November 17, 2012
As the day broke, news about the suspects in the hacking of San Francisco’s Department of Transportation’s computers spread like wildfire over the internet and traditional news outlets. Of particular interest was a series of pictures released by the NSA’s signals intelligence office. These pictures were taken shortly after the last transmissions between members of the infamous hacker group Etaoin Shrdlu, and depict the suspected leader of this group, as well as the dilettante daughter of a local businessman. The FBI has issued an APB on the two, the hacker known only as “Sophia”, and the other named Taylor Swift, both of whom are wanted for multiple crimes in connection with the events on November 10th.
After learning of the news, Sophia exchanged emails with the Seconder she helped that night, Jerry Hoenheim. In them, she demanded to know if he had a plan now that they were free, and also demanded help in return, since she was now wanted by every lawman on the west coast. He sent back only a single reply, a message encrypted with an algorithm that Sophia herself wrote. The message contained coordinates for a location in Mt. Diablo State Park, and a time to meet him there. Both she and Taylor agreed to go, after they had cleaned up some loose ends.
Sophia immediately contacted members of Etaoin Shrdlu and assigned them a mission: Saturate the media with stories that make the FBI and police look bad. They were to use some of the information captured on the night of the 10th, as well as making up their own plausible stories, to accomplish this. The main theme of the stories was that the three Seconders that the FBI kidnapped were tortured and detained unlawfully, and that these reports were not the only ones that existed, just the only ones that were taken.
Over the next 12 hours, the group went on a media blitz, publishing edited documents that Sophia grabbed that night. These documents were edited to protect the names of the captured Seconders, but what was revealed proved damning: Evidence of torture, and of the Seconders’ unwillingness (and in some cases, inability) to answer the FBI agents’ questions. Eventually, a few of the stories went viral as the members of ES got into the game and made it look like the FBI had killed a few Seconders whose names were not in the original documents. They did this by faking video “confessions” of the escaped Seconders in which they said that the names of the people they killed were removed from the official records in an attempt to cover up their deaths.
After taking a beating in the media, the FBI used their trump card to counter ES’s propaganda: They released the full versions of the records that ES had released earlier. In these records, it was revealed that although none of the Seconders were able to speak about any of their passages through the gates under coercion, they all came through with verifiable telepathic and empathic powers. The reason that this information was kept secret was to prevent public witch hunts of the world’s Seconders, but they hinted that the fact that the documents released by other sources so far omitted this information was because those doing the releases had a hidden agenda, and either were Seconders trying to hide their powers, or someone who planned to use them for some nefarious end.
Eventually, the news about the Seconders and the FBI drowned out the stories about the Green Light Incident, relegating that to a matter local to California only. After twelve exhausting hours of hacking and manipulating the media, Sophia crawled into bed and passed out.
November 18, 2012
While Sophia slept, Taylor was busy making some calls. She contacted people close to her family to deny the rumors of her involvement with the criminal Sophia, and called her father to denounce his dragging of her name through the mud. In several angry phone calls, she severed her ties to her parents and some of those that took her father’s side in this argument, then packed up her bags and equipment and loaded up Sophia’s Jeep, preparing them for the trip to the park the next day.
November 19, 2012
Sophia and Taylor drove up the winding mountain roads to the meeting site that Jerry set up. As they approached the site, they saw a few suspicious people: A couple camped along the road, then an abandoned van, and finally an RV camped within a few hundred feet of the given coordinates. Smelling a setup, Sophia began turning the Jeep around when suddenly an image popped into her and Taylor’s head. The image was that of a tree split by lightning growing near a road, and the words We’ve been discovered. Go here. The last part of the message was that the tree was along Morgan Territory road, about 8 miles from their current location. Surprised, but intrigued, the two girls drove out to the given site.
At the site, they met up with Jerry and his associates, the Seconders that he rescued on the 10th. Together, they headed to the cabin of one of the Seconder’s, Sasha’s, aunt. The cabin was practically unknown to most people other than Sasha’s aunt, and would make a good hiding place for now because it had no connections to the outside world.
At the cabin, one of the Seconders, Tasha, lit a fire in the large stone fireplace and everyone settled in to discuss their future.