GRIDLO CK

Advance Release Copy February, 2011 Alvin Ziegler alvinziegler@gmail.com 148 Alhambra Street San Francisco, California 94123 Telephone: 415.567.5760 © 2011 Alvin Ziegler This book is a work of fiction. Names, businesses, characters, organizations, places, events and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

GRIDLO CK
A Novel of Suspense By Alvin Ziegler

For my patient wife, Ginny

_____________________________________________ “The Grid is expected to be the next World Wide Web.” —CERN, the Swiss research laboratory that pioneered both.

"The effort to decipher the human genome . . . will be the scientific breakthrough of the century—perhaps of all time.” —President Bill Clinton, March 14, 2000 _____________________________________________

Facts
Biotechnology is transforming the world in unimaginable ways—promising to extend our children’s lives by decades. Everyone has a stake. Already doctors are diagnosing disease genetically over the Internet. The sea change in medicine came with the decoding of the human genome in 2003, but it remained locked because scientists understand less than one percent of it. Some liken the difference between decoding our DNA and interpreting it to the difference between identifying every part of the space shuttle and getting it to fly. Unmercifully, the sick and dying have been given a promise that science hasn’t delivered—until now. A lightning fast computer network called a grid is interpreting our DNA. It can solve virtually any question that can be calculated. Using grid technology, scientists are creating custom drugs to treat diseases like cancer that are as individual as a fingerprint instead of the onesize-fits all approach. Such breakthroughs could redefine the business of healthcare and reshape global economies forever. This book was inspired by actual organizations, technologies, and science.

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 time. Gregor Mendel, “the father of modern genetics” establishes the principles of genetic inheritance by studying pea plants. Thomas Hunt Morgan, American geneticist discovers the basics of dominant and recessive traits and links on a chromosome. Awarded the Nobel Prize. Barbara McClintock, the world’s most distinguished cytogeneticist, determines that chromosomes exchange information by “jumping genes.” James Watson and Francis Crick ascertain the structure of DNA. The Human Genome Project, a full map of our genetic code, is completed for $2.7 billion in thirteen years. The Cancer Genome Atlas—a three-year, $100 million pilot project to explore the genetic connectionto cancer—launches.

1850’s

1900

1950

1953

April 2003

December 2005

May 2007

James Watson's whole genome is sequenced at a cost of less than $1 million dollars. Craig Venter publishes the results of his own sequenced genome. 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.

September 2007

October 2009

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prologue
Friday, October 28 Meyrin, Switzerland Jűrgen rushed from his apartment at 9:05 A.M., tightening his watch strap. The Mercedes limousine purred at the curb. He climbed into the backseat and squeaked into leather seats. “Let’s go,” he said through the limo window, lowering the arm rest. The limo hummed through the foothills of the jagged Jura Mountain. He could see the cerulean blue of Lake Geneva, surrounded by snow-capped peaks that extended to the Savoy Alps in France. Cloud wisps swirled over the water. Through the mylar glass, he glimpsed blonde hair beneath the driver’s cap. “Where’s Adrian?” Jűrgen craned through the limo partition. “Out sick.” This was no day for bumbling around in the twentysix cantons of Switzerland. “You do know the way to CERN?” The driver cocked her head around. “Yes, Director Hansen.”

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At least the limo service had briefed her. Hugging mountain roads, the car passed four schoolchildren playing tag at a bus stop. Jűrgen slid papers from his briefcase to occupy himself. He drummed fingers, studying his notes. When the BlackBerry in his suit coat vibrated, he scanned Tatiana’s missive: I’m wearing Escada perfume —soon that will be all I’m wearing. Gazing at the road, he checked the closeness of his shave. A petite redhead who traveled with silk handcuffs and a riding crop awaited him after his speech at CERN. She helped him unwind with sexual role-play. He text messaged a reply: Meet me @ Zermatt airport, British Airways, Gate 14, term 2, 4 PM— J. Tonight they would meet at a chateau high in the Alps where he would star in her Russian seductress game. He adjusted the knot on his tie. Jűrgen had picked up Tatiana at a Geneva club two weeks back. He didn’t know yet how long he’d keep her—girlfriend shelf life ran five weeks tops. Shrouded by tinted glass, he reclined against the headrest. Jűrgen envisioned Tatiana’s lips working his chest while the limo cut along the highway, dropping in elevation—until the tires grumbled over rocks. The noise pulled him back to reality. The driver veered the limo off the highway. Jűrgen’s hands went clammy. “What are you doing?” They’d turned onto a side road. The road narrowed, giving way to clover and dirt over a canopied path that was no more than a partially paved cow trail. “Hey.”

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Without answering, the driver pressed a button in the glove compartment. Jűrgen noticed she wore an earpiece. Looking through the rear window again, his eye caught the Bernese Alpine Valley. He hammered on the glass divide. “Driver.” No answer. “Are you listening?” “There is construction, Sir,” the chauffeur said sternly. “We’re making a detour.” The driver rolled up her sleeves. “We are close.” The hard-faced woman hunched at the wheel. Holding his BlackBerry, Jűrgen hit the three-digit Swiss code for emergencies. No cell signal. Communications were usually good here. The limo halted at the edge of a lake. A wave of nerves fluttered through his stomach. The driver got out and whipped open Jűrgen’s car door. “Out.” Jűrgen clung to the limo handle. “What do you want?” The driver leveled a handgun at Jűrgen’s forehead. “Whoa!” Throwing his hands high, he forgot his dreams of achievement. The clearing had the calm of a cemetery. Watching the unblinking woman, Jűrgen dropped one foot outside the car, then the other. His fists clenched. She had the shoulders of a competitive swimmer. Caked on makeup covered her face, but didn’t improve her masculine features. She opened the silver Mercedes trunk with the car key, revealing a coil of heavy gauge fishing line and a twenty-pound gym weight.

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“Remove the line,” the woman ordered. “The weight, too.” His mouth stone dry. As he lifted them, a buzz came from overhead. A twin-engine plane—a businessman on holiday, perhaps. If only Jűrgen could radio for help. His eyes swept over the wooded lake, grasping at a way out. Not even a house within sight. So much for the land of neutrality. The plane noise quieted. A breeze rustled crisp leaves past his feet. “Tie that weight to your leg. Knot it tight.” Cradling the weight against his chest, Jűrgen begged, “Who do you work for?” “Save your breath.” She kept the gun trained on his head. He bent and tied, picturing the worst. Time to act. “You’re not going to stop the Grid.” He said, hoping to distract her. Jerking into a standing position, he lunged, hurling the weight at the woman’s moving head. The weight struck her shoulder, knocking her down. She dropped the gun and fell beside the weight. Jűrgen leapt for the gun. From the ground, she pointed the weapon and fired. He moaned and went to his knees. Touching the sting on his shoulder, he gasped at the blood between his fingers. Panic mixed with fear. The woman returned to her feet, winded. “What do you want?” Jűrgen’s voice broke. She lowered the gun. “Game’s over. Get the weight.” Blood snaked down his arm. He crawled over dirt to the gym weight, pulled it and the fishing line toward him

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with one hand. Aching, he bound the line around his ankle. The woman brushed dust from her hat, gesturing for him to get up. Jűrgen lumbered to his feet, checking his shoulder. “Does this involve Jude Wagner? Killing me doesn’t end the medical revolution.” “It’s a good start.” Her expression darkened, and she motioned with the gun muzzle for Jűrgen to step into the lake. He hesitated then moved into the water. Waist deep, he stepped out of his loafers then dove under the algae-covered surface, struggling underwater to untie the weight. The October sun had failed to warm the icy lake. With fingers going numb, he fumbled with the fishing line. He gasped at the surface again. And heard a blast. In the first nanosecond he felt a sharp tap. No pain. But he could no longer fill his lungs with air. Another shot slammed into his forehead. Time stopped. Ripples spread in symmetry above his sinking head.

one
Friday, October 28 San Francisco, CA The dinged-up Mazda MX6 eased into a spot along

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crammed Russian Hill. Still becoming accustomed to how it drove, Jude climbed out and snapped his door locks closed with his keychain. Such luck finding a spot one block from home. Seasoned agents got a clean Crown Vic. Not Jude. Seized in a drug raid, his Mazda bore all the scars of its street-gang past— pelted with dents from its front fenders to rear bumper. Jude had his supervisory agent to thank. He issued rundown cars to freshman to screen out potential complainers. A fog horn howl cut through the wind. Across the gulch, Coit Tower glowed, a beacon in the dark. Jude passed a family of five on Hyde Street exiting an ice cream parlor, appearing as an after dinner bonding ritual. The store manager followed them out, flipping a closed sign on the glass door. The dad’s scoop of ice cream hit the pavement and kids shrieked with laughter. A hazy childhood memory came to Jude while walking in the wind. He pictured his mother carpooling him and his rowdy friends from Little League games after the sixth inning to the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop. She bought a hot-fudge sundae for any batter who got on base. She’d be proud that her boundary-testing son worked for the FBI. He blinked away the home movies. His sister Kate had predicted that living alone would lead to brooding. Head throbbing from straight bourbon, he came to the entrance of his ground-floor flat. He picked up the electric blue plastic bag containing his New York Times— reminding him how behind he was on world events— and carried it through the front gate to the Mediterranean-styled three-story complex. Under a trellis of ruby bougainvillea, he strode brick steps to his door.

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He put the key inside the lock; it cranked too easily, without resistance. The Baldwin bolt had already been turned. Jude tensed. The idea of reporting a break-in crossed his mind, but he could’ve forgotten to lock up himself. Slowly he pushed the door open and moved inside his narrow place. The ceiling spotlights in the hallway had been switched on. Had he turned them off when he’d left that morning? Quieting his steps, he crossed the living room. He regretted not grabbing his service weapon from under his bed on the way out—a new agent blunder. The bookcase had been emptied. Mystery paperbacks, San Francisco history books and rock concert ticket stubs decorated the floor. Papers he kept stacked on the rice chest-turned-coffee table were now strewn on the faux-oriental rug. His breathing became choppy. The odor of another man’s sweat hung faintly in the air. Maybe the intruder hadn’t left. He listened for creaks in the floor. Except for gusts lashing at the windows, he heard nothing. Lightly, he stepped to the kitchen with the oversized rail-station-style clock hanging on the wall. Open cupboard drawers showed rearranged boxes of pasta noodles and chips. In the bedroom, his Chinese dresser doors were ajar. Shirts, suits and a high school wrestling trophy lay on the floor. In the mini-study, he checked his desktop computer. The drive bay gaped hollow and dark, the hard drive missing. He backed up his email to that drive. Someone could break into his messages and obtain highly sensitive information about the Stanford Grid. Cursing to himself, he heard something scratching his floors. He braced himself. The scuffling of hard-soled

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shoes came from the front hallway. Jude peered around the corner. A man in a suit and gloves raced from the closet and outside the flat. Jude barreled into night air which howled off the bay, then he started down the treacherous grade of Filbert Street. The wide man in boots bobbed in his flapping suit jacket. Practiced at navigating the decline, Jude pursued, clacking down the steps. As the street leveled, he pushed. Each stride brought him closer to his subject. They plowed past stucco apartments and into North Beach. Jude clipped by Washington Square Park and a closed coffee store. Six feet behind the man, Jude lunged, snagged his feet and brought him to the ground outside a neon-signed pizzeria. The man grunted still gripping the hard drive beneath him. Jude put one knee on him and worked to control his arms while he thrashed. “Call the cops,” a girl shouted from the restaurant. “I’m a Federal agent,” Jude said. He got the man’s left arm behind him when a white Range Rover screeched to the curb and waited. The man turned over, breaking free. He jabbed at Jude’s face and missed. Jude snagged his leg, sending him to the sidewalk. The hard drive dropped to the ground. Jude scrambled and grabbed it with one hand when he was slugged in the abdomen. Elbows tucked the hard drive close with one arm. He tried to slug the assailant when he was rammed in the knees. That buckled his legs and hurled him palms and face down onto the pavement.

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two
Friday, October 28 Meyrin, Switzerland Alone on the second floor observation deck, Hideo Onagi’s heart thumped. The hum of high voltage electricity carried through the cement laboratory from the distance. Noise travelled easily in this white chamber, three hundred feet underground, beneath the Franco-Swiss border. This is was where the famous collider operated. He marveled at the bottom of a cavernous, two-story room which opened into a tunnel— the most expensive scientific experiment in history. Below, a platform served as CERN’s maintenance station to the monorail that traveled along a twenty-seven kilometer circumference. His stomach churned. Family turmoil and the gravity of this presentation set off Hideo’s ulcer. Once this was over, he'd fly to meet his estranged wife. After spending months flying from city to city to find sponsors for the Grid, Hideo realized that travel was ruining his marriage. His wife and daughter were his sun and moon, and soon they could be gone. Perspiration soaked his Polo shirt. After rolling his sloped shoulders, he flipped through 3x5 note cards, reviewing his talking points. Returning the cards to his pocket, his finger brushed against something else there. He took out a photo of his nine-

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year-old daughter. He gazed at it briefly, then pushed it back into his pocket. The attendees arrived, gawking at girders and struts that supported the high ceilings. Two dozen board members and financial officers from the world’s largest hospitals and universities jetted from around the globe to this vast lab in secluded Meyrin. They came to this glorified agricultural village to see the scientific breakthrough that took decades to build. Just one problem: Hideo’s speech partner, Niles Tully, was missing. Hideo nervously tapped his rubber-soled dress shoe while attendees looked about, blank-faced, at the consoles connected by colored wires lining the walls. Hideo had given up his private practice to join Stanford and change medical history. Jűrgen’s absence could wreck his chance for vital donations. These were Jűrgen’s contacts. Delay of action on this genome project could cost tens of thousands of lives. As CERN’s Life Science Director, Jűrgen said he’d handle the walking-tour part of the presentation. Hideo used his phone to fire off an unusually direct text message. WHERE ARE YOU? These strangers would render a pass-fail verdict on work that had consumed him for years. At the trial of his life, he was minus his expert witness. Hideo flushed with embarrassment as the consortium —huddled together like a mini United Nations—staring at him. They’d come to hear a scholarly revelation about how CERN would change medicine. But his area of molecular biology involved computer science, artificial intelligence and chemistry—not physics. Jűrgen represented the CERN side of this partnership. It looked like Hideo would have to wing it by himself.

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He introduced himself and gestured toward the huge bright blue metal pipe overhead. Large Hadron Collider, he explained, was the most powerful accelerator in the world, operating at minus two hundred and seventy-one Centigrade—colder than deep space. Gaining confidence, Hideo spoke up. “This nine-billiondollar underground linear accelerator was designed to smash protons to analyze the questions of the big bang, cosmology—oh—and unified theory. Superconducting magnets are used to guide protons into a massive collision for observation.” A murmur rippled through the audience. The pipe ran through a cement-lined tunnel extended in a seventeen-mile subterranean circle. The metal used could build another Eiffel Tower. On the wall beside the pipe, exotic instruments flashed. A fat man interrupted, looking at the tube. “Wait. How does that relate to medical—” “Bear with me.” He needed to speed past Jűrgen’s part. Attendees cared more about how their dollars could mine the genome, the ultimate human recipe book. The genome held four billion years of information on humanity. It was arguably the greatest discovery in scientific history. Hideo continued, “Scientists wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without a big enough computer to analyze all of the data. CERN employed a grid computer system to study results.” They started to chatter, some rubbed their arms. He was losing them. The fat man said, “Like an electrical power grid?” “Not exactly. Computer grids link thousands of computers to work as a single virtual machine. Particle

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collision produces vast amounts of data. Ultimately, the Grid analyzes the equivalent of thirteen million DVDs worth of information annually. Taking the Internet the next step, the Grid will answer anything that involves calculating, no matter how complex.” He paused to let the message sink in and was gratified to see he had eye contact. A severe-faced woman dressed in black pointed with interest at the flashing instruments. “So that’s gridbased medicine?” “Exactly.” Hideo held his hands open broadly. “CERN’s physicists built the Grid to handle questions that are far more complex than any computer systems could handle before. Conveniently, the Grid runs over the World Wide Web—which CERN also invented to analyze atom-smashing results.” A technician entered the room below and checked dials attached to electrical equipment. Hideo raised his voice to speak over a new burring noise, “The Grid also powers Stanford University’s research. Through distributed processing, computers everywhere work as one.” A Persian man in a finely tailored, double-breasted suit cleaned his glasses on his with a cloth looking skeptical. “Let’s go to Building Six,” Hideo said. I’ll explain how Stanford will diagnose every disease.” Mercifully, Hideo sensed his audience lightening up. With a flick of his CERN tour guide flag, he directed them forward. He stole a look at his watch. Jűrgen was over an hour late. Good god. Could he be hung over sick from a night of carousing?

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After an elevator ride to the ground level, they filed to Building Six. While the group exchanged hotel stories and restaurant recommendations, Hideo checked his phone. No messages. He led the way to a conference room where attendees ate hors d'oeuvres until he motioned for everyone to get comfortable at the rosewood table. Bottles of Evian water and brochure packets were set on the table at precise intervals for each person. The orderly area reminded Hideo of his fastidious wife and their heart-wrenching divorce. His daughter’s face flashed before him. He moved across the conference room to get back to his performance. Jűrgen’s absence had thrown him off. “Okay. The question from earlier was how this Grid partnership with Stanford was going to help the public or medical science.” “Yes,” the Persian man held his Evian. “The genome is our roadmap to disease. All disease has a hereditary basis. We’re tapping into that with huge processing power. The U.S. government sequenced the human genome in 2003, but that was just a start and that took two-point-seven billion dollars.” “What does genomic medicine do that traditional medicine can’t?” The fat man asked. “Traditional medicine is failing. It treats everyone who has cancer with a short list of drugs like we’re all the same. In reality cancer is as individual as a fingerprint. It’s time we match individual treatment to individuals. Side effects from misprescription kills over 100,000 Americans a year.” he said. Hideo took a deep breath. “As you’ll find in your brochure, the Stanford Project works like this: a patient has his genome sequenced by a company like 23andMe

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based in the San Francisco Bay Area—this costs around one thousand dollars. The results come back on two DVDs to the patient and his doctor. That doctor then logs onto Stanford’s secured website to access the Grid. The Grid compares the genomic data from those DVDs against millions of other online medical records, isolating tissue samples from patients with other markers to that disease. By comparing patient diseases on a molecular level, we get a world of information: a person’s body chemistry, his predispositions, his susceptibilities, and his strengths and weaknesses to drugs. The result: a customized treatment for your individual illness.” Hideo fiddled with his wedding ring. “When you combine this Grid that crunches massive amounts of data with electronic records from hospitals for instance, well, you end up with amazing power.” The room went quiet. Then a man with Scottish accent asked. “Can you back up? Where do those online patient records come from?” “Good question. For years, medical researchers have struggled with doing statistical analysis. Hospitals, doctor’s offices and pharmacies used isolated computer networks, blocking access to medical records for broad comparison. Vital information couldn’t be crossreferenced to gain a deeper understanding of disease. “Finally, research hospitals started getting the data online. And security systems were designed which topped those of the ATM business. Of course, even putting anonymous medical information online was controversial. Everyone feared a privacy breach, but the need to save lives won the war over privacy fears. Computer standards were created and information

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pooled. Mind you, all names and hospital account numbers were scrubbed. While this happened, the search engines of the world connected that pooled information to create a great dataset.” “So, what’s next?” Someone asked. “Already, at Stanford, we’re diagnosing volunteers’ illnesses through comparison, using their DNA. With cancer, we’ll fight mutations with custom-made proteins that conform to that person’s body chemistry.” Several heads nodded. The Persian man asked, “Is there someone from CERN who is assigned to this Stanford Project?” “I should’ve mentioned, Jűrgen Hansen, CERN’s Director of Life Sciences, is the liaison between this lab and Stanford’s. He maintains the Internet connection which links this Grid to Stanford.” The Scottish man said, “Personalized medicine is a pipedream until we make it affordable.” Hideo stood tall to elongate his short stature. “Exactly. That’s the point here. We’re democratizing medicine; making the costly part—research and diagnosis—free.” “How?” the same man interrupted. “We’re leveraging shared computer resources. Not only do grids run over the Internet, which is virtually free, but they get power from volunteers’ idle computers. In the packet you’ll see how this Grid at CERN relies on processing power from volunteers. “I see doubt. Believe me, all we need is more funding. Isn’t fighting cancer as worthy a mission as landing spacecraft on Mars? If we don’t push medicine forward, fifteen hundred Americans will go on dying from cancer every day. Why not invest a fraction of that and get a leg up on the fight against diseases like cancer?”

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Audience members turned to one another. Hideo scored a point. He looked at his watch again. “The Stanford/CERN partner-ship needs your support to bring a non-profit alternative to today’s universal healthcare.” As the group opened brochures an elderly man in the front raised his hand. “What exactly would our endowment money accomplish?” To Hideo’s relief, eyes tracked him as he circled the table. “First, your dollars will guarantee processing power from places like CERN. Second, they’ll extend our Grid to every home PC—running like a worldwide database—bringing supercomputing power to desktops, virtually. We’ll have one enormous “virtual” super computer—the same way researchers from 25 countries analyzed the collision of particles here through a Grid of institutions and universities around the world. And, yes, we’ll need specially trained pharmacists to formulate the customized drugs.” Hideo’s mind strayed to his flight. There was barely enough time for him to get to the airport. After delivering his final plea for investment, Hideo beckoned for Jűrgen’s earnest assistant. A young man wearing a tie and short sleeves entered the room with a remote control in hand. Hideo explained that the CERN representative would show a film about computational biology. Hideo excused himself, explaining he had a flight to catch. His pitch had to have won some new backers. But no word back from Jűrgen. Something had to be wrong. His absence could’ve blown this event. Fortunately, Hideo

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was quick on his feet and rescued the situation. He feared he wouldn’t have the same luck with his wife.

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three
Friday, October 28 San Francisco, CA Traffic and double-parked cars idled outside the pizzeria that emanated the aroma of cornmeal crust. Red and blue lights swung across retail buildings on Columbus Avenue, drawing looks from the late crowd. A patrol car’s P.A. chirp signaled for the traffic to move. The attacker released Jude. He got to his feet, ran to a waiting Range Rover, and roared off. A cruiser rounded the corner. A moment later, a voice from above hollered, “On your feet.” Flat on the sidewalk, Jude had drifted to high school wrestling practice—a time when grappling was sport and getting the girl, serious business. Those years vanished when his eyes cracked open to two cops and a bystander. There was nothing academic about the three heads silhouetted against the night sky. Competitive wrestling served as a dry run for the real thing. Two cops stood, waiting. The older one with a bushy mustache stared coldly. Skull pounding, Jude rubbed the back of his head. “Did you get him?”

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A biting wind rushed down the street. Jude unsteadily got up and took a step forward. “I’m with the FBI.” “Hold it,” the older officer with the mustache said. Jude was treating these cops too cavalierly. In training, he'd learned that many cops on duty reported getting dismissive treatment from feebs. And it didn’t help matters that feds were famous for padding their arrest reports with busts made by beat officers. Everyone turned for an instant when the bystander receded into the pedestrian traffic. Headlights from passing cars reflected on the younger cop’s brass nameplate above his midnight blue shirt pocket. Jude read the name, Flanagan, on the plate. “What happened?” Flanagan asked, hooking a thumb on his belt. He had the glare of a baseball umpire. “Did you see him?” Jude asked, wiping sidewalk dirt from the hard drive; he touched blood droplets on his cheek. “No.” “What! You missed him? Did you see the white Range Rover?” “Stick to our questions.” The older officer said with lips creased tight. “Shit—the guy was even more trained in hand-to-hand combat than me.” “He was after that . . . computer part?” The cop pointed at the hard drive that Jude held in his hands. The older cop muttered, “That’s why you’re playing tackle here on Columbus?” Jude explained the break-in at his apartment and the subsequent chase. Flanagan opened a leather-bound notepad and scratched notes, weighing the account. While he wrote, Jude removed his cell phone, speed-

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dialed his colleague, Niles Tully, and told him to come by his apartment. Jude hung up as the older officer said, “And that’s your profession . . . cyber work at the bureau?” Jude nodded. The older cop holding his wallet checked his badge and Stanford magnetic clearance card. “Why the Stanford ID?” the cop asked, stroking his mustache. “I did some special work for them.” Jude avoided elaborating on his role in the genomics initiative at Stanford. Beat cops couldn’t be bothered with how Jude used to work for Stanford and still watched out for the University’s computer security. “And you work at the FBI?” Jude blinked dirt from his eyes. “I’m a new field agent.” The policemen exchanged glances. “Doing?” “Electronic surveillance for the bureau’s grid computer.” Jude tapped the hard drive. Flanagan shook his head. “Don’t I look like a workaholic? You want a description of the thief, right?” Earnestly holding the pad, Flanagan filled his page. After a quick ride up the hill in the squad car, the three of them trod through Jude’s hallway. The older cop gathered loose paper from the floor, and leafed through them. Jude swiped the papers out of his hand. “Hey.” The older cop put his hand on his sidearm. “Look. I just want to know if you’re going to have a team dust for latents.” Jude asked.

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The older cop said, “You’ve got your computer equipment now, right, agent Wagner? Can you prove they got anything else?” “Assholes.” Jude said under his breath. The older officer’s eyes narrowed. He turned to Flanagan. “Whadya know? The field office is hiring jerks without verbal filters.” “At least I do my job.” Jude shoved his hand through his hair. Flanagan shrugged. “Looks like all we got here is breaking and entering.” Not seeing anything else missing, and holding the recovered hard drive in his hands, Jude knew he’d have to check prints for himself. Just as well. The cops appeared ready to lecture him on the risks of vigilantism in North Beach. So when Jude heard the words, time for a code seven, he was relieved they were signaling to eat. The officers left without Jude showing them to the door. Locking it behind the police, Jude took stock of things. The cost of losing Grid information was incalculable. He turned his attention back to his hard drive and ransacked living room. Moving to his computer desk, he blew debris from the hard drive with a can of compressed air and slid the drive into its bay. Navigating to drive F, he saw with relief that the files were intact. The pounding in his chest slowed, but only a little. He went to the kitchen freezer and pulled a bag out of Birds Eye frozen corn for his throbbing cheek. He stared in the bathroom mirror at road burn texturing one side of his face. Straightening things as a way to cool down, he realized a folder of business documents that had been

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resting on his desk was gone—documents that pertained to the Google deal. His nerves shot up again. It had taken months of negotiations to strike this deal, a confidential agreement that would impact the pharmaceutical landscape overnight. The impending partnership would connect the Grid to Google’s world databases, ones that held most of the world’s printed information, enabling users to query medical data on the fly. The Grid would extend Stanford’s reach to millions of pages of medical data for free in exchange for online advertising. Jude text messaged Kate again in Kentucky to tell her what had happened. He’d fill her in on the details tomorrow once her plane got in. Setting down his phone, he warmed up some leftover chicken when heard a knock. He peered through the peep hole in the door then unlocked the bolt. Niles, Jude’s Grid partner, charged in, smelling of cigarette smoke. In a navy pea coat, dress white pants, and white bucks, he looked ready to report to the British Navy. Niles slammed the door and Jude locked it behind him. “Your face is a mess.” Niles said. They moved to the living room. Niles took in the strewn papers. “You’re more disheveled than a Jackson Pollack painting,” Niles said in his Oxford English accent. He snatched paper from the floor. “What happened?” Jude sighed. Niles sat in the corner club chair, removed a foilcovered mint from his pea-coat pocket, unwrapped it, and popped it in his mouth. “It’s like a ticker tape parade in here.” Jude refrained from sitting. “Some guy broke in and got my hard drive.”

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“Your hard drive? Damn it, Jude!” Niles slammed the arms of the club chair. “I got it back after I chased him all the way to Columbus and fought him.” Niles squinted with dismay. “But I just found out he got papers on the Google deal.” “No! Did you get a look at this guy, I mean a real look?” “I saw he was a walking oak tree with stubbled, blond hair. He looked paramilitary—ready for trouble. And a white Range Rover pulled up for him.” Jude grasped to recall more. Niles bit his lip, seething. But his judgmental glare had no effect on Jude. Niles dropped his hands on his knees. “A lot of good that FBI job is doing you, Sherlock.” Niles harbored resentment that Jude left Stanford for the FBI. But that was misplaced anger. Jude hadn’t abandoned the project and never could. His algorithm was embedded into the Grid. And the FBI job helped Stanford. It allowed Jude to study electronic surveillance so that he could help Niles safeguard the Grid against hackers. Losing patient data would ruin public trust— torpedoing the entire medical effort. Jude had become a white-hat hack—a hired coder who curtailed black-hat attacks. Most quants knew the term hacker had originated in the 1950s when a boy called Joe Engressia, born blind, developed perfect pitch as a result. Being able to precisely match a tone of any frequency through singing or whistling, he discovered at age eight that the U.S. long-distance telephone exchanges responded to special frequency tones. By mimicking the frequencies that

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phone companies used, he got away with making expensive calls for free. An intruder could’ve wanted Jude’s hard drive to obtain access to the Grid and do damage. But that wouldn’t have helped without the key he carried in his right front pocket. The key displayed a number that changed every thirty seconds—in sync with the Grid server—enabling Grid access. Jude may have been cavalier about his clothes and car, but not about cryptographic procedure. “I hope you can get some kind of detective help with this.” Niles quipped. “We’ll see.” Jude couldn’t help but think about how his coding breakthrough in the Stanford Grid acted as the spark to accelerate personalized medicine, but so what? That only represented one battle victory. As far as cancer was concerned, the war had just begun at Stanford. Jude said, “I’m going to try Hideo right now to give him a head’s up. But he’ll be tough to reach. After Switzerland, he was flying to Japan.” “Right. Let’s hope that CERN funding-raiser won some hearts. Either way, we’re going to find who nicked these papers.” Jude punched his number into his cell phone. The line rang into voicemail. “Hideo, Jude. I need you to call as soon as you can.” Jude clicked off and pocketed his phone. “We’ll have to try Hideo in the morning. And see what he can do to protect the Google deal.” Niles said, shaking his head. “Knowlan is going to lose it when he hears about this.”

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Mercenary and bipolar, Gary Knowlan was Stanford University’s bioengineering department’s Program Chief. Jude touched his cheek. “What are you going to do? Leave?” “We’re not going to run through every angle on this thing at a bar tonight. Not at this hour. Save it. Once you get into this tomorrow, call me. And keep that head clear, you hear me. No boozing.” Jude rolled his eyes. Wind bellowed through his metallined chimney. His face brightened with an idea. “You working on the boat tomorrow?” “Yes. I’ll be testing my new onboard stereo.” “I’ll meet you at the marina. We can sail before Kate arrives.” Niles buttoned his coat, considering it. “Okay.” He started for the door. “Usual time. And Jude, whoever dared to try to bring us down, he’s not going to succeed at this. We’re not going to let him.” “I know that. He’d have to kill me first,” Jude said.

*** He walked around his living room rug, chewing on a chicken drumstick. The evening’s event left Jude stewing over the isolating journey he’d led since he moved from Kentucky to California and buried himself in theoretical computing study at Berkeley with Niles. Looking back, this hunt really began when his mom died. He tore off another bite of chicken. He couldn’t put off the call to Stanford’s genomic medicine program director, Gary Knowlan, even though he knew it would wake him.

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Jude punched in the phone number to Gary Knowlan and got right to the point. “Gary, it’s Jude. Bad news.” It sounded like Knowlan knocked over a lamp. “Damn it.” There was more fumbling on the other end of the line. “I was asleep. What is it?” “Someone broke into my place and stole paper work involving our Google deal.” “Oh, God! The world is watching us with a magnifying glass,” Knowlan shouted, “investors, doctors, patients, lawyers—and you lose paperwork? We can’t afford carelessness.” “This is your way of thanking me for updating you? The thug could’ve crashed into your place just as easily as he did mine.” “But he didn’t. You better pray this doesn’t screw up the agreement.” There was a pause before anyone spoke. Jude could almost hear Gary processing this, half awake. He finally added, “How ironic is it that you’re going to be publicly awarded for your genius discovery. You should know that I’ve got serious misgivings about your banquet dinner. It’s too early for us to celebrate and dance in the street.” “Because you’re jealous.” Jude said. Knowlan cackled. “Give me a break. I’m not jealous of you, I’m livid. Your award night is a colossal distraction and now we’ve got stolen papers to worry about.” “The award night will be over in three days. You can quit being bitter after that.” “Shut up, Wagner.” Knowlan said. “I know you’re resentful because you think that we ganged up against you, but that’s not really the case.” Knowlan was still fuming over how his idea of commercializing the Grid got voted down by Jude, Niles and Hideo.

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“Wagner, we both know the reality of what happened. Another reality is that you and your amada-of-three just pissed away serious money.” Knowlan hung up. The conversation left Jude on edge even though he’d expected the call would strike a nerve. This gave Knowlan another opportunity to rant against making the Grid a free web service—what he called pie-in-the-sky medicine and project suicide. If the Grid were commercialized, according to the plan that Knowlan had struck with his Pharma company friends, he’d see a big promotion and leave behind his days as program director at Stanford, managing student scientists on campus. But it wasn’t Knowlan’s ego that got under Jude’s skin, it was his harping on the award ceremony. The Turing Award was distracting. Jude’s plan to help make Stanford more secure had just backfired. Pacing his way out of his fugue, Jude reconsidered the break-in to his apartment play-by-play. It would be horrendous if that intruder succeeded at accessing and corrupting the Grid. The message would be clear: if a hacker could compromise the Grid and its privacy controls, the public wouldn’t donate their idle computer power to it. Nor would they trust uploading their genome to the Grid for analysis. If that happened, the network couldn’t function. With heightened resolve, Jude took a flashlight to his hallway closet. It was the only part of his hall that would’ve been undisturbed by foot traffic from the police officer visit. He shined the flashlight low across the floor and saw a shoeprint that wasn’t his own. Then he recalled that one of his Academy manuals on evidence collection contained inserts for exercises. He pulled the

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manual from his bedroom shelf and found a gelatin lifter inside a laminated pouch. He removed the black gel plastic from its book pouch. In the hallway closet floor, he carefully placed the plastic over the boot mark to get a good impression. He let the gel lift set while he went outside with a flashlight to check his car for a slap-andtrack. The Mazda underside looked like a used stunt car, but it was free of attached hardware. It was little consolation. Whoever instigated this had an elaborate operation. A lot more thought had to go into keeping the Stanford Grid project afloat.

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four
Saturday, October 29 San Francisco, CA Jude clicked off his clock radio and the morning DJ. Daylight came too early to Jude’s Russian Hill apartment; raising his head took effort as the memory of his dream cycled into conscience. He was running on a treadmill, pounding on rubber. Every time his pace slowed, he sank another inch into sludge. He blinked the vision away. But he was reminded that whenever he felt rundown, his focus strayed from work to women or whatever took his mind off himself. He glanced at the bloody skin on the left side of his face in the bathroom mirror. After combing dirt out of his hair, he dabbed the scrapes on his face with rubbing alcohol on toilet paper. Niles could appreciate that Jude worked for the FBI now, assigned to computer intrusion. Jude’s paranoia over Grid security was justified. Removing the T-shirt he slept in exposed broad shoulders. His body hadn’t changed much from high school days when he wrestled competitively. His resting stance resembled that of a grappler going into round one: legs shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. His former coach said he had the quickness of a sled-dog. Back then, summers spent working construction jobs added muscle definition to his arms. At the moment, he

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felt stiff just putting his arms through the sleeves of a button-down shirt. He wondered how Hideo Onagi’s presentation had gone at CERN. But sizing up why his place was broken into would be his first order of business. In wrinkled trousers, he walked from the living room to his bedroom and snagged something sharp on his heel. As the brambly sensation dulled, he saw an unfamiliar black pen poking out from under his rug. Adrenalin ran through him. He would’ve found it sooner if it wasn’t wedged between the rug and floor pad. He nudged it with his fingernail. The worn pen had nothing identifiable except for some faded, illegible writing stamped in gold along the barrel. He pulled a sandwich bag from the kitchen. Using plastic as a glove, he scooped the pen into the baggie, zipped it, and pushed it into his satchel with the gelatin lifter in a separate divide and his hard drive that was in another baggie. The gel lifter was placed between two pieces of cardboard as moist evidence degrades when placed in plastic containers. Once outside, he put on his shoes and met a fog bank that hovered around the apartment buildings. The border between where the city ended and the bay began looked blurry. A foghorn blew near Alcatraz; sea lions barked at the wharf. San Francisco almost appeared adrift at sea. Jude could relate. The ground shook and the noise of metal on metal screeched. A cable car rose over the crest of Hyde Street. It carried tourists in sweatshirts and Bermuda shorts. Passengers cried gleefully as the car, dinging its chipper arcade-like chime, plunged toward Ghirardelli Square.

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Though the fog made it a cold day for sailing, Jude knew that being on the boat would clear his head. Sailing had a Zen effect on him. There had to be some report on his attacker from last night. Jude went to his car, opened his mobile phone in the wind, and rang the Central Police Station. The station straddled Chinatown and North Beach, and it would have handled last night’s skirmish on Columbus Avenue. The police line beeped, recording the call. Jude asked for Officer Flanagan. The line transferred from the front desk. “Officer Flanagan.” “This is Jude Wagner, the FBI agent from last night.” “Which response was that?” “The one involving the Filbert Street apartment breakin and the—“ “Right, the street-fighting fed. If you’re calling about that Range Rover’s partial plate, we’ve got nothing.” “Really.” The officer said, “You’re quite the shit disturber. Disorderly conduct for an agent, don’t you think?” Time was wasting. Jude could tell this call wasn’t going to help and pressed END. He reconsidered the missing Google papers with terms for a deal with Stanford. They’d had to keep the deal a secret. If word had got out that one of the largest, most cutting-edge information tech companies was working with Stanford to capture patient records, it would’ve turned the biggest industry in the world—mainstream medicine— upside down. Healthcare executives would panic to see custom drugs selling at a fraction of their one-size-fits all blockbusters, drugs that earned more than $234 billion a year. If Stanford’s healthcare project were non-profit, it

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could save billions of dollars on commercial advertising, and even more on clinical studies. He got in the Mazda, started it up and headed for the Berkeley Marina. Genomic medicine was cheaper in the long run than traditional medicine because it analyzed a person’s health predictively, showing which drug treatments would be optimal for one gene-type. Traditional medicine, however, was evidence-based and depended heavily on expensive clinical trials and lab tests. And because the Stanford team analyzed disease genomically, relying more on computers than doctors, it would produce fewer side-effects and misprescriptions. The Stanford Grid would interpret a person’s genome so precisely that a doctor could log onto Stanford’s database and know which drugs to avoid and which ones to use when writing a prescription for that patient. Any neighborhood pharmacy could fill the order. Jude left another message on Hideo’s cell, asking if he could fire back an email if he was too busy to talk. Jude thought about his award ceremony and Roger Knowlan’s telephone tantrum. He was a manic nut case, but Knowlan was right. It was no time to be celebrating, not after the Google agreement papers had been swiped. Jude crossed the Bay Bridge. As he had done a hundred times before, he turned into the Berkeley Marina parking lot to meet Niles for a sail. Kate said their boat was like a tree house to a twelve-year old: a private escape. It would be good to see her later. The marina was deserted on this blustery October day. None of the regular kids who lived on wind surfboards were hitting waves. A bell attached to one of the docked sailboats whimpered in the wind. The

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constant settling of the land gnarled the asphalt with fissures. The only sign of a visitor was Niles’s parked car. Down the dock, Jude boarded the boat to find Niles doing sit-ups on the deck as if he’d been waiting overnight. Smelling of teak oil, Niles put on his wire-rim glasses and straightened his slicked back hair. With aqua topsiders, he resembled a preppy version of Gordon Gecko from the 1980s movie Wall Street. If Jude was the artist, Niles was the art dealer in their relationship: a spin doctor, a check-is-in-the-mail, we’llsign-the contract-today Svengali who, unlike Jude, remained a permanent member to the Stanford Grid Project. Though he seemed to have an extra chromosome for melodrama, Jude could count on Niles to keep him up on the day-to-day at Stanford. Jude pulled on a faded Old Navy sweatshirt, untied the last slip line, and kicked off from the dock. The Tipsea shoved away from the berth. They motored out of the marina. Jude tugged on his cap, blocking wind and sunlight. Standing at the base of the mast, he winched the halyard, raising the sail. The sail flapped in the wind until Niles cranked the mainsheet. He got it into optimal position, billowing the sail. Quietly, they skimmed along the water. It took will power for Jude to return to sailing after what happened on the family sailboat when he was fifteen. He’d be better off forgetting that humid summer afternoon of family sailing. The wind disappeared, the boat motor stalled and those cicadas got louder on Kentucky Lake that day. Jude’s mother died just after a rigorous swim. Initially the twins thought she may have drowned. But drowning wasn’t the cause of her death. In fact, their mom had

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been suffering from breast cancer which had irreversibly spread. Jude and Kate didn’t learn of her condition until after she’d died. Her body had simply given out after the torture of the disease. In an instant, there was a void in the house and Kate and Jude were no longer kids. Their mother’s breast cancer had jump-started him to research how computers were being applied in medicine. Every weekend he tapped at the Internet, delving deeper into medical websites. Kate worried about him. Virtual reality could serve as anyone’s short term refuge, but for the long term it was no way to live. Niles turned to Jude. “Fancy this. I’m actually seeing phantom-Jude two days in a row.” Jude’s Quantico training and first month at the bureau had kept him away. “I saw you three times in the last four months—you had me thinking you were giving up on Stanford.” “Whatever, Niles. I’m here now.” “So, where are we with this break-in?” Niles asked. “What can the FBI do for us?” “Got one lousy lead.” “Which is what?” “A pen I found at my place.” Niles looked hopeful, but Jude shook his head. “It may lead nowhere.” In four days Niles would be flying to Switzerland to hammer out an agreement with the search engine company. The Google representative was in Meyrin coordinating Grid issues with CERN. Niles would use the opportunity to see his son Edward in London. For some reason Jude wondered if Niles missed his son. “Can I ask you a random question.” “What?”

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“Is it strange that Charlene raises Edward?” “Charlene is a stellar mum. But I never knew I’d want to see this boy of mine as much as I do. I think about him daily. Niles picked through his wallet and pulled out a picture of his son, Edward. “Look at this. Isn’t he a bonnie lad? Turning thirteen.” “It’s debatable. He looks just like you.” “Bollocks.” “Is he still playing soccer?” “He’s their ringer. You should start a brood one day.” “You call that a brood, having a boy that’s halfway across the world who’s being co-parented by your lesbian friend? How often do you see him, three times a year? The word virtual is good when used for grid computing—bad when it applies to Dad.” “Okay, wise ass.” “I’m sure you’re doing a fine job with Edward,” Jude said apologetically. “Good.” “I think I’m stuck on a traditional idea of how I’d raise a family and what it would take.” The boat rocked over swells. “You’re never ready for kids, even when you find the right person to make them with which you haven’t. Charlene and I have things sorted, but I should’ve found an American girl to do it with. Either way, life is easier if you’re straight.” “Your report on Charlene is better than what I’ve got.” “What’s her name?” Niles said. “Nathalie.” “And this mystery woman would be?”

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“A waste of my energy. We started something at the FBI Academy. Neither one of us could get enough of each other. And now—” “This is dire. You fancy a career woman who’s putting that badge first.” “And now we’re FBI partners.” “Partners? Like Mulder and Scully in the X-Files? “Sort of. Technically, she’s my training agent.” “Forget your love ‘em and leave ‘em modus operandi with this one.” “Thanks for the advice, Niles. It saves me a lot of trial and error.” “You got yourself in deep. Shit like this takes a toll.” A sailboat of similar size moved opposite them on the port side. “I’ll be fine. What I don’t know is why I talk to you?” “Good question. Why does a guy who’s straight as an arrow like you have a best friend who’s gay like me? Ever wonder what the media’s going to do with that once they find out your former Grid partner swings the other way?” “I’m not worried about that, Niles. If the tabloids print I’m gay, I’ll be catching the girls with their guard down.” “True. I’m the best wingman you’ll ever know. It is pretty ironic, though, that the woman you really want is an FBI agent.” “Why is that?” “Plenty of birds out there would admire your being an agent. Yet you manage to go for a girl who is one herself. The oncoming sailboat passed with the man and woman onboard giving a casual wave. Niles waved back at them. “You still glad you became a full-time federali?”

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“Yes. You know my job is good for Stanford. We’re in this project for the long haul.” Jude thought about how glad he was that Kate would be visiting. He needed to get his mind off things. He told Niles that Kate would be flying in later that day. “Does she have a seat at the award ceremony?” “Yes.” Suddenly, Jude realized that he hadn’t set aside much time to spend entertaining Kate. “Yeah, just don’t let that new girl or that ceremony in two days go to your head—you’re still one of the team. And obviously you’re still prone to screwing up the simplest of things.”

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five
Sunday, October 30 Tokyo, Japan The Ferris wheel nearly completed its first full rotation with its newest passengers on board. Dr. Hideo Onagi held his nine-year-old daughter’s chilled shoulder and she gripped her vinyl seat. The Ferris wheel car swung freely. From up here they had a mountaintop view where city life below crawled serenely. It allayed Hideo’s mind from his marital predicament. Under different circumstances he’d be drinking Cosmos to celebrate the completion of another Grid presentation. He was elated that the medical project would remain not-for-profit with Stanford University. But there would be no rest for him in Tokyo. He even put Jűrgen’s absence out of his mind. The skyline didn’t look the way it used to when Hideo was growing up. More buildings towered, emblems to Japanese industry. The expanse framed five ports: Chiba, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Yokosuka, and on the west, Tokyo. The heavily-built landscape receded into gray. At midday, the autumn sun was breaking through a veil of Tokyo smog. “Daddy look.” Yomiko shouted, pointing at kids below chasing dancing kite strings.

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“Clear day for Tokyo, isn’t it, Yomiko?” “It’s beautiful, Daddy.” Coveting family time, Hideo read manga comics to his daughter on weekends. Yet at home in Palo Alto, California, he seemed married to his job. His schedule left few hours for his wife and Yomiko. If he could rewind time, he would’ve struck a balance, listened to those who called him too high-minded for his own good. But his Grid team depended on him for everything at Stanford. Right now, Hideo’s wife, Asuka, dined with her parents, strategizing about her permanent relocation back to Tokyo with their daughter. Asuka couldn’t function outside of Japan. Like some endangered zoo animal, she had to ship back to her natural habitat or pine away. She had asked for a divorce, claiming she couldn’t be Japanese anywhere else. That phrase haunted Hideo. He wondered if he was no longer Japanese. He couldn’t remember when someone called him “the Little Bullet,” the nickname that the Japanese media had coined for him. But he couldn’t foresee living in Japan again and abandoning his job. Fully Americanized, he drove a classic Mustang and, unbeknownst to his wife, shot pool and drank cosmopolitans after work. He’d even come to resent Japan’s outdated patriarchal systems of hierarchy and its hidden xenophobia. With a steel clank, the Ferris wheel lurched them higher. He rubbed his daughter’s shoulders to warm them. Yomiko squinted into wind. He knew how rarely he would see his daughter once Asuka moved her to Japan. This business trip was his opportunity to say goodbye to her for now, while Asuka reunited with her parents— parents whom, she insisted, they’d abandoned. How

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could he steer the Grid project when he couldn’t keep his family afloat? Shame. Yomiko straightened her bangs while the Ferris wheel moved again. He mumbled a poem he knew. Time is eternity and eternity is time. What is time and who am I? Time moves on but I am out of time. In between. Time moves. Time stands still. “What are you saying, Daddy?” “Nothing—look, Yomiko, that outline is Mount Fuji,” Hideo said, his arm still around her shoulders. His daughter pointed in another direction, at hazy spires. “And there’s Disneyworld.” Precocious nine-year-old. Windblown, they disembarked from the ride. Yomiko headed to a meal truck, pulling Hideo by the hand. They purchased bento box lunches and ice cream, taking a bench that overlooked Tokyo Bay. Yomiko ate her melting drumstick first. Hideo opened his box and savored a soy-dipped salmon roll. While his daughter watched the kids play with kites, he unfolded the Japan Times, Sunday, October 30 edition. The front story covered the latest medical debacle about how Clarkson Reid, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world after Johnston & Quib, had been shipping outdated drugs to Africa to fight the AIDS epidemic that continued to sweep the continent. Amoral capitalist pigs. He snapped the paper together. A few outdated drugs wouldn’t help anyone.

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He trashed the paper into a green can. His wife’s words came to mind. You’re boiling the ocean, Hideo. Sadly, this was the only way Asuka could express her frustration with his work. But Hideo couldn’t leave the Stanford Grid Project. Not after the holy grail of medicine was finally getting started—successfully evaluating diabetes test patients with a million times greater accuracy than a physician could. Stanford’s massively distributed computer network analyzed molecular patterns like weather satellites that scanned the earth for climate changes. The Grid matched molecular information from tumors with exactly the right drug to suppress that tumor. To treat each cancer patient individually meant heavy analysis. The computer power of the Grid made it possible. He had overcome the perception that genetic engineering tampered with nature and the ecosystem. A few years ago Hideo had to wear moon-suits even for tasks done inside air-locked laboratories. Since then, attitudes had shifted as people came to better understand genetic science. “Let’s not leave, Daddy.” “I must—I have a conference in Palm Springs,” Hideo said. Yomiko scowled. “What kind of conference?” “Computer medicine, Neko, for sick people.” She made an exaggerated frown. As she ate her lunch, he observed how her fresh, young face bore evidence of the refined beauty she would become. He wanted to preserve memories of her growing up, storing in his mind all that he would miss. Yomiko leaped up. “Let’s go.” She tugged him by his cuff. He dumped their paper lunch boxes and followed.

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“Where are you going, Yomiko?” She turned. “You know, to our garden, without birds.” She flashed him a toothy smile of innocence, acknowledging his fear of birds. Chocolate ice cream streaked down her face. He, too, wanted to relive their Tokyo memories from Yomiko’s childhood. He followed her to their old nature sanctuary. The grounds appeared, clashing against the dense urban background of Tokyo. Nearing the garden, Yomiko pointed to an entrance lined with a maze of shrubs that Hideo knew was Japanese boxwood. “This way, Daddy.” She pointed to the bonsai-filled menagerie. Inside the garden, they crept along pebble paths with red maples that ran alongside lily-covered streams. An elderly garden visitor sat meditating upon sand and stones, surrounded by bamboo. “Daddy, I want to move back here.” He ignored that. “Select a rock, Yomiko.” “Okay—that one beside the red tree.” “Now, adopt it.” “How?” “Name it. Remember it. And it’s yours.” Yomiko threw her head back, closing her eyes. “I named it Chihiro, from the movie Spirited Away.” “Fine. We’ll revisit old Chihiro one day. Say goodbye,” he said softly. She thought about it, fixed on the rock and waved her arms. They meandered away from the garden, across yards of grass where families picnicked with wine bottlesized Sapporo and Asahi beers. Strolling with her hand in his, Hideo rehearsed his Palm Springs speech. He removed an index card from his shirt pocket. But the dozens of birds that settled in a flock at their feet distracted him. His palms sweated at this and the two

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vicious-looking dogs he saw sitting in the distance, outside the garden. “Yomiko, we must go.” “Daddy, I’ll protect you from those black birds.” He squeezed her hand and put the note cards away. As they strolled toward the gift shop, her eyes suddenly grew large. She cried: “Daddy, look out.” Hideo spun around to confront two vicious white and tan dogs coming at him from behind cherry trees. They cantered toward him with fur raised on their necks. Like hungry wolves, the weighty Akita Inu collided into him, knocking him backward. Hideo stumbled. They circled, snapping at him. He swung his arms to keep them from turning on his daughter. One dog shredded the sleeve from long-sleeved cotton shirt. His daughter darted toward a tree, screaming. He anchored his heels into the grassy earth to stand, but the growling animals pinned him down, spewing fetid breath and slobber. With one arm, he motioned for Yomiko to keep running. “Go. Go!” Instead she watched shrieking, immobilized. One berserk Akita closed its fangs on his forearm, sinking teeth into skin and bone. The other animal bit Hideo’s thigh. His extremities seared. He straight-armed one dog’s muzzle. Its head snapped back and forward again. He kicked the other, gasping. The second one forced its fangs into his opposite arm, yanking it like a flag in a gale. His shoulder popped and he screamed. He saw picnickers jump to their feet and dash to help him. “Daddy.” Yomiko cried.

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Kneeling, Hideo snagged one dog’s ear and didn’t let go. Furry tissue finally tore from its square head. A torrent of blood ran down the animal’s head, slowing it. Hideo had gained the upper hand until the other locked its jaws on his cheek. Hideo lost his grip. Teeth gnashed into his neck like ice picks, piercing and crushing the vertebrae. Hideo saw white, and smelt a coppery odor mixed with urine. It was more pain than he imagined possible. His struggle diminished to stopaction motion. Gasping, he fell flat to the ground. Yomiko heard a whistle blow. One after another, the dogs tore off in into the direction from which the sound came, leaving a crimson trail. Heeling, the canines sat before a blonde-haired woman in a brown jumpsuit. She was crouched behind cherry trees. Breathless, Yomiko watched the woman reward her dogs with biscuits, then lean on fasten leashes to them. Her gold cross glistened in the sunshine. Frightened and helpless Yomiko moved to her father’s lifeless body and dropped to her knees sobbing. The woman behind the trees disappeared. A siren sounded. With lights flashing, an ambulance sped onto the park knoll, swerving around parents who swept children out of the way. Two medics sprang from the swinging double doors with a stretcher. They sped to where a little girl blanketed herself over the attack-dogs’ victim. One of the medics examined puncture marks on the victim’s throat. He put one hand on top of another and tried to resuscitate the gravely injured man. A brackish odor made him cover his nose with his forearm. He relayed, “There’s no hope for this poor man.”

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The other medic knelt to comfort the blood-stained child. “What is that you’ve got in your hand?” he asked and pried two index cards from her shaking fist. “They went over there,” the girl said crying. “Who did?” “The dogs. A lady was waiting for them and she was here, but left.” The medic looked at the trees where she pointed but saw nothing. He read the note card: “Algorithms like Jude Wagner’s solve problems through computer instructions or code which greatly speed up the computational process of personalized medicine. How? Mathematically. Wagner’s code mines key bits of data. This way, the Grid at Stanford can sort the molecular information of a patient’s tumor and give us an individualized snapshot of the illness. It’s step one in custom disease diagnosis.” The medic had no idea what he was reading, but it looked important. He tucked the note card into his pocket and put the deceased on the stretcher.

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Monday, October 31 Emeryville, CA Marc Ferguson’s corporate office in Emeryville was plush, complete with a private sitting room, bar and bathroom. With revenues sagging, it smacked of excess. The CEO stepped out of his office shower after his morning run and dressed. Dreading his next meeting, he quickly applied molding cream into his thick gray hair and patted cologne on his square jaw. Times were simpler when medical insurance covered more of the cost of medicine. Just five years ago the media had swooned over him, hailing him the Michael Jordan of drug manufacturers for his unlikely rise from a Pennsylvania steel worker family to the tough-minded pill producer they depicted him as today. How could they forget that he forged J&Qs blockbuster drugs which earned over two billion dollars a year? Launching a blockbuster drug was arguably the highest stake game in business. It cost a billion dollars to bring one to market; yet, one-size-fits all treatment had had its day as personalized medicine was rapidly claiming the altar of healthcare. Ferguson thought he had remedied J&Q’s problems by teaming up with Stanford’s corps of scientists, the new darlings in genomic medicine. A month ago that fell apart when The Stanford Grid team told Ferguson that it would be severing its alliance with J&Q. The news carried an awful sting. Ferguson dreaded how J&Q’s stock price would drop when word got out. Never one to play by the rules, he’d downplayed the report to venture capitalist, Olivier Ramsey. Ferguson looked out his window, now holding a watered down glass of scotch. Emeryville looked small

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against San Francisco. Remove the strip malls and high rises and Emeryville’s only merit was its proximity to the Bay Bridge that led from the east bay to downtown San Francisco. An uneasy feeling loomed over Ferguson that Jude Wagner would mention the break-up of J&Q and Stanford tonight at his award ceremony. Setting down his scotch, he moved to his desk and picked up line two. Heather told him Mr. Ramsey was here. “Send him in,” Ferguson said to Heather, the executive assistant extraordinaire—the only company person with whom he’d confided about his illness. Dressed in a dark suit, Olivier Ramsey toted a suitcase into Ferguson’s office, looking the veteran of multiple bear markets on Wall Street. Under thick eyeglasses, a cheerless line for a mouth cut across his pale face. “Did your plane come in early?” Ferguson said, perfunctorily shaking hands. “Mercifully. There was hardly any cabin space to breathe.” Apart from his New York accent, Ramsey’s speech lacked any note of inflection. Ferguson made a comment about how Internet price wars killed the airlines. “Commercial airlines, not the private jets that you ride.” Ramsey propped up his luggage. He took the chair across the desk from Ferguson, and turned it so it squared off directly opposite him. “How’s your daughter?” Ferguson asked. “Fine. Although she just hacked off her nice long hair. The bellhop look must be in style.” “Must be. Short and brown is how my daughter wears it.”

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Ramsey checked his BlackBerry, ending the artless chit chat. Ramsey, who was J&Q’s primary investor from the beginning, had flown in for another status report. He had banked on J&Q’s alliance with the Stanford University. The Stanford team, with its revolutionary computational biology, promised to usher flagging J&Q into the new age of science. The phone rang. Ferguson took a quick call from his doctor, spoke a few words and hung up. He apologized for the interruption. Reaching for a granola bar, he leisurely tore it open and bit into it. Ferguson had a habit of putting on a calm façade whenever his illness cropped up—it had become his most coveted secret as a CEO. Doctors had advised him years ago that he had a 50 percent risk of contracting Huntington’s disease since his steelworker father had died from it. Five years after a gene for HD was found, a blood test had confirmed that Ferguson suffered from the deadly disease. No cures for the disease existed yet so he’d started developing one himself. He now awaited results on preliminary testing of a new drug. Ramsey huffed at the interruption, but Ferguson ignored him. “How’s the drugstore?” Ramsey finally asked in his brusque New York manner. “We’re pushing timelines with the Huntington’s drug, and the breast cancer product is still a leader.” Ramsey said, “It’s a leader, but we’ve got our share of side-effects to worry about, I see.” Ferguson knew that Ramsey, being a major financial backer, read the side-effect reports almost as religiously as himself. Ramsey added, “What’s happening with the Stanford team?”

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Ferguson coughed. “They don’t offer me status reports until every one of their ideas has been sealed like a can of tuna.” Ferguson looked away, dreading the meeting that was scheduled in six days to dissolve the Stanford alliance. Then he’d have to face a tirade from investors and Ramsey—a fiery defeat in the waiting. “Nicolette wants to know if you’re patching things up.” Nicolette was Ramsey’s boss. “I’m trying. I’ve got a call in to Hideo Onagi.” Ramsey shook his head. “You know how I feel about Jude Wagner.” “You don’t trust him.” “That mouth of his is a loose cannon. You can’t watch him too closely while J&Q is vulnerable to bad press.” Ferguson took another bite out of his granola bar. He didn’t dare tell Ramsey how right he was.

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seven
Sunday, October 30 San Francisco, CA Jude rolled off the sofa in his living room after 8 A.M., Sunday morning sun washing through bay windows. He poked his head around his bedroom door and saw Kate listlessly unpacking things into drawers with tennis highlights playing on his bedroom TV. She pulled out her book on the Dali Lama and thumbed through it. “Is everything all right?” Jude asked. “Yeah,” she said unconvincingly. “I just resent how much effort it takes to get here, simply to see my bro.” The casual spontaneity they enjoyed growing up as twins had devolved to something more formal, an adjustment they’d never acknowledged. “Do you want coffee?” “If it’s not too high octane, yes.” Kate stretched. “Tell me, are you still going through girls like tissue paper or is there someone special you need to tell me about?” “I’m on dating hiatus.” “You, on a dating hiatus? Never. I know the male brain.” Kate clicked off the TV with the remote and tossed it on the bed. “On another note, the most evocative smell made me think of you the other day.” “Bourbon or Tequila?”

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She smiled. “Not even close. A breeze of freshly cut grass. It blew through my cracked bedroom window at home and it transported back to your mowing the lawn on weekends in Kentucky.” “Fortunately, that’s one chore I’ll never have to worry about in San Francisco. And clearing the driveway of snow is another.” “Do you think you’ll ever go back to Louisville?” “Doubtful.” “Tell me about your break-in. What’s that all about?” “My place was broken into. That’s about it.” She got his text Saturday morning and shot back a note, Lock up! She insisted on hearing more, so he told her, and ended, saying, “but they didn’t get anything.” He lied. It was too early in the day to get into that. “It’s probably an isolated incident.” She let her question go for now, but gazed down at his hands. “Chewed fingernails, I see.” “Here we go again. Don’t tell me. It gives you a glimpse under the hood—a look at my nerves. I’m doing fine, Kate.” Kate shrugged. For a moment, he considered how he’d grown jaded by the world’s misfortunes, as if nothing—from natural disasters to suicide bombers and Al Qaeda—would gall him. But this home invasion keyed him up. She must’ve sensed it. She said, “I don’t know how you do it.” “What?” “Do the work you do. It makes you so unpopular. First it was the Stanford Grid, now law enforcement.” “I must like the pressure of having detractors.”

