A Hacker’s Life (Image from Era: The Consortium – Rapier)

Everything had been going so well. The virtual environment for the Keegan and Rogue law firm was precisely as Maia had expected. There were large windows overlooking an impressive duplicate of the Taranis skyline. Busy personnel in crisp suits shuffled back and forth between desks and offices. Everything from the layout of the floorplan to the welcome of the receptionist was exactly as she had researched.

Maia’s confidence was so high that she had already started planning what to do with the money from her client’s paycheck. There were plenty of bills to catch up on of course, but she was hoping to save a little and use it to upgrade her hacking rig. She’d had to turn down more than one job because she didn’t have the right tools.

She was so lost in thought that, at first, Maia didn’t notice the smiling man addressing her. She nearly plowed into him as she made her way further into the lobby. He held out his hands to catch her as she wobbled and that’s when she saw him. A small tingle of worry itched at the bottom of her stomach.

“Welcome to Keegan and Rogue.” His ultra white teeth flashed in the setting sun which filtered in through the large windows. “By the direction you are heading, I see that you are interested in our more classified areas. I would be happy to assist you today.”

He tipped his head to the side in an overly sympathetic fashion. “Of course, I do need to see some identification. Only level three access is allowed past this point.” The tone of his voice suggested sincere doubt that she possessed any access authority at all, let alone the required level three.

Maia fumbled with her response. The program she’d used to mask her identity should have let her glide right through without trouble. She cursed under her breath. A new hacking rig would have the right upgrade to get past this guy.

“Oh, of course,” Maia tried to control her breathing.

“I sense that you are feeling tense,” the man’s voice was cautious, “is there something wrong?”

“No, no. Not at all.” Maia forced herself to laugh and tried to think. Perhaps if she got him alone she could overpower him…

“Advanced sensors have determined that you are using a masking program to conceal your identity.” The white smile disappeared in a frown of polite disapproval. “I am deeply sorry. I am now required to eliminate you.”

The man’s frown certainly didn’t seem apologetic and neither did the lashing tentacles which began to sprout from his legs as the office environment dissolved. Maia found herself standing in a rocky landscape surrounded by nightmarish creatures. She calculated the odds of still getting her client’s information and gave a small sigh. Why was it never easy?

“The lawfirm of Keegan and Rogue would like to thank you for your visit. Good bye.” The tentacled creature opened its arms and attacked.

Office Redecorating

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