40.1 Maelstrom

Five days a week at the same time, three school kids walked through the front doors of the Shady Leaf condominium building and right past the door guard.  He’d long since stopped paying much attention to them.  The only thing that ever changed about their routine was that the girl had started dyeing her hair pink a couple of months ago.  They always went straight to the elevators, laughing and chatting the whole way.

The only difference he noticed today was that the blond kid had a big bruise on his cheek, probably just a schoolyard thing.  In truth, Rose hadn’t taken it well when Fishy said she looked better as a ‘pinkette.’  Soon as they were done, she was going right back to her natural blonde color.  What kind of thief has pink hair?

Like a lot of buildings in San Francisco, this one had been around for a long time.  It had started out as the office headquarters for an overseas shipping concern and changed hands a few times before eventually being converted into over-priced condos.  This meant that most of its fixtures were a weird mix, out of date right next to top of the line.

The elevators ran smooth and fast, pleasant music playing in the back ground.  The stairwells were well lit, the steps clean and the surface had been refinished and maintained so your feet wouldn’t slip.  The electronic lock on the door to the roof released when the Bastard jammed a metal spike into the wall at just the right spot to cut off its power, just like modern fire codes required, but it didn’t notify the front desk like most of the new ones would have.

Once they were on the roof, Rose took off her backpack and started pulling out a length of rope.  The Bastard started tying it off and drove a few more spikes into the roof to use for extra stability.  Fishy was perched on the ledge, admiring the view of his ‘future domain.’  At least twice a day, he’d loudly proclaim to the others that, someday, he’d run the whole city from the shadows.  They weren’t entirely sure whether he was joking or not but he always promised that he’d give them good jobs when the time came.  Easy work, good pay and lots of kickbacks, so that was okay either way.

The team of thieves slipped down the rope, past the top row of balconies, until they were at their target.  Rose had picked it out this time.  She’d given them both a long speech, explaining everything as she went along.  It had been all about how you could sync up the electronic controls for the lights and air conditioning and stuff to your wrist com and either turn them on and off remotely or set it so it was automatic.  Lots of rich people did it when they were going to be out of town for awhile so that thieves wouldn’t realize no one was home.

Rose had been monitoring the building’s power distribution and noticed that this unit had both an unusually high draw and that it was perfectly constant over the last month.  When she realized how glazed Fishy’s eyes looked, she’d summed it up for him.  “Whoever lives there is out of town and they’ve got a lot of expensive stuff.”

That was good.  There was always a market for electronics but, even better, there’d been a bit of a minor banking crisis recently.  That meant the rich folks didn’t trust the banks or their investors as much as they usually did.  What do you do with all your money when you don’t want to leave it in the bank?  Fishy’s answer, “Hide it under your mattress.” hadn’t been exactly right but it got the idea across.  If they were lucky, they’d be able to find a nice bit of cash or maybe some bearer bonds.

On the balcony, the Bastard pulled off his own backpack.  He had plenty of specialized tools in there, in addition to the metal spikes he always managed to find a use for.  For this though, he took out his favorite, the one he claimed could solve more problems than any other invention in the history of man.  To be fair, he might have been right.  Of course, Fishy argued that his tool, which was also the only thing he’d bothered to put in his pack besides some crumpled up newspaper to give it the right shape, was even better.

Rather than argue, for once, the Bastard just set about covering the glass door in a web of grey duct tape.  Then Fishy smashed it in with his rock.  The tape kept the noise down and prevented large shards of glass from going everywhere, especially into the feet and legs of the trio.  Safety is very important when you’re breaking and entering.


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8 comments on “40.1 Maelstrom

  1. The team of thieves slipped down the rope, past the top row of balconies, until they were at their target. Rose had picked it out this time. She’d given them both a long speech, explaining everything as she went along. It had been all about how you could sink up the electronic controls for the lights and air conditioning and stuff to your wrist com and either turn them on and off remotely or set it so it was automatic. Lots of rich people did it when they were going to be out of town for awhile so that thieves wouldn’t realize no one was home.

    Rose had been monitoring the building’s power distribution and noticed that this unit had both an unusually high draw and that it was perfectly constant over the last month. When she realized how glazed Fishy’s eyes looked, she’d summed it up for him. “Whoever lives there is out of town and they’ve got a lot of expensive stuff.”

    Er, does she mean that the draw has been following a perfectly consistent pattern for the last month? If systems are being run remotely the power draw should change as the lights and such switch off and on, and AC power draw would vary with the weather. Also, people on vacation would tend to switch off most of their electronics or put them into a power-saving mode.

    …It’s totally a high-end server farm or critical piece of Richards-tech.

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    • Actually my dad, though not as high tech as this system seems to be , does something similar by using timers to control the lights, TV and radio when he is on vacation because he does not trust his neighbors.

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    • It’s constant if you look at it from a power use per day or week standpoint, and if you plotted it out on an hourly basis the graph would be identical, which fits for certain colloquial definitions of “constant.”

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  2. It had been all about how you could sink up the electronic controls for the lights and air conditioning and stuff to your wrist com and either turn them on and off remotely or set it so it was automatic.

    (sync, not sink)

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