Reggie Dymond wanted to take a break and stretch his entire body down to his fingers, but this wasn't the time to do so. There was only one last stop and he had to stay focused.

He had multiple virtual desktops going on his laptop. Each contained its own predetermined task. He swiped through to each one every few minutes to make sure everything was going as planned.

He was sitting in the back of a Starbucks near Union Square. It had taken him an hour of playing musical chairs to get to the perfect table. It was a small round table that was in the back corner by the barista station. With his back to the wall, he was safe from prying eyes. It was a bonus that the wall power outlet was within three meters.

He preferred being in his own room, away from the madness of the general public. But while they were on the job, the safest place to operate was away from home. This was one of the busiest Starbucks locations in the city. It was always filled with students, tourists, and casual New Yorkers. A third of them were, like him, busy with laptops, working on reports, presentations or the like. He didn't look out of place here, with his baseball cap hiding his eyes as he focused completely on his screen.

He knew not to trust the free wi-fi, so he used his own high-speed cellular hotspot. It was secured with encryption from any casual or pointed sniffing attacks. Reggie wasn't naive enough to think that he would always be the only hacker in the building.

"Ready," Hope's voice came through his bulky over-ear headphones.

He swiped to the virtual desktop that contained the remote window. He had infiltrated the ATSI, Automated Teller Solutions Inc., servers. The remote desktop window connected him directly to their servers as if he was physically next to them.

"4-6-1-8-2-8," she said.

He wasted no time and began running the scripts set-up to initiate the maintenance program. He plugged in the serial number for the specific machine that Hope was standing in front of.

For three months, Reggie had impersonated a remote contractor based in India. He went under a vague Indian identity that was completely verifiable. Not that ATSI cared to validate it. They paid him next to nothing for the amount of work they contracted him to do, but the job had allowed him enough time to access their entire system. 

Of course, ATSI had tried their best to sandbox him in an environment that should have kept him in a limited area of their network. They had most likely spent very little for that system as well. 

After his project had wrapped, they had changed his credentials, believing they'd locked him out. They had yet to find the multiple backdoors he'd made for himself. These weaknesses gave him more access to their network than even their Chief Technology Officer could wish for.

When the correct line of code came up, he read in a hushed voice, "Passcode is 2-0-6-7." This code's purpose was to verify that an authorized person was physically in front of the machine.

He could see the system working. Most modern ATMs are monitored remotely through software like the one provided by ATSI. The company also offered remote software maintenance and constant updates whenever needed. This also included checking the physical mechanisms within the ATMs, which was exactly what they were doing.

The text scrolled by quickly as the system readied the dispenser's feed test. It read that there were five hundred and seventy-seven bills in the machine. Eleven thousand, five hundred and forty dollars. The module then asked him to confirm, Y or N. Reggie typed Y.

It then read that it was ready for dispensing.

He read out to Hope, "Be ready. Feed test will begin in 5-4..."

He envisioned her setting up her hands over the dispenser as they had practiced a hundred times.

"...2-1," he said. Pipe symbols repeated on the screen to indicate it was currently dispensing the bills.

He took the moment to look around the coffee shop to see if anyone was watching him. Everyone was focused on whatever they were doing, not noticing him at all. He did his best to keep from getting too excited.

The others were not yet aware of the amount of money they had drawn in the last few days. They had been working at a breakneck pace over the last fifty hours to hit as many machines as possible. They had targeted machines in Washington, D.C., yesterday, Sunday morning, just after they were refilled from Saturday's shopping withdrawals. They finished Boston late last night, and were finishing up closer to home now. The authorities would already be investigating Washington and Boston. With any luck, it would be days before they made the connection between all three cities.

While the rest of the crew could not yet know how much the take was, Reggie had recorded the exact numbers. He swiped over to the desktop where he kept a spreadsheet to track the locations, serial numbers, and notes of all the machines they had hit. He plugged in the new amount for Hope's latest withdrawal. The number in the total box made him smile. He could not wait to tell the others.

"I'm done," said Hope.

The thick bordered cell read, "Three million, two hundred, forty-five thousand, three hundred and sixty dollars."

Roman's voice came in, "Let's all head home."

This has been an excerpt from my full-length novel Jubilee: The Heist to Erase Debt. Available on, in audio, and almost everywhere else

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