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“I guess you do. Risky business always had a way of finding you growing up. Call me predictable, but no amount of money or status would tempt me to trade teaching biology in Kentucky for what you did at Stanford or do the FBI. I do admire you, though. Silicon Valley is brimming with geeks half as talented as you— most of them focused on earning their millions and retiring by forty-five. That’s just not you.” He chuckled and poured coffee in two mugs, handing one to Kate. “I think about money a lot too, Kate. But my primary goal isn’t to be happy and carefree, but to be useful.” “I like that,” she said. They sipped their coffee. She set down her cup. “Got something to show you.” She led him to her open suitcase on the floor in his bedroom. Using two fingers, she lifted out an impressive gown. “I bought this for the momentous occasion.” Jude eyed the piece, chuckled with approval and told her he’d call a separate cab for her tomorrow night to get to the ceremony as he’d be going early. Kate finished unpacking her things from her case while Jude fixed French toast. A scarf, sweats, and underwear went into dresser drawers that Jude had emptied for her stay. She removed her biology notes from her suitcase for the class she’d be guest lecturing and placed them on the bedside table. Could her lack of energy could be tied to her recent mammogram? Her exam was so inconclusive. She repeated her doctor’s words: We can’t fret about this until we see your biopsy results. She ached to tell Jude about her worrisome checkup, but she didn’t dare drop this on him now—not when he

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was about to accept his award. She walked to the kitchen and watched Jude making coffee, reconsidering telling him. No one but she, and possibly Niles, understood Jude’s contrasting nature: his wrestler physique, quick reflexes and strong jaw merely exposed his superficial facets. Underneath this thirty-one-year-old exterior lived an analytical insomniac. He was not only prone to analyzing everything but being sucked into the undertow of life’s currents. This played out through bar hopping and short term relationships. Jude the Gemini was blessed—or cursed—with a mind that rarely shutdown. His deeper self wanted boundaries. He yearned to change the world and himself. It’s no wonder that skin is the largest single organ in the human body. Skin, for people like Jude, acted as a protective shell to a murky, contemplative interior. She finally made a firm decision to hold off on telling him. It would upset Jude too much to learn that she may have inherited the disease that killed their mother. Just as Kate said that, she heard how ironic the words were leaving her mouth. She and Jude were as different as Tabasco sauce was to honey, but now she was exposed to risk too, a health risk. Kate excused herself and went to the bathroom. For the hell of it, she took a pro-biotic pill from her toiletry bag, swallowed it and zipped up the remaining pills. Kate negotiated with herself that after Jude’s award ceremony she’d tell him that she was on hold for biopsy results. I’ll navigate this, she reassured herself.

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eight
Monday, October 31 San Francisco, CA

Jude jumped off a cable car, wishing his free time with Kate could’ve continued for another day. Once the locksmith had finished changing the locks on Jude’s front door yesterday morning, Jude made the most of the rest of the day. He took his sister to watch the Fleet Week aviation show from Alta Plaza hill. Between the fly-bys of the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 Hornets, Jude regaled her with stories of his Quantico training. Over an early dinner of sushi and Sake, Kate said that her girlfriends couldn’t believe that sporty Kate wasn’t dating, but Jude knew that what she’d faced three years ago had scarred her. It bothered him just remembering how she tried to become pregnant with her then husband. When they couldn’t conceive after two years of trying, her fertility-doctor spouse quit on her. Their divorce had been quick. Since then Kate had traded her dreams of motherhood for teaching, exclusively. Jude refocused on his work day. He needed to examine the pen he found the other night. Ignoring the

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smell of stale beer and car grease on the streets, he hoofed to work. He stepped through the double doors at Civic Center to Four- fifty Golden Gate Avenue, the largest federal office building west of the Mississippi River. He flashed his shield to the slouched guard perusing Rolling Stone magazine. Still fresh to the job, Jude paused in mid-stride for Henry to verify credentials. Giving Jude’s badge his once-over, Henry asked, “Late for a date today, Wagner?” “With my desk.” “Don’t forget to save energy for marriage, man.” “Right.” Henry had recently finalized his divorce settlement. “Women want it all,” he said. “I bought a Les Paul Guitar in 1961 for $390. Guess what that’s worth now? Over $90,000. No way my ex’ is getting that.” “You can thank Jimmy Page for that—he transformed the electric guitar.” “You’re too young to know that,” Henry said, going back to his reading. Jude moved around the metal detector and wished Henry a fine day as he moved into the hollow lobby. Inside the elevator, he leaned against the back wall, reflecting on how the FBI should have hired a grid expert like himself a long time ago to upgrade the security network. He straddled two worlds: law enforcement and cutting-edge technology. His famous formula was embedded into the Stanford Grid; it still sifted through genetic databases, using past computer searches that yielded relevant findings to generate a dataset for future searches. Jude had elevated the field of computational

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biology to a new art and would always have a stake in the war against cancer. Leaving the elevator, he traveled along the linoleum corridor that ran nearly a football field long. Wooden plaques read: LABORATORY SERVICES, FINGERPRINTING, NATIONAL SECURITY. He strode by a cubicle farm, then came to an opaque door labeled ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE. Inside, Nathalie worked quietly at her varnished government desk. Their short-lived fling in Quantico training still played with his mind. He was sore and sleep-deprived, and she displayed the picture of togetherness and grace with her fine-boned, oval face. While she adjusted strands of her sable hair into a French bun, it revealed her olive-skinned swan neck. He wanted to see her in a professional light but kept imagining her in the nude. Her aptitude and experience in mathematics and quantitative reasoning had moved her up the bureau ladder, making her a liaison between Tactical Intelligence and Cyber Intrusion. Inexplicably, he didn’t really know her outside of the bedroom. She was a French-Canadian enigma to him. The last thing he’d expected from the training academy was to experience two weeks of government-sponsored sex with an agent who was taking refresher courses. He clearly remembered meeting Nathalie Noiret before Quantico under different circumstances. Fate seemed to be throwing them into each other’s path. Jude sat down at his desk across from her, admiring her for another moment. “Hey, how are you?” She said. “Crazed.” “It’s too early in the new job for that.”

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“Tell me about it,” he said. “How was your trip to Montreal?” “The usual family visit. A lot of food and debate about how life would change in Quebec if it weren’t under Canada’s rule. Nothing exciting.” She removed her jacket and folded it neatly on her desk. Her strappy black tank top revealed bare shoulders and her lean, petite gymnast body. Every inch of her, feminine. Had her desk been stationed in the cubicle farm, she never would have had this freedom, but here in their office the only audience was Jude. She got back to her computer work. Why that blouse today? If that doesn’t violate platonic rules of office engagement… Maintain a productive appearance, Jude put his head down and coded, adjusting his algorithm again to analyze suspicious Internet chatter. But he also carried out a plan. He brought old code with him in documents stored on a flash drive from home, and copied it to his computer. This way, if the Cyber Supervisor questioned what he’d been up to over the next several days, he’d having something to show. While Jude was faking productivity, Nathalie got up and Errol Speer approached. Speer worked as Assistant Special Agent in Charge, overseeing the Criminal Division and Organized Crime. Jude got a look at Nathalie from behind while she left the alcove area and turned the corner. Tall and cocky, Speer chortled, standing beside Jude’s desk. Jude knew Speer caught him checking out Nathalie. “Look, it’s the rookie,” Speer said. Jude gave him a lopsided smile. He owned office furniture more animated than this company man.

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Speer said, “If you think you’re going to get anywhere with Agent Noiret, I’ll save you the time. Some guy ditched her before Quantico. She’s emotionally tattered.” “How would you know?” “Not much remains secret around here. You’ll see.” “Hmpf. When did you hear this?” “Before your Quantico training. Why?” A rude grin crept across Speer’s face. “You think you’ve got a Chinaman’s chance with her?” Jude stood and gave him a challenging glare. “My cousin finished the Academy before you and applied for your field agent opening. But you got it instead of him. He could’ve done the job standing on his head—you’d better be damn good.” “Or else what?” Speer shook his head with a smirk and turned. Too busy to dwell on Speer’s government-issued personality, In the Crime Lab, Jude took a digital photo of his gel lifter and did an electronic search to match the type. The shoe make was Danner, ICH Military. Size eleven. He could see from the computer image the boot wasn’t the type civilians wore. And it was too much boot for most field agents. He made a mental note of the shoe’s appearance. Carefully removing the pen from its zip-locked bag, he grabbed a spray bottle from the laboratory fingerprint kit. He pumped it three times, covering the pen in ninhydrin. Out of nowhere, Nathalie walked into the lab, staring at Jude. “What are you doing?” “Without going into a big story, I’m dusting for prints on this pen. You wanna give me a hand?” “What is this about?”

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“I’ll tell you, afterward.” She sighed, stepped in front of him, pulled gloves out of a drawer and put them on. She took a long lighter from the fingerprint kit, and passed the flame an inch from the pen, allowing the heat to bring out any ridges in the ninhydrin. Jude watched. She picked up the black powder and dusted the pen with it. Her hands moved with delicate control like those of a surgeon than of a Mathematics Ph.D. She examined the pen for bifurcations using a magnifying glass and let him do the same. She raised her brown sphinx eyes. “It’s clean. The narrow shape of the pen didn’t allow a broad surface to get great prints. Your pen pal remains a mystery.” “I was afraid of that,” Jude said. He pictured his perp. The guy was wearing gloves. Expecting the worst, Jude asked Nathalie to help him check the hard drive too. As expected, she only found grimy smudges. Another dead end. He zipped up the pen again and placed it with the hard drive back in his satchel. Walking back to their desks, she asked, “Are you going to tell me what this is about?” She sat at her desk. Jude set down his satchel and walked around to her side of the desk. “My place was broken into three nights ago.” “Merde.” She looked alarmed. “What did the thief get?” Unprepared to explain his missing documents, Jude regretted opening his mouth. “Just some papers. I chased him and—it’s all over.” “Nothing was taken?”

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Jude skirted the subject. “I’m not sure what they’re after ….” “You must have some idea,” she said. “I wish I knew more.” “Remind me to ask you about that later. On the subject of intruders, you should know that Hackman is giving us a new ticket on Cyber Intrusion, involving Internet terrorist chatter…something is going on. He’s been talking behind closed doors. I can just see him in there, pulling on what’s left of his sideburns.” “I’ll be on standby.” Jude only knew Hackman as an imposing authority figure, a mystery man who refused to discuss daily matters face to face. He delegated everything, making middle-men disseminate orders to agents. Agents were in awe of Hackman’s formidable U.S. Government past. Nathalie said in a hushed voice, “There’s a story to Hackman you should know.” “Which is?” “I tell you later. Not here.” Jude said, “Okay, anything else?” Nathalie shook her head. “Not about Hackman, but I did notice file clerks and agents had walked in this morning whispering gossip.” “About what?” “There is talk about you being difficult. Speer is, how do they say—handee-capping you.” “What?” He said. “Speer bet you would not last six months. You’re already in the spotlight with this Turing Award. And the attention you’re getting for your algorithm—it is a lot from a new hire. You have to know that Speer jumps at these things.”

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Jude couldn’t be too surprised. He expected to have personality differences with someone. People always do when they start a new job. “Speer sort of sees himself as the office watchdog, huh?” “That’s it. He’s keen on authority.” She added, “I heard something else—the field office is coming under professional review.” “What does that mean?” Nathalie couldn’t keep this one quiet about their boss. “Hackman received written censure for noncompliance of some sort. I heard he mismanaged an FBI subcontractor organization.” Jude said, “You’re serious. So, what does this mean for the office?” “Office of Professional Review—OPR—could get involved and put in oversight mechanisms. The way things go around here, we may never hear the details.” He didn’t know exactly what an oversight mechanism was or what bureau contractors might do. “What do you know about this assignment?” he asked. “We’ll be looking into a threat to a university. That’s all I know,” she said. “Hackman is preoccupied with justifying his delegation of duties. Tell me if you hear anything. I’m in the dark.” “It’s unlikely I’ll get more than you. We could speculate on it over oysters sometime,” Jude said, aware of their aphrodisiac effect. As the words came out of his mouth, though, he wondered if it came across as a desperate come on. “If a dinner of mollusks is what it takes to penetrate your shell, then yes. I can’t today, though.” “Calling me distant?”

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“You told me you have been an island for half your life,” Nathalie added. “That’s true. Maybe I’ll always be alone.” Her bangs fell into her eyes, like birch leaves fanning finger lakes. A pouty look came over her that he couldn’t interpret. He moved to her side, touched her arm to apologize then quickly withdrew. “You just troll for opportunities then? Jump on whatever boat comes your way.” He was lost and just came out with it, “Do you want to forget what happened between us at Quantico?” “No. But I don’t see how we can continue down a path we can’t…” “Finish. In public.” “Yes. And don’t try to read meaning into everything I say, okay? Let’s do the job.” They did need to keep at professional arm’s distance. Still, he couldn’t decipher if she had any deep regrets about their being assigned as partners the way he did. He reexamined the pen they dusted earlier with a magnifying glass from the lab. A heavily used pen, only smudges appeared on its matte plastic surface, but under magnification, the letters –DYN---- ---UR-Y -OMPNY shone. The last word was obviously COMPANY, but he couldn’t get the word before it. The gold print was too faded. He put the pen away and returned to what he’d been hired to do—white-hat hacking. He needed to modify the supercomputer, Sentinel. Sentinel ensured the analysis of digital intercepts and seizures from wiretaps, telephone calls, and emails. The FBI investigators intercepted phone conversations and relied on Sentinel to develop intelligence leads by detecting anomalous patterns of computer usage, and to flag suspicious

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events for system administrators. Over time, the data management system in Sentinel had doubled in size, causing slow-downs in processing. Previous programmers had failed to accommodate for growing demand. Jude knew he could remedy the problem with his datamining ability. At the bureau, his job involved coding the algorithm so it could pattern-check communications. Pattern-checking helped the office distinguish everyday Internet chatter from the malicious sort that led to terrorism. Jude discovered on his first day at the bureau that the data loader and security controls were strikingly similar in design to Stanford’s. This realization led him to reuse security code that he had written for the Grid project, rocketing him ahead of schedule. Jude’s second responsibility was to maintain the bureau’s antivirus system. The bureau already had machine-learning code that could detect unauthorized executable code. He familiarized himself with the program. It was written as a computer agent that could be distributed across a grid network to contain malicious software. Since the new job required a working knowledge of the bureau’s national and international applications, he pulled up Interpol on his computer. Scrolling through the new cases that populated the database, he paged through screens of CAPs—Crime Against Persons reports —when his eyes fixed on a familiar name. He read the name again: Jűrgen Hansen. Why was Jűrgen in the CAP report? Jude clicked the heading to read the terse entry. Swiss Police ballistics had evidence that CERN’s Life Science Program Director, Jűrgen Hansen, sustained

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fatal gunfire. The body and firearm were recovered from Lake Geneva. Weapon used: Glock C18. Serial Number 154400-11-25. Jude wheeled back in his chair, stunned. His Swiss colleague was dead. Was it only six days ago he’d bar hopped with Jűrgen in Palo Alto? Onagi held his latest come-to-Jesus Grid strategy meeting then, followed by toasts to how their partnership with Google would enable the Stanford project to grow by millions of databases. How did this happen? Who would’ve killed Jűrgen? Jude trudged to the water cooler. Finishing two drinks of water, he crushed the paper cup. Had someone killed Jűrgen because he headed up genomics at CERN? Jude went to the window, contemplating Jűrgen’s death. A local hiker, or rather his bird hound, found the body following a bloody trail to Lake Geneva. The body was fully clothed. Authorities found fishing line tied around his ankles. With his wallet missing, Jűrgen was identified through the Rolex watch that was still on his wrist. Local police contacted the watch maker and got the name of its owner by referencing the serial number that was inscribed on it. Jűrgen had been shot “Mozambique” style: two shots to the target’s chest, then a third bullet in the center of the head. This was the shooting technique used by all elite U.S. military units, the Navy SEALS, Army Delta Force, and CIA Black Ops. The report stated the weapon used was a C18. Only the United States FBI had a weapon with that serial number. It had been stolen months ago from the San Francisco bureau. Jude returned to his alcove desk area and read more at his computer. He stopped at the words, San Francisco

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bureau. He didn’t know what to make of this, but he knew the gun. He had fired it at Quantico’s range. The C18 wasn’t issued to civilians. The first thing the instructor told Jude when he handed the weapon over was, “Watch it, this thing is designed to kill. It‘ll empty its mag between 1100 and 1300 rounds per minute.” He found out for himself that shooting the weapon at full-auto felt like turning on a fire hose. It bucked in his grip, ejecting a brass stream of spent casings. It was quite a responsibility to have a gun like this. Special agents were trained that if they drew a weapon they had to use it, and they only used it to kill. Surely the FBI didn’t put the drop on Jűrgen. Could Jűrgen’s CERN partnership with the Stanford Grid project have led to homicide? Out of the thirteenth floor window, Jude looked at cars and people passing below—the usual ebb and flow to an ordinary day. Jude sat motionless, still in disbelief. He couldn’t keep from considering the lasting impact of this—undoubtedly losing Jűrgen would hinder the Grid’s progress. He was Stanford’s point of contact. Jűrgen drove the CERN technicians to connect the CERN Grid to the Stanford Grid. Jude knew an internal FBI investigation would be underway. But he was a rookie; the FBI would keep him on the outside. Incidents of corruption would be held in confidence within the ranks of the Office of Professional Review. He wasn’t getting a clear picture on anything. His mind kept switching back to Jűrgen’s and Hideo’s presentation for dollars at CERN. It would’ve been the last push that Jűrgen could’ve made for the Grid project.

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Jude hoped for everyone’s sake that the Grid project would go on. Sorting this case out wasn’t going to happen through standard operating procedure. The FBI couldn’t investigate one of their own. It would go to the Inspection Division and the Office of Professional Review. Jude hated the possibility of wasting time. A case that wasn’t solved in the first forty-eight hours only had a fifty percent chance of being cleared. So, what if Jude volunteered information to OPR? He knew things about Jűrgen that OPR might not. His mind kept going there even though he knew they’d probably not pull him into the investigation. He put the brainwork on hold, walked to Hackman’s office and knocked on the door. “Yes, come in,” said the Special Agent in Charge. Jude stepped three feet inside the office and glanced around the drab room. It had a law office air: massive metal filing cabinets and leather high-back chairs. The one touch of color came from a 1940s wall calendar with stylized pastel illustrations of cruise liners. His eyes fixed on another piece of nautical décor: two polished dingy oars hung crossed on the wall behind the desk, bearing the word Titanic. Something about those oars got under Jude’s skin, leading him to ponder the possibility of corruption running up the ranks of the FBI.

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nine
Monday, October 31 San Francisco, CA A magazine sat on Hackman’s desk that caught Jude’s eye. The cover pictured the image of a high ranking Catholic figure, maybe a bishop. Hackman was still looking at his computer screen, clicking his mouse, and tugging on his sideburns when he slowly spoke, “Ye—e— e—s, what is it that you want?” “I found something disturbing, sir, on the CAP report.” Hackman didn’t look up. Jude thought of how Nathalie had described Hackman’s hair as nearly nonexistent. She said it looked as if heated machinations from his brain had steamed off everything above, leaving a marble helmet of a head. “Did you read about the homicide at Lake Geneva, in Switzerland?” Hackman let go of his mouse and turned to face Jude. “Don’t tell me, it was done with a service weapon that was registered and stolen from this office.” Jude said, “You know about that?” “That’s one more reason why I’m swamped.” He pointed at a book that resembled an oversized ledger. “These armory books are in a shambles. It’ll be an entire

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day before I find out if that Glock was properly released. And I’ve already got the OPR riding me about it.” “The vic was a friend of mine. I could contribute valuable information to OPR—” Hackman cut him off, monotone. “I suppose the victim had something to do with your Stanford Grid?” “Yes.” “I’ll pass that along, Wagner. But I understand CERN has more than one controversial project going at all times, so we don’t know what the motives were. Isn’t that true?” “Well—” “Keep your head down. You may not have had boundaries at Stanford, but you’ve got ‘em here. And you may be a hotshot in electronic investigation, but you’re just getting your feet wet.” “Excuse me, sir—” “We all have to earn trust.” Hackman said imperiously. “It takes time for tech types to get that. And I don’t need another blue-flamer.” The term had come up at Quantico as a reference to overzealous agents. “But Jűrgen Hansen—the victim—was program director for CERN. I’ve worked with CERN—” “That might be of value as the investigation progresses. They’ll have a list of persons of interest. I’ll keep my eye on the details. In the meantime, you’ve got enough work to worry about without more.” Jude returned to his desk, agitated and restless. They didn’t just hire him for his hacker past and ability to reverse engineer systems. With his expertise, he

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probably had a greater awareness of possible motives for this homicide than anyone else in the FBI. He did a couple hours of work and then quietly called the American Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, asking to speak with the Legal Attache. The call transferred to an overseas special agent. “Special Agent Fluhr, can I help you?” Softly, Jude said, “This is Special Agent Wagner calling from the San Francisco Field Office. A friend of mine named Jűrgen Hansen appeared on our CAP report as a victim of homicide in Lake Geneva. Could you have someone call the Geneva Police to get me a report?” Before Jude got an answer, he saw Hackman coming his way. “Thank you for your help.” Jude put the phone down. Hackman gave Jude a suspicious glare and continued plodding past him. No matter what Jude suspected, more data points needed to come to light. Doing things half-cocked would only backfire on him. He needed to get out of the office for a change of scenery. Leaving his alcove area, he made his way down the hallway. Coming to the library, he bumped into Nathalie and motioned for her to accompany him and step behind the end of one tall bookcase. She followed. “I have something I have to tell you, but you’ve gotta keep it down.” “What?” Nathalie asked. Standing beside Nathalie, Jude whispered in her ear. “A colleague of mine in Switzerland—” Suddenly, Speer rounded the bookcase aisle. “Wagner, didn’t I warn you?” Speer said, wide-eyed. Jude sighed. He told Nathalie that he’d talk to her later and went for his jacket while Speer approached.

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She lowered her voice for Speer, who was moving down the hallway, “Lighten up.” Speer turned, “I’m just looking out for the lone female.” “Believe it or not, I can work without the supervision of adults,” Nathalie said. Speer gave a phony laugh. Jude went for the elevator. He wanted to tell Niles the news straight away to blow off pressure. Jude saw himself in the younger man, Jűrgen. He was unpredictable, a wild card, but a key player. The project wouldn’t be the same without him. Outside the building Jude rang Niles from his cell, gazing at the overcast sky. Niles said he couldn't meet for lunch today. “How about I give you a lift home after work and you tell me then?” “Fine.” “In the meantime, check out that lunch place I mentioned.” Niles talked Jude into trying Café Flore, gave him the address on Market Street and hung up. Jude was clicking off when Nathalie tapped him on the shoulder from behind. She looked at him with a foolish grin. “I overheard Café Flore. They don’t have oysters, but I’d join you there. Being that it’s Halloween, I thought I should get out of the office after all.” “I can tell you’re used to getting your way.” She nodded, and he caught the eye of a cab driver. They got in. Of all the surprises springing up, her fresh face proved the most welcoming.

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Acting as nothing more than coworkers, Jude and Nathalie took a patio table at a bustling restaurant on Market Street that smelled of mac ‘n cheese. They sat beside customers in costume. Some were dressed in drag, and those who weren’t had tight denim and every variety of leather jacket. Jude knew that in his beige suit he couldn’t have resembled a fed any more if he had planned it, especially on Halloween in the Castro District. Then it hit him; Niles’s recommendation of this spot was his practical joke. Café Flore was as gay a restaurant as they come. The long-windowed café looked to be a proud Castro Street landmark. Leave it to San Francisco to have a lesbian and gay neighborhood right next door to Nob Hill. Nob Hill still maintained gentlemens’ and ladies’ clubs as sacred. Jude grinned with amusement. “What’s so funny?” Nathalie asked in her bolero jacket with epaulets, ready to go on war assignment like some eager news correspondent. “Is it the fact that I’m practically the only woman here? If that’s it, I don’t mind.” “I just think we stand out.” “On Halloween? I doubt it.” The place had a European café feel. They had found a seat at the busiest time of day. A goateed waiter took their orders. Jude decided he wouldn’t talk about Jűrgen. Not now. “So, do you have any questions about how the bureau functions?” she said, acknowledging him as the new hire. “Where do the office people go for drinks after work?” He said. “I’ll be sure not to go there.”

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“It’s not a welcoming crowd. You wouldn’t want to avoid me though, right?” She said coquettishly. He didn’t know what had gotten into her—she was acting like her old self. Enough with the charade. “Do you want to continue what we started at Quantico?” Nathalie blushed. Jude waited for an answer. She bit her lower lip. “There should be a way to work this out and be together. I think about our nights at the Academy. Nights without sleep. But I don’t know. I doubt a relationship between partners could survive. I just don’t see how…” Jude looked straight at her. He wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be having this conversation. “I don’t give a shit about rules regarding agent conduct.” “I knew working together was going to be tough.” He wasn’t going to force the idea no matter how often he drifted to their having sex in Virginia. “Maybe an affair that starts at the Academy is doomed for failure from the start.” Natalie gave a slow nod when a deterministic moment hung between them—a sense of powerlessness to being partners but not lovers. He felt a tinge of regret by what they did at the nation’s elite FBI training facility. What were they thinking then? With its blocky gray buildings, Quantico held the warmth of a mental institution. He had to live with their mistake. Jude was tempted to say that his colleague had been murdered in Switzerland but stopped himself by getting Nathalie to explain how she came into this line of work. Nathalie cleared her throat. In her French accent, she recounted how it all started at age fourteen. “That is

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when I found my adoption document. At that point, I felt that my whole life history was a lie. But it put me into action. It forced me ask questions about myself. It played a big role in getting me into this profession.” Her burgundy lips formed her consonants with the light precision of a pianist. For a moment, the feeling of their skin-on-skin contact revisited. She continued, “After finding my adoption agency, I visited City Hall. I think it was called the Office of Vital Records. Anyway, I searched for my biological parents, but I was having a hard time. No one would help. But I couldn’t quit. I had to find ... my identity and sleuth it. I sifted through records and found that my mother lived in Quebec. I called. She refused to see me. She couldn’t tell me where my father lived. I still haven’t located him.” She seemed to know what he was thinking. “Don’t be sorry. All that shaped who I am today.” She went on to say how that discovery motivated her. Since her adoptive mother was born in the U.S., she was able to go to college in New York, at Columbia and live in the lower forty-eight. He asked again about her trip to Montreal. She said it was boring really. “Now, tell me about your Grid . . . the nitty gritty as you Americans say? Besides how the Grid links legions of idle computers to work as one. What is your algorithm doing?” “It’s speeding up Stanford’s Grid. Improving the Grid could make today’s medicine appear obsolete—like sixteenth-century blood-letting through leeches. She said. “You must have created a special algorithm.” Their sandwiches arrived with condiments and mineral waters.

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Between bites, he described how he and Niles had met at Berkeley, doing a job that isolated them: working at the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence project— SETI. At the time, SETI@home was the largest grid in the world, connecting five million computers. Basically, the computers scanned information that was received from the world’s largest telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, scouring for light patterns or signals that might point to life in space. The problem was that the SETI computers were bottlenecked by the sheer volume of data hitting the telescope. Jude set out to develop a solution. Eleven months later, he had designed an algorithm that mathematically uncorked the SETI grid, letting data flow. She took a second bite of her shiitake mushroomcashew burger. “Okay, but you’re no longer searching for ET . . . and neither is Niles. He’s your sailing friend?” “You remember that? I must’ve told you about him at Quantico.” “Je me souviens. I remember. It’s the motto on the Quebec license plate.” She gave an angelic smile. “Yes. Niles is my impetuous Grid partner. Stanford hired both of us from Berkeley where we used the Grid to search outer space. We’re doing the same work, only searching through data at the molecular level.” Nathalie kept asking how it all worked. She wanted to know how it differed from the Internet. Jude reminded her the Web, originally, only let you view information, statically. But Grid was Web 2.0. It allowed you to calculate, analyze, and synthesize data. Like a real database—a leap from just surfing pages. The waiter asked if they needed anything. Jude politely waved him off. His mind digressed to Jűrgen again.

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“So, where does healthcare come in?” she asked. Jude heard a plate smash in the kitchen. He looked, saw a waiter apologizing to someone and said, “the medical world faces the same data-sifting dilemma that SETI did. Stanford is designing healthcare solutions that are tailored to each person, using the decoded human genome.” Nathalie sipped Calistoga with a flash of excitement in her eyes. “Let me guess how it works.” Jude was ready to surprised, given her Mathematics degree. She said, “The Grid system accounts for everything about you.” She raised her voice over the noise of the crowd. “Pills you’ve taken, your environment, your genetic makeup and your symptoms.” “That’s right.” Jude said. “Then, based on your genome, the online system calculates all your complex individual data and—“ “Voila—it shows which drugs you’d be most responsive to for your condition. Your doctor would know which drugs to avoid and which to use all from his desktop.” “You’ve read about it?” Jude asked, energized. She nodded. “It’s quite avant-garde.” He explained that the Grid wouldn’t address day-today emergencies like broken arms, cuts, burns, or baby deliveries. Or homicides, either, he thought, remembering Jűrgen with a shudder. But it would be the ultimate diagnostic and treatment tool for long-term problems like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and more. They finished their burgers and he was still rambling. They paid the bill, and Jude left a tip. He pulled out the rattan chair for her. When she stood in snug slacks, he tried not to notice the peak of cleavage showing

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between buttons on her blouse. A part of him wanted to wear blinders, but another part of him worried about forces the Stanford team were blind to.

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ten
Monday, October 31 San Francisco Bureau In the cab back to the office, Nathalie’s mathematical mind wouldn’t let their conversation rest—her eyes lighted with curiosity. The Grid’s potential appeared to be crystallizing; she tapped her chin with her index finger, thinking about Stanford’s genomic medicine treatment. Jude promised to tell her more if she’d only tell him the Hackman story. After all, Hackman was going to be attending Jude’s award ceremony. Nathalie grinned to the bargain. Hackman, she said, was the intelligence czar who ran the National Reconnaissance Office in Chantilly, Virginia for years and years. He spearheaded the reconnaissance satellites program and perfected the launching of those satellites aboard Titan IV rockets and made the NRO vital to the armed forces by masterminding the “eye in the sky.” Eventually, he was demoted to SAC in San Francisco because he handled professional misunderstandings as personal attacks.

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The taxi hit a pothole that rocked the car and jolted them. Nathalie strapped on her seatbelt and continued, “Just watch your step around him and follow protocol.” Jude thought about his walking in on Hackman. “H’mm. Here’s how the Grid works, practically.” She shifted in her seat in the back of the cab to listen. “First, a person would have his or her genome sequenced—by an outlet which will soon appear in malls like a contact lens store. That analysis might cost the same as prescription lenses. In a week’s time, you or your doctor would get results on a protected website.” “Go on.” “From his PC, a doctor will connect to the Grid through a website, but this won’t just be the Internet. It will be a service that interprets an individual’s genome. This service will put more medical knowledge in a user’s hands than entire hospitals could provide on all of their patients combined. The Grid website would strip your information of personal identifiers so it could be statistically pooled with others. You or your doctor could specify your medical question, and enter your medical history. She smiled at him with acknowledgement. He took a breath. “The Grid would sift through genetic databases, using past computer searches that yielded relevant findings to generate a dataset for your search. Next, the program would process your query against your DNA, checking if your genes were marked for, say, colon cancer. Ultimately, the Grid would determine your mathematical susceptibility to disease. A doctor could look at this and recommend drugs based on your chemical makeup.” “And magic. I see how this became your raison d’être.”

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They got out of the taxi. She put her hand on his arm. “I’m sorry I’ll miss the pomp of your award night. I will be stuck at the office, working late.” “Not a worry.” Honestly, he would’ve liked for her to be at his award ceremony. He cast all of that foolish longing out of his head and turned his attention to Jűrgen’s murder. He had to take some kind of action. But unraveling a homicide on another continent was not going to be easy, especially as a rookie. He considered Jűrgen. Jude couldn’t say for sure that the break-in to his flat was connected with Jűrgen’s murder. But he had strong feeling it was. He let it go for now. Identifying who broke into his place topped his list of to-do items. But dusting for prints at home was futile—too many surfaces where people could have left prints innocently. And even if he found prints, what would that prove without having examples to compare them against? *** At the foot of the federal building, Jude waited impatiently for Niles to give him a lift home. His heart warmed at knowing that Kate would be present at his award ceremony until thoughts of Jurgen hit again. After the ceremony, he’d start a suspect list. He glanced back at his new place of work: copper-colored window frames ran in geometric tracks across a monolithic slab. The generic entrance did nothing to inspire employees either. No engraved quotations or sculpture of Justice with her scales could be found.

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He turned to the stopped traffic, smelling fuel exhaust that spouted from a double bus. A car horn blared—the usual commuter road rage. His watch showed 4:45 P.M. In two hours, he’d be shaking hands with San Francisco socialites and Turing Award technorati. With the award banquet being held in his honor, Jude needed to get this disaster with Jurgen off his chest. White clouds overhead scudded along from the east, developing into fog in the west. A few yards away, a giant crow pecked at a flapping pigeon in the street. The wind shifted, and a foul smell blew by. Jude considered how tough it would be for anyone to piece together who killed Jűrgen in a remote area of Switzerland. Homicides committed outdoors versus indoors were so much tougher to investigate. Neighbors couldn’t be interviewed; doors couldn’t be checked for forced entry; rooms couldn’t be examined for traces of DNA. Jude considered how Jűrgen had boasted by email about a new wild-child girlfriend who went by the name Tatiana. Maybe Tatiana knew something. He might chase that lead down later. Ultimately, though, whoever was pulling strings to both Jude’s break-in and Jűrgen’s death in Switzerland would have to be highly motivated, organized and threatened by the Grid project. Niles’s racing green BMW emerged from the line of stop-and-go commuter traffic and swung to the curb. Music blared from his car stereo. Jude slid into the passenger seat. “I don’t know why San Francisco doesn’t have a congestion charge like they do in London. What’s the urgent news you had to tell me before tonight’s event?” Niles asked, turning down the stereo. “Any leads on that

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break-in at your apartment?” He wended back into the rush hour snarl. Jude looked out the passenger-side window. A helmeted mother was pedaling a bicycle alongside them. A child rode in a framed pack on her back. He rubbed his chin. “Very bad news. Jűrgen is dead. Homicide.” Niles swerved, nearly hitting the cyclist. “Look out!” Jude shouted. The bicycle woman flipped Niles the finger as he corrected back to his lane. “Murdered?” Niles turned to Jude. “Jűrgen was shot and found in Lake Geneva.” Jude relayed what little he knew. Niles adjusted his wire-rim glasses. “Do we know who did it?” “All I know is that his killer used an FBI automatic.” “Really?” “Yes.” “What did your lab work turn up?” “Nothing.” Jude fired back. “We’re not going to get answers in a day.” “Did you talk to anyone about this at your office?” Niles turned off the stereo completely. Jude explained how his boss shut him down, saying Office of Professional Review was handling it. “Couldn’t you go to Office of Professional Review with what you know about Jűrgen?” “Go around my boss? They’d laugh in my face and get word back to Hackman that I’d gone over his head.” “Then what next?” “I need to feel this out without getting fired. But I agree, this may be the OPR’s problem, but we need to know what happened sooner rather than later.”

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“Are you mad? You only have so much CPU power in that head of yours; don’t kill yourself. We’re talking about murder and your place has already been broken into.” Niles had a point. If the intruders were brazen enough to break into Jude’s apartment, they were capable of doing worse. Jude and Niles had to be on alert. Stanford’s deal with Google would stir up even more controversy. Surely the press would report how this big alliance threatened to disrupt traditional pharma. “Niles, turn right here.” “What? Why?” Niles turned onto California Street. “I’d just like to walk and think here before the award dinner.” Jude admitted that it didn’t make sense but said that seeing the hotel before the night got underway would calm his mind. At the top of the hill, Niles parked in a yellow zone. They got out and headed down the street in the biting wind. “Will you tell Knowlan about Jűrgen tomorrow?” “Why me?” Niles asked. “It would be helpful.” “I’ll try to do that before I pack for Switzerland. Did I tell you I rented a room at the Mark? I was going to celebrate in high style tonight.” Jude scratched his head. “Did you check out my restaurant recommendation?” Niles asked. “You got me.” A smile crept across Niles’s face. Jude walked toward the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Niles followed. It felt odd that tonight, of all nights, he’d be accepting an award on behalf of his discovery. Jűrgen

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would never see the CERN/Stanford partnership do its part to fight cancer. The wind caused their suit pants to flap. “Jude. How much longer? It’s freezing.” Jude walked ahead. Niles let him have his moment of mourning. Visibility had diminished into a cloudy wall. In their five minutes of walking, the hill had become alien. In the “Wild West” days, the top of Nob Hill was home to the four railroad barons of the Central Pacific Rail Line—C.P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker, the Big Four. All of those mansions were gone, but Nob Hill still represented power and wealth. Tonight, with gray, brooding skies and icy San Francisco wind at his back, the surroundings resembled a setting from Hitchcock’s Vertigo. A few steps farther and California Street plummeted east into downtown. Jude stopped at the crest, and Niles joined him at him at his side. Two taxis darted past them in a yellow hurry, tilting off the steep grade. Jude could only make out the outlines of the high rises below, hugging the waterfront like city ambassadors standing at attention to dazzle arriving tourists. Buried beneath the Transamerica Pyramid and other nearby buildings were the scraps of tall ships from 160 years ago. The fortyniners who had rushed to California to find gold in the Sierra foothills, left everything behind—even their ships. The ships’ graveyards became the Financial District. Jude felt a peculiar kinship. In a way, he’d also sailed from home, burning bridges when he moved from Kentucky. But he wasn’t chasing gold or the gambling, crime, and prostitution, which had thrived in the Barbary Coast. He just wanted to fight cancer. Or was he also

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caught up in the rush of success? He wondered what Nathalie would say. Jude resolved to confide in her about what had happened. She could help him sort through motives and suspects for Jűrgen’s death. At Quantico he’d wondered what it would be like to collaborate with her. Now, he was her partner, but he still excluded her from important areas of his life. Yeah, he’d tell her. “I’m turning to ice,” Niles said, walking up to Jude. They turned and went to the car. Niles drove Jude to his flat where he knew Kate would be waiting. “Ya know, Jude, it’s entirely possible that our killer could be attending tonight’s event. Surveying things.” “The thought crossed my mind. Anyone dead set on interfering with the Grid could use the ceremony to gather information . . . and plan for another killing.” Jude opened the passenger door, hoping that they’d find the assailants before they strike again.

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eleven
Monday, October 31 San Francisco, CA While Jude put his cuff links on, Kate was curling her hair in the bathroom, staring into his mirror. He rehearsed his acceptance speech when she asked him what to expect from his banquet dinner. Apart from Jude, the only person Kate knew who’d be attending was Niles. Jude described a few of the expected guests. She asked, “Do you think you’d ever be in the position of accepting this award for your algorithm if you never visited Kano?” “There’s no way on earth,” Jude said from his bedroom. Even now, just visualizing that spot in Nigeria made Jude’s stomach clench all over again. That trip to Africa changed him forever. It happened after his mother died, after he’d wiled away weeks, holed up in his bedroom. Finally, he took action to pick up his spirits. He stayed after school to watch a grim school assembly video on kids in Africa. It struck a chord with him and he quickly signed up with a group of high school students who were doing a project in Kano, Nigeria. He realized he needed to get far away from Louisville, Kentucky. The experience he embarked on left him with a jaundiced view of the drug business.

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Thunderstorms had rumbled when Jude arrived in Kano. Sheets of water thudded onto the corrugated metal roof of the clinic in one of Nigeria’s northern villages. June was Kano’s rainy season. By week three of his eight-week volunteer stint, rain still poured down. Jude’s clothes and his cot stank of sodden red earth and sweat. The volunteer leaders called on Jude for various tasks —none of which involved tech support. At first he resented being brought in under false pretenses and then got over it when he saw how much help was needed, and how many kids were being transported to the medical clinic for treatment. He aided social workers by feeding and giving shots to children with meningitis, malaria and other diseases. Luckily, a Big Pharma company, Mayer, learned of the sickness that had become a meningitis epidemic and flew twenty-seven doctors to administer a new drug, Trovan. The village exhaled in collective relief when the American doctors arrived. Jude returned to study computer science at Berkeley with a new appreciation for contemporary modern science. Six months into his freshman year, Jude received a letter from his Kano social worker pen pal. She was completing her law degree. Dear Jude, I hate to be the messenger of tragic news, but I thought you should be updated on our Kano kids. Eleven of the thirty children we fed and looked after have died. It’s crushing. The remaining nineteen suffer, I hear, from acute arthritis and side effects from their Trovan treatment—remember Tina’s bulging eyes?

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I’m sickened to learn that Mayer may have known— the company’s being sued by the Nigerian government, declaring the experiment was “an illegal trial of an unregistered drug,” which violates Nigerian law. This was reported by the International Declaration of Helsinki that governs ethical medical, research and the U.N. Council on the Rights of Children. Not only was the drug untested, it was administered without parental consent, and ten of the twenty-seven doctors that Mayer brought to Kano were paid African physicians, bribed from their usual medical work in other parts of Nigeria. Again, I apologize to be writing you with such a sad report. I thought you should know. Promise that my next letter will be happier. With love and sadness for Kano, Juliette Thank god Stanford never locked in an actual partnership with the Pharma company, Johnston & Quib. Putting the past behind him, he unbuttoned two shirt studs he’d just put so he could open his tuxedo shirt. He wiped more deodorant on his underarms for the evening that couldn’t have come at more stressful time. He hopped out of the taxi and slowed his walk as he neared the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Spotlights waved mechanically across the building’s stately façade. A semicircle of chanting demonstrators stood between Jude and a doorman in tails. He was in no mood for this. The fanfare seemed vain. Things were simpler when he was quietly writing his Grid algorithm in the Berkeley hills.

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Not anticipating the demonstrators, he angled his head down and pushed through the seething crowd that police officers tried to contain. He hoped that some of this would clear out by the time Kate arrived. Weeks ago Hideo Onagi had cautioned Jude to expect a backlash against the media attention the Grid had received lately. News stories covering genomic medicine, involving words such as Pharmacogenomics, whipped up a frenzy of detractors. For some, Stanford’s biotechnology department represented Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, anything but medical advancement; tonight proved Onagi’s point. Protestors whistled and shouted insults. Jude read the slogans scribbled on placards: Heathen Pigs, Go to Hell, Don’t Play with DNA, Those Who Play God are Damned. An elderly black man pointed at Jude and jeered, “There he goes.” Heads turned toward Jude. He moved quickly past a priest. The priest’s head bowed and lips moved: “Forgive those who commit grave sin against the natural law.” Half a dozen demonstrators shouted. “It’s Jude Wagner.” They moved frantically toward Jude. He knocked someone’s hand away from his tuxedo jacket and darted through the crowd. Two cops ran out and blocked those who were chasing Jude to prevent them from going any farther. Protests rang in his ears as he plowed past the melee. He joined guests who paraded from the valet parking station in black tie, clutching scarves. Stretch limos lined the hotel’s brick driveway. Once inside the wood-paneled hotel, he struggled for an inner calm. Following instructions he’d been given by an event coordinator, he moved from one cofferedceilinged room to the next. Soon he recognized the mayor of San Francisco and heard him respond to a

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question about the City’s impending financial Armageddon. “We look good compared to the state of California.” The small crowd chuckled. After shaking hands with the mayor, Jude was led by a photographer’s assistant to have pictures taken with executives from ACM, the event’s corporate sponsor. He worked the room for twenty minutes, absently eating caviar, and sipping champagne. *** Niles was determined to make the most of things. At the paisley carpeted cocktail bar, he sipped a gin-andtonic, noticing how the chandelier reflected in his patentleather shoes. The heavy, balding man beside him must be Jude’s boss. His nametag didn’t say FBI or give his title but it did read, Alexander Hackman, Guest of Jude Wagner. Jude talked about Hackman enough for Niles to appreciate the big man headed San Francisco’s field office. “What brings you here tonight?” Niles said to the boss eating olives from a napkin. “An opportunity to learn about computers. And yourself?” “I work on the Stanford Grid.” “You’re part of Jude Wagner’s former project?” Niles nodded. “Amazing work . . . . Let me offer my sympathies on the loss of your Grid colleague.” “Thanks.” Niles adjusted his glasses. He certainly hadn’t expected Jűrgen’s murder to come up.

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“Heinous incident. Awful way to die, being attacked by dogs.” Niles knew a look of surprise crossed his face. “Sorry, don’t you know?” Hackman eased his wineglass onto the bar. “Dogs?” “There was a small article in today’s paper. You’d expect something like that to happen in some gangridden neighborhood around here, not in one of the best parks in Tokyo.” Tokyo? Not Geneva? Their only colleague in Tokyo was Hideo Onagi, who’d gone there for a few days to try to reconcile with his wife. Niles couldn’t hide being shell-shocked. Two colleagues dead? “Excuse me.” He tried to locate Jude in the noisy crowd. No luck. He got past standing guests to reach the hotel’s entrance. At the reservation desk he called the attention of a young clerk behind it. The clerk handed Niles today’s San Francisco Chronicle. Niles rifled through it to the world news section. In the back, bottom of the page, he found the report he was looking for: “Genomic Science Industry Leader Dies Hideo Onagi, Ph.D., Program Chief of the global human genome research project at Stanford University, was attacked and killed by two Akita Inus while strolling with his daughter in Kasai Rinkai Park in Tokyo.” Niles’s stomach lurched. The Stanford team must’ve had their heads buried so deep in the sand with this award ceremony business that no one read this. Jűrgen’s death certainly sent Jude reeling.

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Shattered and dazed, Niles tore out the article and discarded the rest of the paper. Maintaining British reserve, he set out to find Jude. Back in the cocktail room he recognized Jude’s sister, Kate, talking with two middle-aged men. He was surprised to see the tomboyish academic sister dressed so provocatively. Her lilac gown showed off her breasts. Standing around 5’ 8”, with a high forehead, intense green eyes, and a confident posture that matched Jude’s, no one could doubt that she was his twin. In his double-breasted Armani tuxedo, Niles kept his nerves in check. He came up and offered Kate a kiss on the cheek, but she pulled away for fear that she might be catching a cold. Niles started to ask if she had seen Jude when she introduced him to Marc Ferguson and Olivier Ramsey. The men looked familiar to Niles. Their name tags read: Marc Ferguson, CEO, Johnston & Quib, and Olivier Ramsey, Pinsky Investments. Ferguson, the older of the two, had a strikingly masculine face under thick gray hair. He smelled of musk aftershave. Ramsey looked like a high-level accountant. His thinning hairline combed straight back. “Niles is Jude’s Grid partner,” she said warmly. Her loosely-curled blonde hair fell on a tanned back. Niles imagined that these two men must be pleased to have bumped into a beauty such as Kate. The two men exchanged glances. Suddenly, Niles recalled who Ramsey was: a big time venture capitalist who had sunk a lot of money into J&Q. Ferguson must have wished that Ramsey wasn’t here with him. The VC must be all over him since Stanford was backing out of the partnership with J&Q.

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Unfortunately for them, it made sense that Stanford was leaving J&Q. With the rising costs of healthcare in America and the steady decline of quality care, the timing could not be better for a revolution in medicine that could lead to a new universal healthcare. But such innovation surely undermined mainstream business, from Pharma to insurance. Ramsey’s firm had invested heavily in the Grid. They had treated the Grid like a godsend for giving the company first cracks at the new science of personalized medicine. Niles wondered if Jude would break the news tonight about their project going non-profit. “And what brings you to the event?” Niles asked the men, still feigning an air of nonchalance. Ferguson said, “Like everyone, we’re keen on the future of medicine.” His smart pocket square elegantly matched his exquisitely tailored tuxedo. Niles was distracted over Hideo’s death. “Are you all right, Niles?” Kate asked. Niles said he was fine. Ramsey’s eyes roved aimlessly. A bell chimed four times. Dinner service had started. Niles scoured the Peacock room for Jude. Hundreds of guests eased toward their tables. Niles clenched the newspaper article inside his pants pocket. Someone’s killing Stanford Grid members—where the hell is Jude?

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twelve
Monday, October 31 San Francisco, CA Jude adjusted the corners of his bow tie in the bathroom mirror, hearing the rumble of dinner guests through the tile walls. Hundreds of technology and life science leaders yammered over cabernet. They sounded like a herd of cattle. Jude had only eaten half his dinner when he stepped away. Speech time neared. Award money would come in handy. He’d finally spring for new furniture, pay off Kate’s car loan and fix up the Tipsea. If only he didn’t have Jűrgen’s murder hanging in the air. He diverted his attention to reading the evening’s program, a pamphlet presented on heavy paper. On top, it read, ACM proudly sponsors the annual Alan Mathison Turing Award Banquet. The dates 1912–1954 appeared beneath an old photograph of Turing, along with the words, “The Turing Scientific and Technical Award acknowledges discoveries that trigger Silicon Valley trends . . . ” A one-paragraph biography of the man followed. Turing’s name reminded Jude of his mother. Jude held the sink counter.

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The family was vacationing in England. Jude’s Dad and sister went to the movies while he and his mother strolled through Bletchley Park, north of London. Jude acted as tour guide, explaining that Alan Turing was the father of computer science and cryptography. Turing, he exclaimed, was an elite Cambridge mathematician who was drafted into code-breaking. His work sped up the defeat of Germany by two years. It started in 1939, just when World War II began. Jude’s mother rubbed hands for warmth while Jude went on excitedly about how Turing joined the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. Within weeks, Turing designed an electro-mechanical machine that broke the infamous German cipher system known as Enigma. For three years he supervised the decoding of German naval messages. He did it by unraveling their black box. “We done yet?” Jude unfolded the tour leaflet, saying how he wanted to do this stuff one day, work with computers. He added how Bletchley Park provided a role model for the NSA. “Jude, you can do whatever you set your mind to. Your father says the world is our marble—that we etch ourselves into it. But we’re the stone, Jude. The world chisels character into us, sculpting a masterwork. Don’t be afraid of change.” Jude splashed water into his face, then looked in the mirror at redness from the scrapes healing on the side of his face. The road rash from hitting the sidewalk three nights ago had almost disappeared. He swung open the restroom door. Smelling roasted lamb, he maneuvered between tables across the Peacock Court ballroom. Cocktail dresses shimmered,

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jewelry sparkled. Captains of industry schmoozed between bites of meat and polenta at tables of ten. He passed a TV camera. Eyes trained on him from every direction. He’d heard it all before: His algorithm discovery promised to change Grid computing forever. Whenever he saw this sort of news on TV, he’d change channels. Jude returned to his seat at the head of the table. A man with crabapple cheeks and reading glasses held wrinkled notebook pages at the podium. “Greetings.” His voice boomed through the speakers. “Did you know that even when you type one hundred words a minute on your PC, valuable processing power goes wasted? Jude Wagner did. He believed the most valuable world resource—more vital than the burning property of oil—was computers that sat unused on our desks. Ladies and gentlemen, Jude Wagner has helped harness that precious resource at Stanford University. He’s improved computer grid networks, linking the individual power of millions of volunteers’ computers so they can better analyze the ten trillion cells in each of our bodies, which evolve and mutate over indiscernible nanoseconds. As a result, Stanford is about to make possible what no drug company or medical expert could —individualized disease cures. “What took the Indiana Supercomputer Center ten years to accomplish, our award recipient did with his algorithm in only two years. We all will reap the benefit of better health. I’m honored to present Jude Wagner, our young ambassador to the genomic era, with the Alan Mathison Turing Award.”

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Applause. As Jude ascended the steps, he heard another cheer from a table nearby. Looking that way he saw Niles and the mirror image of his mother, his twin sister, Kate. He beamed at her. She gave him a nod. The man at the podium handed Jude a plaque and an envelope. Jude accepted the award with a twinge of guilt that he was getting all of the attention now. He thanked everyone and collected his ideas. “Tonight we celebrate not only a new dimension of science but the birth of a molecular economy. “I’m proud to say that this Grid will take the Internet to a new level.” The news of Stanford severing its ties to Johnston & Quib would be announced in a few days. Jude decided to let the report rip. With sweaty palms, he pulled the mic closer. “Stanford is pioneering a free universal healthcare.” The crowd gazed attentively. “One day the Grid will make personalized medicine free. The question I’ll be asked is how. The simple answer is that our research runs over the Internet and Stanford University has waived copyright protection.” Through applause, he continued, “Since human biology has become a computational problem, solutions depend on computer power. For a fraction of what the government spends on Medicaid, it could give people custom-tailored therapies for hundreds of diseases. The Grid leapfrogs us from traditional diagnoses—that focus on symptoms from illness after onset—to prevention. We’re spotting the genetic basis of a disease before it hits. “Doctors and patients will use the Grid to obtain personalized data once that patient has his genome sequenced. The dream is universal healthcare accessible

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from every desktop in America. It’s time we democratize medicine.” Jude tugged on his tuxedo cuff. “All the computer power we need is available through peered processing, shared information through our idle computers.” Jude took a breath. “Our connected computers, combined, are a force of nature. As a digital community, we become a giant research lab that blows away any pharmaceutical companies’ research capabilities. Soon, outdated, expensive drugs won’t be the only choice.” Jude noticed Olivier Ramsey putting his elbows on the table, shaking his head. He expected that Marc Ferguson had told him about Stanford leaving. Ramsey murmured uncomfortably over his words with Ferguson seated next to him. “Scientific collaboration over the Internet will not be accepted overnight,” he continued, “but my colleagues have diligently worked to make the Grid easy to use and powerful by expanding university and search engine connections and solidifying our affiliation with CERN in Switzerland. “CERN has the world’s largest Grid. This will be the work horse for our genomic project.” Jude resisted explaining how Stanford’s deal with Google would bring more access to medical data and accelerate growth of the Grid by enabling access through the Google website. “The human genome has been evolving from before the first chimpanzee, the first mosquito, and even the first bacterium. Our DNA grew from the planet’s start. So, unraveling DNA will not only help battle disease, but it will unearth age-old mysteries about homo-sapiens. Bill Clinton called it ‘learning the language in which God created life.’

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“We have a lot of challenges ahead and we’re not always going to win the popular vote, as you could see by those gathered outside this hotel this evening, but we’re not going to be deterred.” After another five minutes of speaking, Jude thanked ACM for hosting this award. “I also want to recognize my sister, Kate who has always been there.” He saw Kate raise her glass. As applause filled the air, Jude returned the mic to its stand. Then he joined Kate and Niles at their table with Alexander Hackman, Roger Knowlan and the two softspoken ACM sponsors Jude had posed for pictures with earlier. Kate hugged him. Her cheeks glowed and her springy blonde hair resembled their mother’s. He handed the plaque to her. “Bravo, Jude,” Kate said, looking over the award. Niles glanced at it glumly and passed it around the table. Knowlan took it, apparently unimpressed. The ACM fellow said, “it looks like you all know one another all too well.” Knowlan nodded to that. He reminded everyone that he was the practitioner who actually ran genomic testing, using the Grid. Ferguson and Ramsey came to Jude’s table. He stood to welcome them, although they didn’t look eager to be social. Ferguson’s blue eyes glared with hostility. Jude knew how peeved Ferguson and Ramsey might have felt to hear him talk about the Grid offering free drug research, but the debate on this ended when the National Institute for Health granted Stanford $19 million

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to advance personalized medicine. It instilled confidence in the Stanford Grid team that they could get more funding from the public sector. Stanford could use the money to pay back what J&Q had invested. Lastly, Stanford’s team had to break its alliance with J&Q before signing a non-profit agreement with Google. The medical business needed to accept the tide of change. “It’s an impressive showing,” Ramsey said, scratching his head, withholding another sentiment. “Have plans changed with the Stanford J&Q partnership?” “You’ll need to talk to Hideo about that,” Jude said. Ramsey’s face hardened. Ferguson pulled Ramsey away from Jude’s table before matters escalated. Jude felt relief; he didn’t need an argument. It was awkward enough that Hackman had invited himself. Jude said, “Have all of you met my guest, Alexander Hackman?” Jude maintained discretion about his boss’s profession, although Hackman certainly looked the part. Hackman gave a jowly nod that said he’d been introduced. Everyone took his seat. “That was some speech,” Hackman said in a sarcastic tone. “Maybe genomic medicine will replace God.” Jude tried to ignore that. The big band, Fever Pitch, comprising a trombone, trumpet, stand-up bass, and drum kit, filled the lull in conversation, launching to “That’s Life”. “Maybe I should start going to church,” Jude said. “Maybe you should.” Hackman broke his bread and chomped into a piece.

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“I’ve got an incredible story,” Roger Knowlan said, “When accepting my Ph.D. diploma, I felt a pain in my chest and fell to the ground. I was whisked to the hospital, believing I was having a heart attack. Doctors assured me I wasn’t. After I told them my brother and sister died from heart complications, the doctors determined that my siblings had a rare inherited heart condition called stress-induced polymorphic ventricular tachycardia. The hospital ran genomic tests and concluded that I was at seventy percent risk of a fatal heart attack. Doctors implanted a pacemaker and defibrillator in my chest before I even showed symptoms. When my heart fibrillates, as it did that day, the technology kicks in.” Everyone looked impressed, but Niles. He hadn’t said a clever quip all evening, leading Jude to suspect something was off. Next, Niles slipped a credit card receipt into Jude’s hand. What Jude saw scribbled on the back gave him pause: Bad news. Must talk now. Niles held his napkin tight. Did Niles hear some violent reaction to Jude’s speech? Jude surveyed the room with suspicion. Nothing appeared out of place. Jude wedged the paper into his trouser pocket and checked his watch. There was no way to leave discreetly. The instant that the waiter placed the crème brulee on the white tablecloth, Jude motioned to Niles that it was time to go and announced that they would be returning soon. He knew that probably wouldn’t be the case.

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thirteen
Monday, October 31 San Francisco, CA “What on earth is going on?” Jude said, sitting across the table from Niles in the Mark Hopkins downstairs bar. Niles glanced over his shoulder at bar patrons who appeared to be winding down for the night. Holding the paper tab of an Earl Grey tea bag, he tipped milk into his cup. His hand trembled. Niles handed Jude an article torn from a newspaper. “This.” The first words Jude read about Hideo stopped his breath. “No.” As reality sunk in, he felt the loss in his gut. He’d grown close to Hideo Onagi. Jude checked the headline again, then looked back at Niles. But Niles stared vacantly into the lobby, sipping his tea as if it were medicine. Jude ordered bourbon to adjust from warm applause to staggering grief. The other bar patrons carried on with their business, unaware of their conversation. “Why?” Jude asked. “A freak dog attack in a Tokyo park? This is all too incredible.” “I could vomit.”Niles said.

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A waitress brought Jude his drink. He put away half of it. “This is going to be a real uphill battle to keep the project moving, but we cannot and will not be deterred.” “We’re screwed. Who’s going to replace Hideo Onagi? The man lived for this Grid dream,” Niles said. Jude set his empty glass on the table, thinking. Niles sat detached with fists in his pockets. Jude loosened the collar of his tuxedo shirt. “We succeeded at getting ourselves into one hell-of-a-jam.” Niles said, “We’re out of our depth.” “We can’t let up now,” Jude said. “The Grid must pose an awful threat if someone is willing to kill over it. Hideo’s death and Jűrgen being shot just has to be tied to the Grid. Someone’s trying to stop it and this freak accident with Hideo really succeeds with setting us back.” “So much for our getting rich.” “Niles, remember we’re making this free, without patent.” “Don’t be daft. You knew damn well it would’ve generated millions in ad dollars.” “Niles. Hideo and Jűrgen are gone. Forget about ad dollars.” “I’m sorry that my thoughts aren’t as orderly as yours are now.” Jude said, “Here’s my shot at thinking orderly. You’re obviously going to Switzerland alone now, and you’ll have to act on Hideo’s behalf, too. You’ll need to sign the deal he made with Google.” They needed Google to extend the reach of the Grid so that volunteers could provide idle PC power. Jude continued, “We’ll have to cancel the Palm Springs computer conference. In fact, you should cut short your trip to Switzerland.”

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Niles sighed. “I’ll call to cancel the conference myself. Nothing makes sense. Even this tea is rubbish.” Jude rubbed his bruised cheek. Niles said, “I’m gutted over this. We have to tell the police.” Niles pulled four dollars out of his wallet and set them on the ornate table to pay for tea and tip. “Right, and once the cops get through asking us questions, they’ll tell us to keep out of it. Then we’ll be in a worse position. Besides, the cops don’t have any jurisdiction over Hideo’s dog mauling in Tokyo. I don’t know how they’d connect that to my break-in and Jűrgen’s murder in Switzerland? This would be an FBI matter, yet I don’t know who to trust at the bureau.” Niles said, “How on God’s earth are we going to protect the Grid if Jűrgen was murdered because of it?” “There are no easy answers. Before we do something rash, let’s go over things ourselves: Jűrgen, the break-in at my place, Hideo’s attack. It’s so sudden,” Jude said. “I’ll tell Knowlan what’s happened but we’ve gotta be on the lookout constantly.” “This is doing my head in,” Niles said. “You and I are going to have to push this Google agreement through. Too many lives depend on it.” Niles looked perplexed. Jude reread the article about Hideo. “This article says the dogs’ owner vanished. If your Akitas killed someone, wouldn’t you stick around to explain? To leave the scene is like a hit and run.” Niles said, “Definitely. Surely, the cops would want to question the owner about what happened.” “These events may have happened in different countries but all in a short stretch of time. And each one involves a Grid member. In a world with six billion

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people, six times a day, a one-in-a-billion shot is going to occur. But I still don’t believe this is coincidence.” “We have to go to the police, Jude.” “I’m telling you,” Jude said, “if you do that, they’ll probably ask us to stay put. You wouldn’t even be able to sign this deal with CERN and Google in Switzerland. By the way, I think we’ve obviously got more than one saboteur. We have to try to profile them. Whoever they are, they operate globally, and they made Onagi’s death appear like an accidental dog attack. Not amateurs.” Niles listened. “The suspects have gotta be well-funded to be jetting around or paying assassins in various cities. Some of them are probably familiar to us. All of this looks like an intricate plan.” “I’m gonna piss on myself.” “And it’s someone who obviously stands to lose a lot from our Grid.” “We need to list whoever might want to bring down the Grid. That person is probably hiring experienced men in their twenties or thirties.” “Why?” “That’s the baseline for hit men. Regardless, we have to find who’s organizing them.” After Jude left to find Kate, Niles remained at the bar mulling events, stirring his tea. He sensed hostility from Hackman at the table tonight and wondered what that might be about. He noticed Kate crossing past the lobby, chatting with someone he didn’t know. She rubbed her underarm uncomfortably then disappeared before Niles could stop her.

