Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Heist, Part Five

Apologies for the lack of a Thursday post (and the lateness of this "Monday" post)...I was at CONvergence over the Fourth of July weekend, and even though I'm local to the Twin Cities, the transition from "nothing to do, I'll have plenty of time to post" to "OMG, I am swamped with fun things to do and can't get anywhere near my computer" was too abrupt for me to even notice it. Now that I'm back in gear, though, we'll continue...

Fending off three more requests to dance and finishing her glass of champagne along the way, Amanda made her way through the ballroom and slipped through a side exit. It should have been locked, but one of the reasons she’d chosen to do this during the party was the sure and certain knowledge that a lot of bored aristos and their teenage offspring, trapped together at one of Dame Abigail Marsten’s parties, would find ways to slip off into the rest of the house to have sex. Sooner or later, all the locked doors would get unlocked, including this one that led down into the high-security areas of the mansion. She walked down a gallery of statues, politely ignoring the muffled moans that came from the alcoves, and headed towards an unassuming door with a keypad next to the handle.

The keypad wouldn’t pose more than a moment’s work to hack into—pass-code reliant systems rarely did, since the designers built them keeping in mind that ten-digit security codes needed to be recalled and inputted precisely by human beings who ran on two pounds of fatty tissues and water and could sometimes barely remember where they kept their shoes. The weak link in any secure system always came down to the human beings who had to use it, and this system was no exception. So, secure in the knowledge that she’d have no trouble hacking it, Amanda paused for almost a full five minutes to gently and cautiously clean every inch of the keypad. Only when she had removed every single piece of debris, no matter how microscopic, with tools designed for the express purpose of doing so, did she then deign to crack the ten-digit security code with a soldering iron and a few moments of deft work.

As she put the soldering iron away, the door hissed open to reveal two security guards whose facial expressions rapidly flickered through bored to startled before firming up into an angry boredom on seeing some high-class tart trying to head into a restricted area. They headed towards her angrily. “Hey, lady,” one said, in the same tones he’d used on two other bored, over-intelligent curiosity seekers tonight, “you can’t come in here. It’s a restricted.”

He didn’t exactly finish his sentence there; instead, he touched his hand to his cheek, plucking out the dart that was the cause of the brief stinging sensation that caused him to stop speaking. His head turned towards the other guard to see if he’d felt the same thing, but he had difficulty in seeing his partner through closed eyelids and the falling sensation made it difficult to concentrate, and…

Neither guard even felt the impact of hitting the floor. Amanda smiled, folded up her blowgun, and replaced it in her pouch. She could have gotten rid of them some other way. Dame Abigail didn’t scan for high-tech equipment the way some other places Amanda’d had to break into in the past, and she could probably have used a stun-gun. Not to mention, they seemed to be dim-witted enough that she could probably have gotten to within hand-to-hand range before they drew their guns. But it was always a good idea to keep in practice with the darts. Technology definitely had its places, but sometimes people kept a watch out for that sort of thing. A hollow tube and a dart, though, could be concealed virtually anywhere, tripped no sensors, could be disguised as any number of other pieces of equipment, and with the right toxins, could be relied upon to take out a person just as efficiently and silently as any sort of stun beam you care to name. All that was required was a bit of skill and practice, something Amanda had spent years honing.

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