strong enough, he would have to do it. Mind control, Alex."
I grin and shake my head. "What? We can read minds? We can control what people think? Is that all possible?"
"Why do you think there's all these agents hanging around? I started hacking around the government sites trying to find more information, and I discovered that there are Chinese agents trying to get a hand on this. In fact, it's altogether possible that the Chinese have some kind of influence on this project."
"So do we know who's involved yet? What their plan is?"
Carrie shakes her head. "I still can't get to names. I can even find out who keeps modifying the hit list and other docs you have access to. I'm not even sure the senior execs know about it. They probably don't even know they work for the government. At this point, I'm not even sure which government. That's what we need to work on next. But we need to be careful, now that we know they're on to us. I just don't understand why the let us go. Maybe the foreign angle is the right one."
"I'll get the team to try to trace some more traffic, with a focus on overseas sources."
"OK. Hey would you like me to drop by tonight?"
"Um, no, my brother's coming over for the game. You know, football, guy stuff. He's only in town for a couple more weeks." I should tell her I'm not interested in dating, but it's an awkward situation.
"Dang. And I have a meeting tomorrow night."
"Maybe later this week then."
She nods at me and smiles. "OK, Alex."
I've got to figure out how to get out of this. Not just away from Carrie, but the whole mess that's going on.