Two Spirits: Lazarus
After a simple fairy tale becomes a world-wide cult, a terrorist organization uses it to infiltrate millions of computers – culminating in the accidental creation of an artificial intelligence.
Musselwhite, James E.
Two Spirits: Lazarus
Fiction - Computers, Internet, Terrorists, New Age Movement
2. Computers - Internet, Artificial Intelligence
3. Genetics, DNA Restructuring by Computer
© 2000 James Musselwhite
Cover Art © Sky Musselwhite
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form. This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead (unless explicitly noted) is merely coincidental.
The truth, is that Marcie Graham was a liar. She should have thought of herself as being a lucky woman - she had a great career, and the most remarkable ex-husband in the world. But, she had lived so many lies for so long that even the truth felt like a disguise to her now. Each new lie fit her like a glove. She wore her life, and it was wearing her down. So, in the rare moments when she was honest, she would say to herself, I hate my life.
She was carrying a leather brief case, and was dressed in a gray wool suit which was only slightly wrinkled from the flight. Her long dark hair was tied up in a tight bun that inexplicably, was still neat.
“Hey Ted, thanks for being here,” she said wearily to the tall man with the thick brown hair who was waiting for her at the bottom of the escalator.
“No problem Marcie,” Ted said. “Did you have a good time?”
“The usual.” She knelt down in front of the one-year-old boy asleep in the stroller and stroked his soft hair gently. “Babysitting again?”
“Yeah, Tim and Nancy had to go to a funeral.”
“They’re lucky to have you.”
Marcie was hardly surprised to see him with their neighbors little boy. They were busy, working full-time, and Ted was neither. She rose, and straightened the back of her skirt.
“Ted,” she said to him, “Could you get my bag? I have to go to the ladies room.”
“Sure. I’ll meet you back here.”
She reached out, and gave his shoulder a squeeze before she hurried off. That was always how they would greet each other when she returned from her business trips. No hug, no kiss, feeling awkward and out of place in a building full of demonstrative, emotional people.
She loved Ted, loved him with every fiber of her being, but he was just her ‘Special Friend’, and they were now a divorced couple who still lived together - the only ones in the world, as far as she knew.
Marcie entered the public washroom just behind a small brunette woman who went into the cubicle beside her. They switched briefcases under the divider without a word, as they had done so often before. It only took a few seconds.
She thought about Ted as she sat in the stall. None of her friends and colleagues had any idea who he really was, what he cared about, or what kept them close. Marcie wasn’t about to tell them anything. “Let them guess,” she had said to Ted. “A little mystery is good for the office gossip circuit.” To her, it was just one more lie. Tonight, she was tired of mysteries, and longed for an end to all of them, especially the one waiting for her in their basement.
After they had arrived home, Ted said, “I’m going to take Marshall home now Marcie. It's late, so please, try to not wake me when you get up in the morning, okay?”
“Okay,” she replied. “I’m probably going to sleep on my desk.” She listened to his soft snort of a laugh, stifled a smile, and went downstairs to her office.
After unlocking the always-locked door, and dropping down onto her old desk chair so hard that it groaned, she scanned the mess in front of her. On the left-hand side of her desk, a pile of file folders was stacked almost a foot high. To her right, was the open briefcase. Immediately in front of her were over two hundred black and white photos, obviously taken with a telescopic lens. She picked up the one nearest to her and peered at it closely using a large magnifying glass.
The picture showed four men standing outside a long tin building shaped like a corrugated tube cut down the middle. In the background, farm equipment and a silo could clearly be seen. Without taking her eyes off the men, she reached out with her free hand and pulled toward her the top filing folder, deftly opening it with one hand and sliding out several colour prints. She put the photographs side by side and compared them, making soft humming noises to herself.
* * * *
Walter Furman giggled to himself as his deft fingers neatly tied up the bundle of wires.
“Jesus, Waltman,” said Peter Grossman, looking up from his bench on the other side of the shed. “What the hell’s funny? You’re going to kill us all.”
This made him laugh out loud. “Oh, this little piggy won’t hurt us, will you piggy?” he said as he patted the dull metal casing.
“How much longer now, Walter?” said a voice from under the covers of the cot in the corner. “We have to get the thing on the truck, they’re expecting it by the end of the day!”
“Not long Alley, not long. I just need to test the uplinks. If everything checks out fine, we are in business!”
Albert groaned and rolled over. “Wake me when you’re done, okay?”
The Waltman giggled, stood up, and stretched. “Here we are, at the brink of history’s most famous moment, and poor Alley has a code in his node.” Bending over for a moment in front of the computer keyboard, he started the test program and said, “I’m going out for a walk, Petey Sweetie. When he beeps, give me a shout. And don’t touch anything!” he added, a rare serious tone creeping into his voice.
* * * *
Marcie was watching from the bushes as Walter exited the Quonset shed, lit a smoke, and started to pace back and forth like a tin soldier. Every fifteen minutes or so, this weirdo would come outside, smoke, and march. Marcie could almost set her watch to him. He’s gonna die if he doesn’t cut down. Why doesn’t he smoke inside? What do they have in there? She had so many questions, and so few answers.
She had gotten here at daybreak, in time to see Walter come from the house, cross the yard, and enter the Quonset hut. He would come out and smoke, stamp the cigarette out, and go back in like clockwork. A little while ago, Peter Grossman came out of the hut to talk to a man who had arrived in a battered old truck. Grossman passed an envelope to him, and went back into the hut as he drove off.
She wasn’t finding out anything new here. Whatever the Grossman brothers and Furman had been working on together, it was inside this nondescript and simple shed. What she needed, was to get inside and see for herself, but it had to be another time. She still had one more stop to make and was expected back at the office. She was definitely going to be late.
Exactly three minutes later, his smoke crushed underfoot, Walter went back inside. Silence again enveloped the lonely farmyard, and Marcie hurried back to the road and her car. Down the road, she noticed the man in the battered truck had stopped to change a flat tire. She drove past him, and didn't stop.
* * * *
“Did he beep?” Walter asked, addressing the short wiry man tipped back in a wooden chair, reading a newspaper.
“Huh? Nope, not a sound.”
“That’s too long. Should’ve only taken about two minutes.” He quickly crossed over and peered at the computer’s monitor. “Oh shit,” he said quietly, his hands at his side.
* * * *
Marcie was about two miles away, going fast, when the bomb went off. Her car stopped dead, a searing white light burned her eyes, and the wind ripped out of her lungs.