An agonized cry of pain echoes through the trailer park. The source is a shoddy-looking RV, parked on a gravel lot with the tires sinking deep. Another pained yawp, followed by a sigh of relief. A child is born; Jessica Ankita-Hyde. The impromptu parents Padma and Elly Ankita-Hyde look at the child with glee and relief, showering their newborn with adoration.
Born to a nomadic video journalist couple, Jessica was raised around news media and politics, predisposing her to the derision and contempt of American culture. Witnessing firsthand the lies, greed, and individualism, it would spark an ember that would only continue to expand into a raging fire of Jessica’s obsession to expose government conspiracies.
Life for Jessica was spent uprooted, traveling on the road with her parents as they chased major events for documentation. She was homeschooled with a large focus of her education on AV media, yet nothing could quell her infatuation towards computers. She would continue on to obtain her bachelor’s in computer science at the University of Minnesota and find success as a contractor for firewall penetration testing for businesses large and small. More importantly, however, Jessica would also use her expertise to participate in gray hat hacking and host 4thenasgate.com, a forum site dedicated towards revealing what lay beyond the closed doors of national institutions.
March 25th, 2001
The laptop screen casts long, dark shadows across Jessica’s flat. The curtains are drawn, quarantining Jessica from the bright streetlights of the Oakland, California night. Her eyes are heavy and bagged as she tries to focus on the flickering monitor.
A vaccine? Nothing is free. The UN wants something.
A knock at her door drags her away from her thoughts, breaking the tranquil silence. She turns slowly, reluctance and curiosity battling each other in her mind. The knocking continues, getting louder and more ferocious. Inquisitiveness wins Jessica over as she opens the door.
In front of her are two men, both with off putting, apathetic expressions. The man closest to her pants heavily, with greasy hair and clammy-looking skin, while the other who stands in the background looks more refined, donning a navy-blue suit with well-kept hair. A draft blows past the two men towards Jessica, carrying with it a noxious clash of cologne and body odor.
“Can I help you? What do you need?” Jessica asks. She hesitates, before forcing on a half-baked smile.
The man in front of her draws a handgun from out of his jacket and presses it against Jessica’s forehead.
The door wheezes with the sound of splintering wood. With a finishing push, Jessica successfully forces the door open with her crowbar. Her flashlight cuts through the darkness as she slips through the doorway silently.
The house rings with silence, the only exemption being the soft, muffled snoring from a nearby room. The light passes over the walls and lands on a map. It's held to the wall with rusted, jagged nails and visibly thumbed. With a squint, Jessica reads the scripture.
"Clem? You awake?"
A voice calls out with curiosity. Frantically, Jessica holds onto the strap of her duffel bag and scampers out of the building. Met with a dark silhouetted figure in the doorway, yet left with little time to react, she charges past him, nearly tripping herself.
"HEY! STOP!" The man shouts.
The van door slams shut, the engine firing up with a sputter. It backs out quickly, before speeding off into the night, but not before the Spiffo's livery is made visible to the village resident that had confronted her.