Trivia Answer: Charybdis

Wanna know what's super awkward? I had to reread this damn fic to figure out what the huick was going on in order to write this (not complete) chapter.


Chapter 51:


Annabeth was done.

Not done done, but done.

It wasn't enough this crappy little organization killed her mother, or sent her to an abusive home to be raised in. It wasn't enough that it pulled her apart from Percy under the threat of being scraped clean of a portion of her life, of her identity. Again.

No. They had to have her friends too, the only people she could honestly say she loved. Those vibrant goofy rebels who simply wanted to live, to love and be loved, were now huddled in some scuzzy maintenance room in S.I.G.H.T headquarters. Alone.

Threatening the campus with a shoddy bomb built on Leo's inguinity and desperation.

"Cripes, this just keeps getting worse and worse." Percy cursed. Pacing back and forth in front of the desk. Running his fingers through his hair rakishly. "How are we supposed to get out of this?"

Clarisse snagged him by the back of his shirt and bopped him upside the head. "We focus. We plan. We execute."

"What plan?" Percy spread his hands out. Fringing on panic.

Which made Annabeth shiver because Percy never panicked. He was raised to be calm and cool and collected when the moment called for it.

But she supposed he'd never been trained to deal with the impending doom of the people he loved most.

He'd already lost Thalia. She doubted he'd had a proper class on grief. If anything, her death had probably escalated his unease.

"We'll make a plan," Chiron assured. "We'll figure something out."

A plan. Annabeth's eyes trailed over the edges of the white room. Not allowing herself to see the image on the screen again. Her group of friends huddled in that desperate little room, scared for their lives, for each other.

When she settled back into her chair, pulling off her itchy wig, she found Alan staring at her. Waiting. Eerily looking like he needed a command. A route of exit.

"I'm already on their servers," Annabeth whispered suddenly. Realizing as she spoke it that it was her biggest weapon. Their greatest chance.

Percy paused. "What?"

"Their servers! They're not properly connected to the internet. They're like their own loop for internal communications. I had to hack into a satellite in order to get access."

Clarisse raised an eyebrow. "So?"

"So they are connected to the mainstream web but only to certain access points. They need news from the outside world somehow, right? So they must have protective units. Software that stops anything from digitally leaving the facility without strict censorship and approval."

Alan nodded. "It's in the IT building. We take technology very seriously here."

"So if we destroy the units with protective software on it…" Annabeth rose to her feet. "We could hold S.I.G.H.T's privacy and anonymity above our heads. It's leverage. We could use it to get our friends, and ourselves out."

Clarrisse shifted feet and settled a hand on her hip. Looking at Annabeth as if she were simply a dumb duck in the wrong pond. "So you're saying you want to break into the most armored, security dense area on campus. Blow a bunch of shit up, and then just declare you're going to make this institution public knowledge hoping that they'll take your threat seriously?"

Annabeth shrugged. "It's worth a shot."

.oOo.

There was a robotic outsource panel she had access to. An automatic defense system built into the campus itself, and linked like a giant nervous system over the span of buildings.

Missiles.

Little ones. Ones meant to stop bigger incoming missiles.

Annabeth used her phone to program a series of strikes on the campus itself. A self destruct of sorts.

It was testy. It was dangerous. She didn't exactly know how to properly aim it but she figured it wouldn't do too much damage. Everyone was already on lockdown, underground in the bunkers. If someone died… well she couldn't exactly justify that other than her need to save her own skin. And her friends.

But she was there and this was happening.

It was war, as far she was concerned. It was either them or S.I.G.H.T.

Maybe she was looking a bit too severe because Percy slipped his hand into hers and squeezed once. When she looked up at him, his eyebrows were drawn together in a steeply worried expression.

"Promise me you'll make it out of this."

"Only if you do."

"Annabeth-"

"Percy." She answered just as sternly. Then pulled him closer for just a moment. "I can't promise what I don't know."

Before he could answer her, she peeled away. Gliding to the front of the group, through the empty halls, solemn and white and achingly quiet.

In the background, she could already hear the gentle thumps of the missiles. The screams of their descent, their impact, their destruction. The wave had started on the far side of the campus. As far away from them as possible. Hopefully it would draw away any lingering guards in the direction of the chaos.

Well, so far it was working at least. They hadn't bumped into anyone yet.

The IT building was connected to the other structures by a long thin hallway of glass. Annabeth stalled by the threshold. Peering out into the sunshine, searching for danger. Clarisse and Percy instantly took the other side and scoped carefully.

Then with a thumbs up, they bolted across.

Clarisse stood guard by the door. Alan used his keycard to get through. Percy was standing so closely behind her she could feel his breath creep down the nape of her neck. She was half tempted to elbow him in the gut.

"So far so good." Chiron groaned as they got in.

It was cooler inside. Dryer. Annabeth felt as if her hair was standing on end from static. But perhaps it was just the sight. The nerves. How before them was row after row of glowing rack servers. Working together, lined up tightly in regiment rows and whipping with so much electricity she could hear their soft hum of work.

"Which ones do we destroy?" She sounded stupid even to herself.

But if all of S.I.G.H.T's data was stored there, they couldn't afford to ax their bartering chip.

"The end of the third row." Chiron was leaning against the wall, winded. Percy stood by his side nervously. "I was here when we changed to digital files."

Annabeth readjusted her phone in her hands. She didn't dare to hope that this mission was going to succeed, but with every turn they swerved without a hitch… things were starting to look up.

"Okay." She breathed. Coming up on the beast of a server. A rack larger than her bed at home and blinking with so many lights and woven with cords that she guessed just touching the thing would make some sort of massive malfunction. "Once we destroy it, they'll know we're here."

Alan was to her left, still staring at her dutifully. Waiting for instructions.

She raised her eyebrows at him. "Does this thing have any backups?"

"I dunno."

"Great."

"What if it does?" he asked. "What then?"

Annabeth shook the barrage of thoughts from her head. "We'll burn that bridge when we get to it. C'mon."

She was just going to unplug a few cords and see what happened, but Alan produced a bottle of water seemingly out of thin air. Meticulously he fed water into every slot he could, letting it dripple over the buttons and ports until a brilliant flash momentarily blinded them, and the thing died with a little fizzle of noise.

"Okay…." she stood there a little dumbstruck. "That was a little easier than I thought."

Alan nodded. Equally as impressed.

AND THEN EVERYTHING BLEW UP. THERE IT'S OVER.

THEY ALL DIED. THE END.


I'll come back and put a proper ending in at some point. Just leave me in peace until then. I beg of you. I hate this fic so much. I'm going to mark it as complete and let it be buried on my profile, but I'll edit in a proper ending.

Hot trash. Hot, hot, hot trash this is.