The Agora Files – Part II – Online Edition – Chapter Twenty-Seven

We reenter the shipping container to finalize our plans.  The Geek tells us it’s dangerous to stay on deck with all the satellites on the lookout for us.  Also, the longer the people are forced to stay below deck because of us, the better chances of raising suspicion.  And with all the organizations out there ready to take us down, we can’t risk giving anyone a reason to want to see what we’re doing up here, or more importantly, that we’re up here in the first place.

“Alright,” I say as The Geek shuts the container door behind him once returning from telling everyone they can get back to work.  He flips a switch which causes the entire box to light up.  “So, I think the first thing we need to come up with is how we’re going to get to the drop off.”

“Isn’t that the only thing we need to come up with,” Eve asks.

“I guess, but the issue is, The Geek can get there no problem, as no one knows who he is, but if all three of us are going, things get a lot more complicated.”

“There’s a lot more to it,” The Geek explains.  “The drop-off is located on the top floor of a high security building.  I think I can get us to the building with very little trouble, seeing as the SPs have no reason to believe you’re even in Boston right now, unless Bruno squealed, which I doubt.”

“But aren’t they expecting us?” I ask.  “Isn’t the drop off the one place they’re planning on us being?”

“Unlikely,” The Geek disagrees.  “The SPs probably figure you want to put as much distance as possible between you and Boston.  Miss Nile’s the one we really need to worry about.  But it doesn’t really matter.  This building is one of the most secure locations in the nation.  It’s not too far of a stretch to guess we’ll be snatched up the second we walk in the front door.”

“Okay,” Eve says, straightening herself in excitement for what’s to come.  “So, what’s your idea?  Do we need to take out a few guards or something?”

“Nothing so simple, I’m afraid,” The Geek replies.  “There are guards at the entrance, but it shouldn’t be too hard to get past them, considering my access to the systems.  We’ll have to play it cool, but I think we can get through easily enough.  The real issue comes with the elevators.”

“Yeah?” I ask.  “Don’t like the elevator music selection?”

“Do you really think I wouldn’t be able to change the music if I had any issues with it?” The Geek scoffs.  “No, the problem is with the elevator itself.  The only way up is by express elevator, but it requires an authorized keycard.”

“Can’t you forge one?” Eve asks.

“If it was an old style keycard with a magnetic strip, I might be able to.  It would take some pretty standard equipment.  The problem here is these cards are embedded with an RFID chip.  Of course, even with an RFID chip, I could easily clone the card.  I’d have to get close enough to someone carrying one.  The real problem is it uses a two-factor authentication system using the RFID card and a randomly generated authentication code, which changes every minute.”

“And I’m guessing you can’t create some cool program which will come up with the randomly generated number?” Eve asks.

“Not a chance, unless I somehow knew not only the algorithm they’re using as well as the seed key the algorithm is based off.”

“So, we’re screwed before we even start?” I ask.

“Not exactly,” The Geek says quietly.  “There’s one other option.”

“Which is?” I ask.

“We could steal the card.  The way I see it, there are approximately ten people who have access to the floor we’re supposed to get to.  Out of those ten, most of them are going to be pretty difficult to even get close to.”

“Yeah, I’d imagine,” Eve agrees.  “You’re talking about people like Miss Nile, or the people who work for her.”

“Right,” The Geek replies.  “Which leaves us with only one small hole in their security.”

“Which is?” I ask again.

“The cleaning staff.  From the records I’ve found, there’s nothing stating the cleaners have access to the floor, but unless you want to believe Miss Nile and her lackeys are going to be emptying their own trash, vacuuming their own floors, and scrubbing the scum out of the bottom of their own refrigerators, it’s pretty safe to assume someone’s got the ability to get up there to clean.”

“That’s brilliant,” Eve exclaims.  “So, they have cleaners, but don’t keep it on record anywhere they exist.  All we need to do is find out who they are and steal the cards from them.”

“I can do you one better,” The Geek smiles.  “The building in question is the John Hancock Tower, a giant beast of a thing right in the middle of Boston.  They have only one cleaning company listed on staff as having any form of access into the building.”

“But couldn’t Miss Nile have a separate company who cleans their offices in order to throw us off?”

