City of Walls: Chapter 8

          Back in my deck, I walked to the fridge to get a drink. Drink lots of liquids. Water if possible, but anything will do. That's what the note from the paramedic said. As I opened the fridge door, my eyes wandered over to the table, with the brown package on top. Mr. Goldberg had given me his card, "For any questions you might have." I had thought he meant about the new netlink, but now I wondered about what he intended. The chill caressing my cheek brought me back to the matter at hand. All I had in the fridge was milk and water. The water was plain, no added anything. Hmm, biting my lip I bent down to the lower shelf on the door. There it is! My hand reached out to a bottle of chocolate syrup nestled next to a box of baking soda. Once I get some vitamin powder, I'll drink water. For now, chocolate milk it is. Grabbing the milk jug, I continued to fix my drink.
          Sipping my milk, headed over to the nightstand and plugged in my new netlink, connecting it to my Over View Screen and my home network, to begin powering up. I placed a small grocery order at the market down the block. I'm gonna have to put this on tab. Tomorrow I should have the points to cover this. At least they know I'm good for it. Walking back to my table I sat down and opened the brown package. Under the paper was a white card with the letters HTTPS on it. What is this, a website? I turned the card, and was rewarded with a hand written note.
          Dear reader,
What you have before you is a gift from the Historical Theological Text Preservation Society. Specifically, you now have in your possession a preserved copy of the King James Version Holy Bible. This book was created with archival quality paper and ink. It is hand bound in fine leather. Also, in the interests of preserving for future generations, a netlink port is in the rear cover. Thank you for supporting the HTTPS. Have a blessed day!
          Looking at the object, still partially covered in paper, black leather and gold lettering peeked back at me. I never thought I'd see one of these. I put down the card and continued to unwrap the book. I opened the back cover and gazed at the port. A flick of my wrist brought up a holo screen, showing the video file. Taping my finger to highlight it, two tags appeared.

Ac 8:1, Ac 8:4

          Another acronym? Mr. Goldberg said this was the key, he must have recognized those tags. I put the book down and double checked my old netlink. It held 4 items, the video, Sonja's SOA, and two sensitive documents. The order for my new netlink, was now filed at Goldberg's Jewelry Store. I transferred the work info to its proper place, then connected my netlink to the book.
          A holo screen popped up with a request for the encryption key. Before I could try anything the letters began scrolling through the prompt. When the scrolling stopped, Mt28:19Mk16:15Ac1:8 had filled in the key. The screen then went all black. The video had started.
          "Sorry, I won't have time to do fine edits on this, I'm not even sure I'll be able to finish this cut. I hope I will." A familiar tenor could be heard from somewhere off screen. A light was flicked on, and a table covered in papers came into view. A white male, in his 30's sat down behind the table, facing the camera. He smiled and continued. "I hope this missive finds you well, my dear friend Tara. I know that soon, I will not be well. If you have not heard, the Horn family is now in jail. They sacrificed themselves in order to let others flee."
          My mind raced, They're in jail? The others are gone?
          "Ever since the resolution disallowing the congregation of any group that could be categorized 'fundamental, independent, Christians' was passed the Government has been systematically shutting down Churches left and right. Only denominations that agree to no longer function on independent organization are allowed to remain. As you know, that is why Trinity Triumphant was closed. The Horn family will more than likely be released soon. They aggravated the police, but broke no laws. I made videos for each of the family groups, letting them know of places I knew, that did not have a church anymore. Hopefully, by leaving the big cities for the small ones, the Government won't spend its time tracking them down. I've given them instructions, so that they may be able to covertly start new groups. Even if we no longer have the right to assemble as a church, we still have our freedom of speech."
          Instructions for everyone. But what about me? I just found ya'll weeks ago. Tears streamed down my face. I'm all alone again.
          "You may be wondering to yourself, What about me? Since you've only just recently joined us, your knowledge of the Bible is incomplete. I cannot in good conscience ask you to do what our friends are doing. Nor could I ask them to take you under their wing. Tara Henderson, you are a brave and strong girl. You have a good job, Mr. Freidman is a good man. There are also some good folk in town, closer than you think. A friend of mine..." The sound of splintering wood could be heard loudly in the background. A woman's voice called out, "Joseph!" Shouts followed. The man, Joseph Stockman, got up and ran around the table, calling to his wife. "Heather!" The video stopped. The timestamp in the lower right corner read, 09:35:05 03/15/2048. Three weeks ago.

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