It was a dark and stormy night. The surge protectors wereworking overtime as Clara Helio prowled the Internet and thePentagon security cameras, searching hard for the terroristwho threatened to destroy the whole world and plunge it in tothe darkest of nightmares.Alaain Current, the guerilla poet and theorist, had merged the biological with the spiritual with the social with the wires of the world’s communication systems. All he needed to do wasto release his virus in the right place at the right time, whenthe stars came into their courses, and the world would become what he called Cybermind.Cybermind! Clara shuddered at the thought. She had spentthe last two months lurking on that on an internet mailing listwith that name. It had seemed occupied only by thoselamenting their pathetic love lives, or making sexual one-liners or far fetched political rants criticising the GreatLeader. Slowly however she had come to realise the foulundercurrents of this nihilist underworld. Current’scoruscating mix of midrashic Chinese verse and obscenemonologues interspersed with fragments of some bizarrecomputer code, had taken on the patina of some channelledversion of the fabled and dread Al-Azif.It was almost inconceivable that such a bunch of hopelesswhining intellectuals would come to anything, let alone posethe greatest danger to civilisation the world had ever seen, but slowly Clara had pieced it all together, and it had left her breathless. Tonight, Current acting alone would attempt to penetrate the Pentagon and set off the virus, using the building’s own shape to attack its foundations and the veryfoundations of the world. Clara’s attempts to point out thethreat to her superiors – the legendary ‘floor 13’ – had failed.They had politely suggested that she take a holiday and,when she refused, had insisted firmly taking no contradiction.