“So, Tynus creates the mock up ident cards, I will find out when our favorite security officer is on duty and distract her and Keiller,” Avon said, turning calculating, doting eyes on the other man, “since you’re so afraid, you can have some tea ready for us, when we get back. Now doesn’t that sound nice?”
“That’s hardly fair,” Tynus protested, not looking up from the computer schematics he was meticulously working away on.
“I still don’t understand why we need to carry the money out, Avon my buddy, my pal. Can’t you just . . . you know, wire it into a different account?” Keiller protested.
Stretching out in his computer laboratory chair, Avon said, “Of course. But where’s the challenge in that? Much more interesting to get your hands a little dirty, isn’t it?”
“You would say so,” Tynus mused dryly. He began diligently writing something down. Once satisfied, he looked back up. “I can get you in, Avon, but you can’t distract the security guard and break into the vault at the same time. I’m sorry to say, but you’re just not that charming.”
Smirking, Avon swiveled his chair completely around, stopping it as he faced Keiller. “No, you’re right. Keiller is the charming one.” Putting a foot out, he nudged Keiller’s chair. “Aren’t you?”
Obviously pleased with the praise, Keiller puffed up, his cheeks flushing with delight. “Oh, well, I do all right, sometimes. When I’m having a good day.”
Tynus rolled his eyes and returned to writing on his tablet, but Avon’s smirk just broadened into an affectionate smile. “You’re brilliant, Keiller. No need to be modest.”
“You . . . you really think so, Avon?” Keiller asked. “That’s awful nice of you. I’m just not really sure Davis will agree, though. She likes older men, you know.”
“We’re not trying to date her,” Avon said, using his foot to swivel Keiller’s chair. “Just distract her. You’re charming enough to do that, aren’t you? I’d only need ten minutes.” His voice turned sickeningly sweet. “I need your help, Keiller. You heard Tynus: we need someone to keep her attention while I break into the vault. I can’t do it without you.”
“Oh. Well, when you put it like that,” Keiller said, obviously pleased to have Avon’s affections on him. “I think I could manage that, if you trust me.”
“Of course I do, Keiller,” Avon practically crooned. “Everything hinges on your talents. Tynus and I would be utterly unable to do this on our own.”
“I never knew you realized that I . . . I mean, I always thought—but I never realized you noticed how I . . .” Keiller cut himself off, grinning marvelously. “I won’t let you down, Avon. I swear it.” He started to lean over, a flirtatious look in his eyes, and Avon leaned towards him, encouragingly.
“And those who do well are always justly rewarded,” Avon purred. Before Keiller could get too close, Avon pushed with the foot he had on Keiller’s chair and sent the other man rolling across the room. “No time to waste, now. Best go change into something less . . . academic.” Keiller sprung to his feet obediently, still caught by Avon’s penetrating gaze. “You look best in red, I think.”
Practically falling over himself to comply, Keiller hurriedly left the room.
Avon sprawled out in his chair, the back of it tilting until his head rested against Tynus’ shoulder.
“You’re a right bastard,” Tynus said.
“Naturally.“ Avon sat up, his coy nature dissipating. “Don’t fret, Tynus. If Keiller gets caught, we disavow all knowledge of events. If he happens to succeed, which I think he will, we line him up for the next time we get bored. There’s nothing to lose.”
“And what about splitting the shares of the money three-way instead of two?”
Laughing, Avon said, “Who cares about money? It is getting away with it that’s the fun. Pinching funding right from under the Academy’s noses? They’ll never suspect Alphas were behind it, and if they do, they will assume we would have wired the money. Carrying it out is ‘much too crude’ by our standards.”
“It is crude; crude and ineffective. You can wire a lot more than you can carry.”
“Let me worry about that,” Avon said, scooting closer to Tynus to look over his shoulder. “Have you got everything set up on your end?”
“Yes. This plan won’t fail because of me.”
“It won’t fail,” Avon assured him. “Now, you had better go and change too. I want to study the telemetry once more before I head in.”
“One day you’re going to trust a fool like Keiller to do your job and you’re going to end up paying for his mistake.”
“Promises, promises,” Avon said, rolling Tynus in his chair out of the way to get at the computer.
Sighing, Tynus got to his feet, but lingered by Avon. “You’re not really going to . . . do anything with him, are you?”
Smirking, Avon glanced up. “Why? Are you jealous?”
Tynus scowled. “No. The thought merely . . . repulses me.” He bent, putting his mouth to Avon’s ear. “And I don’t much care for soiled seconds.”
Though Tynus moved to kiss him, Avon neatly ducked his head to avoid him. “There will be time for that after we’re ten-thousand credits richer. And Keiller will not be invited.” Looking up through his eyelashes at Tynus, he said, “Don’t you trust me?”
“As much as you trust me,” Tynus replied. He held Avon’s gaze a moment longer, then turned and departed the room.
Once he was alone, Avon smiled, hacked into the Academy treasury and set up a time delay transfer to coincide with their infiltration of the system. Assuming all went well—and it always did, when he was involved—he would walk out carrying ten-thousand credits, but the system would simultaneously transfer another fifty-thousand to one of his numbered accounts. As the Federation would cover such a theft up, no one need ever know one thief hadn’t got away with it all.