Red thin discs go in one end, come out as sizzling grey globs of fat and protein only remotely qualified to be called hamburger. They smell of natural gas, they taste like the gristle left between the gums a week after eating a steak. It’s nothing processed cheese and big squirts of condiments can’t fix. Come on, fat America, eat your surgically repaired heart out.
Congressman Harold Dalton stood before the great, long estate, hat in hand, and, for the first time since he was a boy, felt nervous. The estate sat on top of long, rolling green hills in Virginia, on a parcel undisturbed for a thousand acres. The House itself rose from the verdant ground with pink stone facing and tall windows, with whimsical, and expensive, touches that suggested great love and care. It was a House of great money and power. It was Longlea.
“I thought we were going out tonight.”
His voice was flat, but Charlotte knew what lay behind it. She looked down at the floral party dress she wore.
“You don’t like this?”
“No, it’s fine.” He was looking at his phone.
“I can go change.”
“I said it was fine.” His eye moved to the door without giving her a second look. ”We should go.”
“Oscar.” She stepped toward him, feeling wobbly in her heels. But he was already briskly moving toward the door.
Neil sat down heavily on his padded computer throne, a massive chair that allowed him total comfort for the numerous hours he would spend at his desk. He took a gulp from the sugary, over-caffeinated drink, and waited for the rush to hit him. It would a long night, just the capstone on a series of them that had him preparing for his biggest caper ever.
The National Intelligence Net/System. NINS. The most advanced computer system in the known universe, it protected the Nacu’s most vital intelligence secrets. No one had yet broken its security protocols, or at least lived to tell about it. NINS had become a millennial prize in the hacking community, whoever could crack it first would be the envy of all.