14 Oxford Rail Station, Monday 7:00A.M.

Spin balance cover picture

Oxford Rail Station

Monday 7:00A.M.


 Lydia approaches

as Randall steps off the bus


 Good morning Mr. Sparks

Right this way to bus 3



 Good morning

Where are we going?



 Radcliffe Camera for coffee or tea


 If not there

Then on to the covered market



 Radcliffe Camera is a coffee shop?



 It’s a library


 Mustn’t arrive at the University

Too early






 Yes, here’s our bus




City 3 towards Rose Hill

Stop K2


 Listen don’t talk Sparks

We’re looking for a hard drive

One like the two we found


 It’s the third of a set

It must be in Allen’s office


 You have to find it while I’m gone

And there won’t be much time


 Check drawers closets boxes

Look inside his computer

Any place a hard drive might be


 You might find more than one

If so take them all


 Put them in this case I’m holding

It has tools you'll need inside


 Now you may speak



 We’re stealing hard drives

From Oxford University now?



 Yes Sparks


 Actually you’re stealing them

I’m just an accomplice


 Where was all this moral dilemma

In Minneapolis?


 The second drive had a virus

It was destroyed


 There are only two drives left now


 The last one must be here

Or else we’re out of options


 Allen would want us to take it

And It’s of no use to anyone else

Without the other drive



 How am I supposed to get

Into Allen's office alone?



 That’s the easy part

You don’t have a security clearance


 So you can’t go in the lab


 You’ll have to wait in the office

While Collin takes me into the lab


 And you'll be all alone

Terrible thing


 Since the case never went in

There's no reason to question it


 Besides that we're among friends

At least I am



 Are there other people

Who think like you?



 I don't know, why?



 Never mind



 This is our stop Sparks




Not in a car


 Not on a bus


 I ask you Sam

Why such a fuss?



 Can you believe

What they spilled before us?



 They thought it was safe



 Oh splendidly safe!



 Everything’s in play



 And in proper order

All going our way



 Oh this is good news!



 Yes good news is ours

Both irritating and splendid

Within twenty-four hours








Courtyards walks and gardens

Domes and spires atop buildings


Brick mortar slate and stone


Endless libraries rising

From fabric of time


Cities within cities

Challenge limits

Of thought




38 Oxford colleges

Six permanent private halls

Related to a central University


A melting pot of disciplines

Cultures and countries



Atmospheric Physics Building

University Science area




Atmospheric Physics



 Parks Road

Oxford University Science Area


 Lydia my love

It’s so good to see you!



 Hello Collin

Good to see you


 This is my friend Randall Sparks


 Mind what you say to him Collin

Randall here’s a reporter back home


 Randall Sparks meet Collin Welch



 Here for a story Mr. Sparks?



 Just helping a friend





 She’s a goddess!


 But don’t allow her to twist you



 Behave yourself Collin


 Mr. Sparks already has a girl

A lovely fiancé named Susan



 Well done L

I can have you all to myself


 Right then

Shall we move to Allen’s office?




Office of Dr. Allen C. Phepps


 Excuse the mess L

We’ve hardly touched the place



 The data was on a hard drive Collin

I don’t know if he moved it off



 Let’s see now

If we can just spin up

This hideous DOS machine


 Uh, it even sounds ugly



There’s the C prompt


 Page up a directory shall we?


 Lydia this search is for your eyes

Give it a go, will you?



 Thank you Collin


 Might we rummage around a bit?

See about any orphan drives?



 Certainly L

Let’s have a look in the drawers


 Mr. Sparks

Will you check that closet?



 Just shirts and books


 Nothing else in the closet

Besides Linux, DOS and Physics



 Floppy disks in the cupboard

Do you think it might be on floppies?



 I don’t think so Collin

And there’s nothing in the desk



 Sorry love, rotten luck



 Can we check in the lab Collin?



 Certainly L

But Mr. Sparks

I'm afraid you’ll have to remain here



 Would you mind Randall?



 No I'll be ok

You two go ahead



 It could be a bit

Are you sure it's alright?


 Can I get you something to drink

Tea perhaps?



