Continuing the story of the foxy hacker
The doors parted silently, and Richard swallowed past the lump in his throat. He stepped out without a sound. There was no need to be silent, but it made him feel better. He walked past a couple of doors leading to various electrical and mechanical rooms and stopped at the door to the security centre. This would be his first real test.
The keypad had no maintenance slot. Richard hadn't expected it to. The keypad's readout had room for eight digits. With repetition, that allowed for 100 million possibilities. Richard's experience was mostly with software, but he had spent some time with hardware. He just hoped it would be enough.
Gently, he pushed a thin strip of metal in behind the top of the keypad. He bit his lower lip as he gently wedged it forward. If he went too far, an alarm would trigger, and he would be in no position to shut it down. When he felt the resistance increase, he stopped and looked at the thin crack he had made. It would have to be enough. Holding the strip in his teeth to keep the tension on the pad, he once again reached into his wallet. He pulled out a small wire. It was very low-tech compared to the connections on the pad, but he just needed to carry the current, and a wire did just as well as the fanciest connectors. He pushed the wire into the two spots where the alarm circuit should be. What I wouldn't give for two more hands, he thought. He pulled a tiny flashlight out of one of many pockets in his pants and shone it down into the thin crack. He nudged the wire first one way, then the other. Then, he held his breath, closed his eyes, and pulled hard on the metal strip, jerking the keypad out of its housing.
The keypad beeped. Shit.
His eyes shot open, and he quickly saw the problem. The wire had connected the circuit at the top, but the bottom of the keypad had a break as well. Swearing more fluently than one would expect of a fox his age, he quickly grabbed another wire and slammed it home. He didn't know if the beep had been a warning that an alarm would sound or that an alarm had already sounded, so he would have to work fast. He brought out the stylus again, tapping it against the keypad. It took him two tries before the door opened. Like a shot, he sprinted to the main console. This one had no UAP, so he would have to do it from scratch.
He forced his way past the log on screen and opened the console. He had no idea how much time he had, and he wasn't about to stop to find out. He began his game of chess against the computer, trying to outmaneuver it and find the password. Usually, he would have a small smile on his face, enjoying the contest, but this time, it was deadly serious. He would have panicked had he not been fervently attempting to gain access to the security network.
There! He'd found the username for the head of security. He just needed the password. His fingers moved swiftly over the keyboard. He was close. He could feel it. Come on, come on, he willed silently.
Richard pumped his fist, letting out a silent "Yes!" Still, he had to find out if the signal went through. He scrolled through the recent alerts. "Shit."
It wasn't enough to warrent a rapid response team since he made the connection swiftly enough. However, a signal had been passed on. They had about twelve minutes and twenty-eight seconds to get out.
With no time to lose, he overrode the lock on the Valdheins' door. He fired up the security cameras in the hallway and saw the three thieves sneak in. They knew the Vladheins were out that evening. They just needed to get in, grab the loot, and get out. Richard rubbed a hand accross his muzzle and activated the intercom to number 612. "We have to move fast, guys. We have a bit of a problem."
He could see the wolf gesture to the others to move on. "What happened?"
"An alarm was triggered when I broke into the security centre. It's not the rapid response team, but they'll be at the front door in," Richard glanced at the timer, "twelve minutes, three seconds."
The wolf lowered his head as he thought. "Is there another way out of the apartment complex?"
Richard had already pulled up the schematics on another screen. "Easiest way out is the back door. Skybridge from the twelth floor."
"What does it connect to?"
"A casino and restaurant. There should be stairs leading to the alley just on the other side of the bridge."
"Okay. Stay there and make sure we're clear. When we're out, take the elevator down to us, and we'll get out on the twelfth floor."
"Copy." Richard could see the wolf going after his compatriots. He didn't know what they were stealing, but they promised him five hundred credits as soon as the job was done. That was all that really mattered to the fox.
He brought up the external cameras to make sure the security team didn't arrive ahead of schedule. He was also pleased to note there was a camera in the skybridge. Everything looked clear, so he started erasing his footprints in the system. He glanced back to see the team carrying two sacks that obviously had some stolen items in them. Richard waited for them to make the hallway before resecuring the apartment and blotting out any trace that he had been in the system. With luck, the security team would assume a false alarm.
Once he was confident everything was locked down, he left the centre, retrieved the wires, and closed the keypad. The door to the centre was once again locked, though Richard now knew the combination. He had it on a scrap of paper in one of his pockets. Better safe than sorry, he figured. You could never know when you might need something like that.
When he got to the elevator and pushed the sixty-first floor, he cursed silently to himself. He had left his card in the slot. If the elevator had been called by some late night denizen of the building, he might have never seen it again. He pulled it out of the slot and fitted it back in his wallet.
The elevator arrived, and the thieves came on board. Richard had already selected floor twelve, so the wolf just hit the close door button as he came into the lift. They all stood silent as the lift descended. Richard checked his watch. They should still have five minutes before the team arrived. Plenty of time.
They got off at the twelfth floor, quickly heading to the skybridge. The apartment had monodirectional security, so getting out was easy. They didn't even need to enter the casino to gain access to the stairs. Within another minute, they were in the alley. Within two, they were at the vehicle. The pulled away from the curb before the team arrived to check a malfunction at the apartment complex.
Richard felt almost giddy with relief. He was not going to jail, and he was about to be five hundred credits richer. For once, life seemed pretty good.