GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 1

A Novel of Suspense
By Alvin Ziegler

GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 2

Alvin Ziegler
© 2010 Alvin Ziegler

GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 3


իThe Grld ls expected to be the next World Wlde Web.լ
դCERN, the Swlss research laboratory that ploneered both.

"The effort to declpher the human genome . . . wlll be the sclentlflc breakthrough of the
centuryդperhaps of all tlme.լ
դFresldent Blll Cllnton, March 14, 2000

GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 4

Wherever we go, we carry four bllllon years of lnformatlon on humanlty. The Unlted States
Government spent over S2.7 bllllon on decodlng our DNA, but that dldnըt flnlsh the |ob. Decodlng
our DNA proved far slmpler than lnterpretlng the data that lt produced so lts secrets remalned
Some llken the dlfference between decodlng our DNA and lnterpretlng lt to the dlfference
between ldentlfylng every part of the space shuttle and gettlng lt to fly. Unmerclfully, the slck and
dylng have been glven a promlse that sclence hasnըt dellveredդuntll now.
A llghtnlng fast computer network called a grld ls lnterpretlng our DNA. It can solve vlrtually
any questlon that can be calculated. Uslng grld technology, sclentlsts are creatlng custom drugs to
treat dlseases llke cancer that are as lndlvldual as a flngerprlnt lnstead of the one-slze-flts all
approach. Thls revolutlonary event could extend our llves by decades, transformlng the buslness of
medlclne forever.

Thls book was lnsplred by actual organlzatlons, technologles, and sclence.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 5

Actual Timeline of the Genome

Four Billion
Years Ago
The beginning of DNA is thought to be created by the aggregation of
simple molecules in the primordial swamp that existed on earth at that

1850¶s Gregor Mendel, ³the father of modern genetics´ established the
principles of genetic inheritance by studying pea plants.

1900 Thomas Hunt Morgan, American geneticist discovered the basics of
dominant and recessive traits and links on a chromosome. Awarded
the Nobel Prize.

1950 Barbara McClintock, the world¶s most distinguished cytogeneticist,
discovered that chromosomes exchange information by ³jumping

April 2003 The Human Genome Project, a full map of our genetic code, is
completed for $2.7 billion in thirteen years.

December 2005 The Cancer Genome Atlas²a three-year, $100 million pilot project to
explore the genetic connections to cancer²is launched.

May 2007 James Watson's whole genome is sequenced at a cost of less than $1
million dollars.

September 2007 Craig Venter publishes the results of his own sequenced genome.

October 6, 2009 IBM announces plans to bring the cost of DNA sequencing to as low
as $100, making a personal genome cheaper than a ticket to a
Broadway play.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 6


Friday, October 28
Meyrin, Switzerland

-IJrgen rushed from hls apartment at 9:45 A.M., tlghtenlng hls watch strap.
The sllver Mercedes llmouslne purred at the curb. He cllmbed lnto the backseat and squeaked
lnto leather upholstery.
իLetըs go,լ -IJrgen sald through the llmo wlndow, lowerlng the arm rest.
The llmo hummed through the foothllls of the |agged -ura Mountalns. He could see the cerulean
blue of Lake Geneva, surrounded by snow-capped peaks that extended to the Savoy Alps ln France.
Cloud wlsps swlrled over the water. Through the mylar glass, he gllmpsed red halr beneath the
drlverըs cap.
իWhereըs Adrlan?լ -IJrgen asked through the llmo wlndow.
իOut slck.լ
Thls was no day for bumbllng around ln the twenty-slx cantons of Swltzerland.
իYou do know the way to CERN?լ
-IJrgen started to reclte the organlzatlonըs address. The drlver cocked her head around.
իYes, Dlrector Hansen.լ
At least the llmo servlce had brlefed her. The car passed four schoolchlldren playlng tag at a
bus stop.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 7

-IJrgen slld papers from hls brlefcase. He drummed flngers, studylng hls talklng notes. He
plctured the faces of executlves of the medlcal communlty. They had flown from around the world to
vlslt CERNդsome would be annoyed to flnd that Meyrln was only a glorlfled agrlcultural vlllage.
-IJrgen wouldnըt let Dr. Onagl bore them today. No. The Grld network would be the show
He checked the closeness of hls shave.
When the BlackBerry ln hls sult coat vlbrated, he scanned Tatlanaըs mlsslve: Iըm wearlng
Escade perfumeդsoon that wlll be all Iըm wearlng.
He ad|usted the knot on hls tle, gazlng at the road. The llmo hugged mountaln contours as lt
dropped ln elevatlon.
A petlte redhead who traveled wlth sllk handcuffs and a rldlng crop awalted -IJrgen after hls
speech at CERN. She helped hlm unwlnd wlth sexual role-play. He text messaged a reply: Meet me
u Zermatt alrport, Brltlsh Alrways, Gate 14, term 2, 4 FMդ -. Tonlght they would hook up at a
chateau hlgh ln the Alps where he would star ln her Russlan seductress game.
-IJrgen had plcked up Tatlana at a Geneva club two weeks back. He dldnըt know yet how long
heըd keep herդglrlfrlend shelf llfe ran flve weeks tops.
Shrouded by tlnted glass, he recllned agalnst the headrest. As the llmo cut along the hlghway,
-IJrgen envlsloned Tatlanaըs llps worklng hls chest. The blare of a truck horn pulled hlm back to
Looklng through the rear wlndow agaln, hls eye caught the Bernese Alplne Valley.
He hammered on the wlndow dlvlde. իDrlver.լ
իThere ls constructlon, Slr,լ the chauffeur sald sternly. իWeըre maklng a detour.լ
-IJrgenըs watch read ten-thlrty. իDonըt make me late.լ
իIըm taklng a shortcut.լ
-IJrgenըs claustrophobla surfaced.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 8

