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Like Mind 2: Chapter 2 - Crisis + Opportunity = Crisitunity
Continue the adventures of Corey as he texts people, uses Skype, and tries to avoid going back to bed. Read the chapter below, on Kindle (http://goo.gl/DsYkDg), or PDF (http://goo.gl/pg3jwI). ___________________________________ I woke up to a text from my friend Eduardo Colineive. I hate waking up to text messages. Dude, you awake? Why do text messages that wake you up always ask if you’re awake? O cruel Fate! I struggled to focus on my phone for a moment before realizing that without glasses focusing is much more difficult. Bespectacled, I tapped out my response. I am now. What do you want? The reply was so fast it seemed cued up. I have something to send you. Do you have Dropbox? The non sequitur threw me for a moment. Yeah, I have a Dropbox. What for? I’m in trouble man. I need to send you a file. OK. I guess. Cool. What’s your Dropbox email. I sent him my email address. A moment later my phone notified me of the shared folder I’d just been invited to. What’s this all about? There’s a readme file in the folder. Read it. And make an offline copy of that folder. NOW! Something about his frantic texting moved me out of my bed and to the laptop across the room. Eduardo wasn’t typically so uptight. We hadn’t been in contact for a couple of years, but I remembered him being a focused, thoughtful computer guy. He was way more into the software while I stuck with the hardware, but we got together at a local hackerspace in Portland. He’d be furiously updating code for the latest smart phone mod or some cheesy retro game. I’d be piecing together junk to make a steam-punk computer case or finding a way to put a slot-load DVD drive into the belly of a taxidermied marmot. We’d gather around the Red Bull machine and swap stories. One time we went and played “Magic the Gathering” at his friend’s house. It wasn’t really my scene, but I had fun. We would shoot each other ideas whenever they came up. It was one of those casual friendships that doesn’t take much effort and doesn’t give much in return. Just my style. But now Eduardo was panicked. I pulled up the readme file in the Dropbox folder as the rest of it synced to my computer. The encrypted folder looked to be about five gigabytes. Dang! What did he have in there? Readme 1.0.1a If you’re reading this I need your help. In this folder is an encrypted file that contains sensitive information. This information is my lifeline. Because you have it, hopefully I’ll stay alive. You need to know a little bit of my story before you understand what’s happening here. I was contracted to work for the US government. At first I thought it was a sweet gig. They gave me super fast computers and asked me to clean up the code they were writing. I could do that all day long. But they only gave me little bits of the code at any one time. It took me a few months to figure out what the whole thing was supposed to do. That’s when I got scared. The US government has a program that allows them to see any email, listen to any phone call, and intercept any text message that passes through servers on US soil. They claim it’s to prevent terrorism — and I believe that’s what they intend it for — but it could be used to spy on anyone in the US and most people in the world. Without permission, without a warrant, without anyone knowing, they could find out anything. That’s not OK. So I took it. I took the information that proves what they’re doing. In a short time I’ll release that information to the press. After then I’ll be hunted by the US and her allies. You have this encrypted file to help keep me alive. Inside the file is everything. All the information that would be most damaging to the NSA, the CIA and the FBI is in there. If anyone sees it, they would be able to effectively hide from any US surveillance or even fool the agencies into believing something that isn’t true. I don’t want that information to get out. It would cripple the intelligence community for years and weaken the US. But I also don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a secret prison with no chance of ever leaving. So, if anything happens to me, you will get the decryption key and contact information for the members of the press I’ve been dealing with. You can anonymously give them the information with no risk to yourself. I hope you don’t have to use this, but my only hope is that you’re willing to. ~Ed I sat back in my chair stunned. Not that the NSA was spying on everyone without their permission, but that Ed had figured out a way to let the world know. After shooting down a swarm of drones on the streets of Seattle, I didn’t really think there was a limit to what the NSA would do in the name of national security — or their version of it anyway. As I tried to wrap my brain around the awful power I had in my hands now my phone buzzed again. You get it? Ed asked. Yeah, I just read your thing. Dude! I know, right! Where are you now? It took him a moment longer to reply than normal. I can’t tell you that. Sorry. You’ll be seeing more of me soon. I hope. Alright, man. Stay safe. That’s the goal. I stared at my bed pondering the value of going back to sleep versus just staying up. I tried to convince myself that staying up was the wise choice. I would have more time for my day. I could get some coffee. But my bed just stared at me with the silent seduction of warm, rumpled sheets. Bed reached out and telepathically reminded me of the safe weight of a comforter and the blessed darkness that could be mine with the covers pulled up over my head. Bed was right. I sat down and started to get in when my phone shouted at me again. Damn! Have you seen the news? It was Anka. No, I just woke up. What’s going on? Some yahoo just leaked a bunch of stuff on the NSA. They’re going crazy here in the Helena office. More like a houyhnhnm. What? Jonathan Swift? Huh? Gulliver’s Travels? So? Yahoos and houyhnhnms? I don’t follow. Never mind. Wasn’t that about the Lilliputians? Yes, and a lot of other things. Yahoos and houyhnhnms for example. And Brobdingnag. What? Weren’t you worried about something? Oh yeah. This guy leaked about our intelligence gathering programs. So? So! So, we’re in big trouble. This is huge. Why? Why! Because now everyone knows about our intelligence gathering programs. Are you through 1998 on your movie list? Not quite, why? Enemy of the State with Will Smith and Gene Hackman told everyone that the US spies on them. That was just a movie. Maybe, but people weren’t too mad about it then and they haven’t done anything about it for the past 15 years. Why is the leak such a big deal? Because now they KNOW. Oh. Yeah. So what are we supposed to do about it? I don’t know. So I’m supposed to be worried and upset about something that’s been happening for decades that I can’t affect or fix? Yeah. Okay. I’m on it. Corey! You need to take this seriously. This is your job! No, my job is memorizing lists and repeating them back to monkeys in lab coats. I always thought the monkeys were the ones who had the experiments done on them. Go ahead and joke. You also know that the NSA is the only reason you’re alive right now. It’s the only reason you met me. You personally know about a dozen terrorist plots that were stopped in the last year alone. But it’s just a joke. My phone had to split that novella into two chunks. Fighting is never fun. Fighting via text message is less fun. Fighting via text message while desperately trying to figure out a way to get back into your rapidly cooling bed because even the sun is smart enough to not be up at this forsaken hour is the worst. I’m sorry. It seemed like a good idea to apologize. Why? My whole life is just a joke to you. Why are you sorry. Don’t take the bait Corey. Don’t do it. Fine! Do whatever you’d like. What would I know? I’m just a doctor I did it. Is that another movie quote? Damn it Corey? Why can’t you ever take anything seriously. I’m so tired of having to translate everything you say. I tried to call her. This text-only communication was not doing wonders for our relationship. She didn’t pick up. I left a voice mail apologizing again. She texted me back. I’m at work. I can’t talk on the phone right now. Oh. I just wanted to say I’m sorry again. I’ve been cooped up here by myself and talking to you is about my only relief. I just have a hard time toning down the jokes. It’s OK, I guess. What do you think we need to do about Ed? Huh? You know, about the leaks. What should we do. Who’s Ed? Crap! She hadn’t said anything about a name. Holy Crap! Sorry, auto-correct. I meant about the leaks. Oh. Well, we don’t know where this person is or what else they might have. We should keep watch though. This is big. Will do. I love you. The response from Anka took a long time. I was afraid she would never text me back. When it came it was non-committal but there. Yeah, me too.
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