The New Eve's Hungry Blog

To those Eve's Hungry fans who have been following along over the last three years as I have blogged my way through my debut novel: many thanks!  Now that it is finished and published on Kindle, the question for this particular digital domain is… now what?  Eve's Hungry the sequel?  I don't know.  It feels like the novel finished in such a nice and satisfactory way that I'm not sure there is a sequel story.  I've toyed with the idea of some prequels, but I'm not ready to jump into that now.

So to keep this spot alive, until such time as Doctor Eve Zachara embarks on a new mission or two, I'm going to shift gears and turn this into an Apple fanboy blog with commentary, news, and stuff about my favorite tech company.  Sure, I know there are a ton of other Apple blogs out there, but I think I might have some unique things to say about the company, now that I've finished my fictional epic about it.  Along the way I'll also might sneak in a crazy Eve's Hungry short story or some fan art and news about how the novel is being received in the Apple community.

So stay tuned!  The Eve's Hungry blog is just getting started!

Eve's Hungry Now Available for Kindle

Eve's Hungry, my fabulous debut novel, is now available exclusively on Amazon Kindle.  To check it out, just click the cover below.

Here's the blurb:

In the futuristic world of 2032, Apple Computer and Google engage in a deadly war for the fate of mankind. It is a battle between iOS and Android, fought not only over features and updates, but also with tanks, bombs and laser swords. Fighter jets roar over the deserts of Central Asia, machine guns blast in the jungles of Africa and high above the planet vast battles are waged by opposing space fleets.

Google’s company motto had been, “Don’t be evil.” But recently it was changed to: “Yes, we’re evil. Get over it.” They air bombed Apple’s Cupertino headquarters and plunged the tech industry into world war. Now, only one woman can stop them: Dr. Eve Zachara, a personal protege of Steve Jobs. Eve is a sexy, super agent working for Apple’s secretive Special Sales Division. As military alliances are forged and broken, she must use all the tools of international espionage, from assault and assassination to sabotage and seduction.

Eve’s Hungry is a fast paced sci-fi adventure filled with insider humor and wild satire in the spirit of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Austin Powers and Our Man Flint. Apple Computer fans will cheer and laugh at the amazing exploits of Eve as she encounters major players from Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other famous companies in this hilarious send up of rivalries in the tech industry.

Episode Sixteen: Vive la Revolution

“Android.” The robot commanded.
“Oui, monsieur.” Eve said obediently as she pulled a Moto G from her jacket pocket. She was dressed in a simple peasant skirt and blouse, with cheap stockings, Mary Jane shoes and a worn dark blue jacket with matching Cloche hat pulled low over her eyes. She clicked on the Moto’s identification app and a barcode appeared. She offered it out for the robot to scan.
“Do not speak French.” The robot said in a monotone. “English only. It is the will of Google.”
“Oh, yes. Of course, I forgot. Sorry.” Eve said meekly.
Despite favorable tech news coverage at the time, Google’s purchase of France, and subsequent oppression of its people and culture, had been a disaster from the start, necessitating a large robot force to maintain order. Particularly reviled was Larry Page’s rather random demand that the entire populous switch from French to English. The subtleties of French had always been rather difficult to quantify in search results, so Larry impulsively decided it was better to get rid of the language all together. While there are many things the French people might put up with to keep peace, messing with their language is not one of them. As a result, a large underground resistance was constantly at war with military authorities.
“What is in that case?” The robot asked. The robot was about eight feet tall, with a neckless revolving half circle head not unlike the Android logo but with eyes that glowed red for a menacing touch. It had a shoulder mounted submachine gun on a swivel mount. It was a little rusty around the joints. It was the basic model Google had employed in France for the last decade and this one looked like it had not been upgraded. Internally Google designated it as a B.O.L.R.E., short for Boot of Larry Robot Enforcer. But the French called them “RuBoots.”
“It’s a bassoon.” Eve said. “I’m going to play at the Salle Pleyel tonight.” It was sunset and they were standing at the picturesque corner of Rue Boissiére and Rue de Lübeck. People in the nearby cafes tried to ignore what was unfortunately a common sight, RuBoot’s randomly stopping people for ID checks, weapon and technology searches and general harassment. Across the Seine river nearby, Eve could see the glow of the Eiffel Tower with a hideous giant neon Google logo flashing down its length in garish colors. That was another thing that really pissed off the natives.
“Bassoon’s are not allowed.” The RuBoot said.
Now the robot was beginning to piss Eve off. She knew for a fact that Bassoon’s were one of the few wood wind instruments still allowed in the city; saxophones, of course, having been banned first. She suspected the RuBoots were programmed to arbitrarily enforce imaginary rules just to keep the populous fearful, wary and unhappy.
She was tempted to pull open the case, whip out her new Jony Ive Special Edition Apple Sword and slice it apart. But instead she stalled.
“Did I say Bassoon? I meant trombone.”
“I don’t believe you… “ The RuBoot said. Then its electronic voice stuttered. “I… feel… funny…”
The RuBoot started to shake. Its arms dropped limply. A service hatch on its back opened up. The Android Moto G Eve had used to identify herself had been hacked. Eve had replaced its operating system with special version of iOS. The barcode the robot scanned included a worm that attacked the robot’s operating code. Eve pulled a thermite grenade from her jacket and set a timer. She shoved it deep into the robot’s insides through the service hatch and shut it. The RuBoot shook helplessly as Eve continued on her way.
The RuBoot blew up in a bright fireball. Tiny pieces rained down on the cobblestones.
Cafe patrons sipping coffee and wine burst into applause. Eve turned, briefly bowed, and went on her way. Someone shouted, “See you tonight at Salle Pleyel!”