The drlver veered the llmo off the hlghway. -IJrgen felt a nerve flutter. Theyըd turned onto a slde
road. Tlres grumbled over rocks. The road narrowed, glvlng way to clover and dlrt over a canopled
path that was no more than a partlally paved cow trall.
Hls mouth went dry. իWhat are you dolng?լ
Wlthout answerlng, the drlver pressed a button ln the glove compartment. -IJrgen caught that
she wore an earplece.
The drlver rolled up her sleeves. իWe are close.լ
իAre you llstenlng?լ
The woman hunched at the wheel.
Holdlng hls BlackBerry, -IJrgen hlt the three-dlglt Swlss code for emergencles. No cell slgnal.
Communlcatlons were usually good here.
The llmo halted at the edge of a lake. The drlver whlpped open -IJrgenըs car door.
իOut,լ the drlver ordered.
-IJrgen held the llmo handle. իWhat ls thls?լ
The woman leveled a handgun at -IJrgenըs forehead.
He |erked hls hands hlgh, forgettlng those vlslons of greatness. իEasy!լ
The clearlng had the calm of a cemetery. Watchlng the unbllnklng woman, -IJrgen dropped one
foot outslde the car, then the other. She had the shoulders of a competltlve swlmmer. What looked
llke a blrth mark covered the left slde of her face.
The woman popped open the sllver Mercedes trunk wlth the car key, reveallng a coll of flshlng
llne and a twenty-pound gym welght.
իRemove the llne,լ the woman ordered. իThe welght, too.լ
As -IJrgen plcked them up, a buzz came from overhead. A twln-englne planeդa buslnessman
on hollday, perhaps. If only that plane could be -IJrgenըs charter. Hls eyes swept over the wooded
lake, grasplng at a way out. There were no houses wlthln slght.
So much for belng ln the land of neutrallty.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 9

The plane nolse quleted. A breeze rustled dry leaves past hls feet.
իTle that welght to your leg and knot lt tlght!լ
Cradllng the welghts agalnst hls chest, -IJrgen begged, իDo you want money?լ
իThat wonըt be necessary.լ
իWho do you work for?լ
իThose who protect us all.լ She kept the gun tralned on hls head.
իWhat about my protectlon?լ
իSave your breath!լ
He bent and tled, plcturlng the worst. Tlme to act. իIs thls about the Grld?լ
-IJrgen |erked lnto a standlng posltlon, carrylng the welght.
իWhoa!լ The woman shouted.
He lunged and hurled the welght at the womanըs movlng head. The welght struck her shoulder,
knocklng her down. She dropped the gun and fell beslde the welght.
-IJrgen leapt for the gun. Wlth a crawl and grunt, the woman beat hlm to lt. On the ground, she
polnted the gun and flred.
He touched the red between hls flngers.
Fanlc mlxed wlth fear that hls llfe could endդthls manlac wanted hlm dead.
Wlnded, the woman awkwardly returned to her feet.
իWhat do you want?լ -IJrgenըs volce broke.
She lowered the gun. իNo more games. Get the welght.լ
Blood snaked down hls arm. He shlmmled to the gym welght, pulled lt and the flshlng llne
toward hlm wlth one hand. Achlng, he bound lt around hls ankle.
The woman brushed dlrt from her hat, gesturlng for hlm to get up.
-IJrgen lumbered to hls feet, checklng hls shoulder. իDoes thls lnvolve -ude Wagner? Kllllng me
doesnըt end the medlcal revolutlon. It doesnըt change the FDA declslon.լ
The womanըs face hardened. She motloned wlth the gun muzzle for -IJrgen to step lnto the lake.
He hesltated then moved lnto the water. Walst deep, he stepped out of hls loafers and dove under
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 10

the algae-covered surface. Underwater, he struggled to lose the welght that was tled to hls leg. The
October sun had falled to warm the lcy lake. Hls legs were turnlng numb and hls frozen flngers
fumbled wlth the flshlng llne. Hls head surfaced.
Gasplng, he heard a blast. In the flrst nanosecond he felt a sharp tap. In shock, he felt no paln
but he could no longer flll hls lungs wlth alr.
Another shot slammed lnto hls forehead. Tlme stopped.
Rlpples spread ln symmetry above hls slnklng head.

GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 11


Friday, October 28
San Francisco, CA

Almlng hls car key button at hls Mazda, -ude locked the MX6 on Hyde Street. He had found a spot
wlthout clrcllng on crammed Russlan Hlll.
He passed a famlly of flve paradlng from an lce cream parlor. The store manager followed them
out, fllpplng a closed slgn on the glass door. The klds glggled at thelr father when hls scoop hlt the
The scene resurrected a hazy chlldhood memory. Hls mother used to carpool hlm and hls
frlends from Llttle League games to the Baskln Robblns lce cream shop after the slxth lnnlng. She
would buy a hot-fudge sundae for any batter who got on base. She wouldըve been proud that her
wlld-eyed son had become an FBI agent.
At hls ground-floor flat, he text messaged hls twln slster, Kate, իThlnklng about mom.լ SEND.
He put hls phone away, shaklng off the effects of bourbon. Kate had told -ude that hls llvlng
alone led to broodlng.
He plcked up the New York Tlmes electrlc blue plastlc bag and carrled lt through the front gate
to the Medlterranean-styled three-story house. Ruby bougalnvlllea covered the stucco exterlor.
Under a trellls of hlblscus, he strode brlck steps to hls door.
He put the key lnslde the lock; lt cranked too easlly. No reslstance. The Baldwln bolt had
already been turned. The ldea of calllng the cops crossed hls mlnd, but he couldըve forgotten to lock
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 12

up. He slowly pushed the door open and moved lnslde hls narrow place. The celllng spotllghts ln the
hallway had been swltched on.
Had he turned them off when heըd left that mornlng? Crosslng the llvlng room, he made a flst.
The bookcase had been emptled. Mystery paperbacks, San Franclsco hlstory books and rock concert
tlcket stubs decorated the floor. Fapers that had been stacked on the rlce chest-turned-coffee table
were now strewn on the orlental rug.
Maybe the lntruder hadnըt left. He llstened for creaks ln the floor.
Except for wlnd lashlng at the wlndows, he heard nothlng. Not even a fog horn.
Llghtly, he stepped to the kltchen. Open cupboard drawers showed rearranged boxes of pasta
noodles and chlps. In the bedroom, hls Chlnese dresser doors were a|ar. Shlrts, sults and a hlgh
school wrestllng trophy had tumbled out on the floor. In the mlnl-study, he checked on hls desktop
computer. The drlve bay was hollow and dark, the hard drlve mlsslng.
Curslng to hlmself, he heard the scuffllng of hard-soled shoes from the front hallway. Around
the corner, a man ln a sult klcked open the closet door, then raced outslde the flat.
Into draughty alr howllng off the bay, -ude barreled down the steep grade of Fllbert Street.
Across the gulch, Colt Tower glowed, a beacon ln the nlght.
The thlck-bodled man bobbed ln hls flapplng sult |acket. Fractlced at navlgatlng the decllne,
-ude easlly tapped down the steps. As the street leveled, he locked on hls sub|ect, advanclng on hls
strldes. Years of Grld lnformatlon was stored on that hard drlve. Whlle -ude usually backed up
everythlng dally, he had falled to do so after a breakthrough he had made earller that day. He
regretted not grabblng hls servlce weapon from under hls bed on the way outդa new agent blunder.
They plowed lnto North Beach. -ude cllpped by Washlngton Square Fark. A falnt aroma of
roasted bean emanated from a closed coffee store. Only ten feet behlnd the man, -ude lunged and
brought hlm to the pavement outslde a plzzerla. Whlle on the ground, the man grlpped the hard
drlve. Wlth one knee on hlm, -ude pulled the manըs arms behlnd hlm.
իCall the cops,լ some volce from the restaurant shouted.
իIըm a Federal agent,լ -ude sald.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 13

The man turned over, breaklng free. A Range Rover skldded to a stop. A spry woman ln a
brown |umpsult hopped out llke a hockey player hlttlng lce. Next, her boot pressed lnto the back of
-udeըs neck, forclng hlm to asphalt. Wlth her mltt of a hand, she snatched the hard drlve and papers.
-ude snagged her leg, sendlng her to the sldewalk. The hard drlve dropped to the ground. -ude
lntercepted lt before he was slugged ln the abdomen.
Elbows tucked, he held the hard drlve close and fended off one assallant whlle the other
scrambled. He thrashed out of thelr control untll one rammed hlm ln the knees. He went palms and
face down onto the pavement.

GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 14


Friday, October 28
Meyrin, Switzerland

Alone on the observatlon deck, Hldeo Onagl felt hls heart thump. Nolse travelled easlly ln thls all
whlte chamber, three hundred feet underground, beneath the Franco-Swlss border. Thls was where
the famous colllder operated. He stared glassy-eyed at the bottom of a cavernous, two-story room at
the most expenslve sclentlflc experlment ln hlstory.
Hls stomach churned. Famlly turmoll and the gravlty of thls presentatlon had set off Hldeoըs
ulcer. He had arranged to fly to hls estranged wlfe once thls was over.
He fllpped through 3x5 note cards, revlewlng hls talklng polnts.
Returnlng the cards to hls pocket, he felt somethlng else there and took out a photo of hls
daughter, Yomlkoդage nlne and the |oy of hls llfe. He gazed at lt brlefly, then pushed lt back lnto
hls pocket.
Below, a sort of subway platform served as a malntenance statlon to the monorall that traveled
along a twenty-seven kllometer clrcumference.
Hldeoըs attendees arrlved taklng ln glrders and struts whlch supported the hlgh-celllnged space.
The tlme had come for hlm to show off the sclentlflc breakthrough that took decades to bulld.
Two dozen board members and flnanclal offlcers from the worldըs largest hospltals and
unlversltles had |etted from around the world to thls vast lab ln secluded Meyrln. They looked about,
stone-faced, at the consoles that were connected by colored wlres that llned the walls.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 15

Hldeo tapped hls rubber-soled shoe for composure, afrald heըd blow hls chance to get vltal
donatlons. The hlstory of sclence had been strewn wlth great dlscoverles that were flrst met wlth
cold lndlfference before acceptance. That couldnըt happen here. Hldeo had glven up hls prlvate
practlce to |oln Stanford and change medlcal hlstory. Delay of actlon on thls genome pro|ect could
cost tens of thousands of llves.
-IJrgen, CERNըs Llfe Sclence Dlrector, should be here. These were hls contacts. -IJrgen sald
heըd handle the walklng-tour part of the presentatlon. Hldeo used hls phone to flre off an unusually
dlrect text message to -IJrgen. WHERE ARE YOU?
Although -IJrgen represented the Stanford Unlverslty slde of thlngs, Hldeo was golng to have to
flll ln for -IJrgen. But Hldeoըs area of molecular blology lnvolved computer sclence, artlflclal
lntelllgence and blochemlstryդnot physlcs.
At the trlal of hls llfe, Hldeo was mlnus the expert wltness. These strangers would render a
pass-fall verdlct on work that had consumed hlm for years.
He flushed wlth embarrassment when the consortlumդhuddled together as a mlnl Unlted
Natlonsդstared at hlm. They had come to hear a scholarly revelatlon about how thls would change
medlclne. That would come. Flrst, they had to see what CERNըs Grld computer dld. Hldeo felt llke
an out-of-town lawyer before a restless |ury.
He gestured toward the huge brlght blue metal plpe overhead.
After lntroduclng hlmself, Hldeo sald, իThls plpe runs through a cement-llned tunnel that
extends ln a seventeen-mlle subterranean clrcle. The metal used here could bulld another Elffel
Tower.լ On the wall beneath the plpe, exotlc lnstruments flashed.
The audlence started to chatter.
իAs you may know, the Large Hadron Colllder ls the most powerful accelerator ln the world,
operatlng at mlnus two hundred and seventy-one Centlgradeդcolder than deep space.լ Hldeo
thought a moment, then sald, իThls nlne-bllllon-dollar underground llnear accelerator was deslgned
to smash protons to analyze the blg questlons of the blg bang, cosmologyդohդand unlfled theory.
Superconductlng magnets are used to gulde protons lnto a masslve colllslon for observatlon.լ
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 16

A fat man lnterrupted, looklng at the tube above. իWalt, how does that relateդլ
իThatըs comlng. Sclentlsts wouldnըt have gotten anywhere wlthout a blg enough computer to
analyze all of the data. CERN employed a computer system called a grld to study results.լ
Attendees murmured, rubblng thelr arms. He was loslng them.
Fat man sald, իLlke an electrlcal power grld?լ
իNot exactly. Computer grlds llnk thousands of computers to work as a slngle vlrtual machlne.
Thls Grld analyzes the equlvalent of thlrteen mllllon DVDs worth of lnformatlon that the partlcle
colllslon produces.լ
A hawk-faced lady dressed ln black: իWhat does thls do for healthcare?լ
Medlcal chlefs knew less than he had expected. Hldeo spoke wlth tenslon ln hls volce. իWeըre
repurposlng thls world computer to analyze the human genomeդthe total heredltary content of an
lndlvldual. It holds four bllllon years of lnformatlon on humanlty, the ultlmate human reclpe book.
Thatըs why youըre here, to see how your dollars can mlne the genome, the greatest dlscovery ln
sclentlflc hlstory. Interpretlng the genome enables us to dlagnose every dlsease. You see, the Grld
wlll change soclety as the Internet dld; lt wlll not only crunch dlagnoses, but wlll answer anythlng
that can be calculated.լ
He paused to let the message slnk ln and was gratlfled to see he had eye contact.
The hawk lady polnted skeptlcally at the flashlng lnstruments. իThls ls how youըll change
իLet me explaln. CERNըs physlclsts bullt the Grld to handle questlons that are exponentlally
more complex than any computer systems could handle before. Convenlently, the Grld runs over the
World Wlde Webդwhlch CERN also lnvented to analyze atom-smashlng results.լ
A technlclan entered the room below and started electrlcal equlpment.
Hldeo ralsed hls volce to speak over the burrlng nolse, իThe Grld also powers Stanford
Unlversltyըs research. Itըs all about dlstrlbuted processlng power, connectlng computers everywhere
to work as one.լ
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 17

