Williams could hear the theme music playing that, as always, provided the bridge between the pre-recorded reading of the headlines and the live portion of the show. Even now, six years after succeeding Tom Brokaw as anchor and editor of NBC’s nightly news show, he listened with satisfaction as a taped voice intoned, “From NBC World Headquarters in New York City, this is NBC Nightly News, with Brian Williams.” All across America, some 10 million faithful viewers were settling into their couches and chairs as usual to watch the leading evening network news show.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION
TO THE ALEXANDRIA PROJECT
– 0000 – 0001 – 0010 – 0011 – 0100 – 0011 – 0010 – 0001 – 0000 –
George Marchand was not sitting comfortably at home, beer in hand, watching the evening news. He was therefore not immediately aware that the Alexandria Project had made good on its promise to take its campaign for cybersecurity, whether real or diversionary, to the public. Instead, the covert CIA cybersecurity chief was sitting at his desk in the bowels of the Library of Congress when both his desk and cell phones began ringing simultaneously. As he paused to decide which to answer first, he glanced up at his email queue, only to see that new messages with “urgent” icons next to them were popping up like crocuses on the first warm day of spring.
By 8:00 PM that evening, a furious Carl Cummings found himself standing in a cold drizzle across the street from an elegant town house in Georgetown. With Bert and Ernie and just about every other resource – except Carl – suddenly assigned to tracking down whoever might be behind the Alexandria Project, Carl had no choice but to tail Marla in person. According to Bert’s last log entry, half an hour ago Marla had disappeared into the tastefully restored colonial residence with a well-dressed, thirtyish gentleman. Only a single muted light filtered through the closed curtains of an upstairs room. And then that light winked out.
Carl stepped further back into the shadows. He hoped for more reasons than he was prepared to admit that Marla and her “friend” would momentarily reemerge onto the street. Five minutes later, he was still waiting.
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