You go to the meeting on time as requested and hope for the best.

You know the East Street Diner and have eaten there often. It is a quaint little corner cafe with seating both indoors and on the city sidewalk under large, deep red patio umbrellas. It was a popular place to stop for gourmet coffees and pastries for many, as well as a lunchtime hot spot. This was no small town dive Inferno chose to meet you in.


You spot the red umbrellas up ahead when a thought swims into your mind. How will I know this Inferno when I see him or her?

The tables on the sidewalk were abnormally empty, so you decide to go inside. The dim lighting takes a few moments to adjust to. You walk up to the counter and order an ordinary black coffee and sit on a large sofa resting before a fireplace, which remained off. The watch on your wrist flips from 11:59 to 12:00. You take a sip of your coffee and feel the soothing burning sensation slide down your throat. A hint of your anxiety slips away.

Your watch reads 12:01 and a tall man in a tan leisure suit walks through the door, removing his matching fedora. He is followed by a beautiful woman with luscious curves elegantly emphasized by her red skirt that hangs a few inches above her knee. She has a matching red dress shirt, with the top couple of buttons left undone, and an open black blazer. They stop just beyond the East Street Diner's threshold, take in their surroundings and head straight for your table.

"You made a wise choice," the woman says. "I must say your work is impressive. L&C Technologies is not an easy company to hack. And yet you did.

"Allow me to introduce myself," she continues. "I am known as Inferno. This is Basilisk." She refers to the man in the tan suit. He seems completely uninterested in the conversation.

"What do you want from me?" you say.

"Well, The Organization is aware of your history as a hacker. Before your attack on L&C, you programmed a few minor viruses, some of which you never released into the internet. We know that you hacked into your school's server to reasonably bump up your grade in a few subjects to make yourself eligible for various scholarships. We know your hacker name is Rex."

"How do you know all this?"

"After you released what you called the Xavier virus into the world, The Organization has kept its eyes on you. We inserted highly sophisticated spyware into your PC and watched your activities. A sort of man-in-the-middle attack."

"Which is how you got the deleted log files."

"Which is why we are here now."

Basilisk slams a pile of papers on the table before you. Its another copy of the log files!

"How many of these are there?"

"Enough." Inferno motions Basilisk to put them away. "These are insurance that we still have leverage on your fate."

Time to cut to the chase, you think.

"What is this assignment you have for me?"

"It's a simple one, a sort of warm-up, so to speak."

Once again, Basilisk procures a stack of papers from inside his suit. However, this stack is smaller than the log files. The top sheet appears to be a profile.

"That is Reginald Magursky. He is a man of great interest to The Organization. His home," she motions you to turn the page, "His home is a mansion in the Bluffs and is secured by AverTech Security Systems. The AverTech system is completely controlled by a central computer within his mansion."

"You want me to disable his security system?"

"Like I said, Mr Magursky is a man of great interest to The Organization. We simply need to speak with him. However, he has become hostile towards us and we need to find...alternate routes into his home. This is the easiest route."

"Forget it," you say. "I'm not helping you break into somebody's house."

"Do I need to remind of the papers Basilisk here is holding?"

Damn! you say to yourself.

You slump back in your chair, sighing in exasperation.

"Look, Rex, it's either you accept or these papers end up in the hands of the authorities. I'm sure they will be just as understanding as us."

You remain silent.

"Tell you what I'll do for you. I'll let you go home now without giving me a response. At midnight, Basilisk and I will drive by your home. If you accept our arrangement, we will find a sprinkler watering your lawn. If there is no sprinkler watering the lawn, we will know you have refused. Simple as that."

Inferno reaches into her blazer and places a business card on the table. It's a blank white square with the name "Inferno" in black letters printed across the front. The back has nothing but an IP address.

Inferno and Basilisk leave the East Street Diner.

***         ***         ***         ***

11:00pm rolls around and you still haven't made up your mind. You stand in your shed, sprinkler and hose in hand...

The End

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