A Ferslan man ln a flnely tallored, double-breasted sult sald, իHow wlll thls help the general
իIըm gettlng to that.լ
The hawk-faced woman sald, իSo -ude Wagner lsnըt speaklng today?լ
իHeըs not.լ Hldeo wrung hls hands. He and -IJrgen had lnvlted -ude to be present for thls
lmportant meetlng, but these days -ude was overbooked. He now worked the FBIըs Cyber
Investlgatlon Squad whlch demanded hls grld expertlse.
-ude had achleved lnternatlonal acclalm for hls computer dlscovery and would soon recelve the
Turlng Award from Intel Corporatlon.
իLetըs go to Bulldlng Slx,լ Hldeo sald, իIըll explaln as we have refreshments.լ
Merclfully, Hldeo sensed hls audlence llghtenlng up. Wlth a fllck of a CERN tour gulde flag, he
dlrected them forward.
He stole a look at hls watch. -IJrgen was over an hour late. Good god. Could he be hung over
slck from a nlght of carouslng?
After an elevator rlde to the ground level, they flled to Bulldlng Slx. Whlle the group exchanged
hotel storles and restaurant recommendatlons, Hldeo checked hls phone. No messages.
Hldeo led the way to a conference room where attendees ate hors d'oeuvres untll he motloned
for everyone to get comfortable at the rosewood table. Bottles of Evlan water and folders were set on
the table at preclse lntervals for each person.
The orderly area remlnded Hldeo of hls fastldlous wlfe and thelr soul-searlng dlvorce. Hls
daughterըs face flashed before hlm. He moved across the conference room to get back to hls
performance. -IJrgenըs absence had thrown hlm off.
իOkay. The questlon from earller was how thls Grld partnershlp wlth Stanford was golng to
help the publlc.լ
իYes,լ came from the Ferslan man, slpplng Evlan.
իThe goal ls to lmprove everyday medlclne uslng our genomes. The genome ls our roadmap to
understandlng dlsease. All dlsease has a heredltary basls. Weըre tapplng lnto that wlth huge
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 18

processlng power. The U.S. government got us part of the way there by sequenclng the human
genome ln 2003, but that was |ust a start and that took 13 years and two-polnt-seven bllllon dollars.լ
Fersplratlon soaked hls Folo shlrt. Hldeo flddled wlth hls weddlng rlng.
իWhat does genomlc medlclne do that tradltlonal medlclne canըt?լ The fat man asked.
իTradltlonal medlclne ls falllng. It treats everyone who has cancer wlth a short llst of drugs llke
weըre all the same. In reallty, cancer ls as lndlvldual as a flngerprlnt. Weըre talklng about one-polnt-
four mllllon people belng dlagnosed wlth cancer annually ln the U.S. alone who are belng lumped
together wlth treatment that lgnores thelr DNA. Itըs tlme we match lndlvldual treatment to
lndlvlduals. Slde effects from mls-prescrlptlon kllls over 100,000 Amerlcans a year.լ he sald.
իGenomlc medlclne wlll change thls.լ
իHow?լ Hawk Lady asked.
իOnce we ldentlfy an lndlvldualըs genome, a world of lnformatlon becomes avallable to us: a
personըs body chemlstry, hls predlsposltlons, hls susceptlbllltles, hls strengths and weaknesses on a
molecular level.լ
Hldeo took a deep breath. իBy the way, some of thls ls ln your brochure. The Stanford Fro|ect
works llke thls: a patlent has hls genome sequenced by a company llke 23andMe based ln the San
Franclsco Bay Areaդthls costs around one thousand dollars. The results would come back on two
DVDs to the patlent and hls doctor. That doctor could then log onto Stanfordըs secured webslte to
access the Grld. The Grld would compare the genomlc data from those DVDs agalnst mllllons of
other onllne medlcal records, lsolatlng tlssue samples from patlents wlth slmllar symptoms or
dlsease. The result: a customlzed treatment for your lndlvldual lllness.
իWhen you comblne thls Grld that crunches masslve amounts of data wlth electronlc records
from hospltals for lnstance, well, you end up wlth a very powerful thlng.լ
The audlence had gone dead sllent.
իCan you back up?լ A man wlth Scottlsh accent asked. իWhere do those patlent records come
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 19

