The Hacker Pushes Her Luck (Moonchuckle Bay 6)(5)

By: Heather Horrocks

“Unfortunately, I have bad news for you.”

Ty’s forehead furrowed. “What is it?”

“You know I set up the incubator for your egg and did the best job I could.”

“Is there a problem with the incubator?”

“No, no,” Walter rushed to reassure him. “But we need to tighten security. We just learned from the London office’s elite computer response team that someone may be trying to steal your egg.”

Smoke blew from Ty’s nostrils. “I’ll flame them.”

“We need to move the egg to a special secure unit in the paranormal wing of the hospital.”

“You think my baby will be safer in the hospital than in my home?”

“Yes, in a number of ways. They have the best redundant systems and generators to keep the egg safely warm in case of power outages. We’ll have guards on duty, and a keypad entry and only you, Mara, the guards, and I will have the code.”

“Mara won’t agree to this. She checks on that egg multiple times a day.”

“We’ll arrange for a video feed so she can see what’s going on in the egg room any time of day or night.” Walter put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “This isn’t like when you left to go rescue Mara’s sister and I stayed at the house to make sure everything was safe. The London office has identified a threat. We need to respond appropriately to that threat. I would be horrified if anything happened to your baby, Ty.”

Ty sat stony faced for a moment. Then he said, “Have you had one of your premonitions?”

“My mostly useless ones, you mean? No. This comes strictly from information found by the London security team.”

Ty’s eyes narrowed. “You believe this action will keep the egg safe?”

“Yes. I will make sure that room is impenetrable. The hospital’s IT Department won’t be involved. Our Council office IT people have been assigned to the room. They have a private network and run a secure VPN, a virtual private network. The security team we’re hiring has state-of-the-art equipment. I helped set up the nursery and incubator for your egg, and I took this job because you didn’t want it. We’ll keep your baby safe, Ty.”

“All true.”

“So I accept and appreciate your offer to help set up the office — and in this case, that means putting your egg in the safest possible environment. I’d like you to escort the van that will carry the incubator to the hospital.” Walter laughed ruefully. “First SOC office ever to be hacked into. And it had to be this one.”

“I agree — on one condition.”

“I won’t let you sell my chess set on eBay,” Walter teased drily.

“It’s going to take quite some talking for me to get Mara to go along with this. That means you owe me.”

Walter sighed. “What do you want?”

“Mara says I need to get you out more. Find you a woman. She says you need a girlfriend.” The dragon grinned. “Let Operation Nerd Girl commence.”

A girlfriend was the last thing Walter needed. “When is she going to let that go?”

“Never. And if you think differently, you don’t know Mara very well.”

“If only you’d rescued her sister and brought her back like you intended. That would have taken Mara’s attention off of me for a while.”

“Hard to rescue a woman who loves her husband and was just telling her family she felt trapped because they expected her to want to escape.”

“Yeah. Kind of ruins that whole trapped Swan Maiden story they’ve got going.”

“But it was comforting to Mara to find her sister happy. Though embarrassing for her sister.” He shrugged. “We’re keeping her secret from the rest of her family.”

“Disgraceful secret,” Walter said.

“Disgraceful.” Ty chuckled.

Heidi stepped into the room, spotted Ty and said, “Sorry, I didn’t know you were having a meeting.”

Walter motioned for her to stay. “What’s up?”

“Manfred is getting a room ready for the egg.”

“Good work. Thanks.”

She smiled.

    The sound of squealing tires and screaming ripped through the room. They glanced at each other and bolted toward the main exit. Others joined them there, and they all headed toward the street.