…It was not long before C returned with the message cylinder that came in via pressure post. This one looked aspecially important. B knew that. It was not a standard algaeplast one. It was the high polished messing one. And a tamper proof one too. Law firms used these, or private practices, or detectives, or high level state officials.
B made but a stop to her train of thought. “Just open it!” she exhaled a bit unlady like. These special deliveries made her always a bit uncomfortable since the incident a few years ago. A misinterpreting her said. “Do not worry it is not ticking!” At least not right now.
“We can not open it without the key!” C interjected. Her looks bemused, her eyes going back and forth between A and B. Only if they send a message of identification and compliance to the address on the cylinder a next tube message would contain the key to this cylinder.

C opened the small message pouch on the side of the message shell and her eyes grew wide. “I would say we got ourself a new job. Or at least our charade is up and we have to move.” she read the message. “The sender is anonymous and asks us to send ID card copies to a numbererd recipient if we agree to meet with him. It is about us working for him on special, to be defined engaement.” She looked up. This was a bit on the paranoid side but nothing they had not encountered before, especially since they had come to this island. People were careful here. “Do it” B said quietly. She took up a small leather wallet from somewhere under her front lacing. The tiny wallet contained a stack of cards. She carefully with spread, slim finger chose a single card out of a single pouch each. “Lets use these” she handed one time ID card copies for Frau von Jäger a recently immigrated Lady from the continent, her driver Helmut Binsenbinder and her tomboy local cousin Charlene “Charlie” Untief. She handed the IDs over and explained the details quickly. C and A smiled when he saw that B was picking these personas which were easy to use as they closely matched there current ones. It would burn the Jäger set off identities but also show the employer that they took no chances and could easily disappear from the scene. No one difficulties obtaining new IDs or having only one set would spend it for IDing a message cylinder. B was just very careful about leaving data traces that could be combined into a full profile by auto calculation. Every year the systems got more and more interconnected in sharing stacks.

B was handed the id stacks cards again, she took out small puncher and put a timecoded command on the fake citizens ID card. The small machine klicked several times, punching new holes into the algaeplast while she was typing. The ID card would be checked against the agents public record stack. These new IDs C had tube-filed only a short while ago through a sidepipe access of the state agency for waste water processing, directly into the main archive of the citizen registrars office. The punched command made sure the ID card check would work against Fräulein Jäger and not Frau Gräber and the query not be recorded by the registrars security d-unit.

For normal citizens ID sending was a failproof way of making sure a tube recipient was the right one. If the ID on the recipient address and the ID send in for checking were in existence and correct the next tube message would contain the actual delivery. This was an automatic process used for confidential letters and tube shopping orders thousands of times every day. Would the ID check positively they would receive a keycard in a second tube cylinder to unlock the first.

B was sure she could also have keypunched the message cylinder open but that could always destroy the message or even set a boobytrap in the cylinder. Stacking keylocks with brute force also took time. The sender wanted something and he showed trust in the recipient. Otherwise he would have used the reverse process messaging process: First running the ID check and then sending out the message. He had send out the message first making a statement that the delivery system was what he did not trust, not the recepient. There was a whole complex etiquette on pressure tube messaging. Especially in their business…