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In his Mark Hopkins hotel room, Niles switched on lights and his bedside table lamp. The room was traditionally appointed with dark English furniture and golden draperies. A potted palm stood in the corner. He had reserved the room in anticipation of getting smashed. He had second thoughts about doing that now but the room was paid for, so he unsnapped his cummerbund, removed his tie and shoes, and put the items in the closet with his jacket. Moving to the dresser, he unfastened his cufflinks, when he noticed something on the floor by the door. A business-sized envelope. He must’ve walked right over it. Niles peeled open the unmarked envelope and examined the page enclosed. “You’ve seen what we can do to abortion clinics you God-forsaken heathen. If you and your Grid continue to tamper with DNA you’ll meet Onagi’s fate.” Niles let out a groan of despair. He put the letter in his pocket, grabbed his things and left. Jude’s watch hands nearly pointed to twelve. Sleep was unlikely after learning about Hideo’s death. All of this needed piecing together. Jude needed to decompress and felt drawn to his old haunt. Then, he heard a knock on the door. He opened the door with his weapon drawn. “What are you doing with that in my face?” Niles asked. Jude looked to see that Niles was alone and lowered the weapon. “Niles, you’re pounding on my door in the middle of the effing night.” “Are you going to let me in or just stand there like a security guard?”

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Jude opened the door wide enough for Niles to enter, closed it behind him and locked it. “What is this about?” “I’ll tell you once you lose that damn gun.” Jude placed the weapon underneath his bed and returned to the living room, where Niles had taken a seat in the club chair. “Why are you a badge-carrying, gun-toting special agent anyway? Don’t they usually hire computer specialists to be just that?” Jude explained how the FBI had two job tracks, Professional and Field Agent. The increase in white collar and cyber crime demanded that more field agents hold advanced degrees in areas such as computer science. “Without highly skilled investigators,” Jude said, “the FBI would be hopelessly out-matched by sophisticated criminals.” Niles stopped listening and pulled an eight-and-a-halfby-eleven paper out of his pocket and waved it at Jude. “Care to see what greeted me in my hotel room tonight, before I got to the chocolate on my pillow?” Jude took the paper by its edges and looked it over, carrying the note to the sofa. Niles waited for Jude’s reaction. “We were right,” Jude said. “About what?” “Our culprit came by your hotel room tonight. They were probably at the dinner.” “And that narrows the target list to a few hundred people.” Niles added, beyond agitated. “Yes, Niles. It narrows the target list. I’m more convinced than ever that whoever is behind this knows us well enough to have our smallest movements down. Who, besides me, knew that you were renting a room in the Mark Hopkins tonight?”

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“No one.” “How would anyone know that you rented a room unless they were following you, and probably me, very carefully through the day?” Niles bit his thumbnail. “Mind if I stay here tonight?” “No. You can sack out on the sofa.” Jude got up. “But I need a drink.” “Jude?” “What?” “Some anonymous person has threatened that if I don’t drop what I’m doing at Stanford, they’re going to kill me. What do they want me to do, hand in my resignation?” “Maybe.” “I’d probably oblige them and quit if I wasn’t leaving town anyway.” “Unfortunately, it appears we’re no safer away from California.”

fourteen
Monday, October 31 San Francisco, CA

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Putting on moccasins and his suede jacket, Jude set out into the night. He walked down shop-lined Hyde Street for a beer at the Hyde Out bar. In the misty dark, he saw an attractive young woman strolling in the same direction. The sight of her reminded him of Nathalie. The curves of her body, even the taper of her waist was recorded in his brain. Their time together seemed distant. Adults in costumes sauntered by him, hollering at each other—the aftermath of Halloween partying. On the corner, an Asian woman wearing dishwashing gloves paid no attention to them while she rummaged for aluminum cans in a waste can. A cable car clacked along its tracks and stopped at the intersection in front of the Hyde Out. As the name suggested, losing people could’ve been the house special. Jude was okay with that tonight. Inside, burnished dark wood bar curved from the front door to a metal restroom sign. Regulars drank solo, slouched at the counter. The brass tap pumps dripped. Everyone wore an aroma of hops. He took a stool as Don Henley’s Hotel California warbled from the 1950’s jukebox. With a wave at the spigot, he ordered a Sierra Nevada. Frustration gnawed at his gut. Just when the Stanford project was gaining momentum, somebody dared to block it. For the first time the Grid looked as vulnerable as a newborn child. He couldn’t guarantee that his network wasn’t going to be hacked. He looked at his hands. His nails were chewed to the quick. He quit the habit of nail biting years ago after reading that such impulsive behavior represented a cognitive disconnect between mind and body. He left

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ideas like this and Eastern philosophy to his sister, but the notion didn’t sound far-fetched. Drinking his beer, he noticed the same alluring young woman he saw outside had taken the stool next to him. She wore a V-neck sweater with cleavage. She gave him a lazy-eyed stare, went to the bathroom and returned without her sweater, wearing a semi-transparent white tank top shirt. Her strawberry-blonde hair framed her youthful face perfectly. He took it all in. The Irish barkeeper refilled his stein. The regular customers at the sticky bar appeared to be extras hired for atmosphere. “Where do you work?” Jude asked the young woman beside him, starting the dance. Maybe she was the sexual distraction he was after. “Um, at AT&T. I’m so thirsty, I could drink mouthwash.” He introduced himself and asked her name. She mumbled Heather. “So, Jude, what’s up?” The glamorous stranger looked him up and down. “You look stressed.” “You could say that.” “You from the south?” A reference to his drawl. “Kentucky.” He pulled on his amber draft, looking around the bar. “That’s open space country with bluegrass. The only wide open space I’ve seen was when I visited my Dad in Bakersfield.” Her whisky voice aroused him. He watched her reapply lip gloss, dotting her mouth, when a clunking noise made her jump. She went on with what she was doing after finding the source behind the bar: an old relic of an ice maker. “What do you do?” she asked.

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“I’m involved in a science project at Stanford University.” Few people would ever learn that Jude worked for the FBI. “What kind of science?” With such cat eyes and runway-model good looks, she didn’t need makeup and certainly didn’t need to work for a man’s attention. “Basically, it’s computer work involving diseases like cancer.” She didn’t break focus, so he went on. “When someone has cancer, the Grid shows what custom drug we should make for that person to stop the replication of bad cells.” “Working on cancer is more than most of us can say. Is that why you look so wound up?” “It could all go down the tubes.” “Why is that?” “Ah, just a series of unforeseen disasters.” He wasn’t going to say more. Not to a stranger. “Bad times. Life is hard, surprising and strange.” That resonated. Last week he had a driving confidence in the Stanford project. Now he felt the need to remind himself of what the Grid could do. A part of him wanted to tell her how grids were running the world, working in the background, supporting daily life like weather satellites, sorting airline reservations, mapping the earth’s surface, powering online video games, delivering Internet driving directions, analyzing global warming and performing crash test simulations. But what did it matter to her? “Life is strange,” he added, “but talking about it doesn’t change a thing.”

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Part of him wondered if this fantastic-looking strawberry blonde could be up to something. But he knew was paranoid now. “Life’s an uphill climb with Mount Whitney waiting on top.” She smacked her lips at the last sip of her beer. She signaled to the bartender for another and leaned close to Jude. He felt the warmth of her breath. Acting unaware, he fantasized how he’d undo her bra and panties and work his way up her body. She must have thought she had him. Twisting her hair, she said with a grin, “Tell me more about what you do.” He pondered the situation; he couldn’t allow his fantasies to become reality. Not tonight. “I don’t want to bore you.” “I have a high tolerance for boredom with the right beer and charming man.” She reached out to him. “Let me see your hand.” Jude opened his palm. She traced the line that ran up from his wrist toward his index finger. “Whoa. Some big event is happening for you. What could that be?” “Why don’t you tell me.” She held his hand closer. “It looks like you’re on some kind of mission. Is that right?” He didn’t feel like being quizzed but he also wanted her. An even bigger part of him wanted his hot and cold, hard-to-read partner, Nathalie. She went on dreamily while they finished another round. “You have the life line of a . . . a truth seeker. Your path is going to be like something in Greek mythology. Like a quest.” He looked up at her. “Not bad.”

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“Will you excuse me. I have to visit the ladies’ room again. Promise me you won’t leave.” “Okay.” With controlled slowness, she slid her legs off her stool and went to the bathroom. She exited the women’s room and went to the jukebox. She quickly glanced to see if Jude was still sitting at the bar. Appearing satisfied with that, she fed the glass and chrome machine then tapped her selection. As U2 began to jangle, her phone rang. She stepped away from the juke box and answered it. She spoke loudly over the music. Watching her over enunciate her words, Jude tried to read her lips. It appeared that she said, “I’ll pick her up at one-thirty. Goodbye.” After she hung up her phone, she quickly returned to her seat. “Is everything okay?” He asked. She shook her head dismissively. “Gotta go. Wanna walk me to my car?” “Sorry, I have to be getting home.” Jude didn’t trust himself with her. She swallowed the last of her beer and signed her credit card bill. The bartender took her bill. She slung her purse over her shoulder. “You sure you don’t wanna come?” “Not tonight.” “Why don’t we exchange phone numbers?” His mind flickered to Nathalie again and he shook his head. He got up and headed to the door first. With hands on her sides, she blocked his passage through the door. He pushed by, ignoring her. “Wait . . . When’s your birthday?” “June 11.”

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Her eyes lighted as if she had discovered something diabolical. “Sign of the twin. That’s a masculine, air sign. Ruled by Mercury. Romantically, we’re a classic fit.” He thought about it. She went on, “I really would like to hear more about your cancer work.” “Maybe next time.” He waved and checked her out from behind as she went, weaving down the street. Heading home, Jude visualized what sex would’ve been like with Heather. He wished he weren’t so finely attuned to the pull of the opposite sex. He passed shadowy Victorian buildings with burlesque facades and maintained a steady pace while he considered the sign of Gemini.

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fifteen
Tuesday, November 1 Piedmont, CA Ferguson clicked open his iron gate on Sea View Avenue. Grumbling to himself about J&Q, he drove up the slatepaved circular driveway to his Piedmont estate. Piedmont was a city unto itself, a posh enclave entirely surrounded by Oakland, which had one of the highest murder rates in the U.S. Piedmont had no more in common with its neighbor than Bel Air had with east L.A. Even in Piedmont, Ferguson’s faux French manor house made a statement—or would have, if the eightfoot-high stucco walls surrounding the property hadn’t kept it out of view. A chef and housekeeper occupied a wing that looked like a second large house; it hid a pool and patio with a lush valley view. Parking his Bentley near the front door, he saw his daughter’s white SUV rolling up the cobble stone driveway behind him. They hopped out of the cars, and Lori hugged her father. Her usual dress always looked out of place on such opulent, conifer-covered grounds. With shortly cropped brunette hair, she wore black jeans, boots and a waist length brown jacket. The only

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color about her showed in her rosacea cheeks. Lori had designed the security system for the estate. The perimeter walls had square security lights at twenty-foot intervals, and a camera was mounted above the front doors and back. The system had other features, so elaborate that Ferguson wasn’t sure how they all worked. “When did you get back from your trip?” he asked. “Just now. I came straight from the airport.” He opened the iron-banded oak door as Lori followed him in. She unzipped her jacket and removed it. In the foyer, Zeus came to her side, wagging his tail. She kissed the Rottweiler’s head, and turned to her father. “Daddy, you don’t look so hot.” “I’ve been better.” They talked about his condition until she said how starving she was from jumping time zones. She went to the kitchen, talking as she walked. “No work today?” She asked. “Called in sick. I needed to take a day away from the office.” “The CEO has to call in when he’s sick?” “Even CEOs have responsibilities, darling. You know, the meetings never end. Can’t leave people in the lurch.” “If you’re going to take a day off, make it count and rest. I’d tell you more about my trip, but that would bring up the subject of work, right?” “You’re quick,” he said, knowing full well he always worked at home no matter how he felt. Ferguson knew his daughter was being sympathetic to the Stanford Grid Project departure he had been complaining about. He felt bad his daughter worried

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about his Huntington’s disease. Without any other family, they had to stick together. Lori’s mother, a longtime alcoholic, left the house years ago. Lori opened the refrigerator and laid out mustard, ham, cheese, and bread on the sleek granite counter. “Want a sandwich?” The thought of eating made Ferguson nauseous. “No, thanks.” “I’m going to walk Zeus,” she said. Earlier this morning Ferguson had tried to take the Rottweiler his daughter had given him for a walk, but he trudged back up the mansion driveway after just five minutes. He felt dizzy and heard things. Voices in his head warned him that the company would soon collapse. He wondered if his fears had any real basis. Huntington’s disease caused paranoia. “I’ll be in my study.” There he beat on the speed bag that hung from the ceiling in the corner, but quickly lost energy. A star boxer in college, he wasn’t going to let his condition decline without a fight. He refused to accept the he lost his Midas touch. Years ago he was known for fattening bottom lines by producing blockbuster drugs that involved minimal risk and produced maximum returns. He’d confided in his daughter a month ago that stock he intended to leave her might plummet. Moisture welled in his eyes. Ferguson had started J&Q himself: it was a drug treatment superstar until those side-effects were reported. At his desk, he bemoaned the fiasco of last night’s Turing Award ceremony. Genomic medicine would make the era of blockbuster drugs obsolete. Drug

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manufacturers needed to reposition themselves or face incalculable losses. Ferguson had persuaded Olivier Ramsey’s investment firm to pump $60 million more into J&Q with the promise it would have first access to the new science network. Those ungrateful academics were too naïve to realize how controversial their decision would be to offer free diagnosis. Or maybe they weren’t so naïve—they’d successfully kept their dream of free medicine a secret while they drummed up donations. He could not believe the turn of events. Stanford’s Grid Project was emerging as Big Pharma’s greatest competitive threat, and Ferguson had cheered it on. It didn’t help matters that Ramsey had schlepped from New York to attend the ceremony intent on sizing up the success of J&Q’s investment. Once Ramsey reported the horrible news Wagner revealed in his speech, the J&Q board would hand Ferguson his ass on a platter. He took the speed bag and pummeled it, imagining every strike was connecting with Jude Wagner’s nose. A minute later he pulled off the gloves and flung them across the room with all his might.

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sixteen
Tuesday, November 1 San Francisco, CA Back at the office the following morning, Jude set aside his thoughts about running into that seductive stranger, Heather. He focused on computer coding when violent pictures played in his head of Akitas attacking Hideo Onagi. These events had a hold on him more than he realized. He wanted clues and to find proof of motive. The two homicides and the break-in at his apartment must involve the Stanford project. This suggested a crime pattern that was not personal—more like a war than a duel. But even if removing Jűrgen and Hideo wasn’t personal it didn’t lessen the impact of their deaths. Actually, it troubled Jude more to think that they were nothing more than targets on a map. Any scrap of new information would help. All he had was the serial number to the handgun that killed Jűrgen and that didn’t help. While he could run a weapon serial number against the ATF database, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms wouldn’t have a weapon history of a federal firearm. But when a crime occurs, it always leaves a trace.

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At his desk, he clicked to the FBI agent manifest to search for those who worked in Switzerland. A list appeared of FBI agents who were guarding embassies, consulates and select dignitaries. It was a start. More importantly, though, he needed to follow possible motives until that led to a suspect. Jűrgen’s role at CERN would have a disruptive effect on medicine. It could do irreparable damage to Pharma. But the question lingered, if Big Pharma’s revenues were threatened, why would the FBI be complicit in murder? Whatever opinions he had, he couldn’t force conclusions. First, Jude called the Geneva authorities, but the officers involved with investigating the murder at Lake Geneva were away. He was also told that this matter fell outside of his jurisdiction. Next he called a telephone number he found on his computer for the Japanese police. Not knowing the language, Jude sensed it was a long shot to think he’d get anywhere by ringing this Tokyo number, but he punched in the number anyway. “Hello, is there someone there who speaks English?” He heard a click as he was placed on hold. A moment later, a female voice came on the line. “Yes, hello.” “I’m with the FBI in San Francisco, California, and I want to speak with someone about the dog-mauling that occurred in a Tokyo park on Sunday.” “Dog mauling?” “Yes, by two dogs. Akitas. I realize that this is not a customary request but I would greatly appreciate any assistance.” “Your name, sir?” “Special Agent Jude Wagner, working Cyber.”

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“And what is it you would like assistance with?” “Well, I would like to know if a report was filed. I think the park’s name is Kasai Rinkai, in Tokyo—the man’s name was Hideo Onagi.” “Your badge number, Wagner-San?” Jude fished out his credentials and read her the badge number. “I’ll need to verify you. My chief would like this before we discuss the matter.” After a five-minute wait, Jude heard the woman’s voice again. “I’m sorry for the delay, Wagner-San, but I must ... a ... do things according to regulation—it is not usual to receive such a request. I do have information about one Onagi-San who recently died at Kasai Rinkai Park. He’s Japanese American and lives in Palo Alto, California.” “That’s the man.” “We know very little. An ambulance and officers were called to the park. A man was found dead, from wounds that appeared to be inflicted by a very recent animal attack. The corpse was still very warm. The witness described the dogs as black and tan. They weighed more than she did. I am looking at . . . what the girl said.” “A young girl was the witness?” “Yes. Hideo Onagi’s daughter gave the police officer her statement. She insisted that her father was murdered, by plan.” “Was there evidence that the attack might have been directed by the dog’s owner with the intention to kill Dr. Onagi?” “That is just what the girl reported. We have not substantiated that.”

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“Onagi was a friend of mine. Please call if I can help in any way.” Jude left his personal cell phone number with the officer. “We are happy to have your telephone number.” Jude hung up the phone slowly. Shaking his arms to release stress, he considered his next move. The dog mauling piled more worry on top of the threat letter that was left in Niles’s hotel room. Jude had no idea what his next step should be. Speaking directly to Hideo’s daughter would help. He rang the five hotels he thought Hideo might have booked for his family in Tokyo, but failed to uncover any guest party that had checked in under Hideo Onagi. Jude shifted his energies. He removed the letter from his pocket and held it to a desk lamp. A subtle outline of a watermark showed. He marched with the letter to the crime lab. A senior lab technician was arguing with a younger one over protocol for handling evidence. “Anyone mind if I use the light table?” Jude asked. The older lab staffer fluttered his hand in the air, not wanting to be disturbed. Jude’s cell phone vibrated and he noticed a call had gone to voicemail. He ignored it and flipped on the light table and adjusted a large magnifying glass affixed to a pivot, hoping to get a good view of the watermark. When he put the page on the clear glass surface, the highwattage bulbs underneath illuminated the subtle demarcation. It read UNITED BISHOPS ASSOCIATION. Jude was dumbstruck. Who or what is the UNITED BISHOPS ASSOCIATION? The name didn’t sound familiar. He flashed back to the religious protestors who had circled him outside the Mark Hopkins. He looked over his shoulder. The lab employees had left.

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Think about the slogans, their faces, anything. Were religious zealots behind the murders? If so, what faction was it, and why would they draw attention to their deeds so carelessly by using paper with a watermark like this? Jude carefully tucked the page into his pocket and checked his voicemail. Gary Knowlan called, reporting Hideo Onagi’s office at Stanford had been broken into and vandalized. Jude thought briefly about that. Passing Hackman’s office on his way back to his own, Jude overheard his name. Backing up, he looked inside the office to see Hackman on the phone. Jude eased closer to Hackman’s door, trying not to appear as if he was eavesdropping. “It’s time step up things with Wagner,” Hackman said, “we have to reel him in.” Jude heard the receiver hit the cradle and moved down the hall, mulling over Hackman’s words. What could “reel him in” imply? He didn’t have an answer, so he tucked the information away in his head and shifted gears completely. Back at his desk, he rang the Mark Hopkins Hotel to speak with the staff on duty last night. The front desk clerk said they would notify him of any report, but doubted if anyone had seen anything. Anyone could shove it under the door. Nathalie came in clutching an accordion file folder, wearing a knee-length black skirt. She grinned. “How did it feel to be honored last night while I was snowed under with work?” “The event didn’t go as I had imagined.” “Why?” They moved to their desk alcove. She glanced at him curiously. “Your face is more crinkled than your gray suit. What’s the crisis du jour?”

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“Horrible news.” Nathalie dropped her file on her desk and pulled her swivel chair beside his. He saw a flash of her thigh and turned away. Information Jude intended to keep to himself spilled out. “Two of my Grid colleagues, Jűrgen Hansen and Hideo Onagi, have died.” “Mon Dieu. How?” “Hideo was mauled by Akitas in Tokyo two days ago. Last Friday, Jűrgen was shot outside of Geneva. And Niles…he got a threat, warning he’d die too, unless...” “Unless what?” she said, in a hushed voice. “Unless he stopped work on the Stanford Grid.” Nathalie leaned back, mystified. “And someone broke into your flat, no?” “Yes.” “You have no idea who?” She mumbled. He gave a head shake. “You’re going to Hackman, right?” “No. While he’s the one who told us about Onagi, I don’t think we should tell him about the rest . . . not yet, not until I wrap my head around this myself.” “Why?” “It was an FBI-registered Glock that killed Jűrgen.” “What?” Her eyebrows furrowed. “Do you suspect collusion . . . I mean from inside?” “There’s no telling who’s involved.” “Be careful. Don’t slip into making reckless assumptions.” “I’m not. I’m working to find a connection.” “First, follow where evidence leads. As Meno’s paradox taught, you can’t set out to find something new if you already know what it is you intend to find.”

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“Great, Nathalie. But we still need a suspect list and all I’ve got is the entire San Francisco FBI, and business leaders in the pharma industry. Hold that, and the insurance industry since they’ll also be turned inside out by Stanford’s universal healthcare initiative. And what can I do with that? Start by requesting an interview with the CEO of Johnston & Quib? Maybe.” “Jude. I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way. New hires can’t run around arranging meetings with CEO’s Even for me, I’d need approval before engaging someone like that.” “We should talk about that later. Right now I’m going to Hideo’s office at Stanford to find whatever I can. Stanford’s Grid Director called me. He says I should come down and investigate because there’s vandalism.” Jude patted his pants pocket, checking for his car keys. “For a new person, you certainly—” “Push protocols?” “Yes, I’m not saying you should be chained to your desk. God knows I’m not. Just keep your head screwed on.” “I know. I’m new and I should remember my part.” Nathalie said, “Like it or not, that’s true.” “I’m going to prepare you for something—I accept the consequences and I know they’ll come because from here on out I’m going off script.” She chuckled to herself, appearing mildly concerned. “Okay. And that reminds me. I overhead something odd in Hackman’s office this morning.” “What’s that?” “I don’t know who he was speaking with. He said something to the effect of, ‘we’ve gotta keep a close eye on Wagner.’ It sounded as if he was strategizing on what to do with you.”

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“That’s truly strange. I heard him say something similar.” “Maybe we’re reading something into it we should not.” “I still have to make this trip to the South Bay,” he said. “Just be accountable.” “Okay, but doing nothing would be a greater mistake.” “So, first you had Jűrgen, then your break-in and now Hideo. Things aren’t getting any better.” “That’s right,” Jude said. “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action.” “Is that another one of your quotes?” “It’s from James Bond. Goldfinger, who considered himself an expert pistol shot, claimed he never missed, and always shot his opponents through the right eye.” “You had to add that.” “Look. Don’t try to stop me.” “All right, then I’m going too. You are probationary. I’m not. OPR is going to keep Hackman busy today anyway.” She was proving her unpredictability again. “What do you mean?” he asked. “I heard some office gossip that Hackman’s being investigated. They say he’s slipping up since he’s nearing the barn, whatever that means.” “It means Hackman’s cutting corners because he’s approaching retirement.” “Oh, really,” Nathalie said. “Maybe he’ll get sacked before we have a confrontation with him.” “Yeah, right. Does Hackman go to any church?” “What sort of question is that?” “Just tell me.”

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“I don’t know which one, but I’m sure he does.” “Why?” “Everyone knows he’s a religious man.” she said. “If I go with you, I can cover for us if anyone questions what we are doing.” “You sure about this?” She picked up her jacket off her chair, and knotted it over her shoulders decisively. “I’ll meet you at the elevator.” He didn’t ask again. He just started walking, realizing that the Nathalie he had met at Quantico wasn’t gone entirely—her defiance of authority, buried beneath her professional code of ethics and her French reserve, surfaced again. Nathalie showed up at the elevator with a fingerprint kit that she had presumably borrowed from the lab. “You came with the kit,” he said. “You said there was vandalism so I’m coming equipped. I may be in Intelligence Analysis, but I still know how they do things in the Crime Section.” He was glad that she would be riding along. Without speaking, Jude walked through the parking garage with Nathalie to his Mazda. Even in the haze of grief, Jude caught himself liking the sound of their footfalls echoing in unison. Nathalie’s company was calming, but her closeness was also arousing. Bad sign. A routine walk with her like this shouldn’t ignite a rush of bittersweet memories. But that was quintessential Nathalie; even recollections of her surprised him. Her independence was what most attracted him to her. Yet that same trait was driving a wedge between them. What were the odds that they would be assigned to work as partners?

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Slinging his coat on the backseat, Jude struggled with the exotic force of her French lavender fragrance. He stared into space, lost in the memory of kissing her shoulder, neck and mouth and removing the last piece of her lingerie. Fighting the urge to take her again, he straightened up and dug clumsily into his pocket for something. Trying quickly to mask his discomfort, he handed her the bag that had the pen inside. “It’s the dead-end pen we dusted,” she said. He turned the key in the ignition. As the motor hummed, he collected his addled thoughts. “Right. See the blurred gold stamp? It had three words. The last is COMPANY. The letter before that were DYN--- ---UR--Y. “The guy who dropped it was wearing Danner boots. A military style. Size eleven. Any ideas?” “- - -UR- -Y.” Nathalie mulled the letters aloud. Doesn’t ring a bell. Neither does DYN. Anyone could buy those boots. I know the brand. If anything else happens, though, we’ll have a shoeprint to check against.” Jude sped down the freeway south to Onagi’s Stanford laboratory, air conditioning on high. It was good to be moving. Temperatures had swung from brisk to warm, another fall day in San Francisco. “Then why wouldn’t they want you? I’m worried they will.” He wasn’t sure how to take that, but it felt good to hear her concern nonetheless. “Glad to know you care.” She gave him a cockeyed look that didn’t clarify matters. “It’s true, the Grid relies on my algorithm, but killing me wouldn’t remove the code. Great chunks of my code are in the public domain already. Computer algorithms are a mishmash of public property. Anyway, the Grid

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would still work without my algorithm just like the Internet would work without some improvement. What worries me is that Roger Knowlan is put at risk as director in charge at Stanford, and Niles now has to do Hideo’s job. They could be the next victims. They’re Stanford employees—not me.” “I do not buy that,” Nathalie said. “Connaitre le danger.” “And that means?” “Don’t ignore the danger that’s out there.” *** Jude cruised through the vast Stanford campus until he came to the chemistry complex. He saw Roger Knowlan’s new Jaguar with PIONEER on the license plate and parked beside Hideo Onagi’s empty parking spot. Seeing his late colleague’s name on that space made Jude’s stomach tighten. So many images of Onagi streamed to mind—how he insisted on going double or nothing when he lost at pool and bought that round of drinks as an enticement. Jude stopped the engine and turned to Nathalie. “Can you wait here and scout what you can about Onagi’s and Jűrgen’s deaths on your tablet?” “Yeah, you go inside while I burn alive out here. I can’t get used to these temperature swings.” He apologized and put the keys in the ignition so she could start the engine to run the AC or lower the windows. Stepping into the stiflingly hot car park, he spotted a hummingbird buzzing from a flowerbed. It flew forward, backward, then hovered in place. A brilliant color of pink marked its head. In a nano-second, it flitted skyward.

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Making his way down the walkway, Jude recalled lively work dinners he had had at Hideo’s house. That Stanford cadre that occasionally had drinks past midnight was history. Through the breezeway and doorway, Jude entered the Research Institute. The administration office was empty—apart from the eye of a security camera that Jude looked at, hanging on the wall behind the front desk. Shelly, the Australian lab tech, rounded the corner carrying a box of files. Seeing Jude, she set the box down and hugged him with a long embrace. “He was a dear man,” she said with a catch in her voice. “We’re going to support one another here,” Jude said. A familiar sight caught Jude’s eye. On the wall behind the reception desk was a giant mounted graphic of Craig Venter’s sequenced human genome breakthrough from 2003—dozens of black-and-white striped lines. The picture hung there every day at Stanford for years, but Jude never felt anything looking at it. Today it reminded him of how idealistic they all were from conception. Blind to what they were starting. The longer Jude stared at the genome blow-up, the more haunting it became. The squiggly pairs of lines no longer looked like a blueprint for medicine’s future but a diagram for mayhem. “I’ve got something to show you,” Shelly said with a soft lilt, gently directing him away from the wall and toward Hideo’s office. Jude wasn’t surprised to see the door crisscrossed with crime tape, but didn’t feel entirely prepared for it either. “Have you been in here?”

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“Yes, but I didn’t touch anything. I called the police straight away. They left two hours ago.” “Do you know if a print team has dusted this room?” “They haven’t. The police said two men would come to get fingerprints, but they haven’t come by. I was told to keep out.” “So, Roger is here?” Jude asked. Before she could reply, Roger Knowlan turned the corner and Shelly left. “You think Shelly will be all right?” Jude asked. “Once she gets over the shock, yes. Onagi’s family is in Tokyo, by the way.” Jude said, “I know. Have you seen Hideo’s office?” “No,” Roger said, raising his head to make eye contact. “I hear it’s been turned upside down. There’s police tape all over the doorway.” Knowlan’s face had a blank look of disbelief. “Shelly told me.” “Have you come to investigate?” “Not officially. I’m not here on FBI business. I brought special agent Noiret to find what we can off the books. She’ll be coming along. She’s in the car.” Jude said. “I appreciate your calling me, Roger. I’m going into the lab now.” Knowlan seemed to be okay with that. He followed Jude down the hallway and into the lab. It flabbergasted Jude and Niles that Hideo and Knowlan had remained close friends through all of the heated debates about commercializing the Grid but they both wanted to see the Grid work miracles. Knowlan sat down rigidly and crossed his arms. Wearing a finely tailored blazer over a button down shirt, Knowlan had no tie and polished shoe boots. His attention to men’s

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fashion appeared as a shot at compensating for his small-boned frame and moody social awkwardness. Jude heard the front desk phone ring. Shelly shouted down the hallway, “It’s Niles Tully on the line. He’s calling from outside his dentist’s office to check on things. I told him you were both here.” “Can you transfer the call into the lab?” Jude asked. “Yes.” After three beeps, Jude put the call on speaker phone. Knowlan paced anxiously. “Niles, it’s Jude and Roger.” Jude positioned the phone so Niles could hear them clearly. Knowlan sat on a desk corner, chin in hand, looking at a desk photo of Hideo with his wife and child. As Knowlan turned away from the photo, Niles’s voice carried into the room. “Good. Now, to both of you: what the hell is going on—people are dying.” “That’s what we’re trying to sort out,” Knowlan shouted back. His volume obviously came from raw nerves. “Did you find out anything more about Hideo?” Niles asked. “His office has been vandalized, but we haven’t seen it. Not yet anyway.” Knowlan said. “You’re getting ahead of us.” Jude said, “I have news. I spoke with Tokyo police and found out that Hideo’s dog attack may not have been accidental.” Knowlan’s head whipped around, giving Jude steady eye contact for the first time since he had arrived. “How do they know that?” “Apparently his daughter, who seems to be the only material witness, told the police that someone commanded the dogs to attack him.”

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Knowlan rubbed his forehead. “Really?” “Bloody hell. What do we do with that?” Niles asked. His voice was overmodulated on the speakerphone, sounding strained. “No traceable abrasions, contusions or fibers. It’s a clever way of making an attack look unplanned. And how do you prove that an animal’s owner premeditated homicide when all he’s got to do is whisper attack to a trained—” “I can’t believe this,” Knowlan interrupted, wideeyed. “We’ve faced enough scientific obstacles without this.” “Can either of you picture anyone wanting Hideo dead for a personal or professional reason?” Jude asked. “Hideo didn’t have enemies,” Knowlan said. “Niles, I wish you luck with the CERN/Google deal, but to be honest, this isn’t the best time for your call. I need air. So long, Niles. I’ll be outside, Jude.” Knowlan got up and left the room. Niles spoke again. “Jude, I feel like we’re all walking around with targets painted on our backs.” “I know,” Jude said. “I did find something on that threat letter.” “What?” Niles asked. “There was a watermark with the words, United Bishops Association.” “What the hell?” Niles asked. He sounded exasperated over the speaker phone. “I’m not sure yet,” Jude said. Niles said, “And we know how religious fundamentalists feel about genomic medicine. What next?” The future they had worked so hard for had finally arrived, but with the crash landing of a meteorite.

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“I’ll get back to you.” Jude said. Niles’s voice came on again. “Okay, but what about me? What can your bureau do for my security? Jűrgen was murdered at CERN and I’ll be meeting with CERN executives in Switzerland.” Jude continued, “Actually, Niles, I thought since you’ll be with CERN people you could ask questions. Find out if Jűrgen had enemies.” “Fine. Heave me onto the train tracks. What kind of covert operation is this?” Jude ignored him. “We’ll compare details after your trip.” “You’ve gone on about nothing but sex and Quantico lately, Magnum PI. Why don’t you focus on this?” “Look, Niles. I know what you want. I can’t go back to Hackman and press him about an FBI-registered weapon. This is only my fourth week at the field office. Give me a break. The firearm could’ve been stolen. I’m going into Hideo’s office now. More later.” Jude hung up the phone. He walked outside to meet Knowlan under the breezeway. “Jude, can’t you ask the FBI to put you on this case?” Roger asked. “I can’t pick and choose assignments any more than I already am.” “Can you at least tell me if we’re being sabotaged?” Roger said. “If I could put my finger on something, Roger, I wouldn’t be standing here talking with you.” “What about the lab?” Knowlan said, “Shelly says Hideo’s office has been ransacked but his lab workstation looks intact. What do you make of that one?

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Why would his office be turned upside down and not the lab?” “They probably hit his office because that’s where they thought Hideo would’ve kept a Grid access key. They had no idea that you and I were the only ones who carry the key.” Knowlan said, “What do you propose I do with my key, Jude?” “Carry it. There’s no safer place for it than on you.” Knowlan put his hand in his pocket and scowled, obviously dissatisfied with that answer. Nathalie walked up, holding the fingerprint kit. “It’s not good to leave a lady waiting, you know.” Jude wanted to look over the place alone first then forgot to call her in. “You’re going to have me apologizing all day, aren’t you?” She ignored him. “Nathalie,” Jude said, “this is Roger Knowlan. He’s now in charge of things at Stanford.” “How are you?” she said. He adjusted his sport coat. “Been better.” Jude wanted to get a look at Hideo’s office, so he gestured for them all to go inside again. They stopped outside of the doorway covered with the yellow police tape. “Technically, we shouldn’t go in here,” Nathalie said. “I trust you won’t put this in your 302 Field Report.” Jude peeled away the three strips of tape and entered the room. Nathalie followed. Shelly watched from the doorway. “Mon Dieu, she said. “Looks like a hate crime.” On Hideo’s whiteboard was a quote written in bright purple marker—the same variety of pen that Hideo

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Onagi routinely carried: “Those who play god will be sacrificed.” A chill crept over Jude. “Definitely moralizing going on here.” Jude pondered the words, then rolled up his sleeves. Again, he recalled the protesters’ placards at the Mark Hopkins—a fiery protestor’s face flashed before him. Roger Knowlan appeared at the doorway. “Whoa. What do you make of this?” he asked. “Give us some space here, Roger. We just started working,” Jude said. Their way was blocked by chairs and books that had been flipped. A desk lamp was broken on the floor. White glass crunched beneath their feet. Jude and Nathalie stepped carefully, guessing what might have happened. Jude asked the lab technician, who now hovered at the door with Roger, “Shelly, did the cops come to any conclusions with this?” “No idea. They just asked questions,” she said. Hideo’s computer was still intact on the steel desk. The chassis on his tower was locked. “Why do you think his computer wasn’t destroyed?” Nathalie asked. “I can only imagine they thought the Grid access key was on it and didn’t destroy it for that reason.” “Makes sense,” she said. Nathalie went ahead to dust the keyboard for prints. Once done, she handed Jude a pair of latex gloves. He blew air into them, one at a time, and pulled them on. Jude sat down in front of the computer and booted it up. He keyed in a series of letters, then hit ENTER. He accessed the history buffer. The last set of operations performed at that computer appeared on the screen, scrolling in reverse

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chronological order. The terminal flashed lines of commands. Jude printed the screen by sending the print job to the shared printer. Hideo’s printer had been pulled apart. “Any latents?” Jude asked. “Looks like they wore gloves.” Since she didn’t find fingerprints, she wouldn’t risk disturbing evidence when she wiped clean the black print powder. Had they found prints and left the powder, they certainly would’ve had some explaining to do to the police fingerprint crew. “We have to go.” Jude removed the gloves. “I’m done.” They all left the office for the hallway. Jude snatched the page from the front printer. Roger followed them with his cell phone open in mid-dial. “If you find anything, call,” Roger said. Jude agreed, while Nathalie took her kit to the car. Jude asked Shelly, “How can we access the video log from the security camera in the lobby?” She said, “The police have already checked that. The video monitor power was turned off for three hours in the middle of the night, then flipped on again.” Jude didn’t have anything more to ask her. “I’d say godspeed with solving this,” she said, “but I’ll say good luck instead.” Jude walked to the car. “Wait,” Shelly called. She ran to catch up with him. “Take this.” She handed a blue paper crane to Jude. “This was Hideo’s.” “Thanks,” Jude said. He knew Hideo’s habit of giving origami cranes to colleagues. “Ori means fold,” he would say. “We’ll make magic through folding proteins.”

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Jude looked at the crane, remembering something Hideo once said: “We are both dreamers. Without us, the Grid will go nowhere and the ruling elite will squash the revolution.”

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seventeen
Tuesday, November 1 San Francisco, CA Kate opened her Mead teacher’s folder and prepped for her lesson. Imbued with a new excitement for scientific discovery from the night before, she couldn’t wait to be in front of college students again. Seeing her twin brother being revered as a tech star had invigorated her. Despite feeling rundown, she was glad that she had arranged months ago to guest lecture at San Francisco State University. She promised to fill in for at least one day for her biology professor friend who took any day off she could get. This trip killed two birds. It enabled her to work and visit Jude. Walking into the Life Science Center, she admired the glass skylight three stories high above her head. When she got to the lecture hall, she set down her briefcase and chalked CELL DIVISION on the blackboard. Voices reverberated through the auditorium. Students streamed in to fill the 250 seats. She answered questions from one student about where she was from, and the next minute she regaled him with stories of watching the races at the Kentucky Derby. “And the

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parties leading up to America’s most celebrated horse race are like no others,” she said. Professor Wagner made a hand gesture. Everyone took a seat. Kate checked her own forehead for fever. She felt hot, but couldn’t be sure by touching her own head. She plugged in her Sony portable stereo, then pressed PLAY. Handel’s Messiah sounded forth—a suitable backdrop, she thought, to a lecture that explored the magnificence of human biology. She always liked to launch her lectures with dramatic music to dramatize the miracle of science. As the music reverberated, she scratched quotations on the board. I believe in God, only I spell it NATURE. –Frank Lloyd Wright (1869–1959) Nature does nothing uselessly. –Aristotle (384 BC–322 BC), Politics Kate thought, If a professor doesn’t challenge her students’ worldviews, then she’s failed. Not everyone appreciated her impassioned teaching philosophies, though. Parents of students at the University of Kentucky sent letters last year, complaining that Professor Wagner advocated humanism over religion. The Dean of Science at the University of Kentucky warned her. By letter he demanded that evolution be taught alongside creationism, “ex nihilo.” When she refused to listen, the Dean threatened to put her on leave without pay, but she knew it was a toothless threat and continued as always. She had spoken for some twenty minutes when she noticed a disturbance: two students in the back row

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were talking and exchanging headsets. It appeared that two others were listening to music that just played in their heads. Kate cleared her throat and the talking stopped. “Mutation is a constant,” Kate explained to the class. “There’s good mutation and bad. Our bodies experience continuous change. It can be bad, even cancerous, when there’s uncontrolled cell division.” One back-row student in a Green Day t-shirt interrupted her with laughter. “Come on. Let’s be serious about mutation, prof. Without it, we’d all be apes.” Glad this kid’s not mine, she thought. Feeling unstable, she braced herself against the chalkboard tray. “That’s true,” she said. “There is natural mutation, as in the case of evolution, but DNA transformation through radiation is just one example of harmful mutation.” Without warning, her knees failed. Faces, ceiling, walls swirled around her. As her legs crumpled, she dropped onto the wooden stage.

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eighteen
Tuesday, November 1 Emeryville, CA Olivier Ramsey brushed bread flakes from the table at the Emeryville office. Hunched at his notebook computer in the J&Q conference room, he wolfed down an egg-andcheese croissant. Last night’s events had angered him deeply. Had he known Stanford was going to pull out he never would have invested more in J&Q. Ramsey’s boss, Pinsky was going to have his neck. He should have seen this coming when Ferguson hinted that Stanford could leave. Wiping his mouth, he readjusted his laptop screen, typed and saw that J&Q’s stock had dropped seven percent already. Fuck me. An email arrived. It was Ramsey’s FDA insider. Olivier—Google is up to something big. They are seeking approval for a diagnostic product, running over the Stanford Grid and it could change medicine. –Maureen Putnam Ramsey absorbed the meaning of Google becoming the information gatekeeper to a universal healthcare

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alternative. The Grid would be a new system of diagnosis, connecting and directing all medical data. Eventually, doctors, hospitals and insurance companies would adopt the socialized medical information system. Blood warmed in Ramsey’s ears. Flipping through the sequence of events that led up to his investment, he couldn’t believe his naiveté. Where’s Ferguson? He thumb-clicked his BlackBerry to the Stanford Grid website to see how much news of this Google deal had surfaced to the public: Stanford University’s Grid team seems to have cut their exclusive ties with former partner Johnston & Quib Pharmaceuticals based in Emeryville, California. It’s seeking a new dance partner with which it can pool medical information across thousands of databases to fight disease. -Associated Press Ramsey rubbed his neck, ruminating over the implications for the fortune he had invested. He snatched the telephone handset and punched at numbers. *** At the wet bar in his study, Ferguson mixed a scotch and soda, knowing it would take more than whisky to alleviate the pressure. He took a sip in his favorite reclining chair and tried to meditate on the view of the surrounding hills, beyond his estate wall. Before he could settle in, the phone rang.

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He had no stomach to manage another crisis at the office. Ferguson took a deep swig of his scotch before going to his desk and picking up the receiver. “Ferguson, you schmuck.” the caller said. “Where the hell are you?” As Ferguson began to speak, Ramsey shouted, “Forget-about-it. Get your ass in this office and start answering for what’s happened and be prepared to grovel on your knees. I’ll be in the small war room— waiting.” Ramsey’s end went dead. Ferguson grievously resented having to jump whenever Ramsey called, but Ramsey’s firm called the shots, and Ferguson had to own up to his mistake in coordinating the Stanford Grid partnership. Aching, he took a foil-sealed tablet from his pocket, unwrapped it and popped it into his mouth. While driving to his office, Ferguson rang his physician to check on results from his latest visit. “I’m sorry Mr. Ferguson, you and I need to go over the findings in the office.” “Dr. Cooper, I’m not the type of person who can wait. Can’t you tell me this over the phone?” “Mr. Ferguson, this isn’t something that—.” “Please.” “Okay. Unfortunately your Huntington’s Disease has advanced.” Ferguson held a breath. The doctor continued, “I can’t predict anything, but—” “How long do I have?” “Impossible to say—six months to a year, maybe less.” Ferguson hung up with thoughts spinning. He’d be dead sooner than he expected.

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*** Twenty minutes later, Ferguson carried two mugs of coffee into the war room. Ramsey sat at the head of the polished mahogany conference table, as if he, not Ferguson, were CEO of J&Q. He wore a crisp white shirt, Ferguson noticed. Ramsey aggressively tapped his pen. His body language said he wanted blood. Thank God Ramsey was scheduled to fly back to New York tonight. Ferguson wore a scowl on his face when he entered. But he didn’t care. Ramsey’s gaze never moved from the screen on the laptop computer in front of him. Ramsey never held eye contact. Ferguson had heard that he suffered from prosopagnosia, or face blindness. Ramsey relied on clothing, gait and voice to identify people. Ferguson considered it ironic that he never forgot a face and Ramsey never remembered one. Ferguson handed Ramsey a mug and slowly pulled out one of the leather-seated chairs and sat down. “It’s Kona, brought it in myself,” he said, resting his own mug on the table. Ramsey shook his head as he slowly read the motivational quote that was plastered on his mug: A FAILURE IS A MAN WHO HAS BLUNDERED, BUT IS NOT ABLE TO CASH IN ON THE EXPERIENCE. ELBERT HUBBARD. “Ironic quote, Marc. You should have kept this mug for yourself.” Ferguson took a pill with a sip of coffee, stupefied by his doctor’s report: You’re dying, Marc. Ferguson couldn’t remember what Ramsey had said last.

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Ramsey’s face darkened. “How has Stanford gone from bringing us into the age of digitized records to becoming a competitive threat?” “I don’t know how we lost them. We never saw that coming.” “It’s not we, plural and royal, it’s you, singular and moronic. I hope you have your shrink on speed dial because after this pow-wow you’ll need to increase the strength of those prescription pills you’ve been popping.” “I’m fine, Ramsey. It’s just indigestion—” “Don’t deflect, Ferguson—this is dire.” A line in Ramsey’s forehead deepened. “I think you owe me an explanation for last night.” “I had planned on telling you about Stanford backing out after the ceremony. I didn’t want to upset you beforehand and had no idea that Jude Wagner was going to spill his guts. Who could have known they were going to become the Mother Teresa of genomic medicine?” Ramsey’s face turned purple. “God damn you, Ferguson. You should’ve told tell me this sooner. I’m losing millions with your stock. J&Q has gone from being a partner with Stanford to being their pawn in this game. Need I explain that the wealthiest industry in human history is about to topple here—you’re nudging us over the edge.” Ferguson cleared his throat before changing the subject. “You did hear that the Stanford/CERN liaison, Program Director Jűrgen Hansen, died in Switzerland.” “Really? No.” Ramsey’s face showed a glimmer of warmth. “That’s a pity.” “It could be fortuitous,” Ferguson said.

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“It could slow them down. But their plan to offer free diagnosis, genomically, will really hurt if I’m still holding your stock then.” “Hurt us and the rest of pharma.” Ferguson shook his head. “And Jude Wagner’s algorithm makes it all that much worse. The Grid could make thousands of Pharma employees redundant.” “This medical revolution will leave waste in its wake. To quote my daughter, no one’s safe these days.” Ramsey said. “Has your daughter gone into medicine?” It had been years since Ramsey had seen Lori. “She’s in the private security business.” Ferguson looked away, reflecting on his ambitious daughter. Ramsey tried to meet eyes with Ferguson. But he maintained distance and broke their silence by tossing away the granola bar wrapper. “You’ll have to excuse me. My doctor had a cancelled appointment I’m going to take.” Ramsey poured himself a glass of water. “You’re walking a tightrope here, Ferguson. You promised your board and Pinsky Investments that partnering with Stanford would put us in the genomic game. But I reread the corporate agreement last night. Nothing bound them from backing out. How did you overlook this?” Ferguson thought. He’d have to make sure that some in-house lawyer’s head rolled. Ramsey said, “We’ll be meeting again tomorrow morning.” “But you’re going home tonight.” “Change of plans.” “You’ve postponed your flight?” Ferguson’s heart sank.

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Ramsey tapped the face of his watch. “I’m going to be in your hair the whole damn week. Look at this website.” Ramsey set down his nearly full mug and shoved his notebook computer up to Ferguson’s face. Ferguson saw the Stanford Grid homepage. Something about a search engine. He looked away. “I never predicted this would happen.” He lied. “You heard about their Google alliance, didn’t you?” “No. What—” “No? It will seal the coffin of our business model. It’ll extend Stanford’s Grid to databases everywhere.” Ferguson coughed. “Google alliance? Who told you this?” “That doesn’t matter. We’ll hear details in the news soon enough.” Shit, Ferguson thought. Google would be a powerful catalyst for personalized medicine. He could see Google web-enabling an index of the genome and private-sector databases. Though Stanford’s name would appear on the Grid’s public-medicine home page, Google would be the search-engine intermediary, the invisible middleware, transferring the patient’s genetic data to scientists. Ramsey was right. Linked with Google, Stanford’s Grid would be unstoppable. Ferguson should have moved toward personalized medicine years ago. If only he hadn’t been feeling so wretched. Fighting this disease had put him off his game. Ramsey rubbed his deep-set eyes. They showed fatigue—which Ferguson was glad to see: the invincible banker had vulnerability beyond his impaired vision. The conference room phone rang. Ramsey clicked a button. “Olivier Ramsey.”

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“It’s Pinsky.” The gravelly female voice crackled over the speaker phone from New York. Ramsey grimaced at Ferguson and hit MUTE. “Do you care to give my team an update, Marc? Or shall I?” Ferguson finished pouring himself a glass of water. “I’ll do it,” Ramsey said. Ferguson hated this. With Ramsey hovering like a pit bull and barking at him about how dire the state of affairs had become, Ferguson was beginning to feel like a gnawed bone. Ramsey unmuted the speaker. “Hello, Nicolette. I’m here with Marc Ferguson. He’ll fill you in.” “Mr. Ferguson. It’s Nicolette Pinsky,” the woman said. Ferguson had never met Nicolette, but the voice described her. Ramsey’s boss sounded like a hard-faced tyrant. She didn’t wait for a response. “We’re not going to sit around idly watching as our investment goes down the tubes. Ramsey says Stanford’s Grid is moving the goal posts, threatening quarterly returns. What are you doing to stop this?” Ramsey had once told him that Pinsky had fired a new banker who was expecting twins because she got tired of hearing how happy fatherhood would make him. Ferguson spoke into the squawk box: “I take responsibility for what happened.” “Let’s be honest, Mr. Ferguson,” Pinsky said, “That doesn’t change where we are and we’re not the Make a Wish Foundation. That’s what we’ll become if we let this online system make custom prescriptions.” “That’s right,” Ramsey said with a break in his voice, wiping his glasses with his shirt.

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Interesting, Ferguson thought. He’d never conceived that Ramsey was afraid of anything until now. Ferguson told Pinsky that he had things under control. “That’s not what Olivier tells me,” the New York voice pushed. “Losing Stanford is a major fuck-up. We need to go on the offensive to keep Wall Street and the public from believing J&Q’s business model is outdated.” “I say we create a scare,” Ramsey added. “There’s an idea,” Pinsky said. Ferguson laid his hands flat on the table. “A scare?” “We’re beyond polemics, Mr. Ferguson,” she said matter-of-factly. “Go on, Ramsey.” Ferguson downed his glass of water in one motion. “We’ve been goddamn hopeless at stopping this,” Ramsey said. Then he looked up, brightly. “I’ve got it.” “What?” the Pinsky voice asked. “The best way to kill a supplier is to dry up demand.” “Get to the point, Olivier.” “The Grid survives on public trust—belief that it’s secure to download the software to a personal computer.” “Go on.” “Suppose we leak the threat of a Grid virus,” Ramsey said. “It’d create fear, compromise public trust in the Grid program.” “You’re on to something,” Pinsky said. “Nobody would volunteer his or her PC if they knew it exposed them to a computer virus.” “It could tarnish the Stanford Grid’s image and discourage Grid volunteers for months.” Ramsey said. “But why just leak a rumor that there’s a virus?” Pinsky said, sounding upbeat. “Why not develop a virus? Actually release it on the Grid?” She laughed. “Fight technology with technology.”

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“Oh god,” Ferguson said softly. “You’re confusing mass disruption with mass destruction.” “All’s fair in love and business,” Pinsky said. Ferguson stood up, wringing his hands in disbelief. “Really, it’s not a good idea to—” Pinsky ordered over the speaker phone, “Ramsey, this is on you—it’s your responsibility to make it happen. Find a virus writer, assess the cost, and tell us when it would fly—or crash, in this case. And cover your damn ass, Olivier.” Ramsey said, “You’d be surprised how much thought I’ve already given this.” “This is for the greater good,” the gravelly voice went on. “No one wants this much knowledge dropped in their lap. Who can deal with knowing what diseases their genes carry and when they’re going to die?” “You hear that?” Ramsey said to Ferguson. Pinsky continued, “Imagine us all walking around knowing we’re prone to anal cancer like Farrah Fawcett, or whatever disease?” “But wait,” Ferguson said. “Knowing our risks is a good thing.” If only Huntington’s disease were curable. Maybe he could have taken preventive measures. Now, it would even be a miracle if custom drugs could help. “Mr. Ferguson, I wish it were that simple,” Pinsky said. “Even your children aren’t safe, Ramsey. Excuse the example.” “Mine?” Ramsey turned, accidentally knocking over his mug, spilling his coffee. Ramsey grabbed napkins, wiping up the coffee to Pinsky’s voice. “Suppose someone draws a genetic correlation to that face-blindness disease you have. One day when your kid

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gets pregnant she’ll be slapped with the percentage chance that the baby will inherit your disorder. Too much knowledge is a burden.” Ramsey picked his teeth with his fingernail. “I’ll make special note of that.” Ferguson couldn’t help grinning. Ramsey turned a dagger look at him. Pinsky grumbled again. “Do whatever it takes to stop these hacks and their Grid. P.S., don’t worry about what the SEC or any other papacy will forgive, we’re doing this to help people.” The phone line suddenly clicked off. In a daze, Ramsey walked to his car, wanting to hang someone. He knew he wasn’t getting the whole story. He had talked his boss, Nicolette Pinsky, into investing in J&Q and something about it smelled. Pinsky Investments was easily won over by the promise of the newly formed partnership that J&Q had with the Stanford Grid Project. Ramsey was burdened with getting a return from a nonprofit entity. He saw red just thinking about the Stanford team. But he couldn’t talk sense into that arrogant lot. Academicscientist types were deaf to business advice. Ramsey noticed he was sweating under his collar with frustration. He needed ideas on how to stall the Grid.

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nineteen
Tuesday, November 1 Highway 280, North of Woodside, CA Jude and Nathalie got around a station wagon that was slowing them down, then sped north in silence along Highway 280, heading toward their San Francisco office. He speculated about the meaning of the threat they’d found on Hideo’s white board. When a pickup truck they trailed backfired, Jude and Nathalie jumped in their seats. They laughed. Jude let up on the gas pedal. Nathalie buzzed her car window halfway down. Fresh air released some tension. The Junipero Serra Freeway took them through miles of green hills and along Crystal Springs reservoir, a government-protected watershed formed from a natural rift created by the San Andreas Fault. Jude thought about how much water was piped to Crystal Springs from Yosemite National Park. Millions of people depended on that water, but few gave it a moment’s notice. It ran through a grid of pipes. A medical grid could be just as useful. Jude told Nathalie about the quotes he saw on the demonstrator’s signs at his award ceremony. One read, “Before you were born I consecrated you.” Another read

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something to the effect of, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed.” Nathalie worked her mini-computer. Jude broke their silence. “Can you search the web? Maybe we’ll find some other context where those quotes appear.” “I’m working on it already. Don’t push.” She thumbpunched keys on her device. “Pahr-dohn moi,” he said. “So, tell me. How exactly is the Stanford project changing medicine? I mean, how quickly are traditional drug companies adopting the notion of personalized drugs processed over the Internet?” “Like molasses. Why?’” “I think it’s going to take lawsuits to get drug companies to modernize.” “You’re probably right,” Jude said. “My bet is that people will have to sue their insurance companies to get personalized drugs paid for. I see a bumpy transition.” “That’s true, but initially we have to prove that custom drugs are possible for everyone.” She heaved a deep breath, “That’s a tall order.” Jude glanced over at Nathalie, scrolling through websites. She stopped at one website with black-andwhite Hollywood photos. The homepage featured a familiar little girl with ringlet hair, dancing in white tights. “What are you doing?” Jude asked. “More trivia. What actress drew top box-office sales in the U.S. from 1935 to 1938 and lives in Woodside?” Jude looked over at Nathalie’s computer. “Shirley Temple.”

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“You peeked.” She clicked again. “I’m not coming up with anything definitive.” “Too bad.” She clicked again. “Except for this,” her voice raised. “According to this BBC story, two staunch Catholic groups—the United Bishops Association and a group called Human Life Forever—cite these verses when they are demonstrating against genetic biology and stem cell research.” Nathalie let out a puff of air. “Maybe the religious conservatives are lumping you and your genomic research in with abortionists.” “United Bishops Association?” “Yes.” Jude reconsidered leads: Jűrgen had been shot with an FBI service pistol, a man had stolen the Google papers, Jude found a black pen with the word COMPANY inscribed on it and a woman directed her dogs to attack Hideo. How, if at all, did these things connect with the United Bishops Association? Jude’s boss posed a separate problem. Hackman seemed to have it in for Jude. On top of that, Hackman was a religious man and the religious right vehemently opposed gene-based science. Jude had no doubt that Hackman had the Stanford Grid in his cross hairs. Jude’s phone rang. Seeing Kate’s name in LED, he flipped it open. “Hey Kate.” “Jude, listen. I’m not well—I’ve been taken to a hospital in San Francisco.” “What’s wrong?” “No word yet. They’re running blood tests,” she said. “What happened?” Nathalie turned toward Jude, overhearing one side of the conversation.

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“I blacked out. I have no idea. I’ll call if anything’s not normal.” Jude picked up fear in her voice, something he hadn’t heard in a long time. “Kate, don’t worry. I’m coming.” “Thank you, I know you’re busy—at least I’m nearby ....” “Which hospital?” Nathalie put her window up so Jude could talk. “California Pacific Medical Center, on Sacramento Street and Webster.” “Got it. I’ll be there soon.” “Good.” Jude closed the phone and rubbed his neck. “Now what’s wrong?” “My sister Kate. She’s not well.” “We’ll concentrate on these quotes later.” Jude looked at Nathalie and back at the road when his thoughts strayed to Kate, laid up in a hospital. It reminded him of his mother, Claire. Kate and Jude were just fifteen when their home life changed forever. Their mother, Claire, stopped breathing after a swim one summer Sunday, and shortly thereafter they were burying her. The void at home from mom’s absence hit Kate and Jude differently. Kate and their dad cut out nightly to see people while Jude stayed barricaded at home, glued to his PC. Their mother’s breast cancer had lit a fire under Jude to research how computers were being applied in medicine. Every weekend he tapped at the Internet, delving deeper into medical websites. She worried about him. But virtual reality had become his refuge. Kate kept a lid on Jude’s weird behavior. It wasn’t something you blurt. Only an obsessed sixteen-year-old

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could love his computer the way B.B. King loved his guitar. But Jude’s PC was his Lucille. When his college acceptance came, Jude packed his hand-me-down Toyota Tercel for the trip to Berkeley, California. Kate wasn’t accepted at Berkeley, so she attended the University of Kentucky in the fall. Their father called his going away to school a Huck Finn escape from reality. Jude’s dad had always enforced the rules until then. Jude told Kate that after a four day road-trip from Kentucky to Berkeley, he was assigned to a 15’ by 20’ rugless dorm room with roommates—but that’s all he needed to study. Even then he knew that he’d never teach or do anything that conventional. Jude was the type to challenge the mainstream, do something no one else had ever done. As if she were reading his mind, Nathalie said, “I really hope your sister is going to be okay.” He nodded and kept his eye on the highway.” *** Jude and Nathalie traveled the freeway off-ramp that led into downtown San Francisco. It took so much effort to find any information on these assailants. Jude felt as if he was scaling a glacier, kicking at footholds for leverage. Hackman had to be up to no good. But Quantico warned against forcing inferences from facts rather than trying to understand them. He had to resist the temptation to leap to conclusions. After some driving, Jude mumbled, “Homicide requires motive, means and opportunity.”

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“Requiring both premeditation and deliberation,” She said mockingly. “I know you’re knocking yourself out, thinking about possible suspects, but this isn’t a computer problem.” “Thanks Nathalie. I’m wondering what motive the Bishops Association could have for shutting down a medical Grid. Could it be the threat of genomic medicine going main stream. Could it be that it’s predictive and deterministic?” “We don’t know. Without forensic evidence, all we have is behavioral profiling and there’s little to look at. Perhaps drug manufacturers might want to see Hideo and Jűrgen fall, but that doesn’t lead us to an individual who would actually kill to slow down the Grid.” “And even if we had a list of individual suspects, few would have the means and opportunity to actually pull off that dog attack in Tokyo after taking aim at Jűrgen in Switzerland the day before.” “Whether it’s one attacker or two, it’s all tightly coordinated by hitmen, frenzied fundamentalists or both.” As they rolled into the federal building’s garage, they glimpsed a blue Cadillac exiting. “It’s Hackman,” Nathalie said. Jude noticed something. “There’s a fish symbol on the back of his car bumper, stuck there like an advertisement.” Impulses kicked in to follow Hackman but Jude was torn over what to do. A part of him wanted to go directly to see Kate. He chewed on a nail, debating with himself then said, “We’re following him.” He cranked a U-turn at the bottom of the garage ramp and followed Hackman out onto Van Ness.

