2011 07 09: Lets Make A Deal

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Mission Name: Let's Make A Deal
Date of Mission: July 9, 2011
Locale: Jack's Apartment

Birkhoff shows up at Jack's apartment with a deal for the other hacker.


Birkhoff Jack

Needless to say, the past few days have been somewhat of a nightmare for Jack, especially after the night Andie stopped by and then disappeared without a trace. His room is still a mess, and he hasn't even bothered to clean up the place yet because he's been busy trying to figure out how to break into whatever it is that this 'mysterious hacker guy' created. This is what Jack will refer to Birkhoff as for now, even though a couple of less-than-friendlier terms have cropped up in the past. While he's running an encryption software on one of his laptops, Jack lies back on his bed, "playing" with a toy robot.

If Birkhoff had it his way, he'd have made a more dramatic entrance than standing outside in Jack's hallway and knocking on the door. But there he is, doing exactly that, eyes downcast to the ground as he thrusts his hands in his pockets. He glances up and down the hallway warily before knocking again, a little more urgently this time. He reaches into his pocket for a single copy of a key that one of the Division agents has given him in advance, looking at it. To break and enter in the most polite way possible, or not to break and enter..

*Whirr-whirr-whirr-whirr-click!*

The toy robot in his hands spins a few times before it's set along the edge of his bed.

Fortunately, Birkhoff doesn't need to break into anything because the boy is already up on his feet. Jack on the other hand? His time is up, and if he doesn't "break" the program and come up with a miracle in a few days, it's bye-bye mom and hello six feet under. He takes a deep breath and unlocks his door, swinging it wide open to see if it's one of the 'visiting folk.'

"Yeah?" Jack asks, not really paying attention to the person at the door at first, but then his gaze settles over Birkhoff and he's looking absolutely disturbed. "How the hell did you know where I live?" The doorway is narrow, but he's not doing much to fill it because he's so skinny. He's also tired as hell. "No, nevermind, don't answer that. I guess if I really wanted to find out where someone lives, I could show up too. What do you want from me?"

Birkhoff begins to open his mouth to answer Jack's question before he grins at the boy's quick response. "You're learning, I like that." Birkhoff leans up against the doorframe and glances at Jack. "You should probably let me in before we do any serious talking. I don't want the neighbors to get the wrong idea, you know. And if you're worried, I can't say I'm really harmless, but I will say that my online presence is a little more threatening than my physical one - obviously. But I'm not here to make threats today, brosef. I just want to talk. And maybe to bum a Red Bull."

"Fine. C'mon in, brah." Jack is too exhausted to do otherwise, and something tells him that he'd be awfully stupid not to invite him in. Relying a bit more on his intuition for once, he steps aside so that Birkhoff can step inside. Then he shuts the door.

"You know, the last time I invited someone over, I couldn't remember what happened the other night and my jaw was killing me. And just so you know, all of my neighbors are either on heroin, crack or LSD." After all, drug-addled junkies are less apt to snoop into Jack's business than sane people with nine-to-five jobs. "I mean, not that you would really care, but that's besides the point." He marches on over to his desk and pulls out his one office chair for Birkhoff to sit on. "No Red Bull here, man. Only juice."

Birkhoff smiles somewhat at Jack as he comes in and makes himself at home on the office chair that Jack graciously pulls out for him. "Ah, juice? Nevermind then. I can't stay long anyway…" Birkhoff seems agrieved by that fact, hanging his head. "I've been following your attacks against the system. You're doing well. Better than I'd have expected, I have to freely admit. How are you finding it?" Birkhoff asks Jack before leaning back and putting his hands into his pockets, taking out a small USB drive which he palms. "Have you had anymore visitors from your little friends?" There's a brief pause from the man. "You'd be surprised how well put together some heroin addicts are. The crack addicts and LSD users? Eh…"

"Yeah, you're looking at a crack addict right here," he points to himself, though the kind of 'crack' he's referring to is something that only nerds like Jack and Birkhoff will be able to understand. "How am I finding it? It's a fucking nightmare." Jack is not in the mood to play it cool. "The minute I think I'm getting closer, it slips. You ever peel an onion before?"

As he makes his way over to the bed, he picks up Jarvis, his toy robot. Probably a birthday gift from his mom or something? Not likely, Jack had to ditch their birthday dinner several days ago because he didn't want his mother anywhere near those shitheads outside. "You keep peeling and peeling and peeling, and you end up with nothing. No core, nothing solid."

Despite the fact that he's getting massive headaches from his digital breaking and entering attempts, Jack is very much impressed by Birkhoff's work. But in regards to those 'visitors' out there, he shrugs, gesturing to the window. "I'm surprised a large black SUV didn't pull up when you walked out onto the street. You must have some pretty important people behind you to be able to know what to avoid and where to go."

