Author: Elyndys
Pairing: 1+2+1/1x2x1; reference to past 1xR, R+1.
Disclaimer: If I owned GW, I would be happy. I am happy. But to draw the conclusion that I own GW from those statements would be to affirm the consequent, and would therefore be an invalid argument. See?
Warnings: Part 16 has no warnings. For all other warnings see part 1 and individual parts. This is an AU fic.
Notes: I'm having to type this on B's system... hence, no sig.
And another note -- thanks to Nitid and DC for their hacking help! But in the end, it was a little complicated for me -- so I decided to make something up. Well, I reasoned, if we envisage a bright future... one without Microsoft... lol. Mind you, we know some bastard child of Intel survives in the year AC 195 -- watch ep 8 and behold... Lol. Anyone gets that, then you're as big an otaku as me. Congratulations! ^_^)
Special dedication goes to Diana and Wuffie, heheh. Told you he'd get in here... ^_~ But I think Duo is peeved, because he doesn't get a look in. Patience, patience... ^^

Escaping + Part 16

Heero thought. 'If I were planning a revolution... I would want to know exactly what was going on.' He smiled darkly to himself. He knew just how he would go about doing that: had done it himself on numerous occasions. And now he planned to do it again, to see how easy it was, and how much he could find out.

'Clearly they are interested in finding out what's going on at the summit. The cameras show us that. But how far are they prepared to go?' He almost hesitated as he began to sort through an old forgotten box of discs in search of what he needed; he hadn't used the things in so long, and felt a momentary pang that he had to resort to this again. He steeled himself. He needed to do it.

He took out his own laptop from its case beside his desk; he thought it would probably be wisest to not let anyone know what he was doing, so opted to not use his own system, connected to the police network: he smirked a little to himself as he imagined the look on his superiors' faces if they knew what he was about to do.

He had found what he needed, and inserted the disc into his laptop; as he started up the program he was a little surprised at the tingle of forgotten excitement that spiralled through him -- he smiled wryly. It seemed so illicit; but he was blatantly going to go ahead with it anyway, in the full knowledge that his colleagues were just a few metres away.

He had the necessary programs running now. He had designed them himself to run automatically: he could get on with his work, and then look at the results in a short while. As an experiment, he decided to simultaneously run another, more common, program to compare results: anyone trying to do what Heero was would probably be using that or a similar method, so the results would be interesting.

Everything was set up. Heero typed a few commands and watched text scroll up the screen for a moment before setting the laptop under the desk. He steeled his expression as he went back to his formal work on the main monitor before him. 'Let's see, then, just how difficult it is to hack into the network of an international diplomatic convention.'

+

"Sir, the Preventers have sent someone over. I'm just going down to meet them."

"OK. Bring them straight in here." Heero heard Trowa leave but didn't look up from his consideration of the data on the screen of the laptop now balanced on his knee. He frowned. It had been maybe three quarters of an hour since he had sent Trowa to call the Preventers' office; during that time he had simply left the hack programs running. Both had included software designed to crack passwords: if that hadn't worked, Heero would have been prepared to use more sophisticated technology that tricked the network into letting him access it; but it seemed that that was not necessary. He continued to scowl at the screen, looking up as he heard Trowa return.

"Heero." The man accompanying Trowa nodded in greeting.

Heero got to his feet, placing the laptop on the desk. "Wufei!"

The Preventer smiled a little. "Seeing as it was you who asked, I thought it had better be me who came."

Heero nodded. Like Trowa, Wufei had met Heero during the war. Although they had not always got on, Heero knew that he and Wufei understood each other: over the years they had built up a trust that had proved valuable to several important investigations. When the police saw fit to call in Preventer assistance, Heero always hoped to have Wufei's input. However, that didn't happen often -- the police, Heero had found, had a running resentment towards the Preventers which he found frustrating. He had long known that efforts were far more productive when people who were after the same results worked together; but this message had not seemed to get through to either side. The police resented the generous funding and special status afforded to the Preventers; the Preventers looked down on the police, seeing them largely as the people who did their legwork for them before calling on their help in cases they couldn't deal with on their own. Heero knew from his own experience that there was no reason for this animosity; for his own part, his time in both the Preventers and the police made him less than popular with either: but Heero really couldn't make himself care what people thought of him. He missed the excitement and immediacy of Preventer work; but the summit investigation had presented to him the possibility that the 'legwork' so disparaged by the Preventers could actually be just as rewarding.