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“Why are you turning?” “You’re not curious to know more about Hackman?” “I am, but how far do you intend to follow him?” Nathalie asked, sounding fearful of Hackman’s invective. “As far as it takes. Only problem is I’ve got to visit Kate.” “Tell me your life isn’t always this out of control.” “If I did, would you believe me?” She shook her head. “If we get burned for this, you will not like it.” Jude crossed Market Street anyway and drove onto the 101 freeway. He supported his actions by relaying to Nathalie how oddly Hackman had behaved at the award ceremony, cautioning that those who ran the Grid had better not “play God.” Hackman and Ferguson had talked to one another throughout the evening as if they were old colleagues—something about it annoyed Jude. “Hackman and Ferguson do know one another through Dyncorp,” she said. “Dyncorp?” “Yes,” Nathalie replied. “Dyncorp is a security company. I know the name because they do contract work for our field office. Four days ago there was a Crisis Meeting held at the office about how Dyncorp employees had operated as rogue agents in some capacity . . . that’s it. - - - UR - - Y, on the pen, stands for SECURITY. SECURITY COMPANY. And DYN must be Dyncorp.” “Okay, that’s interesting,” Jude said, sounding unsure. “The man who broke into my place was from the private security company, Dyncorp, which has some connection to the FBI.” “You said the intruder seemed to know what he was doing, no? Describe him.”

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“He had short hair and the body of a lumberjack. He drove a white SUV.” “Okay, so maybe this has something to do with the Dyncorp staff that’s working in our office. We need to narrow that down.” “How do you propose we do that?” He asked. “Let’s think. There are a lot of Dyncorp employees, even if we could get a bead on their activities in San Francisco.” “I say we look at Hackman, somehow. He’s paying their bills in this city, calling the shots.” She pursed her lips. “But why would Hackman be involved, and why the religious quotes?” The question hung as Jude concentrated on trailing Hackman’s Cadillac from the 101 onto Highway 280 south. Going back in the direction from where they came, Jude drove several car lengths behind, through a cluster of traffic. Some thirty minutes south of San Francisco, the Cadillac turned off at the Woodside exit, heading into rural suburbia. Jude knew Woodside. He had run its pristine nature paths with Kate. Like Niles’s sailboat, the Tipsea, Woodside was a private oasis from civilization for Jude. Now, the quest was intruding upon a personal destination. Jude and Nathalie exited off the freeway, then sped up to get closer to Hackman. Jude rolled up the hill until the narrow two-lane road turned to gravel, then turned to the shoulder for fear of being spotted. The car idled beside a wood slat fence that marked the boundary of an estate with a terracotta-roofed house and a stable.

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He saw Hackman’s car climb King’s Mountain, out of sight. Jude followed. After a moment Hackman’s car appeared again, winding up the serpentine country road. “Why is he in Woodside?” Nathalie asked. He saw her looking overhead at the circling birds of prey. “Nothing here but horses and hawks.” “And miles of park trails,” Jude said. “And rich people.” “Them too.” More livestock than residents populated Woodside. Its ranch-style homes belonged on the cover of Sunset Magazine, contrasting the nouveau riche in the surrounding area. “Look,” Nathalie said, pointing. “He’s stopping.” Hackman had reached the summit. They watched him park the Cadillac in a patch of dirt behind several other cars, including a dozen Volkswagen Beetles. Jude saw a small house nearby and a portable building of the kind found at construction sites. He pulled over, well downhill, and watched as Hackman worked his way out of his car and moseyed into the portable. He and Nathalie unfastened their seatbelts, opened their doors and got out. A woman on horseback came up from behind their car then pulled on reins when she reached the driver’s side. “What do you think?” she asked. The horse forced her to do a tight circle. She pulled on the reins to regain control. “Secret society?” The horsewoman wore a wide brim straw hat that coordinated with her honey-colored mare. She fixed her sights on the nearby hilltop. Her face darkened with a grimace. “Ma’am. What’s happening up there?” Jude asked.

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“The old man who lived there for sixty years died. His children just sold the entire sixteen acres to a church group called Holy Blood. They’ve found a zoning loophole to build a church. I think they’re a cult.” “Really,” Jude said. “Some parish member bought the land and twelve Volkswagen bugs, one for each deacon.” She removed the oversized hat, revealing a short tower of gray hair, and used the hat to fan herself. Nathalie sneezed, probably from the pollen and ranch dust in the air. The lady continued, “Old nature-lovin’ guy’s rolling over in his grave. Woodside’s fuming, but we’re hogtied.” “When did this start?” Her mouth tightened. “The church just broke ground for their building. Ninety-five hundred square feet. Can you imagine such a thing up here? They’re already saying mass in the portable. I’d sooner see down-andout high school kids put in a marijuana crop than have this abomination.” She removed a water bottle from a saddle pack, sipped on it and glared at the hilltop again. “My husband heads our homeowners association. He drives up there once a week and gives ‘em hell, but so far zippo—no progress. I wish someone could stop this damned monstrosity.” “Thanks for the info,” Jude said. “It’s helpful.” The woman nudged the reigns and the horse trotted off. Jude and Nathalie climbed back into the car. “I’m going to go up there,” he told Nathalie. “Do you want to come?”

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“This time I don’t mind sitting in the car like a poodle. I’ll stay and be lookout.” He handed her the keys, got out and gingerly picked his way up the incline, moving as quietly as possible. Chants or song—he wasn’t sure which—came from within the portable building. He spotted a window in the rear wall, but it was too high to let him look inside. Scanning the area for an object to stand on, he located a construction sawhorse. He lugged it behind the portable and set it parallel to the wall. Putting one foot on it, then another, he grabbed hold of the window frame, clasping onto the aluminum to steady himself. A horse whinnied in the distance. He peered inside and saw three dozen stiffly postured people, seated as if for a church service. Several wore heavy brown robes, though Hackman was still dressed in his muted plaid business suit. One of the cloaked men faced the group. He lifted a baby over his head as others bowed their heads solemnly, then lowered it into a font filled with water. It appeared to be a baptism, which the leader performed entirely in Latin. Three cloth banners hung proudly on the wall: one had an image of Jesus and Mary. The second said, the last five popes have been anti-popes, heretics and imposters. The third banner featured a symbol Jude didn’t recognize: two crossed skeleton keys over a parasol handle that was topped with a cross.

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Hackman turned his head, glancing toward the window, directly at Jude. For a millisecond, Jude froze. His mouth gummy. He lost his footing on the sawhorse. Scrabbling, he toppled with it to the ground. Forearms banged into the portable wall. The priest at the front of the room stopped speaking. Jude knew the sound of his collision must have carried, bringing the service to a halt. He scurried to get to his feet, his back slick with sweat. As he came around the corner of the portable, he heard someone inside bark instructions. The portable door banged open as he charged faster around the building. Glancing back, he saw four men in robes bound out of the portable. They gave chase as he blazed down the hill. They took a straight short cut off the trail instead of following him down the curving driveway. He was floored by how quickly two of the monks caught up with him—as if they had taken flight down the embankment. He felt his gun knocking his side. He couldn’t wave it at these religious men with Hackman behind.

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Slipping on loose gravel rocks in haste, Jude went to the ground. Looking back, he saw Hackman coming out of the building and one of the two monks hitting the gravel also. Jude got back on his feet. Maybe Hackman won’t recognize me from this distance, surrounded by a wall of robed men. Suddenly, from behind, someone hooked Jude’s arm and pulled. He wrestled himself away. As he found his feet, another, taller monk yanked his pant leg with an iron clasp, tripping him flat again. The others drew closer. Jude kicked his captor’s bony fingers, drawing a groan from the recess of the hood. The man’s eyes burned onto Jude’s. Gasping, Jude kicked the hand again and again with the sole of his wingtip. Finally, the man’s grip loosened. Jude jumped to his feet and sprinted to the Mazda. Wide-eyed, Nathalie leaned to open the driver’s door. Jude climbed in and grabbed the door handle. Before he could, the car door opened. A hand grabbed his arm and yanked it. He fought to release himself and close the door, but the tall monk had already pulled him halfway out—a fire of hatred burned in his eyes. By now, five robed men had surrounded the car and were banging on windows. Their fists and palms showed pink and white on the glass. Jude heard a hand rattling Nathalie’s locked door handle. “Start it,” Jude shouted to Nathalie, hoping she’d find a way to get into the driver’s seat and work the ignition. Fighting to free himself, he heard her fumble with keys and felt her scramble to reach the ignition. The front seat divide was too high for her to swing a leg onto the gas pedal—he would have to do it.

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The monk pulled hard, trying to yank Jude from his driver’s seat. “You’re not leaving.” Jude had one foot in the Mazda and one arm gripping the steering wheel and one being pulled by the monk. Stuck. “Hurry.” Nathalie exclaimed. Fists thundered against the car from both sides. Nathalie clasped Jude’s wrist, adding leverage to the tug of war. In one heave, the tall monk lost footing and slipped to one knee. He still gripped Jude’s arm. Jude seized the moment. Freeing his right arm from Nathalie, he grabbed the handle to his open door and swung it hard. The door knocked the man’s lowered head with a thwumping sound, and the man toppled to the ground. Jude put his left leg in the car, slammed his door closed and flipped the door locks. He turned the key in the ignition. The engine turned over with a vroom of gas. Wheels spun in place, spraying dirt and dust at the enraged faces. The men shielded their eyes and scattered. The rubber took hold, and the car lurched into motion. As the Mazda sped downhill, away from the angry crowd, Jude’s chest heaved. Nathalie sat with her arms on the hand rests, pushing back into her seat.

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twenty
Tuesday, November 1 Emeryville, CA Ramsey couldn’t let the Grid be given away without showing Stanford what he was made of. Someone had to stop Stanford—that idiot Ferguson couldn’t be counted on. Doing what he typically did when ideas failed him, he sought out a bookstore. Emeryville’s Borders would serve nicely because it was big. Ramsey knew the chain and figured it probably held a sizeable collection of computer manuals and possibly leads on hackers. Unlike most Border’s customers, he didn’t care that the store had an indoor and outdoor café, and connected to a food court with international cuisine. That attracted those who browsed bookstores for pleasure, roaming directionless for an hour. Not Ramsey. A bookstore to him was no more than a tool for fixing a problem. He browsed the aisles and stopped in front of the large wooden magazine rack. A journal caught his eye, Hacker Quarterly: 2600. Leafing through it, he found advertisements for computer programmers for hire in the back pages. He read one that said, special projects,

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irc.darknet.ru. This might be what he was looking for. Energized, he paid cash for the journal and left. Returning to his Claremont Hotel room, he fastened the brass chain on his door. He booted his notebook computer and Googled www.darknet, www.darknet.ru. Failing to produce hits, he searched IRC. The first page that popped up defined Internet Relay Chat: The Internet’s CB radio, a chat frequency where the Internet comes alive. Not only are lasting friendships formed over IRC, but also marriages. Pfft, Ramsey scoffed. How out of date is this? Besides, he wanted a virus writer, a hired gun. Not Internet dating. Following the instructions, he downloaded and installed the IRC software. He clicked the program icon on his desktop. A window appeared. After creating a username and password, he clicked a line reading twenty-one chat. Another window opened showing lines of dialog scrolling beside usernames. He had found the chatroom. Ramsey sat ramrod straight. He observed the participants then pecked out, “HOW DO I FIND IRC.DARKNET.RU?” Instructions appeared, directing him to leave a message for irc.darknet.ru. Moments later a new window popped onto his screen with the name darknet.ru in the right column. A rush of adrenaline coursed through him. “I’ve got money to spend,” Ramsey punched, broadcasting to the virtual room. He wondered if anyone would answer. A message flashed on the screen from a person whose nickname read Cez@r.

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“What RU looking to do?” “I HAVE A JOB,” he pecked. “We all have jobs, man,” came from the other side. “I NEED A JOB DONE.” “U want a contractor?” “YES, I NEED SOMEONE WHO CAN CRASH A GRID NETWORK.” “U need a top shelf hacker. Which grid?” “STANFORD’S GRID.” “U want to stall that??” appeared on Ramsey’s display. “CAN YOU?” Ramsey typed, excited over his play for time. No response. Ramsey began to worry that Cez@r had gone away. Then, the stranger typed, “Impossible.” “I’LL PAY TOP DOLLAR.” Ramsey typed. “First, Udon’t crash it. You’d have to bring down the millions of machines that contribute work units. Even then, there’s no taking it offline, short of dropping a bomb.” “WHAT COULD YOU DO FOR ME?” “U can compromise that Grid by uploading something harmful to it. Hurt its credibility.” “OK.” “Volunteers link up to the network and share their computer processing power.” “RIGHT.” Ramsey typed. “We could stall the Grid if we do it right. But there are no guarantees. Even brilliant viruses can have very temporary effects. Grids are too decentralized—the system does too much self checking.” “CAN YOU EXPLAIN?” “It goes like this. On a grid, a single work unit cannot be trusted—results are computed outside of the grid’s

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control. The grid sends the same work unit to many machines, maybe even a thousand. Results are compared for accuracy. If the answers match, that answer is accepted by the grid and it goes onto the next problem. If the answers aren’t in synch, then that work unit must be re-computed, slowing overall progress. What I can do is instruct a few thousand or tens of thousands of botnets to upload erroneous information to the Stanford Grid. If successful, the accuracy checking resources in the Grid will get so tied up trying to validate results against other computers that the entire Grid service will lock up.” “THINK I GET IT.” “The good news is even if we don’t do lasting damage to the grid, we could create a lasting scare. It could cause volunteers to quit donating their computer processing time. Security is critical to grid systems.” “TELL ME. CAN YOU DO THIS?” “Yes. I’d need upfront payment. $1.5 million.” Ramsey groaned. “ONE MILLION TOTAL.” There was delay. “If U send a retainer check for $500,000, I’ll do it.” “HOW CAN I BE ASSURED YOU CAN?” “Dude, my online reputation is worth more than half a million. Do U need time?” “I WANT TO MEET YOU FIRST.” “No deal. U could b a cyber cop.” Ramsey thought for a moment when another line came. “This is just as much a leap of faith for me as it is you.” All of this was reckless, but Ramsey had put his money on J&Q and resented that the Stanford team had

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left them cold. Under other circumstances, he’d do a background check on who he was doing business with. But he couldn’t think of how he’d background check a hacker. “OKAY.” “Then, deposit the half million into my Cayman Islands bank account from another offshore account— not from the U.S. The other half is due when I tell you.” “DONE. HOW DO WE PROCEED?” “Leave that to me.” “WHAT?” “U don’t call me.” “WHAT’S YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS?” “I phone U with a bank routing number.” “AGAIN, HOW DO I KNOW YOU WON’T RUN WITH THE MONEY?” “Because I want the other half million. To get that, I can’t stiff U. I’ll have to earn it.” “PROVE WHAT YOU CAN DO.” “Go to www.squawvalleyusa.com.” Ramsey opened a new browser window. Visited the website. Saw the homepage with a skier attacking in powder snow and clicked back into the chat. “I PULLED IT UP. NOW WHAT?” “Check that same website in exactly ten minutes and then come back to our chat.” Ramsey made himself a gin and tonic with the hotel room bottles. Drinking, he surfed current events on his computer until ten minutes had passed when he logged back onto www.squawvalleyusa.com. The browser flashed to a white page that only showed a text message: “This Page cannot be displayed.” His heart rate quickened. Clicking back into the chat session, Ramsey typed, “ARE YOU THERE? THE WEB SITE APPEARS TO BE DOWN. IMPRESSIVE.”

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“That’s right. It’s frozen. Do you believe I’m for real now?” “YES.” “I’ll look for the first payment tomorrow. Nothing happens ‘till then.” The words “Cez@r has left the room” appeared on the screen. “BUT YOU DON’T HAVE MY DETAILS?” Cez@r’s name vanished from the chat room name list. Ramsey closed the computer window. He hungered for more time with Cez@r. He’d have to wait. *** Jude was still gasping audibly from his sprint down the hill as his car sped onto Highway 280, leaving Woodside. Nathalie twisted in her seat to look behind them. “What on earth happened back there?” “It faintly resembled a Catholic service, but in a very old style.” “What do you mean by old style?” She asked. “In Latin. They had a banner with two keys beneath an umbrella topped by a cross.” “That sounds unusual,” she said. “How typical is it to hold Mass on Tuesday afternoon?” “You tell me.” “Wait. It is All Saint’s Day.” Jude sat quietly, thinking. Nodding, he glanced at Nathalie. He shifted in his seat to pull his mini-pad of paper from his back pocket and handed it to her. She quickly took Jude’s pen and sketched the religious banner he described. When he looked again, she was checking the Internet on her little computer. A quizzical look came over her.

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“That symbol. It’s Sedevacantism.” “Sedevacantism?” he said. “What? Don’t tell me. It’s a demonic cult that practices ritual human sacrifice.” “Not exactly. But be careful what you wish for.” “Yeah, fairy tales can come true, they can happen to you,” he said, “if you’re young-at-heart.” She gave a quizzical look. “Apparently the Sedevacantists are a minority Catholic group.” “I was right.” She continued, “They’ve adopted the position that the papal office has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, and the five subsequent popes are illegitimate. The word Sedevacantism is actually two Latin words combined, which mean the Chair is vacant, referring to the chair of Peter.” “This is too much. Is there anything else?” She read from her screen. “Evidently, they’ve got branches all over the world, even in Tokyo and Geneva.” “I’ve never heard of them,” Jude said. “They have about 100,000 members in the United States. Sedevacantivists zealously guard their privacy.” “Obviously.” “Says here Sedevacantists claim the church is defined by its unity, holiness and apostolicity. The refusal of all Popes since Pope Paul VI to wear the papal tiara is most objectionable to Sedevacantists who deem it a papal requirement.” She stopped and turned to Jude. “Ah, there’s more. It’s Mel Gibson’s church.” “Okay, so could Mel Gibson’s Sedevacantivist church in some way be tied to Hideo and Jűrgens’ deaths? And could this Church have anything to do with Dyncorp? One doesn’t have to relate to the other, but the religious

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nuts hate me for my genomics work. And from what I can tell, Hackman does too.” “Right, this is weird, but it really doesn’t implicate Hackman in murder.” “No, but it could tie in with Hackman wanting to reel me in.” Could Hackman have a hand in these murders? It seemed highly unlikely that a respected member of the Justice Department could’ve fallen from grace—Jude’s new boss no less—but his other suspects were just as improbable. Who would believe that anyone from the medical community would be knocking off the competition? Unanswered questions piled up. Nathalie said, “You could have chosen an easier person to investigate. It would be nice for us to keep our jobs.” “Right. You could always teach mathematics with that Ph.D. of yours. I’d be your first student.” “Everything would be the same—I’d be saying, don’t stand too close to me.” “What do you mean—you’ve seen I’m a gentleman in a co-ed dorm.” “We’re not living in a dormitory now, though.” He got her drift—she still didn’t want to test her job with his come-ons. He knew she had her eye on going up the ladder. “Changing the subject—.” “Good, yes.” she said. “Wait a minute. I remember seeing correspondence in the office with the name United Bishops Association.” “Really?” “Yes, but I can’t place where,” she said. “Could you be imagining it?” “Possibly. The name sounds very familiar to me now.”

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They drove in silence for ten minutes until Jude started again. “I’m going to get going to California Pacific Medical Center to see my sister.” He dropped Nathalie off at the federal building. As he pulled away from 450 Golden Gate, he checked his rearview mirror and caught her watching him drive away. He felt a tingle of reassurance that they still had some kind of connection.

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twenty-one
Tuesday, November 1 California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA Jude lingered outside Kate’s hospital room holding a bologna sandwich he bought in the cafeteria and a bag of cherry-flavored Gummi bears. He banished thoughts of his mother dying before entering. He told himself that Kate was going to be fine. Though, standing around in a hospital made him self-conscious, as if eyes were on him. Roaming down long corridors with strangers did it. It ruined the privacy a visitor wanted with a loved one. He wished Kate had asked him to bring anything but her favorite childhood candy. It came across as a dying wish. He rolled his shoulders before entering, shifting gears mentally. Being chased by monks hadn’t alleviated his tension. He moved around the flimsy, beige plastic curtain that divided her cubicle-of-a-room. Sitting up in bed, she thumb-clicked a remote control to a ceiling-mounted television, angled down like a security camera. She looked well enough from a distance, especially after she looked up and waved him in.

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“Did you just wake up?” Jude asked cheerfully as he entered. “No, haven’t felt like sleeping. Just been waiting for doctors.” They put arms around one another. “Thanks for coming,” she said in his ear. He shrugged to say of course and shut off his cell phone. “So, what happened?” “One minute I was teaching and the next I was out cold on the floor,” she said dryly. Stalling for a few seconds, she asked him if he liked her suite. He did a two-second bathroom tour and returned to her bedside. “It’s okay. I wouldn’t exactly give it the white-glove seal of approval.” Her laptop was plugged in. What looked like student papers sat beside the computer. As always, teaching assignments appeared to have followed Kate. The screensaver displayed DNA in swirling multicolored double helix strands on a black background. Wherever Jude turned something reminded him of his work and the promise of what the Grid should accomplish. The computer rested beside a book on the Dali Lama and a charging cell phone. “It’s Air Force One in here.” “Yeah, but the meals are canned torture.” She pointed to an untouched bowl of what smelled like chicken broth. “What do you have?” Jude asked. Kate srugged. “I’m feverish, but they don’t know if it’s the cause or… She fidgeted in her bed. “The truth is Jude, I had a mammogram in Kentucky that came back atypical.” She stared at him. He could see she was pleading with him to understand why she didn’t tell him sooner.

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Jude stiffened, “What do they know so far?” A slim lab-coated woman in her early thirties came clicking into the room with unusually loud heels, interrupting them. Her nameplate said Dr. Metcalf. Kate crossed her arms. The doctor traced her lower lip with her finger. “May I ask who your visitor is?” “My brother, Jude.” Turning to Jude, “I’m Doctor Metcalf. I need to speak with your sister prively. Would you mind giving us a minute?” “I want him to stay,” Kate interjected. The doctor shook her head disapprovingly. “H’mm. I’m very sorry. The news is not good at all.” Kate sat up. “Okay, Ms. Wagner. We’ve examined you thoroughly, including the cyst under your arm that you showed me. You have a flu infection. It clearly has sapped your strength and caused your fainting spell. “Okay. And?” “And we called the number you gave us for your Kentucky doctor. Your biopsy results are in.” “Biopsy results?” Jude asked. Kate said, “They took that after my mammogram.” “Right.” Jude cleared his throat. Dr. Metcalf continued, more serious. “You have a flu that caused your fainting but that’s not what I’m concerned about. Your doctor says you show clear signs of metastatic breast cancer.” Kate did a slow head shake. Her cheeks went red. She ripped off the bed sheet in one motion. Jude stared at Dr. Metcalf with incredulity. The doctor stepped back. Kate moved from the bed. She paced the room and ended standing near the window; she looked outside. Then she turned to the

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doctor, cross-examining her. “Maybe the lab made a mistake—could there be a mistake?” Jude moved toward Kate and reached for her, but she moved away. The doctor dropped her folded arms, shook her head. “I hate to be the one who’s telling you this. Your doctor sounded quite certain. I’m sorry.” Kate returned to the bed and pulled her knees to her chest. Jude realized he was staring down the doctor, who turned away uncomfortably. He moved closer to Kate. This time she allowed him to hug her. Kate looked him in the eye. He tried not to show his devastation, but his throat constricted. “How advanced is it?” Kate asked. “All that I was told was that your tumor is over two inches across,” the doctor said. An ugh sound came from Kate. She insisted on calling her doctor herself. She picked up the bedside table phone. Dr. Metcalf excused herself, leaving the room. After holding, Kate’s doctor came on the line and verified what Dr. Metcalf had reported. Jude listened to one side of the conversation. “If it’s spreading to my auxiliary lymph glands then it’s systemic?” Kate nodded slowly. The look in Kate’s eyes shifted from bitter to hurt. “What are my options? Surgery?” Ten minutes later, Kate made an appointment to see her Kentucky doctor on her return and put the hospital phone down. She reported to Jude that it was serious— her cancer was spreading to her bones. Next it would go to her lungs, liver, skin and brain. Unless we stop it now, the doctor added. Jude felt his stomach rise into his chest, imagining mastectomy.

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“Apparently, breast cancer is a much more aggressive disease in younger women. Implacably she added, “He said radiation and chemo could work.” “What else did your doctor say?” “He’s calling back tomorrow with more information from tests.” Kate’s face looked flushed with anxiety. “You’re taking this well.” Now Jude paced the length of her room and looked outside. In the distance he saw an asbestos truck leave the hospital parking lot. Great, he thought. Carcinogens are in the air even at the hospital. Finally, he said, “Kate—I’m in shock.” Jude’s mind worked to keep his emotions in check for Kate’s welfare. He was crushed and now had see the Grid through, no matter the opposition. The fight is for her now. Kate filled in the dead air. “Don’t worry. I’ll be okay.” With a weak grin she added, “Did you know that in 1900, the average human lived 43 years. Heard it on the Nightly News. By year 2000 life expectancy had jumped to 78. At that rate, kids born in the year 2100 will live on average to be 141. I have a lot of years to go.” As he searched for something to say, he stared again at the animated screen saver. The DNA image usually stirred excitement in him. The twisted pairs signified wondrous possibilities for a new science, the ultimate key to fighting disease. But he couldn’t help but see the double helix as Kate might: not as a necessary element to creating and sustaining life…but as a hereditary death sentence. He dropped into the one seat in the corner of the room. The pressure weighed on him. “Why didn’t you tell me you had a bad mammogram?” Jude said.

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“What, right before your award?” The doctor returned with cancer literature and a paper cup of water then left Kate’s room again. Kate drank the water, rubbed her eyes and changed the subject. “Ya know how we used to sneak into Dad’s den … play Mom’s recordings?” she said. “I wish I could do that right now. Listen like she was right here.” Picking up his whole sandwich, Jude examined it. “Tell me, what do you think your doctor is going to do for you?” “Since my mammogram I’ve been thinking about breast cancer. From what I’ve read online, they could put me on Herceptin.” She pointed at a handout. “I’ll have to look at that.” They reached for the Gummi Bears at the same time, laughing when their fingers collided. Removing candy from his molars, Jude wrestled with how cancer had preyed on his family. Kate was massaging her midsection. Jude asked, “Does your stomach hurt?” “No. I’m just dazed.” Jude scanned the literature, shook his head and set I down. “I know how you’re going to tell me how your genomic Grid applies to me,” Kate said. “I haven’t said anything.” “You’re going to recommend genomic therapy—I appreciate that. But I’m not in a frame of mind to make decisions.” “I’m not asking you to Kate. When the time is right, though, and soon, we should talk.” “I want to hear you out, Jude. And I know you’re not trying to make me your Grid shill, but seriously, what’s come of it?”

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Kate’s far-off look just motivated Jude more. “Simply because genomic medicine is still a new science, you shouldn’t discount it.” He pulled his chair up close to her. “Please keep an open mind.” “Tell me. Who’s been cured of cancer through your illustrious Grid? When will it go beyond testing? I admire the energy you’ve put into your work—I really do. I’m proud of you for it, but let’s be pragmatic.” Jude touched her shoulder. “Okay, the project is new, but it’s operational—we’re giving a diabetes control group custom compounds, and we’re getting phenomenal results. And after going through this with Mom, we know your doctors only have a short list of treatment options.” Kate covered her mouth. He hadn’t seen that vulnerability in years; he wished he didn’t see it now. Whatever strength had supported his self-reliant twin sister had collapsed beneath her, leaving her weak. Jude remained motionless, wanting to be more than a brother to her because they no longer had a mother. “Goddamned cancer,” Jude exclaimed in frustration. “Kate. No one knows what your long-term prognosis is; no traditional doctor will know either. But if we run your genome on the Grid, we’ll not only get your prognosis but also a customized prescription.” “And I would be your first test patient on your vast computer network?” The incredulity in her voice made his suggestion sound absurd. “Well, for breast cancer, yes. But you know that your cancer differs from anyone else’s. There’s no reason why a therapy targeted to your DNA wouldn’t be more effective. Look at it this way, it’s an alternative to some oncologist here nuking you to kingdom come. You know how they work—it’s like trying to kill a deadly wasp with

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a shotgun. If your breast cells are dividing out of control, you need an individualized protein inhibitor drug to stop it—tailored to you.” “And you seriously want me to consider that?” she asked. “Yes. Inheritability doesn’t have to translate to inevitability.” “Go on.” Think of your cancer as a tennis ball. Now, imagine throwing a tennis ball into the sea. No one could predict where that ball will land. But what if you could factor in every dynamic—tides, current, wind, rain, the weight, shape and buoyancy of that ball—everything affecting its path. Then you could pinpoint where the ball would beach to within an inch. Her eyes were still fixed on him so he pulled up a chair. “Now, consider your situation. Your doctor diagnosed you with Stage IV colon cancer, the most common cancer in the United States after skin and breast cancer. You’d probably have surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy—all with side effects. But suppose beforehand you learned you could be treated with the same degree of precision that was used in tracking that tennis ball, stopping cancer cold, greatly reducing the chance of side effects and freeing you from unnecessary procedures.” She smiled. “I gotta admit, you certainly can do one hell of a sales job. But all of this peered, online medicine is just emerging.” “Yes and no, Kate. We already have a lot of databases working seamlessly with pooled patient information.” “It all sounds slick.” She stretched, looking away noncommittally.

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He gave his argument a rest, knowing he wouldn’t change Kate’s mind by pleading with her—she rationalized everything, every bit the child of Benjamin that Jude was. She’d weigh the cost-benefits of the information Jude had presented in private, then draw a conclusion that she’d live by and act on. He wanted to go on about the Grid, but she knew far more about genomics than Jude. What she doubted wasn’t the theory but the practice of personalized cures. Kate chewed on another Gummi bear, twisting the cellophane packaging. He knew she rewarded her best students with the candies. She read the back label aloud, “’Gummi bears were invented in the 1920s, but the history of gelatin traced back to the Egyptian pharaohs.’” Maybe eating the Pharaoh food would channel the immortality of Egyptian gods, a society whose culture survived for 5,000 years. “Now you’re going to have to stop telling me to get real,” Jude said. Her blonde hair splayed on the pillow reminded him of how his mother’s hair protruded from under his father’s sailing jacket that day they sailed her body back to the dock. Jude lost himself for a moment, staring at the gray vinyl floor squares that led to a wall of non-opening windows. From her hospital bed, Kate saw Jude walking around her room with arms crossed. She could guess the questions that rattled through his mind and didn’t doubt that he would take her place if given the chance. He pivoted around with an unconvincing smile. “Let’s get you out of this Petri dish of a room today,” he said. “You can rest at my place for a few days. By the way, you don’t look sick.”

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With two blinks, she said, “thank you.” Jude bound the deal with a conciliatory hug. He folded his arms stoically and added, “Want to gather your things while I have a little talk with the nurse at the nursing station?” She agreed. As soon as Jude left, she let down her guard. Her mind splintered in different directions, even to trivial questions. She worried about how much longer she might spend in San Francisco than she’d previously planned. She hoped her roommate in Kentucky would see the reminder note she’d left on the counter about feeding her tropical fish. She cried uncontrollably, but then stopped sobbing when she heard noise coming from the nursing station down the hall. The nurses’ laughter reminded her of her students. She missed them already. Picking up a biology book from her bedside table, she stared at its table of contents. The field she knew and trusted had betrayed her. Of all the things that had been taken from her--her mother, her marriage, her chance to have kids with her former husband--she never thought her health would go. It was no easier to conceive how people lived with the knowledge that they had cancer then returned to work, business as usual. She felt envy for those like her mother who had religious faith, belief in God. If only she had inherited her mother’s faith instead of her breast cancer. Spirituality, for Kate, only involved dabbling in Buddhism. That didn’t render comfort in salvation through the hereafter. What shepherd would lead her to quiet waters as she walked through the valley of the shadow of death? Kate had always been her own rod and staff anyway. This illness wasn’t her first life test.

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When Jude returned to Kate’s hospital room, she was dressed and ready to go. After handling the paperwork for her discharge, Jude drove her to his apartment to rest. Kate insisted that Jude go about his business. After going back and forth on the subject, Jude acquiesced and made an evening trip back to the bureau. * * * Cracking knuckles at his office coffee room, Jude consciously forced himself to stop thinking about Kate. Her chances of surviving could be diminishing daily. Ideas were already flying in his head. For now, though, he had to turn that restless energy toward working out the threat from Onagi’s laboratory. It was time to follow up on what Nathalie had started researching on Sedevacantism. Nearing his desk, he found a Post-it note stuck to his monitor. Tried reaching you. Call me. —Nathalie Getting a simple message from her instantly buoyed his spirits. Whether she had something personal or professional to say, he couldn’t wait. He picked up the phone right away. After two rings, she answered without a hello, expecting his call. “Come to my place.” Straight away, he left what he was doing and drove to Noe Valley. He couldn’t see how anything could develop with Nathalie unless one of them quit the FBI. She was a career agent. Moreover, the bureau needed both of them. The bureau relied on him to know how an intruder might exploit the faults of the FBI computer network—

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even if the hack only did it to test their abilities. Conversely, Jude needed the bureau to learn how to better protect the Grid; and Nathalie supported Tactical Intelligence and Electronic Surveillance. No. Quitting wasn’t an option for either Jude or Nathalie. How could he even consider the idea of Nathalie and him getting together after the deaths of Jűrgen and Hideo—his mind should be on his sister who could be dying. Jude saw how much easier things would be professionally if he hadn’t fallen for Nathalie at Quantico. Pursuing her must have been a crazy rebellion against the controlled surroundings of the place. The training facility in Virginia felt like prison lockdown after working at Stanford University. The comparison had hit him the moment he arrived. An armed security checkpoint controlled a long driveway entrance to the 386-acre facility. Jude and Nathalie’s paths had crossed before he joined. They met when she was investigating another mystery at Stanford which led to her recommending Jude as a new hire. But it wasn’t until he saw her again in Quantico where she was taking refresher courses when he realized that he wanted her. On that first day of training, an agent ushered Jude and Nathalie and some fifty other trainees down a main street called Hogan’s Alley. Little did they know that that afternoon would mark their beginning. Like a Hollywood set, Hogan’s Alley was a replica town used to simulate investigations of crime scenes and searches for new agents. The three-story building facades included a post office, laundromat, bank, barber

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shop, pool hall, shops, and a hotel called Dogwood Inn. The group stopped to watch trainers fire paintball guns at actors who played terrorists and drug dealers. After an explanation of the exercise, the guide led the tour to the dining room. Jude sat with Nathalie and became attracted to her. Love or lust couldn’t have struck at a less convenient place than at the FBI academy Jude began sneaking into Nathalie’s room, right under the noses of the FBI’s top brass. But the sleepovers ended abruptly when they got word that they’d be Electronic Surveillance partners in San Francisco. It was a bittersweet shock. Sweet to know they’d be working together, and bitter because their affair would never survive scrutiny. If their secret had leaked, one of them would get transferred or fired. If only they had talked through what happened at Quantico. They simply began daily cyber intrusion duties across a double-desk as rank-and-file partners, as if they had never hooked up. Now they were getting reacquainted with their clothes on, as if the all-night sex escapades at Quantico had never happened. This charade gnawed at Jude as much as the sex deprivation did. Jude rolled by the Castro Theater. Its Spanish colonial design was brightly lighted. Men mingled outside restaurants. The festive atmosphere clashed with Jude’s mental state. He continued up the hill. Moments after angling his tires into the curb at Diamond and 24th, he knocked on her door. With thumbs on the top of her snug white denim pants, she nodded for him to come in. The sight of her put him off balance. He hadn’t seen her dressed casually for a while.

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“I’m glad you got my note,” she said, beguiling him with a smile in her eyes. He hadn’t seen that sly, I-have-a-secret, look for a long time. Moving to her living room, he took in her sheer silver camisole. It revealed the curve of her breasts and nipples. He wanted her now more than ever. She picked up two wide-mouth glasses of red wine from the coffee table and offered him one. Hers was half empty. “You have some catching up to do,” she said. Her lips formed in the shape of a kiss at the end of that sentence. Her French accent turned simple phrases into come-ons. Jude accepted the glass of wine and sipped. “What’s going on with you?” She picked up a piece of hardware that resembled a garage door opener in size. “Before I forget, take this. It’s an audio jammer. It knocks out recording devices in a thirty foot radius. Keep it at home in case someone gets in again and plants a bug.” Jude thanked her and put it his jacket pocket. “I have big news,” she said calmly. “But tell me how your sister is.” Jude sat down slowly on her sofa. He had only seen the place twice before. With her chic furnishings in their place, he was impressed by her sense of retro design. Under the coffee table sat a 1960’s-style shag throw rug that ideally matched the giant corner fig tree with floor lighting and the Eames lounge chair with ottoman. “I just heard she has breast cancer,” he said. “Oh. That’s awful. How advanced is it?” “Very.” “Really? Jude. Can I do anything?” “Not right now. I’m still in shock about it. I’m going to do what I can with the Grid to help her.”

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“You think it can cure her?” “Truthfully, I don’t know. You had something to tell me.” “You know what I’m going to say.” She sipped her wine. “No, I’m not telepathic.” “I think things would be easier if you were.” He wondered why women wanted men to understand what they had in mind without speaking. “You’ve teased me long enough.” “I have?” “Nathalie.” “Okay, okay. I think I’m getting a promotion.” So much for the idea of their hooking up one day. Jude wondered if he was failing to hide his disappointment. “How’d you hear that?” “Speer told me.” She sat down next to him. “Speer? That needle-neck asshole? He’s a complete automaton.” “I understand how you feel, but listen.” “Wait. Did you have a boyfriend who dumped you hard before our Quantico hookup?” “Did Speer say that about me?” “Yes.” Nathalie grinned. “It’s not true. He’s playing inside your head. Did you tell him about us?” “No.” “Then just hear what I’ve got to say. After you dropped me off at the office today, I was going over everything that had happened with those robed men chasing you and those Bible quotes in Hideo’s lab, when I bumped into Speer. He said that if I joined him for a glass of bubbly down the street, he’d enlighten me about some company news that would, quote-unquote,

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put a skip in my walk. You know how he calls the bureau the company?” “Yeah.” Jude rubbed his brow and put his glass down. “Anyway, I told him I didn’t have the time, but he pushed and pushed for a tête-à-tête.” “What’s that?” “You know. A private moment.” “So you went.” “Unenthusiastically, I did. We went to the Redwood Room in the Clift Hotel and he tried to kiss me.” “What?” “But I didn’t let him. And don’t take everything he says or does so personal, okay?” “Give me a break, Nathalie. Everything’s personal and everything’s political, especially in an office like ours.” Her gaze wandered. “To tell you the truth, I forgot all about his little move after what he told me. Apparently Hackman’s slated me for a transfer to the Los Angeles unit where they are short on resources in Cyber.” Jude’s insides shifted. He wasn’t prepared to hear this. He didn’t want to lose Nathalie—she made the new job tolerable, even though they had backed off romantically. He took her glass from her hand and set it down on the coffee table beside his. He leaned over and placed his hand on the crook of her jaw beneath her ear. It had the slope of a desert dune. She touched the fingers that stroked her face. Before she had a chance to pull his hand off her face, he wrapped his arms around her small waist. Desire for her had built up for days. He stared into her large brown irises. When her lips curled at the corners, he kissed her. The smell of her filled him. But at first, her lips didn’t reciprocate; he wondered if she’d give him a swift whack.

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Then her lips opened. It was the Nathalie he knew. Suppressed feelings surged. Her tongue followed his. They fell into her red leather sofa, then rolled to the carpet. Her camisole came undone. He slowly pulled it over her head and slender arms, tossed it on the floor, yanked the bedspread down. He lifted her in his arms. With her legs straddling his torso, he marched to her bedroom. Holding her with one arm, he yanked the bedspread down. He set her on the bed as if she were fine china. Lying motionless on her back, she watched him gradually stalk her on hands and knees. He kissed the instep of her foot, then flicked the top button on her pants and steadily removed them. After he had kissed his way up her calf and thigh, she writhed, then groaned and whispered, “Don’t stop.” And he didn’t. The sexual energy between them hypnotically mounted from a slow and tender staccato of tongues to a savage movement of their entire bodies. Twenty minutes or an hour later—Jude couldn’t say how long their tango had lasted—he collapsed at her side. The cathartic release misted them in sweat. She let out a giggle. “My legs feel like they’re floating. By the way, you don’t smell like an agent.” “What does an agent smell like?” He asked. “Ambition and nerves. You know, that American Mennen deodorant and coffee. The job draws that type.” “What do I smell like, sex?” She traced his Adam’s apple with her pointy nose, then tilted her head back and locked eyes with him. “Youth.” “What do you mean?”

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She rested her head in her hand. “Men or boys I dated at Goddard in Columbia—they had your scent. Their heads were still their own. They weren’t molded for anyone else’s purpose. The field office hasn’t spoiled your beliefs yet either. Anyway, you should come with me to L.A.” He didn’t answer. The rumblings of his mind receded into background noise. He didn’t want to think about her relocating or anything outside of that bedroom. Their relationship was moving in reverse. The first thing about Nathalie he got to know was her body, then her mind and now her heart. He touched her half-open lips with the tip of his finger. Her breathing slowed. They lazily gazed at one another, drinking each other in until she rolled her eyes at the ceiling. “This doesn’t make any sense does it?” He frowned. “What do you mean? It makes perfect sense—we like each other.” Adoringly, she wiped sweat off his forehead with two fingers. “What I mean is that it doesn’t make sense that we held off being together when we were partners. And now I’m leaving San Francisco—” “—and get together.” “Exactly.” “That’s backward. I suppose the good news is that if Hackman gets onto us now, we don’t have to worry about him separating us as disciplinary action.” She laughed, taking his hand and tightening her interlocked fingers in his. Then she climbed on top of his naked belly, traced his lips with her finger and kissed his face from above. “Yeah, but we still might get a pious lecture from him about the mortal sin of premarital sex.”

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“Well then, maybe we should stop what we’re doing, just for him.” Her face hardened. “No, if they’re transferring me, I’m going to live a little before I go to LA, singing, I left my heart…in San Francisco.” “Don’t sing yet. Speer could’ve been smooth-talking you just to warm you up.” “You mean to get me naked and in bed?” “Yeah, lucky for him it failed.” “Why? Would you fight him for me?” Jude held a fist. “There’s a chivalrous side to me you haven’t seen and a possessive one too.” Nathalie looked away, then back at him, irritated. “We still have to be careful. I’m going to be—” “Still with the bureau and soon all the way down in L.A.” “Yes,” she said. “Nothing in life is easy, is it? You’ve gotta go to the mat for every little thing. Take me for instance. I’m judged for being from Louisville. I can see it in their eyes —Californians think I’ve having horseshoes and manure in my blood but if I let the cynics deter me I’d never get anywhere.” She touched her lower lip. “I never saw you in such a romantic light before.” “Funny. But you’re avoiding the question,” he said. “If you are asking if I want to make something between us, I’ll think about it.” “Think hard,” he said. “You’ll still have to prove your worthiness as my knight.” “If I didn’t do that already, I’ll be happy to prove myself to you again in ten minutes.”

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twenty-two
Tuesday, November 1 San Francisco, CA Hackman’s lower lip protruded into a frown as he plodded along the wood bureau corridor. He returned to his office in the dead of night to go over what to do with this boot, Wagner, who had overstepped boundaries. Hackman passed unmanned computers at empty cubicles and eight-foot-tall bookcases. To the head of the FBI field office in San Francisco, those stacks of leather bound volumes represented a more reliable and true source of information than anything in electronic form. They would have been donated years ago had he not ordered that they stay put. His skepticism of computers ran contrary to the expectations of an FBI bureau chief. Cyber intrusion had become increasingly central to federal law enforcement. The Justice Department, especially since the Patriot Act had become law, coveted its computer network. But not Hackman. He suspected that his staff whispered, “luddite,” behind his back, but his distrust of computers persisted. A web-enabled bureau translated into added exposure to

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outsiders. Anyone with the sophistication to break the bureau’s network security had access. Before coming to his office, he walked by the night agent’s desk. The daytime student quickly put away his school book and got back to his paperwork. Once in his corner office, Hackman glowered through his window at the lifeless avenue below. An ambulance siren whined in the distance. Streetlights beamed yellow cones on the pavement. Otherwise, this section of Civic Center was cloaked in black. Lumps of humanity slept under blankets in stairway corners or building entrances. Hackman hated passing their blankets and sleeping bags on those occasional nights he returned to the bureau. The stench of urine and excrement rose through grates from a long outdated sewer system. Potholes and cracks pockmarked the streets. San Francisco had long suffered budget deficits. He wished he hadn’t been reassigned from Houston. Of fifty-six field offices, why did he end up in liberal San Francisco? He liked the water views but not much else. The only other occupants of the federal building at this hour were 24-hour security guards, pulling graveyard on ground level. Hackman parked his two hundred and fifty pounds in his burgundy chair and cleared a backlog of file folders stuffed with newspapers clippings, memoranda and stapled agent reports—he preferred certain items to be printed. The FM jazz station that droned by day from a radio on his credenza remained off and so did most lights outside of Hackman’s office. Still in his coat, he poked at his keyboard with a thick index finger and electronically scrolled through folders stuffed with reports that Special

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Agents had filed. Shaking his head, he grumbled about Wagner. Hackman maintained distance from staff, but he wasn’t oblivious to his agents, especially new recruits; he knew their habits, down to the model of car that they drove. When Hackman had exited the freeway at Woodside Road, he’d recognized Wagner’s car in his rearview mirror, following. He could see that someone else was with Wagner but couldn’t make out that face. When Wagner was bird-dogging him, Hackman wanted to see just how far Wagner would press his luck. After the skirmish at the church service, Hackman had tromped on the gas pedal in his hurry to reach his office. Now it was time to find out why his new surveillance hire was on him. Leaning over his keyboard, he clicked open Jude Wagner’s personnel file. Hackman’s computer screen showed pages of information on Wagner that fell under the category of special skills. Hackman looked over Jude’s theoretical computer study at Berkeley, all of which Hackman had previously read. Wagner had some ambition if he thought he could improve medicine. He and his Stanford Grid colleagues were tampering with things they shouldn’t. Maybe Wagner didn’t know what he had started with his mathematical formula. Hackman threw off his overcoat. He thought about the huge access that Wagner had to the FBI computer system and reached a decision. With a few mouse clicks, he activated a tap on Wagner’s personal cell phone. But there was no telling how long that would track him. Wagner could toss his phone after shadowing him.

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But why were Wagner and whoever he was with following him? He couldn’t be sure. Hackman needed to keep tabs on Wagner. He phoned Supervisor Speer. Errol Speer’s dedication to his work and all of its rules bordered on obsession, but it earned him Hackman’s trust. Hackman heard the phone receiver knock off the cradle on the fourth ring. “It’s Hackman.” A groggy voice answered. “Yeah, what happened?” “I need you to track Agent Wagner.” Yawn. “Can you tell me about this in the morning?” “No. It’s a priority. You got it? Follow him.” “Yes, track Wagner.” “And from a distance.” “Understood. What should I be looking for?” “Just forward to me what you find—on paper. Don’t leave a computer trail.” * * * Propped up in his queen-sized bed at The Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, Ramsey endured a late night phone call with his boss, Nicolette. Gravel voice said she couldn’t sleep and had been trying to get hold of Ramsey for some time. Pinsky told him that Stanford’s Grid program chief Hideo Onagi had been killed in Tokyo by a fluke dog attack. Ramsey felt a tinge of pity for Stanford, but a larger part of him felt relief, some pressure had been lifted. Stanford would be in a frenzy to reorganize with their program director absent. This scored points for Pinsky Investments, but he didn’t use those words. Ramsey feared the Grid itself was still live and believed it could go on without Hideo Onagi. Before hanging up, Ramsey

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reassured Pinsky that he had matters under control. Now he had to convince himself of that. He had built his reputation on bringing venture capital for big pharmaceutical companies—a lot was riding on the survival of traditional drug companies. Ramsey’s BlackBerry vibrated with notification of an email that read: I cracked into the Grid. But corrupting the client and then uploading the agent again past the firewall will be hell. Far tougher than I thought. -Cez@ar. Ramsey bit his lip and opened his drapes. The Bay Bridge shone under yellow lights. The city, surrounded by bridges, seemed to protect its own with its moats. Using his BlackBerry again, he called Ferguson. No answer. Ramsey wanted to call the Stanford Grid lab but knew no one would be there. He needed all hands on deck, but couldn’t locate a soul. He doubted that his virus writer would produce as promised and had to consider another option. The Grid was live. Normally a headline junky, Ramsey picked up his hotel-delivered newspaper to see what he had been missing. A story in the back stated that the Stanford Grid team was “carving out a new niche in medicine with computational biology while swimming against a sea of detractors.” And they’re about to sink miserably to the ocean floor, Ramsey thought. He slapped down the newspaper. I’m going to show just how hackable Grid computers are. ***

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While she’d killed seven people in her career on missions across the globe, she’d never done an operation on American soil. Until tonight, when she’d break new ground. If she were following usual procedure, she would have no knowledge about her target, except name and appearance. The psychology was to prevent emotion from cluttering a calculated hit. Briefings on the matter were succinct. For this task, she briefed herself. The blonde woman quietly closed the door to her SUV, zippered her jumpsuit to shield herself from the cold bay air and pulled a hood over her head to partially conceal her face. She had waited outside the Marina to watch park security drive by. In thirty minutes there could be another pass. She had to hurry. Under a nearly full moon, she moved through the Berkeley Marina parking lot to the gated dock. Hunching on the wooden plank deck, she shined a miniature silver maglite to see what type of lock she needed to pick the dock door. She was in luck. A cylinder lock, just as she had hoped. She had been trained by the world’s elite, a covert U.S. government fighting squad. Dyncorp, one of America’s largest corporations, hired her on a renewable contract as an overseas operative. She set her bag down, readjusted a rubber band around her hair so she could see clearly and put on thin black gloves; then, after making sure she was alone, she removed a long steel shank and a flathead screwdriver from a zipper pouch. She controlled the beam of the maglite and did not allow the tools to reflect moonlight. Adjusting the beam, she inserted the screwdriver in the keyhole and turned it clockwise. The cylinder lock

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had a moveable bolt extending from door to metal frame. Her screwdriver served as a tension wrench to expose the pins. She inserted the pick into the keyhole and lifted the pairs of pins to their fullest height, two by two. She nimbly pushed the pins until she heard the bolt retract and click, opening the gate. To the sound of lapping water, she walked along the docks, panning the flashlight beam across each berth, searching boats until the name Tipsea glimmered in gold across a stern. Stepping on board, she unlatched a small briefcase and removed three sticks of dynamite, bound by electrical tape. Dynamite was an inelegant explosive, but it was good for that very reason—the more people who could readily get hold of it, the more suspects police would have to interrogate. Once satisfied with her handiwork, she closed her briefcase and tiptoed away. No time was wasted returning home where she reassessed her Pharma stock portfolio.

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twenty-three
Wednesday, November 2 Berkeley, CA The narrow road to the Berkeley Marina skirted the heavily travelled freeway to San Francisco. Jude felt tire vibrations through the steering wheel. Road construction caused fine dirt to blow across the windshield. He had travelled this route for years; today though, it appeared emptier than ever. He sipped his coffee from a paper cup, keeping one hand on the wheel. He tried to talk Kate into joining them for an afternoon sail. He told her the salt air would do her good and promised they wouldn’t go far. Still she insisted she was woozy enough without being on the Tipsea, so he left her to rest at his place. Jude wanted to hang behind with Kate, but he needed to discuss her treatment options with Niles. He understood that she’d be overcome by shock and indecision; he still wanted her to trust the Stanford Grid. That, he knew, was akin to asking for her to jump before looking. He arrived late to meet Niles. Was he too late for Kate also? Jude didn’t dare raise doubts with Kate; and he

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couldn’t stop wondering how far her condition had deteriorated. He jimmied his cup into the black plastic cup holder, fighting déjà vu. He must not see Kate’s predicament as a replay of their mother’s death. If she had lived another fifteen years, genomic medicine could have identified her breast cancer before onset. It would have granted her another thirty years. The doctors should have diagnosed her cancer earlier. It could’ve been stopped. Had he sugarcoated reality with Kate—oversold what he and the Grid could accomplish? His eyes twitched. He took more coffee, but the pseudo-therapeutic properties of caffeine had its limitations. It slightly reversed the effects of that red wine he’d had the night before, but it didn’t change the facts. Jude couldn’t toe all of these lines alone. He needed help, even if the best he could get would be Niles’s advice. Jude swallowed the last of the coffee, crushed the cup, and cranked up the volume to the comedy opera, Noces de Figaro, on his car stereo. He didn’t get a word of Italian, but the ethereal melody soothed his mind. Art heals, his mother said. If only, he thought. Niles had insisted that they put sails to the wind no later than 8:45 A.M. so he’d have time to pack. It was 9:30 when Jude pulled the Mazda into the parking lot. He saw the Tipsea’s mast already rigged and raised. Niles opened the security gate on the dock to let him in. “Punctuality is a hallmark of good character.” “Fuck good character.” Jude said, briskly stepping aboard the boat.

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Niles shrugged. “Nice attitude.” He had assumed the role of project task master since Jude had shifted from Stanford to the FBI. “Hey, I brought CDs to break in the new on-board stereo. That swagger rock stuff you like: Johnny Cash, Chris Isaac, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty. We have to keep our chins up.” Niles waved the CDs, doubled a rubber band around them and went below to stow them in the galley. Jude unfastened a weathered tie to release a blue bumper from the sailboat railing, then yanked it up for push-off. “Is something else wrong?” Niles asked, coming up to the deck. “I’ll tell you all about it once we’re moving,” Jude said. Niles slapped sunscreen on his face and stowed the tube in his nylon bag. “Let’s go toward Treasure Island today, Sherlock.” “Give it a rest.” “Why are Americans so uptight, huh? Everyone’s got a moniker they hate. You know Bruce Springsteen hates being called the Boss, but he copes. I think you were born to run.” “You know, Niles, if I’m on the run, that makes two of us. Your name is connected with the Grid as much as mine. Whoever is pulling strings here has scribbled both our names on a knock-off list.” “Some piece of work, you are.” “Shut up. I found something else too. A watermark on that threat letter that was left for you.” “What watermark?” “It said United Bishops Association. So, we’ve gotta take a look at a religious backlash. Maybe there’s some

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Catholic extremist group that’s out there committing homicide.” “They do bomb abortion clinics.” “Right. Though I’m not sure what to do with that.” “Let’s go now.” Niles stowed a boat bumper, then took the tiller so they could float out of the marina. He fished through the cooler and lifted out a bottle of Tequila. “I’ve had this stored to celebrate how we were going to be more famous than Darwin. I guess we can kiss that goodbye.” Jude unscrewed the bottle and filled two plastic cups. Jude gulped his drink, set his cup down and halfheartedly raised the jib. Sails burst open with a loud flap. The wind changed, pitching the boat into sideways motion. Jude cranked the winch, leaning into the high side of the deck, pulling in the main. “Sideways we go.” Niles cried. Niles shouted louder, “So, genius, what do we do now?” “For starters, we can’t be intimidated.” Jude pulled the line. The Tipsea thrust them farther into the mouth of the bay. Treasure Island appeared behind the mainsail. A tourist-filled ferry steamed to the right of it. Jude’s mind wouldn’t rest. “We have to power ahead,” Jude said, “and line up test patients. You ready for all that?” “I’m always ready.” Niles shouted unconvincingly. He downed his glass of Tequila. “I just want to board this plane later, get this Google deal inked in Switzerland, finish our testing, and get on with our dream.” Jude asked, knocking back more, “Will you have a chance to see your son?”

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“Yes,” Niles said, manning the tiller. “Can’t wait to see my little scallywag. We’ll have dinner at his favorite restaurant, the Notting Grill, and hopefully go to the movies the next day. He loves movies. Seeing him is incentive to travel.” Jude fidgeted with the boat winch. He knew he wasn’t being a good listener, but he couldn’t help himself. “So, what do we go over first?” Niles asked. “Bad news,” Jude said. “I have had plenty of bad news, great computer laureate, why not surprise me with some good?” “My sister Kate has breast cancer.” Niles went wide-eyed. “Oh, God. Never a break in the shit storm . . . My condolences.” “She was in the hospital. I took her to my place last night to get her mind off of things, but on top of everything she’s got the flu. I’m torn up over it—” The wind picked up. Jude stifled his emotions for a second, let out the sail, and then said, “We’ve gotta be able to help her.” “You’re not suggesting using the Grid, are you? I don’t want to sound uncaring but we don’t have the breast cancer databases lined up to—” “I’ll find the databases we need,” Jude said flatly. “I don’t know how. Big Pharma’s treating us like we’re a couple of Dr. Kervorkians on the loose.” Jude reiterated for Niles all the steps they’d planned for the first test case. He assured Niles that taking Kate on as a patient didn’t blaze new paths and that Stanford was ready. All the wheels were in motion. They’d sequence the test patient’s genome and compare it against one of the largest database partners, NCBI— National Cancer Biotechnology Information. Then they would match the diseased patient’s results against

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similar gene types that had responded favorably to targeted drug therapies. With those results, they could produce the most precise treatment possible through Insilico—molecular modeling that was performed only by computers. “But there’s a hitch,” Niles said. “What now?” Jude asked. “Onagi was coordinating NCBI. We’re not online with that yet, and even with it we could fall short.” “Of course, I need your help with a work-around to access a breast cancer database.” The wind died down. “Good luck. There’s not a single privately owned breast cancer database that’s not protected like the Hope Diamond.” Jude knew accessing such a database would be near impossible; he’d need a key code and a Star Trek invisibility cloak to avoid getting caught accessing Pfizer or Johnston & Quib’s cancer catalogue databases. “It’s looking tough,” he agreed. “Tough? I want to help, but you’ve had one too many bourbons if you think you can just say open sesame. Shazam. And then you’re in. Seriously. Do you have some FBI, mission-impossible angle you’ve cooked up on the new job?” “No.” Jude and Niles adjusted their positions under a swinging boom. “I know you need the clinical data,” Niles said. “But you realize medical databases aren’t my expertise. Have you run this by Knowlan?” “I will, but—.” “You’re not sure if he’ll go for it.”

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“I’m going to call Alfonso.” Alfonso was a friend of Jude’s and Niles’s from Berkeley days who now toiled in Johnston & Quib’s Information Technology Department. In college, he was known for throwing parties so big that students had likened them to Mardi Gras. “Maybe he can help,” Niles said, “but I’d catch him before he’s falling down drunk.” Jude looked at the shimering horizon, gazing into the sublime force of the water, the unwavering rise and fall of the water line. Bay winds billowed across their faces. When the boat swayed, the jingle of his mother’s Egyptian bracelet played in his ear. Jude couldn’t dwell on negatives. Hell, it got him into trouble to dwell on the fact that two-thirds of the earth was covered in water. Finally, Jude dropped the squeaking boat winch handle that he was turning. A fog plume hid the Golden Gate Bridge’s tower tips over the port side as he and Niles bantered and sailed. The majestic Marin Headlands appeared to be painted behind the bridge’s north tower, with Angel Island dabbed in on the right. Two dozen pelicans made formation ahead. Their prehistoric necks and beaks stretched as they flapped their way south from San Francisco to bluer skies. The Tipsea came about sharply, tacking toward the dock, tilting at 30 degrees to the breeze. “Let’s have music,” Niles said as if he were giving the go-ahead to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to do its march down Fifth Avenue. He hobbled down the ladder, disappearing into the cabin. Wind sprinkled the deck with sea spray. Jude’s thoughts drifted to Hideo and Jűrgen again. Good friendships and so much intellectual capital, gone.

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Niles returned to the deck, holding the railing and waving a CD in hand. “I spend a thousand dollars on this stereo and it doesn’t play.” He walked to the bow, then frisbeed the CD over the white caps. “Let me look at that stereo,” Jude said. “Maybe something’s knocked loose.” “I’m telling you, that new thing is a piece of rubbish— kaput, fini.” Jude stepped below, then kneeled over cushions to get a close look at the metal-fronted Pioneer stereo. It resembled the one in his car—a piece of electronics he’d fiddled with before. He could see that a custom cabinet had been built for it, but Niles or someone had yanked the receiver out of its original position to repair it. Red and blue wires behind the component sprang in two directions. They looked tampered with. As Jude inspected the electronics he noticed black wires that didn’t appear original running from the stereo to another cabinet that didn’t house a speaker. As he rummaged through the cabinet with the black wires, he heard a muted TIC, TIC, TIC from behind a rain poncho. “Niles, jump.” Jude shouted. He bolted to the hatchway and scrambled up the cabin steps to the deck. “What?” Niles asked. “Bomb!” Jude dove into the bay. Kaboom. Flames and smoke shot skyward, emitting shards of fiberglass. Jude landed sideways in the swells. Smoldering embers of teak, plastic and canvas rained down and sizzled as they hit water around him. Jude tumbled underwater in slow motion. His ears filled with a ring. His eyes opened. Surrounded by soot-

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filled water, he sank through moving boat debris and swaying kelp. Air. Jude needed air. He fought through cold water, heaving his arms toward the swaying surface. If only he could reach air and leave the deep. One of Jude’s nightmares had returned, but this time it was stark reality.

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twenty-four
Wednesday, November 2 Berkeley Marina, CA Jude treaded water on a surface covered with charred boat pieces. Salt water burned his eyes. Where was Niles? Frantically, Jude blinked and wiped water from his eyes. The explosion had littered the water as far as he could see. Jude shouted for Niles. No answer. Jude breathed through his mouth, avoiding the nauseating sulfuric odor in the air. Swells pitched and yawed, swaying him to and fro beneath clouds that swept east over the bay. He watched the Tipsea’s mast angle and then surrender to the surface, leaving nothing but scattered deck cushions and teak slivers. A shiver of fear ran through Jude. With the salt water in his eyes, swells and wood remnants all around, Jude didn’t see Niles. Had he gone down with the Tipsea? Jude cupped one hand to his mouth for more volume and hollered Niles’s name three more times. He cleared his eyes again above the rising water. “Jude.” Niles’s voice came from behind. Jude exhaled in relief. He turned and saw Niles wave.

