Chapter 13: Infected

(Betty Lou)

The rules were simple: Don’t use company cell phones or computers to check personal email accounts or social media sites. And within those rules it was assumed employees of The Clinic also knew not to open any attachments using the above-mentioned devices either. Still, those rules didn’t inspire obedience from people like Betty Lou – a bored secretary who – when she wasn’t answering mundane phone calls – dreamed of opening her own restaurant.

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  A restaurant that would sell meals appropriate for The Clinic and its members.

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When her supervisor wasn’t around, Betty Lou spent her downtime researching recipes for  light lasagnas, low- calorie pastries, and other delicate delights. Getting caught downloading recipes never worried her. There were too many employees to monitor.  Today was just like any other day – except for one thing. Her cousin, Mae, sent her an email for a new recipe to try. Betty Lou hadn’t heard from Mae in four years. Betty Lou’s ambitions weren’t a secret. She posted recipes to her Facebook and Instagram accounts on a frequent basis. While she was surprised by her cousin’s email with an attachment for a spinach crust recipe, it wasn’t entirely out-of-the-ordinary. Betty Lou clicked the link and downloaded the file to her work computer.

***

(Lizzie)

“Ouch!” Tears and beads of sweat trickled down my face. The pain was almost unbearable. One minute I was trying to convince them that I had no knowledge of Casey’s whereabouts and the next minute, everything went black. I woke up tied to one of my kitchen chairs. That’s when the interrogation began. And, for every answer they didn’t like, I received an electrical shock courtesy of my Right Byte.

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Lucille and Lori stood across from me, snickering.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Lucille said, sneering. “If you’d just cooperate we could move on with our scheduled day.”

“I already told you,” I said, out of breath. “Casey was killed. In a car bomb.”

“But that doesn’t explain how you know Robert or why you’re receiving text messages from him.”

“He’s my vet.”

Lucille tapped something on her tablet, sending a jolt straight into my arm.

I cried out, biting down on my bleeding lip.

Lori walked over to me and bent down. “Robert isn’t a vet. He works for Cyber Tech. We know she went there for help and we also know she hasn’t left. Cooperate, Lizzie. Or the next volt Lucille sends will be fatal.”

***

(Casey)

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The computer monitor cast a blue glow on Robert’s face. “And…it’s done!” He sighed, leaning back in his chair. 

“Then what?” I spent the last few minutes pacing the room. Something was wrong. Lizzie didn’t respond to Robert’s last text message. She always responded. Something was wrong. 

“First the virus will copy files off the network and feed them back to this computer,” Robert said. “Once that’s done, it will disable the entire network. When that happens, nothing will work. Their computers, cell phones, tablets, Right Byte bands – all of it will be disabled. And then, we’ll call in the cavalry.

 

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 To be continued

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