Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)
The President of the United States was treating himself to an early breakfast of bacon and eggs. Why not? If a Commander in Chief couldn’t ignore his doctor’s orders on his 70th birthday, why bother to have the job at all? “Ready, Mr. President?” “Go for it, Harry.” Adlai Stevenson Harrison was the President’s Director of National Intelligence. He was also one of his oldest and best friends, and therefore one of the few advisors the President invited to join him in the family’s private quarters on the upper floor of the White House. Harrison took the Daily Brief he had completed a half hour before from his briefcase and handed it across the breakfast table as the President put on his reading glasses. “Hmm. I see you’ve moved Korea to the top position. What’s new since yesterday? Have they gone and sunk another South Korean boat?”
iBall.com CEO Chad Derwent sat alone in his office in Silicon Valley. Outside his open door, rows of empty, silent cubicles stretched from one end of the office floor to the other.For the last several minutes he had been staring down at the stack of papers on his desk, unable to deal with the reality of the title of the one on top: “Petition for Liquidation in Bankruptcy.” He couldn’t bear to look up at the picture on the wall where, he knew, Vinod and he were posed with their first half-dozen employees. Everyone was smiling, because iBall.com had just gone live on the Web. Back then, he’d never supposed it would end like this. But it had, and there was nothing to be done about it. Nothing to be done but pick up his pen and begin to sign the papers in the stack, one by one. The phone rang. Chad looked at it in surprise. Ever since it became clear that iBall.com could not survive, the stench of failure had descended upon him, and even his email had dwindled to a trickle. Was it his mother?
Frank stepped out of the dark, moonless night of the Nevada desert and into the bright light of the bar, restaurant and motel that was the Little A’Le’Inn. Along one wall ran a counter with stools and the backsides of a couple of locals. Behind the counter he saw a waitress, cash register, and a modest assembly of liquor bottles that apparently constituted the bar. That took care of the predictable part of the room. And then there was the rest.
Despite the odd spelling, there couldn’t be much doubt over the meaning of the café’s name. Hung on pegboards, sitting on shelves, and hanging from the ceiling was an impressively random collection of just about anything you might (or might not) imagine could be presented with an extraterrestrial theme.