Every inch of the walls was covered with shelves and every inch of those shelves was crammed with books. The smell of old paper filled the room. John didn’t have to pretend to be impressed. He didn’t have time to stop and stare though, because Ana had her back turned to pull out some books for him to look at.
He reached into his bag and pulled out a small flash drive. There was just enough time to stick it into a USB port on the computer on the desk and pull a piece of paper on top to hide it before Ana came back with an armful of books.
The two of them sat down at the desk. John was very aware that the flash drive was in easy reach for both of them. It was also hard to keep track of what Ana was telling him about the books with Mal talking in his ear.
“Stand by Proctor. That wireless relay did the trick. I’m in their system. You’re still going to have to get to the server to get that data though,” Mal said.
“Do you have that distraction I made for you?” Steve asked.
John was doing his best to look interested to Ana and rummage around in his bag without looking. Finally his fingers closed around something furry. He made sure it was pointed the right way and then dropped it to the ground.
“Is everything okay?” Ana asked.
He’d been concentrating too much on what he’d been doing and not enough on nodding along with what she was saying. He recovered quickly.
“I thought I just heard something.”
“You need to give me a minute to bring it online,” Steve said.
“I think it was under the table,” he said to Ana.
“Hurry, Newton,” Mal’s voice was filled with urgency. “The software’s initialized.”
Just as Ana started looking under the table, a small furry shape rushed out from underneath. Ana let out a scream and knocked her chair over climbing up on the table.
“What is it?”
“A mouse, or a rat. I can’t handle this.”
“Don’t worry,” he said to Ana. “I’ll take care of it.”
Footsteps echoed out in the hall. The guard who’d been stationed at the door to the server room had heard Ana’s scream and come running. John met him on his way out of the library.
“It’s a mouse.”
It took the man a moment to grasp what he was telling him. He looked over at Ana but she seemed to have lost the power of speech. She nodded to him.
“This thing is harder to control than I thought,” Steve said.
“That’s because you’re doing it wrong,” Mal said. “Give me the joystick.”
Ana squealed again as the remote control mouse darted under a coffee table. The guard was out of his element.
“Do you have a broom or something?”
He had to repeat the question before the guard mumbled something about checking. John hoped he wouldn’t know where to look.
“You stay up there,” he said to Ana. “I’m going to look for a broom too.”
“What if it climbs up after me?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s even more scared of you than you are of it. I’ll be back soon.”
The sound of Ana begging him to hurry chased him down the hall. He whispered to Mal and Steve.
“I’ll be at the door in six seconds.”
The sound of furious keystrokes came over the intercom. When she was under pressure, Mal stabbed the keys with her fingers. The lock on the door clicked open just as John slid into it. His eyes tore through the poorly lit room and found the server up against one wall. There was an access terminal, but Steve had prepared him something special for this.
Reaching into his back pocket, he pulled out a rounded disc. There was a USB plug coming out of one end. The plug was attached to a retractable cord. As soon as he plugged the device into the server, the machine lit up as it began rapidly searching everything on the computer.