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Tuesday, July 22 2014 @ 02:29 PM CDT

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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 13: What Goes Around (can come back and bite you)

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Westfälisches Museum für Naturkunde (Münster), feathered headdress of the Sioux - Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/GNU Free Documentation LicenseFirst the engine of the minibus died, and then the lights. In the sudden darkness, Frank’s light-bedazzled eyes could see nothing, leaving him temporarily immobilized. He heard the door to the VW open and close quietly. And then, a quiet voice from a shadowy figure by his side.
“Hello, Frank. How have you been?”
“Fine. And you?”
He heard a familiar, musical laugh. “I suppose I have some explaining to do, yes?”
“Yes, Josette, I suppose you do.”

 

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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 12: In-tro-du-cing the Next President of the United States!

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Cigar label, c. 1868 - Courtesy Thoma Ruefner/WikipediaFrank closed the back door of his camper behind him and peered carefully around its corner. There had been no room for a vehicle his size in the motel’s main lot when he arrived, so he’d found it necessary to park in an overflow lot beyond the pool area. Only a few cars and pickup trucks shared the lot with him now, one of which must hold the person who was helping himself to Frank’s wireless connection.

But no one could be seen in any of the vehicles nearby. Some were at odd angles, though, and the faint glow of a laptop might not be visible, especially if someone was being careful to avoid detection. He’d have to walk around the lot and try to get a better angle to tell for sure. Suddenly he felt insecure; how many of those pickup trucks had gun racks in their cabs, he wondered? Maybe it wasn’t so important after all to know who the hacker was. 

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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 11: I Guess I've Just Got to be Frank with You

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Okay, so maybe you haven't bought my book.  But that's not Frank's fault, so I couldn't just leave him stranded in the midwest, could I?

Courtesy WikipediaFrank shook his head in disbelief as he turned his radio off. Who could have predicted that talking heads on the evening news would ever look to Fidel Castro to provide a cogent assessment of an American primary season? Frank might be having a hard time starting a non-fiction book about cybersecurity, but thank goodness he hadn’t set out to write a satire about this bizarre election season. How would you parody a parody? All you could do would be to quote the actual candidates. Anyway, that wasn’t his problem.

What he was wrestling with at the moment was what to do when he got to Iowa. Heading to where the political action was had seemed like a great idea when he first turned east. It wasn’t until he crossed into Colorado that it occurred to him that a caucus state would offer next to no opportunities for a hacker to corrupt the voting results.

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The Lafayette Deception - Intermission: The High Price of "Free"

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Welcome to the sequel to The Alexandria Project, a cybersecurity thriller.  If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). You can read a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception here every Monday.

Think_About_Balance, courtesy of  ikaxer/Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later versionAs you may have noticed, last Monday passed without my posting a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception. I’d like to explain why, and also invite you to reflect on the role that the consumer of creative work will play in the future of writing.

The fundamental question comes down to this: will writers be able to make a living in the future from their craft, and if not, what will the quality and variety of writing be like?
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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 10: Vive la Revolución!

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Welcome to the sequel to The Alexandria Project, a cybersecurity thriller.  If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). You can read a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception here every Monday.

Courtesy Kamalnv/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 UnportedFrank looked hungrily at the establishments on both sides of the main drag of Cedar City, Utah. He’d lost eighteen pounds, and it was payback time.

It had been early that morning, before sunrise, that he had left his campsite on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Now it was almost Noon, and he was a third of the way through Utah and had waited long enough. Impatient drivers swung around him as he motored slowly up the street, compiling a mental list of every restaurant, bakery, ice cream store and other variety of food emporium he encountered along the way.
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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 9: Time In and Time Out!

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Welcome to the sequel to The Alexandria Project, a cybersecurity thriller.  If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). You can read a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception here every Monday.

Church tower clock - from Tellin's Musée de la cloche et du carillon - Courtesy Nieuw/Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported“That’s right, Vicky. Simple as that. So can you guys take it from here?”

“Sure thing, Frank. No problem, and great work!”

