She hadn’t eaten much since dinner. That had been five hours ago. Kell was hot on the trail of tracking down any meaning behind BABY-X and running into wall after wall. “What are you?”
Kellerika thumbed through her phone and called Deke. “He might know.”
Three rings, then a fourth.
‘Hey! You’ve reached my voicemail. You know what to do.’
“Deke. It’s me. Call me when you get this. Thanks.”
Her cell clunked to the coffee table. “Shit.”
She went back to surfing the web for any solid leads. The best it had to offer were some video game characters from games of old and about three thousand hits for porn sites.
She hovered her clicker over the archived video game. “It’s a long shot, but that’s all I’ve got to work with.”
Outside, a brilliant flash lit up the night skies. Soon after, its rumble followed. Kell skimmed the webpage. This write-up was from 2009 about a hidden track in Gotham II called Baby-X that you could unlock.
“So much for that---”
Her phone vibrated across the table to her chosen ringtone, Iron Maiden’s Bring Your Daughter To the Slaughter.
“Yeah.” His voice wavered.
She sat her computer on the table and stretched out on her sofa. “What’s wrong? You sound off.”
“Off?” A chuckle. “Nah. I’m good. Been over at a buddy’s house helping him through the first chapter of Ever Rain.”
“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
An inquisitive hum. “Ya don’t say? Gettin’ hooked, are ya?”
“Not yet.” She sat up a bit as more lightening forked across the sky. “I wanted to run something by you and see if you could help.”
A can cracked open on his end. “No prob, Kell. Shoot.”
“Does BABY-X, all caps, mean anything to you?”
Deke belched. “BABY-X?”
“Yeah.” Deeper rumbles thundered overhead.
“As a matter o’ fact,” he slurped another drink, “I’ve seen some underground chatter on the online rooms about something by that name.”
Kellerika popped up. “Go on.”
“Just rumors, of course, but a lot of players think that there’s a cheat code for Ever Rain out there by that name.”
Distant clouds erupted in violent bursts near the horizon. “What is it supposed to do?”
Deke flopped into some furniture on his end. “Supposed to unlock a beast mode, I think. Why are you so interested?”
She had to think fast. “I’m worried about your safety, Deke. Haven’t you been keeping up with the news?”
Raindrops hissed through the elm leaves right outside her window. “People have been going missing. Some even dying.”
“Yeah,” another slurp, “that’s the way of the world, Kell. People get kidnapped and murdered all the---”
“They don’t think it’s the garden variety type of crimes, Deke.”
“Listen,” he said, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong here. If you tried it for yourself, you might see that.”
Kell groaned. “I---never mind.”
“If it’s any help, I personally think that the game developer leaked their own code under a fake online profile.”
“All right.” She curled up on her end of the sofa. “Who made it?”
“Company called TycoSoft. You can look them up if you’re that interested.”
She took notes on a napkin from the local Trattoria. “Thanks, Deke. Have you tried this code yet?”
A can clunked down. “No. Not yet.”
“Don’t. Not at least until I can find out more about it.”
A growl. “C’mon, Kell.”
“Please, Deke. For me?”
“Ugh! Damn you and your Scandinavian sassiness.”
She giggled. “Thanks, Deke. I’ll be in touch. Bye.”
No sooner had her cell hit the cushion, and Kell was back on her laptop. A search for TycoSoft gave her a general 800 number that she called tout suite. The line picked up.
“Yes. I’m looking to have a word with Mr. Will Dannenfield.”
She crossed her right leg over the left.
“Me? I’m Agent Kelli Sellers, Cyber Security.”
The gatekeeper’s tone turned on a dime for the better.
“That’s fine. I can leave a message for him if he’s in a meeting. Thanks.”
One message later, she felt a bit better about her circumstances.