Eve wasn’t playing bassoon that night. Not at Salle Pleyel or anywhere else. (Though she was a rather fine bassoonist.) She was heading to a gathering of La Résistance Française in a secret wine cellar under the Musee du Louvre. She had been invited personally by Mark Zuckerberg.
In addition to the tactical mistake of banning French, Google had underestimated the French people’s love of Facebook and the power of Zuckerberg’s amazing social media skills. Shortly after France was sold to Google by corrupt officials, tens of millions of its citizens unfriended Google in protest. Facebook had always been a thorn in Google’s side, rivaling Apple as a strategic enemy. Google’s own efforts at social media had always fallen flat. Google Plus had long been a failure, as had Google Wave, Google Social, Google Buddy, Google Friendface, and Google Just-Like-Facebook. Banning Facebook all together was not an option, even after Google had achieved the power to do so in its own territories. Facebook had created a wildly successful version for the dark web, Facebook After Dark, and all the major porn stars had fan pages on it. Banning the dark web would mean banning porn, one of Google’s only strategic advantages over Apple. Besides, if Google took direct action against Facebook, what about WhatsApp and Instagram? Even Larry Page wasn’t crazy enough to attack Instagram. And Zuckerberg had his own nuclear option: with his tech prowess he could quickly retool Facebook into an independent search engine and possibly destroy Google’s ad base. There was, of course, potential danger in a search war for Facebook also, but the threat was enough to force Google to fight Facebook in the streets rather than in cyberspace.
Eve passed on several offers for wine as she moved through the crowds of handsome half-shaved men and sensuous red lipped women who packed the dim cellars preparing for battle. France always had the most attractive revolutionaries. And the wine at these events was always terrific, but Eve was determined to stay sober. Even with her hair hidden and the Cloche pulled down over her forehead, she was recognized. People smiled, patted her warmly on the back and whispered, “Viva la Apple.”
Thanks to Eve’s handy work destroying Google’s Mediterranean fleet, Amazon’s Spanish forces had been able to break across the border into the South of France and capture Barcelona. Arianna Huffington’s irregulars had taken Sicily by sea and were using it to stage a ground campaign into Italy that could reach France by the Riviera coast to Monte Carlo. Meanwhile, Branson’s British troops were about to launch an invasion across the English channel. So the mission of the La Résistance Française was straightforward: to create as much chaos as possible in the heart of France to hamper Google’s military defense as the combined tech forces converged on it. Creating chaos was something the French underground was good at.
Which was a good thing, because most of the rebel discussions focused on symbolic gestures, like draping black flags over the Arc de Triomphe and tearing down the neon sign on the Eiffel Tower. Eve silently dismissed her plans to recruit a squad to attack an anti-aircraft battery as conversations got heated about what color flags would best symbolize the resistance, red or black or both.
She reached Zuck who was at the center of a group of resistance leaders pointing out potential targets on a map with his hook. He spotted Eve and his left hand grabbed her shoulder affectionately as he eyed her with his one eye. “Thank you for coming, Eve.”
“I wouldn’t have missed it.” she said with a smile.
“And thank you for Yahoo. Marissa kicked some ass, didn’t she?”
“That she did.”
“What about the Keynote?”
“I couldn’t get him to cancel it. It starts at 10am in the morning.”
“New iComs?”
“Probably. I honestly don’t know.”
“An Apple flying car?”
Eve shook her head.
“We’ll just have hope Page is bluffing about the nukes or that Amazon can stop them.”
“What I hear from Branson is that it’s not going well in orbit or on the moon.”
They both smiled in existential amusement that seemed oddly appropriate in France, in the middle of a war, just before a hopeless battle, knowing that nukes would fall on Paris first. Most likely that very next day. Zuckerberg grew wistful. “You know, when the bucks first rolled in after the IPO, I wanted to start a space program. Sandberg talked me out of it. Now I wish had a time machine.”
They went over the plans. Eve was once again impressed with his social networking skills. Rather than argue against the popular symbolic gestures, Zuckerberg figured out how to incorporate them into a coherent military strategy. Destroying the Google neon logo on the Eiffel tower was pointless, but at the top of the tower Google had erected broadcast antennas critical to their military communications system. Sabotaging them prior to Branson’s channel invasion would leave Google in disarray. “I was hoping maybe you could tackle that. My climbing skills aren’t what they used to be.” Zuck said, raising his hook. Eve nodded. “Meanwhile, I’ll take the main forces and try to keep the RuBoots distracted at the Arc de Triomphe.” Zuck pointed out that while there was little military value to draping flags on the Arc de Triomphe, it was centrally located in the city and away from residential areas. Therefore a good place to try to lure Google’s robot suppression forces into a street battle. Snipers with shoulder fired grenade launchers could take positions on top of it while others draped the flags.
“The flags must be black! To show the shame of France!” A handsome half-shaved rebel and cafe barista named Pierre shouted.
“No, they must be red, to show the anger of the French people!” said Emmanuelle, a sensuous red lipped erotic novelist.
“Red and black together! With two black flags and then alternating one red and two more black!” Said a half-shaved sculpture artist named Leon.
The room burst into passionate argument. Amélie, a lovely taxi driver with jet black hair in a pony tail, leaned over to Eve. “This is why Google always defeats us. Because we cannot agree on stupid things.”
There was shoving and for a moment Eve feared a fist fight was about to break out. “NO!” Shouted Zuckerberg over the roar of the crowd. He jumped onto the top of a wine barrel and shook his hook menacingly at the crowd. “No! No! No!”
The room settled as all eyes went to him. Zuckerberg held a long pause and the room fell silent in anticipation. He began to speak slowly, softly, before rising into a triumphant call to arms that echoed against the arched stone ceilings. “We shall drape the Arc de Triomphe with the national flag of France, with its glorious tricolors blue, white and red symbolizing Paris, because after tonight: France… will… be… FREE!”
Huge cheers erupted into shouts of “Viva La France!” Eve smiled at Zuck. She didn’t believe France would be freed that night, at best it faced a long bloody war of attrition. She doubted even Zuck believed it, but it was exactly what the crowd needed to hear. The cheers merged into a loud chorus of La Marseillaise and the beautiful song filled the cellar with joyous camaraderie and hope.

Above and outside, cold reality quickly came crashing down. Weapons were being handed out to the resistance fighters in the Cour Neapoléon between the I. M. Pei designed Louvre Pyramid and the Sully Wing of the 17th Century Palace. Word arrived that hundreds of RuBoots had lined up on the Rue de Rivoli, preparing to attack and burn down the museum while driving the rebel force into the Seine. The only way to save the museum would be to attack the RuBoot’s first.
“We have been betrayed!” Leon said between gritted teeth. “Someone tipped Google off that we were meeting. One of us is a traitor.”
“There is always a traitor.” Amélie whispered to Eve, shaking her head despondently.
“These will save us!” Pierre shouted as he and half-a-dozen half-shaven rebels carried in large shipping boxes. “Combattre le feu par le feu!” Eve felt a dark shutter of apprehension even before Pierre broke open the top of the boxes and started tossing the contents around. Before she could protest, shrink wrapped G-Blades where being scattered into the crowd. Delighted rebels tore them from the boxes and held them up proudly.
Eve looked over to Zuckerberg, who was also concerned. “Zuck, stop them. This will be the end. We can’t trust G-Blades.”
“I know but… I…” Perhaps for the first time in his life, Zuckerberg was at a loss for how to manage a crowd. Laser beams popped up everywhere.
A RuBoot could be heard shouting from an amplified megaphone over the walls of the Richelieu Wing. “Surrender, miserable rebels, our we will burn your filthy museum to the ground!”
“Attack! Attack! Viva La France!” Pierre shouted. The crowd took up the cry and began to move. “No… no…” Zuckerberg stammered, unheard over the shouting masses. Pierre rushed over and thrust a blazing G-Blade into Zuck’s hand and said, “Combattre le feu par le feu!”
“Zuck, no…” Eve pleaded. But Zuckerberg’s eyes were already a fixed on the glow of the seductive laser. “Combattre le feu par le feu,” he whispered to it.
“They are remotely controlled by Google. Google!”
Pierre shook his head. “No, these are blackmarket. They run Linux. They will slice through the RuBoots like a hot knife through seasoned butter!” He pulled Zuckerberg off with the others. Eve was tempted to grab them, but worried that if handed a G-Blade she might fall under its spell.
“Don’t do it!” She shouted. But Zuckerberg, the master of social media, could not resist the energized crowd. There was no turning back.
“Surrender rebels!” The megaphone demanded again.
“Viva La France!” Zuckerberg yelled as the crazed mob surged out of the courtyard like dancers rushing to a Euro disco laser show.
Emmanuelle stood by Eve, disgusted. “Men and their obsessive devotion to glowing phallic symbols.” Eve looked forlornly at crates of perfectly good grenade launchers left behind. She had gone to a lot of trouble to get them shipped in from Afghanistan along with hundreds of iComs to provide a secure communications network. She looked around and saw only about a dozen rebels remaining who had refused the G-Blades. For some reason, they were mostly women and few gay men. Were they less susceptible to evil temptations or just plan smarter? If so, what did that say about Eve who knew herself to be vulnerable to the G-Blade’s seductive power?
Amélie checked over the iComs. “These iComs are more useful in war than the grenade launchers. Are you really from Apple?”
“Yes.” Eve answered.
“Then do something!”
“Money! Apple is rich. How much money do you have?”
“All that is needed if it can make a difference.”
“How much?!”
Eve grabbed a fresh iCom and programmed in a credit card number from memory.
“This iCom now has a ten million Euro credit on Apple Pay.”
“That will do.” Amélie reached for it. 
Eve held it off. “Tell me what you are thinking.”
“Enough with the amateurs. We need people we can order around for money.”
“Taxi drivers. Paris has the best taxi drivers in the world. They beat the Germans at Marne. They hate Google and will accept Apple Pay.”
“Go on.”
“There is a secret passage back in the wine cellar that leads under the Champs-Elysées. We can carry the iComs and the grenade launchers through it to a hidden panel in the dressing rooms of the Le Crazy Horse de Paris. There we will find many women who will do almost anything for money.”
“Dancers.” Amélie said firmly. “I was a dancer at the Crazy Horse before I became a taxi driver. The dancers there are the best in the world. Strong, agile and fast. They know how to use small arms and are afraid of nothing. They will insist on cash but I can work that out with the floor manager.”
Eve nodded and handed her the iCom. “I’ll need receipts.”

To be continued…


If you enjoyed this excerpt from Eve's Hungry, consider checking out the entire novel which is available now at Amazon Kindle.

