Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

“Unauthorised access to archives. Overdue viruser ‘Aloysius’ in serious breach.”

The info-alarm finishes as I slide onto the longseat, dermal plates on mesh conducting me into the antechamber. Checking my vody for artefacts, I find my virtual self complete and in the right sequence. Thinking a filter onto my command tab narrows the probable spoofers to two. Subsetting them by touchpoints highlights Angela Capel as aberrant, being a six year old querying the socio-data impacts of the Nazi putsch of 2098.

BritLib digitised the last library book in 2037, adding it to their info-archive which was established in 2024. They became the leading adoptee of crystalline storage and pioneered holistic archiving with vody access in 2052. By 2074, BritLib housed 3.2 yottabytes of information. Holographic recording and mind mapping quadrupled that. Near-exponential storage demand forced them to pioneer self-replicating crystal lattices, so the archives could grow unhindered throughout the Spadeadam complex without capacity restrictions.

Depending on your access permissions, you can retrieve any of the works of man from this morning’s quiz shows back to the pictures we scrawled on cavern walls. There are secrets here too, things deemed too critical to be lost yet simultaneously too dangerous to be known yet. Those are the usual targets, secrets being valuable in this info-dependent world.

Virusers like Aloysius-cum-Angela are either thieves or ‘Open Access’ fundamentalists who will not accept that some things are too risky to be known. They insist that civilisation can moderate itself, despite centuries of proof to the contrary. I am a member of the BritLib team that ensures none of them succeed.

I flash through the sectors back to the twenty-first century. There I pick up the intrusion and bi-directionally traceroute, pursuing while sending trackers back toward the originating noderooms. Angela’s teachnode will get a shock when Infosec barge in, but they’ll understand. The other hit will be Aloysius. Most breaches are met only with closetab actions, but any serious violation or a viruser hitting ten breaches is classed as ‘Overdue’ and referred to us for moderation.

Alighting in the data-draped halls of the Nazi subsection, I trace him past the putsch into the fimbulwinter caused by their nuclear totenreich. There are no lockloops to trap me in memory, but I find a shunt in the metadata and instigate an action prompt: “Immediate fix; prevent usage of index links to bypass access tabs.” The remediation team are going to love that one.

Slipping down the link, I overlay my vody to appear as a government privileged user. Let his access fixation bring him to me.

Emerging in a BritLib closed subsector is a surprise. I knew the library became the secure depository for all data during the fimbulwinter, but the fact they stored the entire preamble is unindexed. Too much information obscures many things, even from us. A scan of the infoclumps shows me that this subsector lists the actual location of BritLib. That fact is staff only. Game over, Aloysius.

I wait until he tries to subvert my simvody, falling for the lure of high level access.

“What the – who are you?”

That’s all he gets out before I lock his vody, diagnose his interface, select the correct overload and end him by turning his longseat into an electric chair, holding him in place with tonic seizures. Then I view his noderoom to ensure the orchestrated series of hardware overloads I deliver burn everything beyond salvage.

Infosec will clear up a ‘clumsy amateur killed by his own incompetence’ and his messy demise will add to the mythology that defends BritLib better than the firewalls.


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