Eventually, after making it past three roving patrols, 28 well-placed security cameras, and hacking her way past six security doors, Dakota reached an unmarked door that looked to be a janitor’s closet nestled between the men’s and women’s restrooms, but Dakota thought, cleaning supply’s wouldn’t be monitored by its own closed-circuit camera. Cursing this unexpected hinderance Dakota began searching for a solution when the door opened and a guard with his eyes glued to his cell stepped into the hall, missing the telltale blur exposing Dakota’s position. The man automatically walked into the restroom and reemerged a few minutes later, eyes still welded to the phone’s screen. Pressing his palm to the door, the guard had his hand scanned, and with a soft CLICK, the door swung inward.
Dakota shot forward. The hypodermic needle punctured the guard’s neck at the same moment Dakota’s hand covered his mouth. An instant later, the man fell to the floor, unconscious. Working quickly, Dakota scanned his equipment, locating the frequency of the other guards’ radios. She also copied his retina and hand print and stole his security badge. Moving to the elevator at the end of the hall, Dakota called the car, and was soon plummeting down a thousand feed below the factory.
“Li Qiang better get back soon,” a bored voice said in Chinese as the door to the elevator opened and Dakota’s Babelsoft translator began displaying the words in her HUD. “Otherwise, he’s going to get written up, and we’re going to get reamed out again.”
“Nah, they’ll just fire his ass,” said a female voice.
“They don’t fire people here. They just shoot you or ship you to the Gobi,” said the first voice wistfully.
“I’d pay good money for either outcome. Although, I’d prefer the former option...guy’s a moronic douchebag,” interjected a third voice.
“Yeah, but at least his wife can cook,” said the first voice.
“You stole his lunch again! Didn’t you?” the female voice asked excitedly.
“Of course I did. Take a look!” the board voice said, just as Dakota’s gas grenade sailed into the gathered group and burst. A few seconds later, Dakota heard three thumps and a clatter as three bodies and a lunch pail fell. Hurrying forward, Dakota found the three Chinese guards passed out on the ground, along with a splattered lunch consisting of a spilled bowl of fried noodles, some pork buns, and a large chocolate chip cookie.
“Bonus,” Dakota muttered as she scooped up the cookie and left the rest before stepping over the fallen figures and rushing towards the computer lab clearly visible at the end of the hall.
Using Li Qiang’s credentials, Dakota opened the final door between herself and her objective. A cursory glance confirmed Washington’s worst fears — the Chinese had a functional quantum computer. Switching her goggles over to record everything, Dakota quickly located the main terminal, which thankfully possessed a standard set of drive docks. Fast as a whip, she plugged in her 5-zettabyte external drive and simultaneously began downloading a virus and uploading any information she could find. Once her drive’s transfer capacities maxed out, Dakota removed the cookie she’d liberated from the guards and ate it, while waiting for the transfers to finish. As she ate, Dakota marveled at the cookie’s perfect texture and the ratio of dark chocolate chips to sugar. “Your wife is an excellent cook...hope she avoids being shipped to the desert with you,” Dakota muttered as her eye tracked the transfer progress bar in her HUD.
Several minutes more flittered by, and just when Dakota was starting to believe that her luck had truly changed, a call came in to the guards. “Station zero, you are thirty seconds late for check-in. Respond.”
Instantly, Dakota began finishing her work, while her suit’s computer automatically replied in the board voice of the first guard, “This is station zero, all clear and apologies for the delay. We are having comms issues. Most likely a faulty transmitter. Over.”
Dakota snatched the drive from the port and ran from the lab, the security door slamming behind her as sirens began blaring. “Well that didn’t work,” Dakota said as she sprinted past the unconscious guards and into the elevator. Several precious seconds zipped by as she cut through the roof of the lift, but she managed to jump up into the shaft and grapple her way back up to the entrance.
The following five minutes were the most intense of Dakota’s life, as she slipped from shadow to shadow, working her way to the southern wall of the processing plant. There she blew a hole in the wall; slipped away into the crowded streets of the city, while avoiding guards and police; and thanks to the camouflage of her suit, fled to the embassy.
“Did it work?” the female guard said as Li Qiang helped her up.
“It did. She ate the cookie,” Li Qiang replied.
“Typical westerner. Left the best food and took the sugar. Still the nanobots are in her blood stream,” the third guard said inventorying the leftover food.
“The results would have been the same if she’d eaten any of it. She is now the perfect mole...completely unaware that we tainted her, and thanks to this beauty,” Li Qiang said while gesturing towards the computer lab, “we’ll be able to see and hear everything she experiences.”
“And what of her uploads?” the board sounding guard asked.
“Already neutralized,” Li Qiang said.
“Perfect,” said the female. “Let’s get to work.”