Author's Note About Eve's Hungry

Steve Jobs passed away one year ago today.  As they say, he left the world considerably poorer for his absence, but vastly richer for his all too brief existence.  Like many, many others, I mourned his passing as if I had lost a dear friend.  No other individual, who I never met in person, had such an enormous impact on my life.   I learned more from him than any teacher, was entertained by him more than any performer and was inspired by him more than any leader.   During rough times in my life, I took comfort in the fact that Apple, under Jobs’ brilliant guidance, was always working on some cool new thing that I could look forward to.  When I worked hard, I appreciated the amazing tools Steve had provided to help me.  When I was bored, I could always find something fun to do thanks to one of his wonderful gadgets.

I began work on Eve’s Hungry as a playful tribute to him.  A crazy story had circulated on the internet that Jobs had been caught carrying ninja shurikens when he was trying to board a plane.  It was, of course, false, but for some reason I could easily image that Steve secretly was a master of martial arts.  Not too long before, he had also vowed to “go nuclear” on Google for stealing iPhone intellectual property and there was much talk of a Apple/Google war.  I thought it would be fun to mix all these elements together and imagine a future world where Google and Apple were actually warring upon each other.  (For the record, I have no real bone to pick with Google, they’ve also created a lot of cool things, including the site I blog on.  But when your company motto is “don’t be evil,” you’re kind of begging to be satirized.  “So what if Google was really evil?”)

The one thing I couldn’t imagine in a future world was the absence of Steve Jobs.  It was well known at the time that he had been struggling with health issues, so in my fantasy I portrayed him as living to a long robust old age.  It has since come out that he was much sicker for much longer than the public knew, which is a testament to how courageous and determined he was.  Many of his greatest accomplishments where made when he was struggling against the cancer that would finally take him away.

His passing not only filled me with sorrow, but made me rethink this little project and consider abandoning it.  I was almost finished with the episode below when I heard the news that Jobs was gone.   After that, I couldn’t bring myself to finish it.  But as time passed, I kept thinking about Eve’s story.  I wondered if it deserved to be told, perhaps even more so since Eve was a voice to how Jobs’ had inspired me.  I thought about changing the story so she worked under Tim Cook, but I couldn’t bear to take Jobs away from her too.  I thought about referencing Jobs passing, saying he was secretly alive, but that seemed too depressing.

So right or wrong, I’ve decided to keep going with the project as it was originally intended.  A future fantasy that spins out from a specific moment of time around 2011 when Jobs had lead Apple to unbelievable success and the Google/Apple war was just brewing.  An alternative world where Jobs was still alive.  That is a world I certainly wish I could live in.

Mackay Bell

UPDATE:  Well, it's been three years and I finally finished Eve's story.  What began as a crazy goofy short story has become a… crazy goofy… novel.  But I think one with a lot of heart (not to mention some laughs and exciting action scenes).  I don't know what Jobs himself might have thought of it, but I like to think I did him justice in a fantasy future alternative reality way.  If you're interested, the novel is now available for Amazon Kindle.

Episode Three - The Electric Katana

A short intense phone call later, Eve leapt down the elevator shaft. It was quite a drop. She couldn’t be sure but figured she fell at least two floors before she hit the concrete bottom of the elevator pit, almost breaking her legs. It was foolish for her to simply jump in, but Jobs made it look so easy. As she struggled to her aching feet, she tried to imagine how the over 60 year old computer executive had managed it. 
The elevator doors on the bottom floor had already been pried half open, so she assumed Jobs had gone out that way. She climbed out of the pit and into a dark hallway. 
The electricity in the complex had been knocked out, so Eve used the flashlight on her own iPhone to search the area. She kept Jobs phone in reserve to spare its battery. The carpet bombing two stories above had knocked out a lot of ceiling panels. Loose wiring and broken lighting fixtures dangled everywhere. But the walls were basically intact, a testament to the thoughtful structural design of Apple’s showcase office building. She wondered how long it would be before Google’s shock troops found their way down here. Not long, she figured.
She heard some faint whispers down the hall and around the corner. Maybe other employees had survived in the lower floors and Jobs was reconnecting with them. She beamed her flashlight down the hall and the whispering suddenly stopped. Afraid they might be running away, Eve ran to the corner to try to catch up with them.
She whispered frantically, “Hey! Wait!”
But as she rounded the corner, strong arms grabbed her from behind and pulled her into a powerful wrestler’s headlock. “Who are you?!”
Eve, painfully pinned, dropped her iPhone and the flashlight beam bounced up at the ceiling, giving the hallway an eerie glow. In the dim light she saw Steve Jobs standing nearby with half a dozen key executives around him. Tim Cook, Scott Forstall, Jonathan Ive and Eddie Cue were all battered and bloody, but alive. Despite the uncomfortable hold, Eve was thrilled. Google’s victory was not yet certain if so many of Apple’s brain trust had survived. Jobs shook his head toward Eve. “It’s okay. She’s one of our interns. Let her go.”
The strong hands let go of Eve and she turned to see Philip Schiller standing behind her, still untrusting. His hulking, bodybuilder physique made him look like a nightclub bouncer. He folded his arms in a menacing manor as if daring Eve to make a wrong move.
“Shut off that light.” Jobs ordered Eve. She grabbed her iPhone and turned it off. In the pitch blackness, Jobs continued. “You were saying… “
Eve recognized Scott Forstall’s voice answering. “I’ve got teams of surviving employees setting booby traps to cover the entry points to the lower levels. They’re crude improvised munitions, but it should at least alert us when they come and hopefully slow them down a little.”
Tim Cook went next. “Through secure communications I put all our other facilities around the world on alert. So far it appears Google’s focus is on Cupertino.”
Jonathan Ive jumped in. “Assuming that we’re going to have to militarize, I’ve got contacts working up a plan to purchase of aircraft, armored vehicles…”
“Stop.” Jobs cut him off. “We’ll address long term later. Let’s focus the immediate problem. Survival. We’ll need weapons. Have you opened the meditation chamber?”
“We were waiting for you.”
“You shouldn’t have.” Jobs strode off down the dark hall and the execs followed behind him. Eve’s eyes tried to adjust to the darkness, but she couldn’t see anything. So she followed after the sound of the footsteps. Jobs either could see in the dark or had memorized every inch of this place. He moved quickly through the black passages and everyone else struggled to keep pace with him.
He reached his goal and Eve heard a loud crunch. From the sound of it, Jobs had just kicked a door in. He knocked aside the splintered wood and lead them all into a new passageway. Eve heard soft sounds as Jobs’ fingers slid open a large hidden panel.
Schiller’s voice whispered, “Steve, the intern. You want me to keep her in the hall.”
“No, it’s alright.” Jobs said. “Let her see a little of the real Apple.” Soft warm light filled the passageway as the secret panel opened. Jobs went into a hidden chamber and the other execs followed. Eve tentatively joined them.
The light was coming from half a dozen tall pillar candles, the kind that last for weeks and are usually seen only in monasteries. They flanked a small Shinto shrine. From their light Eve could see they were in a large mysterious chamber with tatami mats on the floors. The wood lined walls were filled with cryptic scrolls and traditional Japanese martial arts weapons. Eve would later learn that this was where Jobs taught ninjutsu fighting techniques and bushido philosophy to executives in his closest circle. 
 Originally, the martial arts training was to teach mental focus and discipline in business, not for real life warfare. Despite years of warning signs, Jobs had refused to directly arm Apple employees for fear of provoking Google. In retrospect, it was a costly mistake, but Jobs often took the moral high road regardless of the consequences. Now, with Google launching a horrifically violent preemptive first strike, this room contained the only real weapons in the entire facility.
Each exec selected from the wall the weapons they specialized in. Eddie Cue took a pair of wood nunchaku and tucked a tanto dagger in the back of his pants. Tim Cook picked a tsurugi thrusting sword and Schiller a naginata spear. Scott Forstall armed himself with a pair of kama hand scythes. And Jonathan Ive selected a simple hanbo short staff. They also filled their pockets with a variety of ninja shuriken stars and kunai throwing darts.
Steve Jobs tucked some shuriken into his jeans pockets. He pulled at the torn sleeve on his turtleneck to remove it, but in the process ripped the side of the shirt open. He finally simply tore the entire shirt off. Eve was stunned by the sixty-year-old man’s amazingly muscular, lean, Bruce Lee physique. She would later learn he always wore loose fitting “nerd” clothing to disguise it.
Jobs pulled a pair of ancient katanas from a place of honor on the wall. He tossed one to Eve. Her hands slipped and she dropped it, much to her embarrassment. In the years to come, Jobs would tease her mercilessly about her first awkward moment with the weapon.
As Eve scrambled to pick up her katana, the other executives looked over at her, dubiously. Schiller spoke for them all. “Roshi, she has no training. You can see it.”
Eve gripped the sheathed sword defensively. “What good are swords and daggers against machine guns?”
As if it to answer, Jobs drew his own sword and the sharp edge gleamed in the flickering light. “You’ll need to move fast, and get very close. Don’t think twice. Just react.” Jobs said quietly. “Or you can stay here and hide. The choice is yours.”
On that Jobs turned and left. The rest of the executives glanced back at Eve dismissively as they followed him.
Eve took a deep breath and drew the steel blade from its saya. It seemed hopeless, suicidal even to consider fighting guns with blades, but all her life she had wanted to work for Apple. She would never have another opportunity like this to prove herself to the company. To prove herself to her hero. She ran into the darkness after them.

