June 11, 2012

Excited Delirium Chapter 72: Aftershocks (Univist Church Collapse)

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Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 72 of the my online book “Excited Delirium”. Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index.

“It looks like web users and a lot of independent media are taking an active role in criticizing the activities of the Univist Church, sir,” Hadlock reported to Garamond.

“I really don’t understand why this has become such a disaster, Simon, I don’t,” Garamond said, seemingly stunned by the lack of public interest and faith in his organizations.  “This was supposed to be so easy, like it was when we did this to Thailand.  Like Sri Lanka or South Africa.  Or even Chile.  The quake or shockwave comes in, destroys everything, our charities come in, clean up and then clean up.  And then our companies come in a buy everything up before people get back to normal.  It was so easy.  It was supposed to be so easy.”  He was shaking his head in disbelief, honestly thinking that this situation would be no different from the havoc they had wreaked in the past.

Hadlock had never seen Garamond so incapable before in his life.  When things didn’t go to plan, he usually just fired someone, but in this case, he had no one to blame but himself.  The last few days had added years to Garamond’s visage and definite cracks were materializing in his regularly cool demeanour.

“Sir, they’re spreading a lot of stories via online video services, blogs and other programs.  They’re spreading this information via our own servers and as we send more and more information, it’s causing more and more scrutiny of our corporate structure.   It’s a virus that’s messing up our own internal systems.”

What Simon Hadlock didn’t realize was that the file that Kite had Eddie copy to the servers of the OMNINet computers were exactly the files and tools that they would all need after the shit hit the fan to control OMNINet servers remotely.  Without any kind of support, Kite’s team had full reign over what went in, out and through the databases and storage of the drives that the OMNINet owned.  It was coming to a point where turning them off would be the only option available to a desperate senior management.

“The more information that gets spread about us, the more it hurts us in many ways.  We’ve tried to get some of our security and programming experts on it, but we’re having a tough time hanging on to personnel.  And we’re also being attacked by the public at large.  At last count, there were more than a million articles and stories about how we’ve abused our position as corporate citizens and how we were responsible for what happened in Beijing.  They’ve tied the Univists to OMNINet in more than a dozen ways and it’s going to be impossible to walk away from any liability.  They`ve posted endless stories about how we’re basically the minions of the Anti-Christ and how we’re singlehandedly responsible for the tensions that have grown between the US and China.”

“That’s because we are, you dolt.  They have somehow taken everything we’ve built as incredible plans and have destroyed it with this fucking thing called the internet.  Why can’t we just shut them down?  Pull some plugs?  Put them under?” Garamond asked insistently.

“It’s not that easy, sir.  They’ve been working from libraries and universities and other public locations posting their information.  I also have to remind you that somehow, it’s coming from our own servers.  I’ve also heard some rumours that they’ve got their own servers located on off-grid power boxes.  They can tap in to the web, but we can’t shut them down.  It’s a fucking nightmare.”

“Can’t we just call in Greyrock and fire off a few rounds to shut these roaches down?  There has to be some way that we can muscle them into quiet.  We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”

“We’ve already tried, sir, but for every person or group that we slam the door on, two more crawl through the window.  As I said, it’s a fucking nightmare.”

Garamond slapped Hadlock.  “Stop saying that, you twat!  I need to get away from this bullshit before I lose everything.  Can we offer a retraction?  Pull some strings to get the web shut down or something?  This is insane!”

“Sir,” Hadlock said as he massaged his cheek, “I would if I could, but if we shut down the web, we’d be shutting down the entire telecom grid of North America.  I know a few people in the world who wouldn’t go for that.  I’ve spoken with people in DC and Brussels and they’ve told us to solve our own problems.”

“Fucking cowards!” Garamond shouted as he slammed his fists onto his desk.  The picture frames and pen holders shuddered as he continued to pound the mahogany.

“Tell me then, Simon, what are they actually playing?  What are they saying that’s bringing the work of generations of Garamonds and other families to their knees?”

“It’s what you’re saying, sir.  I’ll play it for you.”  Hadlock went to his laptop and opened his media player.  Within a few moments, the voice of Griffith Garamond came through loud and clear, with a number of images of China, the Univists, and other organizations that Garamond had controlled for the last three decades.  His voice paused as he described their plans in China and then another voice interjected:

“Many of you may not know this voice, but it is the voice of Griffith Garamond.  As you can tell by the following speech recognition patterns, one from the recording you just heard and another from the annual shareholder’s meeting for OMNINet, the voice patterns are identical.  Let’s finish the most recent speech we played for you and see what it reveals,” the voice-over said as the recording of Garamond continued.  All of the plans – the destruction of China, the use of the Univists to repair, the plan to purchase everything using OMNINet resources when prices were favourable – were revealed in a single recording.  Garamond recognized it from the meeting that they had had just a few days ago, but he was more distracted by the voice providing the narration, even as the voice pleaded with the public to boycott anything and everything related to Garamond, the OMNINet and the Univist Church.

The voice also advised people to sell shares of the OMNINet’s recent Tri-X IPO before things got really ugly.  In an instant, they understood the cause of the sell-off of their new IPO and why the price had hit rock-bottom.  Both Garamond and Hadlock showed little concern for this comment until the final suggestion was made:  “If you’ve already lost a lot of money, know this:  international security regulators are now investigating the irregular trading of Griffith Garamond and Simon Hadlock.”

“I Know that voice,” he said.  “I’ve heard it very recently and I can’t place it.”  His eyes scanned upwards while he seemed to be searching the top of his head for clues.  He was successful.

“It was that guy in the elevator!” he blurted out.  “He must have recorded our conversation somehow.

“I know,” Hadlock offered.  “I did a voice recognition on him through our systems and identified the same guy.  He claimed that he was named Carl Parkfield, but our research dug in and found a hell of a lot more information than that about him.  He’s been fucking with our companies for years and giving away important confidential information to our competitors.  Worse yet, he’s been working with our ex-VP, Edward Manchester, the guy we tried to pin everything on.  Somehow, he got lucky.  Actually, luck’s a bad word for it:  call it a ‘family matter’.  This Parkfield guy was doing research for a woman who calls herself Diana.  You might know her a little better as Mary Garamond.”

(Note: “Excited Delirium” is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 73

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Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License .
Based on a work at www.exciteddelirium.ca .