When the world’s first pilotable mecha is unveiled, there is excitement all over. Upon first ignition, however, the mecha shuts down with an error message. A criminal computer hacker is released from prison into federal custody to determine the source of the shutdown. In trying to solve the mystery, corporate and political allies and enemies will be made, lines drawn in the sand over the potential misuse of the technology (cyberterror most likely culprit)
Citadel: So, you’re telling me it’s not a virus?
Agent Granger: We don’t know what it is, honestly. But, it’s sophisticated software hacking.
Citadel: What exactly do I get for my cooperation in this?
Granger: You get a commuted sentence. Time served plus your service on the Alpha’s software team. You’ll never get a better deal.
Citadel: You’re going to release me and pay me? Well… how can I say no? Tell me what you know.
Granger: The demo began on schedule, the Alpha stayed in a hangar, guarded ’round the clock for a full week beforehand. Ignition sequence began at 0800 and everything worked fine until the nav systems went up. There was some kind of glitch and the system crashed. Second ignition at 0824 and all the computer screens flickered black and green, nothing else happened. A few lines of code spark up occasionally.
Citadel: How long before all that did you build it?
Granger: We scheduled the demonstration immediately upon completion. It went straight from the base to the hangar and no one got anywhere near it during that time.
Citadel: So you suspect an inside man?
Granger: That’s why we came to you.
*Citadel stares blankly, calling Granger an idiot with his eyes*
Granger: Due to the top secret nature of the product, we commissioned our programmers under various aliases and shell companies for unrelated segments of code. We can’t go back to them on this matter, given the project isn’t public yet.
Citadel: They would have no incentive to commit fraud on such a compartmentalized project unless someone knew the overall plan. I’d look to the programmer you paid to bind all the fragments into a single software.
Granger: That person is federal. They are not accessible to you until you go through the code and the rest of the programmers. There is still a possibility of errors in coding, conflicting programs.
Citadel: Again, that’s something your secret federal person could address.
Granger: You’ll get there. For now, just focus on this.
*He opens a briefcase and reveals a stack of paper covered in printed computer code. Citadel scans through the papers*
Citadel: You want me to analyze the runtime error of technology that never existed before now?
Without a computer?
Citadel: Are you aware of the thousands of possible issues with this project?
Granger: Better just get to work.