For Hire

posted in: Solo Writing | 0

Being a mutant – both feared and hunted by humans – there are not many places other than the black market where Techtor can earn money to buy what he cannot steal.

This is a writing piece for ElektronX.

1647 Words

= Establishing encrypted connection to remote host… 
= Logging in, please wait… 
= Welcome, G54824!
= Your host is <obfuscated>.
== If you found me, you know what I can do.
== How may I help?
= /motd end
= User M0nst3r [<obfuscated>] joined.
> [21:03] M0nst3r: I am told you are good at what you do.
> [21:03] M0nst3r: I need a group of storage devices cloned. Clandestine.
> [21:03] G54824: Can do. Info?
= P2P file transfer requested. File name: Backup.pdf
/p2p accept -remote
= File transfer in progress…
= File transfer complete!
> [21:05] M0nst3r: What’ll be your price?
> [21:07] G54824: This is a big target. 2.6 BTC.
> [21:07] M0nst3r: Shouldn’t be that hard for someone like you. 
> [21:07] M0nst3r: 2.3
> [21:07] G54824: It is hard enough that you sought out someone like me. 2.9 BTC.
> [21:07] M0nst3r: Upfront? That’s ridiculous.
> [21:07] G54824: Then find someone else. If you want to pay peanuts, you will get monkeys.
> [21:10] M0nst3r: Wallet address?
> [21:10] G54824: 13SBV1vWd4PU6fUdAQicUPb17qz8yG3bqu
> [21:11] M0nst3r: Transaction request sent.
> [21:11] G54824: I will begin once the transaction has received at least 6 confirmations. A pleasure doing business.
= User M0nst3r [<obfuscated>] has disconnected.
/autoreplybot setActive true
= Auto reply bot activated.
/notifierbot setActive true
= Notifier bot activated.
= Logging off…
= Disconnected from host.


Techtor suppressed a frown as he looked over the file again. Sure, he would be happy to hit one of those filthy mutant research facilities, but who would want information from them?

The mission briefing included a floor plan. The server room was marked and even the target server was specified. They must have someone inside. Yet “M0nst3r” was hiring “G54824”. Security must be good enough that “M0nst3r” must be afraid of their mole being exposed.

Techtor got up and left his room, heading through the dim central passageway of the hideout until he reached the next room: Scope’s. He found his lazy brother loafing about half-asleep in a hole-filled hammock.

“Scope!” Techtor smirked as the lounge lizard flailed and fell out of his hammock. “I got us a job.” Ignoring his brother’s indignant and indecent mutterning he continued, “We’re gonna steal information from one of those mutant research facilities.”

“That’s not how you pronounce ‘burn to the ground’”

“This is going to be a stealth op. I’m going to store the info on my memory banks and chose what I put on the hard drive that my client gets. You probably won’t need to do anything, but I want you there just in case.”

“So you are planning on blowing it up?”

“I said just in case.”

“Yeah, yeah. When?”

“I’m waiting for six confirmations on the transaction. Should be soon enough. Going to do research tonight. Tomorrow afternoon we will need to start moving, this place is fairly far. We will carry out the operation the night after tomorrow night.”

A long groan. “Do we have to?”

“You know I base our operations zone far away for good reasons. The client is paying well. Besides, I would rather we handle this task than someone else who would give my client all of this potentially dangerous information.”

“Whatever. Brief me whenever you have your brilliant master plan.”

Techtor hated the sewers. He might not have a sense of smell, but he felt like his body was corroding by the second in the putrid air. The memory of Scope’s smug face as he left to find his sniper perch made the situation all the worse.

Eventually he reached his destination: a manhole just outside the perimeter fence of the facility. This place wasn’t doing anything with live mutants, and was thus located on the outskirts of the city. The sewers got him close enough that he did not have to be as concerned about his approach being spotted by the city’s meager-but-still-existent systems.

As much as he wanted to get out of the foul place, he waited before pushing the manhole cover away. He turned off the glowing green strips across his body that had been illuminating the sewers for him – he did not want to illuminate the night as well.

A quick scan for nearby electronics revealed several CCTV cameras, one of which was pointed in his vague direction. With a little mental focus, he disrupted its operation before scurrying out from the rancid tunnel. Moving as quickly a multi-ton metal lizard could, Techtor tugged out the network cable from the back of the camera and – using wire tendrils that came from his vambrace and connected to the electrodes – set himself up in between the camera, allowing the footage to flow through his systems while he investigated the network. Unfortunately, these guys weren’t dumb enough to link their CCTV to the rest of their infrastructure. He had to settle for getting the cameras to loop their few hours’ footage. He would still need to infiltrate the server room manually.

