It was only a matter of time.
Dustin looked down at his calculator watch. 5:00. Jake's mom would be home any minute. Jake had said earlier that he would try and stall her, but that wouldn't help if he and Tracy didn't get theirselves moving.
"... Come on, let's get a move on!" Dustin stage-whispered to Tracy, in case Mrs. Essex came home.
"Well. Look who finally decided to do something..." Tracy hopped off of the dryer and straightened out her shirt. "-What made you decide to get out and go see the sun?"
Dustin gave her a glare, and stuffed his laptop into his backpack. "... Jake's mom is going to be back any second, and I don't want to run any risk of getting caught. Besides, these murders aren't going to solve themselves..." Dustin stopped packing up to stare at his shackled wrists. "... And I need to get these things off."
"At least my arm is finally starting to heal..." Tracy rubbed her wound. "But only just barely. I can move it, but any heavy lifting would be a bad idea."
Dustin pulled out his phone. "-And we shouldn't have to do any. In fact, I don't really have any plans that involve being shot at, either." A few taps and a swipe later, Dustin started running the command console on his laptop remotely.
... Booting up...
... Checking CPU............... OK
... Checking RAM.............. OK
... Checking OS................. OK
... Securing Hard Drive ... OK
... Loading Assets................
\c: run macro firewallEater | 774.5610
... Portion 1 ........... Complete
... Portion 2 ........... Complete
... Portion 3 ........... REDIRECTED
Script Macro firewallEater terminated
Dustin twisted his lip. I'm just trying to get back into the police database; It worked earlier... He thought. He reentered the command.
\c: run macro firewallEater | 774.5610
... Portion 1 ........... Complete
... Portion 2 ........... REDIRECTED
Script Macro firewallEater terminated
It failed even sooner this time... He bit his cheek.
Tracy leaned up behind him. "-What happened to leaving?"
"... Hang on... I just needed to know the cops' attack plan, but they just fortified their firewall. I can't get in with my prepared work-around, so I'll have to do this manually-"
Dustin's phone vibrated, and the command console took the notification and translated it into the text-only display of the remote OS.
One new notification from device LGOPTIMUSL4:
New video streaming in your area, 'HPD Press Stream, April 18th 2014' Watch stream? [y/n]
Dustin hesitated for a moment. Another press conference from the cops? What's this crap about? He tapped 'Y' and hit return.
"-Possibly armed and is most certainly dangerous." Officer Jankins made an apperance once again on Dustin's phone, this time a scowl on his face and a burning cigarette in his mouth. "-And the suspect has made several attempts to evade capture, with the help of an accomplice."
He grabbed the cig in his mouth and threw it to the ground a few feet away. "... Our sources lead us to believe that the fugitive is the prime suspect as the murderer in the so-called 'Killer App' case." He stamped out the smoldering cigarette butt in a small cloud of ash.
"-Hey, sweet! They got their sights on the real murderer!" Tracy smiled. "-That slippery bastard won't get away this time."
Dustin, a somber look on his face, shook his head and pointed at the screen.
Jankins paused, and raised his hand up to a bluetooth set in his ear. There was a moment of silence as his expression changed from a mild scowl to straight up anger.
"-To hell, I give the podium to a fuckin' smart-ass high-brow like him!..." Another pause. He turned around, like having his back to the press would give him privacy.
"-That bureaucratic motherfucker can go suck a- !" He got interrupted over the headset. Another pause.
"... Fuckin' shitbags..." He muttered and turned around.
A younger, cleaner, more professional looking man walked up onto the small stage, wearing a neat, black suit. Dustin figured that the newcomer couldn't have been older than thirty-five.
The gentleman calmly stepped up to the podium, and nodded towards Jankins, signifying that he had it under control.
"... If you think I'll let a freakin'-!" Jankins stepped forward confrontationally. The suited man gestured behind himself, paying Jankins no heed. Two other similarly dressed men donning sunglasses stepped onto the stage, and stepped on either side of Jankins.
"-What?! This is my town! You goverment dogs can't do this shit!-" Jankins' arms were hastily grabbed by the men at his side, and he was escourted off the stage.
"-Fuck you! Fuck you brain-washed bastards!" Jankins yelled off camera.
The man at the podium looked down, cleared his throat, and looked professionally at the camera.
"... As Lieutenant Jankins just demonstrated, the City of Heartfield Police Force has been stressed over the last three days. Case 900 has been a very trying experience for them, and we feel that that is because they have been using their resources inadequitely."
"Allow me to introduce myself," He continued, "- I am Richard Maylee, head director of public relations at the local Federal Bureau of Investigation department. Our sources have assessed that the case is such that the HPD can no longer be in charge of investigating the crime and apprehending the suspects."
He gestured to somebody off screen. "Our own personnel have been put in place to minimize community impact and maximize safety in our search for the suspects..."
"-The FBI's on our case..." Dustin muttered, eyes wide.
"What are you talking about? They've got sight of the killer." Tracy responded, only to get waved away by Dustin
"-As proof of the Bureau's efficency, I can share some of the knowledge we have already uncovered since assuming responsibility for the case..."
