Note: To the answer to the question, “What was on the WB Tuesdays at 8 in the Buffyverse?" I have always used a show called Freedom
, about a teenage female superhero. The show, of course, starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as Melinda Miller, aka Freedom. So Fargo's SMG obsession is still in play, just because of a different show.
I've also changed the title. With “Eurisko” I was going for the transliteration of a Greek word meaning “I will find,” but I didn't conjugate it correctly.
X X X X X
“Why's Beverly Barlowe being hunted by everyone?” Willow asked
“I can't tell you – and that's can't, not won't. Again, I was lucky to get this much. I had to invoke my security clearance about as often as I breathed. That she's being looked for is public knowledge; she's considered dangerous, but not armed, but trying to find out what she did is about as easy as someone trying to find out what I did. Here's what I do know about Dr. Barlowe, though.” Riley handed Willow a couple of sheets of paper.
Willow looked them over. Beverly Barlowe, born in Corvallis, Oregon about fifty years ago; a doctorate with multiple specialties, including psychiatrist and neurologist; five feet seven inches tall with reddish-brown hair and blue eyes; last seen in Eureka, Oregon around the time of the disappearance of Senator Alice Wen. “Do they think she kidnapped the Senator?” she asked.
Riley took a sip of his soda and said, “Maybe, but she's been up on the wanted list for quite a while, so that's only part of it. Also – there's something odd about Eureka.”
“Hard to say. Fewer deaths, and no reports of people falling on barbecue forks, but the place has a weird vibe to it. When I asked, I was told that the area wasn't any of my concern. And anything supernatural is kind of our concern, so I'm not sure what.”
“Hmmm. Could be science-based, then.” Willow took a bite of her pinto beans.
“Could be. The place is dominated by a company called Global Dynamics and I -- what's funny?”
Willow had chuckled the second she heard Riley mention Global Dynamics. “I don't know if Buffy told you about when I met Oz, but around that time we had Career Day, and, well, Global Dynamics pulled me and Oz into a room by ourselves and tried to recruit us. I've heard from them a couple of times since and always given them the big no. I think this year I might change my mind.”
He grinned. “You have an in.”
“I definitely have an in.”
X X X X X
Jo Lupo picked up her phone on the second ring. “Lupo here.”
Zane's voice came through the other end. “Hey, Jo. Could you come down here? There's something I need to show you.”
“I don't have time for that right now,” Jo said.
“It's a great time for some sexual innuendo, Jojo, but I actually need you in an official capacity. Someone's been trying to hack GD's servers.”
Jo shrugged. “So? Half the senior class at Tesla does that for science projects every year.”
“I wouldn't have wasted your time with amateurs,” Zane said. Some of those amateurs had been known to break into the Pentagon's computers, but never mind. “This is someone who knows what they're doing. I mean, I'm here typing as fast I can and I'm barely able to keep up with them.”
“I'll be right down,” Jo said. Zane told her where he was, and she hung up. On her way down she called Fargo – both because as head of GD he should be in the loop, and because, while not quite as good at pure hacking as Zane was, he knew GD's computers backwards and forwards.
“What's going on?” she asked when she got there. Somehow Fargo had beaten her there.
“Someone,” Fargo said in an irritated voice, “Is trying to access our personnel files.” His fingers were moving as fast as Zane's, on a separate keyboard. “But we're not going to let that happen, are we, Zane?”
“No, we're not,” Zane said calmly.
“Wait,” Jo said. “The personnel files? They're not looking at projects?”
“Haven't come even close. And, if we can believe her, she's not interested,” Zane said.
“She's actually written us a couple of messages,” Fargo said.
“Yeah, and normally when a hacker does that in the middle of a job they're taunting you, but she sounded like she was sorry she was doing this.” He shook his head. “I thought this one was retired, too. No one's heard much from her in the last few years.”
Jo blinked. “You've heard of her?”
“Yeah. Calls herself the Scarlet Witch. Old-school kind of hacker; she's not out to steal things.”
“Well, isn't that good to know,” Fargo said sarcastically. “She's only breaking in here to prove she can.” After a second, “This isn't supposed to be possible at all. I helped design the security for these systems myself. There are only a couple of access points into Eureka in the first place, and the defenses should make your average firewall seem like a puff of smoke.”