In the next fifteen minutes Eve learned more about close quarters combat than she would in many years of training afterwards. She had never studied martial arts, the closest she came was a kickboxing aerobics class she took one summer. But she had always been athletic, playing soccer on a high school championship team and she was a skilled mountain climber with strong arms.
Jobs had given her exactly the essential tips necessary to survive in such a desperate situation against superior firepower. Move fast, and get close. Don’t think. Just react. One of Jobs great talents was boiling ideas down to their core concepts, and his advice was enough to empower Eve to tap into her hidden talent for mayhem.
Once they went back into the dark basement halls, the executives all split up, enacting some preplanned strategy. Eve followed behind Jobs, figuring if she did nothing else, she could at least try to cover his back. But he moved so quickly it was difficult for her to keep up.
The Google shock troops had just barely begun to descend into the lower floors. Jobs made his first kills as they scrambled down a staircase and triggered one of Forestall’s improvised explosives: a crude but ingenious firebomb made from cleaning supplies. A tripwire detonated the device and a burst of burning fluid exploded, momentarily blinding the first of several Google troopers. The fire was not fatal, but Jobs certainly was. Leaping through the flames he sliced open the trooper’s throat, severing his vital arteries. As a fountain of blood gushed from the wound, Jobs quickly leapt up the steps, stabbing another trooper in the chest, spinning and then cutting through the forehead of another. By this time, Eve thought she was numb to horrific human carnage, but something about the way the trooper’s brains gushed from his shattered skull made her wince and sicken.
But there was no time to throw up. Jobs continued bounding up the stairs, taking out trooper after trooper with such lightening speed it almost seemed impossible. Eve struggled to keep up. From one of the dead she grabbed for a submachine gun, figuring it would be an upgrade from her current weapon. But the gun was held to the body by a shoulder strap and as she struggled to unclip it, Jobs shouted down to her.
“No time! Leave them for the others!”
At that moment, another trooper, barely alive, grabbed at Eve’s ankle, like Carrie’s hand leaping from the grave. Eve instinctively sliced down at it with her katana, cutting the hand cleanly from the arm. The trooper screamed as blood spouted from his flailing stump. Eve then plunged her sword tip into his heart, hoping to quiet him. Blood gurgled into his mouth and he quickly died.
Seeing Jobs had disappeared, Eve chased after him, not bothering to try to take a gun again. Steve was right, in close quarters, moving fast enough, the katana had advantages.

