Looker.exe (part 4)

(A day late due to internet problems, he said, shaking his fist at his router)

(Start from the beginning here)

“What assets do we have planetside?” James asked over the communicator. I opened up a list of names and skimmed through them quickly.

“It seems like we only have Andrew at the moment. Syrus and Archer are on base, Patrick is still recovering from an illness, and Serena and Marcus are on Mars leave.”

I could hear a distinct sigh on the line. “Send the information on Sam to Andrew, and have him head to the Greene residence. I want Syrus and Archer heading planetside to rendezvous with him as soon as possible.”

“Will do.” I closed the connection, and started back to my office. I walked past Archer again on the way out. The pilot was chest deep in that monstrosity of a skimmer. “Archer?”

He looked up, beaming. “What can I do for ya, boss?” He rubbed his hand on his coveralls and extended it to me. I took a brief glance at it, and then looked back at him.

“I need for you to find Syrus and meet me in my office in fifteen. James needs you planetside.”

His smile vanished for the briefest of seconds. “Will do!” Archer closed the hatch on the skimmer and jogged off towards one of the other docks. I turned sharply and was about to walk towards the elevator when a person blocked my path.

“Hey.” It was Ari.

“I don’t have time to chat at the moment, Ari.” I tried walking past her, but she blocked my egress. “No, really. I’m in the middle of something important.”

“Important enough to send Syrus down to Earth?” She had apparently heard the whole thing. “Did you find Sam?”

I shook my head. “Not yet, I’m working on that. James is sending them down prematurely.” The statement wasn’t a complete lie “I’ll let you know once we find her.”

“I sure hope so,” Ari replied, before stepping out of my way. Without any further conversation, I stepped into the elevator, and worked my way back to the programming wing. I had already drafted a message to send to Andrew by the time that I reached my desk. There was a message from Jake waiting. I had to ignore it for the moment, there were more pressing matters at hand. The message was sent to Andrew, and he almost immediately confirmed receipt of the assignment. A few minutes after that, Syrus and Archer showed up. I began to explain to them the situation as best as I could

– – –

After discussion with Syrus and Archer, I called Jake in. He looked surprisingly happy, given the project that I had given him. Could he have somehow figured it out? I found that highly unlikely, given the difficulty it was giving me.

“Any luck with the search?” I asked him, half-smiling.

“Yes, I found the source of the slowdown a little while ago.” He turned on his tablet, which was synced with his workstation.

“Color me impressed,” I said jokingly, “And what do you think it is?”

“So, there was that one piece of code that you originally found spreading like wildfire? Apparently, it was part of a two-step authentication that you had authorized a week or so ago.” He brought up a timeline. “The program only started getting spread this morning, when people began to wake up and download it to their workstations. That’s why it seemed to spread so slowly at the start, and then expand rapidly later on.”

I was silent. It made sense, but still – was it this easy? “Good work, Jake. Glad to have you on the team.”

“As am I, Mr. Lodon, as am I” He headed out with his tablet. I sat there, thinking. It can’t be that easy…can it? Maybe I should look into it later, just to verify for myself…

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