Charisma +1Mature


Dustin buried his head in his hands. This isn't going to end well unless I think of something, he thought. He looked up at the one-way mirror. They were watching his every move, how could he escape? Cameras everywhere, a microphone, actual cops behind the mirror. So much as a wrong twich, and they'd be all over him.

Escape was impossible.

Dustin slid down in his chair, wishing he could slide into the floor like the Martian Manhunter. All out of ideas, Dustin sighed in defeat. No amount of hacking know-how was getting him out of this. He was as good as dead. Thinking back to the camera casings, maybe death was a better option.

The door swung open, and Dustin sat up straight. Not that it mattered, since the visitor probably saw him slouching a second ago. A thin man of about 30 walked through the doorway, carrying a laptop under his arm. He rearraged his glasses quick as he set the computer on the table. A nametag pinned to his black polo read, "Gregory Aprils".

Gregory sat down across from Dustin, and flipped open the laptop. Gregory's glasses reflected the light of the screen as it booted up.

The IT specialist sighed. "So, Mr. Decker, I'm just going to ask you a few questions, alright?" He asked. His voice sounded like a doctor before they give a check-up. Calm and a bit soothing, but with a touch of 'I-need-to-be-somewhere-else-right-now'.

Dustin looked up at the IT specialists eyes. Rather, his glasses, since the screen annoyingly reflected of of the lenses. He logged in, obviously running a late Windows OS, and his desktop appeared. Dustin leaned to the left a tiny bit to see the reflection better. It only flashed on screen for a few seconds before Greg clicked away, but it was as plain as day for Dustin.

A Galaga themed wallpaper.

Dustin looked down at the Support Technician's polo. He wore a button on his name tag lanard that read "1999 NACA Regionals"

National Arcade Classics Association.

Dustin's eyes lit up. That gave him an idea. One that would make good use of Greg's competitive spirit.

"-Ok, Mr. Decker, could you tell me which machines you were fixing the network optimization for?" He asked, snapping Dustin back to reality.

"... I don't remember the IP addresses off the top of my head..." Dustin lied, feeling a bit more confident. "... But Ms. Jessica Newman asked me to fix her phone. It wouldn't connect to the network."

Greg raised an eyebrow. "That should be a hardware issue, most likely a SIM card failure..."

"I tried that, and nothing was wrong with the card... She did have a nasty virus that rearraged the service requests, though. Never know what you're going to get on the dark side of the internet, right?" Dustin joked.

"... Uh, yeah..." Greg looked down at the laptop, his glasses shimmering over with the screen's reflection. "... Getting back on topic, where did you get Mr. Newman's personal info?"

The sudden question made Dustin squirm in his seat. Play it cool, Dustinator, he encouraged himself. 

"Uhhh... Mr. Newman asked me to call the station for him, he was busy-" Dustin paused for the breifest of seconds as he remembered a note on Harold's info. "- Down in Texas... El Paso, on a business trip if I recall..."

The IT specialist frowned, and went through a few files on the computer. Dustin stared at the reflection in his glasses.

-- \c. -> Users -> Admin_000

- Pictures

- Videos

- Music

- Downloads

- Favorites

- Cookies

Dustin nearly shat himself. He felt his palms get horribly sweaty as he resisted every urge to panic and scream. If he was hooked up to a polygraph, all his vitals would have been through the roof, without a doubt.

Dustin took a breath, careful not to make it obvious, and sat up straight as an idea occured to him.

"... Mr. Newman hadn't talked to his sister for several months... Jessica and him must not have been close."

Greg looked up. "... So you knew Ms. Newman personally?"

"Not really... An ad on Craigslist I put up, asking people to bring their phone's for me to repair."

"Alright... So, since then you've taken down the ad?" The reflection told Dustin that he was already at the Craigslist website.

Dustin stopped himself before he let out a sigh of relief. "... I took it down since I heard the rumors of her death... Really sad, it is..."

 Greg went looking for an ad that didn't exist. "Mmmhhhmm. Tell me, Mr. Decker, what else do you repair?"

That was the one Dustin was waiting for. 

"Oh, all sorts of stuff. New devices, old devices, really old devices. I really like the older stuff... I fix up Commodores and Spectrums, VCRs, arcade cabinets... If it's old, I have it."

Greg looked up, interested. "... Arcade cabinets, huh?"

Hook, line, and sinker. "Yeah, all sorts of neat ones... I fixed up a Dig-Dug cabinet once, someone jammed a nickel into it. I polished up a Moon Patrol one too, that was cool... But my personal favorite is my Galaga one... I play it every night, trying to beat my top score."

"... What's your top score?" Greg leaned in ever so slightly.

Dustin smirked. "... I made the regional championship."

Gregory leaned back. "... Yeah... I made regionals, too. When I was around your age... They don't make them like they used to, right?"

Dustin smiled. "... Of course they don't. Where's the excitement? The thrill of putting a hard-earned quarter in the machine, and playing your best for that high score... All with only three lives."

"I'll say. I haven't played competively for... almost twenty years." Greg stared off into the distance, reveling in the memories of all the classics.

"... Want the chance to compete with a worthy opponent again?" Dustin asked quietly, with a smirk.

Greg looked at him for a moment, then exited out of all the windows he had up, and closed the laptop. "Come over here..." he said, getting up.

Dustin got up. Greg looked to the mirror-glass, and motioned Dustin over to the door. Dustin followed. 

All according to plan.

They walked out into the dark viewing room, and Greg stepped up to the confused officers before they could say anything. "-He's going to show me where the weakpoint in our server security's at. I got it under control, we'll be back in a bit..." Greg turned around and walked off, and Dustin followed.

"... You can't physically show a weakpoint in a server security system..." Dustin whispered as they walked along.

"... They don't know that. None of them know how to exit out of a browser properly..."

To Dustin's suprise, the cops just sat down and accepted it. Anything dealing with computers was truely out of their range.

They arrived to a server closet, and Greg closed the door behind him. He pulled out his laptop, and booted up MAME, a popular arcade emulator. He set it on top of a server stack as the iconic test screens flashed on. He gestured to the computer, as the Galaga start screen appeared on it.

"Show me your moves..."

The End

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