He pulled a perfectly folded peice of paper from his front jacket pocket, and read it aloud.
"... The primary suspect's name is Dustin Decker. He is a seventeen year old male, six foot, no inches tall, with black hair and blue-green eyes. The suspect goes to Triple Oak High School in Lake County, Illinois. He has also been known to frequent several local used collectable stores and is a novice in digital espionage, and-" He paused as more info came over the headset he was wearing. Dustin looked on, eyes wide in fear.
"-And he has attempted to circumvent the PD's digital security twice in the past ten minutes. We have our expects dicecting the attack now-"
"-Fuck!" Dustin swore, and swiped the video to the side, openning up the command console as fast as he could, with the stream audio still playing.
He panicked, and typed in the lines of code necissary to mask his IP as effectively as he knew.
Tracy's eyes went wide as well. "-Crap -Crap -Crap! Dustin, do something!!"
"-What the hell do you think I'm doin'!?!" Dustin snapped back.
He masked his IP. He took a near-by IP and layered it over his masked number. And then he masked that one. Sweat streamed down his face as he typed as fast as he could, and the conference continued on.
"- We're in the process of contacting the suspects parents and other realitives for more info..."
"Dammit!" Dustin yelled, and pulled up the macro to access the cell towers at lightning speed. He raced through a list of dozens of incoming and ongoing calls, and found several for his parents and grandparents numbers.
All of the cell calls in a hundred mile radius instantly disconnected. Dustin franticly returned to his makeshift IP defense, to find the first two fake numbers already burned through.
"-No -No -No! Dammit!" Dustin fell to his knees as he cramped his fingers to type out more defensive measures faster.
Tracy ran up to the windows high up, just above ground level, and looked out.
A door opened upstairs.
Dustin nearly choked. No- No- Not now! Not now, dammit! His mind raced as his heart beat out of his chest.
"... We are seconds away from a location of the suspect, our sources say they are locked in a digital battle for the suspect's IP addre-"
Dustin panicked and clamped his hand forcefully over the phone speaker as he furiously typed away, clenching his teeth.
"-Jake? 's T'at 'ou, dear?" Mrs. Essex called upstairs.
"-Mum! I'm lis'enin' t' my music, leave me alone!" Jake cranked up his Cranberries album.
Dustin practicly crumpled to the ground, trying in vain to keep his final mask up. He cringed, forcing his eyes shut, resisting the urge to cry out in pain as his finger joints locked up.
He couldn't continue any further.
He struggled for breath as he helplessly stared at the screen.
Without typing, he couldn't even check to see if it had been compromised by now.
He was truely defeated.
Tracy ran over and helped Dustin up to his knees, but she already realized what had happened.
"... Tracy-" Dustin whispered over the racket of Linger upstairs. He slowly typed one last command to confirm the inevidentable.
"-They have the address. They have our location. They have control over my phone. They have ever-r-y... Everyth-thing..." He said weakly, choking up a bit.
Tracy stared away, lost for words, and frightened.
Dustin sat there for a moment, choking up as sweat rolled down his face.
Dustin chucked his phone across the basement.
"-A mass wipe?" The stream continued as the phone skid across the floor.
"... I see... Ladies and genlemen of the press..." Maylee sounded somber.
"...It is our duty to inform you if anything occurs that could harm the community. This is one of the times where we must do our duty. Cell service has been knocked down in the greater Chicago area, and the cellular service providers are working tirelessly to bring it back up."
"It is also my duty to tell you that maleware had infiltrated the local digital counter-espionage force, and forced a server-wide formating of both our primary and secondary storage. Our information banks have been wiped clean. We will be retreiving what we can from the Witchita server bank, but all of out most recent intel on Case 900 has been permenantly lost. Thank you."
Dustin heard a dull roar of press questions and camera shutters over the stream. The noise upstairs seemed to be covering the ruckus down there, as well, since Mrs. Essex hadn't called since she came home.
"... You did it, Dustin! Holy fuck, you did it!" Tracy exclamed and hugged him.
Dustin stared at the wall unflinchedly in disbelief. "... B- But I didn't do that..."
"What the fuck are you talking about, Dustin? You did it!"
"-No, I didn't! I didn't send that worm into the servers..."
"-'The hell happen then?"
Dustin crawled over to his phone, nd picked it up.
Now you owe me twice. It will not happen again. I will let them find you next time.
Dustin stared at the phone for a moment, lost for words. His shocked stuttering slowly turned into joyous stammering. He showed Tracy with an exhausted smile and a chuckle.
Tracy smiled and chuckled back.
They couldn't believe their luck.
They were being hunted, but it didn't matter right then.
They were far too relieved to care.
They collapsed next to each other in exhaustion with a smile.
"We're the luckiest bastards on planet earth..." Dustin said as he caught his breath.
"Yeah... We made it..."
They sat there, catching their breath and relaxing, celebrating a fateful victory. On top of the world.
The door to the basement swung open.
"-I coul''ve swore I-" Mrs. Essex froze in her tracks as she looked down the stairs.
Tracy looked up, and her expression hastily changed. "-O -Oh crap-!"