Azure’s Revenge, the newest book in the Dark Web Series, will be available late in October. It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon.
In this book, Jody teams up with a small group of men determined to wipe out the US government and up to a third of the population using the bacteria that caused the Black Death, a plague that killed so many in the Middle Ages.
Jody, who had a childhood where she was repeatedly molested by her half-brother, graduated to an adult who was raped by someone who should have protected her. This past filled her with so much hate, she turned her talents to breeding antibiotic-resistant Y. pestis. Meeting a man also filled with hate and dreams of revenge in a chat room on the dark web, she sees her chance. Little does she know that Barnett has a plan that far exceeds her desire for revenge.
Targeting all three branches of government and the military leadership for the plague, Senator Barnett will then control the government, which he plans to run as a dictatorship where anyone who doesn’t fit his ideal, including Jews, Blacks, Browns, and LGBTQ’s, is removed from the gene pool.
Jacob and his cybersleuths detect exchanges between Azure Nightshade and the Angel of Death in their normal scans of the dark web, but they can only decrypt part of the message–bomb and Y. pestis. A meeting with NIH confirms their worst fears; bioterrorism. But, how to stop the plan when they’re unable to discover more in messages that defy the abilities of the best code-breakers in the world?
Here’s a taste of Azure’s Revenge. Over the next 4 weeks, ahead of the book’s release, I’ll share more chapters from the book.
Hatred. It filled her brain and drowned out everything else. Hatred refused her the respite of sleep or the comfort that comes from close friends … a lover even.
Her family; hate. Her job; hate. Her neighbors; hate. And, above all, hate for the Cooper administration led by a racist, misogynistic, egomaniacal rapist.
The only relief from the hate, the only thing that took her mind away from her blinding hate, was revenge. Hence, stirred liberally within the cauldron of her brain was a plan. More than a plan, actually, it was a complex series of activities for implementing her revenge and she was nearing the end of those activities; her plan coming together with the help of others who shared her hatreds.
She sat in her cramped, one-room studio situated on one of the worst streets in Anacostia. The street was in an area on the East bank of the Potomac River, an area unaffected by the gentrification that breathed new life into other parts of the DC Metro. Outside, she saw the rusted-out truck that was there when she first stumbled upon this place nearly five years ago. Surrounding the car was an accumulation of urban detritus blown down the street during countless storms; only to find its progress impeded by the nicks and crannies of metal that once represented a Ford F-150 pickup. Inside the rusted bed, weeds grew in soil formed as organic matter captured within the box decayed to form a dark, nutrient-rich substrate. About a year ago, someone parked a bike with only one wheel against the front bumper, where it lay undisturbed to this day.
But, she didn’t see any of this, nor did she notice the kids flowing down the street from the bus stop a few houses to the right of her building. Today, their normal whooping and hollering had a new purpose as the school year was over. Ahead of them were months filled with nothing more taxing than playing outside.
Instead of observing her surroundings, she looked out the window, not seeing anything as she mentally counted down the weeks until her petri dishes relinquished the harvest she needed to move her plan forward. Later today, when she was certain her movements were invisible to anyone passing by, she would move the threadbare rug aside, pry up the three loose floorboards, and drop down to a hidden crawlspace where her real work awaited. Until then, she painted images in her mind; images of tears, pain, and, ultimately, death.
To deal with the hours looming ahead, she spent her time drawing images of the destruction she hoped would befall her enemies soon. Dark images in charcoal on paper, smudged extensively to create a blurred canvas full of dead. Or, she watched her small television, alternating between Fox with its right-wing lies and MSNBC, which told the same lies and half-truths reinterpreted from the left. She hated them all for their lies, disingenuous concerns that extended only as far as their ratings, and the people duped into believing the lies and vitriol they spread. She wished she could surrender to sleep, but it wasn’t worth the inevitable dreams that accompanied anything more than a short nap.
As a child, the dreams scared her … made her cry out for help. But, what responded to those uncontrolled cries was worse than the dreams themselves. They brought a man with strong arms who wasn’t satisfied with holding her, quieting her fears. He added to her fear by touching her, forcing her to take him into her body until she bled. That’s where the hate was born.
