Catburglar 2

The thing that you have to remember about a locked door is that it will only keep out someone who wants to be kept out. If they want in, they’ll find a way – the trick is in how difficult you make it. There are plenty of folks who like to snoop around where they shouldn’t, but are easily kept out of mischief with simple locks. Others may be more nosy, and thus require something a little more sophisticated to keep them out of your business. To keep the pros out, all you can do is make it so difficult that it takes them too much time, thus making them run the risk of getting caught. With guys like me, all a lock can do is maybe give us a chuckle.

Take this one, for instance: a three-inch magnetically thrown steel deadbolt, a Schlage hasp and a key-card based security system, all mounted in a steel door and door frame. The owner probably feels pretty safe behind his mini Fort Knox. Too bad for him the guy who sold him the system is an idiot. I put the descrambler card in the reader and let it work it’s magic while I work on the hasp with a pick.

The hardest lock I’ve ever had to pick was actually over a hundred years old. I was trying to slip into an old tenement apartment to make off with the contents of a jewelry chest, and the only unobservable way into the place was through an old servant’s door. It was one of those old ‘skeleton key’ type of locks, and I had never seen one before. I spent 20 minutes trying to tickle the damn thing, and finally had to give up – I ended up hiring a netrunner buddy of mine to crash a RoboTaxi into the house across the street to cover the sound of me kicking in the door. I broke the mechanism out of the door and took it with me when I left. What pissed me off the most was the fact that all I really needed to pick it was a bent nail; of course, I had to cut the damn thing open to figure that out.

The descrambler pings just as I finish tickling the hasp; those tools go back in their pockets and I step back from the door momentarily to make sure I am still unobserved. The hallway is still empty, so I hit the door with the million-volt charge from my Taser and smile as the deadbolt shoots back. Magnetic locks in a steel door. Chuckling, I step into the apartment 30 seconds after I started working the locks.

Thinking back to what Reed had told me of the apartment’s layout, I slip down the hallway to the second door on the left. Reed was right, and I open the door to discover the owner’s study. I use my smart goggles to quickly scan the various light spectrums and spot the laser tripwire just beyond the arc of the door. A closer inspection with a special techscanner probe reveals the pressure plate set in the floor on the other side of the tripwire. Not a bad setup, really – a less experienced thief would step over the tripwire and land squarely on the pressure plate.

Working quickly, I pull the mirror frame out of my pack and set it up, carefully aligning the upper mirrors with the emitter and receiver on the far wall. Satisfied with my work, I snap the upper mirrors in place, routing the laser down to just above floor level and back up the other side to the receiver, allowing me to safely step across the pressure plate to the desk.

Unfortunately tonight, getting to the desk is the end of the easy part. The target is a data chip, and according to Reed’s info, it’s encrypted with a read-once cipher that will delete the data after it has been read. That means I have to ransack the room and take every single chip here to make sure I get the right one. And this bastard looks to be a packrat.

It takes me a full five minutes just to gather up all the obvious data chips, and another ten to carefully go through all of the usual hiding places, like behind the desk drawers and under the desk blotter. Two were even under the chair mat, and I find three more hidden behind picture frames. Either this guy has a lot of secrets to keep, or he has a huge porn collection to hide from his wife. I’m betting the one in the tiny waterproof bag in the goldfish bowl is the paydirt, though.

I tidy up after myself and carefully step back over the pressure plate to take apart the mirror rig. Just as I pull the mirrors away, I hear a sound from the front of the apartment – sounds like a key in the lock. Not good – the place is supposed to be empty for two days while the target is out of town at a conference. I stuff my gear back into my pack and quickly make for another room, hopefully one with a window.

I step into the room across the hall just as the door opens and the living room lights come on, my heart hammering in my ears. Three measured breaths to calm myself, and I silently ease my stundart pistol out of it’s holster, listening for movement as I curse the interruption of an otherwise textbook heist.

Two muffled voices come down the hall to me, one male and one female. The girl is giggling, and I hear her gasp in delight as the living room curtains are noisily pulled aside. I can only catch a couple words, but one of them is “view”, so somebody is showing off. Cautiously, I ease the door open a centimeter or two and peek.

The male voice mumbles something, and I hear the girl say “vodka” something, and then the man walks past the end of the hall towards the kitchen. I only get a glimpse, but it is enough to identify him as the target’s son, who must be making use of his dad’s high-rise apartment to get laid. Punk. And a cheap punk at that – I know he can afford a nice hotel room.

Closing the door, I slip my smart goggles back on and take a look around the room – crappity. I’ve picked the master bedroom to hide in. I look out the window and swear under my breath – the apartment across the street from me is lit up like a disco, and the curtains are all open with several people milling about. Going out the window will surely get me seen.

I hit the place tonight to give myself a couple of days before the theft is discovered, and this prick decides to raid daddy’s liquor cabinet and bang some girl, and where do I pick to hide but the master-fucking-bedroom.

Since when am I starring in a sitcom?

The voices from the front are getting louder, so I slip behind the door with my pistol at the ready. Sure enough, I can hear him talking about a ‘tour’, and seconds later they wander into the bedroom. I shoot them both in the ass and watch them slump to the floor as the trank darts dump them into la-la land, spilling their drinks on themselves in the process. That just makes things easier for me.

Ten minutes later, I calmly lock the door behind me, having arranged the sleeping beauties into a rather compromising pose on the bed and dumped most of the booze down the drain. They’ll wake up in the morning with a killer hangover among what appears to be the ravages of an extremely entertaining evening and won’t be able to remember any of it.

Which is quite a shame – Junior is going to have a helluva time trying to figure out just exactly why he’s wearing his lady friend’s panties on his head and her shoe on his dick.