Rerouting tertiary interface...
Re-establishing secure connection...
Connection secured...
Bladerunner encryption protocol activated...
Terminal prompt active_
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Alice: I am so getting fired for this. Bob: While I'm here wondering if you pun. Bob: And if you’re stalling while this connection is being traced. Alice: You could always wait two minutes and find out. Trust exercise, right, Doctor Joe? Bob: Is two minutes really all your guys will take? As a minuteman myself - as unflattering as that'd sound in a separate context - I'm willing to risk it just to see. Trust or no trust. Alice: Wanna take ten? You could get traced if I'm not being honest, I could get fired if your work was sloppy. I think we're walking on coals together, Doc, but I'm not a computer analyst. You probably know that already, if you know my name. Bob: You're being modest. And the degree of my errors even when I am being sloppy is fairly marginal. When it's not being devastating, anyway. But if we skip the small-talk, we could wrap up in ten, sure. Bob: Are we skipping the small-talk? Alice: It might be best, don't you think? Bob: In practical aspects, at the least. I won't beat about the bush though, I'm no agent of espionage. Merely a concerned citizen in need of the occasional insider information. What does the FBI know about these recent freak storm patterns? Bob: Or would you prefer we first discuss some terms of exchange? Alice: Sure. Let's go with the second option. It might be nice to know why you're risking being charged with a laundry list of felonies rather than calling an anonymous tip line. I know it's not just because I’m pretty. Bob: Does the FBI give out insider information over anonymous tip lines these days? If I were to, say, tell them I'm pretty too. Alice: Depends on what you've got to give, I guess. Unless this is a blackmail, ransom-y stick up of our security systems. Alice: The satellite images and meteorological data from the storm is still being processed in divisions other than the one I'm in. I'm guessing it's something we should be looking into, or you wouldn't have brought it up? Bob: If I told you that there's an uncannily high likelihood that by the end of the week you'll forget this conversation ever happened - any data your boys do start digging up erased in the snap of a finger - would it come across a little blackmail and ransom-y? Alice: Yes? But remember, I'm pretty. And cry easy. Bob: For whatever it's worth saying, it's not of my doing. I'm on the side that's attempting to understand it. Get to the bottom of it. Possibly prevent it. Alice: So that's all? Just a regular old Samaritan who talks about quantum computing and needs to be kept in the insider loop? Bob: I wouldn't go as far as to call it Samaritanism. There's a 23.763% likelihood of self-interest involved, by my quantum-computed estimations. But, yes, I do enjoy staying on the cutting edge. Of most things. Except, y'know. Blades and the like. Alice: There's more to it, isn't there? That's in the data, that we haven’t seen yet. "Freak" storm patterns. Why wouldn't you do this yourself? Why reach out to me? Bob: Write this down somewhere: Third week of every month, generally, dedicate more resources to the 'freak' occurrences than they might seem to be worth. Bob: That's part of your job scope? Analyzing the trends to see what deserves looking into and what can be negated? Bob: Anyway, should you do as instructed, I'm not even certain if your note will exist or make sense to you past the week - ±8% margins of error is what I deem uncertainty - but for whatever it's worth, you could try it. I'm curious. Bob: As for why you... You're special. And pretty, didn't you say? Alice: How did you know every FBI analyst wants to be told they're special by a shady, disembodied informant who may or may not be a national threat? Bob: You mentioned crying easily. I pretty much have your psych profile in my printer tray. That is, if I needed a printer. One of the perks of quantum computing: less wires. But, yes, national threat or not, you have to agree it's a good idea to keep me on your radar. Bob: I mean, y'know. Off your radar, preferably, but the occasional blip. Tiny blip. Bob: We could always do this on non-government funded hardware in the future, if career security's still your concern. Alice: Wow. A threat and options. Alice: Tell me how to reach you and I'll figure out my hardware. Email? Dead drop? Carrier pigeon? Unless this goes against the ethics of your shady, tiny-blip mystique. Bob: I'm cutting edge, and I overshare, and I have odd ways of asking if FBI analysts might fancy encrypted conversations on their cellphones rather than me merely eavesdropping through them. I beg your pardon. Bob: Goes against my mystique. I'll be in touch. Alice: I miss the days when people just used to ask for my number. Alice: See ya, Doc.