Secret Weapon

This Jess/Becker story was inspired by an episode of another TV series but I won't reveal that till the end since it might give away some of the story…It should be about 6 or 7 off we go….

The young field coordinator was sitting at her station when the alarms began to sound. Connor Temple, sitting across the main hub, quickly began to input a previously agreed upon set of letters and numerals that would lock down the information contained in his station. The coding essentially created a barrer against intruders who were attacking the ARC and attempting to access important information contained in the computers.

Simultaneously, Jess Parker accessed the ADD, the essential information hub, and began to transferfiles to a drive she created to remove sensitive files from main computer so that no one could use any of the programs to view data that could be used for non-ARC purposes. Malevolent individuals using the information to create anomalies or find anomalies to profit financially...or worse, attack their enemies. She rapidly typed in her access code as the countdown began.

Connor, working across the room, completed entering his data and exited the Hub, walking quickly to the access dor as others joined him.

Jess swore under her breath as an errant file halted the download. She restarted the process as she listened to countdown continue to single digits. Once the download was complete, she grabbed the drive from the computer and walked quickly to the doorway, only to narrowly miss being hit by the door as it slammed shut sealing her in the hub.

"Damn it!" she screamed loudly as she attempted to slow her breathing and think calmly. This was not the normal alarm indicating an anomaly. This was the intruder alert warning that meant armed individuals had been able to breach ARC security and were very likely heading to the Hub to gain access to the data contained there. Jess Parker was holding the drive that contained the information they would be looking for and she was standing in the middle of the room…..essentially looking like she should be wearing a large yellow sign that said "Victim – Here's the information you need. Now you can dispose of me." She rapidly glanced around the room, looking for a hiding place that might buy her time until the ARC soldiers could contain the threat and halt the intruder's progress to the Hub.

Hearing the sound of boots outside the main door and cursing the fact that she was wearing the pumps she had just purchased (on sale!) with a four inch heel, she hastily squeezed herself into one of the small open spaces under the desk at Becker's station and prayed the footsteps she heard outside the entry door would move into the next hall. Unfortunately, a simultaneous whooshing sound indicated the entrance to the Hub had opened and, if she was hearing correctly, three rather tall intruders were entering the room.

Jess slowed her breathing to conceal her position under the desk as much as possible. She watched as a large pair of black boots attached to pair of long legs walked slowly by the desk and stopped. She held her breath. …..The boots took two more steps and stopped again as a long arm reached under the desk and firmly encircled her wrist… Jess squeaked in protest, the long legs crouched down and a pair of hazel eyes and dark hair came into her field of view….

"Really, Jess?... Hiding under a desk?! ...This is how you're going to react in an ACTUAL attack on the ARC?... You know these drills are supposed to train you on how you ESCAPE from the hub during an attack!"

Becker's voice sounded loud and exasperated as if chastising a schoolgirl who had been caught skipping school on a sunny afternoon.

"Becker!" Jess sounded equally annoyed. "The program to transfer data to my mobile hard drive was interrupted by the program they are running for the drills! If that wasn't interfering, I would have had all the information downloaded and been out the door with Connor!"

The other Training officer, a soldier named Mike from another military post and in charge of this special training walked over to the couple and looked at Jess.

"Well, Miss Parker, the unfortunate thing is that you have all the information they need on your person right now and you might as well hand it right to them. Whether you escape isn't nearly as important as protecting the information they so desperately desire!"

Mike smiled broadly at the attractive field coordinator as he looked at her expectantly with his hand out, waiting for her to hand him the drive.

"Excuse me, but her escaping the hub IS a priority at this facility." Becker's normally placid expression was tinged with more than a small amount of irritation.

"Captain Becker…civilians need to protect the ARC as well as the military presence here. That includes the information contained on the disk drive she's precludes her personal safety.." The chief officer took the disk Jess handed him and shoved it into the nearby laptop as Becker opened his mouth to make a more vociferous protest. "And this is why...," explained the officer pointing triumphantly at the screen without looking...… as an animated GIF of a Japanese anime character jumped up and down on the monitor in front of them….

Hilary Becker raised one eyebrow and smirked sarcastically as he pointed to the screen. Michael J. MacLaren turned around to look at the computer screen. "But….how?...when did you,…" he sputtered.

Jess Parker smiled sweetly at the chief officer as Becker struggled to control his beginnings of a smile.

"I dumped the file into hard drive in the back of Becker's computer while I was hiding under the desk." Jess Parker self-satisfied grin widened a bit but it was met with two serious military men staring back with little sense of frivolity.

"Miss Parker," Officer MacLaren began, "We will run this drill until EVERY member of this facility completes it correctly….and that means all personnel make it out of the Hub before the access doors close….even if that means we are here the entire night!" He addressed his comm link. "Operations, set up the intruder alert scenario for the Hub again. We are repeating the drill immediately. Send civilian personnel back to the Hub." He tapped his comm with more force than necessary and strode out of the room crisply as Jess rolled her eyes and reached down to retrieve her drive.

"Jess," Becker intoned quietly, "I don't care how many times we do this. The important thing is you get safely out of the Hub with the information. MacLaren's right about everything but one. Your getting out safely IS my first priority…..." Becker caught himself and began to stutter, "I mean ARC personnel getting out is my first priority…and…well you have important information that we would need and…."

Jess decided to take pity on him and finished his rambling sentence.

"I know, Becker, it's just that I'm not exactly an ordered "military by the book" kind of person….I like to think outside the box….. make decisions based on options available to me….not follow a script . Life isn't really like that, is it…." She smiled at him as he gazed into her brilliant blue eyes and began to sway slightly toward her…..

"OK, let's run it again" MacLaren's booming voice cut into his reverie. He swiftly straightened and stepped back a step.

"Jess, you need to follow the script sometimes in these situations. You wouldn't last too long in the field if you don't" he said abruptly.

Jess rolled her eyes again and gave Becker a look that conveyed mute acceptance and something else he couldn't pin down

As Jess sat down at her station once again she felt her annoyance return. Becker didn't think she could survive out in the field? Didn't she coordinate the movements of men and women in the field every day? Officer MacLaren and Becker had no idea what field and survival skills she possessed because they assumed she sat at a desk in front of the computer…a techie…Well, if the opportunity ever arose, she'd show him….well, she'd show them….not that It matter WHAT Becker thought…well maybe it did matter to her but she promised herself she wasn't going to think about that…..for now…..or in the next few minutes…..not that she thought about Becker….at all….well most of the time…

The alarm klaxon repeated it's loud annoying clang as Jess Parker followed the script and began to download data onto her hard drive…..It was going to be a long night…