2010-03-01: Blue Screen of Death



Date: March 1, 2010


The Tri-Lam comes through for the Alpha Beta, guess she needs a new nickname for him.

"Blue Screen of Death"

Building 27

Building 27 has many computer stations, a few actual labs and quite a few observations rooms. It's a large building, one with too many agents that insist on computers at their stations. There's a cubicle way in the back of floor 6 that doesn't have one. It should have one, but it seems to be offline. The fact that it's not being registered by the mainframe has set up one or two red flags.

It's a fact that the computer isn't online right now, that's because it has been dismantled and is sitting in a box on the floor underneath the desk of one Agent Baker. The top of the desk is cluttered with files, legal notepads, sticky notepads, and pictures. The soft foam walls of the cube aren't filled with family photos or mementos, but pictures of targets, schematics of buildings, and details of operations yet to be pulled off. There's also a rolling chair that the agent herself is sitting in with a pencil balanced on her top lip.

Most people who pass by Carl's desk assume that the bank of idiot lights sitting there (where his own family photos would be, if he had any) is just eye candy, and he's done nothing to disabuse them of this notion. In fact, while the hundreds of slow blinks are randomly timed, the one fast one near the corner means that a machine has dropped off the network. Sure, he could just write a program to make it show up on the monitor, but this has more style.

The man who was on shift before him? Did not even write the program. If the users aren't complaining, then he doesn't need to do anything. This will end up being cited at his next performance review.

Frowning, Carl pulls up the records on which computer has gone missing, and for how long: then he slaps the lock-screen button and heads for the elevator to see for himself what's going on. Lambasting the other guy will have to wait till tomorrow.

Thinking, that's what she's doing right now, thinking and planning and scheming, and trying to figure out just what the hell is going on outside of this building. So many Protocols, so, so many of them. The pencil drops from her upper lip and she tilts her chair forward again to allow her to bend down and retrieve it. It rolled right next to the box with the computer and monitor stuffed into it.

Really, she's mostly surprised that the Geek Squad from the basement hasn't been up to chastise her about dismantling the beast yet. She really expected a phone call, at the very least. With this kind of security, she could rip hard drives out at random and just walk out of the building. Not that it would do anything, all the information is stored on a main server, nothing on the computers themselves.

Her chair rolls forward and Cody begins to sketch a floor plan on a piece of legal paper. Perhaps it's the home of her next target.

It was easier back in the old days, when computers without floppy drives were considered a deterrent. Now that pretty much anyone can afford a camera phone with gigabytes of storage, there's not much that can be done to protect the system from its own employees… except their loyalty, and the threat of career suicide - or worse - if they make a wrong step.

Hands clasped behind his back, Carl walks up behind Cody, watching quietly for the better part of a minute before he finally speaks up. "Building our dream home, are we?"

Cody's pencil jerks for a moment, indicating that perhaps Carl did startle her, but she recovers fairly quickly. Laying it down, she turns and greets the man with a small smile. "Agent.. uhm…" She points a finger at him and makes a clicking noise, pulling the trigger on her little finger gun. "I'm sorry, I can't seem to remember your name." She can't, really, and his name badge is turned the wrong way so all that's left to look at it a barcode and his picture. "What can I do for you?" She emits, quite cordially.

"Warner," he supplies automatically. Agent? Him? Nah, he's just part of the support crew. Stepping over to one side and turning the badge around, he takes a quick look around. "Logs say there's a network cable unplugged here," he explains, "figured I'd better check it out before it had a chance to become an emergency. Ah— where is the console, exactly?" Maybe it's buried under that sheaf of manila that he's just picked up? Nope, nothing underneath but a couple of dust bunnies. Well, it's got to be around here somewhere…

"Warner… Baker," Cody points to herself in introduction. Her eyes follow his hands as he shuffles the files and papers around on her desk, only for a moment. Then she points toward the area below the desk, where the computer and all of its cords, pieces, and other things have been neatly stacked. "Yeah, all the cables are unplugged, they're in the box, right down there. I sent in all the forms to have it removed. When nobody came, I removed it myself." The statement is plain, to the point, and the simple truth. "I don't need a computer."