In fact, it hadn’t been great work that had finally allowed him to crack the mystery of the flipping poll numbers. Just greater attention to detail. Once he had spotted the few extra bytes of code in the server’s time check code he knew that he’d found the chink in the system’s armor that the hacker had exploited. After that, it had been relatively easy to figure out what happened next.

Settling back in his chair, he stared out across the magnificent void of the Grand Canyon, and then smiled wryly. Not quite a perfect metaphor for his state of mind, but it would do. He felt good about cracking the problem he had been tasked to solve, yes, but now what? Suddenly he was at loose ends again, with nothing to fill his time except the fading goal of writing a book.
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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 8: The Doctor will Diagnose you Now

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Welcome to the sequel to The Alexandria Project, a cybersecurity thriller.  If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). You can read a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception here every Monday.

Jan Steen: The Doctor's Visit (betwee, 1658 - 1662), courtesy Jarekt/Widimedia CommonsFrank was puffing his way up the dirt road leading away from the canyon rim, focusing on his breathing. He’d actually lost five pounds in the first week of his new regime, and had also progressed from walking fast to alternating walking with short bursts of labored jogging. The near-term goal he was now focusing on was to reach the point where his jogging interludes were longer than his walking ones.

He hadn’t been as successful on the technical front. Despite the revelation that whatever had been interfering with data on his server hadn’t affected the same data on his laptop, he was still struggling to figure out why. Worse, when he had tried the same exercise a second time, the data on his laptop did flip. But what had changed? Had he done something different the first time without realizing it, or was there a vital clue that he was missing?
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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 7: What a Difference a Diet Makes

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Welcome to the sequel to The Alexandria Project, a cybersecurity thriller.  If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). You can read a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception here every Monday.

Kennedy - Nixon Debate, 1960.  Courtesy Wikimedia CommonsFrank was sitting inside his camper, a bowl of diet popcorn at one elbow and a small dumbbell at the other. The elbow next to the popcorn was getting most of the exercise. On the opposite side of the camper hung a large flat screen TV, and on that set the latest, pre-primary season Republican debate was about to begin.
Like many other Americans, and indeed like a surprising number of satellite viewers around the world, Frank was curious to see how Lamar Wellhead, the latest entrant to the Republican field, would fare in his first performance under the scrutiny of the public and the national media. As usual, he had rocketed to the top of the polls within days of announcing his candidacy, but few besides Frank knew that this was almost certainly a manufactured illusion.
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The Lafayette Deception: Chapter 6: Me Client, You Server

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Welcome to the sequel to The Alexandria Project, a cybersecurity thriller.  If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). You can read a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception here every Monday.

Frank was only a couple hundred yards from his camper, but already he was gasping for breath.  He wanted to blame the 8,000 foot elevation of the North Rim, but suspected he couldn’t pin all of his distress on the thin air.  After all, he hadn’t engaged in anything more strenuous than a fast walk since high school.  And he hadn’t been in great shape then, either.

He lurched to a halt and leaned forward, hands on his knees, gulping in the cold, clear air of the morning.  Surely this was hopeless.  What had he been thinking?   

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The Lafayette Deception, Chap. 5: Report of the Marvinites

Lafayette Deception (a Cyber Thriller)

Welcome to the sequel to The Alexandria Project, a cybersecurity thriller.  If you'd like to read the book this series is based on, you can read the first three chapters for free here (just click on the cover of the book). You can read a new chapter of The Lafayette Deception here every Monday.

Courtesy of Maurizio Vicentini & Massimo Grosso.  This Wikimedia Commons file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licenseFrank gazed out over the immeasurably vast canyon that stretched for miles before him, bedazzled by the silent, bright sunlight of an early autumn morning.  The enormity of the view was so overwhelming that the infinitely crenellated details of mesa and river, cliff and spire seemed dimensionless and unreal.   

It was unusual for him to sit so placidly for so long.  Usually he would notice an internal flaw of logic in some random thought passing through his mind, setting his brain in motion until the underlying, disharmonious  concept had been identified, the random thought properly rephrased, and the result mentally stamped as ‘resolved.’ Or perhaps some inscrutable object or action would catch his eye, presenting a puzzle that needed solving before his mind would permit his eye to move on.

But not today.