Home is where the Nuyen is

Episode 3: ...go!

The sun had gone down and the plan was clear. Nova, clad in her chameleon suit used one of the three swipe keys she had made from the cunningly-obtained imprint of the helpful librarian’s security pass against the little box just outside the library’s service entrance.

A red light stared back at her.

KickPuncher, dressed in an armoured vest and wearing some funky gloves, tried his key. This time, the light blinked green. With a quick nod, KickPuncher swung the door open slowly, holding it just long enough for Nova and Blackout (clad in dark fatigues and carrying some delicious-smelling grenades) to scamper inside before swinging it closed again, closing it as quietly as possible.

Epoch, clearly uncomfortable working in what felt like such an exposed position relative to his preferred location of “home” began to jimmy the security card reader away from the wall, and started creating a wired hack into the library’s systems. The vast bulk of KickPuncher looming over him gave him some mild form of comfort, as he went about carefully stripping wires.

“The drone is in position, last shift is still heading back to base – all looks good over here” Tuner advised over the group CommLink. At the same time, everyone was given a live stream of the drone tactically positioned to watch the guards sitting at their fold-out card table. Whilst they were armed – it was hard to miss the giant shotgun sitting against the far wall – they appeared to be enjoying the cushy night shift in the middle of the ‘burbs, guarding whatever was in this old drek-hole.

Blackout and Nova moved silently towards the well-lit main desk, which was directly in front of the guards. Steeling herself, and with a re-assuring nod from Blackout, Nova smoothly and quietly slinked around the desk all the while trusting – hoping – her suit masked her movements…or that the guards were too busy with their game to notice.

Movement.

One of the guards stood up, grabs the shotgun and saunters towards Nova’s position behind the main desk. Blackout, not wanting to abandon Nova, but also not wanting to be seen as the guard moved by, retreated a few paces into a side room, filled with artefacts of pre-Awakening materials…but nothing which seemed of any value.

The guard’s footsteps turn down the hallway where Blackout and Nova entered, sauntering casually towards Blackout’s new hiding space. Before he enters the room gun blazing, he turns again. That’s right, the men’s room is down this hallway…guy just needed to give a shit, and not about his job.

During the next ten minutes, no one moves. Epoch is not moving as he is fully immersed in the Matrix, probing for a weakness in the ancient security system running this bloody installation. Ah, here we go…seems as though creating user accounts can be done on-site, without any sort of strange permissions! Looks like “DefLegitUser1” now works here…now, let’s find out what is happening with these cameras…

Finally, the guard, seemingly without washing his hands, strolls back to his comrades, who
have also been doing nothing this whole time as it was bloody Jimmy’s turn. The gun is set aside, the guard gets comfortable back in his chair and there’s a near-communal sigh of relief as the runners feel back on track.

Nova deftly moves to the entrance door to the librarian’s office, and uses the last keycard to attempt to open the door. After a second the light goes green, and she slowly opens the door.

CRRRREEAK!

Through the drone’s eyes, everyone can see the not-so-alert guards suddenly start paying more attention to their surroundings. Ohshitohshitohshit floods everyone’s minds as it seems the plan is making great headway to being thrown out the window. The team however remain relatively calm, and wait to see what the guards do in response.

After what feels like a thousand years all four guards slowly rise from the table and two start making a cautious path towards the sound of the noise, taking the shotgun for another venture. Blackout lets the team know a distraction may be needed as he once again retreats to his side room. KickPuncher leaves Epoch in the doorway and moves around towards the rear of the library, scooping up a handful of stones as he walks on by. Just before the guards get to the hallway where Nova is still crouching beside a barely-opened door, Blackout pushes the distraction button.

Tuner attempts to do a burnout in the carpark across the road from the library, and Kickpuncher tosses the gravel he picked up at the window closest to the two guards at the table. Having successfully gotten their attention, and realising the guards probably can’t see him because of the deep shadows outside, he turns his vocals up to 11 with a hearty “UCAS sucks, your mums are fat and eat troll dick for something warm in their bellies!”

