Chapter 4: Final Moments

My breathing is heavy by the time I make it back to my apartment. I’m slamming the door shut and opening my laptop before I can think better of it. I pull up the university profiles. Marta Molina? 404 error: page not found. Josie Jeffers? 404 error: page not found. Harold Stevens? 404 error: page not found. Jesse Wilkins? 404 error: page not found. Professor Michael Cairns? 404 error: page not found. CTF even found H’s dark site. Professor Cairn’s classes have been assigned to another instructor. The students won’t even receive an email. It’ll be as if the new professor had been teaching all along. So, they’ve already been wiped. Soon it’ll be like they never existed. Anyone who knew them will forget, just as we all do.

I take a moment to mourn the lives they won’t get to live and the future we’ll never get to realize. I barely have time to register the sound of footsteps outside before they’re breaking down my door. As I’m kneeling on the ground with my hands behind my head, I think that maybe I didn’t want to give my friends the opportunity to sell me out. So, I didn’t encrypt my searches. I let them find me.