Thank you to my reviewers! Yes, Dusty has it rough this story. Poor guy. We all love him so!

Same disclaimers, I own nothing, get no moneys, love GI Joe. I hope you're all enjoying this story. It'll get more exciting, I promise.


Chapter 4

Dusty was on top of the roof again, finally finishing up the maintenance on the heavy AC unit. Tugging his hat firmly around his ears again, he cursed at the icy wind trying to find a spot to get into his coat.

"Brisk ain't it?" One of his crew grinned cheerfully at the miserable desert specialist. "You look like you'd prefer to be in Florida right now! Ha!"

Dusty just grumbled under his breath and began hooking up the sensors before he paused and looked at them. Glancing over his shoulder, he looped the wires over the relays without allowing them to make contact. Powering the alarm system to boot up, he hoped that it wouldn't notice that the triggers were detached. If it worked, the entry to this duct would be completely unguarded while the security system believed all was fine.

He smiled as the green lights came on and picked up the outer cover to snap into place. When he began gathering up the tools to put into his toolkit, he heard a soft 'click click click' from inside the metal casing.

Before he could react a horrendous noise filled the air. He clamped hands over his ears as the siren went off. "HOLY SHIZZLE!" Backing up, he looked up at the speaker that was already issuing security alerts and orders for various teams to converge on the roof. "Oh crap!" He yanked the cover off and shut down the alarm panel by pulling the power supply. Instead of shutting off the sirens, the loud alarms continued and he whirled as a heavily armed security team of barely disguised Vipers came rushing out to surround the work crew.

"Freeze!" The head Viper checked the entire roof before returning to stand in front of Dusty. "Who are you? Clearance!"

"Well, I'm already frozen... but here..." Dusty handed over his ID card and waited nervously while the whole crew was patted down roughly. "It's my fault, I didn't check the wiring was tight before I hooked up the alarms... totally my bad, man. Sorry."

The Viper leader handed back the ID card and motioned the team to stand down. He radioed in to shut down the alert. "It's just this dipshit maintenance guy screwing up."

Although the last thing Dusty wanted to do was cause anyone to look closely at himself, he knew it'd be out of character for a member of the support crew to not object. He put plenty of outrage in his voice as he took his hands off his head. "Hey! Who the heck you calling a dipshit, you gorilla?"

The Viper casually elbowed the side of Dusty's head. It was a move the trooper saw coming and could have blocked or turned into a shoulder toss to send the man reeling to the ground or even over the low ledge to plummet to his death. But a repair guy wouldn't be able to do that sort of move, so he allowed the elbow to knock him sprawling. He did move just enough that it merely rang his skull instead of doing any real harm.

"Mouthy, aren't you?" Standing over him, the viper slung his weapon casually. "Get up and get this system hooked up properly and on line. Now!"

Crawling to his feet slower than he really needed to, Dusty staggered a few steps rather theatrically before collapsing to his knees at the panel. He rewired everything and finally plugged the sensor array in before turning the power on the control board. Everything blinked through the normal green lights, then Dusty watched with annoyance as they all turned red, then blinked one by one through the yellow then green as the main control station ran a full check of the system. Evidently it wasn't enough that they sent a security team, but they would also double check the system from the control booth. As he was hooking the cover back into place, he spotted the panel on the access door blinking red then yellow then green..

"What's with the door?" He stood up and pointed.

One of the security team glanced over and shrugged. "They'll run a full diagnostic and check on the whole security system, panel by panel. Your little dumbass mistake just cost the security team the rest of the shift in system checks." He spat on the light dusting of snow and glared at Dusty. "Dumbass."

"Sorry!"


Jinx narrowed her eyes at the computer screen, putting the finishing touches on her worm program before scrolling through it to check line-by-line for mistakes. Instead of sitting upright and looking intently at the computer, she was sitting leaned on one elbow, twirling a single lock of hair through her fingers over and over. Her gaze flicked away from the screen every so often to gaze around in a bored blank-eyed manner, looking as if she was merely killing time before five o'clock rolled around.