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Jude’s tension eased more. Jude shouted to Niles again, “You okay?” “I’m sore.” Niles appeared to be treading all right. “Well, hang in there.” Jude swam to a floating seat cushion nearby but when he slung his arms over it, the water-logged thing sank like most everything else did. “Good try,” Niles yelled, swimming up to within ten feet of Jude. They both kicked to a long piece of floating wood and hung onto it gingerly so it wouldn’t go under too. Niles said, “God, I wonder how long we can tread water before freezing?” “I don’t know. But if this wood sinks, I’m going to try floating on my back.” Niles groaned. “I got a gash on my arm, I think.” “Are you bleeding?” Niles raised his arm to the water level and looked at it. “It’s not a big cut, but blood’s oozing.” “I hope that’ll stop soon in this salt water.” Jude said. “Don’t think I’m going to bleed to death.” “I’m not worried about that.” “What are you worried about?” “Sharks.” Niles’s eyes widened. “Holy God.” He tried pressing his hand to his arm to stop the bleeding.” Jude said. “Try not to kick. It’s probably rare for sharks to come this far into the bay. But just outside the Golden Gate, there are great whites. Plenty of ‘em, coming for seals.” “Shut up, Jude or I’ll swim over there and shut you up myself.” “Be quiet. Did you hear that?” A buzzing motor knifed the air in the distance

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They both cocked their heads north. “Yes.” Niles said. “Something’s coming.” Jude saw a small, rugged fishing boat skipping and smacking on whitecaps. Neck-deep in water, Jude and Niles waved broadly at the three men in uniform. Jude then realized it wasn’t a fishing boat that was approaching but the Coast Guard. The engine noise grew louder. Such commotion never sounded sweeter. “Let’s not talk a lot to the Coast Guard,” Jude said. “Right.” Niles responded while he staring, transfixed on the submerging main sail of his Tipsea. The silvery vessel slowed as it approached. Cutting the motor, the captain flung life jackets to them. Two crewmen dressed in blue short-sleeved shirts helped them up a chrome drop ladder against buffeting wind. Jude and Niles hunched over with crossed arms, shivering. Quick on their feet, the crew flung towels for them to dry off as best they could, then directed them to the fiberglass seats on the deck. Sitting, Jude breathed deeply, checking himself over to find tenderness on the back of his head. Niles nursed his upper arm. Jude stood up to survey the Tipsea’s remains when a crewman firmly pulled him down. The captain nodded to the crew. With a tilt of the wrist, he hit the throttle. Jude and Niles hunkered down in their deck seats. The small boat knocked over the swells, wind on their faces. Jude could hardly contain his anger and frustration over this planted bomb explosion. He wanted to ask the Coast Guard if they’d spotted any bomb fragments, wires, batteries or plastics when they whisked by, but there was no use. Almost no one could make sense of this crime scene. Most of the evidence had probably already sunk to the ocean floor.

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A Coast Guard crew member asked Jude if he knew why his sailboat exploded and Jude shrugged. Something registered on the officer’s face. “Of course we will make a full report, but first we’re getting you to shore.” Jude rubbed the back of his head where flying wood from boat had struck him. What Jude got from this explosion clearly differed from what the Coast Guard crew perceived. The crew all moved about and in a very routine manner. Jude, on the other hand, felt more vulnerable to a personal attack than ever, and he still lacked anything substantial to go on. The Coast Guard handed them more towels. Pale and nursing a cut on his arm, Niles was even less communicative than the stone-faced Coast Guard officer. Niles’s hair sprang in every direction. Seeing Niles beaten up by the blast reminded Jude of Niles’s loyalty and what a staunch ally he’d been. They’d beat tough odds in the past but today’s incident could’ve been fatal. “Can you believe I have a flight later?” Niles mumbled. “You’re in no condition to fly.” “I’ve gotta see Edward. I can’t not go.” Jude shook his head, “Are you crazy? You’re thinking about travel. I wanna kill whoever did this.” Niles continued, “Yeah.” Niles sounded tired. “The meeting to sign the Google deal isn’t until Friday. I could postpone.” Jude agreed. Though what Niles said was right. They had to find a way to get this project into operation soon or it might never happen.

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The Coast Guard stopped at the dock. The captain shut down the motor and his crew escorted Jude and Niles off the little vessel, down the plank and to a grassy clearing at the Berkeley Marina. They were told to wait on a bench until paramedics arrived. Wet and cold, Jude rubbed his face again to clear away the salt water stickiness. In a matter of five or six minutes, a medical response team arrived by ambulance. The EMT’s came out of their vehicle carrying boxes and immediately started examining Jude and Niles. On bent knee, a young male paramedic took Jude’s blood pressure and heart rate. The older one treating Niles was a talker. “Sounds like that sailboat motor of yours had just had enough.” Without question, the explosion had nothing to do with a worn-out motor. “You own a boat?” Niles asked his medic. “No,” he said. “Then don’t even try to speculate.” The paramedics continued working. Stunned with all that had happened, Jude knew how lucky they’d been. Had he not heard the ticking from deep inside the cabinet, and had they not jumped overboard in that instant, pieces of them would have washed to shore to be hauled off in body bags to the county morgue. Someone or some group had taken out Jűrgen and Hideo, and now they wanted Niles. Jude believed it was an attempt to carry out the threat in the letter Niles found at the Mark Hopkins. Someone would stop at nothing to put an end to the Grid. Instead of saving lives, Jude’s algorithm was killing people. He could view this as a sign to quit trying to be a hero, but he felt more emboldened than ever to see this project through to completion.

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“Are you almost done?” Niles asked, irritated. One ambulance worker advised Jude and Niles to ride with them to the ER. They insisted they could drive just fine. Finally, the paramedics had Jude and Niles each sign a waiver attesting that they refused a ride to the hospital. The emergency team then packed their supplies and took off without them. As Jude and Niles headed to their cars, a Berkeley police cruiser pulled up. “Uh-oh. Now what?” Niles said. Two officers stepped out of a cruiser, then Speer. He threw a glance Jude’s way. “Not Speer,” Jude said impatiently. “You know one of them?” Niles asked. “Unfortunately, I do. He thrives on petty, tyrantbullshit games.” Special Agent Speer had his badge pinned to his jacket. The brigade of three wore shiny aviator sunglasses. They marched toward Jude. “Look who it is,” Speer started with a gloating expression on his face. “The divining rod for disaster.” Jude saluted Speer mockingly and mouthed, fuck off. “Nice, Wagner. Classy. Just what I’d expect from the geek with the gun.” “What do you want?” Jude asked. “You’re hell-bent on giving up that new badge, aren’t you?” Speer said. Jude took an aggressive step toward Speer. Niles said, “Hey everybody. Let’s get through this.” Jude didn’t want Niles to give in to the asshole, so he took the lead. “How’d you find out about this?” “Okay. I’ll answer that, then you answer my questions. A: I’m here because I know something

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exploded and, B: you show up in the middle of things. What happened?” “Our boat motor blew. You know, as in spontaneously combusted. And here we are catching up the way friends do.” “Look, smart-ass. Don’t you find this suspicious? Did you see any warning signs?” “No.” Jude wondered if Hackman somehow had Speer keeping an eye on him. Jude was a new hire, meaning an agent on probation for two years, who already had a connection to two dead men. “Did you see anyone we should know about?” “Listen, Speer, if I think of anything I’ll call or send you an Instant Message on AOL if that’s what you use in the middle of the night when you’re trolling for a date. Right now we’re going home.” “Shit face. You can avoid explaining things, but soon Hackman‘ll want answers—not your fuckwit bullshit. Now give these officers some kind of report so we don’t go back holding our dicks in our hands.” One officer got a thermos from the cruiser, poured himself something hot into a styrofoam cup, finished the cup and then rejoined the group. After some fifteen minutes of questioning wherein Jude gave stock answers to the cops and Speer, Niles complained that ringing in his ears was getting to him. The cop asking the questions looked at Speer, then turned back to Jude and said, “That’s all we need.” “Now for a bigger question,” Speer said. “When was the last time you had contact with your former CERN colleague, Jűrgen Hansen?”

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The question caught Jude off guard. He thought a second before responding. “It’s been months unless you’re talking about email.” “How often did you email him?” Annoyed, Jude said, “I’m on an email distribution that goes to the Stanford Grid Project team. Messages would come to me almost daily.” Speer scratched his jaw. “You must have something better to tell us.” Jude raised his hand to signal, stop. “Look, I’m aware Hansen was murdered. Believe me, it’s a much bigger concern to those who knew him than it is to you. I’m trying to find out for myself who’s behind it. Why don’t we go over this another time.” Niles rubbed his eyes. “Jude, are your ears ringing?” “Yes.” “I’m almost done here,” Speer said turning to Niles. “How about you?” “What?” Niles asked. “When was the last time you had contact with Jűrgen Hansen? And I want to know the same for Hideo Onagi.” Niles said, “You must know I worked with Hideo Onagi. I saw him almost every day before he left on his last trip a week ago. Jude here is busy with other things.” “Can you imagine any threat they would pose to anyone?” “No,” Jude and Niles said in unison. “Can we do this some other time?” Jude asked. Speer looked them over, arms crossed. Jude added, “Honestly, we’d probably have better answers for you if we went over this another day.” “Looks like we’ll have to. In the meantime, you two should watch your backs.” Speer half-waved the air to say, with some reservation, that he was done for now.

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The officers dismissed them. Speer tipped his sunglasses to give them a parting stare-down reprimand. They got in their cruiser and left. “Well, that was a hell of a lot of fun,” Niles said. Jude rested his hands on his sore ribs with an arm that throbbed as he lumbered along. As they reached their cars, a young man approached them wearing a blue blazer over a tan sweater, pressed khakis and Timberland shoes. Clipped to his blazer was a press pass laminated in plastic. “Jude Wagner, right? The award ceremony recipient? Mike Finlaw, San Francisco Chronicle.” “And Niles Tully,” Niles interjected. “Yes,” Jude said. “I didn’t know that newspaper was still around. I thought it had shrunk to nothing.” Niles said annoyed. “Readers like the smaller format.” By this time, Jude couldn’t wait to leave. Niles clicked open his doors. Jude went for his Mazda. The reporter followed Jude. Niles and Jude got inside their cars. “Can I have one more moment? I want to ask you about the explosion on this sailboat?” The reporter snapped his ballpoint pen, out and in. “No.” Jude said. “Please, I’d like to ask if you think this was accidental or foul—“ “Deliberate? Ha. Why would someone go after me?” Jude said, dismissively. “It’s your friend’s boat, isn’t it?” “Yes.” “You know, maybe someone has it in for him.” The reporter glanced at Niles. “He’s part of the Stanford Grid Project, right?”

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Jude didn’t have the patience to go through the story again. Niles started the engine and revved it. Jude said, “No comment.” In his car Jude checked messages on his cell phone. He had one from Roger Knowlan. Finlaw was banging on Jude’s window. Jude started up the Mazda and drove out of the Marina as a couple of TV news vans were driving in. Jude listened to Knowlan’s message while driving. Knowlan explained that a lanky FBI Special Agent named Speer had visited him and asked him a lot of questions about Hansen and Onagi. At the end of the message, Knowlan warned Jude that he’d be surprised if his own office didn’t come at him with the same interrogation. Jude said under his breath, “Too late.”

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twenty-five
Wednesday, November 3 Berkeley and Emeryville, CA Ramsey hunted floor fifteen of J&Q for Ferguson and finally cornered him in the executive lunch room, raiding a vending machine of another granola bar. “I’m worried more than ever that the Grid is going to decimate J&Q,” Ramsey said. “We’ve gotta do more. Bring in the infantry, call reinforcements, come up with more strategies of defense. We’ve gotta put emergency measures into motion.” Ferguson stared, skeptically. “You don’t get how much I’m already doing to keep this company from floundering. Not a moment passes when I’m not worrying about stock price and positioning. I’m steering this ship from the rocks. Not you.” Ferguson crossed his arms. Monogrammed cuffs underscored his presidential rank. To Ramsey this was nothing more than show and posturing, a guise when things were bottoming out. “We agree there are big rocks out there. What I don’t get is how you think we’re not headed for them.” Ramsey said, shrugging incredulously.

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Ramsey had had it with Ferguson’s resistance to listen. Instead of trying to spur a crusty and feckless CEO into action, he angled into the conference room—his makeshift office—by himself. Inside, he swung the door shut. Motion-sensor lights flicked on. Looking out the floor-to-ceiling bay view, he saw smoke. In the distance, boats had circled around what appeared to be the result of a sailing explosion. He pondered the capriciousness of life. Uncertainty bothered him, especially the possibility of earthquakes in California. He disliked traveling to San Francisco, fearing the area could start shaking without warning. A segment of that damn Bay Bridge had collapsed during the last major quake. Engineers would be working for twentyfour years to construct a new one beside the old. Great— a monument to man’s frailty. He wondered if the J&Q building was built on landfill. With a press of a button, Ramsey shut the drapes. He longed for an inside look at how the Grid was developing. How nice it would be if he could traipse plainly through the halls of Stanford’s Bioengineering Department, making inquiries himself. But these days everyone was vigilant about corporate snooping. One couldn’t be too careful. Taking a conference room chair, he snagged the phone across the long table, and tapped a five-digit extension to call the executive assistant. “Heather?” “Yes.” “It’s Olivier. Please come by the conference room.” “Yes, sir.” Ferguson had told Ramsey that Heather had worn many hats: won the Miss Virginia pageant, worked as a reporter for The Alexandria Times, and then landed a job with Johnston & Quib. Ramsey had another scheme in

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mind for the former beauty queen who was known around J&Q for being the crafty EA. Hearing a rap on his door, Ramsey said, “come in.” She softly closed the door behind her. “So, my guess is you’d like an update.” She whispered. “On Jude Wagner.” She had a curvaceous figure and breathy carnality. Ramsey tugged on his tie. “Yes. Why don’t you sit down.” He hoped she had come with good information, although she appeared tense gripping her notepad. Ramsey hadn’t missed her the first time he came to the J&Q office. No man who worked on the top floor did. Her strawberry hair belonged in a Corvette at an exotic car trade show. Her body would make spending big money easy. She more than fulfilled his fantasies of an executive assistant. He adopted her as a resource whenever he visited Johnston & Quib. He was pleased by how readily she had agreed to his previous request and how pliable she had become. He knew she’d been instructed to cater to his business needs. Still, corporate espionage was more than he could’ve hoped from an admin. Ramsey relished when he succeeded in getting cooperation from people, especially relative strangers. If Cez@r failed, he still might get something from Heather, picking up breadcrumbs of information along the way. “What did you find out from Jude Wagner, and how did you go about it?” “Like you suggested, I followed him after the award ceremony.” She took a nervous breath. “I figured he might be inclined to chat after the event. I managed to get a seat beside him at a bar called the Hyde Out.”

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“And?” She fidgeted sheepishly. “He started to tell me something big and just stopped himself.” Ramsey hissed. “Damn it, Heather. Did he mention anything about a deal Stanford was doing?” “I’m afraid not. He was under a lot of stress and that really threw me off.” Ramsey dropped his pen on a pad in front of him and looked closely at her, barely controlling his temper. “I’m sorry,” she said. “Maybe I’ll have more luck if I try again.” He looked around the room in frustration. “If I could find him, I think I could get him talking again. But I’d need to know exactly what it is you want to find out.” Ramsey mulled things over. “I’ve got a different idea.” “For getting information?” “Yes, but this won’t involve Wagner. I don’t want him getting onto you.” She pushed strawberry-blonde hair over one ear. “I’ll need you to work this into your schedule right away. Same as before, you’ll need to conceal your affiliation with Johnston & Quib for what I’m asking of you.” That shouldn’t be too difficult, he thought. She’s built for tempting a man into trouble. “And what is that you need now?” “Didn’t you work as a reporter for a time?” She nodded, appearing surprised at his knowledge of her background. “You’ve chased down a story or two, right?” He leaned closer. “For two years.”

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“I’d like to call on your experience and give you another story assignment.” She looked puzzled. “Now you’ve really lost me.” He anxiously touched his slicked-back hair. “Just hear this out. See if you can arrange an interview with Stanford’s Grid program director, Roger Knowlan.” Ramsey jotted a phone number, tore the sheet off of a company letterhead pad, and put it into her delicate hand. “Get to him ASAP. I want to know exactly how formidable this Grid technology is and what its readiness is for fighting disease. See what the Stanford team is doing locally.” “I think I can do that, sir.” She pursed her lips, deep in thought. “Just concoct some cover story, and leave my name and Johnston & Quib’s out of it,” Ramsey said. “Can you tell me why all of this needs to remain such a secret?” she said, more boldly than he had expected. “Yes and no. What I can tell you is that a divisive competitor is about to wage an attack on your company.” “What kind of attack?” “What I’m saying is that the Stanford project could dangerously undermine the healthcare industry. We need whatever information we can get to defend ourselves.” “I see,” she said. “Good.” Ramsey said to his femme fatale, watching her girlish sway as she swished out. Briefly, he considered what it meant to lure this malleable employee into corporate espionage—implicating her in a plan to hobble Stanford’s ingenious health project. But he quickly justified his actions in his mind He trusted

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that Heather was hungry for advancement, this would be good for her career and he let go of all second thoughts. Besides, collecting information was the currency of his craft. He couldn’t be without it. Being on the outside of this situation was tying his hands, assuring the demise of Johnston & Quib. From Ramsey’s point of view, J&Q’s future appeared dim. The company stock value relied too much on the success of Ferguson’s next two blockbuster drugs. Moving a drug into mainstream use generated billions of revenue, yet failing at a single venture could ruin a company. Realizing that he was inordinately late, Ramsey punched in Pinsky’s phone number to update his boss on the latest machinations.

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twenty-six
Wednesday, November 3 San Francisco at Jude’s Apartment Alone in the quiet of Jude’s apartment, Kate took the opportunity to research breast cancer treatment, hoping she’d stumble onto some genomic medicine insight. She powered up her notebook computer and busily clicked at web pages. She stopped at a cancer article and read: Every three minutes another woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. It affected two million women in North America in the 1990s and one quarter of them died. She dabbed her forehead with water from her glass and continued: Two years ago, Johnston & Quib found a breast cancer treatment that was 90 percent effective, but only 5 percent of breast cancer patients suffered from this rare strain. The company shelved it. Another drug went into widespread manufacturing in its place that could only claim a 50 percent effective rate in 80 percent of the population. She knew that pharmaceutical companies often gambled their total savings to discover one drug. She sat back, pondering it: J&Q had effective drugs that they had

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withheld from production. Par for the course. What a shame it is that saving lives is inextricably tied to the business of healthcare. Who could believe that a divine power would’ve pre-ordained a world filled with such contradiction? She was in no mood to dwell on questions of faith. Ultimately, it wasn’t something she ever felt she had any control over anyhow. *** Jude scraped his shoes clean on the mat outside his apartment. The shirt the Coast Guard had given him clung around his chest. The pants rode up his ankles, exposing socks caked with dried mud. Kate must have heard him. She opened the door before he did. “What the hell happened to you?” She looked him up and down. Her eyes, weary and red. “Bad day.” Jude changed clothes and returned the sofa to explain the boat ordeal. “Are you okay? I tried calling you an hour ago.” “Got knocked in the head pretty good, but I think I’ll live.” She went still. The last thing Jude wanted was to worry her. “Kate, I’m going to be perfectly okay. How are you?” “Feeling better, actually.” He moved to the kitchen to get a glass of water. She followed. “But someone is after you, trying to—?” Jude poured a glass of water. “I know. I know. I probably need to remove myself from circulation for a day or two—” Making an ice pack with a pot holder, he applied it to the back of his head.

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“I can’t believe what’s happening.” Kate paced the kitchen while he ordered pizza from around the corner. When he hung up she said, “You’ve been getting calls from news offices.” Jude played the first message and hit delete. “Please,” she said, “just lie down.” Jude couldn’t be talked into resting. After rehydrating, he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and looked at its blank screen. The phone was damp but after removing the battery and inserting it again, the device surprisingly turned on. As Kate left to pick up the pizza, Jude quickly checked email and ruminated over the conversation he needed to have with Roger Knowlan. He felt more bruised now than he did an hour ago. Trying to reclaim control of his life, he decided to make that call to Knowlan. Jude heard the rumble of the cable car wheels outside. By the sound of the honking and hollering, it sounded as if a wedding party was passing outside his window. He let the noise completely pass before dialing. He knew that the conversation could be a frustrating one. Changing the mind of a person like Knowlan seemed as tough as curing cancer. But he seemed to like Kate. “Roger, it’s Jude.” “Yes.” “I need to speak with you about something serious,” Jude said. “We have a lot to go to over with Hideo’s absence.” “Right. I hope we can…work things out. My sister was just diagnosed with breast cancer.” “Uh. I’m very sorry to hear that.” “I’m wondering … well, if we could use her as our first test patient.”

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“H’mm.” Knowlan said, “That’s clever, use your sister as leverage. Jude, what do you propose we do for her without genetic data to reference against?” “I have an idea to get more.” “For getting hold of a DNA repository?” “Uh-huh, and it will deliver all the records we need.” “Where is Kate, by the way?” “She’s staying with me. I could have her come down and see you. Sooner rather than later. Before you say no, hear me out. If we can treat Kate we’ll have the world on a string, Roger. Trust me. I know you want to commercialize the Grid. But imagine the ad dollars we could generate if we give the Grid away. Let Kate be our example of free medicine at work–Google’s not-for-profit model can drive this.” It was hard to make it out over the phone, but Jude detected a cough on Roger’s side that sounded like a coming compromise. Jude added, “I know you’ve felt like we’ve been unwavering on a not-for-profit drug program, but . . .” “Jude. You’ve made your case. And with the University surrendering copyright protection, I don’t think we’ll get a red cent from privatizing this, not anytime soon. So, I agree. Part of something, as they say, is better than part of nothing.” Jude’s spirits buoyed. Knowlan continued, “And I know if I say no, you’ll double-team me with Niles again. I don’t like being told what to do, but we need to move beyond testing diabetes.” “So what does this mean?” Jude asked. “I’d like to help Kate. Have her call me. She’ll have my full attention down here.” “Thank you,” Jude said eagerly.

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“Just don’t manipulate me into doing things for you next time. Just ask.” “Fine. One more thing.” “Yes.” “You should know that I was sailing with Niles and our boat exploded. It didn’t look like an accident, so—“ “Really. You’re both okay?” Jude summarized the events for him and hung up in utter amazement that he had won Knowlan’s help. Fifteen minutes later Kate returned and put the combo pizza on plates. They ate in front of the living room TV. “We just got amazing news,” Jude said. “What now?” “Roger Knowlan at Stanford has agreed to give you an evaluation. He’ll do an initial consultation to get information he would need from you to proceed with genomic cancer treatment.” Kate didn’t answer right away. “So, what would he do exactly?” “He’d take a saliva sample and sequence your genome. He’d need to do that to get things started.” Jude put his finger in his ear and made a face. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “My ears are ringing.” Standing very still and looking at Jude, Kate said, “You might be surprised to hear me say this.” “You’ll do it?” Jude said. “Yes.” Kate smiled. “This is a good thing we’re doing, Kate.” In his bedroom, Jude saw that Kate had folded his clothes and filed her suitcase in the corner. He changed out of the shirt and pants that the Coast Guard had handed out and showered.

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Jude lay awake in the living room that evening, replaying events. It wasn’t easy to rest with what had happened and Kate’s questions. She wouldn’t stop prodding him on how the boat incident fit in with Stanford. Jude wondered if Hideo were alive and knew about all that had happened if he’d postpone the Grid project indefinitely. He probably would, but that didn’t matter now. Jude may not be a Stanford employee any longer, but the Grid project needed him now more than ever. He refused to let the thought of defeat invade his consciousness. Unfortunately, pressing on meant that he and Niles would continue to put their safety at risk. Come to think of that, he hoped that he hadn’t put Kate in some sort of jeopardy by bringing her to his apartment.

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twenty-seven
Thursday, November 3 San Francisco, CA The Russian Hill flat sweltered with dry heat. Unable to sleep, Kate turned on Jude’s bedside table light at 1:30 A.M. She suspected that staying with Jude for long would cramp his bachelor lifestyle. But it was obvious that staying with Jude wasn’t what was really keeping her awake and haunting her. While Jude camped on the living room sofa, she propped herself upright on his bed with throw pillows. Concerned for the shivers Kate’s fever still caused, he’d cranked the thermostat dial to sauna temperatures, then crashed on the couch. Unable to find the thermostat, she opened his heavy wooden bedroom window to admit a cool breeze. Framed photos on the wall distracted her for a moment—they were photographs Jude had taken from trips to see glaciers calving in Alaska. Then she snatched the TV remote from inside his Chinese dresser. After dabbing her sweaty forehead, she climbed back into his sleigh bed. She flipped TV channels, then settled on late-night news. An

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in-depth story featured a familiar person, Johnston & Quib’s CEO, Marc Ferguson. She knew the face, that hard jaw and those piercing eyes. He resembled an older Daniel Craig, the blond James Bond. Seconds passed and it came to her. She had met him at Jude’s award ceremony. She pressed VOLUME UP on the TV remote. The reporter with the stiff combed-back hair opened with, “Mr. Ferguson, you’ve said the sale of drugs over the Internet compromises intellectual property rights, hurting inventors and entrepreneurs.” “I have.” “The genome mapping of 2003, using the Grid, generated as much praise as if Americans had landed on Mars. What do you think of the new Grid project at Stanford?” Ferguson’s blue eyes narrowed. “Genomic research is exciting, that’s why Johnson & Quib supported Stanford’s Grid initiative. But frankly, the way the government is involved undermines private enterprise.” “Please elaborate.” Ferguson leaned into the news camera lens. “Many popular, branded blockbuster drugs are reaching the end of their patent-protected lives. When patents expire, manufacturers will lose 30 to 40 percent market share as generic alternatives come out. Also, we’re facing patent infringement from Canadian companies, who are making copies of patented drugs. We’ve seen how musicians and movie makers are being bankrupted by the rampant Internet pirating of music and film. The same phenomenon is undermining legitimate drugs.”

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The reporter cut in, “Okay, but doesn’t Stanford’s Grid have the right to give people what’s theirs—knowledge of their body chemistry?” “Private citizens don’t know what to do with their mapped genome any more than I know how to build a sport utility vehicle.” “But how does the new Grid science threaten drug manufacturers?” the reporter asked. “Nobody gets this. It’s an attack on intellectual property in the name of medical treatment. It’s nonsense. Please. How will a government-run network replace private research? Such socialistic, free science deters investors, undermines capitalism and is dangerous. Even Bill Gates implied that free software developers were communists. You’ll see, first this, then drug patents will go on the chopping block—just wait.” The interviewer looked down at his notes, grasping for control of the interview. Ferguson continued, “We’re being seduced by the Grid and its no-fee, gene-based diagnosis. It’s haphazard. This is why the pharmaceutical industry exists, so drugs are researched and manufactured according to standardized practices.” Kate half-dismissed this industry ranting. He wasn’t the first to argue against the Grid. Yet she didn’t expect Ferguson—the drug company leader—to rail against it on CNN. Ferguson added, “Where’s our American heritage of discovery going? Internet-driven research. Global outsourcing pollutes our way of life.” Ferguson was riling himself up so much that his face had turned a rosy shade and he spit in his agitation to get the words out. “We should keep an eye on Stanford’s not-for-profit Grid,” Ferguson continued. “Computers speak to each

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other, and many databases can communicate, and more are coming together all the time. Soon, some search engine company will offer a source of universal knowledge. Now, if that’s not absolute power, nothing is. Will this power be used for good—to cure? I’m skeptical.’’ The interviewer finished, “They once called him Golden Throat—whenever Marc Ferguson spoke, investors opened checkbooks.” She clicked off the tube and turned over to rest. Three-fifteen, she slammed a pillow against the wall. Insomnia. Only a few short hours of sleep and she awoke to the ticking of Jude’s alarm clock. Pictures of disease stalking her body, destroying her white blood cells, rolled through her mind. She couldn’t escape textbook images. Virulent slide samples. Teaching Biology made them far too familiar. Feeling queasy, she fanned herself and suddenly threw up on his floor. At least she avoided hitting his throw rug. She ran to the bathroom to clean up and brush her teeth. Her throat still burned from stomach acid as she wiped up the mess on the wood floor boards. It didn’t help matters that clothing in Jude’s room held the faint aroma of bourbon and hot sauce. Completely awake now, she stumbled around the bedroom. While organizing her suitcase, she reached into a pocket to find something she had left from a previous trip: her mother’s favorite silver bracelet. It jingled as she lifted it from the suitcase. Their home life had dissolved quickly after her mother died. Their dad, Benjamin, taped photos of mom on the fridge then buried himself in work at the family engineering business.

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From birth, Kate had been the cautious one. And it was Jude who surprised the family when his computer hacking sent him to Juvenile Hall. She tucked the bracelet back into the suitcase then fished through the medical publications Jude had collected on genomics. It staggered the imagination that one of every eight women in the world developed breast cancer. Worse still, it was the primary cause of death for one woman out of every twenty-eight who contracted it. She trod softly into the kitchen so as not to wake Jude. Returning to his bedroom, she downed a glass of ice water, ate half a piece of wheat toast and booted her laptop. She thought about the television interview and searched for MARC FERGUSON, J&Q CEO. She read a Business Times profile: “Marc Ferguson craved validation as a youth, a byproduct of strict parents and an austere childhood in a Pennsylvania steel working family. Excelling in science at college and “B” school thereafter, he earned his highest marks in the school of charm. A social magnet at fund-raisers, he jests at his talent for making a silk purse from a sow’s ear.” What an operator. Clicking on another website, she found a homepage with a calendar of public speakers at the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. Ferguson was scheduled for a speaking engagement today at 11:30 A.M. Nervous energy spun through her veins and nerves. Time to go on the offensive. Setting down the computer, she jotted a to-do list on paper at Jude’s bedside: she’d borrow his car to go to San Jose and absorb everything she could about what Johnston & Quib was doing with breast cancer treatment. She needed to find who or

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what therapy would rescue her. She believed in herself. Intelligence had got her to where she was today. If anyone could outsmart this malady she could. She checked her face in the mirror, touching faint lines around her mouth and eyes. She vowed to not let stress eat at her. After hopping into olive slacks and pulling on a finegauge crew-neck sweater, she froze. Could all of this effort be in vain? She turned to Jude’s full-length bedroom mirror to look again at the person who had been diagnosed with cancer. She noticed how much her blonde hair and distraught face resembled her mother’s, especially after she had lost weight. She didn’t want to give the appearance of being on death’s doorstep. Eyes, bloodshot from stress, gazed back at her. She brushed her hair and put on makeup with a shaking hand. She stood tall, then turned from the mirror. After pulling on tennis shoes, she located a valet key beside the fruit bowl in the kitchen. The apartment door slammed behind her as she breezed out. *** In the early evening, Ramsey checked local news on his computer in the J&Q conference room. A report on a boat explosion made him squint at the screen with keen interest. The story described how the explosion almost killed two highly praised members of the Stanford Grid Project, Niles Tully and Jude Wagner. It went onto to note that this occurred shortly after Stanford announced how it would compete head-on with traditional drug companies.

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The article all but publicly insinuated that someone high up in a pharmaceutical company could have had a hand in this boat exploding. Astonished, Ramsey turned his attention to a voicemail message that had been taken down for him. He had no doubts who had rung. Ramsey didn’t know how Cez@r had found him at J&Q. The message didn’t leave a name or note—it simply said, Olivier Ramsey, call, then gave the number. Ramsey raced out of the building, found a pay phone, dialed and heard a recorded message: “The Cayman Bank name is Axis International, address is 5 Bowe Street, Grand Cayman KY1-1102, the routing code is 1127671021, include your corresponding bank name and account number—must be non-US, the name you are sending to is Harold Billingworth, the amount is $500,000. Don’t leave a message. If you do, we’re finished. First payment must be received within 24 hours. You’ll get updates.” With Cez@r’s Cayman Island bank account number handy, Ramsey woke a Pinsky Investment colleague in New York, who oversaw budgeting. *** The virus writer pulled microwaved egg rolls from the oven, dribbled a red sauce on them and ate. Chewing away, he considered how his code would be a work of art. He’d disrupt the Stanford Grid with a self-propagating worm virus. It would delve deep into the Grid, invoking a computational/maintenance function that would put the Grid into a nonresponsive test mode, or stand-by state. Stealth.

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An amateur could cause the Grid to fail, but that sort of thing would be detected and would automatically cause a system reboot. Cez@r’s ploy would slow down the Grid and disable access to it from within Stanford, corrupting it in a way that resembled blocking a tunnel so that data could not flow through it for analysis. When the Grid was functional, it would work smoothly, but when a portion of it was compromised, the entire system would suffer. This would silence those who doubted if he was worthy of his nickname. He licked sweet-and-sour sauce from his fingers to begin keying in operations.

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twenty-eight
Thursday, November 4 San Jose, CA Driving through sprawling Silicon Valley traffic made Kate tense. After parking, she headed into the conference center, relishing the warm San Jose sun on her forehead. It did nothing for cancer, but even in her short walk, she enjoyed knowing ultraviolet light was germicidal. With no empty chairs in the conference room, Kate stood by the door. Ferguson spoke with the verve of a Baptist preacher to the assembled eighty plus people. They listened while sipping coffee and eating pastries. If anyone was going to enlighten her on the latest breast cancer therapies, he would. She couldn’t take her eyes off Ferguson’s familiar face. He continued, “We are in for a devastating defeat in the world drug market. The world is copying products without bearing the expense of R&D. Copying intellectual property is economic terrorism, pure and simple. Sure, corporate America can save money by farming jobs out to India. And we do. But this is slippery too.

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Johnston & Quib will not give up the fight against global outsourcing. We’re going to keep bringing the best drugs to market.” Applause followed the close of his talk and the room emptied. She wanted a private moment with Ferguson and didn’t approach the podium to speak until the place had cleared out. For the first time in her adult life, she realized there was no obligation more important than this to fulfill: no place that she needed to go next, no college lecture to plan, or papers to grade or teacherstudent appointments to consider. None of the professional duties that mattered before she became terminally did now. The only appointment in life now was with herself, to find a cure. Every duty, from Lexington to San Francisco, came second, except for Mac Ferguson. But would he speak to her, knowing she was Jude’s sister, knowing her allegiances? She flushed with anxiety. The CEO looked weaker than the Marc Ferguson she saw at the award ceremony and on TV. In this light, his skin hung around his mouth and jaws, softening the gruff image she had formed of him. He folded his coat over his arm and grabbed his folder. She waited while he finished a chat with someone, then approached him. “Mr. Ferguson, I’m Kate Wagner. We met at the—” “Computing award banquet, I remember.” He walked closer. “You’re Jude Wagner’s sister.” “You got me.” She wondered if that was going to be the end of the conversation. “There’s resemblance,” he said flatly. “Right. I’m a biology professor and that was one thought-provoking talk.” “Thank you for indulging me in the histrionics.”

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“Theatrics, I’d say. I wonder if I could trouble you with specifics around the delivery of your newest drugs.” His eyebrows lifted defensively. “Because?” “Oh, I’m sorry. You probably think I’m here to see you on behalf of my brother. Believe me. That’s not the case at all. Honestly, I’m here because, um. I’m sick, seriously ill actually, and looking for options, and I’m hoping you can point me in the right direction?” “I’m sorry to hear that.” He said with eyes blinking erratically. He appeared sharp as ever but rundown. He looked off for an instant, pausing as if he was about to brush her off, then said, “I’m sympathetic to your plight. Someone very close to me has a terminal illness. When I say there’s promise for drugs that are coming out, I’m hoping it will help him and, of course, many others.” She suspected that someone could be he. “Do you think your latest breast cancer drug is the best option going for those patients?” He moved out of the conference room, not letting him get out of her sight. She held the elevator door for him. They walked out of the building. “Yes, you’re referring to our new drug called Remedacil. It’s helped relieve symptoms and in some cases even put the cancer into remission. I can’t promise it’s a cure. It depends on what stage your cancer is.” “Got it.” Kate stood tall, remaining optimistic that she wasn’t too far along for help. .She spontaneously asked if he’d speak to her further over lunch. He mulled it over and finally agreed, provided they keep the lunch meeting quick. She followed him in her car. Driving, she passed a high school girl walking a German shepherd on the shoulder of the road. She eased up on the accelerator. The dog’s hips slumped. The girl moved at a slow pace

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to accommodate the pet. Kate stared and then snapped her gaze back to the road. He waited for her in front of the place called Bella Mia Italian which specialized in pasta and seafood. The restaurant comprised two floors with two indoor rooms and a patio. A small sign on the wall at the front door advertised jazz nights. The main room had white tablecloth dining. They chose the less formal area with antique sconces that hung on walls with green Victorian wallpaper. With the restaurant half-empty, they had no trouble being seated at a quiet corner table in the front, looking onto First Street. Kate ordered lasagna. Ferguson, ravioli. Organizing questions in her head, she couldn’t believe she was chatting with Ferguson one-on-one. He smiled politely at her. “By now, you’ve heard my thoughts on Stanford’s work. I was obviously a big supporter and I still believe that Grid-based genomic testing is ground-breaking but it shouldn’t be free. In fact, it’s still premature. No offense to your brother but talk of his world Grid being a panacea is science fiction.” “That’s what I used to think,” she said. He gave her a curious look. “But as my brother said in his speech, the postgenomic era is here.” “Your brother’s quite the cancer crusader,” he said flatly. “But I’m afraid the path he’s on is fraught with complications now that he’s lost our backing.” “How so?” “Stanford’s genomic science is still in research mode —it was going to be nothing but R&D for us. They made strides with their diabetes tests, that’s all.

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“We always expect things are ready before they really are. After the sequencing of the human genome in 2003, scientists reported that soon they’d be tweaking our DNA, remedying our flawed chromosomes and stopping inherited disease. Has that happened? They said gene therapy would be like taking an antibiotic—simple and certain. But years later we’re still waiting.” “True,” she said, “and I know it’ll be many, many years before we fully interpret the genome. But the point is we’ve started and that, I believe, marks the greatest leap of human medical science. And you can’t dispute the fact that most human health and disease has a genetic basis.” He scratched his nose, visibly not expecting a debate. It amused her that she sounded like Jude—defending the new science. It was one of those moments where she felt as one with her twin. “And what about the whole privacy issue?” asked Ferguson. “What about it?” she asked. Their conversation was interrupted by a family leaving with a crying baby. When the front door closed, the place went quiet again. “You were saying?” Kate asked. “Your brother’s Stanford Grid is bringing genome sequencing to the masses. I’ve got to tell you, I think it’s dangerous business.” “Why?” “You can’t let the public decode their own genetic data. It would be crazy. Genetic information needs protecting, safeguarding. If not, freelancers will spring up, promising to tell you whether or not you’ll have a heart attack before you turn fifty. The chance is huge

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that genomic information will be exploited by the wrong parties.” “But maybe genomic data should be protected by the patient and physician,” Kate said. “Corruption can happen on either side, right? Who’s to say a medical insurer couldn’t buy off doctor records for some business advantage? I really think what Jude’s team is doing is necessary—they are speeding up disease discovery. You just don’t like the way they’re going about it—that Google partnership in the works upsets the mainstream.” “What do you know about that stunt?” Ferguson asked. “Oh, nothing.” Kate realized that she was talking too much. “Nothing specific. There’s something I heard about George Clooney becoming a celebrity sponsor. Imagine that.” He gave a steely stare. “I read about that deal—it’s a spinoff from something called Google Compute…another tech bandwagon for Silicon Valley cognoscenti. Your brother’s work has caused a frenzy,” Ferguson said. “A good frenzy. I could even be his first guinea pig,” she said, half-surprised at her own words. “Seriously?” he leaned toward her. “I’m somewhat skeptical, being a scientist myself, but the Grid is moving along. I’d still like to consider your new breast cancer drug.” “It’s been well received.” She felt stabbing join pain in her knees and tolerated it. “I’m, I’m glad to know about it. Would that be used in conjunction with chemotherapy?” “Yes.” “But you say it’s not labeled as a cure?”

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“It’s known for being effective treatment when doctors add it to a traditional regimen.” Kate dropped the subject while the waiter set their plates down. Letting his ravioli cool, Ferguson asked what else she knew about the Stanford project. Kate wasn’t expecting to be fielding his questions. He was moving in all different directions at once. They talked for another fifteen minutes when she handed him a business card. “I’d like to keep in touch. For now, I’m working with Stanford. I’ll be going there Monday for Grid testing.” Taking his last forkful, Ferguson’s face turned serious. “Keep me in the loop,” he said with a raspy voice. After eating, Ferguson had to be on his way. Kate had her computer on the table before he had even left the restaurant. She considered something Jude once told her: “An algorithm is like a recipe—a logical set of instructions like a recipe you’d use to bake a cake. That’s a static algorithm. Mine is adaptive. It learns from every failed search it runs and keeps trying until it finds the result.” Kate’s stomach muscles clenched as she debated her treatment options. Which course held the most promise: Jude’s Grid or traditional chemotherapy? Ultimately, she decided it would be foolish to rule out traditional treatment and drugs from the leading breast cancer drug supplier: Johnston & Quib. She resolved to hedge her bets; combine traditional medicine with Stanford’s. This decision gave her a temporary relief—a quieting of the mind she desperately needed. Either way, though, nobody guaranteed she’d get better.

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On the toilet at Stanford’s Department of Medicine, Kate noticed blood in her urine—a typical breast cancer symptom. Kate had excruciating joint pain in her knees and ankles. As she left the bathroom, she caught a hint of cigarette odor. Probably no one else noticed. Her heightened sense of smell caught the faintest scents. With a shiver of anticipation and a notepad in hand, she caught the attention of an officious-looking laboratory aide in a lab coat and glasses. “Got an appointment?” The aide asked. “Yes, with Roger Knowlan in the Cancer and Bioengineering Departments.” The aide scrupulously checked her ID and asked her to come with him to his admin desk where he called Roger Knowlan and asked if he was expecting a Kate Wagner. A moment later, he said, “He’s waiting for you, but visitors must wear badges.” The laconic aide made out a guest pass sticker. Kate stuck it on. She then followed him down the fluorescent-lighted hallway, growing more anxious. How ironic, she thought: she practically lived in a classroom firing questions at students about biology, and now, she became the pupil. Standing in a sky blue lab coat with arms crossed, Knowlan said, “Kate Wagner. You’re right on time. We met briefly at the award dinner.” He had tightly wound brown-gray hair that topped his studious, disciplined face. She acknowledged who she was while the lab aide walked off. With a piercing stare, Roger Knowlan smiled warmly, introduced himself and started the tour.

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As they walked, he said, “I understand you teach Biology in Lexington. You won’t be a stranger to what we’re doing here—not entirely, at least.” His small mouth, framed by a soft jaw and slim body made him appear more at home in academia than anywhere else. She imagined him to be a social hermit, but his V-neck sweater over a French blue shirt and Italian blue jeans reached for something trendier. The middle-aged professor could’ve been dressed by the style editors of Esquire Magazine. His stab at academic élan left her feeling like a lab rat preparing for vivisection. “How are you faring?” he asked. “I’ve been better. My mother died from breast cancer.” “I see. Well, I assure you that you’re going to be treated very differently from her. I want to get one thing out of the way though. Your brother and I don’t see the future of this Grid entirely the same way.” “Uh-huh.” “I don’t believe this project should be made free to the public. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want it to succeed beyond our wildest dreams. I do.” He patted her shoulder. “Glad to hear it.” She nodded somewhat dismissively to discourage more conversation. He escorted her down the hall and opened a large door to reveal an enormous workspace. He made a sweeping gesture like he was welcoming her to Oz. Before entering, he pulled two pairs of booties from his lab coat pocket and handed a pair to her. They snapped the paper shoes over their own shoes.

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The sterile room had been divided into half lecture hall and half research space. It looked singularly efficient. The lecture hall side had rows of stadium seating. The seats angled toward a huge whiteboard on a sliding partition, which opened to reveal the lab. Kate had envisioned a laboratory with long counters of pedaloperated, stainless steel sinks, like the ones she’d worked with in graduate school. This lab bore no resemblance to that. Outfitted for computational biology, the room contained four upright freezers that probably held blood samples, but most of the floor space was dedicated to computer work stations and high tech instruments. From what she could tell, the department used state-of-the-art equipment. Knowlan directed Kate to an office chair with wheels, next to a flat screen. He swept around her to turn on lights. She tapped a foot anxiously on the brushed cement floor. “Your brother and Dr. Onagi substantially advanced Stanford’s Grid, Professor Wagner.” “I go by Kate.” “Kate, call me Roger.” He radiated a mischievous look of excitement that showed his passion to test the Grid’s capabilities. It didn’t exactly put her at ease. She held tightness in her shoulders. He took out his phone when it vibrated, looked at the caller I.D., and let the call go to voicemail. He had a selfsatisfied way about him that annoyed her. Then she wondered why she cared. She’d put up with a whole hell of a lot more if she knew he’d successfully treat her disease. “I want you to relax,” he said with a smile. “It’s not easy.”

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“Why?” “As a college biology professor, I usually feel right at home at a University, especially in a science building. But her I am a bundle of nerves about my own body chemistry.” “It would be nice if we had more control. I say we get started.” “Okay.” Kate looked around again, considering the unfamiliar analytical equipment. “First we’ll explore which breast cancer medicine matches your gene type. But Jude has to obtain the database. Data is always the lynchpin.” Kate braced herself expecting to be doused with details. “What database?” “I’m not sure exactly what he’s going for. There’s only one premier medical center with databases out there that would open doors for us. And once we pinpoint your cancer condition we may not even need to create a custom drug for you. If Jude obtains what I think he will, that database could have details of drugs that worked for similar cancer patients fitting your profile. This includes drugs that never went to market. We could duplicate those drugs. Then again we may turn to a custom-tailored drug for you.” “How do you get around FDA approval?” “The FDA has new allowances for genomic science.” “What does that mean?” “It means that we’ve been given a go-ahead for customized medicine.” “Ah,” she said guardedly. “And the Grid has reduced the time required to make an exact diagnosis.” He fidgeted with excitement. “We’ll first sequence your genome and check it against known breast cancer drugs. If we find a hit we’ll begin

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personalizing your treatment. You told me earlier that you’re excited about Marc Ferguson’s new drugs. They’re inexact— plain and simple. He lacks the precision that can only be realized through genomics.” “But mainstream medicine is still good, right?” He shook his head. “There’s no comparison here. We’ll be doing years of research in days.” His gaze intensified. “We’re charging ahead in the battle against life-threatening diseases. Our Grid is about a thousand times more powerful than the computer which beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.” “Deep Blue.” “That’s right.” Roger continued, “We’ll split the problem of analyzing your proteome into millions of smaller problems. We’ll analyze it with unprecedented speed, ripping problems at twelve hundred teraflops per second, the equivalent of twelve hundred trillion calculations per second. The Grid’s latest trial run on diabetes looked good.” Kate noticed she was fiddling with her watch and set her hand at her side. He slid a small box out of a tight pocket, took a breath mint and put the box away. “I’d offer you one but I want your saliva to be as it is.” “So,” she said, “we check my protein folds against those that are known to be cancerous in a database and identify a targeted drug therapy based on pools of data and genomic matching?” Knowlan’s eyes brightened as if she’d hit a hole in one. “Right, we’ll be running the Grid program again to find the most suitable treatment for you, based on your

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biology, and match it as closely as possible to an existing drug. “So, tell everyone you know to volunteer their computers to do the crunching. All they’ve gotta do is download the small program which contacts the server to get work units.” Roger anxiously picked at a fingernail. “One’s inclination is to imagine that the best way to conquer scientific problems would be to follow traditional methods, but that’s not the case here. Let’s hope Jude gets hold of that database.” He directed Kate to the monitor by her chair. A glint in his eye made him look more like a Silicon Valley entrepreneur than a science academic. “Your brother’s data-mining algorithm rewrote traditional Grid processing methods. It made mining the data orders of magnitude more efficient.” “So I hear.” “But there’s something else. Your brother dreamed up a unique concept.” “He’s not as unique as you might think.” “Why do you say that?” “We’re twins you know. I tell him he’s a copy of me and not the other way around.” “Ha. You do look alike. Anyway, in addition to motivating hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world to lend their PC to the cause and effectively become part of the Grid, Jude has proposed something more.” “What now?” “In exchange for donating your idle processor and your anonymous, secured genome to the data pool, you’ll be awarded special Grid access privileges for analysis of your own genome.”

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Kate sat up. “Like a resource trade?” “Precisely—this enhances our dataset by orders of magnitude.” Kate rubbed her chin. She felt guilty for not giving Jude more credit and being so dismissive of him. If she was going to have faith in anything, she should have in her twin. Knowlan yanked the keyboard toward him and pecked. Enthralled, Kate watched the large screen animate with dancing, 3-D DNA objects—linked, multicolored, three-dimensional orbs, spiraling and changing colors like cartoon geometric figures in space. “We can handle a million user requests a day.” “I see.” Kate was spellbound. Hitting the space bar, Knowlan cleared the display. A slide show now glowed on the projector screen. He snatched up a remote control. “Soon, when we visit our physician and get saliva analysis, he will identify what ails us and instantly prescribe a medicine specific to our genetics.’” “If only we were there today.” “The better the data algorithms and data processing power, the closer we come.” Kate was only half convinced as Knowlan talked faster, but she wanted to believe. She wanted to act. She bit her lip and said, “I’m ready.”

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twenty-nine
Friday, November 4 Geneva, Switzerland Niles wanted to sprint for the train, but he didn’t feel so spry after the Tipsea exploded—he wore bruises from the ordeal. In the glass-ceilinged arrival hall, he paused to catch his breath. He checked the dressing on his bandaged arm. The sling had slipped off the shoulder of his double-breasted suit. He couldn’t be late to meet his son in London. He clacked up a ramp of steps at the Gare Cornavin train station. Dressed in polished Ferragamo shoes, Niles lugged a notebook computer and his carry-on bag. The departure board showed he would just make it. He hadn’t seen Edward’s bright grin for weeks. After so much had fallen apart, he wanted to be cheered by that smile. Charlene, Edward’s mother, was bringing him to a gastro-pub where he and Niles could enjoy a father-son dinner. It was logistical hell to co-parent a kid with a friend who lived overseas—5,300 miles away—but he and Charlene were pulling it off somehow with air travel and weekly telephone calls. Both gay, they had a partnership through Edward only—their cherub. Edward had an insatiable curiosity for knowing the mechanics of

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cars, boats and planes—a trait inherited from his gadgetloving father. The terminal smelled of cigarettes and baked bread. Niles passed three German college students with oversized backpacks and buzz haircuts. They stepped aside on the escalator, allowing him to pass. He envied their freedom and asked himself how he got into this complex mess of trying to improve medicine. Nothing had been easy. How did their well-meaning work go so awry? Emotionally exhausted, he longed for a holiday. He’d be happy anywhere warm, provided no sailboats were in sight. Up ahead he saw a sign that read CONCOURSE PASSENGER BOARDING AREA. The ticket agent checked Niles’s ticket for Waterloo Station, London. The agent punched it and handed it back to Niles, who headed to customs. He’d crossed the English Channel by underground train often to attend Grid meetings with CERN, but the TGV never got old— much more posh than the Tube he commuted on years ago from Heathrow to Paddington station. We lost the Jaguar to the Yanks, he thought, but Europeans still get some things right. He exchanged Euros for pounds at the Bureau de Change. Niles rang Jude. “Finally good news, console cowboy.” “Niles.” “CERN is over-the-moon about our Google deal. They love the concept that Stanford’s Grid is going to be downloadable from the Google toolbar. They’ve picked up right where Jűrgen left off. It’s sensational, mate. We did it. Am I waking you?” “You are. It’s 5 A.M.”

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The announcement system blasted, “Der Zug wird in zwei Minuten abweichen …” English followed. “The train’s leaving,” Niles told Jude. “Have a safe trip, Niles.” Jude sounded downcast. Still in a tailspin from all of these events, Niles realized he’d forgotten to ask about Kate’s condition. “We’ll talk more about Kate soon.” Niles said. Clicking off, he hurried to the train. Niles got off a quick text message to Roger Knowlan to relay that the Stanford Grid Project had sealed the huge agreement with Google to advance the high-tech healthcare project. Niles wished he could’ve told Jűrgen and Hideo the news. *** Across the TGV platform, a woman stalked Niles looking through Steiner 7x50mm police binoculars. She had assumed the cover of a train official which didn’t come as a stretch since she frequently traveled and had acquired a good knowledge of train operations. Day-to-day, she worked SWAT operations in places like Afghanistan. She identified and neutralized terrorist threats globally as part of homeland defense. Although like the boat job, she called her own shots here, making it no ordinary assignment. She liked that. Taking out a man on a moving train posed a far greater challenge than planting explosives on a boat. She had to keep all the usual eyes and ears from learning about this hit. This assignment didn’t come from a superior or the usual chain of command—the DOD, the Pentagon and the President of the United States—quite the opposite. This job originated from somewhere deeper: her burning need for retribution and profit.

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Acting alone let her do as she wished and not rely on instructions about how to complete the task. She’d prove herself and win the admiration of the one she desperately wanted to please. She liked the idea that shutting down Niles Tully would make a difference in the world.

thirty
Friday, November 4 San Francisco, CA Jude stretched to test the soreness on his side from the boat explosion and tiptoed into his bedroom to check on Kate. She was sleeping peacefully. Making himself coffee, he remembered his dream from last night’s sleep. He awoke with vivid images of cradling Nathalie in his arms on a plaid picnic blanket spread on the lawn of some spectacular winery. Her hair shone like black silk. His cheeks flushed under her gaze. He moved closer and kissed her. The weight of his body pressed onto hers as they embraced. “I’ve been waiting for that,” she said as she kissed him again, yanking him closer. He hoisted her into his arms and

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kissed her again. Setting her down, he found her bare midsection with his open mouth. The fragments of dream faded while he poured himself a cup. Am I in love with Nathalie? Maybe it wasn’t so absurd. If he wanted her this badly, then he could be cured of his fear of commitment. Desire to have something lasting with Nathalie festered inside him. He could need an intervention to clear her from his thoughts.

*** The TGV glided along from Geneva to London while Niles tested the movement of his arm. Sitting alone in his train compartment, Niles considered how crazed Jude must be managing the recent deaths, his FBI caseload and his sister’s diagnosis. He put his arm back in its sling and clicked open an old email from Hideo Onagi. The spectre of his dog mauling made Niles tense. To dispel the bad energy, Niles pulled out a book from his suitcase and read Steve Jobs, The Greatest Second Act to the breezy purr of the train. A chapter later, he peeked through the dark window to see the streets of Geneva fall away behind the train. European trains served as Niles’s private office on wheels: a more work-conducive environment for him than any other. The PA clicked on. “This is Conductor du Bord. The driver has informed me we’re now traveling at our maximum speed of 210 kilometers per hour.” Three sharp raps struck his cabin door. He pressed an ALT KEY combination on his notebook to activate a

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password-protected screensaver, turning his Word application to black. A firm female voice outside Niles’s compartment door said, “Excuse me, Mr. Tully?” Niles hesitated before answering. “Here.” The person continued in an official tone, “Room ventilation system inspection. For your safety, sir.” Niles set his computer down. As he heard a key unlocking his cabin door from the outside, his fists clenched. The door slowly opened. A tweed-coated woman with a wide stance forced a grin. With curly blonde hair, she wore pancake make-up. She could have been in her mid-thirties. “What is this?” Niles asked, looming over her. “Inspection, sir.” “Why now?” She glided the cabin door closed behind her, clasping the metal lock shut to secure them inside. “Move aside.” Niles demanded. The female intruder blocked the doorway. “You’ve reached your destination.” “Bloody hell I have. I’m going to King’s Cross.” As she reached in her pocket, he moved to maneuver past her; throw her aside if need be. She pressed something into his hip. Shtik-buzzz. Blue sparks crackled; shocks of heat flushed through him. A lightning storm of current radiated through his nervous system, sending stiletto points of pain to his head. His arms convulsed from radiating heat. He heard someone banging on the door, asking if everything was all right when he fell unconscious to the carpeted train floor.

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Niles forced his eyes open—oblivious to how much time had passed when he came to on the floor. The woman, gone. Who was that psychopath? Light strobed before his eyes. Dizzily, he checked the bandage on his arm, got to his feet and searched for his laptop but it was gone. She had nabbed the laptop and could’ve killed him while she was at it. She must want access to the Grid computer. As some of Niles’s light-headedness passed, he noticed his mouth had gone dry and balance was unsteady. In the chaos, all of Jude’s and Niles’s altruistic visions of helping society felt utterly frivolous. The way they carried on, any reasonable person would think they had a death wish. He had to move. Holding his sore side, he dragged himself to the cafeteria car. He walked through three cars, then spotted a conductor and limped to him for help. “Someone is trying to kill me. She’s Caucasian, with broad shoulders, medium-length blond hair, butch face and an American accent, I think.” The conductor motioned with his hands. “Please stay calm and explain.” Niles started to explain but the conductor cut him off, saying, “Bitte, I’ll be right back.” Once he left, Niles’s nerves ratcheted, causing more panic. He felt exposed waiting alone, so he moved cars again. Nearly empty of passengers, the dining car had tables covered with tablecloths. It smelled of pot roast and onions. The train hit a bumpy patch, and Niles grabbed the handles hanging from the ceiling to steady himself.

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Over his shoulder, he saw a teenage boy sitting in a seat by the aisle. He had to improvise. An idea came to him. He walked over to the boy. Busy playing a game on a handheld device, the kid had a partially eaten sandwich in front of him on a table. The boy turned to look at Niles, wearing mirrored sunglasses and a baseball cap that was a size or two too large. “Hey, where are your parents?” Niles asked. “At their seats. Whadya want?” “Look, I’ll give you forty Euros for your cap,” Niles said. “More, it’s the Yankees.” Niles couldn’t believe the nerve this kid had. The boy must have smelled desperation. He sat up, beaming. “Seventy dollars,” Niles said louder. “Hurry.” “Okay, one hundred Euros,” the kid insisted, “and you’ve got a real bargain.” Without time to waste, Niles handed the kid a hundred-euro note and snatched the hat and sunglasses from his blonde head. “Skip college, kid—you’ll be a giant on Wall Street.” “Hey, those glasses will be another hundred.” the kid insisted, following Niles. Passengers in the car leered to see who was causing the disturbance. Niles announced. “The kid’s crazy.” Adjusting the sunglasses and hat, he shot into the cafeteria car bathroom and locked the bolt. He had to remain level-headed. A voice inside him said, “See, Jude. We should have dropped this entire thing when we first saw signs of danger.” Niles quickly expanded the boy-size New York Yankees baseball cap and pulled the brim low over the

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mirrored sunglasses. As he strode from the restroom he felt strangers glaring at him. Niles still felt recognizable and needed help. He spotted a small compartment with maps, routes and schedules posted on the wall, and saw another conductor inside. He knocked on the door. When that conductor opened it, Niles pushed inside the confined space. “You’ve got to help me.” The man shook his head. Niles twisted his arm into submission. “I have no intention of hurting you, but I’ll break your arm if I have to.” The conductor struggled against Niles’s grip. “Stop!” he said. Niles wheeled him around, looked square into his eyes. “You have to listen. There’s a woman here who wants me dead. This is no joke.” “What woman?” He yanked Niles’s hand from his arm. Niles described her. The man said, “Stay here and keep away from other passengers.” Niles feared the man took him for insane when he left the compartment to find security. Niles waited, crouched on the floor so he wouldn’t be seen through the room’s window. The conductor returned with a security man wearing a railroad cap who sternly asked for a summary—not a novel. After Niles explained that the woman used a stun gun on him, the security guard radioed the police. Niles felt relieved to hear him arrange to have cops meet the train at the London station. The two men stepped around Niles, leaving him in the compartment. The conductor said, “Do not to move until the trains stops at London.” * * *

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Once the train grounded to a halt and the exit whistle blew, Niles stood to look out the service car window. The police boarded. He spied on passengers leaving the train, trundling luggage but had no success finding his assailant. He slumped to the to the train floor, avoiding detection. He wished his assailant would be apprehended by the cops in the terminal before he had to disembark, but he had no confidence the conductors had relayed anything about his assailant. The next throng of passengers boarded. When the cops finally arrived the conductors looked relieved to have Niles taken off their hands. Three officers escorted Niles off the train, through the turnstiles and downstairs. They proceeded into a dank room in the terminal subbasement where the policemen crowded around Niles, questioning him. The fact that Niles, and not his assailant, was the focus of their questions defied his imagination. Once he seemed to satisfy them about the nature of his business, he asked to leave—his son was waiting. The officers mumbled to one another in debate and asked where he would be staying. After telling them Claridges, they said they’d drive him there and keep a look out for him. Effectively, there was nothing more they could do. Niles considered that the police might not comply with his need to be dropped off at the restaurant first, so he told the officers he’d find transportation on his own. Finally, the police gave him a business card, told him to call if he saw anything unusual or had more to tell them then they released him.

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Pulling the baseball cap down low and putting the sunglasses on again, he scrambled out to look for a black taxi. Glancing around for a cab, he questioned how was going to meet Edward and not endanger him? He rang Edward’s mother, Charlene, to cancel, but no answer. He couldn’t avoid the arrangement that was set in motion to meet his son for dinner and have him spend-the-night at the hotel. Niles couldn’t leave his son waiting. He had to go get Edward and get to a police station. When he saw a cab, he hailed it and got in. The driver blathered for twenty-five minutes about how evening traffic bollocksed the roads. Finally, the cab steered to the curb, stopping in front of the Notting Grill. “Wait here.” Niles told the driver. “I’m just going to be a second to fetch my son and come back.” Niles left his Yankees cap and sunglasses in the cab. He dashed inside the loud restaurant and scanned the urban professional crowd, trying to spot Edward and Charlene. A pang of worry struck Niles. Then Niles spotted them seated at a leather booth near the open kitchen and went to the table. Edward jabbered at the hostess with a soda in hand until he saw his father and shouted, “Dad.” Tall for the age of ten, the boy had Niles’s height and fair complexion. Niles stooped to hug his boy tight, “Edward.” The boy grinned. “Dad, why are you in a baseball cap?” “Your father’s had a long, confusing day. Charlene, don’t ask any questions now, please.” Niles said with shallow breaths, nursing his arm.