Later experiences fanned the initial flames of hate. The officer in the Air Force who couldn’t keep his hands off her. He wasn’t satisfied with touching her either, he buried himself deep in whatever orifice satisfied his whim, then dared her to report his crime. Hate. Or the boss who constantly ignored her protestations against the company’s behavior and relegated her to menial tasks where her ability to blow the whistle on them was limited. Instead, he gave plumb assignments to sycophants who refused to stand up to his unethical and, many times, illegal practices. What he and his minions did resulted in hundreds of deaths on the part of unsuspecting patients who turned to the products they made in hopes of a cure for their broken bodies. Hate.
And, now you had an entire country led by some of the worst abusers in history. People who rivaled the tyrants of old; concerned only with raping the entire world for their own psychic and financial rewards. And their leader … the man who choreographed the dance that would destroy the planet was the worst. He was the same officer who raped her with abandon in a former life when she still cared about justice and decency. It was his administration, with its kleptocracy on a scale unseen in a millennium, that drove her hate over the edge. She could no longer argue against revenge that she knew would end up harming innocents. There were no innocents anymore.
A noise drew her attention to the window and she felt her muscles tighten in preparation for a fight. Instead, she saw children playing in the street; noticing them for the first time. She regretted the grief and pain she would bring on their heads, but, better a quick death than a lingering one as they watched themselves and those they loved dragged down by the rudderless ship that was the coming reality.
A sound from her computer notified her of an incoming message. Wiping the charcoal from her hands on her dingy blue jeans, she clicked the keyboard to bring life to the screen.
Ah, a message from The Angel of Death. He probably wants an update on our crop, she thought as she opened the message delivered through a series of servers that bounced across multiple countries to disguise its origin and destination.
Security was a paramount concern, hence precautions that bounced her signal across a series of anonymous IP addresses. But, security didn’t stop there. Her device was housed in a Faraday cage to keep out unwanted electromagnetic impulses from lightning that might damage the device as well as electronic efforts to intrude on the data within the computer. A degaussing ring hidden beneath a framed poster near the door ensured that no one who removed the device got any data—the ring irretrievably erased the hard drive if the computer got within a few meters of it. The same was true for law enforcement. If they removed her computer, getting it safely past the degaussing ring, there would be nothing on it to implicate her or her partners in any illegal activity because of encryption that would take months … maybe years, to break. A final security measure involved a series of booby traps that would erase the data if the wrong keystrokes were entered.
But, people were a bigger danger than electronics and her experience with people left her wary. Hence the reason she jumped every time she heard a sound outside. Adding partners to this operation also involved an element of risk, bringing back memories of betrayal, pain, and anger that made her uncomfortable. She preferred to work alone. But, for an operation this size, she needed more people and, importantly, she needed more money. Her partners brought both.
The danger inherent in partners was muted by their arrangement. Neither knew the other; each using a code name for communications. And, it wasn’t like they met for drinks after work, in fact, they’d never met in person. They first connected in a chat room over their shared hatred for President Cooper. After many months of shared vitriol, they felt a connection and The Angel of Death suggested they move into a private chat on the dark web, using encryption he promised was unbreakable. Even after they were hidden from prying eyes, it took months before she felt comfortable enough with the other members that she was willing to broach her plan.
Everything is moving forward nicely. Can we rely on delivery in 2 weeks? She read from the screen.
I should be ready, she typed. Our friends are growing nice and plump. I have the next batch awaiting transport in a powdered form. More are growing as we speak. Within 2 weeks we should have the required amount ready to be reconstituted with the nutrient bath I recommended.
That is good, replied the Angel of Death. We have arranged for the materials needed and a facility that meets your requirements. Our people will pick up your product at the arranged time, as agreed. Just like last time, leave the material double bagged inside the last stall at the National Gallery ladies room on the first floor. How long will they need to be in the nutrient bath before we can move on to phase 2 of the plan?
The keys clicked softly as she confirmed details necessary to reconstitute her brood safely. Everything would be ready for the 4th of July—and a bang that no one in the crowd would expect.
Everything was going splendidly and she smiled for the first time in years as she signed off.