Carl makes a face. Oh, great, another cowgirl who thinks her way of doing things is obviously right and proper. It would explain… certain things.

"Those are repair forms," he explains, "not I-don't-need-it forms. Because you do. We can track down a secretary with clearance if you just get bogged down typing up action reports, but we at least need you to check for incoming messages."

At the same time as going through the spiel, he takes out his phone and taps out a series of buttons. "I've got a policy document here that I need you to review, while I hook this back up again, okay?" It must be buried a few levels deep, though, given how long it's taking him to bring it up.

While Carl pulls up the policy, yet another policy, for Cody to review. The Agent bends down and slides the box out from under the desk. Looking to her pile of paperwork on top of it, she curls her lip somewhat as she tries to figure out how to not mess up her careful filing system and allow for a bulky computer on the top of her desk. "I can just borrow someone else's computer to check for incoming mail. If I have a computer, then everyone will be able to see what I'm working on. I don't want some schmoe from security seeing my carefully laid plans and jacking them up."

With a swift arm movement, the files are all shoved into one pile at the opposite end of the desk. Then she hefts up the box containing the computer and places it not so gently onto the top of the desk.

"I believe that's the point," Carl replies dryly. "Field agents, security— we're all on the same team, right?"

This is, of course, a lie. The decision he makes next wouldn't exist at all if it weren't.

Setting the phone down where she can see the screen, Carl busies himself with unpacking the equipment and getting it hooked back up. What's displayed on the phone is a photo of another computer display, this one reading ORDERS OF TERMINATION followed by a list of names; apparently it's their pink-slip policy. SHOOP, ANDREW. GIBBS, AUSTIN. LAW, JUSTIN. BAKER, C—

With the computer plugged back in again and starting to boot up, Carl pokes his head up again. "When you're finished reading, just hit the red button to acknowledge."

Cody is very slow to answer, she's busy studying the details of the photo. She clenches her jaw just a little as her free hand smooths over her chin. "Mmm… No, we're not all on the same team. You know these other agents?" Of course he knows her, she just introduced herself. Slowly, she places the phone down on the desk and reaches to the small of her back. The little measure of protection that she always carries.

She doesn't pull it out right away though, if he was here to assassinate her, he wouldn't tell her about it. No smart assassin would, it puts variables on the table that may or may not be accounted for. In her case, she always tries to leave a little unaccounted for. She leans forward slightly to unclip the gun from her back holster and at the same time, push the red button on the phone. "I suppose, the question now is… which team are you on?" Her voice is low, very low.

Carl takes the phone and slips it into a pocket. "I knew Andrew— we used to play chess together over lunch, till he got moved to another office. Not often I get to do that in person." It's all very shooting-the-breeze sort of casual, and just as insincere as everything else he's said out loud since he first walked in. It's only in keeping quiet that he tells the truth. Not here, he mouths silently.

"Speaking of, we should do lunch some time, get to know each other better." Back to shooting the breeze again. "Tomorrow, maybe? I was going to meet up with Jo but she's got a field appointment."

Looking around the desk, Cody reaches for a pen with her left had as the right slowly re-holsters the gun at her back. Her desk is quite literally littered with slips of paper and garbage, it doesn't take long before she picks something out of that pile to write on. The napkin is one of the ones that had once held a coffee cup, the brown ring gives it that coaster appearance. The Agent scribbles down an address and then slides the napkin toward him.

"Yeah, lunch sounds good. Tell you what, I'll even treat if you order the tongue sandwich." She's been having a craving lately, for exactly that. Nothing like tasting something that at one time could have tasted you back. Aside from that, it's good.

Tongue? Is she pregnant or something? She doesn't look like it. "We'll go Dutch," he answers automatically, glancing down at the address and then handing it back to her. "I should be free around one-thirty, unless there's an emergency going on— you'll know if that's the case." Carl goes over and checks the monitor again— aha, standard login form, everything kosher once again. "I'll leave you to your paperwork, then?"

"Sounds good, I'll see you then." After turning the monitor off, Cody pulls out that same sheet of paper that she had been working on before and begins to make little marks in pen along a few key areas. Time to ramp up security in the ol' homestead. She didn't count on her time running out so quickly, but it is what it is. Three months is a good long run on this front, time to start working on another.

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