Eve emerged into sunlight and spotted Jobs fighting through the still smoking wreckage, spreading death like an avenging angel. Occasionally, he would nail a distant trooper with a shuriken to the eye, but he primarily relied on his incredible swordsmanship to slice and dice opponents. The troopers should have had the advantage, but they were too closely packed to let loose with their machine guns, for fear of shooting each other. Before they could scramble to spread out, they were dead. And as they died, others would see them drop in the smoky distance and try to figure out what was going on, only to find the fast moving Jobs already leaping in their midst.
Eve caught up with Jobs, mostly finishing off troopers he had seriously wounded, but as she got the swing of things she began to take on fresh kills herself. She chased after and nailed a trooper who was trying to circle around and gun Jobs down. A chill when down her spine when her blade cut open his throat and splatters of blood hit her face. Not because she was frighted, but because she realized she was enjoying this. After everything Google had done that day, Eve no longer thought about the right or wrong of murdering another human. The exhilarating rush of revenge was the only thing that mattered now.
Eventually, she and Jobs were almost fighting side by side, springing over the rubble with leaps and bounds, slashing down troopers right and left. She almost felt as if Jobs amazing energy was flowing into her, giving her extra strength and skills she didn’t possess on her own. Occasionally Eve would spot one of the other executives in the distance, Tim Cook piercing troopers with his tsurugi and Schiller nailing them with his naginata. Eddie Cue clobbered others with his fast moving nunchaku while Jonathan Ive’s simple but effective hanbo staff made short work of others.
The remaining troopers began to retreat, trying to get out of the battle zone so the Google tanks could cut loose with heavy machine guns and cannons. But by that time, small arms fire was heading in their direction. Dozens of surviving Apple employees had emerged from the basements behind their executives, and gathered up weapons from the dead. They began to fire at the fleeing shock troops with captured submachine guns and pistols.
Seeing the tide was turning, Eve paused to catch her breath, exhausted. It was simply impossible to keep up with Jobs. She looked out into the chaos. Could they actually succeed? Could they really beat Google?
Suddenly, a fist of steel smashed into her head like a sledgehammer. Eve’s sword flew from her hand and she crumbled to the ground, blood rushing from split skin in her hairline. As her long blond hair matted with red, the steel hand grabbed her up by the throat like a doll. It raised her up high off her feet, and a voice laughed wickedly. Dazed, Eve’s blurry eyes made out the robot like frame of a giant white mecha armor suit with the Google logo emblazoned on its chest. Over twelve feet tall, it was topped with an integrated helmet and bullet proof glass visor. Eve focused through the visor and could see the grinning face of evil itself. Inside was a laughing and sneering Eric E. Schmidt.
“Give up, Jobs!” Google’s executive chairman shouted through an amplified speaker system in the suit as he held the dangling Eve in front of him. “Or I’ll crush her like a tomato!”
Jobs slowly turned and spotted Schmidt towering nearby in the robot armor. Jobs slightly lowered his bloody sword. For the first time, Eve could see a hint of anger in his face. Schmidt saw it too. His amplified voice laughed.
“Look familiar? Yes, it’s a reproduction of the power suit you showed me when I was on the Apple board of directors. With special Google modifications, of course!” Schmidt raised up the other robotic arm and a small rocket launcher popped out of a special compartment on it. A rocket fired and rushed at Jobs. But Jobs didn’t flinch and the warhead missed him by several yards and exploded in the distance.
Schmidt sheepishly offered. “We’re still working on the targeting mechanism.”
“You can steal our ideas, but you can’t steal our quality.” Jobs murmured.
“What?! You’re going to sue us for patent infringement? Those days are over, Jobs! Google isn’t playing around anymore. Apple is finished. Done! Your beloved headquarters is rubble. The bulk of your employees are dead. Now your only choice is to give up and let me take you prisoner! You’ll never get past our tanks and I’ve called in another airstrike to finish the job. Give up, and perhaps we’ll offer you a consultancy at Google!”
“I’ll send you to hell, first.” Jobs eyes narrowed and his voice seemed to echo as if in a cavern. Eve watched, mesmerized, as Jobs sword began to glow blue, as if filling with energy. She realized it was no ordinary sword. It was some kind of electric powered katana. Another of Jobs amazing inventions. 
Schmidt realized it too, and faced with Jobs’ smothering eyes and glowing sword, his bravado snuffed out like a stomped on cigarette. His robot suit began to fumble like a drunken sailor as he scrambled with the controls, apparently about to flee. But before he could get anywhere, Jobs rushed across the distance between them and leapt into the air as if fired out of a cannon. With a powerful slash, his glowing blade sliced through the robot arm holding Eve, ripping through steel and wire as if it was cardboard. As Eve fell to the ground with the lost arm, the suit began to spark and shutter. But Jobs wasn’t finished. He slashed again and cut through both of the robotic legs, cleanly severing them in half.
The trunk and head of the robot fell to the ground with a crash. Electronics shorted out, caught fire, and the helmet filled with smoke. Jobs then casually offered Eve a hand, helping her to her feet. She noticed his sword had stopped glowing. 
Meanwhile, on the ground, a terrified Schmidt popped open the escape releases on the suit and frantically pulled himself out. As he scrambled to his feet, Jobs slowly stalked him like a hunter ready to finish off a wounded deer. Schmidt stumbled backwards with his hands up, desperately groveling. “I give up! I surrender! Please, Steve, I’m sorry! I’m sorry! We used to be friends! I beg you!”
With a sudden dismissive wave, Jobs sword leapt out and in one clean stroke he decapitated the Google exec and one time Apple Board member. A fountain of blood exploded from the sliced neck as the head flew off, with frozen open eyes. The head bounced twice and rolled several yards away before stopping. Schmidt’s limp body swayed for a brief second and then dropped to the battlefield like a sack of rotten fish. 
Eve looked on in satisfaction, sharing in Jobs’ final conclusion of a personal and business conflict that went all the way back to when Schmidt secretly stole Apple’s ideas for the iPhone and incorporated them into Android. But there was no time to savor the victory, for the roar of returning B-1 bombers rumbled over the horizon. There was no way they could survive another airstrike. Meanwhile, she could see the cannon turrets of the Google tanks turning and rising to fire at them. Had they won a battle but lost the war?
Suddenly, one of the tanks blew up. An armor piercing shell had ripped through its flank and exploded inside. And then another tank was hit and burst into flames and another. The tanks were all being fired upon. Through the smoke and flames she spotted a quick moving calvary force of several dozen Segways, rolling up on the sidewalks of Infinite Loop. Determined looking Apple fan boys confidently balanced on the two-wheeled personal transporters as they attacked with shoulder firing anti-tank grenade launchers.
And as the first of the returning B-1 bombers appeared overhead, a chubby older man on the lead Segway swung up a Stinger anti-aircraft missile. He took aim and expertly fired. The heat seeking missile rushed straight for its target. It hit the bomber mid-air with a powerful blast of high explosives that instantly ripped one of its wings off. The jet spiraled out of control and quickly crashed in the distance, sending up a fiery mushroom cloud of burning jet fuel.
Eve smiled. She recognized the man on the Segway with the smoking anti-aircraft launcher. She recognized him very well. It was Steve Wozniak, sporting one of his familiar grins.
The rest of the bombers were likewise destroyed by Stinger missiles launched by the Segway calvary. With the air support gone and the tanks burning, what little was left of Google’s army began to flee in earnest. The surviving Apple employees lowered their small arms and began to applaud.
Eve saw Jobs finally relax his guard, looking tired and spent. “Thanks for the help. I got to go talk to Woz.” He handed his sword off to Eve and headed across the wreckage.
Tim Cook strolled up behind Eve, covered in blood and dust. He put a hand on her shoulder. His knuckles were bruised and torn like a prize fighter. “Not bad for an intern. What are your job plans after college? Would you like to work at Apple?”
Eve nodded weakly. She looked down at Jobs’ sword, trying to figure out how it was powered. “This sword is incredible. Cutting through thick steel. How do you turn it on?”
“What do you mean?” Cook asked.
“It… doesn’t it… isn’t it electric powered?”
Cook shook his head with a smile. “It’s just a regular sword. But Steve is no ordinary man. As I’m sure you’ve found out.” Eve looked down at the cold steel and then back over to Jobs in the distance. Taking it all in.
As Jobs approached, Wozniak was still calling out orders to the Apple fanboys. “Don’t chase after the Googles, but reload your launchers and keep on guard!”
“Thanks, Woz. I knew I could count on you.” Jobs said softly as Wozniak turned back with a warm smile.
“No problem. We came as soon as we could. I got the guys together with Twitter fast enough, but getting the armaments took some effort. Most of them are on my Segway polo team, but there was this National Guard officer who had keys to the armory…”
“Woz. Woz…” Jobs interrupted, his voice strained as the exhaustion of the battle set in. He suddenly blurted out. “I’m so sorry.” 
“Hey, you know me. I’m glad to help. I’m always glad when you call, Steve.”
“No, I mean… I’m sorry for everything. For Breakout, for…”
“Steve, it’s okay. It’s okay. I know you had issues But you’re a good guy, deep down. You’re a great guy.” Woz grinned again. Jobs nodded and smiled sadly.
Eve watched as the two old friends hugged.

Eve’s thoughts returned to the present, and she became aware of the beautiful sound of the grand hall’s waterfall. It must have been specially tuned to have such a gentle but musical cascade. She was still kneeling before Jobs, awaiting punishment for killing Malick in Batyr-Aul. But Jobs looked strangely defensive, as if he had been reading her mind. As if he had also journeyed back in her memories to the time when they had battled side by side in the burning wreckage of Apple’s old headquarters. 
Jobs turned away. “I killed Eric Schmidt on an active battlefield. He was the commander of the attacking force. It wasn’t revenge, and it wasn’t personal, despite what you might think. In any case, my killing him doesn’t entitle you to snuff out every Google employee you encounter. We’re not going to lower ourselves to their level just to win. I thought I taught you better than that.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Besides, you also killed the Microsoft exec. How was he was a threat to you? Or to Apple? A pathetic Microsoft exec? What harm could he be to anyone?”
“No, I just… it was in the heat of the moment.”
“I never tried to kill Bill Gates. Even when Windows first came out and I had many chances. I could have ended his life with a single open handed blow to his scrawny neck. But the thought never even crossed my mind because I never doubted we could beat them in the marketplace.” Jobs sheathed his katana and returned to the meditation mat. He sat down and crossed his legs.
Eve’s muscles instinctively relaxed as Jobs set his sword back to its original place. At least it was clear he wasn’t going to punish her with that. But she remained kneeling, head down, trying to be contrite. “I was wrong. I shouldn’t have killed the Microsoft exec. That was bad. But Malick. Malick was pure evil. I can’t help but think…”
“That world will be a better place without him? That’s your justification? That he was a bad man? The world is full of bad men, Eve. They don’t all deserve to die.”
“I made a calculated decision under pressure. Maybe it was the wrong one. But yes, Malick was a bad man. One of the worst. And the world will be a better place with him dead.”
“Well, then I have some news for you, Dr. Zachara.” Jobs said evenly. “He isn’t dead.”
Eve looked up, stunned. It wasn’t possible. Jobs had to be joking, toying with her. “He… he has to be. I cut his head off. You saw the video.”
But Jobs wasn’t joking. His voice was deadly serious. “Yes, I saw it. Nevertheless… Malick is alive.”
To be continued...


If you enjoyed this excerpt from Eve's Hungry, consider checking out the entire novel which is available now at Amazon Kindle.

