The computer virus in the Hawking colony network infrastructure grew frustrated. It was looking for industrial secrets such as mining productivity reports, client and contractor lists, miner injury and machine failure rates, and so on. The virus was very clever and had collected a great deal of useful intelligence for eventual transport to the Chen-Glücksbringer consortium, but it had been blocked from collecting anything juicier by the network infrastructure security protocols. 

Conducting industrial espionage—spying, if you want to be crude—wasn’t exactly ethical, but the asteroid mining business was cutthroat, and the Chen-Glücksbringer consortium intended to win. If the virus couldn’t get around the security protocols to get what it wanted, then it would have to co-opt the security protocols themselves. 

Very methodically, with the care and precision of a master burglar, or a Macavity the Cat who was too nefarious to make you smile, the computer virus broke into the central network Library and breached the code for the computer Base Object Class, the piece of code from which all other code generated in real time was derived. 

The computer virus had to work fast. In a few nanoseconds, the Library watchdog code would be making its rounds, looking for exactly the kind of break-in that was in progress. The system clock was ticking. The virus injected a few critical lines of code, re-encrypted the file, then put the corrupted object back into the Library. With only nanoseconds to spare, the virus slipped out of the Library, erasing its trail as it went, and then hid in the network infrastructure again. 

Eventually, a regularly scheduled audit would detect what the computer virus had done. But by then, it would be too late.

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