“Our Brad’s been a bad boy,” said Phil.
“Oh, really,” I said.
“Mucky, mucky,” Phil said. “Very poor decision-making.”
“It seems he was running a porn server in and amongst the Packet Storm machines.”
“And the server itself was taken from a client without their permission, and internal resources were used to secure it for public access.”
“Awesome. I mean, I can’t believe it. So what happened?”
Phil leaned forward. “Mary just had to call him — don’t know what time it was in Hong Kong, don’t particularly care. She flat-out told him about the server. He didn’t really deny it, so good on him, but then she told him he was being let go and he went completely mad.”
“Completely. Started raving, all kinds of shit — ‘You’re at least paying for a plane ticket back, how am I going to get home?’ She said, ‘That’s your problem, buddy.'”
“That is kinda cold.”
“Hey, he wanted to party for an indefinite period of time in Hong Kong when he should’ve been working, after sticking a stolen server on company bandwidth to serve up porn, I think you made your bed and put one of those little chocolates on the pillow and everything.”
“So how’s he going to get back to, uh—” I’d only ever run into him a couple of times; he had a funny accent that wasn’t English, but I couldn’t place it. “—ah, fucking South Africa or wherever?”
Phil cocked his head at me. “Really: South Africa? Well, you’re only off by a hemisphere.”
“Jeez. Anyway, what happened?”
“Well, he asked for the server back.”
“He did. She said no. He said, ‘Can I at least have all the data off of it? I don’t have a backup!’ So she says no, and he says, ‘But people paid me good money to get to that crap!'”
“Oh my God,” I said. All I could think of was how the Packet Storm guy has stared at the floor as he rattled off all the crazy crap he found on that server. He ended with, “Granny porn, man,” shaking his head sadly. “Granny porn.”
“‘That’s your problem,’ she says, and got off the phone.” Phil mock-dusted his hands. “That’s that.”
“Wow. So you’re in charge now?”
His glow seemed to flicker. “The Packet Storm kids will report to me, yeah. But we’ve got a lot more hill to climb before we get Radar out.”
“Mmm,” I said, and as I walked back to my cube, the degree to which I’d let myself get wrapped up in pity and politics seemed super clear to me. I’d made it to Silicon Valley, and I was blowing my chance.
The truth was I was in pain, actual serious pain, and I needed help. There was only one person I could call, even if she was three states away.
I picked up the phone.