(2018-10-24) Let's be friends :)
The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

Text Messages -

From Maggie's phone: hi pete how are you?

From Marcus's phone: Wrong Number.

From Maggie's phone: no
are you throwing strikes or gutter-balls?

From Marcus's phone: New phone. Who Dis?

From Maggie's phone: a new friend :) strikes or gutter-balls???

From Marcus's phone: I'm guessing not-so-friend. And I'm not bowling. Good place to get a cheap beer and keep your head down.

From Maggie's phone: that's not very nice, you're paranoid

From Marcus's phone: Gee. Wonder why?

From Maggie's phone: is your head down right now?

From Marcus's phone: Not with such a warning like that. WHy? Should I duck?

From Maggie's phone: people will think youre crazy if you duck for no reason

From Marcus's phone: I don't mind being considered crazy. There are worse things. Listen. What do you want?

From Maggie's phone: to be friends :)

From Marcus's phone: Why?

From Maggie's phone: i think we have a lot in common
what happened to pete, marcus?

From Marcus's phone: Dunno who you're talking about.

From Maggie's phone: which who? pete or marcus?

From Marcus's phone: Either/or
I ask you again, what do you want from me?

From Maggie's phone: you shouldnt lie to your friends, either/or

From Marcus's phone: Friendliness is still debatable. I may not be the only Fixer in town.

From Maggie's phone: but aren't you the best one? worth all $50?'

From Marcus's phone: You continue to waste my time.

From Maggie's phone: no
if we are not friends then we are enemies, marcus.
friends are better.

From Marcus's phone: If you want a friend, it's because you need something from me.

From Maggie's phone: thats not a very nice thing to say

From Marcus's phone: And I've made worse enemies.

From Maggie's phone: but not a better friend :)

From Marcus's phone: Fine. What. DO. You. Want?

From Maggie's phone: techease

From Marcus's phone: You've got my attention.

From Maggie's phone: i know :)
are you a good guy or a bad guy?

From Marcus's phone: I'm anti-Techease, if that works for you. I've dealt with similar companies in Chicago.

From Maggie's phone: go outside, marcus

Cedar St and Route 10

The buildings taper here, from a mix of residential and commercial to the east along Route 10 to more commercial and downtown space to the west. North to south along Cedar Street is the same. The intersection is lighted at Cedar St and Route 10 and the crosswalks painted on the street are well maintained. Close enough to downtown that the cross signal includes a voice to indicate when to cross and when to wait. There are planters at the corners with green plants, but less so than downtown proper. Most of the buildings maintain the old brick, but some have been removed here for parking space off-street or been replaced by newer buildings. At the southwest corner is the local higher end restaurant Italian Affair. Usually from the overhang leading to the door, there is music played from speakers laced up there recalling the Rat Pack era of Italian-esque crooners.

Marcus arrives from the Fiesta Bowling
Marcus has arrived.

Parking lot. Boring little import car that looks like thousands of others. Maggie leans against the front bumper, texting, totally normal; people come and go, oblivious to her, carrying bowling bags. And there's one last text: come say hi :)

Then she pockets the phone and waves.

Marcus grumbles and pockets his phone as comes out and makes his way over to the car. "What about Techease?" he asks as his hands go in the pockets of his flannel jacket.

Maggie manages to look affronted. Considering she looks pissy by default, it's not that hard. "That's not a very nice hello." She looks over Marcus's shoulder, watching a couple old guys getting into a car parked catty-corner from the one she's using, and - when their door slams: "Their bots are fishing in protected waters. I want to catch one."

Marcus nods. "They haven't secured the local network yet, though it won't take them long. It's pretty barebones for a small town. It's their MO. Lockdown the Net, bulk up security, gather information on every citizen. It's birth of Big Brother right here in Calaveras." He looks around, pulls out his phone and taps the screen. He holds it up to Maggie to show her. "I'm scrambling facial recognition right now. Not that they have it yet, but you can never be too cautious… or paranoid."

Biting her thumbnail and looking at the phone, Maggie shakes her head at the recap of that MO. "They're selling everyone in this town, and these people are so stupid - " She cuts off, picking at her lip and looking between Marcus and the phone. "How much do you know already, new friend?"

Marcus shrugs, looking around. "Of Techease? not a whole lot. I experienced a company back in Chicago that did the same thing. It took nearly four years for myself and others to help break down their surveillance net only to have it all brought back up a couple years after." He sighs. "So that's why it's easier to stop them from getting too big instead of trying to take them down. Once they totally take over here, they'll move on to something bigger, like Denver or Vail or Sundance."

Maggie continues the nail-biting, pausing to look at the brutalized digit and make a face. "Or take apart their bot and bribe them with the dissected pieces," she mumbles. "Or find out who they are and ruin their lives on a personal level. After they pay us to stop. What was the company in Chicago?" Not that this is a fishing expedition but probably it is…

Marcus nods. "I prefer the second. Find a way to make them rethink trying this out in Calaveras. Make them go somewhere else and leave us to our own misery. A bribe is only a stay of execution." At her question, he grumbles. "NovaTech. They sold their City Infrastructure operating system as the ultimate in city-wide surveillance and security. Which it was, but it was too invasive. They had a profile on everyone and they were selling the info." He sees someone passing by. A high-roller with a trussed-up dolly on his arm as they drunkenly make their way to a nearby motel. "I mean, it's easy enough as it is, with everyone's online connectivity, but these companies take it to a new level." He taps his phone and it buzzes. He looks at the screen and grins, showing it to Maggie. "His bank account is now $200 lighter. He'll think it's a tip to the lot lizard he's with."

Maggie nods right back. "That's TechEase." She attends Marcus's lightening of the John's digital bank account, looking at his phone for a long second before she looks at Marcus himself. "Multiply that by a few hundred thousand. We could take a bite out of TechEase on their way out of town, Petey. But it's too big on my own, and my other friends are…" Her eyes unfocus, staring blankly off into the middle distance for a few seconds. "…suited to other tasks."

Marcus nods. "You need a Fixer. Someone out in the field doing the work while you do your best behind a screen. I worked with someone like that before… He got greedy." He leaves off, as warning, or information. "Do you have an Op to run, or are we just working recon right now?"

"I've been poking at their little bot in a sandbox, but all it does is rummage around and report back home. There's no mystery to what they're doing, just selling people who're too blind to care about the value of their identities as long as they have an app for their coupons and - " She can go on like that for a while, but Maggie stops herself before the rambling really gains traction. "I'm just looking for how to get a foot in the door right now. You said their network is open, can you scrape it clean? Everything you can touch, then it's just a matter of sifting through it all."

Marcus shrugs. "I don't know about *their* network. I meant that Calaveras' is wide open. I can do some foot recon. See if I can get an ID or pass to their facility while it's being built, and then see if I can install a backdoor. That will leave their corporate network wide open for you." He looks over. "I won't ask what your stake in this is. Not yet."

Maggie volunteers, "I've been watching them. I think I could lift a phone, maybe a laptop. Then we just find a good samaritan to return it to them. In case they find your back-door." She straightens up from leaning against some random stranger's car, squinting at Marcus's last comment. "That's awfully courteous of you, Petey. I'll be in touch."

Marcus nods and turns, heading to his own car. "Good. That's not my name."

Maggie doesn't argue about it. She has to jog to catch the city bus before it rolls off without her! Jogging sucks. :(

Unless you get a glimpse of Maggie as she's running. Not bad at all. ;)

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