“The Lois Lane Syndrome”
Summary: Beca doesn’t mind being Aubrey’s hero.
“You’re going to make this a thing, aren’t you?” Beca groans, lifting the debris that had been trapping Aubrey.
Beca lets it go effortlessly as soon as the blonde is clear, and brushes off her hands. “Because, dude, if you want me to take this superhero gig seriously I can’t be swooping in for you all the time.”
Her tone is light and her words even lighter. Despite the faux annoyance she’s implying, Beca and Aubrey both know that Beca would drop everything if Aubrey was ever in danger or needed her.
Sirens blare somewhere in the distance, a mix of patrol cars and fire trucks racing towards them.
“You should go; it sounds like the whole department’s been called.” Aubrey allows herself to gently squeeze Beca’s arm. She wants to take Beca in her arms and do her best to convey how safe Beca makes her feel but they’re in public and in plain view of any prying eyes.
Beca tilts her head and looks Aubrey over slowly, her voice suddenly a rough whisper. “But you’re okay, right?” She wants to ask more, so much more, but she can’t.
“I’m okay, I’m here.”
And Aubrey, bless her, Aubrey gets it. She gets the words Beca will never be able to fully express, even in the privacy of their own home.
Emotions and communication has never been Beca’s strength; Chloe had made considerable headway with Beca before her passing with getting Beca to confront and identify her feelings. Even with Aubrey’s patience and gentle urging, Beca still has a ways to go.
“Okay.” With that, Beca’s gone as quickly as she appeared.
Chapter 2: Hacked Partnership
“The world has become an extensive infrastructure of information. Cyber-crime presents a threat to that structure and has the power to bring down internet-tiered societies”
Reluctant duo FBI Special Agent Posen and notorious Hacker whiz Beca “AK47” find themselves in the unlikeliest of partnerships.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“So…I’m not under arrest?”
FBI Director Gilbert shakes his head, offering Beca a friendly enough smile to ease any worries. “We try our best to identify the attributes of an intrusion in order to respond accordingly. Sometimes we come across a hack that we haven’t faced before where our expert Agents, such as Special Agent Posen, must adapt or we reach out to sources like you.”
“Because it takes a hacker to know one, right?”
“Precisely.” Director Gilbert turns to the silently fuming blonde who is sitting primly across from Beca. A physical contrast to Beca’s slouched but guarded posturing.
“Ms. Mitchell will be assisting you throughout the investigation until the case has been closed. She will be provided with considerable access to the Bureau’s resources, any additional access will be reviewed by you.”
Aubrey, forgetting herself for a moment, quickly stands and readies a tirade of verbal displeasure but finds herself cut off.
“It really bothers you that I’m here, doesn’t it?” Beca also stands, arms crossed and cocky smile in place. She never took to authority figures and she’s finding that getting under Special Agent Posen’s skin could be her newest favorite pastime.
“I don’t believe in outsourcing people like you.” Aubrey practically spits out.
The Director, unnoticed by Beca and Aubrey who have each taken a step forward to each other, begins to rub his forehead, sensing a migraine. He was aware of Special Agent Posen’s reputation of running a tight ship within her division, and that she didn’t take kindly to change.
“People like me?”
Aubrey tilts her chin up, her lip twitching slightly. “Felons in the making. Bringing criminals like you in to use your tricks is only enabling your behavior.”
“You don’t think I could pull it off, do you? That I could actually solve one of your cases?” Beca shakes her head, walking to the door and yanking it open. “Watch me.”
“You’ve been tracking an increase in fraudulent ID and multiple bank fraud cases out of Seattle, right?”
“How did you know that?”
Beca opts not to answer; instead she helps herself to one of the computers in the room. She barely bats an eyelash when the credentials login window appears, “Secured server? Yeah, okay. That’s just foreplay.”
Aubrey watches Beca’s fingers fly swiftly across the keyboard at a pace that’s almost inhuman.
Despite the furious pacing, there’s a concentrated effort in the blur of Beca’s hands. Every keystroke is chosen with precise calculation. Aubrey’s used to it from her co-workers and she’s a bit of a speedster herself, but to see a hacker in action? It’s always been a bizarre spectacle.
Within moments Beca had not only signed into the computer and breached the security wall to give herself access to the Bureau’s network, she’d also brought up the digital footprints they’d been tracking.
To add to Beca’s hacker genius, when she’s narrowed down and isolated the IP address she conjures several phone directories to appear in a second screen.
Beca doesn’t even look at the screen but begins to type on the secondary keyboard. “There you are.”
A profile pops up of the owner of the IP address on Aubrey’s central monitor. Aubrey and the gathering Agents are greeted by the ID of one 70 year old Lorelei Bates of Seattle, Washington.
“Looks like she’s lived at her current residence for the past 15 years. No priors and no history of online purchases.”
“That’s not our suspect. It must be a neighbor or someone within reach of her wireless router who’s feeding off of it. Maybe even someone who’s been given access before.”
