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Chapter 4

     The Story The Authors
As she drove over the bridge many of the barnacles and starfish that were clinging to her car spontaneously popped off, springing themselves over the side and falling back towards the ocean. Many of them stayed however. Long pieces of seaweed stick to her to her radio antennae and windshield wipers flapped in the wind. As the turtle led her North, it began to dawn on her that her destination was Petaluma and the Taffy factory. She'd done a study there years earlier on the harmonic frequencies produced by stretching taffy and what affect it had on the mating habits of humans. The factory would be closed now but as her mind began to recount her experiencees there she remembered that there was a window high up with a broken latch she could climb through, assuming they hadn't repaired it. Sure enough, as they reached Petaluma the turtle gently glided to the familiar building, circling three times before heading towards Petaluma creek, gliding along the surface of the water before touching down and disappearing beneath it's wake. The factory was like a big white warehouse with all the windows 10 or 12 feet off the ground. It was on an industrial side street off the main drag. She parked her car, and looked around in case she was being watched. The place seemed fairly desolate this late in the evening. She went over to the chain link fence near the edge of the building. The window she remembered was just in reach from the top of the fence. Barring that she could try to get on the roof and get in through some of the fairly large skylights. But that would be tough, as it was a long drop to the floor.
"Bark! Bark! Bark!"
She jumped back with a startle almost falling over. Her heart racing and a fresh boost of adrenaline shocking her nervous system with a minty rush of terror. Gaurd dogs. She forgot about the gaurd dogs. Luckily they were on the other side of the fence so all they do was bark at her. Oddly enough, when she looked directly at them they immediately calmed down, as if they recognized her (which was virtually impossible), they stopped barking, made a wimper or two, turned around and walked away. She was slightly puzzled but breathed a sigh of relief, took a bit of the chain link in her hands, and revisiting the expertise of her childhood, stuck her foot into the first little parallelogram and began scaling the fence. In no time at all she was up at the window. It was closed. She took out a pocket knife and was able to get a blade under just enough to give her some leverage, and voila, the window dwung outward. They hadn't repaired the latch. She got a leg up, hoisting herself up and over and into the building. This particular area happened to be a storage area just over the front offices. She brushed off her hands, went down the stairs and found herelf in an office overlooking the production area. Like any perpetual student/academic research type she always carried a bevy of "tools" with her. A bag of tricks as it were. Simple but essential things like journals, notebooks, pens and pencils, a paperback book and a periodical or two. There was a drinking fountain and a restroom towards the back of the room. So she took off her little satchel, threw it on a desk and went to "freshen up".

Vigo stood terrified behind the CRT. He'd been munching on a fine morsel of twinkie when he heard the noise and dove behind the screen.
"Who could it be?
Where will I flee?
This late on a Friday?
No one is supposed to be here but me."
he squeeked to himself when the rumble of the stairs had begun. He was terrified of humans. When Pata had started to giggle he made a mouseline outta there and decided he had to tell his friends about the whole mess.

Vigo was an avid reader, and a very observant mouse. He read everything he could find. He also enjoyed listening to other people's conversations. Since he was a mouse he had a hard time contributing because no one took him seriously, and usually people reacted to him trying to contribute to a conversation by either running away screaming or trying to smash him with the nearest large object. He'd learned to fear most humans.

The other day in the lunch room he listened as one of the young interns at the factory was talking about an article he'd just read in the latest issue of a small hacker rag. He described a bug in the software used to control many of the production steps and was boasting of the havoc he could wreak. He described the method in a fair amount of detail, and Vigo understood every word. He had been searching for his buddies for some time now. He was looking around in all the usual places but he wasn't having any luck yet. He'd been racking his brain for a way to deal with the scary beasts in the salt tank. He was sure they spelled doom for him and his compadres. When Evelyn's bag hit the counter, the top of a little magazine poked out, and a thought solidified in Vigo's head like quickset plaster on a hot day.


The Hacker Quarterly
Volume 14, Number 4

Evelyn came out of the bathroom. Took a drink of water from the fountain, and went down a little staircase leading to some other part of the building, leaving her pack on the counter for the time being.


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