We had barely gotten out of range of anyone who might have been lurking at the entrance to the park of hearing when my friends blasted me. In fact, they exploded with such furosity I think facing an exploding volcano - the sort that caused the extinction at the end of the Permian and wiped out 95% of all life on Earth - or all of the nuclear arsenals of Human Space - but unused! Thank all that's good and light! - going off at once or perhaps, just perhaps, a star going supernova would not have even made a small peep compared to the volume and incredulous white hot fury the girls were yelling.
But not Tom.
Tom was still shaking like he had seen his death and avoided it. Shivering, shaking and probably a little wet in the underoos. Definitely NOT yelling at me though. At that moment, he was my favorite person in the group. Good, Tom! Nice, Tom! NOW STOP QUIVERING AND HELP ME!
No, I didn't say that out loud. I wish I could. I needed backup.
I couldn't even get a word in edgewise.
3 Banshees against a mortal and no magic swords or Irish alcohol in sight. Well, we're underage, but I heard its quite useful against savage Irish supernaturals.
When they finally were hoarse enough to whinny, I got my turn. Finally. Just twenty minutes later. And several steps closer to deafness. No, I wasn't not bitter and annoyed. What gave you that idea?
If I were some cool spy out of a novel, I would have let their yelling and screaming wash over me and done what I had planned through my booster, mentally. Then I could have turned on my friends and just flashed them my genius plan already executed and shown how really amazing I was. ta daw!
Alas, I am merely a mortal. And people, especially MY people, my very Merry Prankster who were not so merry at that moment and wanted to kill me, were screaming at me and I wanted to scream back at my Warrior Princess, Mad Artist and Bookworm to shut up and let me explain.
Fortunately, our Court Jester was still not in snarkastic mode because that would have been so much better.
I told them they really ought to know better. I was not going to give Maven! MAVEN! OF ALL PEOPLE! the keys to the kingdom! Or queendom. You never know who might be in charge at the time. Except we live in a Republic. Key to the city?
And we didn't need Maven to get us anything. We needed Maven to be a distraction. Not retrieve dangerous chemicals from the chemical closet. That would be less than smart with the Marines and Bees zipping around town. Who in their right mind would even want to risk being caught with dangerous things right now after all...
I wasn't going to tell them everything. The Merry Pranksters were the exception to the rule that three people cannot keep a secret. However, there was risk. And the less they knew, the safer they might be from that risk. Sorta.
We began by writing a worm.
A worm is a piece of software that attacks a computer, infects it and then uses it to move on. It's not like a virus, which you have to touch to get. Worms go on their own. Normally worms crawl through networks and hack into each computer they can autonomously to hack other computers. Our worm was going to use the hack we had used and close the door behind it. Then delete itself. Yes, we were putting on white hats and cleaning up the mess we found. Or we would.
We prepared the data package for Maven. It had the cracker software. It had all the information she needed to hack all the boosters. We scrubbed it so it had no attachment to us. Then we placed the worm to launch - quickly, quietly - as soon as she opened the data package. While she was looking at the data and the exploit and taking time to get into it, the worm would be quietly shutting the door on each and every booster around to make sure it could not be used.
Ha! Take that, Maven!
We made the deal so Maven could come pick up the data package in a unpaired booster. As soon as she had someone access it: bam! Bombs away!
We loaded it. Left it. And then went home to gather our supplies. We were going out into wilderness on an alien planet. Think you can just wander out there?! ARE YOU CRAZY!?!
Earthers! I swear!
We set everything in motion for two days from then.
We were excited.
We were scared.
Spies! Soldiers! An Alien world!
But first we had to get our homework done. If we didn't, our parents would get wind we were up to something.
Homework. It's always homework.