Robbie shook his head and said,”Second one this week. This is not right. Someone needs to do something about this. I don’t know what or who, but something needs to be done.”
They ate in silence, as did the rest of the patrons, not knowing if one of them could be next.
Later that afternoon at the office, Robbie talked to Melchior from his cube saying, “Looks like your code fix went in ok. Did you figure out what that thing is supposed to do?”
The fluorescent light above them began to buzz and flicker. “No, it was heavily encrypted,” said Melchior. He remembered the folder full of files and went to close it up, but when he did he could see that the router was working. The stack of files was gone, but every few seconds he could see a file or two show up and then disappear quickly. Something or someone was dropping files into this folder in real time. Out of curiosity, he started trying to click one with his mouse to open it up and examine it. After a half dozen tries he managed to get one.
He opened it, but it was just gobbledygook, so he dropped it in his pirated decryption software and waited. As it ran, he pulled up his company email app. He’d received a company-wide email that said that due to an incident at lunch, their lunch privileges were being revoked. They were welcome to eat in the break rooms or the cafeteria.
He checked back with the decryption. It must have been checking every encryption algorithm from here to kingdom come, but just as he was about to give up, it bleeped and flashed. It had found a match.
The message had been decrypted.
Be at North Penn and 10th Oklahoma City, OK 5:30 pm
On a hunch, he edited the file to say 5:45 instead of 5:30, encrypted it, and closed it. It disappeared from the folder.
“Hey, Robbie. Do we have an ATM at North Penn and 10th?” he said.
“Lemme check,” said Robbie, from his cube.
Melchior could hear him punching a quick search into his keyboard.
“Yeah, we do. Why?”
“Do you want to take a little field trip after work?” said Melchior.
“As long as it’s before curfew, I don’t want any trouble.”
Melchior got up from his desk, walked around to the entrance of Robbie’s cube and hung his arm over the cubicle wall. Robbie turned around in his chair. Melchior said, “It’s like, an hour-and-a-half before curfew. I’m sure it will be fine. Besides, probably won’t take more than a few minutes”
Robbie touched his mustache, subconsciously wondering if it had somehow filled in a little bit more since the last time he checked it. “Ok,” he said, glancing at his watch. “Sure we have time?”
“Yeah. It’s just over at the Ten Pen area.”
“Ok, but do you have your travel visa? They will take away whatever privileges you have–or worse–if they catch you without one.”
“Dude, I just used it at lunch. Just chill. Not that it’s worth much anymore since we got night time tourism revoked,” he said.
“Well, you and pretty much everyone we know…except for the Clarkes.”
“Yeah, well the Clarkes can suck my dick.”
Robbie scoffed. “Ok, I’ll go,” and pointing at Melchior hard he said, “but we need to be in before curfew.”
“Few minutes tops,” said Melchior. “Let’s go!”