Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs and its characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real places and organisations are used in a fictional sense. Original characters and the storyline are mine however.
Spoilers: Rampage, Chinese Box, Sniper Zero, Uncertainty Principal
Acknowledgements: Thanks go to Valerie Vancollie for providing much needed inspiration at a critical juncture. Without her help this fic would not have progressed as far as it has which would have meant less Don!whump.
Summary: Just how can one lone FBI agent, strike that, one lone unarmed FBI agent protect not only the civilians in the building but all the sensitive data as well?
CHAPTER ONE – PROLOGUE
Stealing one last surreptitious glance at his watch he saw that finally the time had come. The relief was so great he couldn't help the long exhalation of breath, as if he'd been holding it all day waiting for this moment. He pretty much had. It earned him a hopeful glance from one his co-workers but he shook his head and covered his slip with a stretch, more than reasonable considering the late hour. The stretch was automatically repeated by the other technician, much like a yawn would have been. He managed a wry grin before he industriously bent back over his keyboard.
The virus he'd planted a few days ago finally activated this morning as intended and he'd constantly checked on it's progress throughout the day. It was a brilliant piece of programming, he'd designed it to work in the background slowly disabling key features and modifying others. As the day had progressed his need to check the time became overwhelming and it had been real struggle to appear to be performing his duties this close to realising his goal.
A few hours ago he had started the deep level scan right on schedule, a normal weekly chore. He had planned everything around the detection of the errors by the scan while the virus itself was programmed to remain hidden and continue its work. Having the in depth knowledge of the scan program made that ridiculously easy, the virus specifically designed to be completely invisible.
It was only a few minutes into the scan that the first errors started appearing, accompanied by a somewhat angry sounding warning beep. He had no choice but to regretfully shut the system down whilst he and the other three techs effected repairs. All their efforts at fault finding had failed thus far, adding to his relief. He had a specific schedule he needed to keep. In response to the time showing on his watch he hit the right sequence of keys and the error was tracked down as if he had lucked onto it.
"Got it!" He announced. The three techs moved so they could see his main screen as he showed the latest result.
Moments later they scattered, returning to their own terminals as they tried to decipher the lines of code that would give them the key to fix the problem. He carefully tracked their efforts on his own terminal, prepared to block them if it looked like they were about to solve the puzzle. He almost snorted as they missed a potentially vulnerable key point and failed, that's why he was the supervisor and they were the techs.
Enough was enough. The time that he had allowed for their attempts to fix it via the mainframe had passed, he had to move. Entering one final command into the security system and accelerating the effects of the virus, Simon hefted his bag and turned to his subordinates. "I've narrowed the fault down to terminal D3-192. I've isolated it from the main system and I'm going to go run some local terminal diagnostics. It shouldn't be tripping the system like it is."
Angela looked up from her screen with a frustrated grunt. "I bet another one of them has installed a fancy desktop again."
That had happened before, an unauthorised program installed onto a local terminal that had affected the system causing the mainframe to crash. It had taken hours to find all the pieces of code and remove them so the mainframe could be rebooted. Hours, during which work in the building was next to impossible as each terminal was reduced to stand-alone and next to useless. After that incident it supposedly required system supervisor access to install new programs but every now and then someone managed to get around it. Another round of nasty e-mails would go out from the techs to the building in general and some time would pass before someone else attempted to load something 'harmless' onto their desktop. It had been a while since the last incident so she figured they were about due. Not that it helped matters any; they were supposed to have been long gone by now for the holiday weekend.
Playing along with the sentiment Simon grumbled something under his breath in agreement as he made his way out of their section and over to the elevators. But that was a farce, inwardly he was smiling to himself. If things continued going well he would be back on Tuesday with no one any the wiser whilst he was well on the way to being so much richer. It hadn't taken long to come up with the idea, sparked by an actual attempt by others, but it had taken a long time to reach the decision to act on it.