Episode Two - The Razor's Edge

Eve barely got back to her apartment and introduced Yuliya to her two cats, Pascal and Alice, when word came that Mr. Jobs wanted to see her.
It was not a surprise.  After a mere 38 hours, the video of her beheading Malick in Batyr-Aul had gone viral on YouTube with over a 100 million hits and counting.  Ironically, despite the brutality of the Apple/Google war, iPads still had an option to directly upload to YouTube.  Apple always put its customers first.  Naturally, Google made sure it was featured on You Tube’s front page.  Various parodies and tribute videos had already sprung up and it was the talk of the blogsphere.  While hardcore Apple fans cheered, there was no doubt it was a major PR disaster for the company.  Steve Jobs had recently said that Apple wasn’t looking to get involved in the rebellion in Uzbekistan.   Her mission was supposed to have been covert.  And Jobs probably wouldn’t be happy about her broadcasted tips on searching for dark web porn on Apple’s devices.
Eve had avoided looking at her flooded e-mail account during the hurried trip back.  Unquestionably there would be serious consequences once she returned.  But while Jobs would be pissed off, she hoped it would take him a couple days to decide if she should be fired or worse.  Yet on the commercial jet traveling from Tokyo to San Francisco, she suddenly felt a chill run through her entire body.  She sensed that an e-mail had arrived from Jobs himself, summoning her.  She didn’t have to check her account.  She didn’t have to see it.  She simply knew as clearly as if he had called her from across the room.  Jobs’ powers were such he could reach across the space time continuum and directly influence human consciousness when he wanted to.  She didn’t actually read the e-mail until after rushing home and then only to confirm.  It was typically brief:
He didn’t need to say when, she knew it was immediately.   She also knew a video conference wasn’t going to be enough.  She would have to head out to New Cupertino to meet with him in person.  Right now.
She isn’t happy about leaving Yuliya alone in her apartment.  Yet taking her to New Cupertino, even if Eve could get authorization, was wildly ill-advised.  They had been subject to many stares and snickers by people who had seen them dancing together in the snuff video.  At the airport, in the taxi, even walking through the building lobby.  The last thing Eve needed was to show up at Apple’s main headquarters with the now semi-famous Uzbek slave girl in tow.  
Eve, at first, firmly refused when Granmura offered Yuliya to Eve as a “present.”  Not that Yuliya’s dark sensuous features and petite curvy body weren’t appealing.  In fact, she’s exactly Eve’s type.  But sales execs are not supposed to accept gifts from potential clients and human trafficking in particular is looked down upon by Apple.  When she declined, Granmura said that if Eve didn’t take her, he would hand her off to one of his soldiers.  Yuliya fell to her knees and begged Eve to accept her.   It was clear from her watery eyes that she desperately wanted to escape her fate as a dancing plaything for dusty rebels in a rocky warzone.  Eve finally accepted, figuring once she got her back to America she could pass her off as a regional consultant.  While it was possible Yuliya might be a spy for Granmura, or more likely Google, turning spies and creating double agents was part of Eve’s corporate job description.  It was also something she was rather good at.  Seducing Yuliya and learning her secrets, if she had any, wouldn’t be an unpleasant side project.  On the plane ride over, Eve found her to be intelligent, if apparently uneducated, and sadly world wise for someone barely nineteen.
Simplifying matters, Pascal and Alice warmed up to Yuliya immediately.  Alice even allowed Yuliya to pick her up, which she rarely does with strangers.  Alice was a good judge of character.  So Eve gave Yuliya quick tour of the apartment, warned her about the dominatrix across the hall, and set her up with a spare iCom.
At the controls of her private Harrier jump jet, Eve flew past Ni’ihau, the forbidden isle of Hawaii.  Its emerald forests and rocky flatlands are outlined by perfect white beaches that stand out in sharp contrast to the deep blue waters of the vast Pacific Ocean.  The antique Harrier had been a gift from British MI-6 for some assistance Eve provided in Sri Lanka and she had grown quite fond of it.   It wasn’t the fastest aircraft Eve had access to, but it had automatic clearance for New Cupertino and she wasn’t completely comfortable with the controls of more modern V/STOL jets.   What she lost in speed she gained in not having to arrange for another pilot.  But as fond as she was of this particular old warbird she made a mental note that she would have to do some more pilot training on Apple’s fleet of Lightening IV-A’s.   They were not only faster, with a longer range, but much better armed.  Not that Eve planned to do aerial combat missions.  Apple had much better pilots for that.  But these dark days even simple business travel might evolve into something unexpected and Eve liked to be prepared.  Of course, all of this was moot if Jobs ended up firing her shortly after landing, which was still a distinct possibility.
As she contemplated the possible end of her career at Apple, Eve’s thoughts drifted back to that fateful summer in 2022 when she was first hired as a part time college intern.  She was finishing up dual masters in computer science and liberal arts at Stanford.  Even before high school her singular dream growing up had been to work at Apple and perhaps some day to meet the legendary Steve Jobs.  Little did she know that just one day after her orientation at the “Spaceship” headquarters in Old Cupertino, she would be working closely at his side during one of Apple’s darkest moments.  Worse than when Jobs was forced out in 1985, worse than when he returned in 1997 with Apple at the edge of bankruptcy.  Nor could she have known that all the years she spent studying computer programming, design, art history and music, hoping to impress Mr. Jobs with her well rounded education, would be irrelevant once she finally met him.  How could she have known that what would matter most, and lead to her full time hiring and rapid promotion, was her innate capacity to remain calm in the face of mass destruction and an untested gift for close quarters battle?  Even today, ten years later, she vividly remembers the smell of burning human flesh and the painful sting as flames boiled the sweat upon her face.  And, of course, the strange, horrible, frightening, but oddly satisfying feeling she had killing her first Google employee in self-defense.
Ahead of the Harrier, an isolated island mysteriously appeared far east of the Hawaiian archipelago, beyond where charts said any island should be.  Its land mass was dominated by what appeared to be the remains of an extinct cinder cone volcano.  Of course, Eve knew it was no volcano.  And the “island” was over five miles beyond where it had been the last time Eve visited.  Eve banked the jet toward its wide crater mouth which appeared to have a bright green lake of rainwater inside.  As Eve aimed the jet’s thrusters downward and began to land in the crater basin, the fake rainwater split in the middle, like the parting of the Red Sea.  The crater bottom opened to reveal the lake was fake and the volcano hollow.  Inside, the artificial rock walls were held up by a beautiful spiderweb of giant metal supports.  Just below the crater entrance, four huge landing pads were laid out like a cloverleaf and glowed with flashing landing lights.
The traffic controller’s voice came over Eve’s headset.  “You are cleared for landing on A3, Dr. Zachara.  Welcome to New Cupertino.”

