Attenuated – Part Seven

Show time. Myles walked over to Alan’s office, rapping softly on the open door.

“Come. Ah, the shorts are ready, yes?”, Alan distractedly waved Myles in to a seat, sipping a latte from a tall disposable cup.

“It’s complete, I double checked the renders myself.”

“Good, lets pull in your files and give it a once-over.”, Alan opened his editing software, importing the files.

SuccINCt used the top of the line software, which meant loads of built in features. Myles had taken advantage of its scripting language to create segments that looked indistinguishable from the original, but would swap out suggestions to new objectives.

He hoped that Alan wouldn’t notice the resource usage, or the small spike in processing power it would take to do so.

“Ah, what is this?”

“Sorry, what’s the problem?”, Myles swallowed nervously, had he been caught out?

“Thought we agreed to use the updated logo for the outro.”

Of course. He had been so focused on the ThinVert suggestions that he had missed a part of the director’s brief.

“I can fix that, my mistake.”

“See that you do. Otherwise, it looks like all green to me. Forward to the media team when you’re done.”, Alan waved off Myles, like a misbehaving housepet.

Myles could barely contain himself. He wanted to reach across the desk, hauling Alan over it knocking his large monitor on to the floor. He had never met anyone so annoyingly passive aggressive. Clenching his fists, he went back to his editing console.

Focus. There was only one chance to get this right.

The rows of editing suites were empty, large twin screens showing the SuccINCt logo bouncing in random arcs. Myles had to make sure that they wouldn’t be able to make new ThinVerts, at least for a while. The long-term plan was to anonymously tip off federal agencies to SuccINCt’s malfeasance.

He unclipped his trusty USB Drive, slotting it into the front port on the render farm. The tall racks were bolted to the floor and fixed to the wall, matte black steel doors with clear plexi inserts. A frosted SuccINCt logo stenciled in the center like high-altitude clouds, translucent and ethereal.

Myles had swiped the barrel-shaped key from a co-worker. With the rack door open, the machines gave off a pleasant hum of whirring drives and buzzing cooling fans. Constellations of green LEDs blinked in flowing patterns, with hypnotizing precision.

He typed out commands on the pull-out keyboard, small monitor mounted above. Copying the code to the master server, he closed the session and pushed in the tray.

“What are you doing?”

Myles turned slowly, palming the USB drive. The frowning face of the IT support technician glaring through oversized lenses.

Time for the brain-lock maneuver.

“Oh, good question. You see, I noticed a rendering error in the clips I was working on, so I whipped up a quick fix so that the latest campaign wouldn’t be late. It involves the split-second timing of certain edits, which programmatically were adjusted using best business practices to adhere to the clients needs. Our window of delivery was limited, so it left me no choice but to employ a hotfix before the deadline…”, Myles trailed off, staring at his eyes.

The pupils didn’t dilate. Something was wrong.

“That doesn’t answer my question.”, the tech pushed up his glasses, moving closer.

“Oh, well its all here – take a look.”, Myles brought up his hand holding the keychain, whipping it into the tech’s jaw. Pushing down on his shoulder, he brought up his knee connecting it with the tech’s skull. It was over in a matter of seconds.

The tech lay slumped on the floor, thin trail of blood dripping from his nose. Myles looked down at his shaking hands. He hadn’t meant to do that so forcefully. Better hide the body before it was discovered. He hauled the tech under both armpits to the last row, stuffing him under the desk.

Walking back to the render racks, Myles carefully closed the door, locking it with the barrel key. He circled back to the dozing technician, stuffing the render farm keys into his front pocket.

“Trust me, I’m doing you a favor.”

When SuccINCt found out about their failed ads, they’d most likely look for a culprit in the support team. Myles wanted to throw them off track, it wouldn’t help having them on his trail when the house of cards came tumbling down. SuccINCt had a lot of money and resources. Not the kind of enemy he wanted raging after him.

Myles went back to his workstation and clicked the “Render All” button. The racks whirred into life, surging bits flowing across multiple pathways as hundreds of silicon cores crunched through the video frames. He composed an email, linking the output directory on the network drive, destined for the media team.

He had to get out of here. Staying only increased the risk of having the whole thing unravel.

Elevator down, out into the lobby.

He walked briskly through the exit into the twilight beyond. Further down the street, Myles cracked his access badge in half, tossing it into a trash bin. He was done with SuccINCt, the entire bloody mess. A huge weight came off his shoulders, he felt like a bird gliding in the sky.

In his left hand, a dull blue manual containing the technical details of ThinVerts.

Myles smiled, thinking about the future.

There was so much more he could do.