I clutched the three dollar thumb drive in my pocket, knowing it was worth so much more. So much more. I fell into this fortuitous situation thanks to an overheard conversation. It didn’t matter that my inclusion was a return payment for my silence. It was worth it. I was inside the circle now.
The CFO was as adept at manipulating information as he was people. His salary paled in comparison to the money being siphoned through the fictitious hedge fund. The return on these investments was usually risky. This one was a sure thing thanks to the aforementioned manipulation skills.
I was the first one to arrive in the server room. Hidden behind the stack of CPUs that would make me my million were five USB sticks, one for each of us with instructions provided by the CFO.
I snagged mine before sneaking back out the door. I was the last one added to the group, one more than they’d ever intended. I knew that I wasn’t benefiting as much as the other four, but it didn’t bother me. One million would be just fine.
I quickly yet slyly proceeded to the coffee shop around the corner to inspect its contents. Everything was to be done on personal machines. No corporate connection could be inferred. The USB drives were risky enough, but still safer than email.
I plugged in the USB stick and waited for the prompt. I typed in my password, M!lli0n5, and awaited my instructions. Invalid Password.
Damn. How could I mess this up? I was sure that I had it right. I tried every variation with no luck. I stared at the drive sticking from my computer, trying to come up with other permutations, when I realized the problem. The block numbers etched on the stick. I read them upside down. I grabbed number two, not five.
I should’ve just returned to the server room and retrieved the correct stick. My already mischievous behavior intrigued me. I looked at the password again. It spelled millions. Could it be?
I typed another password at the prompt and was less than surprised when access was granted. M!lli0n2 was the password for stick two. The weak password had a suffix. The screen flashed before presenting me with instructions that I should’ve expected.
Number five is a concern and needs to be dealt with. Buy 500 shares each. It’ll remove him from the equation.
I may have been naïve, but not dumb. They were planning on choking my cut of the earnings while simultaneously adding it to each of their own.
I was furious, but kept my emotions in check. Returning to the server room, I grabbed all five sticks. My role as IT lead was an oversight on their part.
After reprogramming each of the drives with revised instructions, I replaced them in their original position. I knew now this would be my last week with the company. But, it would certainly be worth it, for many reasons.