The terrible swift sword of justice was about to strike. Divine Fury. Chapter 35

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Chapter 35

IT ONLY TOOK two calls to his contacts in Silicon Valley before Harry Blount had three names of reformed hackers who had gone legit and now sold their services to companies wanting to block or catch cyberspace intruders.  He had them check the computers and networks of all four of the senior campaign staffers who had received the bogus email.  And he started with his own Thinkpad just so he could show that no one was exempt from the review.

Blount was shocked when the rogue keystroke capturing program in his own computer turned up as the only problem.  He convinced the higher-ups at the medical center to sever outside access to its entire network for two hours while he had one of the former hackers reconstruct as much of the computer spying operation as he could.  The ex-hacker was afraid his work would tip off whomever controlled the spyware and enable them to either cover their tracks or cause more damage as a sick “goodbye” present.

As he waited for the preliminary report, Blount thought about how it all made sense.  His compulsive note taking and email habit made him the perfect place to have a window into the campaign.  Everything passed through him.  The Jefferson River case all made sense as well.  The timing mistake had come from him but the correction had been sent out by someone else.  That’s why the attempt to interfere with it by releasing the flow of water that inundated the press conference site had come hours too late.

When Blount received the first findings of the security investigation, there were two facts that stood out.

First, it appeared likely the medical center’s state-of-the-art computer security measures had forced the culprits to physically access the network rather than hacking their way in from outside using the Internet.  They could have done it by inserting the spyware into someone’s laptop – or even a thumb drive – that was later plugged back into the network.  But they could also have come on site.

Second, the evidence so far pointed to an intrusion on a Sunday morning five weeks earlier,  not long after the young health analyst Scott Truman was shot to death in the predawn hours inside the center’s parking garage.

Within minutes, Blount was on the phone to the San Francisco detective he had known for two decades as a fellow activist in local gay and lesbian politics.

“Bobbie,” he said.  “You are not going to believe this.”

* * *

Enzo Lee had returned from an informal gathering at his grandmother’s apartment.  It had just been his grandmother, Master Chu and him.  They poured hot tea into her nicest tea cups and toasted the still unscheduled upcoming nuptials of the two octogenarians.  They both blushed and beamed like 18-year-olds.

It was early evening when he walked the few blocks to the intersection of Grant Avenue and Columbus. He stopped on the way to pick up one order of sliced lamb sautéed with mushrooms and scallions and another of prawns in a spicy Kung Pao sauce with peanuts, chili peppers and garlic.

He walked up the stairs to his North Beach flat, nudged his cat Max back in the door and set the food in the kitchen.  From the window above the sink he could see the signs starting to turn on along Grant.

Lee fed Max and gave her a long-overdue scratch behind the ears while she simultaneously took her first crunchy bites and purred her delight of these two high points of her day.  Then, he piled his plate with the sautéed lamb, the spicy prawns and steamed white rice.  He sat back on the sofa, and started navigating the cable channels with the Samsung remote control.

It took a couple of minutes to find the station that carried Soldiers of Christ Ministry.  It was showing a replay of a Rev. Jimmy Burgess program that had first aired some time earlier.  He was perspiring and seemed to be on a roll.

“We see now, playing out in the state of California, a war between good and evil,” said  Burgess.  “We have on one side, those who uphold the traditional family, traditional family values and the observance of God’s rules as set forth in the Holy Bible.”  He held the omnipresent Bible in his left hand toward the camera.

“On the other side, we have those who not only forgive the daily sins in the world around us – the drugs, the killing of the unborn, the deviance from traditional marriage and traditional families.  They practice these things.  They do it without excuse or shame.  By their example they justify these sins.  If the highest leader in the land can openly wear his sins, then why can’t you?

“It is not enough to observe this war,” continued Burgess.  “Sides must be chosen.  You must either put your weight behind His terrible swift sword or join with the sinners.  Do we let this sin in our midst grow?  Or, do we eliminate it?

“Is it better to let the whole body rot?  Or, do we cut out the sick and diseased?  Even a surgeon will remove the cancer so the rest can be saved.

Chapters of the serial are published Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

You can learn more about Divine Fury on Amazon.

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