Chapter 29

Leo rode in the back of the van with Alex and Ray. Sam drove, slowly for the first time in his life, listening to loud music as he drove. Maya was already in a coffee shop near the airport, waiting for them to drive up in their little sedan to be flown to Russia last minute.

Leo would have liked one of those cool surveillance vans, the one’s from the cop shows, with all the computers and the desks and all the equipment. But the one Blossom had given them was lack luster.

It was bare bones with a couple of jumper seats, a cargo box, and gun racks in the ceiling. There were fluorescent lights in the ceiling and it had a nice air conditioning unit, unused in the winter weather, but it was nothing special.

Maybe that was for the best. When they abandoned this thing in an underpass and snagged their little sedan for the airport, they didn’t want anything incriminating or something to be stolen out of the back.

Sam pulled to a stop and spun in his seat, fixing her with a winning smile.

“We’re here,” he said. “You ready to go, secret agent woman?”

“I think so.” Leo took deep breath.

“Explain to me, again,” Alex interrupted. “Why she can’t have a wire so we know what’s happening?”

“If I’m caught,” Leo said, fidgeting with her many-hose. “Or  something happens and someone see’s it, I will be arrested. And I can’t come to lovely Russia with you all. Besides, if you hear gun fire, that means I’m made.”

“Plus,” Ray piped in. “We don’t want an outgoing radio frequency tipping them off to something weird.”

“You have the police radio tuned in,” Leo pointed to the little thing, speakers gerry-rigged to the outside. “That will tip you off if something goes wrong. And I can play it much cooler if I don’t have you guys yammering in my ear.”

“Okay,” Alex conceded. “I don’t like it. But I see your point.”

“This is IJS,” Leo winked. “And I don’t need a baby sitter.”

 She stepped out of the back of the van, carefully marked with the private companies logo and walked into the little building.

IJS took over quite quickly and hadn’t had a chance to build it’s own structures. So the buildings it had taken over from local government were small and run down. The long and squat building, that used to the the local police department, was set far back from the road and ten minutes away from the airport. Ten. Whole. Minutes. It made Leo cringe to think about it. Set so far away from a main road and in the middle of midtown. It was such a gamble they were taking.

She walked up the steps and into the lobby, making for the front desk with confidence. Or at least, so she hoped.

“Deanne Panverra.” She flashed her forged ID at the man behind the desk. “I’m here to install some firmware updates on the server.”

“We didn’t get a memo that you were coming,” the man raised a suspicious eyebrow at her.

“There wouldn’t have been time.” Leo pulled out pile of faked documents and forms that she’d pulled together. “The designers of the software think that this will help keep the fugitives out.” 

“The ones who killed the governor?” the man looked worried, now.

“Last I knew,” Leo gave him a look over her fake glasses. “Those were the only fugitives I was hearing about on the news. One of them is pretty computer savvy, from what I hear. This is just a precaution. I can go back and say we need to submit the proper memos, but by then they may have already stolen information…”

“All right, all right. You made your point.” He picked up his phone and punched a button. “Larry! I got some chick from IT says she needs to install firmware. I’ll send her right down. Third floor, room 307. Larry will help you.”

“I promise we will get you the proper documents later.” Leo walked to the elevator. “But this needs to get done with out the paperwork slowing it down. These guys are scary dangerous.”

“Don’t I know it.” The front desk man shook his head. “Put one of my buddies in the hospital. He’ll be fine and can come back to work. But he’s hurting.”

“What a shame.” Leo said as the doors closed and tried not to throw up. They had put that man in the hospital. A man who was just trying to do his job. Not someone who was evil or had tried to hurt them because he was mean. Someone who had a family and had just been trying to do his job.

She got to Larry’s office and knocked on the sad partial board door.

“Come.” A voice droned on the other side. She came in with her brightest smile.

“Larry?” she said. “I’m Deanne, I’m here to instal some firmware.”

“Let me see your forms.” He sighed.

“I don’t have any official ones.” Leo shook her head. “I downloaded it from the developer and I’m here. It’s supposed to put up some safeguards against the fugitives.”

“Fine.” Larry said, scribbling something on a note pad. “Less shit for me to keep track of. Just firmware, not software, right?”

“Yes, sir.” She nodded. “Shouldn’t even need to restart any of the servers. Won’t take ten minutes.”

“Sounds fine to me.” Larry handed her a piece of paper. “This is where the server room is and the banks and passwords you can use. Each bank has a terminal.”

“That’s nice and easy for me.” Leo grinned. “See you later, Larry. That paperwork will be faxed in later.”

The badly scribbled note said to head down to the basement level 3. Three basements? What the crap? And terminals 404 could get her in.

404, she giggled to herself, the browser can’t find the server. It wasn’t that funny, she guessed, but it was when you were about to crap yourself from stress.

Another elevator ride, all the way down to the third basement. These people had a fourth and fifth basement. And a… she looked at the labels again. Whatever the hell a N.B was. She really hoped it didn’t mean “Nuclear Bunker”. Or maybe she did, it would be nice to know these people had somewhere safe to go in an emergency like that.

She wound her way through the stacks until she came to terminal 404. She pulled out the screen and it’s keyboard drawer and jacked herself in. She checked in with the others, shooting Maya and Sam text messages while she waited for the terminal to grant her access.

“The doctor is going to see me in 5.” She typed and then turned her attention to the terminal. Several commands later and she was out of the intranet and into the international servers, pulling down file after file on the IJS CSD. So much data, she hoped her little portable hard drive would be able to hold it all.

Five minutes later and she had all she needed, and she’d even installed some firmware to give her access outside of their intranet. Just a couple lines of code deleted and a few lines added, back where no one would ever find it if they weren’t really looking.

She spooled up and got out, the hard drive slipping into the inside pocket of her suit. She went up the elevator, to Larry’s office, returning his paper with passwords on it.

“All done!” she smiled at him.

“Cool,” He said. “See you next time.”

“See you next time,” she smiled. Down the elevator again, wave to the front desk guy, and out the door to the van. Sam pulled away, nice and slow, no one saying anything. They got on to the main road, up one intersection and drove like hell.

“That was too easy.” Leo sighed, pulling the hard drive out and jacking it into a lap top. She started the file transfer and stood up to change clothes.

“No one questioned you?” Alex gaped.

“Oh yeah!” Leo nodded, pulling on jeans. “But as soon as I said it was to keep the ‘dangerous fugitives’ out of the server, doors swung right open for me. I stuck a trojan under their very nose making them think it was to keep me out!”

“You’re a mad genius.” Ray shook his head.

Zoe FleischerComment