 No thank you Collin

I’ll be fine




Alone in the office


Lydia’s plan was genius


The check of the office by all

had narrowed the search and time

to look inside the computer tower


Like a diamond there it was

unplugged in an empty drive bay

just waiting to be discovered

much cleaner than its surroundings

as if it had been placed there recently


And taped to the top, an adapter

a printer port or something

this had to be it


Quickly into Lydia’s case

tower cover back in place


Carelessly stacked papers on top




Back from the lab


 Lydia and Collin return


 As they enter the office

Randall’s exuberance

is hard to disguise


 He smiles and winks at her


 Lydia returns a brief smile

Randall’s balance falters in silence


 It should be illegal, that smile

or come with a warning


 Susan’s words comfort

“resist and come home”



 Sorry we struck out L

Rotten luck



 We gave it a go Collin

It’s all we could do


 And you’ve been fantastic

You really have



 Marry me L

And save me from myself?



 She steps to Collin and stops

laser focused on his lips

places her hand on his chest

kisses him soft on the mouth


 It was a ‘taste you kiss’



 Randall is flushed


 How could someone

step on a heart so carelessly

as if pressing grapes?



 With her hand still in place

she retreats just a bit

looks up into his eyes and says


 It would never workout Collin


 The poof who wants women

And a lesbian who desires only men


 No doubt, I would destroy you



 She was flirting with Collin

as close friends do


 Randall smiles in concealment



 Thank you Collin

You know I’ll always love you

But we’d best be getting on


 Must get Sparks here back to his girl


 Lydia’s smile turns to Randall

affirming his attraction

confirming his restraint



 Trusting his words to stumble

Randall just smiles






 It’s a fifteen-minute walk back

from the Physics building

on Sherrington road

to St Aldates near Christchurch

and busses back to Abingdon


 That seemed too easy

So that’s it and we go home?



 I’m heading back to Boston Sparks


 There’s no reason for you to go

Take some time with Susan


 I’ll cover until you get back


 There’s nothing you can do there



 You are amazing Lydia



 You found the drive Sparks




But you made it happen

You saved it



 Just enjoy your stay Sparks




Susan was right


How could Lydia be Civil?


She hates them

for Jonathan and for herself

or so it would seem






 Massachusetts Institute

of Technology

(Daniel’s lab)


 She’s back!

Do you have our other drive?



 I do yes

(Lydia smiles)


 Please be careful this time



 Ouch L, straight to the heart!

I had it coming I suppose



 You know I love you Danny


 I had to kill somebody to get this

I’m running out of graves





 We’ll start with images

Like we should have first time


 It’ll take a little longer


 (Daniel spots the port device)


 What have we here?

A dongle?


 This is interesting

I wonder if this key

Explains our little misfortune



 You think it’s a code key Danny?



 Two ways to find out


 We could reverse engineer it

And overlay its function

With the RAID datum on the drives


 But that could take some time


 Or make working images

Copies of the two-drive set


 Connect the dongle

To the printer port

And run the build again


 If it writes the third drive

The answer is yes

It was a code key


 And we saved ourselves

A couple of days of parsing


 Or it destroys the second drive again

And we have a long road ahead




Code key to success!


 I’m sorry Lydia


 (Daniel pauses)

But the build was a success

Which means your visit

Is coming to a close



 You’re my champion D

What did we find on the data drives?



 (Daniel smiles)





I deserve that

After teasing you so


 I never doubted you D


 Let me rephrase the question


 (Blinking wide eyes and smiling)

Oh Danny



 Could you help me

Figure out the significance

Of the contents of the drives?


 Please oh please Danny?



 How do I know

You don’t just want me

For my mind?



 When it comes to computers D

You have a kind of sexy mind



 Flattery will get you everywhere


 But just for giggles

I think


 We should image the set as a whole

So it can be saved to a single drive


 As an image

It will be easier to work with

And it protects the original RAID set


 Just in case the files or system

Has any more surprises



 Ooh Danny calm down!


 You give me the chills

When you really turn it up


 How’s a simple girl like me

Supposed to control her emotions

Around so much geek-tosterone?



 Careful L

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