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Infiltration

Liz is a chemist in the Midwest. She has cats. Authors note: Years ago, out at dinner, I sat at a table near a very patient young woman on a terrible date. She barely spoke, while he spent the night lecturing her about his family genealogy. Identity theft is wrong, of course, but I remember hoping she reset a few of his passwords.
"Now, my grandmother met her first husband at school--"
"Would you care for the check?" The waiter's voice was insistent, and Anj suppressed a wince. She'd seen a man arrested for insolence yesterday. Looking around, she realized the reason for his concern. The restaurant closed an hour ago. They were the last table left.
"In a minute," the officer across from her said dismissively. He seemed too focused on telling his story to care about the waiter. "We still have some time. Curfew doesn't start for another hour." He took a sip of his coffee. "Send our bill to my office."
So he won't even pay for the meal, Anj thought. She would like to have stayed out for longer, but the waitstaff deserved to go home. "I can't stay out too late," she said quickly, before he could begin again. It was the first sentence she had spoken for nearly an hour. More demurely, she said, "My father will be concerned. He doesn't want me to be out on my own after dark."
The officer chuckled indulgently. "Well, we can't let him worry. I don't want to leave a bad impression." Anj stood, forcing a smile as she took his hand. "Let me walk you home, at least."
"Of course. I'd like to hear more about you."
He chuckled again. "Well, where were we?"
This time, her smile wasn't forced. "I believe you were telling me about your great aunt Eva."
Anj waited until the curfew bells had rung before sneaking into the saferoom her family had installed in their basement. A console sat in the corner. Last week, her resistance cell had managed to connect to the government's network. Now they just needed a way in.
She entered in the officer's name and held her breath. She needed this to work.
The screen went blank for a minute before text finally appeared.
Security Question #1: Maternal grandmother's maiden name, the prompt read.
Anj smiled.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, June 11th, 2020


Liz is a chemist in the Midwest. She has cats. Authors note: Years ago, out at dinner, I sat at a table near a very patient young woman on a terrible date. She barely spoke, while he spent the night lecturing her about his family genealogy. Identity theft is wrong, of course, but I remember hoping she reset a few of his passwords.

- Liz Goodpaster
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