Danica turned to the empty seat beside her.
The laptop was safe and sound, resting upon an airline pillow and leaned back against the blue leather backrest.
She turned and peered out the window of the aircraft, raised the power footrest on her lounger with the remote and took a sip of her espresso from a china cup as she watched the carpet of white fluffy clouds flow beneath them. The entire time, her hand was laid gently on the computer, not letting her fingers leave it.
She knew they were making good time.
They would be in Toronto in under a few hours.
She felt a sudden shift of her seat and felt the laptop being lifted. She turned with a snap, almost spilling her drink into her chest and onto the white wool blanket she had wrapped around her bare legs.
She let out an annoyed sigh when she found Hayden seated beside her, laptop in his hands and giving her a nasty glare.
“Nice work by the way.” Hayden sneered. “Booking my ticket in coach and yours in first class.” He turned to her. “I assume the guy beside me smelling like cheese was an unplanned perk.”
“I asked specifically he smell like ham.” She retorted. “Guess I’ll be calling customer service upon my return for a refund.”
He ignored her response as he looked around at the several empty seats. “You told me they didn’t have any first class seats left.”
Danica smiled demurely. “I told you the truth. There are no more first class seats. These are business class.” She shrugged. “Plus I thought you said you liked to rough it?”
Hayden offered her an annoyed shake of his head at her using his own words against him. He dropped the laptop into the leather fold of the seat in front of theirs with the emergency procedures and Duty-Free catalogue.
Danica chided him. “Careful with that.”
“Relax. It’s a laptop, not a dozen eggs.” He gave it a quick kick for good measure to Danica’s dismay. “See. Durable if you ask me?”
Hayden gestured to the stewardess, a pretty little thing with light brown hair, a short cut skirt, tight vest and bright red lips, to look his way.
With his hands, he provided the universal signal for ’beer.’
At least in Hayden’s dictionary of hand motions anyway.
The stewardess smiled, her name tag reading Sabine Biagoni, seeming to understand. She nodded, indicating she would bring it right away.
Danica watched the exchange in annoyance. “While we’re on the subject, how did you get up here anyway?”
It was Hayden’s turn to smile. “I told them I was your doctor.” He held up his archeological identification. “They never did ask what kind of doctor. One of the perks of having the letters D.R. on my passport.”
Danica stared at him in disbelief.
Hayden continued. “I told them you were my patient and I needed to keep you under observation. Just in case you had one of your…” He made quotation marks with his fingers. “Episodes.”
Danica looked horrified. “You told them WHAT?!”
“That and there was an obvious seat mix up as they certainly didn’t want a schizophrenic patient up here in business class without her doctor.” He winked. “You know, if something were to happen.”
Danica was sure one of those episodes would include her choking him to death.
Hayden continued. “So of course, they upgraded me right away.”
Danica refused to believe him.
She could not conceive he would do something so infantile over being booked in economy. ‘Would he?’
The stewardess brought his beer.
Hayden took it with a smile.
Danica knew these next few hours would be long now. She motioned to the stewardess. “Can you bring me a white wine?”
The stewardess turned to Hayden. “There won’t be any conflicts with her medication will there doctor?”
If looks could kill, Hayden would have dropped to the floor of the aisle in a pool of cold imported beer clutching his heart and gasping for oxygen as Danica locked her pupils on him.
He winked to the stewardess. “No conflicts. She can have wine.” Hayden then leaned in, whispering to the stewardess conspiratorially, but loud enough for Danica to hear. “But let me know if she swears loudly or jumps up and yells she’s a chicken again. That means she thinks the demons have taken her.”
The stewardess gave Danica a frightened look and rushed to go get her the wine.
Hayden turned to Danica with a confident grin. “You were saying?”
Hayden would have thanked Danica for cooling his beer at that moment as the cabin temperature felt like it dropped thirty degrees, at least in his mind.
For the next hour, they flew in silence, Danica choosing to stare out her side window, fearing if she yelled at him, she would be subdued by air marshals.
Finally after twenty minutes, Hayden spoke first. “Just to be fair, you took the low route first by putting me back with the cheap section. So what other option do you think I had?”
Danica turned to him, still annoyed, but she knew what she did was pretty lowball. “You could have paid for the upgrade, like I did.”
“On your boss’s money…” He remarked. “So don’t give me that.”
Danica had no response.
Hayden challenged. “And plus, admit it, this was more amusing.”
He locked eyes on her and she did the same.
They stared one another down, but after a minute, the anger waned.
She finally let an edge of a grin wiggle out.
She had to give him his due, he got a business class seat free of charge, and on the back of the one who had put him in coach.
For now, the score was tied.
“But that does not mean a tiebreaker is not in the works.’
Once Hayden realized she was getting more amicable, he asked. “What’s with the laptop anyway?”
Danica took a drink of her second glass of wine, happy a new stewardess was attending to them and not the original one, knowing what Hayden had done. She explained to him everything she was told by Maximus during their conference call after she relayed her report.
Hayden whistled, finding himself genuinely perplexed. “Seriously? Breaking into the international servers of numerous transfer points between South America and Canada? Do you know how many there are?”
“A lot? We’re talking thousands.” Hayden leaned back. “Not to mention breaking into the Maximum Pharmaceuticals mainframe database to boot. If only to get a single email and its attachment. It’s totally unbelievable.”
Hayden took a moment to theorize. “Obviously, someone really wants to stop us in our tracks.”
“Someone almost did.”
Hayden rubbed his chin with his fingers. “Could it be that hacker group called Anonymous? Maybe they have a thing for your company?”
Danica defended them, Anonymous, only because it was not logical. “No. This is not their style.”
’Anonymous’ was a name originated in 2003 which represent an amalgamated force of electronic users who used their combined technical intelligence and the electronic medium of the internet to disable websites, hack databases with the intent to post controversial political imagery and statements to broaden the minds of the world. To basically create discord for institutions which the group felt were not playing by the rules of society or fairly for that matter.
Most corporations and government entities found them annoying, but for the most part, they were activists using the strengths they had.
And they used it well.
Danica added. “Maximum Pharmaceuticals is a research company. Nothing more. We have no political capital whatsoever. We have shareholders, but the Thorne’s hold the majority. That and Anonymous protest using the World Wide Web to give publicity to their causes. They have an agenda, and from what I’ve read, they don’t sneak around and destroy information. Far from it. They copy it and post it. This is not the case.” She then pointed out. “Plus Anonymous does not send thugs to do their dirty work physically.”
Hayden agreed. It did not fit the mold.
This was a theft plain and simple.
Well, not so simple.
Hayden asked. “What did your bosses say when you told them what the attacker said to you?”
At this, she blushed with embarrassment.
Hayden grinned from ear to ear. “You didn’t tell them did you?”
“I didn’t think it was pertinent. It was the ramblings of a terrorist.”
Hayden shook his head. “A terrorist without a weapon, besides the explosives, who specifically targeted the site, not us, and when put in a position of attacking or running, he chose running.”
Danica snapped. “He tried to attack me.”
“Right before he told you he meant you no harm.”
She admitted to that.
“So I suspect his intention was to subdue you to get the laptop. Not hurt you.”
“Well he failed.”
“Yes he did.” At that Hayden nodded, but not before stating. “The real question is. Is he one of those, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again kind of guys.’?”
Danica felt a cold chill.
In her mind, remembering the conviction of the assailant’s words.
‘You’re making a grave mistake. Some things were never meant to be found.’
She had no doubt in her mind he was one of those.