“Summer?” he asked as he popped the panel, and she glanced at Peri’s phone.
“Drone is good. We have a solid connection.”
Excitement made his fingers tingle. “Then let’s do this,” he said, and the door lock clicked to green.
Allen pushed the door open, hesitating briefly before vanishing inside. Silas followed, nose wrinkling at the strong perfume scent that hazed the small room. Two monitors alternated between four cameras, showing a break room, reception desk, waiting room, and the dark receiving bay. A cold, oily cup of coffee sat amid strewn papers and files on the desk in front of the screens, and an indulgent desk chair with a large butt print sat before it. One of the monitors had gone steady on a single image, a red light on the screen indicating movement. It was Peri and the night guard, and he smiled as they began checking under the chairs in the waiting room for her “missing” phone, Peri’s faint voice coming through the speaker.
The lock on the door might have been last year’s, but the computer system was not, and Allen made a happy sound as he sat before the state-of-the-art glass technology monitor, thin fingers moving fast as he bypassed level after level of security to get into the background. “Nice chair,” he complained, the broken caster rattling as he scooted it forward.
Summer leaned over Allen, watching. “Can you route it so it looks as if the attack came from Milo’s office?”
Allen smiled up at her, flushing when Silas cleared his throat. “Ah, too obvious,” he said as Summer grinned at Silas and backed up. “They’d know that was contrived and look for the trace back to here. I’m going to route us through the lunchroom.”
“Lunchroom?” Silas asked, head down as he dug through his belt pack for the smartphone–glass tech adapter. His phone was in the way, and he set it aside, finally finding the small clear wafer of glass.
“Everything feeds into the lunchroom,” Allen said, and Summer plucked the glass pad from Silas’s hand and cheerfully began hooking it up herself. It was obvious Allen and Summer were an effective team, working seamlessly and without getting in each other’s way, but if this was a success, it would be him beside her next year, and he pushed his anticipation down.
Summer touched Allen’s shoulder to tell him she was done, then dropped back to check on the drone, fingers hesitating only briefly at the unfamiliar system. “We’ve got a great connection. How’s Peri doing?”
Silas’s attention rose to the monitor. Peri’s butt was in the air as she checked under all the waiting room chairs. The night guard was helping, but it was obvious he was more interested in Peri than in her phone. “Okay, I guess,” he said, and Summer chuckled.
“Got it,” Allen said with a decisive smack of a key. “Time for your upgrade, baby,” he added as he stood to move out of Silas’s way. “Silas, she’s all yours.”
Silas spun the chair to himself, holding his breath when the scent of perfume puffed out and around him when he sat. Regardless of what Summer thought, Peri was running out of places to look. His fingers fluid and fast, he accessed the computer’s security level. If he couldn’t upgrade it, the mainframe wouldn’t recognize the terminal’s priority and his nifty “death spiral” program wouldn’t be allowed to upload.
“Phone,” he said distantly, hand going to his belt pack.
But Summer was there, her lips beside his ear. “Here you go,” she said, handing it to him as she bit gently down on his earlobe.
Sensation raced to his groin, and he stifled a shiver. “Please tell me that’s not standard anchor/drafter protocol,” he said as he set his phone on the nearby pad and it lit up in connection.
Her wicked smile was inches away, her lips so close. “Depends upon the anchor,” she said, her eyes flicking to the monitor as it connected to his office computer and the entire system before him doubled its capabilities.
They were in.
“We’re set,” he said casually, and Allen made a muffled exclamation. “Last chance to change our minds.”
“Sweet. Do it,” Allen said, hunched over the desk in excitement.
Silas looked at Summer, loving the way she looked beside him, face flushed and eyes alight. Their eyes met, and she nodded.
On the monitor, Peri stood before the waiting room vending machine, her hands on her hips as she posed coyly, her distress real enough for Silas. “Maybe someone kicked it under the machine,” she said, annoyance in her voice. “Could you look? The dust is bad for my asthma.”
His phone was still on the glass plate, and, leaning, he left-swiped through the open apps, hitting the one that gave him access to the simple but deadly program that he’d played with during his freshman year. His pulse raced as he brought it front and center.
Summer’s slim hand stopped his, and she was the one who hit the confirmation key. He looked up at her, seeing the faint tremble in her lips, the need in her for this to work, the possibilities that would open for both of them if it did. This was what he wanted to do. She was who he wanted to do it with. He wasn’t too big to be an effective agent.
It took an unreal two seconds for the program to register, two seconds for all his doubts and shortcomings to rise to the surface. And then the monitor chimed, wanting confirmation.
“Yes means yes,” Allen said, and Summer tapped it again.
There was a responding glow from the phone, and the computer flashed an error message. One by one, the running programs began to shut down.