“You’d think so, but I hacked into the main floor security’s list of approved personnel.  If there was another company allowed in, they would have to be listed on the doorman’s database, or else they wouldn’t even get through the front door.”

“What if they’ve got a different door?”  I ask.

The Geek pauses for a second as he stares at me.

“I’m sorry, that’s a stupid thing to say, isn’t it?  Forget I said anything.”

“No,” The Geek says hopefully.  “You might have figured out the one thing I couldn’t work into my equation.  You see, there are no other cleaners on the list, but I also couldn’t find Miss Nile on the list either.  I couldn’t even find her under any of her known aliases.  A second entrance would explain a lot.”

“If it’s such a big building, why wouldn’t it have a second, or third, or however many different entrances?”

“This building is locked down more than anything I’ve ever seen.  I can’t even find any fire exits on the thing.”

“Would that change our plans then?” I ask.

“What plans?” The Geek chuckles.  “I’m still trying to work out a way to the top floor which won’t get us killed.  Besides, once we’re up there, we’re certain to run into even more trouble.”

“Like what?” Eve asks.

“I don’t know,” The Geek answers.  “But this is a trap, right?  Can’t be as easy as getting up an elevator, can it?”

“I don’t know,” Eve shrugs.  “Probably not.”

“Right.  So, it’s safe to say getting into the building and to the top floor is the least of our worries.  More than likely, once we get up there, we’re going to need a whole lot of help.”

“And how do you suppose we get that?” I ask.

“Simple,” The Geek smiles as he points to his ear.  “We’re going to ask for it.”

“I’m not sure I see what you mean, or how it’s simple,” I say stupidly.

“I’ve got my earpiece plugged into the mainframe, complete with a voice modulator which makes me sound like Miss Nile.  You see, although I do all my accessing of the systems through the terminal, Miss Nile has someone else do the actual work.  She tells them what she wants and they make it happen.  The issue here is, even lugging around even a tablet computer could be more than we want to deal with when we’re up there.  With this, we should be able to do anything Miss Nile can do.”

“Couldn’t we use that to get us into the elevator?” I ask.  “What if you told the people on the other end of the line that you, you know, as Miss Nile, lost your card?  Wouldn’t they open it up for her?”

“Possibly, but I’d really like to use this as a last resort if possible.  There are bound to be cameras all over the building, which means it would be as simple as them taking a look and seeing she’s not there.  It’s a little more risky than I think we can afford.”

“So, last resort it is.  Can’t make this too easy for ourselves, can we?” I ask.

“Apparently not,” Eve agrees.

“So, we’ve got to find an alternate entrance which will allow us to get to this special elevator, which will then take us to the top of an enormous building which probably ends in a big trap where we will be ultimately caught by the woman who sent us on this wild goose chase in the first place,” I summarize.  “Wouldn’t it be easier to let her catch us from the start?   I’m not saying I really understand why we don’t just give up and all head off to Canada, recognizing that no matter what we do, the country’s going to burn, but if you’re set on letting Miss Nile kill us, why should we go through all the trouble of being sneaky?”

Eve and The Geek stare at me with their jaws open.

“Stupid again?” I ask.  “Okay, sorry.  I’ll keep my mouth shut.”

“No, you’re right, Cyrus,” The Geek begins.  “Why work our butts off to avoid capture to get into a building where we know we’re going to get captured anyways?”

“Isn’t that what I said?”

“It is,” Eve agrees.  “We’re agreeing with you.  We could make all of this a whole lot easier if we got captured at the start.”

“That leaves only one question,” The Geek states.  “How do we go about getting captured?”

“Isn’t that the easy part?” I ask.  “You’ve already stated a few different ways in which they’ll immediately know we’re causing trouble.”

“Right,” Eve agrees, “but there are a few issues.  First, we need to make sure we’re caught by the right people: Miss Nile, not the SPs or anyone else.  Second, we need them to believe we’re the ones they are looking for.  Walking through the front door without security clearance isn’t going to cause her to even bat an eye.”

“Are you saying we need to make a scene?” I ask.

“More or less,” The Geek answers.  “We have to make sure The SPs, and everyone else, aren’t aware of us being there, but other than that, yeah, we’re just looking to make sure she takes notice.”

“Oh.  Then it’s a good thing you brought me along for the ride,” I smile.

Go to Chapter Twenty-Eight

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