Even if it was uneasy work. He sat back down in his chair and turned the laptop to face Wufei. "Less than an hour ago I set this to break into the summit network. Both programs succeeded entirely. Considering the lengths we went to to obtain physical security, I don't think this should have happened."

Wufei's expression mirrored Heero's own. He remained silent as he looked closely at the data on the screen.

Heero continued. "I was able to find out the whereabouts of all the people involved in the summit, the plans for each meeting, and most importantly the results of all the previous ones. We already knew that someone is trying to find out what's going on there -- someone took a lot of trouble to get those cameras in there. We still don't know how. But in light of that, it should have been seen to that no-one would be able to find out this information. It should have been seen to before we knew someone was trying to get hold of the information." He paused a moment, thinking. "Wufei, I asked the Preventers to get involved now because I thought they would have played a large part in the security measures put in place, am I right?"

"Yes. We were involved in a lot of the internal security planning, but I wasn't personally."

Heero nodded; he hadn't expected so. Wufei was more suited to the fieldwork, where he was near the action, danger even. Heero knew that, if he had have been in charge of the summit security. And, he knew, he would have been far more thorough about it. "Presumably there is a record somewhere of any hack attempts to the network."

"Yes. But I can't access it remotely." Wufei had the decency to sound at least slightly sheepish. "I can contact them and ask for it."

Heero stood up from his seat, and gestured for Wufei to take it so he could contact Preventer HQ through Heero's system. While he did so, hero took a moment to speak to Trowa. "I need you to get hold of the most effective data protection you can." There was a hint of disbelief in his tone, as he continued, that he knew Trowa would be able to detect. "The Preventers clearly didn't think it would be necessary to use the same level of security for the summit as we do for our own systems." His tone was neutral, but Wufei was listening.

"I believe they were mainly concerned about the press -- they wanted to prevent any leaks to the media, but I don't know anything beyond that. I can make enquiries." He clicked a few keys. "Here's the hack log."

Heero returned to look at the screen. His eyes narrowed: he felt a flash of anger again, like he had done before when the cameras had been discovered. "This shows a lot of attempts. Most were unsuccessful, I admit that -- but there are several successful attempts, culminating in these two here -- mine." He perused the bare text on the screen for a few more moments. "The data protection measures taken by the Preventers were out of date." He spoke like he was making a report, tone and words as neutral as he could make them. "Although this may have been adequate for the purposes they had in mind, those involved in the electronic security of the summit failed to take into account the new situation we've found ourselves in." He paused again, took a breath. "Leading to a potentially significant leak in as-yet confidential information. What information, we can't tell." He clenched his hand into a fist. So much he didn't know. So hard to know where to begin. Now-familiar feelings.

Wufei's voice sounded too loud in the tense room. "Why would they want to find out what's happening at the summit? What could they hope to achieve?"

Heero turned abruptly, paced the length of the small office. He didn't answer for a few minutes, leaning back against the wall and staring at the carpet. "I've given that matter some thought, ever since we found the cameras. I know there's a lot of frustration and bad feeling in the colonies. I think someone is trying to use that to their advantage.

Trowa nodded. "To stir up a rebellion."

Heero winced a little inside. "Yeah."

Wufei persisted. "But how? All the decisions made at the summit will become common knowledge soon enough anyway. They aren't sensitive information."

Heero looked up at him. "We know that. But the people of the colonies don't necessarily know. There's so much mistrust I don't think it would take a lot to take advantage of that paranoia. Whoever's behind this wants to expose the Earth government in their supposed discrimination against the colonies. I have no doubt that whoever wants the information would have no trouble twisting it to show exactly what they wanted."

Wufei sat back in the chair. "So... they would use it to incite hatred against the Earth?"

Heero looked away again. "That's the best guess I can come up with at the moment."

There was silence again as the three officials considered. Heero knew their thoughts were identical, though: after a few minutes, the words spilled out. "Who, though? Who is it who is doing this?"

[part 15] [part 17] [back to Elyndys' fics]