1. Hard Drive

At 5:30 a.m., with late summer thunder rumbling in his ears, Alexander Beckley slumped in his chair, staring at his computer screen. Every now and then, lightning flickered across his face. The monitor glowed in the dark, highlighting the divot in Alex’s nose—a souvenir of his college boxing career. Another flash of lightning revealed the worry lines and a little gray in his short blond hair. Alex didn’t blink. His head felt hot, his stomach felt cold, and his heart was somewhere north of his Adam’s apple. All he could see were the words glaring back at him:

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