“Let’s see if we can find the greedy bastard then.” Beca’s fingers are a blur again, this time she brings up the Google Maps program and enters the address, adjusting the site from the satellite view to street view.
“Let’s tighten the image to reflect the radius of the wireless router.”
“Careful, you’re starting to read my mind, blondie.” Beca throws a flirtatious smirk over her shoulder to Aubrey.
Unfazed, Aubrey reaches over Beca’s shoulder and inputs the adjustment herself.
“How exactly are you going to pinpoint whose feeding off the router?”
“Lucky for you guys, I created a Trojan a while ago that allows me to show the wireless trail.” Beca pulls out a USB from her pocket but before she has a chance to plug it into the hard drive Aubrey grabs her wrist.
“This better not be a trick.”
“If I wanted to hack into your network, which can I add is hilariously and painfully easy, I would have a long time ago. If I wanted an audience, I would have streamed the process via YouTube.” Beca pulls her arm away from Aubrey, “Relax.”
Beca’s words do anything but relax Aubrey or any of the other agents who’ve gathered.
“Beca.” Aubrey’s tone is suffering and sharp with a warning to remind Beca the terms of her presence. “Let’s cross-reference the individual for any warrants, misdemeanors and priors.”
Beca whistles as the profile fills up details of an extensive search warrant history. “Damn, dude’s been busy.”
“We’re going to need a warrant and get the local police in on this.” Aubrey pulls out her phone, scrolls through her contacts and dials one of the Assistant U.S. Attorneys she’s used in the past. “Clark? Aubrey Posen. Listen, I need the name of a judge I can bother at this hour to sign off on a knock. Yes, right now. I know, I know what time it is over there. Perfect. I need you to call them in three minutes and vouch for me, okay? Thanks, I owe you a coffee next time.”
“I’ll take my coffee with cream and three sugars.”
Aubrey scowls at Beca, remembering her spilled coffee from earlier in the day, and dials the number Clark had provided. “Judge Henderson? I’m so sorry to bother you so late and while you’re home. My name’s Aubrey Posen, I’m a Supervisor within the FBI Cyber Division up in San Francisco. Clark Baker from the U.S. Attorney’s office will be calling you shortly to confirm my credentials. Yes, I’m calling about a search warrant, your honor. For multiple bank fraud, access-device fraud, and fraudulent I.D. Thank you, we’ll submit the necessary paperwork from our end.”
Aubrey ends the call and turns to the redhead who had escorted Beca to the Cyber Division level. “Chloe, get our Washington branch on the phone, we’ll need them to coordinate with local PD.”
Chloe nods, walking over to her own desk and places what appears to be several calls before the light on Aubrey’s phone lights up, indicating that Chloe transferred one of the calls.
“Special Agent Posen, this is Special Agent Marsh. I received word about your knock and we’re on our way to meet with local PD. You’ll have the file and briefing packaged neatly by tomorrow morning. Sweet dreams, Posen.”
“Sweet dreams, Marsh.”
It’s an inside joke, a bitter commentary on their stressful jobs. Nobody within the Cyber Division has had a decent dream that hasn’t been saturated with some bit of what they’ve come across online.
But it’s become their thing after every shift, whenever they part ways. Saying ‘goodbye’ just seems like bad karma and the Academy taught them to always trust their guts.
“So,” Beca leans back, her arms behind her head and eyes Aubrey. “Not bad for a felon on the rise, right?”
Slow clapping from behind them cuts off Aubrey’s reply.
“You two are proving to be a fast and efficient team. I haven’t seen you slip into such an easy rhythm with anyone else, Agent Posen.”
“Sir, if I may, could I speak to you privately?”
“Before you try to huff and puff my office walls down, she’s partnering with you on this case.”
“Of all the White and Grey Hats we’ve been monitoring, why her?”
“We’ve been tracking her since she first breached the mainframe several years ago. Given the complexity of that hack, we believe she’s been around longer than we’ve been tracking her.”
“What was she after?”
“That’s the damnest thing, nothing as far as we can tell. No information was leaked and our systems weren’t compromised. It was like she was testing herself. Even though she’s gained unprecedented access to most of the servers connected to the DOD, sometimes several times, her lack of action has only earned her a spot on our radar. She hasn’t earned herself the title of being considered a threat to national security.”
“Instead the Bureau is offering her employment.”
“Yes. Partly to stroke her ego and partly to monitor her. The hope is that if she starts to stray we’ll be able to catch it before she’s able to do any considerable damage. She’s that good.”
Aubrey sits, looking utterly defeated and resigned to her fate of working with the cocky hacker.
“I don’t need you to like her but I do need you to find a way to work with her. If we ever hope to apprehend the subject and prevent another murder, it will depend on you two putting aside your differences.”
…or is it…?
Disclaimer: The characters aren’t mine, just borrowing them
Author’s Note: Feedback is always appreciated and has been known to feed the muse!