Steve Jobs created many amazing things in his life.  Barely out of high school he and his friend Steve Wozniak introduced the Apple II, and turned a company that began in his garage into a Fortune 500 business in less than five years.  He then led a new team that revolutionized computers with the ground breaking Macintosh.  He build a digital movie powerhouse with Pixar and, of course, supervised the introduction of the iPod, iPhone, iPad, iCom and countless other amazing products that made the world a better place.
As incredible as all these accomplishments were, many people, including Eve, thought that New Cupertino was his greatest single creation.  It was a stunning achievement in design, engineering, and execution.  From the outside, it looked like an uninhabited tropic island, but inside was a city that covered over forty square miles, about half the size of Manhattan.  Almost two thirds of the city was below water and from the bottom of its sunken hull to the top of its fake volcano it was five times taller than the Empire state building.  The entire city was completely self-contained, with its own power generation, water purification and sewage processing.  There were offices, research labs, luxury apartments, outstanding recreational facilities and a small university.  Hydroponic greenhouses created food (vegetarian only) and there were even light industrial manufacturing facilities.  The landscaped interior was illuminated with natural light captured from fake glass rocks on the exterior and beamed inside by a clever mirror and lens system.  Over three hundred thousand people, mostly Apple employees, lived and worked in this amazing floating metropolis, the largest structure ever to be designed and build in a single plan.  The entire city was self propelled by environmentally friendly hydro jets, and could move at 12 knots when necessary, making it also the largest moving machine ever created.  Yet gyro stabilizers, which also generated electricity by capturing sea currents, could hold it rock steady at precise deep ocean coordinates as if it truly was a natural island.  There was no danger of sea sickness and even when it was moving, people could barely sense it.
On some levels the melodramatic touch of it being disguised as an island seemed unnecessary.  The volcano entrance was frankly ripped off from a minor James Bond movie.  Google undoubtedly was aware of its existence and it was openly speculated about on all the Apple fan boy sites.  Some sites even included spy photos and fairly accurate renderings of its layout.  The fact that it moved made it somewhat more difficult to bomb or assault, but there was enough traceable flight traffic in and out that Google was surely aware of its approximate location at any given moment.
Yet, Steve Jobs knew of the publicity value of mystery and the fact that Apple’s main headquarters were in a super secret location didn’t hurt the powerful aura of the company.  Apple didn’t deny the existence of New Cupertino, it just refused to comment on it.  This was a constant reminder to the public of the horrors of what happened to Old Cupertino, which Google unsuccessfully continued to claim was an unfortunate accident.  The bombing and slaughter had a huge effect on Jobs, particularly the leveling of Homestead High School where he and Wozniak both studied.  It was clearly not a military target, or even a business one, and Jobs took it personally that Google went out of its way to demolish it.  After the truce with Google, the city of Cupertino was generally restored to its pre-bombing state (with the notable absence of any Apple facilities) and Homestead rebuilt.  Many suspect that Jobs’ primary motivation in moving New Cupertino out to sea was to prevent any further innocent bloodshed in his old hometown.  It’s also been rumored that the basic design (sans the fake island exterior) was already on Jobs’ drawing boards as a kind of environmentally friendly iCity to showcase of Apple’s technical prowess.  Once the war started,  Jobs decided to keep the effort secret and move the corporate headquarters into it.
As the Harrier touches down on the A-3 landing pad, Eve is also reminded of the other rumor about New Cupertino’s real purpose.  The landing pad is far larger than necessary even for the biggest V/STOL aircraft, tilt rotors or cargo helicopters.  It would, however, be about the right size for extra orbital spacecraft.  It is well known that Google has a secret program to capture the moon, and possibly Mars too, and it would be unlikely Jobs didn’t have some kind of response at least in the planning stages.  Eve wasn’t aware of any Apple space program, but on the other hand Jobs didn’t tell her everything.  A stable floating launch platform close to the equator would have enormous benefits for manned launches.  Could there be another secret island fortress already be floating around the seven seas?  One devoted primarily to a space effort?  Eve could only speculate.
“He’s expecting you.”
One of Jobs’ white robed executive assistants, Byron, led Eve through a beautiful Japanese styled garden toward the “Temple of Tranquility.”  Officially named “Building Zero,” Jobs’ core office suite  was a modernistic combination of glass and black steel with echos of a Zen temple, thus prompting the nickname.  Of course, the “Tranquility” part was darkly humorous, since Jobs intensity and explosive temper were world famous.  Even on a good day, tranquility was the last thing one was likely to find there.  The “temple” and garden were both contained inside the giant island atrium but the illusion of being outside was only broken when Eve glanced up at the metal works far above her.  The carefully directed accent lighting illuminated the temple like a sunset painted by an old master.  No matter how often she came, Eve found New Cupertino breathtaking spectacular.  An entire city perfectly designed by a visionary with almost unlimited resources and a passion for beauty and perfection.  Even the great emperors of China never had as much power building their private palaces as Steve Jobs did building his.
“What’s his mood like?”  Eve delicately inquired in hope of getting some clue as to what to expect.
“The same.”  Byron dryly replied.  Eve didn’t bother to follow up.  She was foolish to expect any other answer. 
They walked up a wide grey stone staircase to the entrance and Byron slid open a frosted glass door which resembled a Japanese shoji screen.  He bowed to Eve.  It was clear she’d be going in alone.
The glass door closed behind Eve as she stepped inside a grand receiving hall about the size of a basketball court.  A tall vaulted ceiling provided mysterious lighting over a dark ebony wood floor with no furniture.  The entire back wall was covered with a silent floor-to-ceiling waterfall.  Three stories tall, the smooth stream of water looked like a single piece of shimmering glass.  Except in the center where, if you looked hard, it subtly rippled in the shape of a giant Apple logo.
In the middle of the empty room, Steve Jobs sit cross legged on a mediation mat, reading from an iPad X.  His long thin white hair was backlit by a discrete beam of light from somewhere above.  On the floor in front of him were two sheathed katana swords.
Eve kneeled by the entrance and bowed deeply.  “You summoned me, Roshi?
Roshi is the Japanese word for “master.”  It’s a term Jobs once discouraged but lately tolerated from his closest disciples, at least in private.  In the seclusion of New Cupertino, Jobs was finally able to abandon much of his carefully orchestrated public image.  He allowed his hair to grow into a pony tail and a long Zen master beard.  He rarely wore his famous blue jeans, which he always hated but felt were necessary to project a corporate rebel image.  Free of the public eye, instead of a black turtleneck, he wore martial arts attire, a loose black aikidogi and hakama.  It was more fitting for an eighth dan master of ninjitsu and leader of the secret Iga Kotodama-ryu.  He did, however, still wear New Balance 992 sneakers which he found comfortable.
“You like to play with swords?”  Jobs said without looking up from his iPad.  His famous voice was softly steady but dark with ominous undercurrents.  The room’s acoustics were so perfect it sounded to Eve as if his voice came right from over her shoulder.
“You put the first one in my hand, Roshi.”  Eve responded with her eyes averted and head still bowed.  Eve knew the trick with Jobs was to be humble and deferring, but also direct and honest.  He sensed fear and uncertainty and it only fed his anger.
“Very true.”
Eve didn’t dare look up, but sensed as Jobs’ eyes rose from the iPad and focused on her.  She could almost feel a physical weight from his intense gaze.
“You think that gives you the right to wield a sword in my name?  To make war as you see fit?  To be judge and executioner of anyone in your way?”
“No, Roshi.
Eve straightened and stood on her feet.  Jobs hit a button on his iPad and a video clip of Eve at Batyr-Aul was projected on the huge waterfall:
“… Who do you think you’re fucking with?  Huh?  I work for Apple!  Apple!  Heard of it?”
Jobs stopped the clip.  He set down the iPad and picked up one of the katanas.   Almost eighty years old, he was still robust and agile.   He rose to his feet with the firm confidence of a great warrior still bursting with energy.  He tossed the sword across the room to Eve.
Eve deftly caught it.  She wasn’t sure where this is going, but there is no stopping Jobs once his mind was made up.  Whatever show he has decided to put on for her, or with her, including her execution, she will have no choice but to participate.
“You showed some small skill in decapitating a defenseless man.  How are you against an armed opponent?  I assume you think you are better than me since you so easily disregarded my direct orders.”  Jobs puts his arm out and the other katana springs from the floor into his hand, draw by a mysterious magnetism.  It’s a kind of Jedi Master parlor trick he rarely displays except when he’s really angry.  He unsheathes the katana and flips up the sharp edge.
“I am no match for you, Roshi.”  Eve says softly.
“Defend yourself… or die!”  Jobs sprung at her, leaping across the room in an instant and swung the katana at her throat.
Eve barely managed to leap backwards before being sliced in half.  She drew her own blade just a microsecond before Jobs attacked again.  There was a loud clang of steel as the two blades shattered into each other.  It echoed in the grand hall.
Jobs spun and attacked her legs.  Eve jumped to the right and blocked it.  Instantly another cut swung up at her head and Eve ducked.  She counter attacked, thrusting her own blade out at Jobs heart, but he turned just enough for the point to miss.
Eve knew Jobs was toying with her.  If he really wanted her dead, she would already be in bloody pieces on the floor.  Nevertheless, the worst thing she could do was not take the fight seriously.  So she tried with all her skill and concentration to cut through his defenses as if she really wanted to kill him.  
“You had orders not to directly engage Google in Uzbekistan!”  Jobs shouted as their katanas clattered back and forth at a furious pace.
