John heaved a deep sigh and signed off from his Lenovo Portal account. Enough coding for one day. It wasn’t that there was anything difficult about his current project. To the contrary, it was so mundane that staying focused for hours at a time was exhausting. Still, cover was cover, and a few hours of drudgery was a small price to pay for being alive and free for all the rest.
He stood up, stretched needlessly, and stared out the window for a few moments. The view wasn’t terrible, overlooking the sprawling Triangle Town Centre Plaza, but part of him wondered if it wasn’t time for a change. He hadn’t moved in nearly a year now, and while he hadn’t any particular reason to believe Ramsey knew his location, paranoia was starting to set in. The hassle of moving, setting up his hardware, establishing new safe perimeters, etc. certainly didn’t appeal to him, but the peace of mind it bought him for the few months following was worth it. Of course, it was a moot point at present, since he’d just dumped a load of credits on changing vehicles again. He’d need to take a couple of contracts before it was a practical consideration.
Dismissing the idea for the time being, John stepped into the kitchen for a drink. He returned to his desk a moment later, Diet Soda in hand, and gave his chair an idle spin while he considered how to spend the evening. Ravenlocke was looking to contract a low level penetration audit for a couple of clients in Wolftown. He could embarrass a corporate goon or two and have some legitimate creds in the bank by morning. Low risk, low gain. On the other hand, Mr. Johnson had a couple of ads out. He hadn’t stuck his neck out in a while, and his bank account could tell.
As if in response to his musings, a message from Johnson came across his TAP: “Incoming Encrypted Message – Prepare to be educated.”
He sat in the still spinning chair, leaned back, and waited while the chair lost momentum and slowed to a stop. Moments later, the promised message appeared, but not as expected. An old fashioned book appeared before his eyes, the kind of heavy tome that would have been used in educational or religious pursuits. The book rotated slowly before flipping open and fanning through pages to display a line of heavily stylized text. He’d seen a calling card or two in his time, but this person had a special kind of flair. He almost liked it. The text was barely there long enough to read:
Tyler’s Tap House, 1800 hours. Prepare to be educated.
The book faded, leaving in its place a pair of spectacles, which pulsed and then dissolved into green ash.
“No you don’t.”
He was intrigued, but not to the point of naivete. Quickly, he ran a rudimentary trace – tracking wasn’t his strong suit, but he managed to follow the message long enough to glimpse an enormous manor that appeared to be stuffed with books. Considering the sloppiness of his trace, McGenty elected not to press further. He at least knew this person was extremely dedicated to the book theme. That would make identifying any move he made that much easier.
Tyler’s Tap House, 1800