Chapter I

Noa was still confused by the email she received at 3:43 AM in the morning, it was an invitation to Laycos… A new Social Network that, although she had heard about it before, she didn't know what it was.

Being the daughter of the late and legendary detective Harold Macmillan, her curiosity did not want to ignore the invitation that she received from a very famous person, Steve Tanenbaum, Magnate of new Technologies.

Short and simple, like he always talks, he invited her to "a Network"? Apparently, a space where you can share information, but the strangest thing about it was the name of the group called "Private investigation, warn Noa Macmillan". With a single click on a button she could enter, Noa felt very curious but at the same time, she also felt as if she was unfaithful to her lifestyle, she normally worked with different computer programs, telephone, tons of paperwork, emails and disorganized files.

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In front of her, she saw a laptop with a picture of the Canary Islands. She recognized it instantly because as a child she went there every summer on vacation with her parents. Noa felt relaxed, she did not know why but she had a safe feeling watching that screen, she as a neophyte to computers still had trouble separating herself from ink and paper.

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The next thing she noticed was the icon of an envelope with a red number in it, red as the lipstick her mother always wore and now she uses every day on her perfect lips inherited from her mother. The envelope did not say from who or where it came from, so she felt more intrigued than ever to read this important message.

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Slowly she took the mouse and moved it to the envelope, feeling curious but also a bit nervous about what she could find inside. Getting closer to the button she clicked quickly and as hard as she could. Then suddenly, a new window opened with a message:

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Dear Noa,

I still remember when Harold, your father, introduced us. You were still a little girl who only thought about having fun and, look at you now, a grown-up woman, with beauty, intelligence, and successfully working as a successor at the most famous detective agency in the city or probably of the whole country, Macmillan & Co. Now, you must be wondering why I'm writing you, it's because I need your help, just like I needed it from your father in the past. I miss him very much.

As you have seen, I’ have invited you to a Network, there you will find all the information you need, don't worry about anything, only you and I can access this information, Laycos is the safest place to communicate, everything is encrypted. When you read the information that I have shared with you, you will understand why it's so important. I’m sorry that my contact with you has to do with your work, but I do not know who else to turn to, I don't even trust my own shadow. Please, help me, you are my only hope. I don't know if I'm going crazy, but I think my life is in danger...

Kindest regards,

Steve Tanenbaum

Noa, still confused by his message, remembered Steve as a computer security freak, and a close friend of her father's childhood. If her father used Laycos to communicate important things with him, she had to trust him with her life.

Only after a few seconds she could react, then, she read the message over and over again. What could be so important to contact her? Suddenly, she noticed that next to the envelope icon where she read that unexplained mysteries message, there were many more icons. Passing over them with the mouse she saw different icons named: Search, Notifications, Timeline, Networks...

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-The answer must be here somewhere!- She babbled to herself.

With all the mysteries going on, she managed to click on the icon called Networks and a new window appeared on her laptop. She didn't doubt for one second that this had to be the key where Steve wanted her to be. Here she saw several icons, but there was one who highlighted above the rest: "Private investigation, warn Noa Macmillan", it had her picture as main information, but not any picture, it was the last picture with his father before dying in a strange accident, something she didn't want to remember ever again. Now, she was only one click away from even more information she did not know if she was prepared to see.

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Suddenly, another red number appeared, but this time in another icon, the chat icon. She clicked on it and saw a picture of Steve very well dressed in an expensive suit, and underneath his picture, there was only one word: Online.

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Noa knew from her father that Steve was not a night person, he never left home after 9:00 pm and rarely went to bed after 11:00 pm, so it was impossible that he was a night creature. It seems strange to see him awake at that time of the night.

-Are you there, Noa??- The question that had to come sooner or later.

-Yes, Steve, I'm here. Are you ok?-
I felt that something really was worrying him...

-Have you been able to read the information I have sent you? I think they're spying on me, I'm going insane!-

Even his way of writing, Noa sensed the misery and desperation of her father's friend.

-Hold on one second Noa, I just heard a loud noise on the first floor below me, I'm going to call you back in one minute.-

Below the picture of Steve, appeared a phrase saying, "Disconnected a few seconds ago".

Then, "Disconnected a few minutes ago" was the next message that appeared.

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Time passed by and Steve never communicated with her again. The disconnected message she received that it was already more than an hour ago wasn't normal. Suddenly she remembered where he lived, so, she decided to go straight ahead to Steve's house to see what was going on to finish this puzzle ones and for all.

She got quickly into her 69 Mustang car, the one and only possession she really cared about and went racing with screaming wheels to Steve's house.

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Arriving at Steve's house she felt that it had been an eternity the last time she was there. She walked up to the door to ring the bell but suddenly she saw that the door was open. Before entering and thinking as a detective, she shouted from the street:

- Steve! Are you here?? Steve, please answer me! But, nobody answered...

She took all of her courage and slowly entered pushing the door, Steve's home was completely dark. Shee tried to turn on the lights but none worked. Then, she went upstairs and down to the hall, where she remembered that Steve had his office, saw a little light and approached smoothly the room.

She instantly froze and couldn't move! Noticing two things, the first thing was the access screen to Laycos, shining so bright that you could see it from far away and, the dead body of Steve on the floor.

TO BE CONTINUE...

Author image

Sobre José Miguel Santana Hernández

Ingeniero Informático en Laycos Network
  • Las Palmas de Gran Canaria