To Frank’s disgust, it was love at first sight for Lilly when Carl Cummings arrived to collect Frank’s passport. But Frank’s distaste turned to glee when he realized that the CIA agent hated dogs. Frank stepped back to better appreciate Carl’s futile efforts to fend off the obese corgi’s surprisingly energetic advances.
Predictably, Mrs. Foomjoy popped just then like a jack-in-the-box out of her door across the hall. Frank thought she looked magnificent in her full regalia of housedress, fuzzy slippers and curlers, as she fiercely admonished Cummings for his lack of appreciation for canine perfection. With an effort, she pushed past him and snatched Lily up, lighting into the startled Cummings with a vengeance all the while. And then, as suddenly as she had appeared, Frank’s apparition of a neighbor disappeared with Lilly behind her energetically slammed door.
The agent turned to Frank, a helpless look on his face. But Frank simply smiled and tucked his passport in the agent’s pocket. “Sorry for my bad manners, Carl. Next time I’ll introduce you.” He closed the door gently in the bewildered agent’s face.
Our story so far: At the end of an “interview” with a CIA agent, Frank realizes he may have become the prime suspect in the investigation of the ongoing hacking of Library of Congress. Now what? Read the first chapters here, and you can also follow the Further Adventures of Frank on Twitter.
Frank struggled to organize his thoughts as he left the fiasco of an “interview” he’d just endured at the hands of CIA agent Carl Cummings. Time to be logical, he thought, not emotional. If he didn’t start getting a hold of himself, at this rate he’d find himself in jail.
So what should be at the top of the decision tree, he asked as he walked back to his cubicle. Well, the first gate appeared to be whether Cummings really thought Frank was the culprit. If no, then Frank could relax, but if yes, then Frank could be in real trouble. Frank weighed the possibility that Carl was just jerking everyone around, to feel self-important. Negative, Frank decided. Everyone else thought the disappearing documents were part of a test, not a real exploit, and Carl would have wanted to keep it that way.
So that means I’m in trouble, Frank told himself. See? I'm making progress already.
Our story so far: Our hero, Frank Adversego is trying to catch a hacker threatening the Library of Congress, whose motives remain obscure. But the pursuer is about to become the pursued. Read the first chapter here, and follow the Further Adventures of Frank on Twitter.
While Frank was enjoying himself spear phishing venture capitalists, back at the Library of Congress files were flashing out of virtual view like fireflies on a summer’s eve. One by one, documents important and banal, short and long, drifted silently off in the digital darkness to points unknown, leaving only Alexandria Project contribution screen code behind.
Thus it was that at 10 on Friday morning, Frank’s office phone buzzed, and he heard the receptionist say, “Your turn, Frank. Conference room two.”
Frank logged off his computer and stood up with a thoughtful look on his face. Just enough time for a little self-coaching as he walked down the hallway. Stay cool, he thought. Be calm. You don’t have anything to worry about, so just tell the news.
From time to time over the past year I’ve noted that events in the real world involving North Korea have been closely tracking the plot of my book, The Alexandria Project. Among other events, North Korea has successfully launched a three stage rocket and threatened to use it to strike the U.S.; analysts have begun to speculate that the surprisingly low-yield nuclear weapons the North has tested may not be poor performing designs, but instead small devices purpose-built for missile launch against America. Just yesterday, the U.S. sent a pair of nuclear weapons-capable stealth bombers over South Korea, the same delivery means contemplated in my book.
Okay. Most of that could be attributed simply to the fact that I did my research well, and that others might make the same speculations based on past events that I did in developing my plot. But this morning’s news included a story that makes me seriously wonder whether my book has crossed the divide from predicting events to acting as a “how to” manual for real-world, state-supported cyber attackers.
North Korea threatened to launch a preemptive nuclear strike on its “aggressors,” including the U.S., ahead of a United Nations vote on tougher sanctions against the totalitarian state for last month’s atomic test. - Bloomberg News, March 7, 2013
The Alexandria Project Chapter 30: The Death Defying, Incredibly Exciting, Final Chapter!
“Do not underestimate the military, my friend. You must leave this in my charge and trust that it will be as I have promised. As soon as the missiles are ready, they will be fired. Approximately twenty minutes later, Washington and another city that will surprise you will be destroyed. There will be utter chaos in the enemy’s ranks, and in that chaos, I will give the order for our troops to attack across the border. Seoul will be ours before nightfall.”
Our story so far: Our hero, Frank Adversego now understands where the name "Alexandria Project" comes from, but hasn't been able to figure out much else yet about the mysterious cracker whose exploit threatens the Library of Congress. Read the first chapters here.
Frank fidgeted next to the cheese and crackers, looking helplessly for his daughter in the crowd. He hated social events with a passion, and especially having to speak to people he didn’t know. He was sure that every sentence he uttered came across as a brainless non-sequitur.
But fair was fair. Marla was finishing up an internship with a local high tech company, and at the last minute, her date had come down with the flu. She had kept him company at the Library of Congress holiday party the weekend before, and this time it was his turn.
“Please, Dad,” she’d said over the phone, “There’s this guy at work that’s been hitting on me all week. It’ll do you good to get out of your crummy apartment, and how can you turn down a request to protect your little girl?”
It also appeared that whoever was behind the exploit knew exactly what he was looking for, and had figured out where to find it. That suggested the cracker had managed to acquire some degree of inside knowledge, or at least …