“Well,” Zane said with a note of admiration on his voice, “She blew through those like they were electronic tissue paper.”
“Zane,” Fargo said, “It's nice that you've met one of your heroes but could you spend a little less time kissing her feet and a little more time concentrating on stopping her?”
Since Zane was talking while he typed, Jo figured Fargo was just blowing off steam. That he was still mourning Holly Marten's death almost certainly didn't help. He'd reached the point where he was perfectly capable of running GD, but that was about it. Zane apparently figured the same thing, because he didn't snark back, instead making a show of working even harder.
Right then, a chat window opened up. “Okay. Got what I wanted. Sorry about this! This --” and a dozen lines of gibberish appeared --” should stop anyone else from using the same exploit I did. Bye--”
Zane blinked. “She's gone. Fargo, you get the code too?”
Fargo said. “Yes. Delete it.”
After a second, Zane said, “What? This'll close the hole she just exposed – if she could find it, someone else could. You know that.”
“Like I'm going to trust the person who just broke in to tell me how to improve my security. I'm the head of GD. Delete it.” And saying this, Fargo deleted it from his own screen, then came over to watch Zane. “And now that we know there's a hole there, we can fix it ourselves. In fact, I want you to make that your priority.”
Sardonically, Zane snapped off a salute and said, “Will do, boss.”
Nodding, Fargo said, “Good.” After a second he added, “Saluting. I like that. Jo --”
“If you think I'm going to salute you, Fargo, you're out of your mind.”
Huffily, Fargo said, “It was just a thought.”
“Remember when almost everyone at GD tried to kill you?” Jo said. “Try that and we won't need one of Parrish's weapons to get the same reaction.”
“Understood,” Fargo said, and left.
Jo turned to Zane. “Did you manage to pick up anything on this 'Scarlet Witch?'
“Not much,” Zane said. “She kept me pretty busy making sure she stayed away from the design specs.”
“Get me whatever you can find, okay?”
“I love it when you get commanding.”
X X X X X
“I realize I may never be fully up to the etiquette of computer hacking,” Giles said, “But why, if you plan to visit the city, did you put them on alert by attempting to break into their computer files instead?”
“Going to Eureka's the backup plan. A backup plan that has now become plan A, because while I was able to get some stuff Riley didn't tell me, I wasn't able to get enough. This Beverly Barlowe, well, she's definitely not on Santa's nice list; she's apparently been involved in kidnapping, theft, and possible high treason, among other things.”
“Among other things? The woman sounds like a match for Ethan Rayne.”
Willow said, “Close, but she's not violent and apparently stops short of killing people.”
“Thin gruel to qualify as a blessing, though, if that's the best thing that can be said of her,” was Giles' response. “Even if you track this Barlowe woman down, what are the odds that you'll even be able to persuade her to assist?”
“I'm hoping she has some kind of conscience,” Willow said. “Otherwise I might, you know, try a page from your book.”
“Ah. And which book and which page would that be?” Giles asked, suspicion evident in his voice.
“The big book of intimidation. Because you can be pretty darned scary when you want to be, mister.”
“I assume you are planning to stop short of actual beatings?”
“Only if things get desperate,” Willow said. “I've kept this evil side in for, oh, about two years now and I'd kind of like to have her stay bottled up. Not so much with the wanting to end the world at the moment.”
“Imagine my relief,” Giles said sarcastically. “Do let me know if your plans change in that regard.”
“You'll be the first.” A deep breath, and then, “I've already heard back from Global Dynamics, in fact. They said they'd be glad to have us join them.”
“That was accomplished with remarkable speed.”
“Apparently, they don't mess around. Deep security check on my background. Don't worry; I already got rid of anything particularly incriminating.”
“And your companion?” Giles asked.
“Less than nothing. No need to scrub her background because there was nothing to scrub. There are clean rooms dirtier than her.” After a second, “I was surprised when I found out she already had an MS and was going for a doctorate in plant biology in her spare time. And, you know, GD contacted her a couple of years back as well. Though apparently scientific genius runs in her family, so maybe that shouldn't be a problem.”
“All very nice, but I was asking for a name. I am assuming you are not talking about Miss Kennedy.”
Willow nodded; that was a safe assumption. Kennedy was good at business but wasn't particularly gifted in, or interested in, science. “Oh. Right,” she said. “It's Vi.”