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Edward grabbed Niles by the hand to show his dad what was in his backpack: his newest video game. “Look, Dad, it’s Halo 5.” “Very good, Edward.” Charlene shook her head at Niles’s haggard appearance. He knew he looked liked a condemned man who’d escaped a runaway train. She stood to kiss him on both cheeks. “Is your arm okay?” “Yes.” “Okay. I’m sorry, I have to leave. Even on a Friday night, the law office beckons. I do want to catch up. Are you all right?” “You’re leaving already?” “I’m sorry, Niles. Yes. You two have a nice dinner, wish I could stay.” Niles pulled Charlene and whispered in her ear. “I can’t take Edward tonight. Someone is after me. I was attacked on the train coming here with a stun gun.” “My god. Who?” “I don’t know, but can you keep it down?” Niles nodded toward Edward. “I obviously cannot talk about it now, but can you take him for tonight?” “He’s going to be heartbroken and I really have to go into the office, so he’ll have to sit there while I work.” “What’s wrong, dad. You’re not going to get out of seeing me, are you?” Niles couldn’t stand it, but he had to go. He hugged Edward. “Dad, what are you doing!” “I’m sorry Edward. Charlene, please stay here and wait while I leave. I’ll call you later.” He waved them off as he darted out the restaurant, toward the waiting black taxi. Niles looked back over his shoulder and saw Edward running after him.

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“Edward, be with your mother!” Niles turned around to escort his son back into the restaurant when a burgundy Peugeot pulled up. The Peugeot stopped in front of Niles and Edward, just behind the taxi. Niles recognized the woman who was driving the Peugeot as his assailant from the train. Someone wearing a ski mask sat beside her. Through the open car window, the driver jabbed her arm into the air, yelling, “That’s him.” A person with a brown ski mask jumped out of the Peugeot, pulling a long gun from a jacket. Niles said, “Edward, run inside!” Together, they moving toward the front door when he heard that same female voice shout, “Those who play God will be sacrificed!” A piercing pain crackled through Niles’s leg. He’d been shot ten feet from the front door. And not with a stun gun. Edward shrieked. Niles went to the ground. A red blotch spread on his pant leg from a hole above his knee cap. No time to think. The stinging sensation stabbed his leg and charged through his body. He gasped, trying to shout to Edward. Motioning with one hand, Niles finally shouted at his son who stood at the restaurant door in horror, “Edward, run.” Edward cried, “Someone help!” then darted inside. The shooter yanked the injured Niles into the Peugeot backseat, behind the driver and got in beside him. Ambushed again. The door slammed and they roared off. ***

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Edward stood just inside the restaurant, looking through the glass door. He saw the driver of what was his dad’s black cab leap from his seat. Distraught about what to do, Edward started for the cab to ask him for help. Bystanders were on their phones, presumably calling the police. “We have to follow them,” Edward screamed. The driver shouted, “Hurry, hurry.” But when Edward saw his mother running out of the restaurant, he panicked, froze in place and dropped to his knees, weeping. *** A musty burlap hood came down over Niles’s head. The wool cloth felt hot against his face as he breathed cigar smoke through the coarse weave. His claustrophobia surfaced. He resisted the hands on his arms by clenching his fists to his chest, but it was no use. One of his captors pried his hands to his sides, then tied them down with a bungee cord. His leg burned under the skin from the shot. “What the hell do you want?” Niles fired. He didn’t get an answer. “I said what the hell do you want?” He tried to wrestle his wrists away, but couldn’t loosen the cord. Someone pushed him over on his side in the back of the Peugeot. He worried about Edward and his mother’s safety. Did they get out of that restaurant and home safely? Shooting pain surged from his leg wound. His hands went clammy.

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They had been travelling at a steady rate for at least an hour when he heard the woman say, “You can drive from here. I’ll take this cab to the airport.” The car stopped. The driver apparently got out while the one next to Niles took the wheel. Car doors slammed shut. At least one had left. The car started moving again and the driver put the news on the radio. The car made a series of turns at a slower speed for half an hour. Niles had heard stories about rape and abduction cases. He knew that once the abductor got his victim to a second location, that it would be where the victim was usually killed. Niles slid himself to the side of the car. He remained motionless and then used the arm rest to push one end of his belt under a belt loop. The need to be quiet constrained his movements, but he had some freedom with the car radio on. With hands tied, he used tiny movement to unfasten his belt but failed. He wanted to undo his belt to make a tourniquet for his bleeding leg. Gradually, with discreet shimmying, he freed one end of his belt from his belt loop. Over several minutes of the car ride, he managed to work his belt out of two belt loops of his pants. In the process, the bungee cord around his wrists loosened. He had to stop and start so his noises wouldn’t draw attention. He was starting to loosen the stretchy bungee knot around his wrist when the driver looked into the rear view mirror and yelled. “Raise your hands.” Niles lifted his hands. “Don’t fucking test me!” Nile dropped his hands in his lap.

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Finally, the car wound up an incline and he heard a garage door noise. The car braked hard and the motor shut off. Niles was dragged from the back seat. The growl of a garage door lowering echoed off the walls. The man held him upright. Pain in Niles’s leg surged. Niles smelled car oil. Something put his mind on the Tower of London. The male voice commented about what a clever boy he had been with undoing his belt. Niles heard what sounded like a folding chair opening. Then metal slapped onto the floor. He was put into the chair. His ankles and wrists were tied. His captor’s movements were quick and practiced. He groped to free himself. The man laughed. “What do you want?” Niles pleaded through the burlap bag. “You know why you’re here.” “Tell me.” “I want your Grid credentials.” “My passport? It’s in my pocket.” “I don’t mean your passport. Do you want to live or die?” “Live.” Niles gasped. “You work on the Stanford Grid.” “Yes.” His heartbeat thumped furiously with the throbbing pain. “I can get you whatever you want.” “How do you access the Grid?” “Ugh. I don’t have access privileges.” An object that felt like a broom handle prodded Niles’s wounded leg. “Ah!” The white hot pain flared. Niles squirmed, going into an altered state of half-consciousness. Niles’s captor pulled him by the ear to wake him. The throbbing banged in his head anew. Nerves twanged

GRIDLOCK 20

from his foot and leg, spreading rods of fire through his body and brain. “There’s a numeric key. I don’t have it. It’s at the lab.” The broomstick slammed onto the arch of his right foot. He heard a small crack at the same moment something in his foot popped and the pain splintered up his leg. “Uh!” He bit his lip, then his lips parted, releasing a scream of agony. He shut his eyes tight. “Please, please stop.” “You must have the key.” “I don’t.” “I don’t believe you.” The broom smashed his left foot. Pain climaxed again. His scream quieted as his core strength sapped away. Becoming delirious, Niles began to disassociate from his agony and surroundings. Losing the ability to concentrate, he sent a prayer to the universe for Edward. In the solitary darkness of the hood, his head dropped and consciousness faded. “Total waste of time, this,” the man hollered to himself. Niles’s torturer lifted his chair from both sides and unceremoniously heaved him—chair and all—into a closet. He collided into the wall and the door slammed.

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thirty-one
Saturday, November 5 Berkeley, CA The clock tower at the Cal Berkeley campus chimed twice down the road from where Roger Knowlan worked. Installing Grid overflow capacity servers for Stanford at Berkeley was never something he imagined he’d do. But with Hideo gone, Jude at the FBI and Niles abroad, Roger had to jump in. Even with a corduroy coat on, he felt cold here, inside this network operating center that Niles called the steel igloo. A wild mix of emotions ran through Knowlan. Everything had been peaks and valleys. Losing Hideo depressed him terribly. He was convinced that Hideo’s death was caused by someone wanting to slow the arrival of deeply discounted medicine. Added to that, Hideo’s absence doubled the work load at Stanford. But to Knowlan’s surprise, he actually enjoyed working inside the 15x20 foot network operating center. He felt safe here at the SETI@home Department—Jude’s and Niles’s old office. The six-floor citadel had tinted windows and enough cement to serve as a government bomb shelter. It looked like a remnant from World War II

GRIDLOCK 6

and it was. Situated among trees, the University of California’s Mathematics Institute loomed on a hilltop over Berkeley’s main campus and most of San Francisco Bay. Knowlan relished the legacy of these buildings that made up the Ernest Orlando Lawrence National Laboratory. The lab had hosted breakthroughs in uranium research. It provided a home for what the Department of Energy called Big Science—big machines, budgets, staffs, laboratories and bombs. The human genome had become the latest focus of Big Science. If it weren’t for those deadly incidents, Knowlan’s stars would be in alignment. Surrounded by buzzing, temperature-sensitive machinery, he tested the last bank of server racks. It ran perfectly. Stanford now had backup to protect against potential network failure. He couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of curing Kate’s advanced breast cancer. The opportunity boggled his mind, even while working on servers. A door creaked over the steady whirring of the fans. “Mr. Gary Knowlan?” asked a girlish voice, making Knowlan jump. He turned toward the door. “Yes. How’d you get in?” Knowlan said, sizing up the young woman from her head to her pointy-toe boots. She nervously curled her hair in her long fingers. “Your Stanford department head directed me . . . said you liked publicity.” “Publicity?” “I’m with a new scientific journal, BioMed Review. It’s an L.A. publication. I’m visiting here for a few days, just arrived this morning.” She offered her hand, as if to demonstrate that she came in peace. “Maureen Kenner.

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I’m writing about the Stanford Grid . . . whether it poses any threat to Big Pharma.” She had an hourglass figure even in wool gabardine trousers. Knowlan considered fishing around for a petit syrah bottle that Jude said he used to stash in the cool network operating center. “You are, are you?” “I realize I’m interrupting,” she said with a pouty expression. “But I wonder if I could interview you about the world’s fastest computer?” She inched closer, a cultivated maneuver that appeared to be a well-worn reporter ploy for information. He figured that at the very least she needed his help. He’d been approached by a number of reporters over the years and recognized the gnawed nails and frantic expression. He felt sorry for someone who didn’t appear to enjoy being a journalist. “On deadline?” Knowlan checked his watch, thinking about his own schedule. “How’d you know?” She removed a tube of lip gloss from her purse and slowly rubbed the stick across her lower lip, then put it away. She gave him a pearly grin, picking up her purse and a pad with a pen secured in its spirals. “All right.” Knowlan closed his notebook PC. “Quite a meat locker you got here.” She crossed her arms for warmth and moved closer. Knowlan offered his coat to her. She declined. She adjusted the heavy bag over her shoulder. The bag’s weight forced her to thrust one hip, revealing a vulnerable schoolgirl beneath that diligent and determined exterior. While dressing this morning, she probably hadn’t anticipated spending time in the igloo. “Let’s go to the cafeteria. It’s warmer there.”

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“Good, I’m starving,” she said. He guided her out of the NOC and down the staircase. They proceeded to the building cafeteria. Along the way, Knowlan explained how SETI@home became the Grid that inspired grids, but how Google was the biggest Grid now. She rubbed her eyes. “I need food to think.” A moment later they slid turkey sandwiches from a cafeteria counter onto orange trays. They found a free table and sat in white pod-shaped plastic chairs. She swiveled. “Love these chairs.” Knowlan watched her produce a digital recorder from her bag. “Glad I found you. I wandered into the wrong building at first . . . aerosol something.” “That’s the Berkeley Lab’s Indoor Environment Department where they do Aerosol Testing. One of my partners used to swap computer equipment with them— sort of a recycling co-op he started. Equipment swapping makes the University system go round.” “Makes sense,” she said. “The aerosol lab tests chemicals that become weapons when airborne.” “Leave it to me to stumble into the hazardous chemical area,” she said. “You don’t mind if I record this? Accuracy counts.” Knowlan swigged his lemonade, then shook his head. She pressed record. “So the public can support Grid computing by downloading software?” she asked. “That’s how they can donate PC power. Every little completed work unit is sent back to the Grid.”

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“And in the 1990s Big Science spread to genome mapping and sort of catapulted Grid technology,” Heather said. “Who from Palo Alto sent you again?” “Someone I spoke with at your department said you’d be here—I forget the name. Tell me how the Grid will threaten drug companies, I mean since it’s free.” Knowlan reclined in his pod chair, interlocking fingers. “You’re up to speed already.” “Sort of. Seems to be a high stakes roulette between the public and private sectors. I can’t predict what’s gonna play out, but a national medical Grid flies in the face of private medicine.” Knowlan leaned in to smell her perfume, then slouched back. It reminded him of how long it had been since he had been with a woman and how he had allowed work to consume him. “Look, Stanford’s Grid is organizing our DNA. And our computer power became exponentially greater by linking to CERN’s Grid. We’re poised to save lives.” “How?” she asked, playing with her hair again. “Millions more people will be downloading the Grid program onto their desktop so their PC becomes a working part of the project.” She nodded and pushed the tape recorder closer to Knowlan. “So, why aren’t doctors using grid technology already?” “Some oppose the Grid for reasons of confidentiality, others think it represents socialized medicine or Big Brother. Truthfully, the jury is out on whether or not the Grid should be free or not. I think it’ll evolve into a payas-you go online system.” “Very interesting. Do you feel the drug industry is dangerously behind?”

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“Absolutely. The whole system is outdated. So many people die from misprescription—many hospitals still aren’t bar-coding their inventory. The nation’s tied to an antiquated business model, based on blockbuster drugs. We’re stuck in mainframe healthcare when the world needs personalized attention.” “Okay.” “One quarter of all U.S. senior citizens forgo their prescribed medicine because pills cost too much.” “Really,” she said, tapping her chin. Knowlan went on, and she feverishly took notes. “I think I’ve got a story.” “Don’t misquote me now.” “I won’t.” They talked for a few more minutes and she thanked him for his time. “Thank you, Maureen.” She dropped her recorder and pen into her oversized purse. Strawberry blondee hair fell over her eye, and she tucked it behind her ear. “Hey,” Knowlan said, “care to join me for dinner tonight? I’ll show you around Room 307 of Berkeley’s Gilman Hall. It’s where Glenn Seaborg with his team is said to have discovered plutonium isotope 94. A historical landmark.” “Sorry, I have a boyfriend. Now, how do I get off this hill and find the freeway going south?” After getting directions, she got up and slung her enormous bag over her shoulder. A company I.D. badge poked out from her purse pocket. Knowlan noticed the top of the badge showed a familiar logo and the last name, “Styles.” Heather departed as abruptly as she’d appeared. It was too late when he realized that the logo represented Johnston & Quib.

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thirty-two
Saturday, November 5 San Francisco, CA Half the day had passed and Jude still had not heard from Niles. Jude opened an Orangina from his fridge to soothe his headache and rang Virgin Atlantic. He explained he was a federal agent tracking down a passenger. According to the airlines, Niles didn’t take the flight he said he’d be on. Then he tried Niles’s cell phone but only got voice mail. Jude muttered to himself discontentedly wondering if Niles had decided to stay another day in Europe to spend more time with his son, Edward, or if he too had gone MIA. Jude desperately needed a DNA repository to corroborate Kate’s cancer diagnosis. At least Knowlan was hard at work, piecing together a Grid-based database of mammograms. While Knowlan had run sample images and indexed them electronically, they lacked real data. Jude’s pain had turned into a migraine, pulsing inside his skull. He downed two antihistamine pills with a swallow of orange drink. These alleviated pain faster than his prescription medication, and he got 150 to a bottle instead of just twelve with his costly prescription.

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The problem remained: a diagnosis accurate enough to make custom drugs a viable treatment option would require a large set of records with patients’ reactions to drugs. Stanford needed this as a basis to compare healthy breast tissue to unhealthy tissue while also analyzing a patient’s reactions to drugs genomically. Johnston & Quib had the largest breast cancer database. There had to be a means of accessing it, but Jude didn’t know what that would be. He certainly wasn’t going to come by this information merely by asking for it. The idea crept into his mind that he might have to break-in to get it. Another dark maze to maneuver. Jude took down notes in his notebook when an idea struck. Back in his teenage hacker days, he had learned that the quickest way into a data center didn’t involve breaking in, but social pretexting—masquerading as someone trustworthy to trick a legitimate user into giving up a password to the network. He could exploit a person’s natural tendency to help a co-worker or friend. Users were the weak link in security. Companies spent fortunes on firewalls and intrusion detection, but if someone could persuade an employee to give up a password, then all of that security meant nothing. Jude called his old pal from university days at Berkeley. Jude hoped Alfonso could be his connection. But he’d have to act now. In two days, the Stanford Grid team and J&Q would officially separate. Then it would be impossible for Jude to get into the data center, even with Alfonso. Alfonso, known as “Mr. Upbeat,” now ran the Information Technology Department for Johnston & Quib. He gladly agreed to meet Jude for a beer. ***

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Alfonso stood in the entrance to the Pyramid Brewing Company waiting for Jude. Lofty and rustic, the brew pub displayed the fun-loving atmosphere of an oversized ski lodge. Studying black-and-white photographs on the wall with the amazement of an adult who’s never seen a history book, Alfonso was reading aloud the captions beneath old images of Berkeley. Jude snuck up on Alfonso. “Have you lost your way?” After not seeing one another for a year, they said their hellos. At a round picnic-styled table, Alfonso asked Jude one question after another about the status of the Google deal, projecting his voice over the noise in the high-ceilinged room. “Congratulations with your Turing Award. Things going well at Stanford?” Jude didn’t want to get into details. “All right.” “I read there’s speculation that you’re partnering with CERN and working on a search engine.” Jude nodded. “When will all of this happen?” Jude rubbed his sore side again. He briefly explained everything to Alfonso. “You’re the algorithm man,” Alfonso told Jude. “Combine that with Google’s reach and Stanford’s Grid— wow! Some processing power.” Jude had trouble sitting still. He had to get things running—if the Stanford Grid works, Kate lives. Jude bought a round of beer before his phone rang twice and stopped. Checking the phone, he saw he had missed an international call. He excused himself from Alfonso, stepped away and hit redial. After five rings, he heard a tearful voice say hello. Jude held his mobile tightly to his ear. “Charlene, it’s Jude here.”

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“Jude. I’m glad I caught you.” “Charlene, are you okay?” “No. It’s Niles. I don’t know who did it, but he was shot.” Her cry sounded tinny on the overseas line. Jude thought he misheard her. “What?” “Niles is dead.” Blood rushed to Jude’s face. His head went hot. His best friend, gone. He wanted an explanation. But an explanation wouldn’t bring Niles back. Jude couldn’t think straight. He asked, “How?” Jude took a drink—his senses numb. “Edward was there to meet him. Two men shot Niles and took him. “She spoke with robotic deliberateness. “Took his body?” “Yes.” “But how do you know he’s definitely dead?” “Honestly, I don’t know. Edward told me they shot him. The police and the media all want to speak with Edward, but he needs space.” “Charlene—“ “Jude, I’m sorry. I’m beside myself. I don’t know how I would’ve found Edward if the restaurant hadn’t called my work.” “Any idea where they took him?” “No. I called the police.” “And?” “They wanted a report but truly have been no help. Edward did say they drove a Peugeot. A dark red one.” “Good. Did he get a license plate?” “I, I don’t think so.” “If you come up with more, Charlene, anything at all, call me. As far as we know, there’s hope. Tell Edward that.”

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“Thank you, Jude. Oh, and—?” Charlene whispered. “Yes.” “Edward told me that the men who shot Niles said, ‘Those who play God will be sacrificed.’ What does that mean?” That same curse. The epithet he had found at Onagi’s lab. Jude felt as if an invisible octopus with deadly tentacles was strangling everyone around him. “I don’t know. Did you get a name or contact anyone from Scotland Yard?” “No, but I have a telephone number.” She rattled it off. “Sorry, I’ll have to call you later. Take care of yourself and Edward.” Jude said, then folded his mobile phone. Jude’s heart pounded. He fought a meltdown. Alfonso shot Jude a look. Jude excused himself and stepped outside where he called the phone number for Scotland Yard. An operator connected him directly to an officer’s desk. After being put on hold, Jude learned that an investigation was underway on the man who was shot in the street, but there was no other information at this time. Jude hung up. He might never see Niles again. He knew he wouldn’t get over this loss in a few months or a year. He needed to speak to Nathalie about this and find out who they could involve at the office. These acts had to be a coordinated plot. Jude pictured Hackman coming at him with that awkward walk and double-chin. Jude needed to find out whether Hackman had instigated these crimes. Jude returned to the table. “Are you all right?” Alfonso asked with concern.

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He wasn’t, but he gave a decent performance. He opted not to involve Alfonso with all that had happened —it was easier for the moment. “Yes . . . I just learned that a relative died.” “I’m sorry,” Alfonso answered. Somehow, losing Niles made Jude more determined to help Kate. He thought about what he might be able to do with the pocket hard drive he had in his glove compartment. “Alfonso.” “Yes.” “Listen, I’m really not myself right now but—” “We can do this another time.” “It’s a strange problem, but it’s important.” “Go ahead.” “We’re having issues at Stanford. Our data center is running hot. I’ve gotta find a workaround. I’m sure I would get an idea of a new server layout if I saw your office. Is there any way you give me a tour of your facility and cooling system?” “Could be arranged. How about after lunch next week?” “I hate to push, but I need that tour today, now.” “Now? Why?“ “Because I’d like to get ideas for lowering temperatures asap. Before something blows.” “I suppose we could swing that.”

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thirty-three
Saturday, November 5 Berkeley, CA Jude’s head pounded as he pressed the accelerator pedal, overtaking cars. A scent of jasmine wafted through his lowered car window. It oddly reminded him of his mom’s funeral flowers and the possibility that Niles was lying on a coroner’s gurney somewhere. Jude passed more cars. Alfonso followed. He wanted to tell Alfonso more but the matter was too layered to get into. Jude pulled his Mazda into the J&Q parking lot— sweating. Everything depended on his ability to get the Insilico molecular modeling program working and that depended on his obtaining the Johnston & Quib database. But Kate’s custom treatment was still nowhere in sight—she was only getting closer to death. He thought over the punishment he’d face for a corporate Internet Protocol theft. Ten years in prison; maybe more. Weighing consequences didn’t help. He shut off the ignition as Alfonso drove into the parking lot after him and transferred the pocket hard drive from his glove box into his front pocket. Time to think like a hacker. He worked for the FBI to apprehend cyber hackers, yet today he would become one—quite a

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twist. It’s even more ironic that his algorithm never would’ve happened if he didn’t test his wits against governmental security systems at age sixteen. The delinquent teenage hacker of his past had to pull one more stunt. He and Alfonso jogged across the nearly empty parking lot through the glass door into the main J&Q office building. On the weekend shift, a young Hispanic receptionist heavily applied face powder, using a compact mirror to get desired results. Jude swallowed, his throat dry. “Excuse me. Do you have a badge?” She directed the question to Jude alone. “Jude Wagner is part of the Stanford Grid Project alliance. He should be on your list there,” Alfonso said, showing his I.D. “You must be new.” “Yes. Sign in, please,” she said. Jude signed, jotting the date. “No cameras,” she said with a cavalier wave of sharp red nails. When Alfonso and Jude turned the corner into the hall, Alfonso said, “Watch out for hot-blooded Latin ladies, they’re scorpions.” “I’ll relay that to my French-Canadian partner.” “God be with you,” Alfonso said. “Now to the factory. We’re behind on a project, so we’ll see some faces.” Alfonso accompanied Jude down a wide corridor to the IT department. He smelled popcorn as they approached a metal door. “I see that they’ve tried to give the place a homey touch. They don’t want the worker bees to leave.”

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“You know how it is, Jude. I put out fires while the higher-ups divine ideas to make IT more results-driven. They think we’re dolts. But whatever rolls downhill, these people are my family. In an emergency, I’d match the wits of any of my guys with the whole exec team upstairs.” Alfonso proudly opened the door to the computer lab. They entered a large open room that appeared to be a hallowed home to creative engineers. Some three dozen cubicles were organized into six clusters. Alfonso pointed out the location of the assistant manager and coworkers. Jude made mental notes of the name, Luke Rubowski, Alfonso’s assistant manager, and a co-worker, Seth Lemmert. At the end of the cubicles they approached two tables, large as barn doors, festooned in computer parts: the lab bench, Jude knew, was for component diagnostics and repair. The young denim-and-tee-shirtclad computer techs didn’t look up from their typing. A row of brightly lit vending machines lined the back wall. Alfonso led Jude past an empty corner office to a dark glass door marked Data Center. He swiped his electronic passcard, and the door lock clicked open. Jude and Alfonso entered the windowless room. Its server cooling fans buzzed loudly. Jude saw aisles of black racks, a far more impressive data center than the FBI’s in San Francisco. This gave him a shot of encouragement. They proceeded down one of the aisles of mounted computer servers, a dozen to a rack. “The data center is all redesigned,” Alfonso said. “The website runs on these.” He pointed to a rack that looked no different from the others. “Our databases are mounted on the far wall. It’s a SCIF—secure combination infrastructure facility.” Alfonso described how they had

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configured their server cooling system, pointing to the recess in the room. “We run our protein database on those two servers—backed up by the one beneath it. The cancer server is there.” Alfonso pointed. Jude checked to see if he still had his jump drive in his pocket. “Got it.” “Feel free . . . meander around.” Alfonso said he’d be back after hitting the men’s room. Jude had a funny feeling that Alfonso knew he needed information and decided to lend a hand without asking a lot of questions. He was wise that way. After the door closed behind Alfonso, Jude looked around at the servers. He moved to the one that Alfonso had pointed to. Quickly, Jude sat at the keyboard to further familiarize himself with the database structure. At first he didn’t recognize the file system layout to the cancer database. He navigated through it and several keystrokes later, he had a basic mental picture of the setup. He searched and found the cancer data he needed from the breast cancer subsections of the database. He opened two files and looked them over. They were incorrect. The third file type he clicked open, though, contained distinguishing markers for Kate’s disease. Bingo. Jude pulled his pocket hard drive from his front pocket, inserted it into the server’s USB port and pulled those files that bore the name BREAST_CANCER_TRANSCRIPTIONS. There were six folders and each contained a few hundred files and each file held a hundreds of breast cancer patient transcriptions—a substantial trove of cancer data. Lastly, he copied the network routing information to the drive so he could navigate the system later. He

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hoped Knowlan would get what he needed from this database. Jude removed the drive for the USB and shoved it back into his pocket. Alfonso returned. Jude asked a few more questions about the air conditioning system. Alfonso talked to him about their cooling configuration as they walked outside the building complex. “Thanks, Alfonso.” Once Alfonso returned inside, Jude pulled out his cell, rang the company’s main telephone number and asked to be transferred to Seth Lemmert. After a wait to soft rock music, he heard a click and hello. Jude said, “Yes, this is agent Williams with the IRS. I’ve been working with your IT managers, there, Luke Rubowski and Alfonso Sanchez. They told me that you could provide the Johnston and Quib virtual private network access codes and the server login credentials to the cancer database to verify tax information.” “Tax information?” Lemmert sounded confused. “Yes, so your department may avoid being audited.” “H’mm, shouldn’t I have seen something in written regarding this?” “We did send a notice. Didn’t you get it?” “No. We’ve been underwater here. So all you need are the login credentials to access the network?” “Yes, simply part of a basic office admin assessment. If you like, I could speak with your supervisor.” “He’s not in.” “When does he get back?” “Look, how long will this take?” “Just a few minutes,” Jude assured him. “Okay. I only have time to go through this once, so please take it down. The login credentials can be accessed from the home page, forward slash vpn, which

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pops up a sign-in. Use traveler2016 for the username and aries9009 for the password.” Jude scrawled it on the back of Alfonso’s business card. “Thank you for your help, Mr. Lemmert.” The assistant IT manager hung up. Jude stuffed the card into his pocket and returned to his car. The San Francisco bay appeared dishwater gray as Jude cruised through the FasTrak lane at the Bay Bridge toll plaza. His mind fired in every direction. Copying the breast cancer database from J&Q had left him keyed up. He was relieved to have made headway on Kate’s behalf. He flipped down his visor, blocking the blinding sun that hung over the western sky. The Bay Bridge advisory sign read HIGH WINDS ON BRIDGE. He ignored warnings as he tried to weave around cars on the upper deck of the bridge. Traffic was heavy even though it was before rush hour. The wind forced him to keep his eyes on the road. He touched a car stereo button and pushed in an opera CD, Maria Callas’s Tosca, one of Jude’s mom’s favorites. Hang in there, Kate. With this database there’s hope. Something shiny reflected in Jude’s rearview mirror. He adjusted it. That damn Range Rover had come from nowhere and was gaining like a rocket-propelled grenade from hell. He changed lanes, and the Rover changed lanes behind him. He couldn’t conceive how Johnston & Quib had given chase so quickly. Jude’s stomach dropped. Had he been busted by Johnston & Quib Security? Or was he in for something worse?

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Driving through the Treasure Island tunnel, Jude saw he was nearing downtown San Francisco. The Ferry Building and the tops of large buildings grew. He pinned the accelerator to the floor of his Mazda MX6. The speedometer climbed to 89. Threading five lanes of cars, he felt his vehicle wobble from the gale. The Range Rover behind blasted too, cutting left and right. The bull bar on its front bumper came closer and closer as Jude tried to see the woman in the cab. Then he got a glimpse of a gun when the Rover struck from behind. The contact knocked the MX6 into the left lane. Jude nearly struck a Volvo and corrected. He held the steering wheel tighter and maneuvered past slower cars, veering across three lines of cars to the far right lane. He suddenly came to the Fremont Street exit and prepared to quickly navigate the labyrinth of streets ahead. When Jude downshifted, the engine roared with higher pitch. The orange needle sprang across his tachometer. He curved sharply down the off-ramp, feeding through the Financial District. The Rover swerved right, recklessly, to exit late. Wheels shrieked. The Range Rover slew off track as it took the curve, grazed the off-ramp wall, but it continued to trail Jude’s car. He drove through the first traffic light, but the next one was red. He pegged the brake pedal, studying his rearview mirror. The SUV sat two cars behind him. He found a hole in the flow of cross traffic then blew through the red light. Leaving the SUV behind, he started for his apartment when he saw that the light had changed behind him and the SUV was tailing him again. Driving to his apartment was out now. Secluded Filbert Street allowed no hope for escape. And he’d had

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enough trouble there already with the break-in. He’d been foolish to leave Kate there alone. The light changed. Pulling away from the pack, Jude crossed Market Street, and hooked left onto Pine Street —a one-way thoroughfare that traveled west through the heart of town. At Grant, a narrow avenue that ran north, he leaned the steering wheel to the right, hard, and flew onto the sidewalk. Oversteering, he bumped onto the curb and came head on toward three kids crossing the road. He pulled the wheel left and just missed them. One of them flipped him the finger as he passed. He’d entered the densest district of the city: Chinatown. Pedestrians thronged the narrow streets. Vendors’ merchandise hung beneath low-slung shop awnings. It was easy to disappear in Chinatown. The illegal alien, sweatshop and gang found refuge in its everyday chaos. Jude knew the neighborhood better than the average round-eye, having often walked downhill from his apartment for acupuncture treatment for his migraines. Turning right on California Street, Jude stopped in a red zone. Pulse racing, he yanked the emergency brake, jumped from the car and ran north on Grant Avenue. Orange and red plastic lanterns hung across the battered street, as if the neighborhood were permanently set for a Chinese New Year’s celebration. Disoriented, he almost slammed his knee onto the rear end of a car that was stopped at a red light. He got around it and kept running past a gilded pagoda. For a nano-second, he caught sight of ducks hanging in the windows of a dim sum restaurant and caught the aroma of steamed pork dumplings. Checking

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over his shoulder for the Rover, he collided into a clothing rack outside a crowded market. Red, black and gold Chinese robes sailed. “Slow down,” a young woman shouted from a painted balcony. Hearing a honk, he turned and saw the Rover, driving on the sidewalk getting around traffic. Gotta move. His feet couldn’t keep up with his adrenaline. He narrowly avoided running into a clump of bricks that some Chinese residents had stacked in front of their stores. The bricks had been left over from the time before the cross street, Commercial, was paved over. Some believed that they promoted good feng shui. Luckily they didn’t send him airborne. Next, he came upon a pearl and jewelry business. The owners were talking amongst themselves as they leaned against glass counter cases. He passed an open storefront emitting pungent smells. Squid, shrimp, halibut and catfish were arranged over cubes of ice. He slipped on a fillet of something and fell onto it. Its essence ground into his denim. Picking himself up, he barreled on, wearing half of the putrid catch on his thigh and rear. Jude neared a business with a poster-sized cardboard sign taped to the door. The sign showed a stylized eye on an oversized hand. Jude darted into the dark room, which emanated red light. He slipped behind a purple velvet curtain that acted as a doorway to the small room. Cardboard letters spelling TAROT READER were push-pinned into the wall above a round table with a beaded tablecloth. Incense had burned to ash on the table. He could hear a TV droning in a back room. An irate woman wearing an apron and holding a Louisville slugger poked her head around a screen.

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“We are closed.” she shouted. Jude apologized, but the lady kept shouting. He ducked through a side door that connected the shop to an adjoining acupuncture business. He had visited Dr. Wong’s office for headache therapy so regularly that she sent him Christmas gifts of frozen organic salmon. The boxy space reeked of incense, root and spice, ginseng and ginger. The lights were out, but a streetlight outside shone through the window. A moment later, Dr. Wong came in and flipped on the overhead lights. A quizzical look on her face turned to amusement when she saw Jude. She wore a white medical coat with large front pockets. Apparently having just returned from shopping, she was lugging bags. “Can you hide me?” Jude said. Dr. Wong set the bags down. “Don’t worry.” “No, someone is chasing me.” She hit the wall switch, dousing the lights again and obscuring her face. “You will be safe.” In the faint light from the window, she pointed at the desk as a place for cover. A silk shawl was draped over it, making the desk a place where he won’t be immediately seen. Through the window, Jude saw the Range Rover pull to the curb in front of the store, blocking traffic. Car horns beeped. Jude moved toward Dr. Wong’s desk. He watched the blonde-haired woman he’d skirmished with on Columbus Avenue jump from the car holding a handgun. He now noticed her chalky white face. Jude bumped into the table, and wormed into the kneehole. A moment later, he heard footsteps stomping into the Tarot shop, then into the acupuncture office. The lights went on. “Where is he?” the woman shouted.

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“Who?” Dr. Wong said. The gray-haired Tarot woman screamed from the room next door. “Who you looking for?” Range Rover woman didn’t answer. From under the desk, Jude watched. She moved in a choppy way that reminded him of a hockey player. The woman searched about in the office, Jude’s cell phone chirped. The attacker wheeled around to the desk that hid Jude. Jude saw the woman’s empty pancake holster strapped to her ankle. He braced himself against the desk, preparing to kick the woman who would put a gun in his face. The attacker bent to look under the desktop. Before Jude could kick, Dr. Wong raised her arm behind the attacker in one arching motion, stabbing her. The woman let out a shrill cry and tripped to the floor with a fistful of long, Chinese needles jutting from top of her back. The attacker clawed at the needles until she collapsed to the floor. Thinking quickly, Dr. Wong stepped in front of Jude, and bent down to grab the woman’s gun when she moaned and startled Dr. Wong. She was coming to already when Jude picked up an empty tea mug from the desk; he pressed the woman’s thumb and index finger onto it. The injured woman muttered, “My partner is right behind, coming for you.” Jude got up with the mug and blurted, “Call 911 and tell them to send the police because there’s a robbery in progress.” Dr. Wong picked up her phone while Jude swung open the door and a passerby bumped into him. The mug he was carrying dropped and shattered. Jude leapt over the broken mug and got to his car ahead.

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A parking ticket was tucked under his wiperblade. He ignored it, got in and sped toward the marina still reeking of fish.

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thirty-four
Saturday, November 5 Stanford University, CA From the lab chair, Kate massaged her temples. Her illness might have been the source of her fatigue, but she banished the thought. She was just feeling nervous excitement, she told herself. She had just recovered from the flu. “Let’s get started.” Knowlan removed a cotton swab from a sterile bag, wiped the inside of her cheek, and sealed it in a sample container. “Where does that go?” “Half of this sample will be used to perform one normal genetic sequence. The rest goes to specific cancer detection on another machine. Shall we?” Adjusting his lab coat, he directed her to the back of the room. He rested a hand on the largest instrument in the room. It resembled a hybrid of a refrigerator and an oversized Apple Computer. The name HeliScope gleamed across its front panel. “This machine cost half a million dollars, but it pays for itself—it’ll do the priceless task of sequencing your genome.” “This I have to see.”

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Knowlan inserted the cotton swab with her saliva sample into the DNA genetic analyzer, pressed an amber light and motioned for Kate to come to his computer. Knowlan clicked his mouse through a PowerPoint presentation and showed her a replica of what was happening. A long row of lights under a glass platen glided from left to right. With a faint whir, the lights picked up speed, making a subtle vibrating noise. Knowlan narrated the process with the pride of a teenager launching a homemade model rocket. “The machine loads a tiny sample of your saliva into thousands of wells so the DNA can be decoded. A beam shines light onto the DNA and then records the reflection —like a photograph, capturing detailed measurements. This photographic process takes six hours. We collect these digital data of your DNA fragments and run those shapes through the computer to analyze and convert them into binary logic that generates your personal genome.” Staring at the equipment before her, Kate said, “I’d guess this machine identifies my mutation somehow.” “Sort of. With microscopic photography, it produces data on your disease. But we won’t be mapping your entire genome.” “Why?” “Because we’ve already narrowed down one hundred regions of the genome that are predictors for cancer. Only two genes—” “BRACA ONE and BRACA TWO cause breast cancer.” “That’s right. The test will reveal just how aggressive or benign your tumor is. That’s the easy part. The tough part is interpreting your genome against databases and analyzing it using the Grid. This data will tell us whether

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or not you truly need chemotherapy and what targeted drug treatment will inhibit your cancer.” “How long will this take?” “Ordinarily, a couple of weeks, but since we’re zeroing in on breast cancer alone, we’ll have it in twenty-four hours. Your brother still has to provide us with another database—one more robust. Now, tell me: do you have any relatives who’ve been diagnosed with cancer at fifty or younger?” “My mother was diagnosed at fifty-one.” “Right. Jude mentioned that once. I do have to be thorough with covering these genetic counseling questions. Have you done genetic counseling before, Kate?” “Only in my nightmares. You should know that I had bleeding from my urinary tract and I have joint pain.” Knowlan frowned sympathetically. He went back to the sequencer and pressed SUBMIT to complete her genomic DNA. Returning to his workstation, he launched the Grid application. The Grid, he explained, would analyze her sequenced genome and the white cells which he had extracted from her blood. “The Grid cluster command will instantly deliver your processing job to at least 90,000 processors.” “Genomic science has come a long way.” “No one thought the genome would be sequenced by 2003, either.” She sat up. “I think the whole world is playing catch up to this stuff like I am. Over my whole life, I’ve never been the early adopter. Until today.” “I’m glad to hear it. Jude told me you were an old school skeptic. Hopefully, sequencing your genome will mark change for you in more ways than one.”

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thirty-five
Saturday, November 5 San Francisco, CA Winds blustered outside Jude’s apartment causing a branch from a maple tree to claw at the kitchen window. Jude spread peanut butter and honey on pita bread in his kitchen, wondering where Kate might be. He had called her number and reached voicemail. Next, he called Nathalie to tell her about his chase through Chinatown. “What did your assailant look like?” Nathalie asked. “She was Caucasian, had brassy blonde, shoulder length hair, caked on makeup, stood around 5’, 6” and wore black boots and pants with a short brown jacket.” “What did she want from you?” “I’ve gotta think she was after me for the Grid security token.” “You still keep one?” “We thought it would be a good security precaution that I keep one off campus since Roger Knowlan carried his on campus.” They tried to profile the attacker again, factoring in this recent incident in Chinatown.

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Nathalie said that considering how much had happened in such a short amount of time they should presume that this assailant and the male who broke into Jude’s apartment are involved with the homicides. They then ran through the profiles of killers. When homicides were thoughtfully planned it indicated that the perp was organized, educated and intelligent. Next, Jude had fought off both a man and a woman, suggesting that the killer had a power of persuasion to get someone to join his or her cause. He and Nathalie mulled over the nine classic types of assailants, remembering their forensic psychology: she eliminated the insane killer because this perp proved too organized to be deranged. Moving down the list mentally, he reconsidered the circumstances involving Hideo, Jűrgen, his break-in, and this chase through Chinatown. Then he remembered a profile that worked as a team and was retaliatory in nature. It usually involved a male and female with the female being in charge. Nathalie recalled how this female killer type struck with a more spaced out frequency than that of a male-only serial killer. Also, this female type did not know their victims personally. Jude didn’t recognize either the man or the woman so this seemed to fit. Then Nathalie interrupted. “You’re thinking is too profile-based. You’re looking at this like we know we’ve got a serial killer on our hands which I highly doubt is the case.” “Why?” “Because serial killers follow patterns like a crimes of passion and they don’t operate internationally.” “So then, what do we have?”

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“Look at the motive. If these homicides impede the Stanford Grid, this has to involve business. And if it’s about business then we have professional hit men and women to consider who’ll defy profiles. I can only think of one thing.” “What?” “This may all be a wild guess,” she said, “but do you know of anyone who has cause for revenge?” “Maybe someone from J&Q. Our Stanford team’s sudden pull out could’ve provoked violence. I wonder if there’s a female at J&Q capable of this? I do recall from training that the revenge killer was almost always female and motivated by jealously or a need to retaliate.” “Okay.” “Okay? What do we do next?” He said. “First, we cannot carry on the way we have. I’m thinking about you and sex and, I, I think that what we did was a mistake. We can’t start something right now. It’s hard to tell you that because I want it. I want it more than you know. But for right now, I have to quit jumping into bed with you like you’re my sex buddee.” “That’s not the expression.” “Whateveur.” “I’m not going to argue with you, Nathalie. We can put what we have in a box and store it on a shelf for later if you want. But people change. Things go stale.” “Enough about that.” Jude said, “You got it. No detours.” “Good. As usual, the answers we want to the mystery of this perpetrator are going to take work. Work and vigilance to cross off every potential suspect from our list until we’ve got that one.” She wished him a good night and hung up.

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Jude could hardly sit still after that conversation. What sounded like a big gust came from the direction of the door. He kicked himself for not moving Kate to a hotel, where she’d be safer. He still couldn’t comprehend that some calculating hit man had shot Niles. Then he remembered he’d left a notebook in the trunk that held notes on the Grid work he was doing the day his papers were stolen. Setting down the pita, he went to his bedroom, grabbed his Smith & Wesson and holster, and strapped it on. Before leaving, he threw on his suede jacket, zipped it up over the gun and headed out into darkness to retrieve his notebook. At his Mazda, he unlocked the trunk and picked up the spiral notebook when the threat letter fell out. He snatched it and was putting it into his pocket when a hand from behind him grabbed his arm. Acting on reflex from high school wrestling, Jude gripped the wrist, pivoted, ducked and whipped it behind the man’s back, heaving him against the car. The man roiled. “Hey, it’s Agent Speer you bonehead.” Jude loosened his grip. “Wagner. It’s the FBI,” the man squawked. Jude recognized that reedy voice. He dropped the man’s arm, realizing too late he’d screwed up, acting in haste. Jude swallowed as the gangly agent with the baggy gray suit did a slow turn, adjusting his shoulder holster. “What are you doing? We tried your mobile and I knocked on your door.” “What am I doing? With your sneaking up on me, I should’ve broken your nose.” “Watch yourself. Hackman wants you. Right away.” “Why now?”

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“I’m not expecting trouble, but if you’re gonna drag your feet—” “What does he want?” Jude asked. “He wants to borrow a pie recipe from you.” Speer gave a shitty grin. “He’s got business to go over.” “If I’m going to be treated like a felon, I want to know why.” This had to do with the incident at Woodside, but Jude wanted to be sure. “Swiss authorities have contacted us about a death that’s linked to your project at Stanford—you may not be the perpetrator but if it were up to me, I’d grill your ass.” “Keep it coming and next time you won’t get that arm free so easily.” The supervisory agent removed his keys from his front pocket and jingled them contemptuously in Jude’s face. He was close to Jude’s age, but Speer had a smug entitlement that came with his being a supervisor. Speer had a receding chin and deeply set, distrustful eyes. Gripping Jude’s left bicep, Speer marched him to his brown Crown Victoria. At least it wasn’t a white Range Rover. Speer opened the door. “Don’t sit on the hat,” he said, as he watched Jude get in. Speer turned over the engine and hit the gas, thrusting Wagner’s head into the vinyl headrest. Jude leaned forward. “What else do you know about this threat?” “I know enough,” Speer said. Jude remained silent, thinking about Hackman. Obviously Speer’s intention was to intimidate him. Feds used intimidation as indiscriminately as beat cops did. Speer looked into the rearview mirror. “Jude, that’s the patron saint of lost causes, isn’t it?” Jude looked away.

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Speer continued, “Go figure, you’re your own lost cause.” “You should be ashamed of the carbon footprint you’re leaving on the earth,” Jude said. “Why is that?” “Because you’re a waste of space, the very fact that you’re breathing.” “It’s all coming right back at you, Wagner. I heard from Geneva that no one was closer to Niles Tully, Hideo Onagi and Jűrgen Hansen than you. Where does that put you? In a dubious position—and you deserted their Stanford project by signing up with us. My guess is you had a falling out with them because your ego is so inflated.” “You pegged me. You should quit and become a psychic.” “I’ve heard talk about your genius discovery—sounds like bullshit to me. And now it’s your torment.” Speer smirked as if he’d convinced himself that he was on to something. “I think you know about those murders.” A caged animal feeling crept up on Jude. “You’ve got rocks for brains.” Speer said, “I thought geeks were smart. But guys at the office say it’s easier to turn a twat into a penis and balls than make a computer guy a competent field agent.” “Listen to your jealousy. You’re humiliating yourself.” Speer gave him the eye. “You’re jealous that I work with Nathalie Noiret.” “What’s right is that I think you’re a fraud, Wagner. Hackman’s gotta think it too.” Jude ignored him. It was hopeless to argue with an android. If Hackman agreed, he’d soon find out. In the artificially pine-air freshened sedan, Jude tried to figure

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out what the hell was really going on. He didn’t like what Speer had said previously: there was a pattern to the murders. Who knows how Hackman, the gulag chief, might use that against Jude? He stared out his window at the passing buildings, considering everything. Any struggle right now would simply make circumstances worse for Jude later. Jude felt acutely aware of being a newbie. Nathalie had warned Jude to stay out of Hackman’s way. Maintain a distance and follow protocol were her exact words. The advice was taking hold now. He’d poked his nose where he shouldn’t have and was about to feel the repercussions.

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thirty-six
Saturday, November 5 San Francisco, CA After parking in the garage of the federal building, Speer escorted Jude to the elevator and up to the thirteenth floor. The semi-dark hallways cast an uncertain aura. Jude walked rigidly. Milliseconds passed like minutes before the faceoff. Hackman was waiting for them in the library, leaning against a bookcase and leafing through a leatherbound reference book. He motioned them to follow him to the polygrapher’s room. The windowless space had an oppressive air of discipline—three chairs around a dull metal table. On one end of the table rested the polygraph equipment. On the other, a stack of brown files, a lamp and a plastic bucket. The place was designed for one task: extracting information. Half the overhead lights flicked on, leaving shadows in the corners. Speer pushed the door closed. It snapped shut securely like a rat trap. Speer sat beside Hackman. Jude took the angular armchair across from them. Avoiding a defensive posture, he kept his arms at his sides. Sheepishness

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might imply admission of wrongdoing. Surely that would bring harsher punishment. If the FBI wanted something from you, they’d do what every law enforcement team did—search for your emotional trigger while double-teaming you. Jude wondered what stress button they would go after on him. Hackman held the stoic posture of a prison warden then cleared his throat. “Set down your firearm.” Jude removed it and set it in the bucket. “Empty your pockets.” Jude pulled out Jude’s keys, his Stanford cards, computer fob, cell phone and wallet and put them on the table.” “Did Speer tell you why I’ve brought you here?” “Not really, no.” Speer watched him, gloating. “We thought you were prescient.” Hackman rubbed his jaw. “I have this feeling you’re a bad penny.” Hackman’s jowly face had gone blank with seriousness. “The other day I was driving along and I notice something familiar in my rearview mirror. The bad penny in his red car. I wonder, what interest would a bad penny have in a religious service?” Jude remained still. Hackman slid his hands from his paunch to the table. “You’ve crossed the line, Wagner. You think I’m some fanatic. That you’ve made some discovery. You could paper the walls with the rumors I’ve heard. And rumors don’t go away on their own. You have to deal with them.” Hackman’s fat chest heaved as he breathed.

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“It’s dangerous to invent stories and reckless to act on them. Insubordination is a punishable offense and I could put you on the bricks for this. “Frisk him. Make sure we got everything.” Speer runs his hands over Jude, top to bottom, then goes through his pockets and pulls out a piece of paper —the threat letter sent to Niles. “Look at this.” Speer proudly handed the note to Hackman. Hackman looked it over and turned to Jude. “Why didn’t you tell us about this?” Jude considered his answer while Hackman held the letter to the light in order to examine the white space Jude had circled. Hackman quickly ascertained the watermark and read it aloud, “United Bishops Association.” He leaned toward Jude, palming the tabletop. “You think I had Jűrgen Hansen killed. Maybe you think I arranged to have your friend Hideo Onagi attacked in Tokyo too.” Jude said, “I’m not sure who did it. But, yes, that’s what I’m after.” He also wanted to know who had shot Niles but he remained quiet on that. Hackman said, “Follow me.” Speer put Jude’s things into the plastic bucket. Hackman plied both arms to get out of his chair and they went. In Hackman’s office, he took his high-back chair and gestured for Jude to sit and he did. Speer put the bucket on Hackman’s desk. Speer leaned against the door, resting a foot against it. He looked like someone eager to supervise an execution. Speer was tall and had the posture of a

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flagpole. But after their tussles at his car, Jude thought he could take him. A pair of raft oars from the Titanic hung ominously on the wall behind Hackman. A fedora hung on the end of one of the oars. “Listen,” Hackman said, with a glare. “I want to make something clear. I’m a member of a family-based organization, a devout group of long-established Catholics. We’re founding a new chapter—there’s no self-flagellating albinos or Roseline leading to Mary Magdalene. Okay?” Jude remained silent. “This marks the ends of your shadowing me. If there’s a next time, you’re fired.” “I would still like to know—” “Know what?” Hackman snapped. “What is Sedevacantivism?” Hackman leaned to a drawer. The big man pulled out a leaflet and pushed it at Jude. “You might find this edifying.” Jude glanced over the trifold sheet that explained this branch of Sedevacantivists. Sedevacantivists cited that the first Pope John XXIII was convicted of various sins and impeachable offenses and deposed. Moreover, he read, they maintained that procedural aspects of Vatican II violated the foundational tenets of the One True Church. The handling of Vatican II supported conclusions that John and his successors were interlopers with no papal authority. For these reasons, Sedevacantivists practiced ritualized traditions in Latin that others might find strange and anachronistic. But this reflected their understanding that the papal office is still empty.

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The leaflet gave some rationale for Hackman’s old world religious ways, but that’s all it did. In Jude’s mind, Hackman still could’ve been involved in the homicides. No one was getting crossed off his suspect list yet. “There’s something else.” Hackman said. Awkwardly, he reached across his desk to hand a manila case file to Jude. Jude opened the folder labeled 174A-INT-56125. INT for international matters—and scanned the contents. It was an investigative chronology, listing dates and times and accounting for agents’ phone calls, movements and media inquiries. All of this concerned two homicides that seemed to “bear relation to one another.” A later report stated that the crimes, according to the Threat Analysis Group, had been escalated to the Watch Group of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. As a priority case, the matter was relayed to Hackman; he made Special Agent Nathalie Noiret the lead. Jude came to the headline: EVIDENCE NOW THAT HIDEO ONAGI AND JŰRGEN HANSEN WERE BOTH MURDERED. Reading those names in print hit him like bullets. Hideo and Jűrgen had been reduced to numbered case files: crime scenes with routine photographs and autopsies that needed investigating. Eventually these files would be relegated to a stack labeled solved or cold case then go to archives. Jude read more about how Jűrgen died and how Onagi’s double-dog attack looked deliberate. But that conclusion was based only on Onagi’s daughter’s report. “Thought I’d spare you the photos. As you can see, these aren’t blitz-style attacks. Some might argue that

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the dog-mauling is, but I wouldn’t. These are methodically planned MO’s, organized killings, not to mention your sailboat blowing up. Lacking behavioral evidence, we’re really behind.” Hackman sounded irritated. “I hear Speer found you at the marina when you had your sailboat incident. He should’ve followed up with you in detail about the state of the Stanford Grid. I don’t care what kind of shape you were in.” Jude scowled. Speer took his hands out of his pockets. Hackman said, “Why don’t you tell me if there are any new developments at Stanford?” “Stanford signed a deal with Google and CERN that extends the reach and power of the Grid.” “We read about that, so Stanford will have new power to fight disease.” “That’s right.” “Do you know what group or individual would want to stop the Grid?” “I don’t know for sure. Maybe Johnston & Quib, the pharma company.” “Sounds tenuous. I’d question you further myself if I felt better.” Hackman pointed his finger at Jude. “We’re keeping you out of play.” Speer folded his arms. “What do you mean?” “Sidelined. Out of sight. Something new has come to light. Our suspects are plotting terrorism over the `net.” “What terrorism?” Jude asked. “We heard chatter about a possible strike to the Stanford campus. It sounds like a bomb threat. One of your colleagues picked up on it while you were busy running around. I’ve green lighted Agent Noiret as the lead on this assignment.”

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Nothing made sense. Hackman added, “A helicopter team just arrived on the roof. They’re going to clear the Stanford campus. Noiret should be boarding now.” “But I helped build out that Grid,” Jude exclaimed. Hackman stood up, loosened his belt one notch and walked around the table. His eyes narrowed and he leaned close, pointing at Jude’s chest to drive the point home. “Wagner, we’re going at this surgically. You’ve got too many associations with Stanford to be on this. Even if you’re not complicit in anything, I doubt you can contribute. This is bigger than you. You may have facilitated a chain reaction by kicking the Grid up a notch, but you can’t—” “But who on the helicopter knows the campus and how are they going to anticipate an attack? I worked in that bioengineering department.” Jude insisted. Hackman said, “Forget it. You’re part of that team, making you a marked man, Wagner. You and Roger Knowlan are the last Grid project heads standing. It seems Hideo Onagi’s and Jűrgen Hansen’s deaths are connected to this threat of crashing the Grid. And Niles Tully’s too. I’ve been informed that he is missing.” Jude resisted seeing things their way. “Noiret needs help—” Hackman stopped walking and put his hands on the top of his chair. “You worked with these people, right?” Jude nodded reluctantly with numb acquiescence. “I am not releasing you on a national security-level field assignment where you’re emotionally invested and a target. There’s a thing called common sense, Wagner.” Speer scoffed. “Whatever happens, Noiret doesn’t need you.”

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“Speer’s got your back,” Hackman stated. “End of story. Take your things and go home.” Jude picked up everything from the bucket, stood, opened Hackman’s door and walked down the hall to his own desk. Speer followed. “You heard him. Go home, put a log on the fire. Rent Pulp Fiction or something.” “Keep it up, asshole.” “You’re a one-trick pony with your Grid work, Wagner.” “Push me, dickhead, and tomorrow you’ll mysteriously find every web search you’ve done at the bureau on Hackman’s desk.” “Try it.” Speer elbowed him in the abdomen as he went by. Jude gripped Speer’s wrist, pressed a forearm across his chest and boxed him into a bookcase. “Hey.” Speer tried to tear free. His face turned red. Jude fixed a stare into Speer’s eyes. “There’s a law in physics, Newton’s Third Law, that states that ‘for every reaction there’s an equal and opposite reaction.’ You wanna test that?” As Jude dropped his hands, Speer took a swipe at him but only got air. Jude backed off when Hackman called for Speer. “You’ve done it now,” Speer gasped before turning. Jude sat down at his desk. He didn’t worry about this little altercation. What was Speer going to do anyway? Cry to Hackman that the new guy he was assigned to cover manhandled him? Speer had too much pride. He’d want to teach Jude a lesson on his own. No time to worry about Speer. He wasn’t about to cab home and rest when so much was developing. He knew for certain that someone wanted to corrupt the Grid. Kate and Knowlan were in danger, and he was too. Jude

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could kiss his new FBI job goodbye if he ignored Hackman’s order to stay put, but he couldn’t do that. His gut tightened again. He had to get on that helicopter and protect the Grid for Kate’s sake. Yet it wouldn’t be easy to elude Speer, who would relish his new post as bodyguard. He’d use it to limit Jude’s freedom of movement. Jude tried calling Kate and Roger Knowlan but got no answer. He pulled up his email and sent a message to Knowlan, warning him about the threat on the Stanford campus then relayed the VPN access codes to Johnston & Quib’s cancer database. With this, Knowlan could run comparisons of Kate’s tissue against thousands of patient records to check reactions to various drug treatments. Jude knew that the bureau would see the email through the Internet security system, but it would probably pass through the outgoing firewall because it wasn’t overtly violent or inflammatory. He had to get the message out—jump start efforts for Kate. Jude got up and looked to verify that Speer stood out of his line of sight. As Speer hung up his coat, Jude rushed down the hall, pulled the heavy latch of the exit door and stepped into the passage that led to the roof. The narrow double-backing staircase flickered under fluorescent light tubes, smelling of mildew. Jude could barely make out the landing as the tube above the first runner had blown. He bolted up the concrete steps to echoes of his own footfalls. But something didn’t sound right. He didn’t hear the self-closing door snap shut behind him. Jude froze in the darkness to hush his own movement and listened. With his back to a cinderblock wall, he looked down toward flickering light.

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A shoe scraped. The cement staircase obstructed his view of the door. Jude eyed the rooftop door, marked by a green exit sign. He needed to round the corner and run up two flights of stairs, a greater distance than he’d expected. Jude continued up the staircase. A hand clawed Jude’s ankle, and he fell onto the dusty steps. A concrete corner met his jawbone, splitting a tooth. Someone dragged him by one leg down steps, and then Jude’s heel gained traction. He turned. Speer stood over him, short-winded. Jude heaved to his feet. He hooked the back of Speer’s right knee and brought him down. They wrestled on the steps. Jude got behind Speer, flung an arm under his shoulder and tried to hold him. Speer hammered an elbow into Jude’s ribcage and doubled over to squirm free. Jude gagged, laboring for air, but he didn’t let go. He trapped Speer in a head and arm lock. Speer stomped at Jude’s left foot, trying to crush his arch, but he missed. Jude tightened the police hold on Speer’s neck and shoulder, constricting his breathing. Speer tried to windmill a punch into Jude with his free arm, but after several slow seconds Speer’s legs went limp. His body dropped slack in Jude’s wiry arms like a marionette with its strings cut. Jude set him down, then caught his breath, touching bruised ribs. He traced his tongue over the newly jagged tooth with a stomach-churning taste of calcium. Jude remembered something an instructor repeated at Quantico. No matter how much we train you—in a real take-down, every move is improvisation, unrehearsed. Dragging himself to the building roof, Jude knocked open the door and saw helicopter idling in the last

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minutes of daylight. He ducked beneath the wind of whirling overhead rotor blades. Pounding air flattened his shirt against his chest. He was taken aback when he got a better look at what was running on the helipad: no standard-sized bird, it was a MH-60 PaveHawk Helicopter. Jude had seen pictures of Black Hawk helicopters at Quantico. They were used to conduct day or night operations in hostile environments. This one had additional radar and dual weapons pylons attached to both sides of the fuselage. Instead of FBI markings, it had civilian markings and undoubtedly had fake civilian numbers. Through the open aluminum door, he saw two pilots in front of two crew chiefs. Behind the crew chiefs Nathalie sat with an empty seat beside her. At the rear were three operatives who held M4 rifles. Everyone, even agent Noiret, wore helmets and full-weather garb. Heads turned as Jude climbed inside. “One more for the maneuver. Hackman’s orders,” Jude said. To his surprise, no one questioned him. Jude slammed the sliding door. Jet fuel odor dissipated. He took the empty seat. Nathalie’s eyes shone as large disks through the helmet. “Why are you here?” she shouted over the chet-chet of the engine and blades. Her hands clutched the edge of her seat. Even under the dim red overhead light, he fixed on her pointy nose and Camay skin. She could not have appeared more out of place. “I knew meeting you here would be a surprise,” he said with a grin. “My god,” she said, slack-jawed.

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“You’ll need me down there.” Nathalie said, “Hackman told you about the coded bomb threat on Stanford’s Grid team?” “Not really.” “They picked it up over the Internet. That’s all I know.” “Here ya go,” interrupted one man, handing Jude a helmet with night vision goggles attached but flipped up. The operative plugged Jude’s helmet lead into a ceiling jack. Jude buckled a waist harness as the turbine noise increased. The rotors went from fwop-fwop to a highpitched whir as the aircraft lifted vertically from the helipad. “I know you’re experienced,” Jude shouted to Nathalie, “but I helped build the Grid.” “Didn’t Hackman take you off this? Isn’t this—” “Yes, it’s a violation. I’ll take the blowback.” “And you’re a target also,” she yelled loudly over the high-pitched whine of the engine. “Moving target,” Jude said. “Without hazardous duty pay.” “Nathalie, someone’s gotta break my losing streak— might as well be me. I need your help with something else.” She gave a knowing look. “I’m so sorry about Niles, Jude.” “How did you…?” Jude asked softly. “I’m so sorry.” She put a hand on his arm. “You should’ve been put on the Onagi investigation—maybe we could have prevented it—” Nathalie stopped at the sound of the landing gear retracting. The helicopter tilted, pointing its nose into forward flight.

