Crack-Shot Repairs was a computer repair store, or looked like it from the outside. It was shabby, with barred windows and doors, and a couple of neon flashing signs and located in a back alley far removed from the busy and retail streets. It was one of those stores that you hear about from a friend of a friend if you’re looking for some off-market computer chips, motherboards, secret codes or even the latest software that has yet to hit retail shelves. It operated as a hacker’s village, selling it’s seedy and questionable merchandise and intel for the right price.
If it wasn’t for Avis’s mini adventures as a youth, around the city at night, she would never have stumbled upon the techno-oasis. For the past three years she’d visited the Repair shop whenever she had a row with her mother, or just felt lonely. At Crack-Shot Repairs, Avis’s talents towards gadgetry and computers were revealed and expanded upon. They taught her to hack, the repair people taught her the guts and heart of all computers that ever existed on earth while Avis was able to bring the limited knowledge of her mother’s alien technology with her and apply it to create more powerful computers. She wouldn’t call herself a guru, but she did began to gain a reputation for her unusual creations and skill.
It was there that Avis ran to, through back allies, climbing over buildings and jumping over cars. It was nowhere near the cemetery her mother was just buried in, in fact it took her further away from the midnight meeting now only forty-five minutes away. She needed a run, to clear her mind and figure out what she was going to do about this lawyer. It was the first time since the explosion Avis could get out and flex her muscles, for a brief moment all of her worries, her sorrow vanished as she flew through the city keeping herself to the shadows, hidden from obvious sight. She was a ghost, a hollow form of what she used to be. Even with the run, the moment she stopped outside the store front, her problems seemed to hit her harder than before.
A bell rang when the door opened, Avis stepped into cramped shop. Shelves were filled with computer accessories, software for sale and games of all platforms, making a maze to travel through to get her way towards the back counter.
“Long time no see little one.” Came the reply of the man who sat behind the desk, his eyes not even looking up from the computer screen to see who it was. He was bald, his pale white skin tattooed with a number of images, dragons, women, swords and celtic designs. The glow of the computer screens reflected off his rectangular black rimmed glasses. Unlike many of the other workers who came in wearing whatever they pleased, hoodies, insulting t-shirts or leather jackets, Jax was more professional with a collared shirt overtop of his Iron Maiden t-shirt. “Was starting to think you’d found some other shabby store to sell your talents too.”
“What and give up on all the perks here?” Avis replied, thankful for the candid and typical response from Jax, it made her feel normal for a moment. That is until he looked up from his screen and took in the sight.
“What the bloody hell happened to you?” He blurted out in his heavy Scottish accent. “Got into a fight?”
“Sort of.” Avis replied. “I need a favour.” She added, getting right to the point. Lifting her macbook out of her back she set the warped and charred laptop down on the counter. Jax gave a whistle. “Can you pull the data off of it and burn me a disk?”
“If there’s a hard drive left? What have you gotten yourself into little one?” His eyes shot back at her. “That fire the other night, that was you, wasn’t it?”
“I don’t have much time. Can you do it tonight? I’ll be back in two hours.” Avis said, ignoring Jax’s question. She just wanted a job done, not to have another person question her about her life, her mother and how she was handling herself.
“You’re going to have to give me more time than that. This thing is burnt baby. Better luck startin’ over is my opinion.”
“That’s why i’m asking it as a favour.” Avis said, her voice softening, a pleading sound entering her tone. “Please. I’m leaving the country tomorrow, my entire life’s on that.” What’s left of it anyways, she thought to herself.
Jax leaned back and stared hard at the laptop and up at the girl who had helped his business expand in profits the past year. “Fine. Two… maybe three.” He gave in. “Only because of that trick you gave me last year. It’s a favour, we’re even after that.”
“Thank you Jax.” Avis said with a bright smile. “While your at it, try to get my info off my iPhone too.” She added dropping the equally abused cell phone on top of the macbook. Jax groaned as Avis began to leave the store, stopping at the door one final time to look back.
“Jax, if i’m not back in two hours. Send police to Arkell Cemetery.”
“You’re in a mess, aren’t ya?” Jax asked with a concerned look on his face.
“I don’t know.” Avis replied just before stepping out of the shop, the door crashing behind her.