<Recap: Watchtower and Fingers are two operatives who are using an exiled spy’s robotic companion to constantly monitor him. Unfortunately, the robot is built on a missile guidance system which is incredibly lethal and adaptive.>
“I think he’s onto us,” said Watchtower, after the old man was asleep. He spoke in a hushed whisper, almost afraid that Bishop could hear him.
“There’s no way he could be,” replied Fingers in a flippant tone “And there’s no need for you to be so hushed up. We can hear him, but he can’t hear us.”
“Did you see the way he just stared at the robot the whole time? We saw it through the robot’s own eyes!”
“Just because he was looking doesn’t mean anything.”
“What if he built in a fail-safe or some form of intruder detection?”
“Tower, I have to stop you here. Did that poor old man look anything remotely like a spy?! He probably couldn’t even remember his own name!”
“Oh yeah? Then tell me why did he not choose to input any data files today? He probably suspected his Friend had been hacked into.”
“Tower, give the man a break. He has nothing to say. Nothing! What could you possibly have to say after living so many years by yourself in exile?!”
“I would have a lot to say if I was carrying so many state secrets that I had to be exiled!”
There was a momentary pause in the hostilities. The crickets in the forests had fallen silent.
Fingers tried a more diplomatic approach.
“Tower, do you really think that Bishop is capable of remembering memories from so long ago? He’s an old guy, and people forget things, you know? Especially old people.”
“Look, Fingers, I’m not asking you to find him and coerce information out of him. Just go through whatever content he’s stored inside his robot and then we can start with that.”
“You do realize that means keeping the robot up all night?”
“What? Robots don’t sleep.”
“This one does have a standby cycle programmed into it. And it will consume energy. Bishop will know if his toy’s batteries run out.” said Fingers, swiveling back to his keyboard and pulling up Friend’s encoding again. The translucent wash of code did not hide the old man sleeping peacefully underneath his blankets behind it.
“File repeat,” said Friend’s voice to itself once the humming loop was over.
Watchtower couldn’t help but jump a bit once he heard that voice again. After encountering that voice in several unpleasant contexts at the front lines, Watchtower had a conditioned adrenaline reflex to it. Fingers noticed his discomfort. You had to have survived some really nasty experiences if voice was bad enough to frighten you. Watchtower was, by no means, an easily frightened person.
“Tell you what, Tower, I’ll go over all the data. You catch some sleep, yeah?”
“You’ll do that?”
“Yeah, I’ll be up all night.”
“I owe you coffee,” said Watchtower.
“Not a problem,” said Fingers, busy working on the encryption protocol. The code transformed before his very eyes. Fingers really enjoyed his job.
“Just…just be careful not to tinker with it too much, okay?”
“Don’t worry. I won’t.”
</to be continued/>