With the timeline crunched, G00dw;ll realized that they needed more intel, if they wanted a prayer of pulling off this job without getting caught. There were just too many players on the board, and if they missed just one thing before diving straight in, it would be too easy to fail.
He didn’t intend to fail again. This time, there’d be no stopping him.
Opening up his console, he loaded up his proxies. He pinged the tiny program he’d left running on the Riverside Apartment Complex servers, and zeroed in on its location… but the apartments weren’t his target this time. Instead, he used the geotag from his program and used it to isolate the physical and ’net address of the office building across the street—the one that housed Geotech and three other microcorps.
His fingers flew across the keys as he homed in on their servers. Not the ones belonging to any particular company in the building, but the ones that controlled the building itself: he wanted the security cameras, the door locking systems, the elevators—anything computerized that he could get his grubby paws on, G00dw;ll intended to hack and hack thoroughly.
When he reached the server, he sent in a probing query. The system responded instantly with lines upon lines of code. It scrolled down the screen of his console in plain text, the green-on-black characters flying by. He narrowed his eyes in concentration. It looked familiar, somehow… as though a pattern was written in there, just waiting to be solved. Surely, if he just concentrated, he could…
Oh, he thought after a moment. Hang on. Somebody told me about this one. Nice try, HB.
G00dw;ll engaged his icebreaker, and sent it after the Haas-Bioroid ENIGMA software. It logicked through the code gate in mere seconds once he gave it the parameters, and then he was—
His system alarms began wailing in his ears. His network monitor showed an activity spike mere milliseconds after the ENIGMA had gone down. Malicious code slammed up against his protective firewall in a thin, elegant spike; probing, seeking a way past his defenses.
“Not so fast,” G00dw;ll muttered under his breath, guiding his icebreaker toward this new threat. He countered the intrusion, and sent back a spike of code of his own toward the ICE waiting on the server. His icebreaker returned a positive identification: a Jinteki SWORDSMAN.
Now that he knew what he was dealing with, G00dw;ll engaged the sentry with full enthusiasm. A SWORSDMAN could be dangerous, but only if it made it past his firewall and into his console’s OS. Once there, it would start cutting the strings that held his filesystem together, and before long his entire system would crash out.
Not that he intended to let that happen.
He deftly parried another intrusion by phase-shifting his firewall protocols randomly, and then returned with a salvo of precisely-aimed packets, designed to assault and overload the AI’s sensory capabilities—disabling it, without destroying it. The last thing he needed right now was to alert anyone to his presence, and annihilating their ICE was a great way to get caught.
His aim was true. G00dw;ll watched the pingbacks as his salvo landed… and suddenly, the server went quiescent. His cursor blinked quietly, awaiting his instructions.
With a crooked grin on his face, G00dw;ll went to work.
Arthur “Fishhook” Kingston was what one might call a ‘planner.’
Plan A, he thought, going over the scenario in his mind. We enter soundlessly with the cloned keycard. Subdue prisec guards. Obtain disguises. Make our way to the target. Infiltrate the target, obtain the package. Exfiltrate via the same door we came in.
Nothing ever went as planned. Which is why Fishhook also had a Plan B, a Plan C, and a last-ditch Plan D in case everything went to hell.
Plan B involved a small EMP grenade he’d observed G00dw;ll constructing after the ‘failed’ job. After we got taken for a ride. Plan D was the simplest, if the least elegant: unload as much ordnance at the plate glass windows in the lobby as necessary to create an exfiltration point.
Plan C was decidedly more elegant than Plan D, but it required some special equipment. Naturally, he had no resources to use for procurement. It wasn’t like his old days in the SXC, where all he had to do was fill out a requisition form and the brass would get him whatever he wanted.
He’d asked G00dw;ll if any of his street contacts might be able to procure said equipment, but the kid’s people were mostly netheads. If he’d been looking for console equipment or ‘net cables or what-have-you, it would have been easy… but military-grade grappling guns didn’t exactly grow on trees.
So, instead, he carefully selected a wardrobe that ensured he appeared casual, but well-off, precise but nonchalant; the kind of clothing he might wear if he were a military black-ops operative looking for some not-quite-legal activity. If anyone happened to mistake him for one, he certainly had no way to control their thoughts, now did he?
He checked his chronometer. 0721.
With that, Fishhook hit the streets.