The Four Horsemen, Chapter 5 – The Bad Influence


April Pine and Leanna Munro team up to save democracy and find polyamorous love in this cyber security / spy thriller. Featuring Chloe Freitas as the graduate student cyber genius.

Photo by Pawel Janiak on Unsplash

April, Leanna and Chloe got to work early the next day. They had slept well all curled up together after spending a hot evening in Leanna’s hot tub. They were ready for some cyber ass-kicking today.

Chloe and April fired up their laptops with their VPNs to keep the Russian telecom people from knowing what they were up to. Leanna had her own government computer set up, so she was safe against the Russians. But, she had to be wary of people in the administration who were not on board with cyber security concepts. She didn’t want to become the next Snowden. Or, Reality Winner. She had to make sure she stayed in her lane and made all the proper memorandums and sent work through the chain of command.

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Luckily, April was working for a private company. And, Chloe is a private citizen. Their work could be characterized as helping corporate America, even if it helped save US democracy.

They weren’t ready to declare capitalism dead just yet. Sometimes it was tempting. Chloe liked to read umair haque on Medium to keep up with the European view of what was happening stateside. She wanted to do what she could to save the system by working with April and Leanna to save it. Reading about the collapse of the American dream was motivation for her to keep working hard on The Four Horsemen project with her friends.

A big split had happened in the government after the 2016 election. People had speculated that the professional workers in the government would keep the ship of state from careening into an iceberg and sinking into the ocean. Because of talk about “the Deep State,” the President got paranoid about people who had been “tainted” by Obama. He started purging people from the government who didn’t pass his loyalty tests.

The famous example of a Trumpian loyalty circle jerk was the televised cabinet meeting where everyone gathered and praised the Dear Leader except for Gen. Mattis. Mattis later quit the administration in protest right around the time the CINC decided to give up allies in the Middle East to people who wanted to slaughter them in an ethnic cleansing operation.

Leanna didn’t want to end up being labeled a “whistle blower” or worse “a witch” and hunted down by internal government security forces, so she let April and Chloe do their work via their work for the private sector. Leanna continued to write her psychological profiles and her routine work. She didn’t have to always work in her cubicle at the embassy, so she was able to spend her time with April and Chloe as they ran through the cyber threats that they could do something about with the proper strategy.

The time was figure out the strategic plan, then sell it to people in the CIA would could get it to cyber command for action. The group of women needed to build a case that would alarm the right people without tipping off others who would decry the effort as a “witch hunt” or “fake” or otherwise try to shut it down as a partisan effort against the President.

Worse, they could all end up in jail, declared traitors to the United States for sounding the alarm without having a proper plan and using the right channels. Reality Winner tried to warn of election meddling and paid a huge price because she went straight to the media.

“Wasn’t this what the Founders were afraid of back when they wrote the Emoluments Clause? Some foreign power would take control of the country’s leadership by influencing the president and others with money and titles,” asked Chloe, thinking out loud as she made notes and traced the various troll farms back to their various offices in Russia and worldwide. Other countries were starting to get in on the action since it seemed low risk because of the administration’s neglect.

April sighed. “I hope our Constitution survives.”

As long as the “proper people” were getting the assist, those in power weren’t necessarily opposed to emoluments or hacking.

Or, they were afraid of standing up and losing their power.

Those guys (and it is mostly old white guys) never thought more than three months out. It was a habit learned in the corporate world of maximizing quarterly profits without regard to the future. That belonged to someone else, so who cares. If a company failed, file for bankruptcy protection and forget about everything.

The same could be said about the government. If you lose the election, someone else cleans up the mess. You were out to make your own news network and complain about your successors afterward.

No way to lose.

And, you end up making more money and working less.

These days there was little likelihood of any accountability because of partisan divides. Half the people were outraged while the other half thought “witch hunt.”

It was overwhelming.

A lot of people in the government had already resigned or retired to get away from coming storm.

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