The joke from Jack makes Birkhoff snicker quietly. He doesn't seem surprised that Jack is having trouble with his specialized operating system, nodding to him. The toy robot gets a speculative once over before the man's attention turns back to the young man. He doesn't make a comment about important people being part of his contact list, but he does grin briefly. "Yeah, well. All in a day's work." Birkhoff coughs quietly and eyes Jack. "Here's the thing. I don't want you to get killed, man. Or for your mom to get whacked either. And obviously these guys are a bunch of no dick talentless bastards who don't have the first idea about hacking, so… let's make a deal."

Jack peers down at Jarvis and opens up the little door on his chest. Then he snaps it shut. He opens it, then snaps it shut again. "I'm listening. What sort of deal did you have in mind?"

Birkhoff hands over the USB drive. "This has a program that for all intents and purposes looks an awful lot like mine. But it's not mine. It's a simulation. One that you'll be able to follow without any problems. It's full of false information, which isn't really your fault - you don't have to be any the wiser to it, right? Pretend everything is kosher."

Lifting the door to Jarvis with his index finger, Jack arches one eyebrow in response to Birkhoff's proposal. His gaze zooms in on the USB drive and he half-coughs, half-laughs. "Will they really buy it?" Jack then takes the portable away from Birkhoff, presenting his "toy robot" to him. It appears that Jarvis is actually an intricate case for flash drives. "I dunno, man. If those guys realize they've been duped big-time, they're gonna come back here, and it's not going to be pretty." He pauses. "Listen, before they totally annihilated the door to my apartment, I was able to crash into their mainframe and steal a couple of things."

That said, he reaches into Jarvis and pulls out a USB drive of his own. He then hands it over to Birkhoff. "Whoever you are and whatever you're doing; it's obvious that you know a hell of a lot more than me. If for some reason this doesn't work out, can you at least take this to the NYPD? Get those guys involved — most of them are decent people. They can take my mom somewhere safe." At least, if he doesn't make it out alive and end up somewhere in the gutter, he'll know that they won't be back to harass anyone else like him in the future.

"I'll give you a settlement. And the guarantee of protection from who I work for - though there's a price. How would you feel about doing a little contract work on the side for me?" Birkhoff's question seems to be in earnest. He reaches for the USB when it's presented to him, nodding. "I will. I… might even be able to do you one better. No need to get the police involved if we don't have to, right?" Surely going to the polic would raise a lot of questions for Birkhoff too - questions which he probably wouldn't be able to handle. "The program itself is, if I do say so myself, fairly flawless. They won't realize that they've been duped until they start really checking into things. In the meantime, the settlement I can offer you can put you up somewhere with a nice security system… and there'll be more, if you want to do a little work for me. I could use you."

"Alright, I'm taking your word for it. And if I can't break into this program of yours, then what have I got to lose." If the simulation truly is as flawless as Birkhoff is saying it is, then Jack has a good chance of coming out of this unscathed. In fact, it's so easy he's starting to get a little nervous again. One thing he's learned from this experience is to never put his guard down.

As for the contract work: "You're saving my mom's life, and mine, by doing this. How can I say no?" Jack finally breaks out into a grin, and he offers up his right hand for a handshake. "Deal."

Birkhoff grins a little bit at Jack. "Don't worry about not being able to break in. It's simple for someone like you - the simulation, that is. Those guys will never know the difference. If they did, why would they be coming to someone like you for help?" Birkhoff asks, waxing rhetoric before he reaches out to shake Jack's hand firmly. "I do have a few ground rules. The first and most important is just like Fight Club. You don't talk about it. Don't ever ask about where I work for. It's important to not just me, but you. And the second is that anything I ask you to do is to be guarded with your life." He doesn't give Jack an ultimatums about what will happen if Jack ever discloses the nature of his work with Birkhoff.

Jack nods slowly to that, "Yeah, I know, I know. 'Never Say Anything,' right?" The boy makes a big jab at the NSA's motto, though he smiles at the Fight Club reference. "You kinda remind me of someone I know," he comments off-hand, peering down at Jarvis as though that very person gave him the flash drive storage case. The USB that was handed over to him by Birkhoff is placed into an empty slot, then Jack tosses his 'toy' gently along the bed. Planting both hands deep into his pockets, he asks, "Anything else?"

"Nah. I'll get out of your hair now. Can't stay for too long anyway… I've gotta stock up on Red Bull before I head back home." Birkhoff stands and dusts his hands on his pants gently. "Thanks for your help… I'll get in contact with you again soon. Oh!" Birkhoff says, reaching into his pocket to take out a cell phone and offer it to Jack. "That's for you. If you get into trouble, you can reach me with that cell phone. Mine is the only number in it, it'll only connect you to me. May the Force be with you," Birkhoff says to him before he starts to duck out the front door.

"Got it, Yoda. G-G." Jack offers up a little mock-salute after taking the cellphone from Birkhoff, and watches him leave.


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