It’s two weeks later. Bartlett has had his fill of pretending to be trying to get anything more out of me and his superiors have finally gotten over the idea that he can. It’s been two days since he last bothered to call and four since the last front page story about the ‘incredible’ rescue raid.
I don’t care about any of that as I awake violently from that same &%*^$ nightmare. I actually use the words I won’t type as I get up to go get something strong enough to make me sleep whether my subconscious likes it or not.
The house phone buzzes as I get to the kitchen. Yes, I still have a land line. No, you can’t have the number. It’s main purpose is to keep prying wifi from wondering why I get calls from my own basement from a guy named Rover. Yeah, I’m the cautious type – it’s kept me more alive than not so far so I’m sticking with it.
“Me.” I say into the handset. Sure, there are fancier codes – but voice recognition works perfectly well on a hard wire. I listen to a few beeps and chirps and hang up.
I grab a coke from the fridge before heading downstairs. I won’t be able to take the meds I’d intended but at least I don’t have to be thirsty.
When I arrive, the control room is brightly lit and all sorts of completely useless but cool looking lights are flashing everywhere. I went for a ‘Star Trek’ meets ‘Tron’ decor when I built the place. My temperament and beginning headache at the moment are making me regret that design choice.
I put my behind in the seat and take a long swig before beginning to work, “Rover?”
“Yes sir. Hacking attempt on 157.658.36958 at 2:34. Blocking successful. Notification as per Protocol 7.”
So you know, ‘Protocol 7’ simply sounds better than ‘you told me to wake you up so I did’. I groan inwardly and have Rover pull up the case related to that account.
I’d expected it to be someone trying to track down my gas company shenanigans from the recent case but instead I got a case nearly a year old. Rover normally handles attacks without notifying me even on current cases, unless they fit into a few key specification. This one fell into ‘too old for anyone to be caring or should be’ and the attempt hadn’t been a spider or bot.
Great, just what I need at now three am. I pulled up the attack – pretty hamfisted and definitely human. I set Rover on the electronic trail and settle down to a lovely morning of cola and case review.
By five, Rover has all the particulars on Mr. Steven Gomez McClain. Mother Maria Lucia Gomez is from Spain, not just an Addams Family fan, according to Rover’s excruciatingly detailed research. By five, I’ve reviewed the case, read Rover’s report and finished off the last of three cokes.
Now my head really hurts despite four aspirin and shutting down the more colorful lights. It’s not the lack of sleep – it’s that I’ve got to get to the bottom of this today or call her tonight – and I’d rather have teeth pulled than call her.
Back upstairs, having pooped two more aspirin and downed another coke, I throw the covers over my head and will myself into slumber. Ten am will come much too soon…