He glanced at the kitchen wall clock. The operation was to begin in earnest in another couple of minutes. He finished the coffee, then poured a third. It was just about time to do something about that lack of funds.
He returned to his desk and brought out the equipment again, sipping his drink while waiting for the temporal hub to re-establish contact with the future. When his connections sprang to life across the displays, he strangled the urge to check Silvia’s location and status. When working with skimmers, don’t be stupid and access stuff you want to keep hidden, he thought.
He had no reason to think the other skimmers had any interest in his sister, but he had no reason to think they didn’t, either. At the very least she could give them a link to him, one he’d prefer they didn’t catch wind of.
“Let’s move.” The chat message appeared and he swiped it out of his way, launching the tightly coordinated infiltration operation into action.
Within thirty seconds, skimmers from around the world had latched on to ephemeral streams of data in and around the Goldstream. They blocked data streams, substituting carefully crafted streams of the skimmers’ devising to defeat banking system security.
While they handled the security, Charlie struck deep into the Goldstream, skimming the tiniest amounts from randomly chosen accounts among the billions represented. The money funneled itself through a labyrinthine maze of accounts manned by other skimmers before finally coming to rest in the account they’d set up for the operation. They were accomplishing a skim the likes of which nobody’d been able to pull off before.
But nobody else had gear like he had.
He sent out some extra skims to top off his own accounts. It was risky; his gear could handle the security behind the screen the other skimmers had set up for the main op, but his account didn’t have the additional cover of the account maze. A slow smile crossed his face as his personal total ticked up quickly. Risky, but worth it.
All that electronic money would’ve made him a billionaire in the 1930s, even adjusting for inflation. As it was in 2041, he and his sister could live off it for years, maybe even a decade.
Within four seconds, the whole operation was over. The skimmers’ connections cut out, security was reestablished as if nothing had occurred.
“That’s that. Good job, guys,” Charlie typed. There was no reply. He frowned. He had a bad feeling. On a hunch, he tapped an icon representing the feed from a video feed he’d left in 2041. It was set to monitor the physical location of his ‘net signal; the same physical location he occupied in the 1930s, in fact, after you adjusted for the movement of the planet, and the solar system, and the galaxy, and the expansion of the universe itself.
The building had been converted into office space at some point in the future, but it was old and abandoned in ‘41. His feed gave him a real-time view of the area. He switched it on just to see the door into the room explode with bullet strikes seconds before masked figures kicked the remains down.
He cursed as he watched them search. They’d find the microscopic cameras seeding the area quickly enough, but that was all they’d find. The source of his ‘net connection was on his desk, more than a hundred years in the past. But it meant that someone was on to him. If they could localize his signal that precisely, it was possible they’d traced his activity and had some idea of what he was capable of.
It also meant he’d have to shift his physical connection point before he could return to 2041. For the time being, he was stuck.