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Finally, she asked, “What happened?” She pointed at his tooth. “Nothing,” Jude said, and gazed out his helicopter window. The dense urban high-rises gave way to a view of the freeway and South San Francisco hills. At first he saw the matchbook-like homes of Daly City, then the familiar Crystal Springs reservoir to southwest. Fingers of fog spread over the hills. The helicopter cabin darkened. Jude closed his eyes to concentrate energy on saving Kate. She was his only cause now. Not the Grid. “I hear Niles’s son was involved. Where is he?” Nathalie said. “With his mother.” Her voice went soft. “Remember the pen you found with the name Dyncorp.” He wondered how he could have forgotten that. They looked around suspiciously. Jude noticed that one of the operatives pulled what appeared to be an adapter from his jacket pocket and used it to plug his helmet lead into his own radio. He wondered what the guy would be monitoring when all other helmets had leads to the roof that connected to an aircraft intercom system.

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thirty-seven
Saturday, November 5 San Francisco, CA The pilot pulled back on the cyclic stick. The aircraft surged, climbing in altitude. Jude and Nathalie gripped the stretched mesh on their seats as the G-force increased. The fwap of the rotors changed in pitch and grew louder. Jude felt smug about springing himself from Speer. As long as he lay undiscovered in the stairwell, Jude wouldn’t be found out. Yet Jude didn’t entirely trust this team on the helicopter. He knew he was paranoid about someone turning him in, but their high lace-up black boots and equipment belts looked more like that of hired militia than FBI. The boots resembled the type worn by the thief who had stomped on Jude’s head outside the Steps of Rome restaurant on the night his apartment was broken into. “What’s your role here?” Jude asked a man seated in front of him. The man made a gesture to say he couldn’t hear.

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“They’re Dyncorp,” Nathalie said. “A private security company—hired guns for protecting field ops like me.” She rolled her eyes so that only Jude could see. “Protection for what?” Jude asked. “For when we land—whatever might happen on the ground.” “I’ve heard of Dyncorp,” Jude said. “But what have they got to do with the FBI?” “I understand they’re filling in while the bureau is reorganizing. It is political controversé.” Nathalie’s accent sounded stronger. “Some believe that utilizing PSCs is inadéquat for government work. What some call mercenaries others call paid soldiers. That’s probably why we did not hear about their complicity with the bureau.” The crew chief took a grab handle to steady himself as the helo hit a pocket of turbulence. Jude listened intently. The crew chief jumped into the conversation. “Dyncorp started out doing cookie cutter work, helping the postal service. Now defense work for the DOD is its forte.” “But how is Hackman involved here?” Jude asked. Nathalie said, “The Pentagon keeps it confidential, but Dyncorp has worked with Hackman for years—they’re backing up field operations while Hackman is giving the bureau an overhaul. Hiring you is probably part of the upgrade.” The crew chief said, “Private security companies are big wartime business. The Department of Defense has spent one hundred billion on us since we invaded Afghanistan.” “Quite a cottage industry,” Jude said.

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Jude knew private military companies were the government’s end run around Congressional oversight. They weren’t beholden to codes of conduct that US soldiers had to respect. They were called on to break the rules, sidestep the Geneva convention. “I do not trust Hackman,” said Nathalie, shoving fists deeper into her jacket. The helo dipped. Someone shouted, “Air pocket.” Jude leaned so he could put his mouth to her helmet. “What the hell are we doing with Dyncorp piloting us around when I found that Dyncorp pen in my place after the break-in?” “It’s not good,” she said. “It hit me just as I boarded.” At once, Jude saw the significance of their flying to Stanford. The attackers might have targeted Knowlan, aware that he worked late on campus. Even if he wasn’t working late, he was listed as the primary contact for police for lab emergencies. Jude covered his lips with his hand. “When we touch down, I’ll check the master node, that’s where Knowlan may be. The bomb threat could be a diversion by someone who wants to kill him.” She said, “I will keep the Dyncorp team occupied.” “Be careful. After ten minutes, ditch them and find me,” Jude said. One of the Dyncorp operatives shouted, “It’s Hackman on the line for Wagner.” He handed Jude a radio. Jude breathed deep, disconnected his helmet lead from the helicopter jack, and plugged it into the radio. “Running rogue, Wagner?” Hackman barked. ”I could have you arrested. I’d turn that bird around if I had time to waste.” Jude didn’t reply.

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“We’ve verified the authenticity of the coded threat. Hostiles are planning some strike on the Stanford data center. Agent Noiret is in charge. You stay out of play, Wagner.” Jude pushed to talk. “Yes, sir.” “Give me Noiret.” Nathalie took the radio. Hackman shouted loud enough for Jude to hear. “University security sent images of a man studying the campus electrical substations—we’re referencing the photograph against the bureau’s NCIC database. Set up an attack defense there. You’ve got every resource in abundance, except for time. We’ve evacuated the Department of Medicine and data center.” “Yes, sir.” Chirp. Nathalie mumbled, “Il y a une couille dans le potage.” “What’s that?” Jude asked. “Everything is going wrong—literally it means there’s a testicle in the soup.” Jude stifled a laugh. One of the men gave Jude a spare radio. “You’ll need this on the ground.” Jude peered through the acrylic oval window. The helicopter approached a labyrinth of terracotta roofs and neat paths that led to plazas and grassy spaces. Under amber lights, the clusters of buildings resembled a Spanish architect’s model. Jude marveled over how orderly the Stanford campus looked from above. The aircraft descended until it was only thirty feet above the Stanford football field. The transmission whir became louder. Kaboom.

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A deafening blast thundered from the ground. Jude saw a yellow-white nova light the cobalt sky. The helicopter rattled. His feet vibrated on the shaking mettle floor. He and Nathalie knuckled their shoulder harnesses when the freefall started. Jude’s stomach hopped to his chest. The ground rushed up and the helicopter plummeted like a hailstone to the grassy field. The helicopter struck the ground with a deafening jolt. The force of impact snapped the landing gear, whipsawing everyone. The chopper tilted to its side like a car missing one of its front wheels. Passengers hung by their safety harnesses, bent in their seats. A Dyncorp man let out a moan, holding his head. The engine made a high-pitched whir until the pilot shut struggled to flip a switch and shut it down. “Nathalie, are you okay?” Jude asked. Moving her head from side-to-side, she checked her condition. “I think so.” Together they crawled from the side of the aircraft with the Dyncorp team following. One man stayed behind to look after a strained back. He reassured everyone that his condition wasn’t serious. Jude patted his pancake holster to see that his weapon was still there. Some eighty yards off, smoke mushroomed into the air from fires on campus. Jude smelled a sulphuric odor. His ears rang as fire alarms blared in stereo from multiple buildings. Under moonlight, the billowing smoke clouds gave the campus an appearance of a city under attack. There were no campus lights in view. Jude and Nathalie had only seven soldiers to defend it. Worse still, Jude and Nathalie trusted only each other. The sky changed from deep blue to a murky charcoal.

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One man said, “You know the smoke isn’t going to help the night vision.” Another man tried on his goggles. “They’re okay. Smoke is partially blocking the moon. But there’s still light.” Jude knew that some amount of natural light was needed for the night vision goggles to work. Nathalie turned to Jude, “If campus lights come on, don’t forget to flip up your goggles fast.” “Got it,” Jude said. The clock tower chimed the quarter hour—9:15 P.M.— into the tarnished autumn air. Jude and Nathalie reassessed their options now that an explosion had happened. “There could be more explosions,” Jude said. “I will check around.” Nathalie said then quickly covered her mouth. Building plaster dust lingered in the air. Jude watched her call the team together. He wanted to watch her back. He joined the Dyncorp team in a huddle around her. She pulled a campus map from her jacket pocket and they examined it under flashlight. He looked over her shoulders as she opened her phone and saw a message —one of the electrical power stations was down. She pointed to a crease in the paper, coordinating where the explosion must have occurred, then to where two additional electrical power stations were located. Nathalie radioed for backup. “We’ve witnessed a major explosion on the Stanford campus and have a downed aircraft. No major injuries but we are now in a curtain of smoke.” Looking determined, she turned and said, “There are three substations. A fire vehicle will check on the one that’s down. In the meantime, we’ll

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divide into two teams of three. Investigate and contain the other substations.” She got the nods she needed. Everyone flipped down his goggles. As Jude lowered goggles over his eyes, his surroundings flared a fuzzy blue until his eyes adjusted. “Go.” Nathalie belted the order like a marine sergeant. Jude stopped worrying about her. The teams fanned out to survey the remaining electrical power stations. Jude attached the earpiece that came with his radio. Silently, he shot off in the opposite direction, toward the medical building. The depth perception in the goggles had thrown him initially; he moved more slowly than he would’ve liked. Smoke was interfering with his vision. He inched closer to the white cloud to get into the lab. Tall eucalyptus trees had caught fire and were blazing wildly. Edging toward the structure, Jude coughed and covered his mouth with his hand to screen the smoke. Campus alarms blared. Jude’s field radio wouldn’t quit chirping with talk. He dialed up the volume and heard Hackman’s voice. “The police and fire units you requested are coming.” Jude heard Nathalie respond on her radio. “I’m just meters from the spot where the explosion happened. As incident commander, I assure you we’ll find out who’s behind this.” “What are your knowns?” Hackman asked. “Nothing yet, over,” she replied. “Every media outlet in the Bay Area, I’m informed, is on its way there, Noiret.” “I can handle it. If the other substations are clear, I’ll establish a tight perimeter around the bioengineering department, and a command post site for the forensic—”

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“I’ll be watching.” Perchip. Hackman was gone. Jude moved through darkness, using memory and moonlight filtered through smoke to find his way—every sense on alert. The power station explosion had extinguished the lights on his side of the campus. Drawing short breaths, Jude edged into the bushes to peer into a laboratory window. From behind his goggles, the inky dark room showed green. No one was inside. He couldn’t hear anything. Red and blue lights beamed on the building wall. Sirens sang. The campus police were on the scene. Jude pulled off his light sensitive gear and turned to see squad cars headed to Nathalie’s side of campus. He considered that one explosion, in and of itself, wouldn’t accomplish much—it only took out one of three power sources. The campus could be up and running again in no time once emergency power supplies were put into place. He was convinced of his theory, that the explosion was part of a larger plan. It also occurred to Jude that any threat to the Grid would’ve gone to the building’s west wing, where the emergency generator supplied power to the data center. This was also where the main node resided—the true target of anyone wishing to harm the Stanford Grid. Jude crouched and ran around a corner to the west wing. He could hear the generator humming and see a computer utility room glow under a menacing backup power light. Gingerly, he crept alongside the building to the window, flipped up his goggles and peered inside. What he saw took the wind out of him. An unfamiliar man with a wide build had a gun trained on Knowlan’s temple.

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Jude’s pulse quickened. Knowlan typed frantically at the Grid terminal desk. The assailant had a bulletshaped head with closely cropped hair. He wore brown denim jeans and a loose-fitting parka. What Jude saw next made his entire body stiffen—his twin, Kate, was constrained on the floor. Her face flushed with color and tears. In the corner, she sat bent-kneed, rigidly hunched—her wrists tied. Knowlan must have been working with Kate on her genome when this attacker appeared. Jude remained still. His fingers tense. He took several deep breaths, plotting his next move. Behind him, a breeze rustled the trees and a twig snapped. He pulled down the goggles and turned. Night goggles didn’t reveal anything suspicious. He couldn’t be distracted by ghosts in his mind. He waited and watched to see if any of the green images he saw were moving—nothing. Jude considered his shot on the man who held a gun at Knowlan’s head. If the round strayed, it could hit Knowlan or Kate. While positioning for a better angle, Jude heard a fire engine blare in the distance. He turned around to see what was happening. Looking back to peer through the smudged glass again, he saw the man had moved out of view. He had to go for the outside door that opened directly into the lab. Moving parallel to the wall, Jude put his cheek to the building’s stucco exterior. Exhaling slowly, he calmed his mind for confrontation when he heard the gentle click of the door handle ahead. Dropping to one knee, Jude pulled his pistol. He shouted, “FBI. Lay down your firearm.” Jude crouched, then watched and listened. Silence.

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A man in boots and a dark jacket pulled behind the doorway. Jude wanted to fire, but he wasn’t certain that the dark figure was the same suspect who was inside. Too many people were moving around in the dark. Jude flipped the goggles down again and saw the man. Judging by his stature, Jude believed it was his suspect. A few breaths later, two more shots were fired at Jude. He ducked, bracing himself. The reflex happened so quickly it felt like hard-wired muscle memory. The shooter leaned around the corner. Spotting his target, Jude lined his sight on the man’s legs and fired twice. The man screamed and slumped like a bag of laundry. Feeling a measure of relief, Jude rose slowly. First, he watched the man clutch his thigh, then raced through the entrance and into the data room. While Knowlan awkwardly got up from the console desk, the injured assailant was lying on his side moaning, incapacitated. Jude asked. “Kate, are you okay?” She cleared her throat and opened her mouth but no words came out. At last she said, “I guess so.” “It’s going to be a while before we’re really okay.” Knowlan said, loosening his shirt. “But thanks. Thanks for being here.” As he hugged her, he felt her trembling. “Relax.” She rubbed her knees, taking big breaths. He seated her at one of the two rolling chairs. Part of Jude wanted to send her to his apartment, but a bigger part of him needed to be on the lookout for other potential gunmen and keep her safe in his sight. Knowlan’s button-down shirt was untucked and sweat covered. He tugged at his collar. “That bastard . . .” “Listen,” Jude said. “What did he do here?”

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“He forced me to delete dozens of directories and stole my token.” Knowlan looked rattled. Jude shook his head, looking at the suspect. “It was awful.” Kate said. Jude went to the man with the reek of a mountain goat, tied his ankles and arms with the rope used on Kate and searched his pockets. He found the token and put it in his pocket. “Any ID?” Knowlan asked. “Nothing.” “Nothing?” Kate rubbed her wrists. Jude’s mobile device vibrated on his hip. Unlatching it, he checked the display. GRID AUTO WARNING: DATA CHECKSUMS BELOW THRESHOLD “This is serious.” Jude said. They needed to repair damage done to the Stanford access node. Jude nudged past Knowlan and typed commands on the Grid server keyboard. He wheeled the chair up to the Grid console. The status screen glowed with red warning messages. His mobile device flashed error messages. He ripped the device off his hip and removed the battery. Nathalie called Jude’s name. “We’re inside,” Jude called back. She entered and rushed to Jude, carrying her field radio in one hand and a clear evidence bag in another. She looked at the injured man on the floor. “Are you with Dyncorp?” Jude asked the man sternly, getting up. The attacker wouldn’t answer. Jude stepped closer to kick him and stopped himself. Nathalie removed cuffs from her belt, fastened them on the injured man and called for medical assistance.

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She untied the rope around his hands now that he was cuffed. Nathalie set down the bag, which appeared to contain exploded fragments. “What happened?” She snapped on a plastic glove, presumably to check for ID. “He fired a weapon,” Jude said. “But I haven’t interrogated him.” “Any ID?” “No.” Nathalie answered her radio and had a quick exchange. “What was that about?” Jude asked. “The backup team has formed its perimeter around this building.” She drew her weapon, pressed it to the man’s head and got a name: Liborio Russo. “I’m just a guy on the ground,” the suspect said. “The person you want is a woman.” “Who?” Jude demanded. “She’s the boss. I don’t have a name.” “You can do better.” “You can threaten to kill me but that’s all I’ve got.” “I’ve got a message for her.” Jude opened his phone. “It’s no use. You don’t initiate contact with her. She calls me.” “What’s the number?” Jude said. “It’s always private.” Nathalie holstered her weapon. “What are you doing?” Jude asked. “Trying another approach.” Nathalie said. “I’m running the name Liborio Russo through the FBI database.” She worked her smartphone. She showed Jude the photo that appeared. “No prior convictions. I’ll

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cross-reference his social security number against any financial transactions.” “Good,” Jude said. She clicked the mini-keypad. “I’ve got something.” “Yes?” “I’ve got activity involving a transfer of $500,000 abroad but I can’t tell which bank or payee it went to.” “Wow.” Nathalie continued to read her findings aloud, staring at her miniature display. “It’s some Cayman Island account. But nothing else is showing.” Nathalie called her findings into Hackman. Hackman called back five minutes later saying that the payment made went into an account that was opened by a signee named Heather Styles who resided in Berkeley, California. “How did you get that?” Nathalie asked Hackman. “The Justice Department has ways of dealing with offshore security. I’ll let you know if we find more.” Hackman clicked off the radio. “Wait a minute—I know that name. I know her,” Knowlan said. “Who?” Jude asked. “That woman, Styles. She interviewed me. Said she worked for some journal as a reporter, but I saw she had a Johnston & Quib I.D. She claimed to be Maureen Kenner but I saw she had that I.D. with the last name Styles. I may have seen an “ER” before that in the first name.” “I think I know her too,” Jude said. “How?” Knowlan asked. “She pumped me for information at a bar called The Hyde Out.” Knowlan stood perfectly still.

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Jude said, “We were used.” “Pfft.” Knowlan rolled his eyes. “What a bunch of patsies we are. So what now?” “We’ll talk about Heather later. For now, we’ve gotta collect what we can from this guy before the bureau takes him away for interrogation.” “Precisely. We have to keep moving. An investigation is like a shark—once it stops, it dies.” The campus alarms finally shut off. “Well, let’s get swimming,” Jude said. His radio beeped. Hackman’s voice came on. “Wagner, I’m still mad as hell at you, but I’m putting you on this case provisionally because you’re there with inside knowledge. But the second you misstep, you’re outta there and you’ll still be disciplined for disobedience.” “Yes, sir.” Jude’s radio went quiet. At the moment, the threat of discipline from Hackman was that last thing that troubled Jude. Jude set down his radio. “I just realized something. The Grid came into the public eye before anyone anticipated it would. And Hackman opposes biotechnology. But that just made him a target to be framed.” Nathalie nodded, not overly surprised. “I wouldn’t say that Hackman, specifically, was framed. I’d say some group set up the religious right. Whoever it is must be threatened by how damn effective the Grid will be at fighting disease and how that could undercut hundreds of billions of dollars.” Nathalie asked. “So the religious right was just a scapegoat.”

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“Yes. I’d say that our San Francisco FBI chief just fell into that profile.” “Okay,” she said slowly, sounding half-convinced. “So it’s not Hackman. What next?” “We have to track down this Heather Styles.” Jude pulled a folded page from his hip pocket. He had transferred the printout he took from Onagi’s lab from one set of pants to the next, thinking he’d eventually make sense of it. He reexamined the page. Several keystrokes matched procedures the attacker forced Knowlan to perform. “This explosion must’ve been an attempt to kill power to the Grid. Or maybe it was an intimidation tactic. Either way, it would occupy the police while the attacker worked on getting Knowlan’s security token to the Grid.” “They must’ve been following Knowlan. What can they do with access to the Grid?” “Unleash a virus,” Jude said. “Again?” Nathalie asked. Jude explained his theory that this effort to stop the Grid was being handled in a haphazard fashion. The attackers who broke into his place had no clear idea where the security token might be. They went for the hard drive, but it wasn’t there. “That must be what they were after when they killed Hideo. That, and to slow the Grid project by eliminating him. Killing Jűrgen also hampered the project.” “But why didn’t they try to kill you?” Nathalie asked. “They tried, on Niles’s boat and in Chinatown.” Jude turned to look at Knowlan. “Also, these assailants could be starting with those team members who are farthest away so that it will be more difficult to link the crimes to someone who lives here. Maybe they are

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saving me for last because I could be traced to someone I know, maybe someone I met at the award ceremony. Or maybe they weren’t intending to kill me with the boat explosion but just knock out Niles. It’s his boat after all not mine. They could’ve been keeping me alive as a backup in case they couldn’t get Grid access on their own.” “Maybe they’d finally figured out that without you, they’d never access the Grid, so they kept one of you alive for that reason.” Jude said, “But they accessed it anyway when they put a gun to Knowlan’s head.” Nathalie said, “Right. That ultimately proved the most direct means of duress to get what they were after.” Knowlan shouted, “Stop talking about me like I’m not here. Let’s get to work on repairing this Grid.”

thirty-eight
Sunday, November 6 Stanford University, CA Power generators continued to light the smoke-filled night for Jude, Kate and Roger Knowlan. The grinding noise the generators made grated on their ears until lunchtime the following day. Physically drained, Jude stood at the Grid console—a break from sitting in the

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flimsy chair on wheels. He didn’t let Kate out of his sight. To make her more comfortable, he rounded up a sleeping bag from a firefighter. He and Knowlan got through the night in desk chairs. Jude pulled his hard drive from his pocket and proudly handed it to Knowlan. “What’s this?” Knowlan asked. “Snap it in and navigate to the cancer transcription folder and you’ll see.” “Okay.” Knowlan connected Jude’s drive to the tower that was on the floor and opened the folder Jude mentioned. Jude and Kate watched while he continued to open files and then individual patient records. Wide-eyed, Gary turned to Jude who smiled broadly. “What is this?” Kate asked. “Did you just obtain more cancer data?” “That’s what I got,” Jude said, “but not just any cancer data, but breast cancer markers, a few hundred thousand individual records.” “This is really going to help,” Gary said, riveted to his keyboard, scrolling through the information. “The data is in the format I need. I suppose J&Q had it in this format in anticipation of our merger.” “I considered that.” Jude said. Knowlan pulled his chair right up close to the computer. He started uploading the transcriptions into the Grid server for processing consideration. “Now I just need to recover the files that were deleted and get started on Kate. Try and return the Grid node to its original state.” The gunman had forced Knowlan to delete files; an act which corrupted even basic functions. He and Knowlan had to reverse the sabotage quickly.

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Jude asked Knowlan, “How long did the attacker hold you before I showed up?” “Forty minutes, maybe less” Knowlan replied. “Damn it,” Jude said. “Show me what procedures the attacker forced you to do.” Knowlan demonstrated everything to Jude. Together, they worked to roll back the server clock to the previous day. They were lucky in this regard. If the terrorist had more time, surely he would’ve done more permanent damage. They recalled all of the files the terrorist had Knowlan delete. Knowlan tested the Grid again, but it still wasn’t functioning properly. Jude stared at the static Grid display, holding his side. Pain had flared up from the Tipsea explosion. He went over things methodically, considering different causes for the Grid to be still locked up. The trouble could be anything from destroyed cabling from the explosion to power surges to dust particles on hard drives. Jude quickly went through his process of elimination, isolating variables: the hard drives were working, the power was up. Signs pointed to an external force as the culprit. He could be wrong but suspected the source of this stoppage was a premeditated hack. Jude cocked around to Knowlan. “When did you push the last update to users’ PCs?” “Last week,” Knowlan replied. “Why?” He sat down and took over the keyboard. Some thirty minutes passed when he identified that an unrecognizable agent had been uploaded to the Grid server. Jude’s nightmare got darker. A search through the server logs showed that some bastard had been rummaging around in the Grid server.

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Knowlan pointed to the screen. “There. That’s a foreign user agent admin.” “You mean that letter, “C?” “Yes.” Discovering that simple out-of-place letter told Jude and Knowlan everything—a hacker had infiltrated the Stanford Grid node from the Internet. What Jude feared had happened. The Grid was accessed and disrupted. The Stanford attacker, Liborio Russo, must’ve communicated the access permissions to Cez@r the hacker. Since Grids depended upon volunteers to download a software agent onto desktops, a security breakdown at the volunteer level was a major user worry. “A virus writer combined a virus to a work unit,” Jude exclaimed. “My god,” Knowlan said, staring at the screen. “Hey,” Kate said. “What’s going on?” Jude typed more while everyone else looked on. He shook his head. “Somebody monkeyed with the Grid client—hacked the Grid download agent—and did some kind of test upload to the system two hours ago,” Jude said. “All because they got access to the Grid through me.” “Yeah.” “It compromised the Stanford node. Apparently, though, that was just a test for a much greater, more damaging attack.” “What is that, dare I ask?” Knowlan said “Hang on.” Jude continued analyzing the logs. “This can’t be true.” Jude said. He kicked the computer desk. “The hacker didn’t just give bad agent information to one computer but thousands of botnets.” “No, no, no!” Knowlan said.

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Jude said, “Yes, I’m afraid. I see what the hacker is doing. He’s got botnets sending erroneous information to the Grid. The Grid is now using all of its resources to check the incongruous results that are filtering in.” Knowlan’s face turned red. “Ugh. I’m showing that hundreds of similar agents are uploading similar work units with false information.” Knowlan said, “So, that’s what’s knocking us offline?” Jude rubbed his head and cursed. “Right. That’s what’s hogging the system resources and jamming up the network.” “Jude, tell me what’s going on? What are botnets?” Kate asked. “A bot is a zombie computer agent—a discreet program. It usually operates undetected on a computer user’s hard drive and gets there through spyware. Here, the hacker infected a set of bots to act as robot computers. Combined, they reach out to more bots forming a botnet. Botnets work in the background but can be ordered around by a hacker like an electronic army. Most computer owners are completely clueless when their machine is being worked like a slave.” “What the hell does all this mean to me?” Kate asked. “How does this impact our genomic work on my cancer?” Jude took in a big inhale. “It means the hacker is pushing bad work unit results to the Grid to confuse it. Once a bot is given a processing job from the Grid master, it downloads the faulty information or virus with the work unit. The Grid is stalling out because it factchecks every work unit against a thousand others. When the computer gets another error returned, the work unit is passed to even more computers for validating.”

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The neon lights flickered under the backup power. Jude looked up then continued. “I’m going to have to work on defending these hits coming onto the Grid, but it won’t be easy. We’ve recovered the deleted files but the pressing problem now involves these corrupted botnets hitting the Stanford Grid. This hacker is spreading corrupted agents to thousands of bots. It’s like he’s got his own Typhoid Mary, cooking away, spreading her fever.” Kate said, “Isn’t there any other way to protect the system? Can’t you think of any other way to get it running?” Knowlan put his hands on his head. “I can’t believe this is happening.” “Jude, what can you do?” Kate asked. Jude wanted to heave the hacker who did this into a fire pit and strike a match, even though he had been one himself years ago. Hacking could ruin the whole initiative. Things were bad. He was answering her streaming questions while he tapped away at the keyboard. An hour later, he looked at Kate. Awake half the night, she wearily watched him and Knowlan work. Nathalie walked back inside the lab, holding a fist full of health bars wrapped in foil. “All of the fire trucks but one are gone.” She handed a bar to everyone. and explained with her mouth full that a Stanford Police officer had given them to her after she said they had nothing to eat all night. She added, “By the way, the Dyncorp team has left, but I spoke with Hackman again.” “And?” Jude said. “The backup team is here and can escort us out of here safely.”

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“Okay,” Jude said, sounding distracted as he dwelled on repairing the Grid. “That’s good, but I’m not going anywhere.” “Jude.” Kate added. “I’m really worried. Can’t we get out of here?” “Do you want Kate to be taken to a hospital?” Nathalie asked. Jude pointed out the window, in the distance. Half a dozen Stanford Police officers were standing watch over the building. “For now, I think we’re safe.” Kate said, “Okay.” Jude motioned for Nathalie to come close where he whispered, “Ideally, yes. I’d like her to be resting, but I can’t take any chances right now with letting her out of my sight. She represents a potential success story of Grid treatment and that could pose a serious threat to many. She’s staying with me.” Nathalie’s radio chirped again. She turned down the volume. Kate stood up as if she couldn’t take any more. She went to the window and rested her arms on the sill ledge, watching the officers on patrol and the final fire truck leave the area. Nervously, Knowlan crunched tortilla chips he’d retrieved from the main lab after a dark adventure through the building. “Roger, would you stop rustling that bag?” Kate shouted. Jude began analyzing the corrupted agent. “Jude, what does this mean for us?” Kate asked. “Is the hacker spreading the virus throughout the Grid?” “It would take more time to do that, but that’s possible too and that would be catastrophic. If a corrupted agent was being downloaded across the Grid

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and word got out about it, in no time news would spread that the Grid was infected and posed a hazard to donors’ PCs. That would trigger security hysteria—volunteers would probably quit the Grid project by the thousands, tumbling the system like an avalanche of snow on a spring day.” Jude let out a sigh of exhaustion from a night of trying but failing to make the Grid operational again. “This guy is really good,” Jude said. Nathalie asked, “What’s wrong, Jude? You look panicked.” Jude explained the situation. Nathalie said, “Why can’t you just cut off access by firewalling the IP—Internet Protocol—that had maliciously accessed the Grid?” Knowlan said, “Yeah! Can’t the FBI track his hacking and find him by his IP address?” Jude shook his head. “It’s is a nice idea. But identifying the hackers IP address only tells us where he’s located at that moment when he’s online. A guy of this level of sophistication is always changing locations. And once the hacker discovered what we were doing, he’d just switch Internet cafes.” “Right,” Knowlan said, sounding slightly discouraged. “What are our options then?” Nathalie looked up from her smart phone, cynical as ever, shaking her head. “So, what do you propose?” Nathalie asked. “You’re the only Grid expert here, Jude.” “I’m thinking.” Jude sat down at the computer again and spent another fifty minutes analyzing why the Grid was stalling. Finally, he looked up.

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“Are we helpless here? What can we do? Isn’t there some way we could wall off all of those bots?” “Yeah, we could. In fact, that would be a good solution but the hacker would eventually learn what we’ve done and then he’d be tipped off to us. We don’t want that. If he sees we’re onto him, it could entice another type of attack. We want him to believe that he’s got us.” “That sounds right. So, what are we doing exactly?” Knowlan asked. Jude smiled. “We use a classic jiu-jitsu—martial arts strategy.” Nathalie squinted a confused look. “Turn your enemy’s strength against him,” Jude said. “Pardon?” “In the martial arts, that’s how you handle a bigger rival in a fight.” Nathalie went quiet. “Look at 9-11. How did nineteen Muslim extremists, armed with the most primitive of weapons, take down the twin towers?” “You tell me,” Nathalie said. “They didn’t fly their own jets over here; they forced our planes—full of fuel—into our towers in the sky and into our own Pentagon. They used our strength against us.” “And your idea is?” “We turn the hacker’s hack against himself.” “What?” “I create a download agent that will only go to the hacker’s botnets. That agent will contain bad information which I will have tagged so the Grid recognizes it and filters it when it comes back as a completed work unit.”

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Knowlan bit his lower lip. “I follow. But how much time will it take for you to tag an agent that just goes to the hacker’s bots?” “I don’t know.” Jude said and started working. Nathalie shook her head. “You do that. I have another idea.” Kate looked away, tuning out. Nathalie thumb clicked the buttons on her phone. “I’m going to call human resources again at Johnston & Quib.” “Why?” Jude asked. Jude knew that Nathalie had placed a number of phone calls to the bureau over the last few hours but hadn’t heard what she had uncovered. “I got word that Heather Styles listed a dependent on her W-2 form.” “Okay, good.” Jude said. “J&Q’s human resources didn’t give me any trouble. I knew that she must be a mother. I then used a data broker to pull up Heather’s home telephone records and cross referenced them against San Francisco county child pre-school centers. “Voila,” Nathalie said. “Heather has her child in a San Francisco daycare.” “A data broker?” Knowlan asked. “That’s sketchy.” Kate said. Nathalie said, “Au contraire, this one is a standard workaround we use under the Homeland Security privilege.” “I’ll take it.” Jude could see a plan hatching behind her almond eyes, a knowing glint. “What are you thinking?” “A scheme that might give us negotiation power,” Nathalie said, “before the hacker kills again. Blackmail, sort of.” “Good. I just hope we don’t ever have a falling out.”

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“Avec ma bite et mon couteau.” “What’s that?” “An old expression.” Nathalie said. “You will be safe around me if you don’t act stupid. Literally, it means, ‘Don’t confuse your cock with a knife.’” Jude rolled his eyes. Nathalie started to leave abruptly. “Nice, Nathalie. Au revoir.” Jude resumed his work on repairing the Grid, sighing over Kate’s discomfort.

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thirty-nine
Sunday, November 6 Emeryville, CA Marc Ferguson nervously leafed through phone messages, checking to see if testing results had come in on his Huntington’s disease drug. A folder filled with papers on the Stanford Grid Project sat on his desk. He cursed the day that he had gulled Pinsky to invest in the Stanford Grid. What on earth had he done? If Kate Wagner became a big success story by way of Stanford Grid treatment, her testimonial would pave the way for the demise of blockbuster drugs. Goddamn genomic medicine. At least he had a plan of retreat. Ferguson grew sick of the murmurs of the shady dealings of CEO’s in America. Tobacco makers, real estate mortgage brokers, and Wall Street financiers had become subjects for public scrutiny. Ferguson’s rise to power from a Pennsylvania steel-working family was the stuff found in fables. Yet with constant talk on CNBC about market exit strategies, he sensed that the time had come to sell his stake in J&Q.

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While it took an army of foot soldiers to build Ferguson’s J&Q realm, he only needed one man to dump his stock. That man was Ferguson’s lawyer-turned stockbroker, Julian Stark. Years ago Stark advised Ferguson to put his vast position in J&Q stock into an account under a fictitious business name that would be owned by his daughter. That advice proved prescient a month ago when Roger Knowlan told Ferguson that the Stanford Grid would be made free. The news infuriated him. Knowlan hoped that Ferguson would persuade his other Stanford team members to keep the Grid a moneymaking project. But Ferguson had no luck. Once the public got the full meaning of free access to the Grid, J&Q stock would tank further. To protect his wealth and Lori, his only heir, he ordered his stock broker to put a careful sell-off program into action. If he sold too much stock too fast, word of his sell-out would create its own disaster with insider trading or investor panic. Ferguson gave instructions to Stark by phone. “I want you to sell another ten million shares, Julian.” He was damned if he was going to be remembered as the talented Mr. Ferguson who fell like Kenneth Lay or Bernard Madoff. That was all the stock. Ferguson had sold the first ten million a month ago. Stark would sell these shares under Ferguson’s daughter’s fictitious business name as he had done with the first lot. “You’re going to have to sell these shares more gradually.” The stock broker said.” “Fine. Just don’t let it be known that I’m dumping.”

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“I advise that you trade no more than a million shares every two weeks through the three accounts in your daughter’s name. In addition, you should buy a few call options in your own name. This small bullish bet might camouflage your larger strategy, and in the unlikely event J&Q goes up, these calls will be a hedge.” Ferguson quickly hung up the phone when Ramsey barged into his office again. “Ferguson, my eyes may fail me, but you look like crap.” Ramsey stood in front of the desk, glaring down at Ferguson in his chair. Not a gray hair moved. Ferguson would rather suffer in isolation than reveal self-pity to a Wall Street whore like Ramsey. “You realize,” Ramsey said, “Stanford’s Grid is going to be our demise. I’m taking emergency precautions.” “What kind of emergency precautions?” Ferguson asked. “We shouldn’t obliterate the Grid. We may need it. Apply its innovation.” “I take credit for finding a talented hacker. His name is Cez@r and he’s locked up the Stanford Grid. He has a plan to release a virus that will probably do lasting damage.” “You did what?” This was all getting insanely out of control. Ferguson wished he hadn’t heard this. “Advanced technology can seize up, right? If we’re lucky the Grid might conveniently freeze.” Ramsey walked up to a row of rosewood-framed photographs on the wall. One photo pictured Ferguson holding a Golden Gloves trophy. Another got him at a beach house. The last one pictured him on a giant yacht, standing at the helm and gazing into the distance.

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“I hope you’re better at navigating that yacht than you are J&Q,” Ramsey said.

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forty
Sunday, November 6 Berkeley, CA Nathalie parked her Crown Vic in front of a two-story Victorian building on Larkin Street. She had called earlier, posing as Melissa’s aunt, saying she’d be picking up the girl today and wanted to confirm what time would be best to come by. She double-checked the address she had taken down against the numbers on the building. Nothing about the non-descript place resembled a daycare center. From the outside, it was just another apartment building. She rang the doorbell. No answer. When a mother came out, Nathalie went in. A middle-aged woman stood in the living room, holding a three-year-old in her arms and balancing a telephone on her shoulder. She had a red jelly stain on her trousers. The child tugged on her glasses. Children on the once ivory-colored linoleum floor flung Hot Wheel cars around a racetrack. Others drew pictures on a low round table. The daycare worker hung up the phone and plunked the child she was holding into one of the miniature chairs at her feet. “Now, Max, try to share the crayons.”

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Nathalie said, “A friend of mine, Heather Styles, brings her child here. She’s said good things, so I thought I’d check it out for my little boy.” “We have a tour day at the end of the month.” “Good, thank you. Is Melissa here today? I thought I’d say hi while I was here.” “Oh yeah, she’s right here, Melissa?” The little girl walked in with a Barbie doll in her hand. The day care center woman said, “This friend of you mother’s wanted to say hello.” Melissa said nothing. “Thank you. I’ll come back on tour day.“ Nathalie said and returned to her car where she waited until she saw Melissa come out with her a woman who appeared to be her mother. Almost an hour later, she did. The mother had strawberry-blonde hair and a low-cut sweater and was holding the child’s hand. Nathalie jumped out of the car and follow Heather to hers with her little girl. “Heather Styles?” “Yes, who are you?” Nathalie showed the woman her badge. “I’m Special Agent Noiret. I have a few questions for you.” “I’m sorry, but you can see I’m busy getting my daughter home.” “Yes, I see that.” The little girl looked at Nathalie with suspicious blue eyes. “Why don’t you get her in the car. I have something to tell you.” “What?” Heather opened her car door and told Melissa to get inside and buckler her seatbelt. Heather

GRIDLOCK 8

closed the door and locked it from the outside with a click of her keychain.” The little girl continued to watch the conversation, glued to the car window. “I suggest we do this at your house,” Nathalie said. “I don’t want to leave your daughter waiting in the car. We need your help with an inquiry.” “Do I have a choice?” Heather whispered, turning pale beneath her makeup. Nathalie shook her head. Heather let out a big sigh. “Okay, follow me.” At Heather’s apartment, Melissa watched television while Nathalie and Heather sat on a wrought iron bench in a downstairs garden courtyard. “Why do you need to speak to me?” Heather asked with a pinched voice. “We believe you might have knowledge about efforts to stop the Stanford Grid project. Why don’t you start by telling me who you work for exactly?” Heather pulled on her hair, looking away. “Aren’t you supposed to read me my Miranda rights?” “If I charge you with something, I will.” “Marc Ferguson,” she said abruptly, “the CEO of Johnston & Quib. I’m his executive assistant.” “What do you know about a Cayman Islands bank account?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Lives are at risk. If you cooperate, a judge should look favorably upon it.” Heather chewed on her finger nail. “Consider this an opportunity to clear your record.” “Record? You said I’m not being charged.”

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“Not now, but you could be charged later. There’s been a terrorist attack on the Stanford University campus.” “Wait. What does that have to do with me?” Heather became jumpy. Nathalie said. “You’re under suspicion for conspiring in a felony. I suggest you cooperate. You saw how easily I found your daycare. I can easily file a report on with child protective services, tell them I chatted with the day care worker, Bonnie, who told m that you’ve been late to pick up Melissa, hung over on a occasion.” “What! That’s not true.” “Whether it’s fact or fiction, they’ll listen to a federal agent—especially when I tell them that you’re suspected of impersonating a journalist with the intent to gain corporate information. That’s a felony. They’d assign a counselor to you and you’ll have meetings with them to determine if you’re overworked or need parental assistance as a single, working mom. They’ll determine if you’re an unfit other.” Heather Styles tried to jump across the table at Nathalie, but Nathalie caught her hands. Heather let out a cry. Her stylishly curled hair tossed out of place. Heather burst into tears. “I only did what Olivier Ramsey asked. And if you ever touch my child, you’ll be sorry.” “So, you acted as a gofer on this attack?” “Attack?” asked Heather. “You’ve been identified as the one who set up this bank account.” “What does that mean?” Heather said. “Tell me about Olivier Ramsey.” “All I know is that Olivier Ramsey requested that I open a Cayman Island bank account.”

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“Who is Olivier Ramsey?” “A venture capitalist. He’s crazy. Mr. Ferguson’s gotta jump whenever Olivier Ramsey’s investment firm says so. Those two have been arguing…for days now. They were friends once but I don’t see how. And Mr. Ferguson’s been acting strange, paranoid. I don’t think he’s well at all. Company morale is tanking. I know people who are going to quit.” “But why did Ramsey open this bank account?” “How would I know?” “You can do better.” She looked away, thinking. “I did hear about some computer contractor payment.” “What did he hire that computer contractor to do?” “All I know is that the contractor insisted the money be deposited ASAP.” “How much did you deposit?” “Five hundred thousand.” “How can we find this contractor?” “They refer to him as Cezar. Ask Olivier Ramsey.” “I need you to find out more about who this Cezar is and what he’s doing.” “I have no idea. I want to see Melissa.” “Think about it,” Nathalie said. “But how am I— “I’ll be calling nightly after 8 P.M. on your cell phone for reports.” Just like the old saying goes—law enforcement depends on good intelligence, good intelligence depends on good informants. Nathalie hoped Heather would prove to be a reliable one. ***

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Nathalie rang Jude’s cell from downstairs at J&Q. “I’ve got a big report from Heather Styles.” “Go.” “She deposited half a million dollars for Olivier Ramsey in the Cayman Islands account for a computer job.” Jude processed this. “So Ramsey must have paid hackers to crash the grid.” “Yes, but I still don’t know how Onagi’s murder fits. Remember your Dyncorp pen? That points to the FBI and Hackman. And what about the FBI handgun that killed Jűrgen Hansen?” “My gut says it was all intended to frame the FBI,” he said. “That’s very possible. Do you think Ramsey did it?” “I don’t know. I never trusted J&Q even when they sponsored the Stanford Grid. For now, we have to block this hacker. I’ve found an IP address that hacked into the Grid. I sandboxed it, which should slow him down. It’ll mean his PC can’t access the Grid network at all. He’ll need a new Internet access which probably only gives us a few minutes to figure out something else.” “That’s the challenge.” She said. “We can’t track him down by an IP alone if he’s roaming with a notebook computer. The wounded intruder from Stanford has clammed up. The virus writer is going to update Ramsey. We’ve gotta get access to Ramsey’s machine.” “But then what?” Nathalie asked. “Hopefully in one of his emails to Ramsey he’ll leave some electronic trail. No one can walk in snow without leaving a footprint.” “At least one of us is an optimist,” Nathalie said.

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forty-one
Sunday, November 6 Piedmont, CA Marc Ferguson lay in bed distraught, frustrated and unable to focus. He went the bathroom, picked up his electric razor and shaved while watching the stock market tape roll on his wall-mounted TV. Johnston & Quib stock dropped from 92 to 71. While some investors undoubtedly were buying J&Q stock to hedge bets with traditional medicine, a greater number were selling on reports that one of J&Q’s blockbuster drugs caused side-effects. It was awful timing for J&Q to have the Stanford Grid team sever its alliance. When Ferguson heard that the Stanford Grid Project had been terrorized with an explosion, he could only think that Ramsey was responsible. The consequences of a crashed Grid tumbled around in Ferguson’s head. He wasn’t sure how to judge it. Ultimately, whether the Stanford Grid flourished or failed, he’d still be sunk. Kate Wagner was a human test balloon, the cancer test case that would be cited by every scientific journal.

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Ferguson poured two fingers of Glenfiddich into his bedside water glass, swallowed a Percocet and pet his dog, Zeus. Meanwhile J&Q stockholders were bleeding and so was his daughter’s inheritance. “No way,” he said aloud, slamming his glass on the floor of his aqua-tiled bathroom, shattering it into a thousand shards. Cussing, Ferguson stepped around broken and came back to the bedroom. He then pulled a business card from his wallet with Kate Wagner’s cell phone number. The not-for-profit Grid program might have stopped for now, but who knew when Stanford’s network might be running again. He couldn’t stand even a remote possibility that Kate would become a Grid success story, leaving him and his company to waste away. He punched Kate’s number. “Kate, it’s Marc Ferguson.” “Yes.” She sounded surprised to hear from him. “I think you should drop into our office for a visit to review our new drug offerings,” Ferguson said. “Um, well, I’m very busy. I’m in a meeting here at Stanford.” “Please, let me help you.” That sounded desperate, so he changed his demeanor. “Why not be my special guest at our Emeryville office? Meet our onsite medical specialist. He’ll make a drug sample available to your treating physician. It’s our latest and greatest offering.” “I really appreciate the offer,” Kate said. “Can we schedule another day?” “I’ll call you tomorrow morning.” He hung up, torn over what to do next. He dialed again.

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Nothing would make him accept the bitter truth that he was dying and that the company he created—his life’s work—was ailing too. His dog, Zeus, barked beside his feet. Shit, even Zeus knows I’m dying. Ferguson made his crucial call of the hour. It went to the one person he knew was capable of doing something so extraordinary that it seemed impossible. “Lori, I need your help and I know this will sound utterly crazy. I need you to locate someone named Kate Wagner and bring her to me even if she fights. I don’t know how you’re going to find—.” “Dad, you’re not going to believe this. But that’s no problem. I know right where she is in Berkeley.” Ferguson couldn’t make sense of this, how his daughter could know where Kate Wagner was or even who she was. He would get an explanation later. Most of all, he was thankful for this luck. “I don’t know how you know that, but—.” “I’ll have her delivered to the house soon.” Ferguson feared that something wasn’t right with his daughter’s activities. He even dreaded a day would come when he found out that she had acted out so defiantly that it caused him eternal regret.

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forty-two
Sunday, November 6 Stanford University Data Center Smoke from the early morning fire had given way to a light breeze. Sun rays pushed through the haze over the Stanford campus. The part of the campus where the bomb exploded was scorched earth. The stench of smoldering eucalyptus trees turned Jude’s empty stomach. He fastened the data center window closed and returned to his seat beside Roger Knowlan. He looked at Roger’s screen, then got back to slogging code at the keyboard. They no longer worked with the grating noise of the power generator, as the electricity had come back up. The neon lights overhead burned bright now. Yet Jude still hadn’t got the Stanford Grid up and running again. Precious minutes wasted ... minutes that should have been spent pairing Kate’s genomic markers to produce her custom drug. Jude’s radio was still broadcasting reports about the explosion. He turned it off.

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The gunman had been wheeled away, but blood evidence of the shooting remained on the floor, a plain reminder that danger lurked. For hours, Jude and Knowlan had drawn all the reserve energy they could muster to repair the Grid. To keep them going, Knowlan searched the data center cabinets and brewed up stale coffee with what he found. Kate dipped a ginseng green tea bag and gnawed on string cheese from his mini-fridge then napped uncomfortably with her head down on a desk. The wall clock read 12:01 P.M. At last, Jude believed he had created an agent that was tagged such that the Grid could filter it out once the botnet took it and returned bad information. The Stanford Grid looked operational, ready to resume processing on Kate’s genome. Jude sent a test problem to the online system. Results returned instantaneously. He tested again. It worked a second time. “That’s it.” Jude shouted, rising to his feet. Despite everyone’s exhaustion, excitement filled the room. “Success.” Knowlan shouted back, grabbing Jude’s arm in elation. Kate sat up. “Are we running?” She asked, half-asleep and incredulous. “We are.” Jude swept his sister into a hug, “We’re going to make you better and finish what we started yesterday.” Jude and Knowlan swapped seats, putting Knowlan in command. Knowlan snapped open two plastic DVD jewel cases and popped in the first DVD. It contained Kate’s sequenced genome results, which had been burned to the DVDs the previous day. Knowlan keyed Kate’s data into a program that used Jude’s data-mining algorithm to analyze her mutated proteins and check them against the J&Q breast cancer database. The Grid churned,

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sorting the necessary compounds for a customized drug. As CPU lights flickered, a green progress bar lengthened. Jude put his arm around Kate, his eyes glued to the monitor. It would be hours before results would be returned, but he couldn’t bear to leave the station unguarded. He waited with anticipation, watching the Grid’s flat screen. None of them could sleep. Almost four hours passed. Jude watched the progress bar until it stopped. He quickly navigated to another screen to see what results had returned. Comparing her DNA to that of tens of thousands of other breast cancer tissues produced inconclusive results. They needed a precise match to determine the proper drug treatment for Kate. “Nothing?” Jude slumped. He mumbled to himself in an effort not to disturb Kate, sitting just feet away. His distress was excruciating. Knowlan’s chair swiveled around toward Jude. He looked exhausted. They had worked feverishly, eliminating what could have gone wrong. Kate moaned with bloodless lips and circles under her eyes. “Jude, I feel lightheaded.” “Why don’t you drink some water, Kate,” Jude said. “I’m very sorry to tell you this, Kate, but the Grid analysis didn’t work,” Knowlan said. Jude’s eyebrows narrowed. After tugging the keyboard closer, he typed “PERFMON” to monitor the Grid’s performance. Results showed the Grid was drawing processing power only from inside Stanford’s campus—nothing from the 90,000 computers it had access to yesterday. Jude could no longer trust the results stored on the Stanford Grid as long as the virus stalled the computation.

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“We’re down,” Jude said. “Gridlock.” Knowlan exhaled in despair. Jude went to the keyboard. Tap, tap, tap. Knowlan looked on the server logs. Kate stood up from the desk, rubbing her neck. “Our Grid servers here are still completely tied up with processing the bad data those zombie botnets are sending.” *** Cez@r slurped a venti café latte as he worked at a Starbucks in San Francisco’s busy Laurel Village. He preferred to do his laptop work in cafes, so the feds couldn’t locate his home. Cez@r typed, directing more infected bots to hit the Stanford Grid. Next, just to be safe, he got up. He wasn’t going to have anyone track his location based on the IP address. He wouldn’t be duped so easily. He stood up and nudged the next table, knocking some chick’s coffee sideways. Half the beverage spilled over the tabletop before she caught her drink. “Watch it.” “Sorry,” he said. As she grabbed napkins, he slid her blue Nokia into his pocket. Clutching his laptop, he ran outside and pulled away in his Toyota before she could miss her phone. Two miles down the road, Cez@r parked on a side street lined with boxy 1960s-style apartment buildings. He connected his computer to the girl’s cell phone. Online again, he quickly surfed under an anonymous Internet Protocol. He snapped in his jump drive, called

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up a file, clicked to the Stanford network and signed into the Stanford Grid server. Cez@r continued coding his attack. The botnet attack was just round one. Round two would be to put a virus into general circulation so other users would be infected. The news of a compromised Grid would cause volunteers to stop donating their processing power, effectively shutting down the Grid. The virus, he estimated, would be ready to post in 36 hours. He worked until nightfall from his car recharging the phone, using the car’s cigarette lighter. He then drove ten blocks to an even quieter street. From the car window, he chucked the Nokia into a juniper bush then started back downtown. He went directly to the XYZ bar at the W Hotel. He caught his breath as he stepped up the wide staircase and swaggered into the trendy bar. He found a chair and table in the back corner of the semi-darkened room and mused over his day’s deeds over a tall mojito. *** At Stanford Jude pushed the keyboard to one side and reeled back in his chair in disbelief. The screen confirmed his worst suspicion. No matter what changes he made to the download agent, the Stanford Grid’s resources were completely occupied with fact-checking tasks. The jobs monopolized the system, excluding any other routine from running. Desperate and humiliated, Jude wanted to slam the expensive scientific machine into the wall. Kate’s chances at survival weren’t improving.

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Neither Jude nor Knowlan had an answer. Frustrated, Jude walked out into the smoky air. He had to think. There was always a way to tweak a computer, it simply demanded time—he lived by that motto at Berkeley, years ago. Acknowledging that a solution existed was half the battle of finding it. Tormented by the breakdown, he trod around the building. The anxiety he felt about Kate’s chances now would only be a twinge of pain compared to what he would face if she died. He searched the corners of his mind for ideas. After several minutes, Jude remembered something that Knowlan had done—that might make give them the power they needed. With a purposeful gait, he returned to the room where Kate and Knowlan sat slouched, looking despondent. “I might have something.” Jude felt his adrenaline rush. “What if we just let the botnets continue to feed bad information here and tie up these resources. That might not be a bad thing.” “You’re dreaming,” Knowlan said, deflated. “We’ve lost our chance.” Jude put his hand on Knowlan’s shoulder. “Wait. You implemented Grid overload servers at Berkeley, right?” “Yes, just yesterday.” Knowlan did it while the regular department people were away for a two-day astronomy conference. “That’s right. That node would be up because it’s working with a different set of agents.” Jude didn’t need to tell Roger Knowlan the capabilities of the redundancy servers and that the SETI@home agents were scanning outer space radio waves, not cancer markers. But SETI could be redirected. Knowlan knew as well as Jude that what he installed at Berkeley

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enabled them to use the SETI@home Grid to complete Kate’s work unit. “We’re going to Berkeley,” Jude hollered. “You do still have the key to the Department, don’t you?” Roger checked his jeans pocket. “Got the key.” Knowlan and Kate jerked to attention. Jude could see a palpable shift in mood from them—a remnant of hope in their eyes. Knowlan weighed what Jude was saying. Jude didn’t wait for agreement. He grabbed Kate’s DVDs and prodded Kate and Knowlan through the double door entrance and into Knowlan’s Jaguar. “What’s going on?” Kate asked. “SETI@home and Stanford agreed to act as expanded capacity nodes, so neither would be oversubscribed,” Knowlan said. “It appears that someone has hacked into our Stanford Grid and corrupted it, so we’re going to harness the SETI Grid to continue your cure.” From the front seat, Kate turned to look back at Jude. “Like an emergency power generator?” “Sort of—one helps the other temporarily.” Knowlan accelerated the Jag along Page Mill Road to the freeway. “I must be dreaming,” Kate murmured. “I’ve felt that way for several days myself,” Jude said.

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forty-three
Sunday, November 6 Between Stanford and Berkeley, CA Clouds darkened to slate and rain began to fall as Knowlan drove them up highway 101 from Palo Alto and over the San Mateo Bridge. The weather report on the radio said that hurricane Linda in the South Pacific had triggered unusually big thunderstorms and lightning in the area. Windshield wipers whopped. “Oh, god,” Kate said. “What?” Jude asked. “In addition to my head hurting, my fingers are numb.” “Try to rest, Kate.” Jude reached forward to place a comforting hand on her shoulder. He then turned around to look out the back window. The blue van was still there and behind that a white Ranger Rover. It appeared to be the same model that had followed him into Chinatown. Jude had noticed the car and truck trailing behind them from Page Mill Road and again miles later on the freeway. “Come on, Roger, faster. I think we’re being followed,” Jude said.

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“Who?” “Wish I knew.” Jude checked behind him again. Both cars had disappeared from view. * * * Mud spattered from the street as they travelled around the back of the Berkeley football stadium. The road climbed past the Berkeley Botanical Gardens and side roads with fences marked FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, NO TRESPASSING. The Berkeley hills were famous for what Jude called “Uber-government projects,” from primate laboratory testing to national defense research. They drove past a wooden staircase that ran up the hill from the Lawrence Hall of Science to the cluster of three hulking cement slab structures that formed Berkeley’s Space and Science Laboratory. SETI was located in the middle building. They passed a final sign that said SECURED GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, and then Knowlan parked the car at the foot of Jude’s old place of work and study. Thunder boomed overhead from the leaden sky as they climbed out of the car. Jude and Knowlan ran through the rain with Kate between them. Each of them supported her by one arm. They were leading her up the stairs, toward the SETI@home office, when she fell on the steps. She complained of lightheadedness and breathed heavily. Jude carried her the rest of the way to his former desk and settled her into a chair. Moving quickly, Knowlan booted up his laptop computer and signed into the Berkeley grid access node.

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He successfully connected to the SETI Grid and entered Kate’s data, using the DVDs. Jude paced anxiously while Knowlan typed. From the hallway, Jude heard light shuffling noises—perhaps rubber-soled shoes. “Continue to set up and configure,” Jude told Knowlan. “I’ll check this out.” Jude left the office and stalked down the corridor. He unholstered his service pistol and chambered a round. He heard someone opening and closing a door ahead and figured it could be a janitor or building security. Then he saw a man in a jumpsuit marching up the stairs. Bursting with energy, he bolted the other way. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the military type with the stubbled hair and wide build running at him—it was the same attacker who had broken into his place. Jude took the emergency stairs to the ground floor emergency exit. He hoped to lure him out of the building, away from Kate and Knowlan. But where would he go on the outside? Jude ran down the fire exit stairs three at a time and charged out of the SETI@home building through the emergency exit into billowing sheets of rain. He scrambled around the building to the rustic wooden stairs. The well-trodden staircase ran to a lower portion of the main road. The idea hit him when he saw the building he used to visit across the street. Pounding rapidly down the slick, rickety steps, he headed to that dusky concrete building across the way. The same pounding noise followed behind him. He turned. The man was gaining on him. Jude gripped his cold .40 Smith and Wesson, his reflexes coiled.

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He hit the last step and stumbled into a puddle of watery dirt. A shot fired over his head and twanged as it ricocheted off a street sign below. He managed to get to his feet and continue down the steps toward the road. Heart pounding, he felt no pain. He wasn’t hit. The man was only forty feet behind him and moving. Jude quickly came to a stop. He turned, took aim for center body, and, in quick succession, snapped the trigger. Bang—bang—bang! The assailant fell to one knee, put his hand to his chest, found his footing again and got up. On the move again, he must’ve been wearing Kevlar. One of Jude’s shots had to hit. Jude reached the bottom of the stairs, but was also slipping in the mud—each breath choppier than the last. The blue van was parked at the foot of the stairs. Jude thought about checking it for keys but figured they’d be gone. He rushed up to the aerosol testing building. The laboratory staff assessed the chemical threat of indoor, aerolized anthrax dispersal, attack, and contamination. The low, two-story, concrete structure was set back from the road. At the entrance, he punched the code into the clear white key pad beside the steel door. He needed these digits to be right, 9-2-8-0-7. There was no click. His stomach felt like it was in his chest. He’d misentered a number. He brushed his wet fingers on his pants and pounded the numbers out again, 9-2-8-0-7. The lock clicked. The door opened. He went inside and slammed it shut, then darted to the closet beside the emergency showers. Jude had known nothing about anthrax until he read about what students were studying down the hill

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from the SETI lab. Infection happened when microscopic spores invaded the body, reverted to their bacterial form, then multiplied. A high percentage of people infected with anthrax died. He fumbled through a metal cabinet and grabbed one of several gas masks. As he closed the cabinet tight he heard a banging noise against the door—crashing thuds, followed by what sounded like the doorframe breaking. Next, Jude heard loud creaking until the door burst open and metal clanked to the ground. The attacker was here. Jude quitted his breathing. Expecting a shootout, he found a fire alarm on the wall and pulled it. With a gas mask in hand, he hid in the closet. Through a crevice in the door, he watched workers exit the building. After a few minutes, he flung open the door, went through a doorway, and entered a testing room that was dedicated to biodefense. He scanned the place. The industrial-sized room contained several computer workstations, microscopes, and what appeared as a staged office. The space had been vacated, leaving him alone with the smell of ammonia disinfectant. He yanked the mask straps down over his head and waited. The gyrating hum of what sounded like heavy air conditioning machery echoed in the empty room. He heard footsteps coming nearer, stepping tentatively. “You’re cornered,” Jude heard. Jude squeezed his sidearm, waiting behind a pillar. “You’re trapped,” the voice called. * * *

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In the small Berkeley laboratory office, Kate sat with Roger. Her head was spinning. She needed water. Getting to her feet, she told Roger that she was going to search for a restroom. “Don’t be long,” he said, scratching his head. Stepping out of the computer room, Kate turned the first corner of the empty hallway. Without warning, a hand went over her mouth and a blindfold over her eyes. She had little strength to fight. * * * Jude sized up a dozen or more wine barrel-sized metal canisters labeled, WARNING! ANTHRAX. Aware that one deep inhalation could kill, Jude pressed his gas mask to his face. The canisters were strapped to the left wall, resting on slick stainless steel shelves. He slipped around huge cabinets that shelved measuring instruments and plastic tubing and crouched behind the cabinet where the door would swing open. He waited, hefting his pistol. Jude’s pursuer burst into the room with his gun waving. Jude closed the door with his right hand, took aim at the second container and fired his weapon. A hit! With an ear-shattering hiss, the canister spewed powder through the entire room like a blizzard. The attacker folded over, hands covering his mouth, heaving for air, hacking through the miasma of airborne toxin. The man fought for air, gasping and crawling for help. Holding the gas mask firmly, Jude ran for the emergency showers. White flakes stuck to his plastic mask and obscured his vision while he fled.

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forty-four
Sunday, November 6 Berkeley, CA As he rushed from main room and into the smaller one at the entrance, Jude found the emergency shower stall. He yanked the hanging lever on. High-pressure water gushed from the shower fixture, dousing him and rinsing the toxic powder away. Catching his breath, he shut it off, grabbed a long towel from the shelf, slung it around him and crashed out of the shower area. He ran out of the aerosol testing building. Once the broken facility door creaked closed behind him, he dropped the towel, and stripped off his contaminated shirt from his back, leaving him in a wet undershirt and slacks. He then ripped off the black rubber mask and stood over a crowbar that must’ve come from the van. In the pouring rain, huddled under umbrellas, two weekend employees looked at him in horror. One man pointed and said, “That’s him!” Jude knew by their expression that they thought he was some lunatic who had just fired a gun on two people who went into the building after him. Without hesitating further, he darted across the road and past the blue van that was still parked on the

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shoulder of the road. Sweating, he ran up the muddy hill and the wooden steps to the SETI@home lab. At the top, he saw the white Range Rover that had followed them, parked outside the building. The SUV had no license plate inside the car. Jude looked through the windshield trying to see a Vehicle Identification Number on a metal plate on the dashboard. This one was covered in duct tape. The Range Rover’s doors were locked. He rapped the window with the butt of his firearm, driver’s side. The safety glass spider-cracked. He rapped through three more times before he could break the window. He reached inside, tore the duct tape off metal plate, and called his office. He read the VIN off to the special agent who answered the phone and reported the incident, requesting that a biohazard containment crew come right away, with a police unit and ambulance for the perpetrator. Jude’s pulse raced again when he placed two more calls. He left an urgent message for Nathalie to check the VIN number of the white Range Rover, then rang Knowlan to open the side door to the building for him. A moment later, Knowlan let him in, staring in shock. “What the hell happened?” “He’s contained. I’ll explain later. Police and ambulance are coming.” They stomped up the white stairwell into the SETI@home office. Knowlan would not stop asking questions. “What happened exactly?” Jude shook his head, more anxious than ever. “Tell me. Is it working?” “We’re connected to Rosetta.”