“I was captured.  They murdered my contact.  I learned that Google had infiltrated the rebel movement.  I was under threat of torture and I made an executive decision.”
“To save yourself?!  You put your own life ahead of the company’s interests?!”
Eve dropped her sword just as Jobs swung at her throat again.  Mid-swing, his blade instantly stopped just before it would slice open her neck.  The razor edge froze against her soft skin.  Eve’s katana hit the floor with a klunk.  They both made intense eye contact, and Jobs stared deeply into her soul.
Eve kneeled before him again, with the sword blade following her down.  She lowered her head, offering the back of her neck for him to sever.  She said, with all sincerity: “If I have lost your trust: kill me now.  Apple means more to me than anything.  I would have taken my own life if I thought it was best for the company.  I would have submitted to Googleplex torture.  But I made a decision that the rebels would only respect power and I felt I had to put on a show of force to protect our corporate interests.”
 “What corporate interests does Apple have in Uzbekistan?”  Jobs asked as he held his sword suspended over her bowed figure.
“Uzbekistan has the largest supply of uranium in the world.  It’s critical that we have access to it.”
“Google already controls it through their alliance with the dictatorship.  We already lost that battle long ago.”
“The rebels were challenging that control.  It presented us with an opportunity.  We have to find new sources of uranium for the power cells on the next generation MacBook Pros.”
“Eve, you’re in sales.  Not product development.  What makes you think the new MacBook Pros will have uranium power cells?”
“Roshi, everyone knows already.  If we have power cells in the iComs we’re going to put them in the MacBooks.”
“That decision hasn’t been made.  The power requirements are different.  But obviously, it is a possibility.”  Jobs lowered his sword.
Eve relaxed slightly.  Jobs was testing her, as he often does.  She realized now that he wanted to be sure she was really looking after the big picture, and not just trying to save her own ass.  Jobs required absolute loyalty.  He would occasionally forgive mistakes from valuable employees, even ones this big.  But he would never forgive any lapse of total devotion to his cause.
Apparently satisfied with her answers, or purged of his anger by the light workout, Jobs took on a fatherly tone. “Whatever our corporate interests, it didn’t give you justification to kill in cold blood.  Even a Google exec.  We aren’t murderers, Eve.  We’re Apple.  We’re better than that.”
On one level Eve knew she should just shut up, but she wanted Jobs to know the truth.  “Yes, but while you can’t see it in the video, he was armed and going for his gun.  I only had a second…”
“Then you could have cut off his arm.  Taking a life should be a last resort.”
Eve silently nodded in agreement.  But then she made the mistake of letting her mind briefly wander.  She couldn’t help but think back to to that fateful day in 2022 when she first saw a man decapitated with a sword.  It was also a Google exec, and it was by Jobs’ own hand.  She tried to push out the thought, but it was too late.  Jobs had already read her mind.
“That was different, and you know it!”  Jobs shouted losing his temper again.
“Yes, sir…” Eve tried to suppress her memories, but the harder she tried to force the images out of her head, the stronger they flooded back…
There was no doubt about the main target when the first Google cruise missile struck Apple’s circular “Spaceship” headquarters in old Cupertino.  The deafening explosion shook through the entire ring of the building but the bright light came from the northeast section where CEO Steve Jobs office was located.  A second cruise missile struck the same area just moments after, and then a third.
All four floors near the strikes quickly collapsed into burning rubble as if a huge fiery bite had been taken out of the giant donut shaped structure.  The rest of the complex fell into chaos and panic.  Everyone near the blast was screaming, hiding under their desks or running away from the heat and spreading flames.
Everyone except a young Stanford under grad on her second day of an unpaid summer internship.  She ran in the opposite direction from other fleeing Apple employees.  Right into the fires, over the shattered glass and under the collapsing ceilings.  She had no reason to believe that a fourth missile wouldn’t be coming shortly.  But when the explosions rocked the complex, and the thick glass windows burst from the concussions, Eve’s only thought was to try to see if her new boss was alive and needed help.
During her orientation tour the day before she had been lucky enough to encounter Jobs, in his old black turtleneck and jeans attire, passing by with a small assembly of senior staff.  He briefly paused when he saw her and the half dozen other interns.  When it was explained to him who they were, he simply said, “Welcome to Apple,” and then continued into his office.  Eve remembered its general location, but as she fought her way through the flames to it, she found herself climbing out of the building into open sky and unrecognizable wreckage of the collapsed floors.  Dead bodies, many of them burning, most of them in pieces, were scattered everywhere.  There didn’t appear to be any survivors.  In the shattered rubble it was impossible to even distinguish the individual office spaces.
Strangely, Eve’s impulse to risk her life by running toward the explosions almost surely saved it.  Because as she made her way out into the blast zone, she heard the approaching jet engines of a second attack wave.  B-1 Lancer supersonic bombers, wings swept wide and prominently marked with the colorful Google logo, roared overhead and dropped cluster bombs on the rest of the building and surrounding campus.  The only area the bombers didn’t target was the burning section already destroyed.  The place were Eve was now standing.
The carpet bombing struck just as fleeing employees emerged from the rest of the building.  The cluster bombs hit with powerful bursts that spun out hundreds of smaller bomblets which exploded in a chain reaction like giant strings of Chinese firecrackers.   Anti-personnel shrapnel mixed with incendiary napalm created an terrifying blend of blood and fire.  It was clear Google planned to leaving nothing and no one to rebuild.  The B-1’s made a single pass, and were gone in almost an instant, but in their wake almost every remaining trace of Apple’s once beautiful green campus was wiped out.  In its place was a blackened killing field of fire and destruction.
Eve, unable to emotionally process the horrible devastation that had destroyed her dream job, simply took it in for a breath and then quickly returned to her hopeless mission.  She searched through the dead bodies around her and overturned smoking desks and office equipment looking for more.  She shifted through broken glass until her hands were bleeding.  Then, in a shattered wooden picture frame, she spotted a shiny brass medal on a smoking red, white and blue ribbon.  She recognized it immediately as an extremely rare National Medal of Technology.  Ronald Reagan had given Jobs one in 1985.  It had to have been hanging in Jobs office.  Eve slowly picked it up in her bloody hand.  It was still hot from the explosion and singed her fingers but she held onto it tightly, her hand shaking in anger.
Just as it seemed it could not get worse, Eve saw Google tanks and trucks filled with shock troops roll up in the distance.  The tanks took up positions blocking the main roads, apparently to prevent help from arriving.  The shock troops, wearing paramilitary uniforms and carrying sub-machine guns, leapt out of the trucks and began searching the wreckage for survivors.  It was at that moment Eve’s hatred of Google hardened like a hand forged sword pounded to a razor’s edge.  It was so unnecessary.  Google’s victory had been complete.  There was no resistance.  Yet their shock troops marched over the smoking campus in jackboots and fired their guns at any living souls they discovered.  They even shot up some dead ones just to make sure.  There would be no prisoners.  Eve would later know never to expect any mercy from Google but back then she was still innocent.  A quote from Steve Jobs she had heard long ago echoed in her head: “Don’t believe Google’s “Do No Evil” thing.”  
Truer words were never said.
Suddenly, through all the chaos, the still burning fires, the gunfire, the screaming of the dying, the sickening laughter of the shock troops, Eve heard a faint stirring behind her.  She spun and turned to see a soot covered hand rise up from the rubble.  It grabbed a heavy twisted aluminum support beam and tossed it to the side.  Before Eve could rush to help him, Steve Jobs rose up like a phoenix from under layers of shattered glass, twisted wiring and pulverized drywall.  On his dust covered face, a bright red line of blood ran from the corner of his mouth down his chin and neck.  One lens of his glasses was cracked.  One arm of his black turtleneck was torn at the shoulder to reveal his lean but surprisingly muscular biceps.  
He stood tall as he gazed over a cruel landscape where it appeared everything he had built over the last five decades had been destroyed.  To Eve’s surprise there wasn’t any emotion in his face, no heartbreak, no confusion, no hint of fear.  Not even any anger.  He simply surveyed the war zone and began formulating a plan to respond.  His focus was so intense, Eve hesitated to disturb him.   But the distant shock troops were heading in their direction and it was just a question of time before they were spotted…
Eve grabbed his arm.  “Mr. Jobs, we have to hide!  They’re coming for you.”
Jobs turned and looked at her as if coming out of a trance.  “Eve?”
In a day filled with shocking events, the most shocking thing to Eve was that her hero Steve Jobs remembered her name from their brief encounter yesterday.  “Get out of here,” he said.  “You aren’t even a paid employee.  Run.”
“I want to help!”
“There’s nothing you can… wait.”  Jobs pulled his iPhone 8 out of his jeans pocket and tossed it to her.   “Call Woz!”  He then turned and ran off through the smoking rubble.
“What?”  Eve said, uncomprehending.
“CALL WOZ!”  Jobs shouted back as he continued to run.  
Eve suddenly realized what Jobs meant.  But not wanting to lose him completely, she ran in pursuit even as she slid the unlock on the iPhone touchscreen to activate it.
Jobs reached the twisted remains of what had been an elevator tower.  The elevator itself had been blown away, leaving an open shaft to the underground floors.  As Eve caught up, she saw Jobs leap into the shaft and disappear into darkness below.  
Eve was afraid if she went down after him she might lose the phone’s signal.  So she ducked low and quickly searched through the phone addresses.   She didn’t find it under the “Favorites” speed dial and frantically switched to the “Contacts” app.  She scrolled down to “W” and found it:
 Steve Wozniak.

To be continued...