իGood questlon. For years, medlcal researchers struggled wlth dolng statlstlcal analysls.
Hospltals, doctorըs offlces and pharmacles used dlsparate computer systems. Thus, networks
couldnըt communlcate, maklng medlcal records lnaccesslble. Vltal lnformatlon that could save llves
was wasted.
իFlnally, research hospltals teamed up wlth everyone posslble to get the data onllne. The
solutlon started wlth creatlng systems of securlty that topped that of the ATM buslness. Of course,
even puttlng anonymous medlcal lnformatlon onllne was controverslal. Everyone feared the upshot
of a prlvacy breach, but the need to save llves won the war over prlvacy fears. Computer standards
were created and lnformatlon pooled. Mlnd you, all names, soclal securlty numbers and hospltal
account numbers remalned anonymous. Whlle thls was happenlng, the search englnes of the world
connected that pooled lnformatlon to create an even larger dataset.լ
իSo, whatըs next?լ The questlon came from a man seated at the far end of the table.
իWell, already at Stanford, weըre dlagnoslng volunteersը lllnesses through a system of
comparlson, uslng thelr DNA. The Grld matches blts of molecular lnformatlon from tumors wlth
exactly the rlght drug to suppress that tumor. To treat each cancer patlent lndlvldually means tons of
analysls. The computer power of the Grld makes lt posslble. In the case of cancer, we flght
mutatlons wlth custom-made protelns that conform to that personըs body chemlstry.լ
Some heads nodded subtly.
A Ferslan man asked, իIs there someone from CERN who ls asslgned to thls Stanford Fro|ect?լ
իI shouldըve mentloned, -IJrgen Hansen, CERNըs Dlrector of Llfe Sclences, ls the llalson
between thls lab and Stanfordըs. He malntalns the physlcal Internet connectlon whlch llnks thls Grld
to Stanford.լ
The Scottlsh man sald, իFersonallzed medlclne ls a plpedream untll we make lt affordable.լ
Hldeo stood tall to elongate hls short stature. իExactly. Thatըs the polnt here. Weըre also ln the
buslness of democratlzlng medlclne; maklng the costly partդresearch and dlagnoslsդfree.լ
իHow?լ the same man lnterrupted.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 20

իWeըre leveraglng shared computer resources. Not only do grlds run over the Internet, whlch ls
free, but they get power from volunteersը ldle computers. In the packet youըll see how thls Grld at
CERN relles on dlstrlbuted processlng power from volunteers.
իI see doubt. Belleve me, all we need are the resources. Isnըt flghtlng cancer as worthy a
mlsslon as landlng spacecraft on Mars? If we donըt push medlclne forward 1500 Amerlcans wlll go
on dylng from cancer every day and thlrty-nlne mllllon people wlll stlll have AIDS ln Afrlca because
old expenslve drugs are falllng.
իWhy not lnvest a fractlon of that and get a leg up on the flght agalnst dlseases llke cancer? You
can see what a marvel CERNըs Grld ls lf weըre uslng lt to make sense of the Blg Bang. ի
Audlence members turned to one another. Hldeo scored a polnt.
Looklng at hls watch, he checked on the tlme leadlng to hls departlng fllght.
իI know thls ls a lot to swallow, but we can agree healthcare ln the West ls dlsappolntlng. The
Stanford/CERN partnershlp ls testlng a non-proflt alternatlve to our exlstlng unlversal healthcare,
and we need your support.լ
Brochures were belng opened when a man entered the room.
իExcuse me for belng late.լ He sald.
Whlle the room was sllent the new man found a seat and took the opportunlty to speak.
իApologles lf youըve already covered thls, but what exactly would our endowment money
To Hldeoըs rellef, eyes tracked hlm as he clrcled the table. իYour lnvestment wlll pay employee
salarles to bulld Stanfordըs onllne servlce. Your dollars guarantee we have processlng power from
places llke CERN. It also extends our Grld to every home FCդrunnlng llke a worldwlde databaseդ
brlnglng supercomputlng power to desktops, vlrtually. Weըll have one enormous իvlrtualլ super
computerդthe same way researchers from 25 countrles analyzed the colllslon of partlcles here
through a Grld of lnstltutlons and unlversltles around the world. And, yes, weըll need speclally
tralned pharmaclsts to mlx the customlzed drugs.լ
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 21

The room went qulet. After fleldlng another dozen questlons, Hldeoըs mlnd strayed to hls fllght.
Hls plane was leavlng ln less than two hours. Barely enough tlme to get to the alrport.
He dellvered hls plea for lnvestment and thanked everyone.
But nothlng from -IJrgen! Somethlng had to be wrong.
Stlll, -IJrgenըs absence hadnըt been as detrlmental as Hldeo had thought. Hls pltch had to have
won some new backers.
իExcuse me, everyone,լ Hldeo announced. իI have a fllght to catch.լ

GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 22


Friday, October 28
San Francisco, CA

A patrol carըs F.A. chlrp slgnaled cars to make way. The attackers released -ude as the crulser
whlpped around the corner and stopped. The man and woman ran to the Rover and screeched off.
իOn your feet,լ came from a volce above.
Flat on hls back, -ude flashed back to hlgh school wrestllng practlce. That vlslon changed when
hls eyes opened to a bystander and two cops. Three heads sllhouetted agalnst the nlght sky. One
cop gave a repulsed expresslon at -udeըs alcohol breath. One strlke agalnst hlm.
իIըm wlth the FBI,լ -ude choked.
No response came from the mustached offlcer. Two cardboard cutouts of men wouldըve been
more anlmated. After gettlng on hls feet, -ude moved close to show the offlcer hls wallet and badge.
The bystander vanlshed lnto the dark.
իStand back,լ the offlcer sald. -ude understood that many cops had been treated dlsmlsslvely by
a feeb at some polnt on duty. That couldըve been the case here. It dldnըt help matters that feds were
famous for paddlng thelr arrest reports wlth busts made by beat offlcers.
իWhat happened here?լ The younger cop wlth the flat nose hooked a thumb on hls belt.
Headllghts from passlng cars reflected ln hls brass name plate.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 23

իDld you see them?լ -ude asked, fllcklng sldewalk dlrt from the hard drlve; he touched blood
droplets on hls cheek.
իNo. Why donըt you begln answerlng our questlons?լ The older offlcer wlth the bushy mustache
plcked hls teeth whlle he spoke.
իThey got lnto my place.լ
իAnd they were after that . . . computer part?լ The cop polnted at the hard drlve that -ude held
ln hls hands.
The other cop muttered, իThatըs why youըre playlng tackle here on Columbus?լ
-ude fllled them ln on the break-ln at hls apartment and the subsequent chase. The unlforms
looked to be welghlng hls tale as one verslon of the story. The younger cop opened a leather-bound
notepad and scratched down notes. Whlle the offlcer wrote, -ude removed hls cell phone and speed-
dlaled hls colleague, Nlles Tully. -ude told Nlles to come to hls apartment and hung up.
The older offlcer sald, իAnd thatըs your professlon . . . cyber work at the bureau?լ
-ude nodded. The cop holdlng hls wallet checked hls Stanford magnetlc clearance card.
իWhy do you carry a Stanford access card?լ the cop asked, stroklng hls mustache.
իI consult for them.լ
իAnd you work at the FBI?լ
իIըm on call at Stanfordդa few hours a weekդfor a speclal pro|ect.լ
The two cops exchanged glances. իDolng?լ
իGrld computlng.լ -ude avolded elaboratlng on hls role ln the genomlcs lnltlatlve. իWhat? Donըt
I look llke a workahollc?լ -ude tapped the hard drlve. իYou want a descrlptlon of the thlef, rlght?լ
The cop wlth the pad fllled hls page.
After a qulck rlde up the hlll ln the squad car, the three of them trod through -udeըs hallway.
The mustached cop gathered loose paper from the floor, leafed through them.
իArenըt you golng to have a team dust for latents?լ -ude asked.
իYouըve got your computer equlpment now, rlght. Can you prove they got anythlng else?լ -ude
slghed audlbly.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 24

իThen ltըs only breaklng and enterlng, lsnըt lt?լ
Not seelng anythlng else mlsslng and holdlng the recovered hard drlve ln hls hands, -ude knew
heըd have to check prlnts for hlmself. When one sald to the other, tlme for a code seven -ude got that
they were slgnallng to eat and thelr short-llved lnspectlon was done. Fearlng a lecture on the rlsks of
vlgllantlsm ln North Beach, -ude led the offlcers to the door.

After locklng the door behlnd the men ln blue, -ude blew debrls from the hard drlve wlth a can
of compressed alr and slld lt lnto the drlve bay. Then he navlgated to drlve F to check for damage.
Wlth rellef, he saw the flles. The poundlng ln hls chest slowed, but he couldnըt forget that whoever
lnstlgated thls had dangerous ldeas and an elaborate plan of operatlon.
He went to the kltchen, pulled a bag out of the freezer and rubbed Blrds Eye frozen corn on hls
stlll raw, throbblng cheek. Movlng to the bathroom mlrror, he stared at scrapes from road burn that
textured one slde of hls face.
-ude stralghtened thlngs to cool down. Gatherlng hls concert tlckets, Wlred magazlnes, auto
lnsurance papers and bank statements off hls llvlng room floor, he reallzed a folder of buslness
documents that had been restlng on hls desk were goneդdocuments that pertalned to the Google
deal. Hls nerves shot up agaln. It took months of negotlatlons to strlke thls deal and lt would change
the pharmaceutlcal landscape overnlght. He could call ln a stolen property clalm but he had taken an
oath of secrecy. The lmpendlng partnershlps wlth Google would connect the Grld to Googleըs world
databases. The power of these databases was phenomenal: they held most of the worldըs prlnted
lnformatlon and enabled users to query medlcal data on the fly. Thls would extend Stanfordըs reach
to mllllons of pages of medlcal data for free ln exchange for onllne advertlslng.
-ude text messaged Kate agaln, ln Kentucky telllng her what had happened. Settlng down hls
phone, he opened the frldge door and transferred chlcken leftovers onto a stoneware plate.
Wlth a chlcken leg ln hand, he heard a knock. After peerlng through the peep hole ln the door,
he unlocked lt. Nlles, -udeըs Grld partner, charged ln, smelllng of clgarette smoke. In a navy pea
coat, dress whlte pants and whlte bucks, he looked as lf the Brltlsh Navy had left port wlthout hlm.
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 25

