Chapter 50

Leo grabbed herself a beer out of the fridge; the last one as everyone had panic packed. The threat of their second apartment in as many days being compromised wasn’t going over well, and they’d all decide to pack. So, the last beer was hers for the drinking while she made the impossible happen.

Boot up, log in, launch the terminal and… pray. Please don’t let them know I’m in. Please. I can’t get caught.

She dove in, plugging in the IP of the server she needed and burrowed like a tunneling fox into the code, letting herself get lost in the numbers and letters and symbols. It really was like burrowing a tunnel. All the code of the system was there, she just had to get herself through it and into the part of the system that was useful to her; the chicken coop.

But their hounds were already on her, alerts flashing like the baying of hounds hunting her little fox. She fled through the system, ducking and dodging her way, throwing up red herrings, trying to find the prize, trying not to get caught. Her fingers flew, her mind raced, and she tried to stay ahead of them. She knew she could, if she’d had Herman the Great. He could throw up shields for her, keep the hounds off her tail.

She wasn’t going to be as lucky this time. There was no where to hide. She zoomed through where she needed to be, threw up a couple distractions as she did and snagged all the files she could, slapping them into the back up drive on her way through. Her fingers fumbled as she dug her way along and they were on her, tearing her system apart. The fan on her poor little laptop began to go into over drive and she yanked the USB from the side, praying their worms hadn’t got into her hard drive. Luckily the hard drive was empty to begin with. Nothing but the drive would get corrupted if she was smart.

It began to overheat, the screen popping with the thermal overload and going dark, several transformers popped inside the case, causing the computer to jump like it had popcorn inside it. Because it kind of did.

She shut it quickly and threw the computer across the room and into the trashcan. 

“Ha!” she laughed. “I could never make that shot again if my life depended on it!” she pulled the other laptop across the table and looked up at her friends, who were perched on the couches and chairs, coats and shoes on, nervously waiting for the verdict.

“No way they got our location.” They all visibly relaxed. “No idea if I got the information we need. Lemme check.” She plugged the drive into the backup computer, still blank, and fired it up. The whole thing started up normally. She logged in the disk mounted, she opened the files and…

The fan sped up, the screen flashed and went dark, and transformers began popping on this machine, too.

“No!” she shouted, as the computer jumped on the table like a jumping bean. “Shit! Don’t do that! Fuck!” She slapped the laptop shut and threw it across the room, hitting the trashcan and knocking it over. The computer laid on the tiled kitchen floor, popping and jumping, the screen coming loose of the clamshell.

“No dice?” Alex nodded.

“Nope.” Leo put her head in her hands. “And I’m gonna need two new machines. And Herman. I miss Herman.” Ray nodded.

Zoe FleischerComment