With few options and even less time, Jason reluctantly reached for the screwdriver and began to remove the tower's cover . All he really needed to do was to cash the hard drive to cover his ass, the RAM and peripherals wouldn't give anybody enough to put him away, but it didn't matter. Even if he managed to slip out of his predicament, it would be way too risky to try anything again. Effectively, it was game over. As he removed the drive from its harness, he felt the presence of someone behind him and the touch of metal to his skull.
"I'll take that" said the voice of a woman. "And don't make any sudden movements either, I'm a little edgy right now."
"How in the hell did you get in here?" demanded Jason
"What do you care? Shouldn't you be asking who I am, and why I'm here?" she responded coolly.
Her confidence was obvious. She was a pro who had done this at least a few times before if not many. What the hell did she want from him anyway? He was in deep shit for sure, so why didn't she just bust him and get it over with. He couldn't figure it out.
" Are you a federal agent, part of some task force on cyber-crime or something?"
His naiveté produced a slight chuckle from her.
"Did you see that on TV? Come on, you're smarter than that."
He knew she was right, but he still felt like a dumb shit for getting caught.
"Yeah, well if I'm so smart, how did I let all this happen?"
"Oh, that's easy. Same as always. Just couldn't keep it in your pants could you? Had to let the little head rule the big head, eh?" He sighed with a deepness that unburdened his breath.
" I guess it was kind of lame, thinking that I could go on forever without somebody catching on. "
" That's OK" she replied. "You see, Jason, it seems that we might have a need for someone with your unusual set of skills in our organization."
" Are you recruiting me?" he wondered aloud.
"I like to think of it as more of a leveraged buyout, considering the circumstances."
" So... what are you offering?" he asked hesitantly.
"That depends on how things go in the next few days. We'll need to look at your hard drive and see exactly where we are at."
" You mean how much you can blackmail me with?
Again, she couldn't conceal her laughter.
" Oh, my. You really do have an overactive imagination ".
But that's exactly where things were headed with this mysterious Madame x, he just had to play along until he saw a way out. As long as they had his hard drive they had a huge bargaining chip, and he had zip. It was getting late, and he was spent from all the excitement the evening had produced. Although he was tired, he felt like he needed to do something and at least make one last ditch attempt at an escape. Should he wait for a moment for her to drop her guard and try to overpower her? Did she have backup waiting outside to fly in and rescue her if things went south? All unknowns, and it didn't help with his decision making either, which was getting exponentially more critical with each passing second. He lunged for the gun in her hand and it was lights out. He never saw it coming.
He awoke several hours later with a good size bump on his head and the accompanying throb of a recent wallop. These guys were pros to be sure. Her stealth and that of her accomplice proved that he was dealing with some heavy-hitters, but he still couldn't figure out what the hell they wanted with him. As far as he was concerned, he was small fry. Just some guy who wanted to hunker down on his PC and get off. And what was so wrong with that anyway? In his eyes, it was still sort of a victim less crime. As long as he was providing pleasure for his virtual partners, where was the harm in that? Of course, he knew that society would frown upon such a thing even though it had created more grotesque perversions of its own. But that was the type of inherent hypocrisy that got him going in the first place. Pedophiles and pornographers were all over the internet anyway, and he wasn't selling anyone's pictures or videos for profit either. In the grand scheme of things, he just didn't think it was a big deal. But obviously someone else did, or he wouldn't be sitting where he was right now. In need of an ice bag and lots of answers.