Killing Time OST – 11c – Deception

<< 11b – Deception

I put on some clothes before I joined Vexx in the basement. He had covered himself with a t-shirt but kept the jammies on.
“You can keep them,” I said with a slight smile. “They look good on you.”
“I’ll have a hard time getting out of them. They’re so comfy.” He didn’t lift his eyes from his computer and yesterday’s holograms. I stopped on my track, my smile fading. Had we gone back to yesterday’s awkwardness already? But then he turned around. “Come over here.”
I obeyed his curling and uncurling finger, and went to stand by his side. “What do we have?” He smiled and switched to another file.
“Yesterday, we had this.” A list of codes appeared. Pure gibberish. “Worthless in and of itself which is why it was fairly easy to hack in the room’s security system and get them.” The hologram switched to a detailed schematic of the room with the security measures identified. “The system is maintained by Merrilyn’s mainframe. Once I entered the codes in my worm, I got all we need.”
I looked over the plan, evaluating the possible entrances and the security around each. We would need to find the timing of the lasers. As if reading my mind, Vexx tapped the laser which popped up a bunch of information: patterns, timing, etc.
“I’ll have a training program ready for you in half an hour,” he said softly, a telltale sign of the coming apology. “Sorry about yesterday. You know how I get when Merrilyn is concerned.”
“Sure.” I did know how he got: he argued, got pissed and complained at my inaction. Yesterday wasn’t it. I’d find the truth once he lowered his defenses. “Is there a tempo or a pattern in the laser’s movement?” I watched the line dance on the hologram but since there were a lot of them and shared the same green shade, I couldn’t figure it out myself.
“I’ll run an analysis.”
The laser obviously wasn’t the only anti-intruder device. “We’re lucky we didn’t trigger the super-sensitive mikes when we sneaked in.”
“The plasma-proof glass saved us but as soon as the inner room is breached, we’ll need to deal with the mikes.” He brought up the blue print of the far wall while the computer analyzed the laser patterns in the background. Half the components of the safe and surrounding security were identified. “My worm in the mainframe should fill in the blanks within the next twenty-four hours. I can already tell you that there’s psychological manipulation going on.”
“The security measures are relatively easy to learn so we know exactly how scary they are?”
“Yep.”
The tactic wasn’t new and was particularly efficient for such sensitive information. The minimal external security didn’t attract attention so the potential thief had to be connected enough to know something was there. Said thief definitely had the capacity to gather intel and the system let him do it, flaunting how strong it was. The parceled information required crossing different security systems which added to the chance of tripping them. The specificity and level of the traps meant a limited number of channels to obtain the know-how and material to break in. Channels that could be monitored by a mega-corporation like Merrilyn Tech.
And that was how the mighty fell.
“I’ll have to dig deep in my resources to get all the material, won’t I?”
“I might be able to build enough of it to avoid triggering red flags. Maybe I can even figure out what they track exactly in the mainframe. But it might burn my backdoor.”
Our trail of thoughts was interrupted by a soft clacking sound, akin to a metronome but unsteady.
“What am I hearing exactly?”
Vexx switched the hologram display and studied it for a moment. “According to the analysis, the lasers go through a list of patterns, switching on this rhythm.”
I listened intently as the beat looped every five clicks. “I’d say normal time, fifty-six bpm going dotted eighth, sixteenth, quarter, quarter, quarter.”
“I’d say can you binary it for me?”
“ ‘fraid not.” Half of my mind was already seeking the perfect song. None came to mind but my chip would find something if I activated it and thought the pattern – an incredibly useful feature when you had an elusive song’s chorus stuck in your head. “What about the other measures?”
“I’m focusing on the lasers training program for now. It’s what’ll take the longest for you to learn.”
“Okay.” I headed for the gym; a little cardio warm-up would help my flexibility until my body grew use to the challenge through endless repetitions. “Hey,” I said, spinning on my heel just before I exited the lab, “what does the FBI guy’s scan say?”
“Gimme a sec.” With a few twitches of his fingers, Vexx brought up a sitting humanoid silhouette. Small white dots punctuated the gray outline. “Memory storage, vision recorder, a bit of muscle enhancement… as far as I can tell, it’s standard-issue. Maybe even a bit subpar.”
I resumed my position by his side. “How can you tell what’s what? It’s just dots.”
“Well. The BluePrinter isn’t precise enough to blue print nanotech. Hence the dots. So I rely on the dots’ location.” He zoomed in on the middle of the brain. “Dots around the hippocampus most likely equal memory-related nanobots. And so on.”
I smiled to him. Most of this knowledge, he acquired while enslaved to Merrilyn Tech. Positive reinforcement of healthy uses of said knowledge had been an integral part of Vexx’s detox.
“Gotcha. Why subpar?”
“This is the motion center.” Vexx zoomed in to a dot-free zone.
“No bots.”
“Which means whatever Kung Fu he pulled on you, he learned for real. Muscle development is barely encouraged.” Vexx kept scanning the human blue print but I knew what I needed to know.
“He’s a true warrior.” I grinned. The FBI agent was good. Naturally good. “Me likey.”
“Like a rodent to the cheese. Mousetrap, Lorelei!” He waved for emphasis which just widened my smile.
“Don’t be jealous or I’ll reclaim the jammies.” His scoff escorted me to the training room.
We were back to having fun. Good. I’d be able to find out what he was hiding in a day or two.

12a – Struggle >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

4 responses to “Killing Time OST – 11c – Deception

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