Digital Fortress Chapter 18

Digital Fortress Chapter 18

Standing before the huge plate-glass window in his Tokyo skyrise, Numataka took a long pull on his cigar and smiled to himself. He could scarcely believe his good fortune. He had spoken to the American again, and if all was going according to the timetable, Ensei Tankado had been eliminated by now, and his copy of the pass-key had been confiscated.

It was ironic, Numataka thought, that he himself would end up with Ensei Tankado’s pass-key. Tokugen Numataka had met Tankado once many years ago. The young programmer had come to Numatech Corp. fresh out of college, searching for a job. Numataka had denied him. There was no question that Tankado was brilliant, but at the time there were other considerations. Although Japan was changing, Numataka had been trained in the old school; he lived by the code of menboko-honor and face. Imperfection was not to be tolerated. If he hired a cripple, he would bring shame on his company. He had disposed of Tankado’s resume without a glance.

Numataka checked his watch again. The American, North Dakota, should have called by now. Numataka felt a tinge of nervousness. He hoped nothing was wrong.

If the pass-keys were as good as promised, they would unlock the most sought-after product of the computer age-a totally invulnerable digital encryption algorithm. Numataka could embed the algorithm in tamper-proof, spray-sealed VSLI chips and mass market them to world computer manufacturers, governments, industries, and perhaps, even the darker markets… the black market of world terrorists.

Numataka smiled. It appeared, as usual, that he had found favor with the shichigosan-the seven deities of good luck. Numatech Corp. was about to control the only copy of Digital Fortress that would ever exist. Twenty million dollars was a lot of money-but considering the product, it was the steal of the century.