"That didn't take long", Detective Smith says to Cece as they settle into chairs in Smith's kitchen. "Coffee?", she asks.
Cece shakes her head. She loosens then re-ties her hijab. "I don't have him," she says, "but I found his footprints. He's due back."
"Water," says Smith. She fills two glasses from a bottle in the refrigerator and brings them to the table.
"There's a pattern," Cece says. "To his randomness." She nods thank you to Smith and drinks from her glass. "He hijacks log offs. He sniffs. He's due back."
Smith tries not to look confused.
"I don't know how he got his packet sniffer on the network," Cece says, mostly to herself. "It's there." Cece notices Smith's befuddlement. "He lurks on the network," she explains, "waiting for a privileged user to sign out. He intercepts it. The user thinks they logged out, but your guy steps in and takes over the session. It's in the logs, plain as day."
"Steps in," says Smith.
"Right," says Cece. "I just ran average privileged-user session, spotted the anomalies. His mistake was taking too much time. Got lazy."
"Uh-huh," says Smith in a daze.
Cece continues: "I'm monitoring for long privileged-user sessions, then I'll trace, but it won't be easy."
"How long do you think?", Smith asks.
Cece thinks. "Three sessions," she says. "Ten days, more or less. But there might be a faster way. He didn't hack his way in." Cece turns her glass of water on the table. "He had a user account. Find out whose ID he nabbed."
Blisflix regards Union Street at night out the windshield of the unmarked car. "Tell me again why we're not telling the IT guys," he says.
Smith shifts in the driver's seat. The car is parked between Pierce and Steiner, facing east. "Cece says they'll scare him off," she says.
"Cece," Blisflix says under his breath.
Smith keeps her gaze steady on Union Street. "Looks like I'll be back to days next week," she says. "Night shift will be all yours."
"I'm off nights too," Blisflix says. He points out the window. "This guy could be right there and we'd miss him."
"Or he could have been here last night," Smith adds. "He knows how not to be seen, maybe we should be more like him." She opens the door. "Let's go for a walk," she says as she gets out of the car.
"Where?", Blisflix shouts after her. She shuts the door and walks down Union. "Where?", Blisflix repeats as he gets out of the car and follows Smith down the hill toward Steiner. "What's the rush, anyway?", he asks.
"I don't really have the shoes for this," Blisflix tells Smith as he catches up with her at the corner of Steiner. Smith stops, turns right.
"Uphill, of course," Blisflix says to himself as he follows Smith up Steiner.
"You're making a lot of noise," Smith says over her shoulder.
By the time they get to the top of the hill at Jackson Street, Smith is winded and Blisflix is gassed. Smith slows, looks into the park. "Let's check out the Plaza," Smith says to Blisflix.
He gasps for enough breath to speak, then waves her off. He points down, nods, winks.
"Okay," Smith says and starts up the Alta Plaza steps. When she reaches the top, she turns and looks east, taking in the bright downtown skyline. She looks south toward Clay. A dark figure drops out of sight. She races to the steps leading to Clay and Pierce, stops at the top step. Nothing. Smith leaps down the steps two at a time, her hand on the holster of her sidearm. She nearly falls when she reaches the sidewalk.
Still nothing. Smith looks east down Clay, south down Pierce, west done Clay. Nothing. She turns back east and walks up Clay toward Steiner.
Smith stands at the northwest corner of Clay and Steiner. She feels something, but doesn't know what. She walks slowly south on Steiner. Midway between Clay and Sacramento, Smith hears, softly but distinctly, a door closing. She strains to identify where the sound came from. The sound seems to linger in the still night air. Then only the low hum of the city rousing.
Smith sees a line of gray in the eastern sky. Her best guess is up ahead and to the right, near the corner of Sacramento and Steiner. She slows as she approaches the end of the block.
The detective stands at the corner of Sacramento and Steiner, facing west. She strains to hear something, see something. She walks north on Steiner.
"I spotted somebody," Smith tells Blisflix when she reaches the steps he's sitting on. "In the park. He went south. Lost him a block down."
Blisflix stands up and takes out his phone. "Worth calling in?", he asks.
"I thought he," Smith stutters, "I heard a door." She looks east. Above the houses across Steiner, the sky is charcoal gray. Smith's gaze runs along the dark roofline. "It's a night," she says and turns.
"Three weeks," Blisflix says as he and Smith walk down the Steiner Street hill toward the bay. "We don't know who, we don't know where...." Blisflix pauses. "But we do know when."
Smith smiles. "We might not get him in three weeks," she says, "but we'll get him."
"You're going to hack the hacker," Blisflix says as they reach their unmarked car on Union.
"Probably not," Smith says. "Somebody he knows."
"You're gonna hack somebody he knows?", Blisflix asks.
"Somebody he knows has access to our network," Smith explains. "Or had at one time. Good old-fashion police work," Smith says as she starts the car. "I heard somebody call it that once."
Blisflix says, "I saw that movie."
Part 11: Quarter Moon
Part 1: Tim
Part 2: Three's a Problem
Part 3: Ninth Avenue
Part 4: Peru Avenue
Part 5: Toast
Part 6: Mrs. Pellegrini
Part 7: Charlie
Part 8: 2D
Part 9: Smith
Part 10: Cece
Part 11: Quarter Moon
Part 12: Interview
Part 13: Mieke
Part 14: 2D Ex
Part 15: Logs
Part 16: Steiner
Part 17: Number Five
Part 18: Cold
Part 19: Intern
Part 20: Coffee
Part 21: Sloth
Part 22: Tennessee Street
Part 23: Error-correcting Code
Part 24: Villa Lobos
Part 25: Entrance
Part 26: Cloak
Part 27: Meeting
Part 28: Fog
Part 29: Bootle
Copyright 2014-2018 - Dennis Richard O'Reilly - all rights reserved