Well, that seems to have done it. The guards with the shotgun make towards the service entrance – where a slightly dazed Epoch is hurriedly putting the security card scanner back on the wall and running out of sight…and not a moment too soon, as the guards coming bursting through the door and start scanning the darkness for this “lone troublemaker”

Click

One of the guards has turned on a small flashlight, which looks strong enough to reveal KickPuncher’s new position. Before they have a chance to spot him flat-footed though, he turns and runs as loudly (most of the noise provided by further profanities) and as fastly as he can, in the opposite direction to Epoch, who is hearing this all unfold from mere meters away from the clearly pissed off guards. They are not so pissed as to go chasing some random soy-fucker through the night however, and shortly retreat back inside – allowing Epoch to examine the damage done to his cabling due to his hasty hiding job. “At least it was good enough to get the job done” he thought as he set about fixing the mess.

Luckily, this was exactly what Nova needed to slip fully into the room and get started working on the vault. Whilst it’s nothing overly fancy, in fact it’s rather rudimentary, Nova gets to work, plugging in her MagLock safe cracker and getting it started on cracking the code to the room supposedly holding this important medical file. A few seconds pass, a code flashes on the cracker’s screen and the locks silently disengage from the safe door, which is thankfully on well-oiled hinges. Inside were two filing cabinets, and after a short rummage she’s able to find the file they are looking for. Having a cursory glance at some of the other docs and not seeing anything that looked like it would be worthwhile to try fencing, for the risk of carrying it out of here at least, she pocketed the goods, re-arranged everything as neat as possible and sealed the safe up once again. Now, how to deal with
the squeaky door…

Tuner breaks the recent radio silence, letting everyone know the previous shift change have been stopped for a few minutes, and are now coming back towards the library. ETA 11 minutes. Tensions rise.

Epoch, however, is more concerned with other pressing matters…like the fact the security cameras stream offsite to what appears to be a manned UCAS facility. Manned by someone who does not want Epoch poking his head around in a secure government facility. The guy’s not too bad – he’s already countered a databomb, and is now bringing an offsider online to help nail Epoch’s location, identity and connection down. Epoch feels pretty good though, realising that all they can see for the moment is that the library is the one attacking them. He knows his luck wont hold out forever, and out-manned there’s not a lot of room for error.

Data streams flying past at the literal speed of thought, Epoch finds a way in to the facility, and starts wiping absolutely everything he can. “And the rest of the team have no idea what is going on” he muses to himself, as he sends a simple reboot script across to the facility.

“Hard to reboot without system32, ya jackass”

Nova as scoured the office, and turned up a small bottle of sewing machine oil rolling around up the back of one of the desk drawers. Thanking her lucky stars, a quick dabble here and there on the squeaky hinge means it should be good to go. Holding her breath, she twists the door handle and pulls the door towards herself smoothly, relishing in the whisper-quietness of the action. A quick check of the drone on the roof lets her know the guards have returned to their usual position, allowing her to sneak her way back out, moving through the shadows to meet up with Blackout and make for a smooth exit out the building.

“Five minutes until backup arrives,” Tuner reminds the team, whilst calmly driving the FishTank towards the egress point, “Epoch everyone’s out, pulling the drone, in position in 15 seconds”

A quick text, “30 seconds” comes from Epoch as he is going through the camera records stored on site, removing any evidence that he or the team were there. Finally, despite the dedicated and loyal service of DefLegitUser1, even the account had to go. Definitely keeping that one for next time though.

Jumping in the back of the van, which seemed to be taken up by equal shares of drone and person, Epoch pulled the doors close, which was signal enough for Tuner to start making a calm getaway.

Blackout, starting to relax, realised that the group of ragtag scoundrels, living in the shadows of the corporate giants and corrupt governments, might actually make it big if they can keep their cool like this in future. Not often the theft of important documents (important enough to someone at least) is covered up by what is likely passed off as some drunken Orc with nothing better to do than throw rocks and cusses at poor night shift employees.

Yeah, with these guys might he just make it.

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josh_rundmann

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