Marisol had been ready, willing and able to earn the contract the right way. After all, her cybersecurity firm, CyberAthena, was the best, and Nicholas Kozlosky needed the best.
Kozlosky, Inc. was a multinational hedge fund, voraciously engaged in trading on financial markets around the globe. As far as Marisol could see, if a firm ever needed CyberAthena’s expertise in keeping the trading volume of short selling, leveraging, and derivatives safe, it was a target as rich as Kozlosky, Inc.
She'd shown up an hour early for her appointment with the Chief Technology Officer to discuss her proposal. She knew an organization's virtual security was only as good as its location security and user adherence to protocols, so she planned to take full advantage of the on-site meeting.
While she had extensively read Kozlosky’s security policies and procedures, seeing the headquarters and its employees in action with her own eyes was invaluable. She picked up her visitor pass and wandered the grounds, as silent as a ghost. Invisibility was a talent she'd cultivated over the years, turning what had felt like a curse during her adolescence into a profitable secret weapon in her adulthood.
After perusing the busy workplace thoroughly, she purchased a latte from the mini Starbucks in the lobby, then settled into an empty break room to make note of her findings. She’d noted no less than five points of access that an invited visitor could freely access and that was before she even touched on the clandestine visit she’d made the week before, dressed as a sandwich delivery person before changing in the bathroom into a suit. It was amazing what employees would agree to if they thought she was authorized, or worse, in a position of authority.
Engrossed in her work, she barely noticed the well-dressed man enter the room.
"Excuse me, hon?" the man said, snapping his fingers to get her attention.
Marisol looked up to find herself face to face with Chad Phillips, the owner of ClamShell Security.
"This thing is out of coffee and I've got a big meeting with the execs in fifteen. Could you make some more?"
Marisol stared blankly at him for a moment, trying to understand why he was there and what he wanted from her.
Chad rolled his eyes. “I'm aware that this probably isn't your job per se, but . . . come on. Help a guy out. Whatdaya say?” He winked and gave Marisol an I'm-patiently-waiting smile.
“Sorry, I’m busy,” she said, returning to her notebook. He cleared his throat and she looked up again.
“This is a really important meeting, sweetie. I need the caffeine. Be a doll and just . . . sort it out?” He bared his teeth in what he clearly thought was a charming smile, his irritation leaking through the gaps in his overly white teeth.
Marisol was quite used to being mistaken for staff and was even more used to people like Chad. She closed her notebook, got up, and opened the cabinet above the coffeemaker, where any thoughtful person could guess the supplies were stored. She removed the used coffee filter, placed a fresh filter full of ground coffee in the industrial machine, and pressed the start button to brew a new batch.
Chad, meanwhile, had forgotten she was there, too busy tapping on his phone to pay her any more attention. If he had, maybe he would have recognized her, or, at least, noted the executive visitor badge she wore.
Instead, she sat back down at her computer, now aware that ClamShell was her main competition for the bid. She felt strongly that Kozlosky, Inc. needed a cybersecurity administrator who could at least make his or her own coffee, so she did them a favor. She hacked Chad while he waited—impatiently—for the coffee to finish brewing. She hadn’t planned on using what she found. She’d hacked him to prove, if only to herself, that CyberAthena was truly the best option for Kozlosky, Inc.
Clearly, it was.
Five minutes after the coffee maker incident, Marisol had full access to most of Chad's corporate and private accounts and already knew more about him than she wanted. She was slightly embarrassed for Chad and ClamShell Security. His data was so easy to penetrate that she initially wondered if it were a ruse. Security, however, was no laughing matter to Marisol.
After ten more minutes, she’d had enough of Chad Phillips and ClamShell Security. She knew she could have kept digging and unearthing even more sordid secrets, but she'd found more than enough. After taking action on a few of her findings, she closed down her laptop and headed to the waiting area outside of the executive offices.
