A Matter of National Security

A Matter of National Security

“What’s up, homeboy?” Raven’s voice was unmistakable. His voice always made Homer’s smartphone rumble on the desktop because of his low rumbling voice.

Locomotive loading Cars Onto Ferry at Hobbs Island
Locomotive loading Cars Onto Ferry at Hobbs Island

Homer picked up the phone and turned off the speaker just in case. “I’m trying to run down the status of those old Hobbs Island rail lines for your client. And I need to figure out what I’m going to do with this kitten. Should have named her “Demon” instead of ‘Sadie.'” The tracks stop in Norton. Ever heard of it? What you doing?” 

“Working my ass off as usual. Yea, Norton is a part of Huntsville. I need for you to do something for me. I just got out of a meeting with this guy that’s an absolute ass. He told me to my face he didn’t need me – and he’s right. He’s pretty doggone smart and I got my eye on him. I think he’d be perfect for one of the tribes. Here’s his website and name. Ready?”

Homer searched around on his desk, fighting off the kitten, until he found a notepad and pen and wrote down the information Raven gave him, then he said, “how much you want to know about him?”

“Pretty much everything you can find out. He’s kind of a competitor but he specializes in cyber stuff. He could be a sub-contractor for us.”

“Raven, I was working on some of our stuff this morning and I got to thinking about cyber security myself. I think we should  sub it out or just not do it at all. We’ve already got too much to do. If everything goes down like we think it will  there won’t be any need for cyber security anyway.”

“I agree but until the reset hits, we’re going to need him—or somebody like him. If I say he’s smart you got to know he’s smart. I’d really hate to see him running loose on the open market. Besides, he really might be interested in the tribes. What about Edison; you still in touch with him?”

Homer picked up the kitten from his desktop and said, “Yea, I talked with him this morning. I told him we might get together next week. I told him to keep quite and not share his info with anybody. He said his brother was the only one that knew anything about it and he didn’t know the algorithm—he only knew that Edison claimed to have worked it out.”

“Make sure he keeps it that way. Tell him not to be talking about it on his phone, too; the NSA will have him chained to a damp cellar wall.”

“Before I forget, you need to find us a couple hundred TTY machines. You sure you’re going to be able to secure the lines?”

Raven’s laugh was booming, then “You probably don’t want to know the whole story but yes, the phone lines will be there. Turns out…” —another burst of immense laughter—“that the phone lines have to stay. Seems it’s a matter of national security.”

Homer waited until Raven’s laughter subsided a bit and started laughing himself, immediately realizing he needed to go pee. “I’ve got the landline system planned but I can’t plot it until you give me the lat and long of the rest of the tribes. How many are there going to be total?”

Homer waited during the silence knowing it meant Raven was doing some quick mapping or math in his head. “We’ve still got a problem with Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and probably Idaho. It’s too much area to ignore so we will probably use state parks in those states. For now, plan on sixty-six tribes. In fact, you don’t need to worry about completing every layout because we can put the rest of them in place right after the reset. The tribes will be okay without them for a while anyway… unless the satellites go down earlier than planned. ”