October 17, 1994 - 6:43 AM Sharp Mary Birch Hospital 3003 Health Center Drive, San Diego, California Teresa Marrendona smiled contentedly down at the newborn in held front of her. The searing pain of childbirth she had felt moments before slowly ebbed away, then subsided. She stared at the child, a mix of indescribable emotions flowing through her. Another perfect, lovely, healthy child. She thanked God, thanked Raki, thanked her friends, thanked the nurses around her. Her eyes welled with tears of joy as she bent forward and accepted the child.
February 7, 2002 - 3:04 PM AOL ISP Building Unspecified Location The receptionist at AOL building thumbed her iPhone, bored out of her mind. She had grown accustomed to the customer complaints. That's all that they ever wanted to do. To complain. Anyway, that didn't matter, the pay was good. Her boss let her use the phone as long as she kept an eye on the parking lot and didn't let anyone see the phone. Her text conversation with her friend was interrupted when a movement behind the entrance doors caught her eye. She slipped the iPhone under her desk and looked up. A man wearing a business formal suit and holding a large briefcase pushed open one of the double doors and strode inside. "How may I help you, sir?" she inquired politely. "I would like to speak with Mr. Ridley." Mr. Ridley was the name of her boss. She nodded towards him. "Business meeting?" "No. I would appreciate if you call him now. I would like to speak with him in person." She sighed and picked up the phone. "Mr. Ridley, a man at the front desk wishes to speak with you." Mr. Ridley's voice came through the reciever. "I'll be with him shortly."
Mr. Ridley stepped through the doorway, placing himself in front of the man with the briefcase. He didn't remember seeing him before. He cleared his throat. "Who are you?" The man slipped his hand into his jacket and brought out a wallet. He flipped it open, the fancy identification card facing Mr. Ridley. His jaw dropped open. The FBI's here?
The agent closed his wallet and slipped it back into his jacket. "I would like to speak with you in private, sir." "Uh, yes, right away. Come to my office." "The servers in this building are providing internet services to a suspected terrorist. It is of national interest for the FBI to monitor his internet activity. You are to remain silent regarding this affair unless requested by the courts or the government to do otherwise." "Do you have a warrant?" Mr. Ridley asked. The agent placed his briefcase over the desk and opened it. He rotated it around the table so it faced Mr. Ridley, revealing it full of papers. Stupid PATRIOT Act... He glanced at the papers. He didn't really want to read all of those government papers. "Sure, whatever. Remember the warrant only lasts a month." "I'll be gone by this afternoon," the agent crisply replied. He left, heading in the direction of the hardware rooms. He left a few hours later, and Ridley checked the logs to see if anything had changed. Of course, the FBI probably wouldn't leave a trace. He was right, the agent had wiped all traces of what he had done. There were two things both men didn't realize. The first was that in the during last month, there was new software being placed throughout a system that transmitted and received data with countless citizens. The second was that the software had opened a backdoor in the firewall systems of many internet service providers. March 3, 2002 8:04 PM Marrendona Apartment San Diego, California "Honey, I'm home!" Raki Marrendona called out happily as he closed the door behind him. "Over here, Raki. I need to talk to you." His wife, Teresa stepped around the corner, from the kitchen. Her face was somber, which made Raki worried. A furrow wrinkled his brow. "Sweetie, what's wrong?" He put his arms around her, and rubbed her back slowly. She buried her face in his shoulder, and wrapped her arms around his waist. They held each other for a few seconds. She bit her lower lip. "I have to leave the family. You might not see me again." He froze for a few seconds. Something caught in his chest. He pulled back and looked at her face. "What?" "Raki, I have to leave. The family's in danger if I stay. I'm special a"
He choked up. "You'll always be special to me. I need you, the children need you. Don't leave." Why was she doing this? "Is someone dangerous after you?" She nodded. "What about the police?" "Honey, the government is after me. They threatened to use me for biological experiments..." "They can't get away with that." "I'm on the terrorist watch list." "We'll make a scene. Have a court case." "You don't understand. I'll just disappear." October 17, 2002 5:00 PM DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Headquarters 3701 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, Virginia Tyler Lawrence Snow stepped into the room. A man in his late forties, he was tall and thin, with wire rimmed glasses propped on his long nose. He had rushed through a Bachelor's degree in neuroscience and attained a PhD in artificial intelligence. His colleagues referred to him as the "ruler", because of his belief that he was always in charge of situations, and as a pun for the measuring tool and his affinity to consider everything in a mathematical perspective. His straight military posture helped reinforce that nickname. Right now, he wasn't in the leadership role, and he wasn't doing math. He grimaced as the door shut behind him. The room was a windowless office, with certificates and awards lining the walls. On the far side stood a large mahogany desk covered with papers and electronics. Richard Harrison, a short, stout man with gray hair was seated behind it on a large leather chair. He reminded Tyler of an old turtle. He beckoned to Tyler, and pointed a chubby finger at a chair in front of the desk. "Take a seat, Mr. Snow." Tyler reluctantly gave a short bow and stepped forward and seated himself. "Thank you for considering my proposal," he said with the best etiquette he could muster. Richard Harrison leaned back into his chair. "What you are proposing is a new field in biology, neurology, and computers. A few years ago I would have considered this impossible. However your team believes that this... experiment will yield the results that you predicted." Tyler nodded, and smiled. The man had praised his hard work and research on the project. "We calculated and analyzed everything with extensive scrutiny. There is no fault in the theory, and I am sure the funds you will supply us will serve our national security well." Richard nodded. "You went over the useful applications of the project extensively. It is a dream of mine to hold that much power." He paused. "It seems
quite risky, however. And the funding will be difficult to acquire. I would not want to throw any percent of that cash down the drain." Tyler decided to take a risk. "DARPA isn't new to taking risks for high yield investments." "You're quite correct. However, is there a possibility that the project would deviate from our orders, and possibly pose a threat to our nation?" Tyler sighed. "There are countermeasures in place. Brain activity will be monitored, and if a problem should occur, we can either reset or destroy the project safely." Richard smirked and stood up. "And we would learn from our mistakes. I'll devise a route to get the cash to you. A team will inspect your laboratory to confirm the validity of it's procedures. If I am satisfied, I will provide you with new equipment, and the, uh... items needed for the experiment. Thank you for seeing me in person." He extended an arm to shake. Tyler stood and took it. "Thank you sir." Richard looked him in the eye, and gave him a crooked smile. "ALICE better make me proud."