Taking a deep breath, she sighed it out and tilted her head back, balancing her fluffy ended pencil on her upper lip for a full minute before 'accidentally' losing it. She immediately looked around with a self-conscious giggle and covered her mouth and scooped it off the floor when she spotted a couple co-workers watching. She mouthed 'sorry' at them and bent back over the screen, glancing back around a few times before she 'forgot' her embarrassment and became engrossed in her normal work.

Everyone in the entire building had been rounded up and sent to various 'secure' rooms to be checked one by one. Kimi had almost tearfully produced her ID badge, wringing her hands and asking every co-worker in a loud whisper what happened and why everyone looked so mad. One of the older managers had finally hugged her lightly with one polite arm and reassured her.

"Kimi, everything is fine. I'm sure it's just a routine exercise to make sure all our security is working. Just don't cross any of the security officers, they aren't very nice if you don't obey their orders." The older woman smiled nervously and nodded at her. "It's just a few minutes of inconvenience, then we'll all be back to work. So give us a smile, there's a good girl." She was patted gently like a somewhat tolerated spaniel and finally sent back to her cubicle.

Now finishing checking her program and watching her co-workers beginning to stretch and look at the clock, Jinx fumed inside, trying to figure out what could have set off a full alert. Despite her anxious act during the alert, she'd been running all her exit strategies to decide which would have the best chance of her surviving and escaping the building, just in case the alert was a sweep to find a Joe operative hidden among the office drones. Once everyone was back at their desks, 'Kimi' quickly forgot her fright and continued with her daily work schedule. 'Jinx' kept a close eye on anyone entering their floor who didn't work there on a weekly basis in addition to covertly checking the security cams on her desktop screen to see if there were any teams assembling anywhere for a raid.

She'd seen nothing but bored and irritable security Vipers, wandering the halls in their regular two-man teams on their regular routes. The cams showed a few extra men in the main sensor array rooms, obviously conducting some sort of system wide check for an unknown reason. Jinx had disabled the program that spied on the building's security camera network, letting the system check glide over the inert programming without detecting it. Once the camera system debugging had finished, she simply reactivated the program to check again. By the time the work day was finishing, most of the extra personnel were gone and the regular shifts had resumed.

"Hey Kimi!" Frankie, one of the youngest clerks in her office tapped her cubicle wall. "Remember to be on time tomorrow! It's bagel day!"

She clapped her hands quickly and bounced. "I hope they have the cranberry ones! I LOOOOVE those best!" He grinned and walked away, basking in the attention that Kimi bestowed on him. Once he was away, she checked the security system one last time before clicking her worm program into the boot files and closing everything out.

Gathering her things as her computer shut itself down, Jinx smiled happily. "Oh bagels! I'd be just as happy with blueberry ones.." She spoke quietly to herself, humming a catchy pop tune and tilting her head about to the inner music. Her invasive program would sit dormant for exactly twenty-nine hours and thirteen minutes before it started itself up. The timing was completely random as the program itself would only create a short window of opportunity in one of fourteen access points to the building SnakeEyes had found. Each thirty-four minutes it would go to the next access point in the listing and disable the sensors for exactly seventy-seven seconds. Once it began, her sensei could decide which point was his best chance, according to which security measures, random workers and weather conditions were around it.

Just over one minute to gain access, then he'd have to time his exit the same way, picking a exit point according to the same criteria, getting to it and through it while the sensors were disabled for that seventy-seven second window. For any normal commando, it would take massive luck to make it work without getting caught or muffing the timing.

Her Sensei wasn't a 'normal commando'. Jinx/Kimi smiled brightly at the sour faced Viper standing at the security check-point. He snorted slightly as she skipped past him, her time card punched, her ID badge scanned at both of the doors and her false persona firmly in place as she left.


End Chapter

Methinks Dusty will be in trouble. More soon!