1lles slammed the door. -ude locked lt behlnd hlm.
1lles studled -ude. իYour face doesnըt look too good.լ
-ude moved to the llvlng room. 1lles followed hlm, looklng at the papers, strewn.
իYouըre more scattered than a -ackson Follack palntlng.լ 1lles sald wlth hls Oxford Engllsh
accent, snatchlng paper from the floor. իWhat happened?լ 1lles took the corner club chalr, removed
a foll-covered mlnt from hls pea-coat pocket, unwrapped lt and popped lt ln hls mouth.
-ude sat on the sofa. իThey were after my hard drlve.լ
իBllmey.լ 1lles looked around agaln. իDld you see the tosser?լ
իI saw them all rlght, but not clearly.լ
իSo, there was more than one. Donըt tell me they got away.լ
իOne ln my apartment, then another |olned ln the fun down on Columbus. But they dldnըt get
my drlve.լ -ude touched hls cheek. իWhat they dld get was the Google papers.լ
իI suppose they snatched what they could get.լ
1lles got up and walked slowly around the place, starlng at the floor. իDamn lt! So, now what?
Youըll get your bureau on thls, rlght? Fly that |ob of yours.լ
-ude looked at hlm, unamused. He knew that 1lles resented hls leavlng Stanford for the FBIդ
as lf -ude had abandoned the pro|ect, but 1lles knew better. 1o one was more lndlspenslble to
Stanfordըs genomlc pro|ect than -ude. Offlclally -ude had changed |obs, yes, but Stanford held onto
hlm as thelr go-to man for algorlthm flxes. They had no cholce. -udeըs code was embedded ln the
-udeըs FBI |ob served an ulterlor motlve. It allowed hlm to study electronlc survelllance so he
could safeguard the Grld agalnst hackers.
Loslng data about patlents would destroy publlc trustդtorpedolng the entlre medlcal effort.
-ude had become a whlte-hat hackդa hlred coder who stopped black-hat attacks.
He recalled how the term hacker orlglnated ln the 1950s when a boy called -oe Engressla, who
was born bllnd, developed perfect pltch as a result. Belng able to preclsely match a tone of any
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 26

frequency through slnglng or whlstllng, he dlscovered at elght years of age that the U.S. long-
dlstance telephone exchanges responded to speclal frequency tones. The hacker ldea came when he
saw that the 2600Hz ldle tone slgnaled a toll free call. He mlmlcked that frequency by whlstllng
whlch connected hls long-dlstance call at no charge.
Intruders could have wanted -udeըs hard drlve to obtaln access to the Grld. But that wouldnըt
have helped. He carrled hls key fob ln hls rlght front pocket. It held the Grld access key. The key
dlsplayed a number that changed every thlrty secondsդln sync wlth the Grld serverդenabllng Grld
access. -ude may have been cavaller about hls clothes and car, but not about cryptographlc
իMaybe your secret agent buslness wonըt be a waste, after all,լ 1lles qulpped.
իThereըs gratltude.լ
իWeըll rlng Hldeo ln the mornlng. Tell hlm about the leak. See what he can do to protect the
Google deal.լ 1lles sald.
իI doubt weըll reach hlm. After Swltzerland, he was flylng to -apan.լ
իRlght. Today he gave that fundlng speech at CER1 wlth -IJrgen. Wonder how much that
ralsed? Elther way, weըre golng to flnd who nlcked these papers.լ
իIըm glad youըre so confldent.լ -ude sald.
իLlsten, Iըm knackered.լ
իYouըre golng to sleep?լ
իWeըre not golng to run through every angle on thls thlng at a bar. 1ot at mldnlght. We go at
thls tomorrow. After you get started, call me. And keep that head clear. 1o bevles.լ
իYou are glvlng a homlly on abstlnence? Whereըs my recorder?լ
-udeըs face brlghtened wlth an ldea. իYou worklng on the boat tomorrow?լ
իIըll meet you at the marlna. We can get a sall ln before Kate arrlves.լ
1lles buttoned hls coat, conslderlng lt. իOkay.լ
GRIDLOCK/Alvin Ziegler 27

1lles started for the door. իUsual tlme. And -ude, whoever these low llfes are, theyըre not golng
to shut us down.լ
ի1ot over my dead body.լ
իLlke you say, healthcareըs ln a quagmlre and weըve got a duty to see thls through. But I mlght
reconslder that lf I donըt get seven hours of sleep.լ 1lles closed the door.

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