Title: Too Smart for Your Own Good
Rating: FR 13
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters featured here. They belong to their respective creators and production companies.
Distribution: and TtH
A/N: This is actually part of a much larger series that I've written out longhand, but keep losing pieces of…This plot bunny is because I could really see something like this happening, at least in the world of Immortals and vampires.
Summary: Alissa tries to keep Charlie from developing a program that threatens everyone she holds dear.
Charlie raced from chalkboard to chalkboard, writing in a bit of equation on one and erasing a bit on another. There was a knock on the door and Amita poked her head in.
"Hey, Charlie, there's a Ms. MacKenzie here to see you. Something about your face recognition algorithm?"
Charlie acknowledged it absently and kept writing out more of the equation, continuing on to another board when there was a chuckle behind him.
"I can do basic math, but this looks worse to try and read than Ancient Egyptian," Alissa quipped from her perch on the edge of his desk.
Charlies glanced over as her, his brain trying to make the transition from the orderly world of numbers to the chaos of everyday life. "I'm sorry, Miss-?"
"Alissa MacKenzie," she said, shaking hands. "I came to talk to you about the algorithm you submitted to the NSA for their face recognition software."
Charlie stared at her intently. "And hwo did you know about this project in the first place?"
"Because my company was one of the other ones bidding on the project. And I'm telling you that if you go through with this, the NSA will open up a can of worms bigger and freakier than they can handle."
"Are you threatening me, Ms. MacKenzie?"
Alissa sighed resignedly. "No, not in the least, Professor Epps. Merely stating the inevitable."
And without another word, she turned and left his office.
Agent Don Epps looked up from his coffee to see his brother standing in front of him, a folder in his hand. "Hey Charlie. What's going on with you?"
"Well, I came by to ask if you might be able to look something up for me."
Something about the tone of his voice had Don staring hard at his younger sibling. "Charlie, what's up?"
"Well, I had a visitor today on campus," he began and outlined the meeting for Don.
"Alissa MacKenzie? I'll see what I can pull up for you and have something by tomorrow."
Frustrated about the stubbornness of some people, Alissa slammed into her condo, threw the paperwork on a nearby table and stomped to the bedroom, shedding clothes as she went. But a sound from the living room had her throwing her shirt back on and grabbing a knife from her weapons cache. Creeping back in on stocking feet, she neared the living room and grabbed the shadow in the doorway, pinning them against the wall. Slamming her palm against the light switch, she sighed when she saw who she held against the wall.
"Goddammit Angel! Would you warn a gal sometime? I almost stabbed you."
Angel grinned as he walked over to her bar and picked up a wine glass. Walking back over, he handed it to her and said "You remember giving me a key to your place, right? I thought that you'd seen me when you came in, if you hadn't been in an all tearing fit like you sometimes get."
Alissa sighed as she sipped her wine. "And when I get this pissed, I either hit something or want a glass of wine. Just give me a chance to shower and I'll tell you what I've been up to. Being Research Girl has certainly paid off over the years."
Angel's laughter followed her back into the bedroom.
"Three main companies, my own included, were in the final running for the face recognition software for one of the government agencies," Alissa explained over manicotti.
"Okay, I'm with you so far. I remember you mentioned issues about it before," Angel replied.
"Oh, most definitely. I mean, think about it – they start using it now and over the next 60 years or so, there's going to be a run on plastic surgeons by Immortals wanting to tweak things as little to be able to hide in plain sight just a little longer. Not to mention the bit of the vampire population that tries to live somewhat respectably."
Angel smirked at that last bit and motioned for her to continue.
"That's why I had my top designers on it, with a severely encrypted back door I keyed it later for myself. That way, I could skew things for the Immortals, at least."
"And let me guess- the agency you did this for found the loophole," he surmised.
"Quite. So, the contract went to the Cal-Sci team headed by Professor Charlie Epps who incidentally has a NSA clearance close to ours."
Angel sat up at that. "NSA clearance? Since when did an Irish upstart vampire like me get that?"
"Uh, probably having to do with running Wolfram and Hart, perhaps?" Alissa said with a chuckle. "And you knowI like being able to keep my fingers in various pies over the years, just in case shit like this happens."
"Okay, I get that. So what are you going to do about it now that you've tried to warn them off?"
"Simple. I'll just take a page from Angelus's playbook – divide and conquer."