Hack 'n' Dash

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The scorching gleam of the sun above created a terse but giddy atmosphere throughout the quad that faced the Newfield University Library. It was the Monday of finals week, and across campus, students were starting their last exams of the term. It was during times like these that the library was at its busiest, the automatic doors rarely closing entirely as the passage of students continued at a constant pace.

The large clock tower towards the center of campus chimed ten times as one student walked briskly towards the library. He kept his Newfield Honey Badgers hat low, tufts of his dark brown hair poking out from beneath the brim. He carefully cinched his backpack and held on to the straps as he approached the main entrance, flocks of students moving around him, some enjoying the sun, some sheltering their eyes as they emerged from the building for the first time in hours.

He glanced carefully to the left at the shrubbery that created a divide between the sidewalk and the building before returning his focus forward. His hands still holding the straps, he increased the pressure in his left hand and felt a soft click from inside the pack cloth nylon, triggering a sensor connected to a thin wire installed inside the strap that linked to the laptop in his backpack. The sensor activated a dormant hardware process that he'd designed himself in the machine, enabling the system's wireless capabilities and finding its secondary node.

Outside, within the brush border between the sidewalk and the library, a second laptop became active, its only apparatus being a Cat 5 cable that slinked its way through the shrubbery and into a small crevice dug at the bottom of the building's wall. The cable had been carefully cut and linked into the hardwired ethernet system that provided internet to the library from the campus's central servers in the building across the quad.

The student heard a quiet beep from his pack as he continued forward, seeing dozens upon dozens of students occupying the computer lab that made up a good portion of the library's first floor. The ones who did not occupy a university computer were at desks and tables with their own laptops and tablets, all studying in preparation for their pending tests. He guessed that there were at least two hundred students on that floor alone, with another hundred on the floor below and two hundred each for the four floors above.

The test pool was more than sufficient for him as he slowly passed through the computer lab, the ticking from his watch only distinguishable when he raised it to his ear and watched as the minute hand moved to the 10:01 position. By this point, the signal being transmitted from his backpack laptop had pinged every internet-accessible device in the building, be it computer, tablet, or phone. Whatever the students were using to access the network would be registered.

The laptop in the brush received the data from these pings as they reached it, establishing relationships between the active devices and their method of using the university's internet. The algorithms worked quickly to get what information they needed from the user end before shifting them to the root server that provided connectivity to the entire campus. He'd also developed these functions for the sole purpose of this exact moment.

He continued his trek as the laptop kept pinging, his movement only pausing when he reached the end of the first floor's hallway that led to a stairwell. He waited a moment and glanced out the window at the shimmering bicycles locked under a glass-topped parking area, watching one student work desperately to free her bike from the dismally-placed lock that chained it to the bike next to it. His watch read 10:02 as he turned and started back down the hall. The system was designed to gather data for 200 seconds. Once that was completed...

He returned to the central lobby with the computer lab to his right. He kept his hat tucked low as he glanced over, knowing the location of two security cameras that would have him in sight at that moment. He held his breath for only a few seconds before the computer screens began to change, all of them simultaneously, regardless of their device type or connection method.

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