It’s that time again! After last week’s dinner with David and Meera, Eli sets a plan in motion to get him into the building where the mysterious video game is being created. Your assignment? Come up with an obstacle.
A couple of you liked the idea of them being mistaken for someone else, which would actually work in their favor, and several of you liked the idea of Red making her way back into the story.
So, you get a little bit of both. Sort of.
“You’ve got your badge, right?”
Eli looked at me as we walked up to the building and rolled his eyes. “As you Americans would say, ‘this ain’t my first rodeo’.”
“Uh, I’m pretty sure no one around here says that, so you should probably keep that gem to yourself.”
“Yes, I have my badge. Are you ready?”
I tugged at my scarf and tried to look confident. “Of course I am.”
“Until we walk through those doors, you can still back out.”
“Well then,” Eli grabbed the handle to the building entrance and pulled it open, “after you.”
We stepped into the foyer and walked up to security, a bald man looming over the card reader in front of an elevator door. Eli stepped forward, giving the guard a nod as he ran his badge through the reader.
Anton was able to hack into the personnel system and give us each a unique ID, but David’s unique signature to give us his level of access. I was amazed as I watched Anton go to work. I watched in silence as he worked the night before, wondering how I could be friends with someone for so long and now know he was capable of all this.
I let a small sigh escape as I watched the light on the reader turn green. Eli waited as I did the same, the guard giving us a nod as we entered the elevator.
The doors closed and I counted to five before turning to Eli. “So, are we…?”
He held up a finger as the elevator stopped earlier than expected. The doors opened and a young man entered in red skinny jeans and thick tortoise shell framed glasses. He held a portfolio in his arms and looked me up and down.
I looked down at my outfit, dark jeans, a fitted Doctor Who shirt and a navy blue blazer and smiled. “Yeah, most of us are. I wanted to get a few things done while it’s quiet.”
The guy snorted. “’Cause you all are a really social bunch?”
“No, but that many people talking to themselves all at once is kind of distracting.”
“Yes,” I replied, slowly adding, “true that.”
He turned his attention towards Eli and asked, “Corporate?”
Eli nodded, not saying a word.
The elevator halted and the hipster nodded as we stepped out. “Have a good one.”
Eli smiled as we made our way down the hall. “Who would have guessed your nerdiness would come in handy so quickly?”
“Oh, shut up.”
He slid his card through the reader for the door at the end of the hallway and we walked in.
It was quiet, eerily so.
“David did say that the games were ready for release. I guess everyone really is taking the day.”
Eli frowned. “ Doesn’t that seem odd to you? Everyone?”
I shrugged. “A bit. But odd is pretty much the norm for me currently.”
A corner of Eli’s mouth turned up for a moment. “Yeah. Sorry about that.”
“Alright, well, go. I’ll keep an eye out here.”
Eli took off for the server room while I wandered around the office space reserved for programmers. There were a few cubes, complete with dual monitors and fancy looking computer systems, then random playthings strewn about; air hockey tables, foosball, even some old school arcade consoles.
“Can you hear me?”
I winced as Eli’s voice rang in my ear, the earpiece Anton gave me working just fine and louder than expected. Proper spy stuff, Eli had said.
“Uh, yeah. Can you hear me?”
“Affirmative. My card isn’t working for the server room. I have to find another way in.”
“What? That’s impossible. David’s creds should get you in anywhere.”
“We can figure that out later. Right now, I have to find another way. Stay put. I may be unreachable for a bit.”
Great, I thought, as I sat down at one of the desks. I stared at stacks of paper, indiscernible chicken scratch covering most of the wrinkled sheets. I stopped when I got to a few glossy looking sheets in the bunch. Colorful graphics, mock-ups of the new release packaging, or so I assumed.
I leaned back in the chair, then stopped as something underneath the stack caught my eye. It was another glossy paper, this one with a bold spot of red. I pulled it out to find an image of a sword, a drop of blood dripping from it onto the tip of a sparkly red shoe.
One of a pair of red slippers.
I dug in the pocket of my blazer and dialed Red’s number.
“Red. I don’t have a lot of time, but I need to know something. Does the Wizard of Oz mean anything to you?”
Looks like Kate and Eli got in okay, but they still need to get out, not to mention they need to find whatever it is they are looking for. Time for another obstacle!