Marisol smiled to herself, thinking how unlucky it was for Chad that he'd run into her today. She’d closed his nine legal—though still fraudulent—dating profiles. But not before sending screenshots of the ridiculously fake profiles to his wife, using Chad's equally absurd RadChad gmail account. She’d considered leaving well enough alone at that point, then changed her mind. She decided to send Mrs. Chad Phillips her husband's secret bank account details as well. It was only fair that she knew the full extent of their joint assets, especially if divorce proceedings were imminent.
Silent, from her vantage point, Marisol watched Chad Phllips glad-hand the Kozlosky executives. She stifled a discreet smile as the conference door closed.
Chad Phillips adjusted his tie, preparing to present ClamShell’s bid to the heads of Kozlosky, Inc., as well as to the other minor executives who trickled into the oval-shaped conference room. All took their seats in padded leather chairs.
This was Chad’s element: showmanship. Give them the old razzle dazzle, he thought, fiddling with his device, attempting to connect to the interactive whiteboard which spanned the entire back wall of the conference room.
“Mr. Phillips?” prompted the Chief Technology Officer. “We’re ready for you to begin.”
“Good morning,” Chad smiled, his mouth full of expensive veneers. “We are honored to present our bid for the upcoming fiscal year. As Kozlosky, Inc. sets the standard in the financial world, ClamShell Security exceeds the standard in the cybersecurity world.” As Chad spoke, his artfully designed presentation appeared behind him on the wall. There was a picture of a skyline, brokers on the trading floor, a little girl with big eyes holding a balloon. “And while Kozlosky, Inc. makes the future brighter, ClamShell can make the present possible. Let’s take a look at some of our success stories.” Chad grinned and clicked his remote.
I’m Chad and if you are looking for more stuffing in your stocking this holiday season, swipe right.
Hearing his own voice, Chad looked like he had just thrown up in his mouth. Eyes agape, he slowly turned to see snaps of his romantic profiles splayed across the wall-length screen.
“Mr. Phillips!” warned the Chief Technology Officer.
I’m Chad. If you need some drilling but don’t like the dentist, I might be the doctor that can operate on you. Swipe right!”
I’m RadChad. If you are bad or a little mad, I’ll be your dad and spank you—maybe a tad.
“Mr. Phillips!” roared the Chief Technology Officer. “What is going on?”
Yeah, gonna get the gig today. Kozolsky is a whale and you can call me me Ishmael! Once we’ve got access, we can channel those funds through their account. Bro, we’ll be drowning in cash!
Ghostly pale, Chad Phillips flung himself at the laptop, and, seemingly forgetting how technology worked, attempted to cover the screen with his body. Behind him, the projector showed an old fashioned helmet with a snake curling from the right eye—the logo for Marisol’s company —and the words: CyberAthena protects you from the snakes in your midst.
Chad breathed heavily into the silence for all of one minute before the Chief Technology Operator stood. “Security,” he said into the telecom system, “Please escort Mr. Phillips off the property and add his face to the banned visitors list.”
Chad scooped up his assorted technology, shoved it unceremoniously into his briefcase, and slunk out of the conference room, accompanied by two burly men, without so much as a word.
Marisol watched him go, arching an eyebrow at him when he did a double-take at her sitting outside the conference room. Watching the cogs turn and the penny drop was an extremely satisfying moment.
“Marisol from CyberAthena? We are ready for you,” an assistant executive said. “Can I get you anything?”
“Actually,” Marisol said, entering the oval-shaped conference room, prepared to give the presentation of her life, “I could really use a cup of coffee.”
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Ooh that was a satisfying comeuppance. Nice job, all five of you! 😙
Leviathan appreciates the Manta Ray.
Lol, what a Chad. He deserved it! Another great story!
Leviathan despises all Chads and Karens, for that matter.
A very satisfying story, Leviathan! I think this is my favorite line: "Kozolsky is a whale and you can call me me Ishmael!" Good work!
Your support means everything to us.
That was a lovely story, but I'm afraid it ended too soon :). Sweet revenge! Chad is such a *insert insult*... Marisol was wonderful in handling the chauvinist Chad, and the euphemisms in Chad's dating profile(s) were delightfully ridiculous. Wonderful!