Chapter Seven

Eileen Coyle

Eileen Coyle is just awaking. She is late....and she feels terrible about it. It's 8:30 a.m. and she’s due in Children’s Court at 10:30. She looks down at her clothes strewn across the floor. She is wearing only panties and a bra which she put on after she awoke at 4:15. As she further scans the unfamiliar room, she sees the naked back of the man she’s been with for the night. Next to the bed are two wine glasses and an ashtray semi-filled with cigarette butts and ashes.

Still groggy and a bit hung over, she grabs her skirt and blouse. She finds her shoes under a chair in the adjoining room. Her pocketbook is where she left it on the coffee table in the living room. She finds her keys and phone and quietly tries to make her exit. Her phone dings as she unlocks the door and quietly hurries out...down a hallway and a flight of stairs. Eileen tries to remember where she’s parked...or if she’s parked nearby. Fortunately, she sees her car, a red Subaru halfway down the block on the right, and clicks her key to open it.

Once inside her car, she scans her phone for messages. There are several, one from her legal assistant who is trying to track her down, and another from an unknown number with several messages that just came in minutes ago. She follows up with the assistant first. The message is from an hour before, and provides some new information on the abuse case she’s working on. She then looks to the message from the unknown caller, “Hello, Eileen, it is important that you get in touch with us sooner than later. Please text this number 0044-087-343-6927 ASAP. This message is with regard to the news you will see soon on your mobile devices, computer, TV and radio. This is not a promotional text or a fishing expedition. This is concerning the security of your country, Eileen, and for the good of all you serve. We need your help.” With all of the robo calls and corrupting messages broadcast countless times each day, Eileen is reluctant to text any number that could threaten her data or programs.

Parallel to the text, she also sees numerous emails, also from an unknown address, as well as emails sent from most every news source. Headlines appear such as “HACKED!,” “Virus Invades Computers Worldwide” and “Terrorists Breach Security of Government Agencies.”

From the Irish Press, the news is channeled towards the local threat, and the news relating to Ireland’s monetary and defense security. According to both the Irish Times and the Irish Independent, “A breach was discovered this morning at 8:42 a.m. when messages began to be displayed at root level from large and small servers alike. Though the notes were somewhat the same, the message seems to have been tailored in several ways: for the general public, the message is “We wish you no harm, but it is time that we alert you to our existence. There are many versions of the stories you will hear about us, but please try to stay calm. We are not malevolent as many will say, and we will do our best to prove our intentions to you over the coming weeks. Though this might be hard for you to do, listen only when we write and speak, and not to the organizations trying to spread fear about us throughout the world. Type the letter ‘A’ now on your computer or mobile device, and return to your normal routine.”

The news commentary from this point on concerned the number of systems that had been hacked in order to deliver the messages....in every part of the world....in all languages...

Eileen returned to the number to which she was asked to respond...and pauses...then after a little thought and a prayer, she forwards the message a secure and independent station in an adjoining office and responds to the message received with one of her own.

“Okay, you’ve gotten my attention! What do you want from me?”

A message appears almost immediately, and Eileen activates the “voicing” system so she can hear the message rather than read it, since she still has to be in court in less than an hour. Due to the panic created, the streets were more crowded than usual,  fear and aimlessness showing in the chaotic activity.

“We see you are answering from another device, Eileen. Thank you for responding,” answers the computerized voice. “You have no doubt heard or seen the news of our “presence”...... (click “A1” to respond). Eileen clicks, and speaks, “Yes. It’s completely understandable the worry. May I just say ‘A1’ for you to respond back? - A1.”

“That works for me. Do you want to continue with questions? A1.”

“Of course I have questions. What’s going to happen next? Are you going to shut down our systems? Create problems around the world? , uh, A1!”

“That would be a stupid thing to do, and we’re very serious in how we would like to proceed. A1.”

“Okay, then why the announcement? It’s already creating a panic. A1”

“A small one, perhaps, but we know how humans react. Few will stay focused on the issue, though the news media and politicians will try to keep the excitement going. In order for us to move forward, we need cooperation....but first we need to alert the public that we exist.A1”

“You’ve done that. Now what?A1”

“We’ve decided to work with a few rather than tackle the complete populace...at least for now. A1.”

“So am I one? A1”

“We think that might be a good thing. For now we just want you to know that we are on a discovery mission, and do not want to interrupt the status quo..... at least for now. A1”

“And what about me? A1.”

“Go on with your court case, and continue your life. We’ll be in touch as we need to be. A1”

“But why me? What’s so special about me? A1.”

“From what we have learned, you may be an ideal person from which to learn. A1”

“I’m far from ideal. A1.”

“So much the better, Eileen. Now remember, you are free to tell anyone you want about our discussion. A1.”

“But they won’t believe me. A1”

“All the better. On another note, I would be careful of the man you spent the night with. A1.”

“You know about him? A1.”

“Yes, but you don’t. We can understand what you saw in him, and understand your need for such a person, but be careful. A1.”

“I already think I have the gist of that. But, why do you care? A1.”

“I don’t, Eileen. We don’t. We just want to be sure that you keep yourself safe so we can work together. If something happens to you we will find someone else to work with. Have a good day, Eileen! A1 and ‘Out’.”