It went against the grain after years of working in this building, working to help catch others who had attempted the same crime. But all those efforts had given him all the skills he needed to commit the same offence himself with a much higher probability of succeeding. If what he was about to do was even discovered he would be the lead analyst investigating what had happened and how. It couldn't be more perfect. He had no more regrets, just a simmering excitement that threatened to break free. Simon knew he had to control himself however, whilst the building should be virtually empty by this late hour he couldn't afford for someone to bump into him and wonder why a tech that was working back late before a long weekend was so pleased with himself. There were also the cameras and those monitoring them that he had to be wary of.
Entering the elevator and pressing three he couldn't help but check his watch again. The doors slid closed as right on schedule his cell rang. The caller ID showed the number as restricted so he was cautious. "Prentice."
He swallowed. This wasn't a part of his original plan, it had been added later much to his unease. He'd already fought against it and lost, there was nothing for it but to proceed. "I'm on my way to the terminal on three."
"How are we looking?"
"All good. I've done everything as we planned." In reality he'd only had to add a few more lines of code into his virus to set things up to include these others.
"We're in." The voice sounded relieved, as if he had believed it possible that Simon would have gone back on his word. He wouldn't have got very far if he'd tried that. "We'll be with you shortly." The connection was terminated.
Simon pressed the red button on his cell just to be sure and pocketed it. The last command he'd entered had unlocked the door, forcing it to remain that way until opened and allowed to re-close. The whole in-for-a-penny, in-for-a-pound thing flashed into his mind. He was well and truly in now. There was no going back.
It was his own fault that things had taken this different turn from his original fool-proof plan. He should have known better and stayed away from alcohol as he usually did. Too many drinks under his belt one night drinking with his old friend and he'd let slip too much of his plan. His judgement clouded he had not seen the immediate and intense interest that resulted. Less affected by the alcohol Kurt had plied him with more and encouraged him to ramble on. Before he knew it Kurt and his men were involved, insisting on being here to ensure that nothing went wrong, for a cut of the action naturally.
He'd back-pedalled furiously, trying desperately to convince Kurt that he'd just been shooting his mouth off, going on about something that could be done, not that he was actually going to do it. Kurt wouldn't hear of it. Their paths had diverged somewhat since school but he had maintained contact with him even as the man had gone into a rather contradictory line of work. He knew an opportunity when he heard it deciding that Simon had to continue his plan with their help. Continuing to refuse had only brought threats to tip off the authorities.
Even without knowledge of his intentions if his employers became aware of the type of people he associated with his days in this building wouldn't even be numbered. He would be out the door before he'd had time to take a breath. That, or locked up. After weighing up all the pros and cons he'd had to bring Kurt and his men in. On the bright side, and he had tried desperately to find one, the man had a set of skills that could prove useful in a worst case scenario.
There was no choice, they were in and would be paid. It reduced his potential earnings somewhat but even so there should still be more than sufficient to set him up somewhere very nice and out of reach. He'd never have to work again.
The elevator deposited him on the third floor and as expected it seemed to be completely empty. He took a less than direct route across the floor towards his chosen computer terminal just to be sure. Satisfied, he stepped into the glass walled supervisor's office and adjusted the vertical blinds until they were almost closed. The blinds plus the position of the office, well away from the elevators would give him some warning and time to clear the screen in the unlikely event of someone walking in on him. This terminal had not been isolated from the system as he'd told the others. He'd just made it appear that way, part of the original virus would block any attempt to ping it and alert him if they tried.
Dumping his unneeded toolkit on the floor inside the door he pulled out a series of flash drives all tied together by their lanyards. They had cost him a few dollars; all having the largest memory capacity currently available on the market, but that was just a drop in the bucket compared to the potential return on his investment. He sorted through the string, finding the one with the red mark. This he inserted into one of the available USB ports and allowed the software he'd modified to do its thing. This one was also a truly brilliant piece of programming, but he couldn't take full credit for all of it, just the changes and some new additional data. A second, empty flash drive was inserted into another USB port, ready to soak up the results.
It only took a few minutes. His grin widened as the FBI intranet screen vanished to be replaced by a password request. Touching a few more keys he was directed to a screen with a range of options.
He was in, with full untracked access.
A/N: You just know that this is going to go pear-shaped, don't you?