What we were thinking: The Enigma Wraith #4 of the Enigma Book Series-

Author Insight –

Verbal Sparing-Optimized

As with most offices there are sometimes folks who push the envelope in both directions. O’Sullivan and John C each push back, mostly trying for one up-manship, yet cognizant of the pecking order of leadership.

John C likes to seem cavalier but is in fact brilliant and quick witted. He is convinced it is a life work balance, with the heavy side on life.

Jacob and John have been professional buddies mostly across the pond from one another. Periodic conventions have them cutting up like brothers regardless of the time apart. The chance to work and play in John C’s stomping ground does serve two purposes.

Read or listen to book 4 in the series and discover how the Ghost Code works and who is the culprit. We’ll look forward to your comments at Authors@EnigmaSeries.com.

Excerpt-The Enigma Wraith

O’Sullivan suppressed his gratified smirk as he lorded, “Well, Johnny, do we need some money to bring in a digital security expert well versed in forensics for the banking environment? I trust you will be able to take care of his access to the facility and work on-premises rather than from the local pub?”

John C was not about to let the comment go, so he challenged, “That’s right, sir! These are exciting times! I bet once this mystery breach is thoroughly researched, we will expose these cyber assassins for the economic and social criminals they are and hand them over to the appropriate authorities who can pack them off to jail until well into the next century!

“Surely after that the VP’s can get their bonuses just ahead of the next wave of layoffs. Efficiencies breed VP bonuses, which underscores the need for fewer employees and less security around here. I for one cannot wait to see who will be executed next, then compare later to who we should have kept!”

O’Sullivan barely restrained his annoyance as he looked over the top of his glasses at John C, who always seemed too delighted at speaking his mind to him. O’Sullivan had already grown tired of the game of needling and quickly signed the purchase order to get John C out of his sight.

John C grinned from his successful verbal combat, took the signed purchase order, and with a light-footed step that ended in a pirouette at the door turned to bow in each direction before leaving the office. It was noted that he spent much more time bent over with his posterior pointed at O’Sullivan than he had in the other directions which could easily be interpreted as a faux-mooning.

O’Sullivan’s secretary was always amused by John C’s antics, and her laughter at the display had the desired effect of infuriating the VP beyond measure. John C had always been a good dancer which had previously earned him a nice scholarship for his advanced degree studies. He claimed that dancing was a sure footed way to get close to a lady, dancing well on the floor usually led to a subsequent merry dance between the sheets. He had successfully used that technique with each of his first three wives.

John C caught up a little with O’Sullivan’s secretary before heading back to call Jacob about the signed purchase order. Once the purchase order was in the system, Jacob could start charging against it. John C felt a little nostalgic at the prospect of working with Jacob again and was actually in a hurry to get ready for his work with him.

John C asked on the call, “Ok, now that we have sorted all of the logistics, when and where do you want to start?”

“John C, I’ve added my associate Quip into this conversation. We have been seeing this type of phantom attack in diverse locations, and he has been feeding the forensic evidence into our main computer to help build a more complete picture. I have to be honest here, we have not trapped this beastie yet as all we really have to go on are fragments so small as to be almost useless. All we have is anecdotal evidence that people claimed to have seen. We don’t even have any useful screen shots to prove that they actually saw ‘Ghost Code-Patent Pending’ on the computer.

Jacob continued, “Now, John C, you’re pretty good at forensics, as I recall. If you haven’t found anything significant and we have several examples of the same kind of attacks with nothing to show for it, I am reluctant to fly to Ireland, rack up a bunch of expenses, and have no real Root Cause Analysis to make everyone happy.”

John C nodded and replied, “I appreciate your candor and honesty in this matter. You know that sometimes a fresh set of eyes can trigger new thinking that leads us to prowl in unexplored areas. I need that fresh pair of eyes to help me trawl through this institutions’ data to hunt for what you already know to look for. Besides, if you are here working on a purchase order that covers your expenses, I can have you pay for the consumption of my favorite beverage. There is something gratifying about having the bank pay for my drinking problem.”

Jacob puzzled and asked, “…Uh, you have a drinking problem?”

John C responded with a chuckle in his voice, “Well, not really a drinking problem, but I do need constant re-hydration of fluids derived from fermented hops. At least that’s what my ex-wives claimed when they filed divorce papers. They maintained that Guinness ruined our marriage, but I do have a slightly different view on that issue. Either the right lady helps you forget about drinking, or the Guinness helps you deal with the lady. So far Guinness is winning with a score of three to zero.”

Jacob then questioned, “So, were they right?”

John C, now tiring of the line of conversation, said flatly, “No, they were just poor choices on my part, and I dealt with them by not dealing directly with them. Hey, enough forensics on my personal background! Are you going to work on this or not? I came to you for help, so are you going to help?”

Jacob, taken aback at the abrupt shift, said, “Hey, lighten up, man! I’m just trying to figure out the business environment and how to best to help you out here. I withdraw the question about needing constant rehydration.”