Eva had some new information for me about my problem. It sounds like she’s pretty close to solving it. Though she still insists she’s just innocently figuring out how things work, and I’m not inclined to argue.
Anyway, she told me that she’s now 100% sure that the problem is a corrupted file in my PIP master file and 98% sure it can be fixed. She said that by messing around with her dummy accounts, she figured how to spoof a command from within the PIP system that will flush the files. Then, the next time there’s a query for that employee in the PIP system, the system will make a new file and pull all the relevant information from other databases.
The query is the most important step, she told me, because until the master employee file in the PIP mainframe is the portal all other systems use to find information about me. Until it’s recreated, all that information in all the various other databases and systems won’t go anywhere.
The security system, the transit system, the commissary system, and all the other computer systems I depend on to get around and get through my day won’t have any idea who I am.
I asked Eva if that wouldn’t make it easy to get the file reinstated, since anything I try to do would result in a query to the PIP mainframe, which would then go to look up my file and see it wasn’t there.
She said that if the system was integrated in a more robust fashion it would probably work that way, but her experiments with dummy files suggested it wasn’t.
The system hadn’t been designed with the idea that a person comes to a security checkpoint and has no employee file might be an employee, so the query doesn’t go any further than file not found. If any system outside the PIP mainframe fails to find a matching record, it will just assume I’m not supposed to be there.
For the same reason, she can’t figure out how to spoof the query that will bring my file back. Apparently they have tighter controls against information requests than some other external commands. I asked Eva why that might be and she said it was probably because they’d had problems with people ferreting information out of the system before, but people on the outside manipulating it was another story.
I was curious about how she managed to get dummy accounts into the system in the first place, but she told me that women who work in IT can always find a few dummy accounts.
Anyway, I have a rough plan now. The basic idea is to delete the corrupted file and then—as soon as possible afterwards—get someone at PIP to do a lookup on me. I’ll have to give some thought to that, because I don’t think I can count on the internal phone or email systems letting me through while I’m a ghost.