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Jude leaned over Roger’s shoulder, dripping wet. He examined the monitor. “It is working. It’s mining.” Jude shouted. “It’s about time,” Knowlan said. The world system was grinding away, feeding Kate’s data into a massive simulation computer at Stanford that would screen molecules that could be synthesized to custom-make her unique cure. “Where is she?” Jude asked. “She went to find a bathroom,” Knowlan said. “Jude.” The scream was unmistakably Kate’s. Jude and Roger froze. Roger’s face showed a look of alarm. The sound of her voice carried from somewhere down the hall. Jude ran to the ladies room. “Empty,” Jude said. “You go that way.” He pointed in the opposite direction from where he was headed.” Two minutes later, Jude ran back into the office and snatched Roger’s keys. He passed Roger in the hall again as he ran out of the building. “I’m going to need to drive. Do you want to come with me or wait? The police are coming.” “I’ll wait for the police.” When Jude got downstairs and outside the building the Ranger Rover he had just broken into was gone.

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fifty-five
Sunday, November 6 Piedmont, CA Red-faced and flustered, Ferguson’s daughter unclasped the gold chain with the cross from her neck and put it in her pocket so it wouldn’t dangle and distract her. She dragged Kate out of her Range Rover with a bag over head. “Here she is,” Lori said with an irritated voice, handing over Kate Wagner to her father. She then tore a blonde wig off her head. Ferguson didn’t know what to say about his daughter’s wig and heavy make-up, but he was in no position to judge. He grasped Kate’s tied arms. “How did you know where she was?” “That’s a long story for later.” Marc Ferguson suspected he wasn’t going to like hearing this now or later. “Why didn’t you leave her in the car?” Lori brushed rain water from her head. “Because I need you to tie her up again. She’s loosened the rope. And there’s a car coming up the driveway. Why do you want her?”

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He heard the approaching car. “Drive around back. I’ll tell you later.” Lori ran back to her SUV. Ferguson wanted to confirm that the captive was Kate. He yanked off the bag that covered her head and saw it was she, stifling tears. “Marc Ferguson?” Kate gasped. “Sorry about this, Kate.” “But why?” “Without you, your brother would never listen to me.” “Let me call him.” Ferguson ignored her pleading and shut his front door. Lori came through the house from a back door. She pulled Kate down the hallway. Kate struggled to free her arm. Lori Ferguson slapped her face, knocking her to the marble floor. “Don’t try to fight me.” Kate got a good look at her female abductor. She had broad shoulders, closely cropped brown hair and ruddy complexion under bad make-up. Moving like a man, the woman in the militant outfit dragged Kate down a polished hardwood hallway. She kicked to the master bedroom that had ornate toile wallpaper and an enormous bed. After unplugging two bedside table lights, Lori tied Kate to the French-country bed post with the extension cords. Kate heard a dog barking, then the whir of the car motor in the driveway. Lori shouted, “Zeus, shut up!” Kate then heard someone else walking outside, slushing in the rain. Marc Ferguson looked at his hallway security camera screen that showed his front driveway. He watched the

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door to a Jeep Cherokee open. Then Heather Styles climbed out of the car. Quickly opening an umbrella, the attractive woman straightened her hair and put away the unnecessary sunglasses that were perched on her head. She picked up a manila folder, swollen with paper from the passenger seat of the Jeep. Heather approached the house looking at the ground. Ferguson darted to the kitchen, grabbed a meat cleaver, and rushed it to the back bedroom and handed it to Lori. “Threaten her with this. She knows you won’t fire a shot with a visitor here.” Ferguson flicked on the bedroom television, cranked up the volume on the remote, gave Kate a final look to see that she couldn’t escape Lori’s handiwork, and then closed the door as he left the room. Lori took the cleaver and brandished it in Kate’s face. “Any noise, I’ll cut you to little pieces.” Kate shook her head. Her cheek still flushed from the blow. The doorbell rang. Ferguson made his way to the front door to greet Heather. The voice could be heard through the door. “Mr. Ferguson—hello—it’s Heather Styles.” Ferguson tucked in his shirt. “Hold on a minute.” “It’s urgent news,” Heather continued. Ferguson cracked the door open. “Please don’t shoot the messenger.” Heather pulled papers from the file. Ferguson grabbed the paper folder. His face twitched. “What? What is it?”

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“It’s about the phase two clinical trials for your experimental Huntington’s disease drug,” she said. “Yes, what do you have?” “Bad news. The trials proved to cause liver failure in apes.” Ferguson’s stomach jumped. He feared this might be the case—what he had long hoped might save him had failed. There was no traditional cure for Huntington’s disease. An awful truth came back to him. The Grid was his only hope for survival. If it worked it could diagnose him precisely and find a custom drug. “Okay, please go now.” Ferguson suppressed how shattered and mad at the world he felt. Heather had to go. “Sir, I need to know.” “What!” “Was Olivier Ramsey behind that explosion at Stanford? The FBI questioned me…” “Explosion?” Ferguson said. “The FBI questioned you? I don’t know anything about this. Olivier is selfish and ambitious, but no psycho—we know that much.” Heather lowered her head, appearing unsure about everything at J&Q. “Goodbye, Heather.” Ferguson closed the door, his shoulders slumped. His mental framework shifted from viewing the Grid as a thorn in his side to needing to utilize it. He considered what he had in the bedroom. Having Kate gave him power over Jude. But had the Stanford explosion crashed the Grid permanently? Could it be repaired? He had to phone Ramsey. “Olivier.”

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“What now?” “I was wrong to sit by and let you corrupt Stanford’s Grid. You have to call off the dogs.” “What do you mean?” “I don’t know if you were behind that explosion and hack job at Stanford, but tell that virus writer to stop everything.” “Even if I wanted to I couldn’t.” “Why is that?” “He’s put a worm virus in place that is going to take care of this medical Grid forever, and it’s going to let rip in 48 hours.” Ferguson felt shattered. “Tell him you’ll pay him double if he quits.” “This train has already left the station. Those Stanford Grid scientists are getting what they deserve. Accept it.” “But what if your life was on the line one day? You’d want the chances it offers.” Ferguson thought quickly. “Jude Wagner can stop your virus. He’s probably the only one who can.” “Wagner? Have you fucking lost your mind? He’s the one who’s caused this goddamn mess; he’s sure as hell not going to help you.” “Oh, he will.” Ferguson hung up. He had to try to defend Stanford’s revolutionary computer system. All the early trial reports on the Grid’s efficacy came rushing back to him. He considered how difficult it would be for anyone to stop a targeted virus attack from being distributed across the Grid. He wondered if Jude Wagner would listen to him if he told him about this threat. And did Wagner have the skills to thwart it? ***

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Kate couldn’t undo her hands or feet, but she had wriggled herself free from the extension cord that had her strung to the bedpost. She moved off the bed and stood by the back bedroom. Peeking from behind the shutter, she looked outside the rain-smudged window to see if she could climb out. She saw a massive rosebush covered half the wall on the other side and knew, rain or shine, she’d never make it in her weakened condition. She felt committed to the house of horrors when she overheard a car leaving and Ferguson speaking sternly to his daughter. Kate moved away from the window and hid under the bed. Moments passed. She heard nothing but the beating of her own heart, then footsteps. “Hey.” Lori Ferguson shouted, making her jump. Lori was crouched on all fours, staring directly at Kate under the bed. Kate scooted away from her. Then the woman grabbed Kate’s wrist. “Got you,” said the woman. Lori forced Kate through the house, out the front door and through the rain to the woman’s SUV. Kate feared for her life. The woman climbed onto the backseat and wrapped duct tape around Kate’s mouth. She then bound Kate’s hands and feet with extension cords again. Ferguson came out to the car. “What happened to your driver’s side window?” “Dad, never mind the glass,” Lori said. “I’ve gotta get my backpack.” Kate saw Lori job toward the house again. A minute later Lori returned to the SUV with her backpack. Kate overheard Ferguson say, “Go to the boat and wait. Make

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sure you’re not being followed. And, Lori, don’t hurt her. I need her brother’s cooperation.” “Okay.” Kate was lying down on the backseat, listening closely. Ferguson said, “Lori, you’re the only daughter I got. Wait for me.” Panic stricken, Kate had gone sweaty and achy again. “Daddy.” The woman started the engine. Ferguson continued to talk to her through the driver’s side window. “No, listen. If the company falls to pieces, what would that mean after I’m gone—what would I have given you? Nothing but a divorce from your mother!” “Daddy,” Lori moaned. Ferguson kissed his daughter’s cheek through the open car window. “I’ll see you there.” Lori put the SUV in reverse. The SUV motored down the long driveway. Kate was desperate. She struggled to untie herself, but didn’t know what she would do if she did.

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forty-six
Sunday, November 6 Berkeley, CA Forcing himself to take deep breaths, Jude sat in Knowlan’s plush seats, parked at the SETI building, secluded high in the Berkeley hills. He inserted the key, pushed the ignition button and the Jaguar purred to life. But where would he go to find Kate. From an empty parking lot with a wide view of the Bay Area, he sat. His own sister was a WAT—a person who’d vanished Without a Trace. Though in this case, he had one lead: that VIN. As if on cue, Jude’s mobile device rang. Nathalie’s name appeared on the mini-LED. He answered the phone before putting the car into gear. “Nathalie. Kate’s gone, she’s been taken.” “My god, Jude.” “I think Ramsey took her.” “I don’t think so.” “Why would you say that?” Jude asked. “That VIN you gave me is registered in the name of Marc Ferguson.” “Marc Ferguson?”

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“It goes to a residence in Piedmont, on Sea View Avenue, number 246. I see the property is also owned by Ferguson.” “I’ll drive there now.” He keyed the address into his GPS. “I hope we’ve identified the same Marc Ferguson?” “I think we have. I’m reading right now. There’s a lot of information on the web about Marc Ferguson and mention of him living in Piedmont. He’s unmarried but has a daughter—her name is Lori. She has the same mailing address.“ Jude could hear Nathalie click at her computer. She stopped and said, “Jude, you’re not going to break into his place if he’s not there, are you?” Jude knew where she was going with that. If he forced entry and it was found out, any evidence he found against Ferguson would be dismissed for illegal entry. “How long would it take for you to get me a warrant?” “In the best case, the magistrate takes a few hours to approve probable cause.” “That’s no good.” “Jude.” “I can’t debate this with you, Nathalie. I can’t wait around. Inside there could be a piece of information about Ferguson or his daughter that might lead me to Kate.” “As your training agent, I told you not to do this.” “Don’t worry, Nathalie. This will all be on me.” Nathalie let out a big sigh. Jude heard more typing. She said, “I’ve got more. I show that Marc Ferguson not only served on Dyncorp’s board, but his pharmaceutical company is its corporate parent. He practically owns a private army.” “Wow. Then Ferguson’s got motive. Not Ramsey.”

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“I’ll see if I can find his cell phone number so we can triangulate his location. Oh, there’s something else, Jude —I found that Ferguson’s daughter works for Dyncorp.” “She does?” “Yes.” While driving and talking on his cell phone, Jude heard tap of a computer keyboard on the other end of the line. “Dyncorp is a subsidiary of Johnston & Quib and under contract at our office.” Jude checked his rearview mirror. No one was behind him. “I wonder if Ferguson used his daughter somehow to do his dirty work to stop the Grid and kill Jűrgen, Onagi and possibly Niles.” “I suppose it’s possible.” Nathalie said. “She had access to trained gunmen, killer canines and noncommercial plane flights . . . whatever a private military company has.” “And probably Ferguson’s money.” After a second, he said, “Ferguson could be using Kate as some bargaining chip.” “Pourquoi?” Jude heard Nathalie typing more. “Kate told me he’s dying from Huntington’s disease. That’s it.” “What?” “Kate told Ferguson that she’s going to be the Grid’s first test patient. He must fear she might be our first success story.” “This is all hard to believe—no luck with tracking him by his phone. He has some kind of encrypted phone—I’d like to see if his car has crossed any bridges using FasTrak but that’ll take a little time.” “Ring me back if you get anything.” Jude said. Click.

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The rain had abated when Jude parked the Jaguar at the gated entrance to Ferguson’s house. Frustrated to find a wall surrounding the property, he looked for a way to get over it. About thirty feet to the left of the driveway, he spotted an oak tree with a large branch that leaned against the wall. He drove his car off the driveway and into the low shrubbery beneath the tree. Trying not to slip, Jude climbed on the hood of his car. He then jumped and grabbed the limb of the oak tree, shimmied over the wall and dropped to the other side. He opened the gate from the inside with a button and drove his car inside. This had to be the place. The main house had pink walls and a steep gray shingled roof, and it was flanked by a turret, capped with a round top and spire. Wrought iron lamps hung from vaulted doorways. The property appeared to have time traveled from the world of horse and carriage. Jude tried the handle to Ferguson’s front door and rang the bell. No answer. He knocked loudly and waited. The noise only roused a barking dog. He stood back and rushed the door, colliding into it with his shoulder. Thud. The door didn’t open. He winced under the pain of a new bruise and rubbed his arm. Barking came nonstop now. The dog, as loyal sentry, now stood directly behind the door. Jude wondered if Ferguson was going to swing open the door with a gun pointed at Kate’s head. “Ferguson! You’re not getting away. Open up.” Silence. Jude climbed a side fence that partitioned a pool area surrounded by large and small potted plants and one side of the house. An alarm sounded. He spotted a

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sliding glass kitchen door. Standing on the entrance mat, he looked inside—the room was empty, but he noticed open cabinets and drawers. Ice trays and empty beverage containers cluttered the marble island. He was surprised to see a large fishing net, a tackle box and items for sailing strewn across the counter. Jude tried the door. Locked. He looked inside. The place was orderly, at least in the huge kitchen, until Jude saw what looked like a fishing net beside the tackle box on the kitchen island. He picked up one of the medium-sized potted plants and heaved it through the sliding door. Glass shattered. Jude folded the thin entrance mat and used it as a giant set of tongs to remove the remaining shards. He hunched through the still somewhat jagged window and crawled inside. A house alarm went off. He pulled out his phone and called Nathalie back. “Are you there?” she asked. “I’m in the house.” Jude shouted over the alarm. “Can you call the police and tell them it’s a false alarm?” “Okay.” Even over the alarm, Jude heard the dog’s growl from a nearby room. He took out his weapon. “Gotta go.” He closed the phone when a Rottweiler turned the corner into the kitchen and lunged onto him, knocking him to the marble floor under the fishing net. Jude’s phone dropped. The black and brown animal had the muzzle of a bear, flashing fangs. As Jude tried to point his weapon, the dog gnashed into his shoulder, drawing blood that smeared over his shirt. Jude’s handgun dropped onto the marble floor and slid away from him. He and the animal rolled over broken glass to the edge

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of the island. The dog got hold of Jude’s holster first and held him by it, which happened to prevent him from reaching his firearm. The holster ripped and the dog got another hold on Jude’s leg. He grimaced under the dog’s bite. Jude kicked at the animal’s chest and face but its grip held tight. Pain burst up and down his leg. He ripped free part of his already torn shirt and pushed it snug against the dog’s muzzle and closed jaws, forcing him to open his locked jaws for air. In a free moment when the dog unclasped its bite, Jude freed his leg and kicked the animal in the mouth again. He reached above for the net, snagged it and slung it down over the dog. The dog fought and gnawed, unsuccessfully, tethered by the net. Rolling to his side, Jude pulled two ends of the net around the dog’s body and tightened them to hold the beast. Next, he grabbed his phone and gun, and pushed himself to his feet. Still feeling the terrible sting of the dog bite to his shoulder, he trod through the kitchen, leaving the Rottweiler behind. He thought about shooting the animal but couldn’t pull the trigger now that it was contained. In the foyer on the floor, Jude Kate’s K-Swiss tennis shoe—about all she would wear with her sore joints. His gut wrenched. At least he was getting closer. He moved to the half bath off the foyer to try and staunch blood dripping from his shoulder with a towel. But the towels were either too small or too large to tie. As the alarm continued to sound and the dog barked, he looked around. In the dining room, he found fine white linen napkins. He cinched one around his elbow, another around his knee to slow bleeding.

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In the master bedroom, a tangled comforter and pillows lay on the floor. Jude went into the master bathroom and found an open toolbox on the counter and sunscreen—items for a trip, maybe. In the toolbox, Jude saw a stainless steel buck knife. It was slim and lightweight, with a finger-grooved handle. He opened the wide blade—handle and all, it was six inches long. Jude closed it and pocketed it. He searched another bedroom that turned up nothing. Finally, that maddening dinging of the alarm stopped, but the dog was still barking. He returned to the hallway where a cleaver and envelopes of mail sat on an antique table with flowers. Startled at the sight of the cleaver, Jude looked it over for signs of blood but found none. Partially relieved, he set it down and saw a FasTrak beside the mail— Ferguson had taken the precaution of leaving the electronic bridge pass behind, realizing it would transmit his travels if he took a bridge. Jude flipped through the stack of mail on the table. On the bottom of the pile, beneath a sailing magazine called Latitude 38, rested a property management bill. Jude opened it. The property management company had billed Ferguson for cleaning, utilities and maintenance of an address in Aptos. Jude knew Aptos to be a popular and exclusive beach community. A message reported that the ice maker in the house had broken and the company had ordered a new one. In the hallway again, he looked at the sparkling floor and saw a shoe print. He looked closer. The track resembled that of a topsider shoe. Jude returned to the master bedroom closet and saw an open shoebox on the floor of the closet. He opened it but it was empty. He whiffed inside the box and got a familiar acrid odor.

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Niles’s jacket smelled of it the last time they sailed—it was some type of teak oil. Walking clear of the dog, Jude moved back to the kitchen and stepped into the garage. No car. At once, he concluded that Ferguson had packed up to go to his Aptos house or go sailing. Jude decided to go out the garage to get into the Jaguar instead of going through the house and face the dog. He found the button on the wall, and opened the garage door to find Olivier Ramsey staring at him from behind the wheel of an idling Chrysler. After recognizing Jude, Ramsey’s expression narrowed on him. In a fraction of a second, the car was coming straight for Jude, threatening to crush him against the back wall of the garage. Jude leapt to one side and dodged the hurtling Chrysler that crashed into the rear wall, leaving a hole in the garage that separated it from the kitchen. Some sort of fluid container broke, spreading a dark substance onto the garage floor. Jude moved quickly over the spilled liquid to get to Ramsey’s driver’s side door when his weapon dropped from his torn holster. Ramsey was fighting to get the car moving again but the wheels were spinning in place on the slick garage floor. Jude heard the Rottweiler barking and jumping on the other side of the closed garage door. Suddenly, the car shot away from Jude, in reverse. Jude realized late that once the car moved from its bumper-sized hole in the dry wall that it could leave an opening for the dog.

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Then, it happened. As the Chrysler was pulling away from the crumbling garage dry wall, the angry beast darted through the bumper-sized hole it left. Jude had no time to reach for his gun. Ramsey had already put the car into drive, aiming at him again. He could’ve run back into the house, but the hound would’ve chased him inside, and Ramsey could follow the dog with his own gun. Jude couldn’t wait. Just as Ramsey put the car into drive, Jude sprinted for it, jumped and ran up the hood and onto the Chrysler’s hard top while it screeched into the garage again, blowing another hole into the dry wall. The passenger door cracked open. Crumbling debris shot onto the floor. Jude’s side twanged with pain after dropping belly first on the roof. Still on top of the car, he waved flying plaster particles from his eyes. Thick dust swirled. He coughed sporadically. With one arm, Jude reached down over the slick roof and swung wide the damaged passenger door. The Rottweiler flew into the passenger side and Jude, from above, reached and hurled the car door shut. Slipping down the top of the car on the driver’s side, Jude heard the dog moving and growling inside. He quickly grabbed his weapon off the garage floor and jogged out of the garage to the Jaguar. Seeing blood splatter on the Chrysler’s windows, Jude turned over the Jag’s engine, did a tight circle in the driveway and accelerated down the hill. A moment later, he was checking his rearview mirror. The calamity was still fresh in his mind but no one followed. Still hacking and short of breath, he called 9-11 to report a dog mauling at 246 Sea View Avenue in Piedmont. He said paramedics better come quickly. The dog was a fierce Rottweiler.

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He hit speed dial again. “Nathalie?” “Jude, are you okay?” His face hot with adrenalin. “Listen. I think Ferguson took Kate to his beach house or maybe to a boat.” “What do you want me to do?” she said. “Check to see if he has a boat slip registered in the Bay Area.” Jude heard typing. Plaster dust flecked the hair on his arms. “You’re right. He has a slip at the Oakland Yacht Club.” Jude figured he’d gone to his yacht—not his beach house or anyplace where Jude could easily surround him with FBI agents. “That’s where I’m going.” “The address is 1101 Pacific Marina and it happens to be in Alameda.” “Got it.” Jude held the steering wheel tight, winding his way to the freeway. Jude wondered what had led Ferguson to this point? What if Ferguson had no intentions of releasing Kate? Would he remove her to preempt Kate’s Grid trial from becoming a success that would sink his business? Ferguson had nothing to lose. Jude had to take this into account—he’d be negotiating with someone who had little promise to live, and every cause to act irrationally.

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forty-eight
Sunday, November 6 Alameda, CA On her father’s glittering white yacht, in the marina harbor, Lori held a gun inside her jacket pocket. The night’s rain had passed. She used her other hand to help her father untie Kate’s feet. Ferguson quickly wrapped up the electrical cords, and put them into his travel bag. “Okay, Lori, give me your gun.” He said flatly, extending his hand to her. “Daddy.” He rolled up his dress shirt sleeves. “I’ll take it if I have to.” She huffed and handed it over. He discreetly tucked it into the top of his trouser waistband. “Tell me this story of yours. How did you know where Kate was?” “You don’t think all of those Stanford Grid people disappeared accidently did you? That would be a little too much good fortune, even for you, daddy, wouldn’t it?” Ferguson bristled under crushing chagrin. His gaze fixed on his daughter. “Don’t tell me you killed Jurgen Hansen and Hideo Onagi.”

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“And we took care of Niles Tully, although he wasn’t so easy to silence.” “What do you mean took care of?” “We took special effort to get him out of the picture. His work with the Stanford Grid won’t pose a threat to us any longer. The primary goal was to get hold of the Grid access key from him, but stupid Tully didn’t cooperate.” “This is awful,” Ferguson mumbled. “Why?” “What?” Lori asked. “For J&Q. For us.” Ferguson’s face went hot. “Just, just stand aside, Lori.” He felt sick. Too appalled at his daughter’s murderous acts to respond intelligently. “Go now.” “No, Daddy.” “Yes, Lori. I’m in charge now. If you’re caught here with me, it will be a death sentence. But it doesn’t matter what they charge me with now. I don’t have a lot of time anyway.” “I’m not leaving and don’t talk about dying.” Ferguson groaned with frustration. Lori said, “Tell me why you need Kate Wagner?” “Just take Kate below. Make sure her feet are tied again.” He handed Lori the cords from his bag. Lori guided Kate downstairs. Seagulls squawked and swooped through the salt air. Kate resisted. Lori yanked Kate’s arm. “Ow.” Finally, Kate followed while Lori Ferguson shouted at her, “Get below.” Lori pulled Kate into one of the three cabins. Next, Lori went above deck where her father turned the key to crank up the diesel motor of his Oyster yacht. Surely the feds would arrive eventually, but he counted on Jude Wagner appearing first.

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Ferguson popped another Percoset pain pill with a swig of bottled water. He wondered if somehow he could cruise off safely with Jude on his boat, carve out a deal and get his plan into motion.

forty-nine
Sunday, November 6 Alameda, CA The rain let up yet gray skies cast a black and white light on the wet roads of Highway 24. Pressing the accelerator, Jude shut off the Jaguar’s windshield wipers. He sped to the 12th Street exit in Oakland, and cranked left onto 5th, water still dripping from his T-shirt. Wheels skipped across the pavement. He followed highway signs to Alameda and came to the east side of Alameda Island, on the estuary. He cut the engine outside the two-story shingled clubhouse. Muscles tensed, he scrambled down to the dingy marina dock, passing a sign commemorating Jack London’s boat slip. Where was Ferguson’s yacht? He could’ve called the bureau, requesting agent backup to apprehend Ferguson. But he was too afraid another agent would come bowling in against Ferguson’s instructions, setting him off. Jude couldn’t chance a mistake or losing minutes.

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The familiar stench of barnacles accosted his nose. Jude identified the flashy boat—a blue-water mega yacht, with all her on board lights on. At around sixty feet long—almost three times the length of the Tipsea, she had aerodynamic lines with tinted mylar windows. Spruce Goose adorned the stern in script, a tribute to Howard Hughes’s aircraft. Jude kept his distance behind another yacht. Visually, he tried to assess where Kate was on board relative to Ferguson and what weapons, if any, he’d be dealing with. But there was very little movement and he couldn’t see Kate. He assumed she was below deck. Finally, he saw Ferguson emerged from the cabin steps. He was unobtrusively holding a gun in his hand when a woman in her mid-thirties climbed onto the deck. Dressed in combat garb with high boots, she would’ve fit right in with the Dyncorp crew he flew with. She appeared unarmed. Ultimately, the woman went below again and Jude had to let go of his plan of a surprise maneuver to rescue Kate. It was just too risky a plan to carry out with two other people on board and Kate so frail. Jude slowly approached Ferguson’s yacht with his weapon drawn and pointed it at him. “Where’s Kate?” Jude asked, climbing on board the broad deck with his weapon drawn. Ferguson was holding his Colt automatic pistol in plain view now. “So, you found me, Wagner. I didn’t expect to see you so soon. I wanted you to sweat this out for a while before I contact you. I was going to have your sister supply your phone number.” “Kate.” Jude shouted into the air.

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“Jude.” Kate’s cry carried. Her voice came from the cabin. Jude’s chest was in his throat. “If you hurt her in any way, I’ll gut you. What do you want?” “I want an exchange for you. No bluffs. No lies,” he said with a throaty, hoarse voice. The man sounded desperate, like a man who needed a plan, but had none. “Ferguson. You can live if you let her go.” “What? And you let the rest of your FBI take me down? Forget it. You got anyone with you?” “No, I wanted to handle you myself.” “That was a wise move, for your sister’s sake. Now, toss the gun here,” Ferguson demanded. “Hold up. How do I know you won’t kill us both?” “Because I need you to help me.” “Help you do what?” “Cure my Huntington’s disease.” “Is that what this is about? Hell, now you’re going to die in prison instead of in a regular hospice.” “Shut-the-fuck-up, Wagner. You’re double-teamed. Toss it.” “I know you don’t want Kate to be the first successful genomic test case, but I won’t let you harm her.” “I can’t.” Ferguson said. “Why?” “Because without your cooperation, I’m a dead man.” “If you want my cooperation, then let’s all walk off this vulgar monstrosity right now.” “What? And you drive off with Kate and leave me to rot? I don’t think so. Without Kate, you wouldn’t be here. It’s all ironic really—this position we’re in. You want to rescue yourself and your sister as much as I want to save myself.”

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An expression of disgust fell over his face. “Now quit stalling or else Kate gets the blunt end of this gun on the back of her head.” Reluctantly, Jude slid his .40 Smith & Wesson pistol across the yacht deck. It banged against Ferguson’s feet. Ferguson snatched it and put it in his waistband. Jude fretted over how much control he had relinquished—in a second he had handed over his fire power. With a shaking finger, Ferguson ordered Jude to untie the yacht from its berth. Jude didn’t hesitate. He saw the female come up the steps. She was unfamiliar at first and then he saw she was his attacker who’d chased him through Chinatown. She must’ve worn a wig because she had short brunette hair now. She stepped beside Ferguson. She must’ve been wearing a wig. Apparently she no longer cared about concealing her appearance—another worrisome thought. Maybe Ferguson lied and was planning on killing both of them and dumping their bodies overboard. Whether that be true or not, Jude had more than one Ferguson to get past. Jude threw the line on the boat. Manning the helm, Lori turned the key while Marc Ferguson held his firearm on Jude. The starters whined; the engine chugged loudly. Moving systematically, he turned from one switch to the next, flipping automatic levers. A motor sounded and sails trimmed without a single crank on a winch. Clutching the throttle, Ferguson nudged the boat into motion. Jude saw Ferguson toggle another switch on the control box. It steered the Spruce Goose out of the marina. Jude moved across the deck to a point where he could look down below. What he could see looked lavish. A pair of white sofas and a dining area. Jude lowered his head

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to check on Kate and spotted her tied with extension cords. Ferguson shouted at Jude, “If you don’t sit down I’ll hog tie you too.” The daughter stood behind Jude silently. Jude whipped around with muscles tensed. Ferguson’s daughter didn’t blink. “That’s right, Wagner. We’re not letting you out of our sight.” Marc Ferguson said, keeping his eyes on Wagner. “You know, when I first got the crazy idea to take your sister it was just to slow things down, make sure she didn’t become a poster child for the Grid’s success. “Now she’s my key to the kingdom. You only have to agree to stop this latest virus attack that’s coming and help fight my disease—run my saliva and give me a customized drug treatment. Do that and I’ll get us right back to Berkeley so you can start work today. Soon sister Kate will be free.” Jude stared at the weapon Ferguson was pointing at his head. “Drop the weapon, release Kate now and I’ll do it.” Ferguson took Jude’s stance as a threat. “Easy Wagner.” Jude couldn’t continue like this, but he couldn’t make a wrong move either. They slowly glided farther from the marina to the husky sound of the yacht engine. Ferguson locked the wheel into position, steadying their course out of the estuary. Holding the gun on Jude, he told Lori what to do. She lumbered below and pulled Kate up the stairs to the deck again. Kate’s hands were still tied. Ferguson held his gun on Jude’s head. His daughter gripped Kate’s arm with one hand—with the

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other, she pointed the gun at her head. Kate’s eyes were redder than before. Her lips trembled. Jude’s arms and legs tightened. Ferguson’s daughter pulled Kate to the stern of the boat just as the swells picked up and a fine wave of water curled and splashed on the deck. Jude followed close behind. He saw that she now had what resembled a large pair of scissors hanging out of her back pocket. While Ferguson pointed a gun at Jude’s head, he ordered Kate to sit down on the fabric-covered cushions and stood beside her. Then Ferguson’s daughter removed the scissors from her pocket and held them behind Kate’s head. “What do you intend to do?” Jude demanded. With jerky movements of the wrist, Ferguson’s daughter snipped the back of Kate’s blonde hair. The yacht heaved and lowered in rougher tides when a larger wave spilled on the deck. “Hey.” Jude shouted. As Kate flinched away from Ferguson’s daughter’s hand, a chunk of her hair blew in the wind behind her. “Keep your distance now,” Ferguson said. “Or she’ll cut a lot more than just hair. Now that I have your attention, you should know that I’m not a malicious person. In fact, I have you here for your own good. I want you to stop a virus. It’s scheduled to go off and disrupt your Stanford Grid in less than 48 hours. Jude didn’t trust him. He had never wanted to kill anyone in hatred, until now. He figured all Ferguson wanted was to prevent Kate from becoming the first test case that was successfully treated for cancer. Jude drew on what he learned at Quantico—eyes trained on

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Ferguson’s. At any sudden movement, Jude would jump him. But how could he do that and not endanger Kate? “If that’s what you want, then release Kate,” Jude said. “Slow down. I want your solemn promise that you won’t prosecute my daughter, Lori.” “Because she’s been the killer all along?” “She acted to disrupt a threat to medicine—what she thought was right.” Ferguson said. “No deal.” “Don’t try to be a hero and make things end badly for your sister.” Jude could read in Ferguson’s bloodshot eyes that this was no bluff. He appeared desperate enough to do anything. Even if harming Kate would destroy whatever chance Ferguson might have at getting Jude’s help. A swell tipped the yacht, upsetting everyone’s balance. Ferguson stutter-stepped to gain footing. Jude ducked low and charged at him. He grabbed for the hand that held the gun. When he did he felt a deep stabbing pain in his side. Jude wailed. The scissors sunk deep into his bruised ribs. He pulled them out and threw them overboard. Blood ran down his side. Since the woman had let go of Kate to stab Jude, Kate slipped away and ran to the bow. Bleeding with burning pain, Jude wrestled with Marc Ferguson. Jude got hold of Ferguson’s hand that held the gun, pointed it at his daughter and forced a shot. A round went into her thigh. She fell to the deck groaning and Jude exhaled. Yet Ferguson smashed Jude against the yacht railing. They huffed and fought. Ferguson’s hand jerked upward

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and Jude lost his grip on the man’s gun hand. The gun slipped from Ferguson’s grip. Jude watched the gun splash in the bay. Now he had to cope with searing agony from his injured side and get his own gun away from Ferguson. Lori limped toward Jude, but he couldn’t go after both. His adrenaline surged again and he collided into Marc Ferguson with a body-block. The man’s legs gave way. They wrestled flat on the deck, fighting for control of Jude’s gun. The boat heeled in the wind, leeward. The wind tossed the boom across the rear half of the boat in an uncontrolled jibe, jolting the yacht. The two men and Lori skidded from port to starboard across the teak deck, banging knees and arms. Jude’s side throbbed, but he didn’t take his eyes off Ferguson who fell into the bench seat area. A stronger gust filled the main sail above them. The boat’s speed increased. They got to their feet. Jude swayed, holding his side and wincing. “Why’d you do it, Lori? Why’d you kill those good people?” The yacht heeled farther on her keel. Jude heard pots and pans sliding and clanging in the hull. The deck slanted like a rock face. Lori grimaced and yelled, “I did it because J&Q was coming to me. You Grid people wanted to bring down what my dad made.” The boat pitched farther. Spray from oncoming swells washed over them. Each wave sent water rushing over the starboard side. Jude asked, “No. You killed to protect your inheritance.”

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“Maybe. Maybe I did it because my whole life I felt like a crab in a bucket—trapped by the people around me.” Lori crawled to her dad and snagged Jude’s gun from his waistband. Jude charged her and got hold of her gun hand when the boat tilted sharply. At once she was on top of him on the rail. She forced his head over the rail, and held it until the water swelled so he would let go of her gun hand. Jude coughed as salt water filled his lungs. She shoved harder at Jude’s chest, pushing him repeatedly into rising bay water but he held his grip. The boat rocked, letting Jude come up for air. Lori was struggling to get a better grip on Jude’s torn shirt when the fabric pulled into two. Jude’s head came up from the water again. The sailboat flipped to its other side, righting them away from the water. Jude gasped for air. Ferguson and daughter slid across the slanting deck and ended up against the benches on the far side. The low side pitched high now. Jude started to slide too, but found a way to brace himself, hugging a tied boat bumper. Raggedly, Ferguson staggered down the cabin steps. Jude angled the soles of his shoes for solid footing. Lori leveraged her leg beside the bench wall to regain balance and aimed the gun at him. The wind shifted. The boat leaned again. He lost his footing and moved within six feet of her. The woman pulled the trigger. A bullet ripped past Jude and missed, then another. The gun clicked a third time—no bullet in the chamber. Jude couldn’t believe his luck. She flung the gun overboard in frustration. Suddenly, the boom cranked around in a fast sweeping motion. Jude and the woman ducked as it

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crossed overhead. Sails flapped then ballooned when the boat turned 20 degrees into the wind. Jude climbed to the mast. He removed the buck knife from his pocket that he took from the mansion and opened the blade. Mumbling inaudibly, Ferguson’s daughter flipped up the seat of a long bench and dug for something in the compartment underneath. From his angle, Jude couldn’t see what. When the seat slammed shut, she turned around, aiming a three-foot steel speargun at Jude. He breathed heavily through the sharp ache he from his side injury, then crouched low to make a small target. He seized the mainsheet and began sawing through it with the buck knife. As she stood up to take aim, Jude cut the last thread of the mainsheet. The boom shot from one side of the boat to the other, crushing her head. Lori’s body dropped. Her head hit the deck with a heavy thud. The speargun crashed to the teak deck, setting off the sling that was intended for Jude. The sling lodged in the main sail above Jude’s head. Jude didn’t need to check her body for a pulse. Seeing the collapsed head, he knew she was dead. Jude clacked downstairs to the cabin. Ferguson held a knife on Kate’s throat. “Ferguson, your daughter needs you on deck. Drop the knife. She’s dying.” “You’re lying. She’s shot in the leg but she’ll live.” “No. She’s dying. The boom hit her.” “Lori!” He shouted. “Lori, answer me!” Ferguson gave Jude a threatening stare and held it on him with the knife raised high. Keeping his eyes on Jude, he started up the steps to the deck. Knife in hand.

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Jude waited for him to get to the deck when he climbed the steps himself. Ferguson examined Lori’s crushed skull, sobbing, but he still held the knife. “Drop the knife, Marc.” “You killed her.” He acted like he was going to drop the knife then lunged at Jude. Jude wrestled him to the deck, putting him on his stomach and got control of his wrist and took the knife. He bound Ferguson’s hands and feet with line on the deck and went below to untie Kate’s cords. Jude hugged Kate. “What about her?” she asked. “She’s dead.” Jude found a beach towel in the bathroom and wrapped it around himself. He and Kate came above. At first, Jude couldn’t take his eyes off of Ferguson’s daughter’s mangled body. One side was severely concaved from the jaw to the ear and top of the head, with protruding bone and brain matter. Jude averted his eyes, then Kate cried. He saw her staring at the corpse. “Kate, don’t look.” Kate cried. For a moment, Jude reviewed all that had happened at a fast-forward rate. Time slowed to what felt normal again. He felt a compulsion to pick up the gruesome remains of the woman and heave her overboard into the rolling swells, let her disappear into the deep, watery abyss and never let anyone set eyes on her image again. But Jude knew he couldn’t do that. He, of all people, had to remember that he stood in the midst of a crime scene and couldn’t tamper with evidence. Throwing the body overboard could dash Jude’s career and future.

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With enough cause, anyone could level the accusation of murder against Jude Wagner. The situation was bad enough already. “Kate, are you all right?” “I’ll be okay.” Kate, at the helm of the yacht, looked over her shoulder at him. “Oh, god. Jude.” “Don’t look over here.” Kate set her sights on the water ahead. The wind died. Jude searched under the deck seats for a first aid kit. “You might find keys in the ignition. Maybe you can get us going again.” “Right.” Kate fumbled around, found the keys and started the yacht motor. The yacht began to move. “I’ll check on you in a second.” Jude knotted the towel around his midsection. Jude went below to use the yacht radio to call in the on board death. He ignored Ferguson’s raging threats. After answering the basic questions the operator asked —cause, time and place of the incident—Jude realized that for everyone’s benefit, especially Marc Ferguson’s, he had to do something to cover the body. Inside a seat bench, he found a sail cover. He draped it over the woman’s battered body and weighted the ends of the cover with seat cushions for the sail home. Jude gave the lumpy mound a final glance before returning to Kate. Strangely, the CEO who had helped drive the medical business for decades had just provoked his daughter’s untimely death—another dead body for field techs to bag and tag.

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fifty
Sunday, November 6 Alameda, CA Jude was still breathing deeply when he put in another 91-1 call. He requested that an ambulance come to the Oakland Yacht Club to pick up a body and check him out. He also requested a police unit. He sat, nursing his side, watching to see that Kate had control of the yacht. She turned again to look at him. “You’re still bleeding.” she said. “I’ll need stitches or something.” “How serious is it?” “Just keep ‘er straight and steady.” Jude grunted, adjusting in his seat. Kate looked around from the helm again at Jude. “You’re sure she’s dead, covered there?” Kate demanded. “Positive.” Jude said, painfully from his seat. Kate went back to being transfixed on the water. With her hands on the wheel, she tilted her head as if to thank the sky.

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“I can’t believe that I had completely misread him.” She touched the bald spot of her head. “I even thought he might help me.” “He had a lot of people fooled. But his daughter was the real maniac.” Kate stood rigidly. “As far as I’m concerned they were both sociopaths.” “Forget about them. We’re going to make you better, Kate.” Jude felt as if a great pressure on his brain had been lifted. The cycle of violence had come to an end. He couldn’t believe the ripple effect that interpreting the human genome had had. Like global warming or skyrocketing oil prices, it disrupted everything. “You know how ironic this is,” Jude said. “Mom having Stage 4 breast cancer and then nearly drowning. That nearly replayed here.” “On that sweltering day on Kentucky Lake,” she added. Jude slowly trudged to her side, gave her a hug. He told her he’d take it from there and assumed control of the helm. She silently moved away from the wheel and sat. Clutching his ribs with one hand, he pulled back the chrome throttle handle, turning the engines. They let off a husky grumble. Steadily, he steered the yacht back to the Alameda marina.

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fifty-one
Sunday, November 6 Alameda, CA Together, Jude and Kate powered the Spruce Goose slowly into the marina. A stabbing pain still drummed at Jude’s lower ribs. He could see Nathalie waiting anxiously on the dock, arms crossed tightly, clutching a large yellow envelope. When he had the yacht secured in its slip, she climbed on board. “Your side is bleeding. Are you okay, Jude?” Nathalie moved toward him quickly. “Let me make an emergency call for you.” “An ambulance is on its way already.” Wearily, Jude docked the yacht. Kate stepped off the boat and onto the dock. The police had arrived. Jude led them to where Marc Ferguson was tied up in the cabin of his yacht and his daughter’s body was covered. The police were asking lots of questions when Jude spotted the ambulance coming into the parking lot. He waved the paramedics over; they parked nearby. The police let Jude step away to see the emergency medical techs. An EMT checked out Jude’s rib injury.

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Kate sat on a bench and watched the officers manage Marc Ferguson. Two officers had Ferguson by his arms and escorted him off the boat when he saw his daughter’s lifeless body stretched out on the deck. Her head was uncovered: one side of her face, crushed in. He screamed and lunged toward Jude. “Wagner, I’ll kill you and your family.” Kate looked over from the bench. The cops quickly intervened, handcuffed Ferguson. He struggled and made more threats as they forced him off the yacht and into a cruiser. Minutes later, Jude managed to break away from the paramedics and step off the yacht to see Nathalie. She was holding a UPS Delivery. “What happened?” Nathalie asked. “We fought. She died and he’s apprehended. It’s over and her body is in that seat bench.” “I thought this would never end,” she said. “He’s finished.” Jude gently took her hand and squeezed it. “I wonder how he could have lost his mind like that?” “According to Kate, he was very sick.” “Yes, but how does that explain his daughter?” “Genetics,” he said. “I thought you might say that.” Knowlan arrived, waving one arm. He sat beside Kate. He looked ragged with an untucked dress shirt. Jude overheard him say, “Kate, I’m still working on you.” Kate said, “Keep it up.” “We will,” Jude said. “What’s in the envelope?” Jude asked Nathalie.

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Nathalie read the postmark, looking slightly jealous. “I don’t know. Do you have an overseas girlfriend named Charlene?” She handed the envelope to him “I think this is about Niles.” Jude tore into the letter. He removed an A-4 sheet of paper, saw that it was dated over a year ago and read it: Dear Jude, If you’re reading this, it means that some misfortune has caused me to pop my socks before you. Wherever I am, I’ll miss you, Edward, Charlene and the rest of the Stanford Team. To get on with things, I contacted an attorney to prepare for the unforeseen event of my death. Walter Stevens, in San Francisco, has arranged documents for you to become Edward’s joint guardian, with Charlene. You’ll think, what the hell has he done now? And you’re right. You don’t have any kids. But I know you’ll make a fine dad. And as for Charlene—we’ve discussed how Edward deserves a father figure no matter what should happen to me. Should you decide to accept this responsibility, I’ve left you money to care for him. Walter will sort everything. Keep the Tipsea shipshape and seaworthy and teach Edward how to sail her. Make his heart be his rudder, faith be his compass, and when all else fails, use a blanket for a sail! Your Best Mate, Niles Jude was dumbstruck.

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“A father.” Nathalie said, looking into Jude’s green eyes. She took his other hand and laced her thin fingers in his. “He was besotted with that boy,” Jude said, heavily. “I’ve got other news,” Nathalie said. “It confirms what I had found earlier on Lori Ferguson.” “Oh yeah.” “I looked into Ferguson’s family life and found that his red-haired daughter belonged to a body-building club and drove, as we know, a white Range Rover.” “She was one bad egg.” Nathalie hugged Jude again. He felt a strange peace from getting Kate to shore but worried about what Ferguson had said about the impending virus. If public trust was lost, it would cause volunteers to remove their idle computers from the project. “Nathalie, will you help me with one last favor?” She said okay, reluctantly. “I’ll need your help to try and block one last possible attack on the Stanford Grid Project.” She looked at him with a certain trepidation, anticipating that this too would test their wits to the fullest.

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fifty-two
Sunday & Monday, November 6 & 7 San Francisco, CA

At his apartment, Jude nursed his sore ribs while Nathalie hurried over with spaghetti dinner for everyone. When she arrived Jude had already connected to the bureau’s encrypted server and pulled down the machine learning code that he had been refining. Jude said, “I got some information on Ramsey. I just called the hospital.” “Were you feeling guilty about putting the dog on him at Ferguson’s place?” “Not exactly. I was curious about his status.” Nathalie said, “I guess you heard he’d been moved from the ICU.” “Yes, but that’s all I got.” “Here’s the rest. Ramsey was deemed stable enough to be questioned and confessed to sabotaging Stanford.” Jude asked, “What? You mean setting off explosives at the power station and then trying to hack the Grid?” She nodded. “He admitted to a lesser crime, so he doesn’t get implicated in the murders. I think he is still dangerous.” “So he’s ruined. What about the Stanford gunman?”

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“He gave us scant info on the hacker. We are told the hacker’s name was Cez@r. While Ramsey says that Ferguson and this Cez@r were the ring leaders, Heather Styles accuses Olivier Ramsey of everything. Ramsey shifts everything on Cez@r. You know the routine,” she said. “The hacker’s keystrokes are all over this. We’ve gotta find him. Keep the pressure on Ramsey, if you can get to him at the hospital. Let me know what I can do.” “You had better not do a thing. I will see that our unit keeps on him. We confirmed who broke into your apartment.” Jude listened closely. “A Dyncorp trainee Lori managed,” Nathalie said. “So Lori did run the whole operation and her father had nothing to do with it?” “That’s how I see it. He tried to plead guilty for his daughter, but we think he’s saying that because he’s dying anyway.” “He’s that sick?” “He has advanced Huntington’s disease.” Nathalie asked, “There’s no end to this story. How does it feel to be on the bricks?” Hackman had confiscated Jude’s gun and badge and conveniently put him on administrative leave. Jude still had a lot of explaining to do for the chemical mess he made of UC Berkeley’s Anthrax Laboratory. But what mattered now was having time away from the thirteenth floor. “It’s not all bad.” In fact, it was good for Jude to be away from the office now as it gave him precious time and space needed to combat the timed virus. Hackman was preoccupied with questioning, tending to the Dyncorp debacle. The bureau head must have

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regretted hiring Dyncorp to handle the San Francisco office re-org. Dyncorp had far too much security access within the FBI. The private security company also had to answer for how Lori Ferguson managed to fly to Tokyo and arrange to have Hideo Onagi attacked without being detected as going off the reservation. The FBI boss would be stuck straightening out this ordeal for weeks. Jude could hardly imagine the demands that the Office of Professional Review would have put on Hackman to unravel what had transpired with Lori Ferguson using Dyncorp to frame the FBI. Minimally, Hackman needed to discern how Lori Ferguson had accessed an FBI-registered handgun. All of this gave Jude and Nathalie the precious extra day they needed to work on their anti-virus agent. Jude’s nerves were frayed despite how Knowlan had already made promising strides with Kate. Fortunately for Jude, the FBI computer program he repurposed could already intelligently detect unauthorized executable code. This proved an enormous head start on the virus crisis. Jude worked feverishly to customize the program to operate on Stanford’s Grid. Nathalie watched over his shoulder testing his work. The code was already written as a computer agent and it only needed polishing touches before Jude could distribute it across a grid network and sandbox the malware—the malicious software. He had to be sure, though, that his code could detect the malware. Hackers disguised their destructive programs so they could invade a computer system without being easily discovered. He also had to block the attack so it wouldn’t spread from one executable file to another. While most computer viruses only spread when the user

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ran his computer, worm viruses were self-activating. Jude made sure his anti-virus program would protect against both threats. The following day Nathalie worked with Jude remotely from her office. Meanwhile, Kate sped down to Stanford to witness the work that Roger Knowlan was doing on her breast cancer. On Monday at midnight, Jude distributed his newly enhanced agent across Stanford’s Grid network. *** The first amateur hackers ran across Cez@r’s posting that same morning. They copied his virus from the website into their own autoexec.bat file. Then they subscribed to the Grid, launching the virus through an application called Rosetta. Some fifty minutes passed before Rosetta attempted the process of infecting desktops everywhere. *** Throughout the night, Jude monitored the Stanford Grid to see if the time-released virus was going off as planned. Hairs bristled on his neck before final testing. To his utter amazement, there were no signs that any virus had penetrated the network. The program that he had created with Nathalie had successfully contained the virus.

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epilogue
Nineteen Days Later, Sunday, November 27 San Francisco, CA Nathalie walked into Jude’s apartment, sauntered into his living room and kicked off her heels beside the sofa. Under her open jacket, she wore a sheer coffee-colored top that matched her eyes. Her top two blouse buttons were undone. She flipped her hair over her shoulder and grinned. He came to her side, fixed on her. Her finger traced an invisible line along his jaw and down his neck. This was the Nathalie Jude missed. At first, he leaned away, making her wait for him until she arched her neck, exposing it. Then he reached over her shoulder, and bolted the door behind her. He inched closer, pulling her by the waist then met her small, open mouth with his lips. They kissed. Her hair brushed his face. The smelling of her conditioner filled him. His breathe quickened. He led their probing, wet touch. Heat rushed down his body. His spirit soared. After the steady kiss, they inhaled a long breath. She wiped a smudge of her dark lipstick from his lower lip.

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He whispered in her ear, “I’ll be right back.” With a quick trip to the kitchen he returned carrying two glasses of red wine and a bottle. “One of my better ones,” he said. She took the glass and eased into the sofa. He sat beside her while she perched her stocking feet on his rice-chest coffee table. She looked at his mouth. “I see you got that tooth fixed.” “I did. I’ve missed you,” he said. “A votre santé. It’s been very odd not seeing you at the office.” “But it’s cleared my head to be on leave.” “No signs of any virus threat?” She said. “None. Roger Knowlan is pleased. He’s been busy with Kate.” “I hope she’s doing better.” She wriggled out of her bolero jacket and flung it over the sofa. He undid the third button on her top and kissed her down her neck to the top of her shoulder, but her body remained tense in his arms. He started to remove her blouse with devilish eyes when she said, “Wait, I think we should talk first.” Begrudgingly, Jude froze and pulled back. “What is it?” They sat up. She adjusted her top, her chest heaving with short breaths. With panic in her face, she gazed at him intently. “I’m worried.” “Worried about what?” “Honestly. I don’t know what this investigation might produce.” Jude shrugged. “I’m innocent.” “No one’s ‘innocent’. The best you can be is not guilty.” “Whose side are you on?”

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“Yours.” Nathalie said. “You were lucky that criminal charges weren’t filed against you with the anthrax incident and the break-in at Ferguson’s house.” Jude glanced away, taking another sip of wine. “I know.” “But a determination was made that there was a long struggle before Ferguson’s daughter died. Some are saying that the body’s condition and Marc Ferguson’s wounds arouse suspicion. Hasn’t there been anything about this on the news?” Jude tensed. “Not the news I’ve been watching. They’re actually questioning if I acted in self-defense?” “You didn’t call for backup, so you weren’t acting on behalf of the FBI and you had been ordered not to get on that Dyncorp helicopter.” “They’re really saying that?” “You had defensive wounds, yes. But they learned Ferguson had Huntington’s disease. It has come out that the disease has disorienting effects. Even though he had a gun, he could make an insanity plea.” “Who’s saying all this?” “Not Hackman. But Speer and others.” “You’re not allowed to say Speer’s name around me.” “Okay.” Jude shook his head at the thought of Marc Ferguson and his daughter. “I heard that he was moved from the hospital to holding.” “Yes. He’s since been moved from holding to jail. He kept calling you a murderer through questioning.” Jude took a gulp of wine, set it down, then paced the oriental rug. “Whoever is thinking of bringing charges against me will have to take my word over his.”

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“True, but Ferguson will say anything for leniency.” Nathalie tapped the top of her glass. “At least Dyncorp has been cooperative.” “I bet they have. Is there any evidence to support their stealing the FBI-registered firearm that killed Jűrgen Hansen? And what about Hideo Onagi?” “Yes, it turns out that the field division armory book shows the weapon was stolen from an FBI SUV lockbox two months ago. For some reason, the incident was attributed to a gang theft and wasn’t traced back to Dyncorp until now. A number of Dyncorp officers are still being interrogated.” “H’mm. It must feel very safe there, with all of that security.” “Very funny. I overheard them defend the company to Hackman and how they had no knowledge of Lori’s actions. Apparently, they gave her too much latitude because she was the daughter of a board member. They also claim they had planned on terminating her because she had gone AWOL. I’ve pleaded your case with the chief inspector. Of course, I asked that they dismiss charges against you.” “They’d better dismiss charges.” “It’s wait and see now.” Jude said, “when news about Ferguson’s daughter’s activities goes public Dyncorp is really going to suffer.” Dyncorp had already lost the FBI as a client. CNN said that their CEO has been asked by its board to take early retirement. “I think his daughter had a fixation with power and acted out of a need to protect him after your Stanford Grid team broke its alliance and posed a competitive threat.”

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Jude nodded slightly, still amazed by it all. “Our profile was on target—a female who acted out revenge for J&Q.” “I wish we could have done something with that sooner. But she was a professional—even if she wasn’t hired. C'est la vie.” Nathalie continued, “I think she was impressed by her father’s status in the world. Some children do anything to win their parents’ admiration.” Jude sat beside Nathalie. “Right. Nothing says I love you like a killing spree.” Ignoring that, Nathalie went on. “She’s got some kind of juvenile record but, of course, that’s sealed, so no background info.” “Ah, but I found something despite it being sealed.” “How?” “I did a periodical search on Lori Ferguson and Piedmont. Fortunately, a newspaper reporter didn’t respect the rights of the juvenile the way he should’ve. My search turned up a neighborhood Piedmont newspaper story that named Lori in charges for dismembering a family cat and lighting fires in the neighborhood.” “That speaks volumes. Any history of sadism is always bad.” “Her psychological profile could be attributed to being raised by one parent who was seldom around. And maybe she experienced social rejection at an early age for looking butch. What do you think? Was she born violent is she a product of her upbringing?” Nathalie gave him a look. “No one’s born evil. I’m convinced she tried to compensate for feeling inadequate. It is sad actually.” “I’d say it ran in the family.” Jude leaned back and rubbed his neck. “People and their compulsions.”

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She sipped her wine again. “Do you have any blue cheese?” “Not even cream cheese.” “I’m going to have to arrive here with my own blue cheese and smell of Roquefort when I walk in.” “What happened to worrying about me?” “The French can multi-task. Any report about Stanford?” Nathalie asked. “An investor who heard Hideo’s talk at CERN has donated twelve million dollars to rebuild the Bioengineering Department to further the Stanford Grid.” Nathalie’s eyebrows raised. Jude continued, “Roger Knowlan is planning the reconstruction and computer security. I may give him pointers.” A knock sounded on the door. Jude set down his wine glass and answered it. Kate walked in wearing a cableknit sweater and a smirk. “Jude told me you’d be here tonight,” Kate said to Nathalie. “So, your brother doesn’t give you your own set of keys when you stay with him?” “I’ve got them. I simply wanted to warn him in case he had company, which I see he does.” Kate said, smiling. “Glad to finally meet you properly.” The women embraced cordially. “You’re looking well,” Nathalie told Kate. “It’s only been a week of treatment, but Roger Knowlan informed me today that my chances for recovery are solid. I feel like the first person to walk on Mars, being Stanford’s first genomic cancer patient.” “This is great, Kate. Wine?” Jude asked Kate.

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“No, thank you. Jude told me you two needed time to catch up.”She grinned. “He’s smitten.” “Okay, Kate.” Jude said in a droll way that implied, we’d like to be alone.” Looking at Jude and Nathalie, Kate asked, “One more thing. Did you find out anything about Niles?” “I got a written request off to Scotland Yard through the Legal Attaches Office in London. But still nothing.” “I’ve also put out a search through Interpol,” Nathalie said. Kate frowned, perplexed. “I still don’t get why Niles’s partner in England sent that overnight letter to you about caring for their son when she didn’t even know if he was dead.” Jude said, “Charlene called me days ago, explaining that her personal gestalt was thrown and that she shouldn’t have sent it without knowing if he was alive. She’s the worrying type. I suppose when Niles gave her that letter, it planted an idea that he could die—and then when he was shot and abducted in front of Edward, and not heard from since, that reinforced the notion.” “What are you going to do?” Kate asked. Jude said, “I’m not going to stop looking for him.” Kate’s mouth tightened. “On that depressing note—I can tell you two need some alone time. Excuse me.” Kate left for Jude’s room. Jude saw that Nathalie looked anxious. “What’s on your mind?” “I found someone to take over my lease. So my move will happen as planned, Saturday.” “Saturday?” Jude asked. “Yes. I may rent a place in the Hollywood hills. That’s when Hackman wants me to start. I will need help moving. Why don’t you visit while you’re on leave?

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Jude thought about how fickle Nathalie had been about their relationship. “You realize I had to make a decision.” “About us?” “About my job.” Nathalie sat up in the sofa. “Hackman said if he keeps me, I can’t work weekends at Stanford. He wants one hundred percent or nothing.” Nathalie tugged on her ear, a sign showing she was anxious about where he was going with this. “I told Hackman I’ll do it. The Grid will survive without me. And we’ll certainly know if it cures Kate.” “So, you’re going to be a career agent?” He nodded. “Which means we still can’t go public with a relationship.” A confused expression came over her. “But I’ll be in LA. I think we can do it.” Her eyes fixed on his. “You’re not going to see me?” She moved an inch away from him but it felt like a mile. It appeared as nature’s flight instinct—the same as quail flushed from shrubbery after gunfire. He hadn’t planned for this to be their last soiree. He saw the seriousness in her dark eyes. “Yes, I’ll come down to see you.” “Good.” She moved closer again and took his hand. He said, “You have you heard what they say about moving to LA?” She stared at her glass. “I’ve heard a lot of things, but I am sure you have some sage advice.” “They say that when people relocate there they get this impulse to reinvent themselves. You know, try to create more allure.”

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“Jude, stop. I’m not going to lose sight of myself. After living like a nomad for six years, I don’t think southern California will change me.” “I hope not.” She wiped a tear. “What’s wrong?” “I just want to make it work.” she said. “We’ve both been avoiding commitment and bottling up feelings.” His voice softened. “I agree with that.” “Unfortunately, I can’t picture you apart from this city for long.” “I never thought about that. But San Francisco isn’t the source of our problems. Separately, we’ve been forcing things to be one way or another for years. Looking back, I see how self-deluded I’ve been. I pressured myself into attaining high ideals since my mom died—and you’ve been burdened by your own baggage.” “You mean my adoption?” He chewed on his thumbnail, weighing his words. “Yes. Whether that’s true or wild speculation, it’s time we opened our eyes and stop chasing mirages. Long distance relationships are tough. Especially since we’d still have to keep it quiet. And being together it’s not going to change our past. It won’t necessarily make you feel whole.” Her tongue slowly traced her bottom teeth. “If you’re looking for a way out of this tell me. I am not forcing you to have a relationship with me.” She examined him, blank-faced. Stark reality appeared to have them both cornered without a pathway for escape. He squeezed her hand and gently led her to his bay window, carrying his wine.

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He held a sip of wine in his mouth. With a catch in his throat, he gazed out the living room window at white and amber city lights. Swallowing the silky fruit, he saw pinpricks of light flickering in the grainy night air. The dots pulsed in the atmosphere like miniature heartbeats until they disappeared into enveloping fog. “I want to give this a try.”

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Acknowledgments
I owe a debt of gratitude to my wife for persevering with me through the epic journey of this book. She made it possible in many ways. Without her and the ongoing guidance of my personal editor, Margaret Lucke, I never would’ve seen the end. My chief technical advisor was the generous Josh Bernstein. Aside from fact-checking the story with me in a Peruvian cafe, he toured me around Celera’s gene laboratory in Alameda, California. Celera, of course, sequenced the human genome at a fraction of the cost of the U.S. government project. I never would’ve considered writing a book without encouraging parents who always let me pursue what I wanted. I’m also indebted to my friendly readers who either flagged issues I overlooked or gave me ideas: Jean Cartwright, Carole Taylor, Aimee Salter, Martha Jarocki, Suzanne Stewart, Kent Marisa, David Booth, Mark Solomon, John Houghton, Tom Parker, Nick Booth, Kris Wilhelm, Anne Mahoney and Nancy Siegel. I received invaluable procedural advice from FBI Gang Unit Chief, George Q. Fong, FBI-trained hostage negotiator, Robin Burcell, Cyber Supervisor Jack Bennett—San Francisco Division, CERN Physicist, Simone Campana, author of Police Procedure and Investigation, Lee Lofland, private security company officer, SETI@home grid co-founder, Dan Werthimer and helicopter pilot, Richard Threfall. The skilled videographer who concocted my second book trailer is Nick Mead. The timeline, while not literally taken from Wired Magazine, was based on an article in the November 17 issue from 2007. Some background information was

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derived from The Truth about Drug Companies by Marcia Angell and Planet Google by Randall Stross. Lastly, I want to remember Jerry Tuttle for teaching many San Franciscans and New Yorkers how to live life to its fullest.

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