October 10th 2038
Clayton pulled up to the NSA headquarters in Maryland. The frustration was rising in his mind. Yes he had managed to track down Zhang after all of these years. Better yet he and his team had made it home safely, which meant a whole lot more now that they knew what kind of danger they could have been in. But he still felt the need to know, what is the program? Part of him believed Zhang didn't know, but another part felt that Zhang was lying. Clayton stared at the Washington D.C. skyline as he thought to himself.
Looking at the skyline he laughed a little. As amazing as the march of technology had been, it still hadn't matched the expectations people had years ago. Yes the skyline was bustling, but not with flying cars as many had probably expected 16 years ago. Rather the skyline was full with drones which delivered packages and even people. It was funny how before you opened an app on your phone to get a car to take you someplace. Now you open an app on your watch or your sunglasses to call a drone.
This was progress, he laughed to himself, taking his mind off the pain of the one mystery he had yet been able to solve. He wrinkled his brow a little before realizing he might be late for his meeting with his boss if he didn't hurry up and head in. Clayton was never late, he had little tolerance for tardiness, and so he got out of his car and headed in to be checked by security.
"I am here to see Samual Girard" Clayton said as he walked in.
This was one thing that certainly had changed over the years. There were still of course armed guards, but the first layer of security was the AI system. One thing the NSA had an abundance of was the best hacker geeks in the entire country (and probably the world). The AI system they had designed was considered un-hackable. In fact the system was quite capable of discovering hacking attempts and subverting them itself! Quite impressive indeed.
The AI system did a quick scan and let Clayton pass. Clayton had visited this building quite frequently over the years and the system recognized him right away. An example of how good this system was at its job, a few years back the system had even caught someone trying to fake their way into the building with a fake face meant to make him look like one of the janitors. While Clayton knew that those geeks could never do his job, he was always in awe of them, and he knew likewise he couldn't do theirs.
The building was quite sterile as he looked around. White walls, gray floors, and no special pattern in the tiles. It could have been any generic building by its decoration, but certainly not by its power consumption. The amount of computer power needed to run this place was astonishing.
Finally Clayton entered Samual's office.
"Hi Sam" he said with a knock on the door.
"Come in Clayton. How are you doing?"
"I think you know the answer to that."
"Yeah and you are never in a good state of mind when you call me Sam" Samual laughed.
"I want to find the Israeli team. They could be in danger, if Zhang was telli..."
"Zhang was telling the truth on that, I checked with my contacts there."
"I need to help them. I need to take a team and join forces with them. We know how to operate in China."
Samual sighed. "I know you need this old friend. I am going to send you, but not right away. You need to take a week to spend with your daughter."
"That is my offer to you Clayton, you can go if you take a week, otherwise I will send someone else."
"OK I understand."
"I don't think that you do. I am worried about you in a way that I never have been before. I know you can handle yourself, but this thing is big. I wish you would take a bigger team."
"You know who I trust, I can't change who I trust."
"Hah, maybe I should have made you train a few more people along the way huh?" Samual laughed.
Clayton smiled for the first time in what felt like forever.
"OK Clayton, here is what our team has for you, it is all on this drive."
Clayton looked at it, and remembered the days from years ago. The shear amount of video and audio that was sitting on this little drive sitting on his fingertip was astonishing. It would have filled entire computers 20 years ago and now everything fit nicely in a chip he could put into his watch.
"Thanks, I will look over this closely."
"Make sure you do. But first you need to take care of that daughter of yours for a week. Give your father a break."
"Yeah like he needs a break, you know he loves it, he just loves taking care of her. Even when I am home he is always trying to send me out."
"That's because he wants you to find a woman."
"Yeah get out of here Sam. I already tried that once, didn't work out too well did it?"
"Well you aren't getting any younger."
"Neither are you Sam."
"Touche. But seriously, one week, you understand?"
"Got it, I am heading home right now."
Clayton headed back out of the office toward his car. It amazed him that his daughter was 10 years old all ready. And sassy too, that one was. She seemed to listen well to his dad though. He walked slowly back to his car, thinking about all of the things that he could have done better.
When he got to his car he opened the door and sat down. Everything was electric now it seemed. Thankfully the batteries could go forever in between charges. He had forgotten to hook his car up to the charger, but it didn't matter, plenty of charge to get home. He started to drive off.
As Clayton got back onto the highway he realized he was missing something important.
"Damn, I forgot the drive." Clayton said out loud to himself. He managed to do a U-turn and head back for the office. But as he arrived back at the initial gate he noticed that it hadn't shut properly.
Really strange he thought to himself and drove past. As he got to the building he noticed that it seemed like all of the lights were out.
"What could have caused this?" He said aloud.
He glanced around and he thought he saw something moving incredibly fast. That couldn't have been human he thought to himself, but he heard glass breaking on the other side of the building.
Then he turned quickly to get out of his car, he knew he had to help with whatever the hell it was that was going on. But as he looked up he realized he was staring down the barrel of a gun.
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