Chapter 37

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Ten Years Ago (Part 3)

The plan worked flawlessly, just as he and Manty had planned it. They hid in lost-and-found until eleven which was three hours after the convention center closed. They kept their heads down, away from the cameras, and punched in the code to enter the security suite. Howie Boy found the lights and flicked them on.

In front of them sat a desk ringed with monitors, all of them dark.

Howie Boy sighed in relief. "Everything is turned off. We didn't have to worry about keeping our heads down."

Manty quickly walked over to a computer tower. "That's not so. The monitors are turned off, but the cameras are still recording." He pointed to a console having so many tentacle-like cables attached, it looked like a mutant octopus. The cooling fans in the console hummed. "Each one of these cables is attached to a camera somewhere in the facility."

That dismayed Howie Boy. "It'll take us all night to disconnect them all."

Tracing a cable from the rear of the console, Manty followed it into a conduit that ran up the wall, across the ceiling, and into a breaker box. He opened the box, studied it for a moment and pulled a switch. The humming stopped. "Now, it's turned off. All cameras are deactivated."

"Way to go, Manty." Howie Boy looked around for the vault.

From his backpack, Manty pulled a toolkit. He opened it and removed a screwdriver. Next, he started taking apart the computer case.

"What are you doing?"

"I need to remove the drives from the computer to destroy the recordings."

"Can you tell if the recordings are being backed up?"

Manty continued to work on the computer case without looking up. "The computer tower is attached to the Internet so it's possible, but I doubt it. This system isn't as sophisticated as I thought it would be."

"Lucky for us."

A few minutes later, Manty had all the drives removed and stuffed into his backpack. He smiled. "And now for the main event."

The vault was built-in to a block wall with a steel door about eight feet tall by four feet wide. The locking mechanism looked like a six-inch diameter, disk shaped key pad.

"Oh, baby, baby." Manty pulled the laptop from his case and powered it on. After it booted up, he attached a cable to the interface on the bottom of the lock. He looked at Howie Boy. "Here goes."

Howie Boy clenched and unclenched his fists in nervous anticipation as Manty worked the keyboard. When Manty frowned, he thought it wasn't going to work. He kept at it. Five minutes passed, then ten. "What's the hold up?"

"Shut up. I'm almost there and need to concentrate."

He didn't like being told to shut up, especially by a twerp like Manty. He decided to overlook the slight this time. Another five minutes passed and Howie Boy started getting nervous. "We've been here a long time."

"I know that," Manty snapped. "Let me work." His fingers danced across the keyboard until he abruptly stopped, his finger poised over the enter key.

"Well?" Howie Boy had lost his patience.

Manty pressed the enter key. "Voila." A sound like thunk  came from the vault door. He pumped his fist in the air. "Yes!"

Howie Boy didn't take the time to celebrate, he grabbed the handle and pulled the door open. He heard Manty gasp.

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