Halloween Surprise (pt. 27/30)

After sunset

Lila reached for the logbook at the same time as Joe. Their hands collided and they fought over the document.

Finally Ian reached between them and grabbed the thin book. “Let’s put it here on the counter where we call all have a look.”

“But you don’t even read Russian,” Lila said incredulously.

“Doesn’t matter,” Ian admonished. “Maybe I’ll see something you miss.”

Lila ran her hand across the cover, smoothing the wrinkled paper. “Let’s start with the front. This looks like some sort of code. I’m hoping for this.” She swept her hands to include the whole setup around them.

Joe picked up from where she left off. “It took Ian going through two locks to get to it, so obviously it’s important. Maybe it’s a disarming sequence.” He looked around for anywhere they could input the numbers. There were two keyboards, one on each side of the vehicle.

Joe quickly walked to one of the keyboards and Lila assumed the ready position by the other one.

“Joe,” Lila called out quietly, “do you see where it says alternate monitor on the screen area? Click into that area and open up an interface.” Joe rapidly did as she said. Lila mumbled to herself as she searched through the system for the right computer program.

Joe motioned toward them. “I’ve found it. Go in through the internal dialogue box where it says system functions.”

“I don’t see it,” Lila said in frustrated tones. “Oh, wait, I got it. Now what?”

“There’s a place on the left hand side to enter letters, and digits on the right. Do you see it?” Joe asked Lila. He glanced at his watch. “And I hope you see it really quickly as we have less than 15 minutes to get this done.” Lila grunted in frustration as she scrolled through screens and received error messages, but she finally managed to access the menu.

“I’m guessing we have to enter everything at the same time. Joe, do you see the little lock icon on the top right of the final square?”

“Yep,” Joe said calmly. “Wait for me at the end and we’ll press enter together.”

“I’ll read out the code,” Lila offered. Ian took up a position beside her and aimed the flashlight at the cover, holding it up in front of Lila. She began to read aloud the series of number and letters. “S, no С. Wait.” She rubbed her eyes briefly. “I’m mixing my languages. Maybe Joe should do this.”

“Steady,” Ian told her, “Take a breath and focus.”

Lila took a deep breath and began once again:

С Р Н П 2 Х З 8 7 Ц Ю 9 Ш Б 2 4.” 

With a coordinated tap on the keyboard, Joe and Lila entered the last digit simultaneously.

“Ready?” Lila asked Joe.

“Ready,” he replied softly. “On the count of one press enter. One!”

They hit enter at the same moment.

There was a pause in the countdown, but then they heard a beeping noise.

“Shit. Error.” Lila’s eyebrows drew together and she pulled the cover closer. “Ian shine the light right… there. Yes, that’s it.” She studied it for a moment. “Crap, it’s Щ not Ш.”

She wiped the moisture from her forehead, perspiring heavily in spite of the rapidly dropping nighttime temperatures.

“It says that we get one more chance,” Joe pointed to the blinking message line on the right side of the screen.