Now that he would not be spotted by their cameras, the next challenge would be to avoid getting seen by anyone who might be around at this late hour. In fact, it would not be much of a challenge at all. He almost felt like thanking the guards over their wireless comms, but stopped at tracking them and monitoring their bored chattering.

He skirted the facility’s perimeter fence until he arrived at their personnel gate. Some localised electromagnetic disruption was enough to knock the magnet out long enough for Techtor to open the gate and get onto the property. He wouldn’t be able to repeat this at the front door due to the two guards there. Dropping in via the roof was an option he had considered in his planning, but he had not found anywhere that he could easily scale the wall nor was flying the quietest option. He would need to sneak in one of the fire doors and find his way to the third floor.

Another small disruption, this time to prevent the fire alarm from triggering, and he was in the building proper. He reached into a small bag of equipment he had brought and took out a large section of thick fabric. He tore and wrapped pieces of it around each of his feet before progressing further inside.

Even though he knew the guards’ every move, progress was slow. A multi-ton glowing robot running down an echoing hallway would not go unnoticed. Even at a measured pace he still made more noise than he would like. Many individual rooms were also physically locked, forcing him to duck into hiding spots at suboptimal intervals. His one saving grace was that the guards here did not carry around Geiger counters like some other mutant research labs he knew of.

Fortunately, when he finally managed to reach the server room he had done so without being detected. Approaching the server rack, he initiated an instance of a virtual machine using his own systems, then connected himself to an open port on the server. If anything dangerous was on these disks, he didn’t want it to be capable of accessing his systems directly.

Using the virtual machine as a proxy, he began the slow process of looking for security vulnerabilities. Once he was in, he began copying the contents of the hard drives onto his suit’s own data storage, keeping them in the partition he had sandboxed for the virtual machine. There was a lot of juicy data here, on mutant research especially. A lot that he wouldn’t want getting in the hands of any human… Although it had not initially been the plan, Techtor decided he would clear these servers of their data. He wouldn’t simply delete the data index like a computer’s ‘delete’ feature worked – he would shred it so that nothing was recoverable. He even went as far as planting a worm that would do the same to the computers of any sickos that connected to this server.

As for his client… he just chose the wrong ‘man’ for the job.

= Establishing encrypted connection to remote host… 
= Logging in, please wait… 
= Welcome, M0nst3r!
= Your host is <obfuscated>.
= Active users: AutoReplyBot, NotifierBot.
== If you found me, you know what I can do.
== How may I help?
= /motd end
> [23:46] AutoReplyBot: Welcome, M0nst3r! Please leave a message.
> [23:46] M0nst3r: Where are you? I waited at the meeting point for two hours and you didn’t pitch. I didn’t pay a ‘professional’ for this type of service.
> [23:46] AutoReplyBot: Services are still to be rendered.
> [23:46] M0nst3r: What?
> [23:47] M0nst3r: Who are you?
> [23:47] AutoReplyBot: This is a chatbot created by user G54824. I am here to help.
> [23:47] M0nst3r: Well, then help me get what I paid for.
> [23:47] AutoReplyBot: Delivery is en route.
> [23:47] M0nst3r: The meeting time was two and a half hours ago. Are you telling me I need to go back? I have work tomorrow.
= User G54824 [<obfuscated>] joined.
> [23:48] G54824: No need for that. Turn around.

Anomaly Research Corps Under Investigation after Mutant Assassination

Police find butchered body of one of Anomaly Research Corps lead scientists after panicked neighbours phoned about inhuman screams and green glowing from his house.

By Kasi Augusto                                                                                                                                                                                  Thu. 16 Feb

Authorities have issued a statement that the method of the killing is consistent with that of a mutant which has been terrorising Stag City and its neighbours. They have urged citizens to remain calm, as this mutant does not tend to kill random civilians and does not often travel this far from its territory and the military is taking active measures to hunt it.

The investigation also lead to the discovery of black market dealings, corporate espionage and other illegal activities by the ARC. While the data is reportedly severely damaged, it is enough to be condemning. A federal investigation will be launched into the operations of the company.

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