Rudy Seitzer was usually the last one to leave. He was one of the only employees of CS Enterprises whose job description covered more than just one branch of the company. He was the chief CSWA interviewer, he handled the press releases and vendor relations for CSE Records, and he was assistant - Editor - In - Chief of CS Magazine.
Add it up and it comes to a very long day. But as he walked down the long hallway towards the elevators, another sound broke the steady hum of the vacuum cleaner.
Ivy was here, too.
He pushed the door open to see the Psycho Bitch sitting at her desk, actively typing on her massively overbuilt computer. She had taken the one given to her by the company when she was given the office, and modified it herself.
A few times.
"Hey," he said.
Ivy flinched; evidently she thought she was alone too.
"I'm taking off," continued Rudy, "do you need anything before I go?"
"No," replied Ivy with a smile, "but thank you."
Rudy lingered for a moment before tapping the wall. "Alright then, will see you tomorrow?"
The door started to close.
"It was a lotta fun calling that ring with you."
It was Rudy's turn to smile. "Thanks, kiddo - you too."
He closed the door quietly, and Ivy returned her attention to the machine in front of her. It had been a long time since she had done any work in her 'office.' The laptop had traveled more miles than she thought possible in the past year, but she was handicapped by the fact that she always worked better in familiar surroundings, and even though there's only one hotel (and the coffee sucks) in the world, CS Enterprises headquarters was home for this type of work.
Already she had gone through the budget for every event that had taken place since 2004, looking for...
She didn't really know.
That sound meant new mail. She flipped the windows on her screen to her inbox, and saw one new item in her inbox. Bill Buckley had sent her the preliminary contract list.
Ivy - we've got about a dozen under hard contract and interested responses from another ten. Not exactly what you and I talked about the other night but better than we probably thought. Take a look, call me whenever. - BB
Buckley was right - the way the CSWA had been mishandled under Thomas' reign so far should have all but assured a swift slam of the doors, but the magic of the letters still held true. And Buckley was right again - the list of names that were under hard contract and willing to come back to work was nothing short of miraculous. There was definitely enough to work with for Ivy to see the troubled promotion at least through the transition to a once-more smooth running promotion.
She clicked it off - they still had to run things past Thomas so there was no point in driving herself crazy this late at night. Back to the task at hand.
On a whim, she pulled the security report from PRIMETIME 500. There were fans all over the arena that night, and a ton of old - timers about for the PRIMETIME Memories moments. Easy access for anyone who wanted to find their way where they weren't welcome.
The Hacker was also on the last Pooljam. The odds that the same fan could get from Greensboro to Miami for the PCL 2's launch, and be on the ship and undetected - AND have Lyle on the payroll - was too much of a stretch. What fan would have a grudge that big against the CSWA--
--and suddenly her eyes focused.
Mickey Benedict was at PRIMETIME 500.
Mickey was at PRIMETIME 500. Mickey was a CSWA Legend; his presence would never be questioned at any event. And he was the rare retired wrestler with plenty of active grudges with the boys still in the ring.
It was enough to start. IVy picked up her phone and hit a speed dial.
"Adrian? Ivy. Listen, can you do me a favor?"
"No, no strange cravings tonight. Dick. I need you to backtrack Mickey Benedict's trail going into PRIMETIME 500 and leaving PRIMETIME 500.
"Just a feeling."
"Yeah, I know the Hacker didn't start to leave traces until San Diego but that doesn't mean he wasn't there."
"I'll be here for a while still, but call the cell."
"Yeah, no problem. Talk to you later."
She clicked the phone off and returned to the security brief. It was strange to read about a CSWA event that she wasn't there for, considering how many she was.
The start of the UNIFIED Championship tournament.
Was there a connection?
Ivy expertly switched screens again and pulled up the brief from PRIMETIME, April 18th, 2005.
nowUseeme: g00d t0 see y00 the 0ther n1te
The window startled her; she had forgotten about the IM software idling in the background.
psych0b1tch: Whoever this is, please drop the 'leetspeek' - it's the sign of an idiot.
nowUseeme: no problem. congratulations on the pregnancy. what do you hope it is?
psych0b1tch: who are you?
nowUseeme: change is good.
Processing... Changes accepted. Change is good. Change is necessary. Change.
Those were the first words from... "The Hacker."
psych0b1tch: Seriously, what do you want?
nowUseeme: no cigar tonite? i know you're knocked up and all but you usually have an unlit cigar in your ashtray when U work.
Ivy looked around the room. Was there a hidden camera? The Hacker had gotten one in her cabin on the PCL... was her office bugged?
"F**k you," she shouted, holding up both middle fingers. She quickly turned her attention back to the window.
No chances. Ivy slid her phone off her desk and started to type.
nowUseeme: the changes aren't over.
nowUseeme: there's a lot more to come.
nowUseeme: you won't like them.
This is why Ivy taught Adrian to always keep his phone on.
"IMing with hacker right now," she texted, "run SECSWEEP8.0 on my image and do a trace."
psych0b1tch: Then why do them?
Assuming she was able to get the text to Adrian, they might be able to zero in on a location. Which is more than they've had so far.
psych0b1tch: and why did you trap me in a room for four days with Paul and Teri?
nowUseeme: because some things have to be done. and because i wanted to see if i was right about you three.
psych0b1tch: We're people, not test subjects.
nowUseeme: wrong. you work for the cswa, which means you're always at someone else's whim. ross figured that out when he suddenly got a paycheck from merritt and thomas' offshore account.
psych0b1tch: You still haven't answered me. What do you want?
nowUseeme: u won't like the changes so i wanted to tell you now it was good to see you since you won't listen later.
nowUseeme: i want what everybody who works for the cswa wants
nowUseeme: i want to see everyone who took this company for granted to go down with the ship.
psych0b1tch: Who is that?
The screen flickered for a fraction of a second, and the window disappeared.
USER NOWUSEEME DOES NOT EXIST
As if on cue, her phone rang.
"This is Ivy."
"What do you mean, the signal was coming from my office? How is that possible, Adrian?"
"Yeah... no problem. Save that for me. Ok, bye."
If Adrian's trace was correct, the trace on the IM window snaked its way almost completely through the entire CSWA network and had its source in Ivy's office. Whoever this person was, they knew what they were doing.
And they told her there were more changes coming.
Ivy shuddered. One show at a time, Merritt had advised her. But what was going to happen at that one show?