Chapter LIX: SchrecknetOn the way back to Santa Monica, I made a pit-stop at Venus' club. It'd been a few nights, and I figured it was time for the silent partner to get his cut. I made my way through the crowds by the door, cutting through the sweating, heaving bodies on the dancefloor to sit by the bar. Venus turned from the customer she'd served to wink at me, her sultry tone emitting from her smiling lips.
'Here for your penance?'
'You could say that.' I twirled the stick left in an empty cocktail glass, idly wondering whether it would be possible to have a drink, whether I really wanted one beyond habit. 'Any trouble?'
'None. Once you'd taken care of big fat Boris, all my troubles have just flittered away.'
'You've got no idea.' I grinned, rapping my knuckles against the counter-top. The last words of Mitnick's email burned in my mind with a seductive light. This will really fuck LaCroix.
'I don't want to know, cowboy. Come back in a few nights, I'll have some more cash for you...as well as another more interesting proposal.'
'Just call my name', I crooned, stepping back from the bar, walking through the crowd as I shoved the money in my jacket pocket. I had an idea what that proposal was, from the look on her face. Better not to disappoint her just yet.
Megahurtz Computing was a dingy little business built into the back of the Asylum nightclub. The place was locked for the night, but with the electronic keycard Mitnick had provided, that was of little consequence. I pushed the door open, closing it firmly behind me. Inside was a dark corridor, with a door at the end and a door to the right. The door in front was locked firmly, and judging from the lack of keyhole, this lock was also electronic. Turning, I tried the door on the right, which opened into a small storage room. Shifting some cardboard boxes stacked along the wall, I opened the small air vent, and crawled hand over hand across the space, coming to another grate. Looking through, I could see a beaten-up monitor, grey with age, perched on a rickety desk.
'Bingo', I murmured, dropping myself into the room.
I walked over to the computer system, and entered in the code 'schrecknet'. A message came up from Mitnick.
Good job, kid. What CCTV Santa Monica now has now works for the Nosferatu. Just a shame there are no cameras in Jeanette's dressing room. Oh well. Head back to your haven, I'll give you the details for the next setup there.
Smirking slightly, I switched the computer off and climbed back in the vent. The less evidence I gave, the more likely no-one would know about Schrecknet until it was too late. And anything that ruined LaCroix's day made mine that much more bearable.
I've always been a little curious about what happens in LaCroix's private sessions in the old Theatre where he held your 'trial'. Unfortunately, there aren't any CCTV cameras in there.
Heather murmured in her sleep, rolling over on the bed. I paused to look at her, affection rising in me. She was a good kid, a little messed up, but that was to be expected, I guess. Smiling, I flicked a lock of her from behind her hair, carefully took her glasses off and put them on the desk.
This one's gonna be more difficult, sorry. We couldn't get a door key, the Prince keeps those close to his chest, and he cannot know we were there. There is a sewer access tunnel though, you can use that to get in. I've put a really awesome camera in your mailbox, so powerful it'll be able to scan his retinas! Get that set up, then enable it with the schrecknet command at the security terminal. I've left a big red X on the wall above the stage. Good luck!
Funny, how I'd passed the building so many times and refused to look at it. Refused to see it. Anger filled me, thinking about that night. Of the sham of justice that LaCroix had forced upon me, upon the woman who gave me this life. What could I have learned from her? Why did she sire me? I'd never know now.
I sighed, lifting the manhole cover and climbing down the rusty rungs. A quick check of the maintenance map showed me that the access point I needed was B. I walked along the cement walkways rather than down through the water like I usually did. If I was to remain undetected when I got into the theatre, leaving wet bootprints everywhere wasn't a good way to achieve that.
'Here we go.'
The access point led to the theatre's boiler room, the sound of the humming machinery masking most of the noise that would come from here. Useful, as my sensitive ears picked up the regular walk of a security guard, the tap tap tap of someone conserving his energy for a long night of walking back and forth. I proceeded slowly down the corridor, staying a careful distance from the man's back.
The corridor opened out to the stage. To the other side was the exit where my wild nightly adventures had begun. Not a good time to be nostalgic, just get this done. I waited for the security guard to stand at the edge of the stage, his attention diverted as he shone the torch around the seats. Then I grabbed hold of a rung, pulling myself up the ladder to the walkway that ran along the stage.
'To be, or not to be', the rent-a-cop orated below me. 'That is the question!'
I chuckled. Guarding the stage was probably the closest thing he'd get to one, so it was good he was enjoying it. I stepped lightly on the walkway, being careful not to make any sound.
'Stop screwin' around will ya? We're supposed to be guarding the place!' Another security guard had joined the first, shining the light in his face. The other guard gestured with his hand, before turning back towards the corridor.
Beneath the metal mesh I could see the space where nights before I had kneeled, my hands tied, my neck bared for a killing stroke. I could smell my own panic once more, hear the Prince's oozing tone, hear the air being split by the Sheriff's over-sized sword. The Beast growled, a low menacing sound.
'Soon', I murmured to it. 'Soon.'
The X was marked with builder's spray-paint, in order to disguise it's true intent. I leaned down, trying to decide where to stick the camera. Squinting, I took a closer look at the camera box that faced the stage. The mounting was there, but the machine wasn't. Clever. I fixed the camera into the mounting, making sure the lens wasn't obscured in any way, and closed the lid of the mounting, setting it firmly in place. I then made my way down the ladder, pausing as the security guard walked back along the stage. Quickly I darted into the security room and entered the schrecknet command, and chose to enable the cams.
Excellent! Picture is perfect, I can count the hairs on that wannabe actor's chin. Head back to the haven, we'll set up the Hollywood hub next.