EVERYTHING CAN BE HACKED, EVEN THE TRUTH.
Will this fact set Sienna free or plunge her into an even bigger lie?
Sienna Lewis lives in a world constantly threatened by a hacktivist group known as SWARM. After SWARM executes its deadliest attack yet, Sienna and her three college friends learn they have been chosen for the ELIXIR Project—a master plan designed to overthrow SWARM—and participation is mandatory.
As she faces the deadly challenges of the Project, Sienna confronts layers of conspiracies that force her to question everyone she trusts and everything she believes about her friends, her parents’ untimely deaths, and herself—all while staying one step ahead of SWARM. In this fast-paced, near-future thriller, will love and loyalty have time to catch up with Sienna? Or will she crack under the pressure of a future already chosen for her?
“Strip search ’em,” barks the senior TSA officer to his junior. Then he lowers his voice. “After last week’s events, I’m not taking any chances.”
The younger officer snaps up from his stool. “You heard him. You two, follow me!” he says, scowling at an attractive couple in their mid-twenties. Both look innocent enough. What set the agents off? I’m not sure if the junior officer’s abrupt tone is meant to impress his superior or intimidate those of us waiting in line. Judging by our expressions, I don’t think either strategy is working well for Mr. Mall Cop.
“You can’t be serious,” the woman says. “I’m not going with you. And I’m definitely not getting naked.”
Her travel companion jumps in. “We’re just tech professionals on our way to meet with a private client in London. Why the search?”
They argue back and forth. Their growing resistance and escalating voices cause other officers to stop their check-in process. Pens freeze midway through verifying a long line of travelers anxious to get through security and one step closer to their anticipated destinations.
The other officers place their paperwork down and shuffle closer to the couple. Easygoing chitchat among the passengers dissipates. Like a thin metal wire stretched
taut, the patience in the room is dangerously close to snapping.
“I think there’s going to be a problem here,” Nick whispers to me, Darren, and Chloe.
“Yeah,” Chloe says. “This is starting to feel a little weird.”
The senior officer towers directly over the couple in front of us. He looks crusty and weathered, like old leather left out in the afternoon sun too long. His eyes bug out slightly, but oddly they don’t blink. He’s close enough to smell—a musty odor, a mixture of cheap aftershave and wet dog. I read the lettering on his narrow tan name tag:
“Don’t give us that ‘tech professional’ spiel,” the irritable officer hisses. “We know exactly who you are. We can either discuss details here or privately back in
our control room.”
At the words control room, I catch a glimmer in his eye. Maybe even a wink?
The woman’s eyebrows narrow. “I said, I’m not going anywhere with you.” Her speech drips of a strength that I envy. Her associate maintains his poise, too, but I’m near
enough to see his fingers twitch nervously. I’m sure he’s capable, but the officers outnumber him half a dozen to one.
I want to look at my three friends instead. Maybe they know something I don’t? But that would require turning from McNultey, and I’m not sure that’s a good
“We have passports and papers,” the young businessman says, reaching in his pocket.
“Stop! And keep your hands where we can see them. We know you’re linked with a SWARM sleeper cell here in the States.”
Time stumbles and spins as I process his accusation. SWARM? Here? Now? A bead of perspiration trickles slowly down McNultey’s face.
“Did you say SWARM?” a deep voice growls directly behind me.
Something hard smacks my back…