4.

The footage was nothing to write home about.

It had been ignorant to allow myself to get my hopes up, but there was no changing the past. Mora had set his feed up so that it was in black and white and there was no sound. In addition, what few people were visible turned their backs to the cameras as they spoke. I was sure they had been instructed to do so.

"This is the best you can do?" I asked Nova, though in all actuality I knew it wasn't their fault. “Can't you enhance this footage?"

"This is the feed, sir. It is impossible to get a better version of something that does not exist. The only way to do so would be to guess. I am assuming guesses are not in line with your standards.”

My eyes closed as I held the tips of my pointer and middle finger to the bridge of my nose. "Can you read lips, Nova?"

"Yes sir."

"Good. I'll be over here, working. I want you to keep an eye on this footage and report any findings back to me. They're human, after all. They're bound to slip up sooner or later."

"Of course, sir."

Though I was preparing myself for an extended wait, I didn't even have the chance to get settled before Nova spoke.  

"I found something, sir."

My eyebrows pulled together in confusion as I glanced up from my desk. "Already?"

"Yes, sir."

"Who's speaking?"

"The secretary, sir. She is currently speaking to another woman."

"What are they saying?"

"The conversation began as a discussion of their evening plans, then moved to Dr. Mora. They seem to find him quite intelligent. I assume that does not particularly interest you."

I grit my teeth. If I didn't know any better, I would have said Nova was attempting to get under my skin. Sometimes I could swear that they had vocal inflections, ones they hadn't had before, but I was always quick to push those thoughts away. This was one of those times.

The words angered me to an extent I didn't like admitting to, so I didn't. “That is correct, Nova. With such an assumption, I hope you have something more useful for me.”

"Of course, sir. I believe the rest of their conversation is closer to what you were hoping for.” Everything inside of me insisted I shoot back a sharp retort, but I ultimately kept my mouth shut.

It was out of character for me, and judging by the pause that followed, Nova almost seemed to be waiting for it. However, they continued a few seconds later. "They are discussing a party that Dr. Mora seems is throwing. It seems he is getting desperate to prove to his investors that he is not slacking. He wants to speak to them all in one place."

"Sounds formal. Like a place I wouldn't be allowed through the doors."

"Most likely, sir. The second woman is asking the secretary if she is going to be there. They appear to be making plans. Again, uninteresting. However, one of them made a comment pertaining to the guest list that might be useful."

My eyebrows shot upwards at the statement. "And what exactly would that be, Nova?"

"It is digital, as opposed to a hard copy. These women believe the guest list to be less secure and easier to alter as a result. One mentioned that Dr. Mora's lack of concern is blemish on his intelligence. I have to say I agree with their statements."

Jackpot.

"Do you think you would be capable of hacking into their database?" I asked, crossing my arms over my chest as I attempted to slow my racing heart.

"I would have to locate the list first, sir."

"Is it possible?"

"Potentially."

I bit down on my lip as I considered the situation that had presented itself to me so suddenly. I had always wanted to crash a party; the fact that this one in particular belonged to the man that had ruined my career should have been the icing on the cake. However, upon my visit I would be exposed to people I hadn't seen for years, people I had hoped to never see again.

This would be making a statement.  

I would be saying publicly that I was indeed still alive, even if I had spent a long time pretending I wasn't. In a matter of seconds, my attempts at logical thinking were being overruled by years of anger.

What else did I have to lose?

"Alright, Nova," I said slowly. I wanted to get my thoughts in order before I spit them out to a machine that would follow my every word. "I want you to locate that guest list. Take every possible precaution to ensure you are not caught. Once you locate the list, insert my name. Use whatever organizational scheme the list does. If you do not know definitively, ask me before doing so. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir.”

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