Chapter 20 Page 5 of 8

Had the situation become that desperate? Suddenly I was not so sure. It is one thing to ask the president to temporarily shut down a key service, it is another thing altogether to deliberately sabatage the US banking system.

Exactly what the millwright intended to do with the stolen keys was still unclear. As of yet we still had not seen a single bogus EFT, nevermind millions.

Fisk said that he would take responsibility even if we were over-reacting, but would he? I had been set up to be the scapegoat once; I did not want it to happen again. What would happen if I sabotaged the phone system and then it was determined that the banks were never in real jeopardy? Bringing down the phones will stop the EFT’s but it does nothing to help identify and apprehend the millwright.

On the other hand, did I really have a choice? If I waited until the millwrights intentions are clear, it would probably be too late. Once we see one bogus EFT, we will probably see billions.

Fisk was still talking. “We have no choice Carl. If we wait for each individual bank to respond then it will be a case of too little too late. You, of all people, must realize that we have to make absolutely certain that no banks can exchange EFT’s.

“You and Lisa go and do whatever you need to do to run the new program. Fast. If that doesn’t work, then I want you to stand by for instructions from me. I’ll get our top specialists on wire-tapping and electronic surveillance; together you guys will have to figure out a way to crash the nation’s phone system.” I gulped, deferred, and gave the phone back to Jonny. Without bothering to tell Lisa about Fisk’s still half-baked and wreckless “plan B” I turned for the door and motioned for Lisa to follow.

Deeming the elevators too slow, I took the stairs, three at a time, down to the ground floor with Lisa clamoring down behind me. I explained to Lisa where we were going between gasps for air as I ran. We needed to get back to my apartment. That was where I had left the data tape with the latest patch for BIF. We ran across the wet pavement to her car. Lisa had automatic door locks and the doors were already unlocked by the time we reached the car. We tore the doors open and threw ourselves into the seats. She had the engine running before I had my door closed. The park brake was situated between the two front seats and she told me to release it as she threw the gearshift into reverse. No sooner had I released the park brake than the car rocketed backward and swung around in a tight arc until it was facing the exit of the parking lot. Lisa didn’t stop to look for other cars; into first gear went the gearshift and out of the parking lot went the car, with the wheels squeeling in protest. We sped down the street, heading toward Jackson Blvd. There Lisa careened around the corner, swinging dangerously wide and over the curb as she turned left. After correcting her steering she slammed her foot down on the gas and sped east on Jackson.

Other cars on the street seemed to be stationary relative to the speed of our own vehicle. Lisa bobbed and weaved between cars, never using the brake. She pushed down hard on the accelerator, urging the car to go still faster.

I was glad Lisa was driving. Had I been driving, and driving the way I normally do, we would not have made nearly as much progress. And had I been driving, and driving as she was, then we certainly would have ended up in a ditch or through a store window.

The rain had stopped, and for this I was grateful. It had been a heavy rain, and the streets were still very wet, with standing water in places. Visibility was perfect, however, for the rain had washed away the haze that had been in the air earlier in the day. The sun was even breaking through the clouds in places. Or were the flashes of light blinding my eyes not sunlight but rather visions of the after-life dancing before me as Lisa continued to push the car beyond engineering tolerences? She careened around the corners and flew down the straights. The wheels squealed and the engine whined. I was buffeted in my seat, first against the doors and then against the straining seatbelt across my torso.

When we joined the traffic on Michigan, Lisa was forced to slow down, but only slightly. Traffic became heavier and Lisa was having some difficulty weaving. We should have taken Columbus instead. I looked at my watch. Already ten minutes since we left Jonny’s office. The car in front of us was moving slowly and we were penned in by another car on our left. A motorcycle on our right kept pace with our car, leaving no means of escape. The feeling of helplessness was unbearable. Lisa honked, but there was no noticeable affect. Something needed to be done. I swallowed hard, dreading what I was about to suggest.

“Lisa, we’ve got to pick up the pace,” I said. “If there was ever an emergency, this is it. The world economy is in jeopardy. What difference does it make if we commit a few minor traffic infractions?