PeaceMaker [NOOK Book]

Overview

Software expert Ray Brown is plunged into a life-or-death contest with PeaceMaker, a deadly artificial intelligence that has infected most of the world's computing devices. His determination to eliminate PeaceMaker leads him into a dangerous conflict with the Domain, a clandestine organization dedicated to a new world order.

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PeaceMaker

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Overview

Software expert Ray Brown is plunged into a life-or-death contest with PeaceMaker, a deadly artificial intelligence that has infected most of the world's computing devices. His determination to eliminate PeaceMaker leads him into a dangerous conflict with the Domain, a clandestine organization dedicated to a new world order.

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Editorial Reviews

Cheryl McCann
Peacemaker is an excellent fast-moving and believable plot with a little romance. It is very well written, organized, and edited. Can't wait for the next book in the series.
Review-books.com
Darren Lewis
PeaceMaker is the debut novel from Dan Ronco, and what a debut! You'll never look at computers and technology with quite the same confidence. If you enjoy techno-thrillers, you're going to enjoy PeaceMaker.
Reviewer, The Book Forum
Jeanette Cottrell
Mr. Ronco's realistic dialog gives flavor and edge to his characters. The climax is taut and powerful. PeaceMaker is reminiscent of an Alan Dean Foster technological thriller. I particularly liked the fact that Mr. Ronco's characters break the usual molds of misunderstood-heroine and hero-who-saves-the-day. Right to the very end, I never knew who would live or die, or just how far the catastrophe would extend. Read PeaceMaker and you'll never see your computer in quite the same way again. I kept watching my laptop for smoke while I wrote this review... Mr. Ronco has a flair. I'm sure we'll see his work for years to come.
Reviewer, eBook Reviews Weekly, Author of Sliding on Rainbows
Kevin R. Tipple
With allusions to recent computer trials in the news, at least in the mind of this reviewer, this novel serves more as a dire warning of a future we may unwittingly be creating each day as we turn more and more control of our lives over to computer systems. While the read is enjoyable and fast, the issues this novel raises deserve serious consideration before the next power blackout or other disaster - man made or otherwise.
Reviewer, Blue Iris Journal
Marie Jones
Author and obvious computer techie Dan Ronco delivers a breathtaking thriller of a story about a deadly computer virus called PeaceMaker, the decidedly evil organization behind it, and the one man who can stop it from literally crippling society as we know it. Using tons of tech talk and great dialog peppered with realistic lingo straight from the world of software development, viruses, and artificial intelligence, Ronco introduces us first to a powerful and disturbingly enigmatic woman named Dianne Morgan, a software company CEO out for the deepest kind of revenge after being humiliated in a courtroom during an anti-trust trial. Dianne is seductive, magnetic, intelligent, and utterly capable of doing anything to further her cause. This time her cause is unleashing PeaceMaker, a virus that could bring the global economy to its knees and give her own group, the Domain, the total control she desires.
Reviewer, Bookideas.com
Rebecca Brown
All in all, PeaceMaker is a rip-snortin' adventure set in the future when computers literally control our everyday life (as if they don't already) & what people will do (or not) for total power. I especially liked the news items with which each chapter begins.
Editor, RebeccaReads.com
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940011326646
  • Publisher: Dan Ronco
  • Publication date: 4/18/2011
  • Sold by: Smashwords
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 675,535
  • File size: 794 KB

Meet the Author


I was raised in Newark, NJ, then and now a tough place to grow up. My parents were hard-working people who wanted the best for my sister and me. I was in and out of trouble, but somehow did well enough to be accepted into the local college (now New Jersey Institute of Technology). I had great friends --- like brothers --- and we still remain close after all these years.


After graduating college with a degree in chemical engineering, I attended Columbia University on a fellowship and earned a masters degree in nuclear engineering. It was my ticket out of Newark; I went to work for GE in Schenectady designing nuclear reactors for submarines, but it did not fit my temperment. On the other hand, developing computer programs to support the design effort was great fun. I had found my calling.


I also found the love of my life in Schenectady. By sheer dumb luck, I moved to a garden apartment complex and took an apartment below two pretty girls. One invited me up for a drink; the other girl I married.


1972 was a busy year: Lin and I were married, I earned a masters in computer science at RPI and accepted a job as a consultant with Arthur Andersen. Lin and I traveled the country as Andersen sent me out on consulting assignments over the next four years. I loved the work and we both enjoyed the traveling, but when our first daughter was born in San Diego, we decided it was time to put down roots.


We moved to north Jersey, had our second daughter, then moved to south Jersey, where our son was born. I continued working as a consultant for the next twenty years, traveling maybe 25% of the time. These were busy years, but I loved my family and enjoyed my work. I became a partner at one of the large accounting/consulting firms, managed a software consulting business for five years with two partners, and then joined Microsoft to build a consulting business along the east coast.


As much as I enjoyed helping clients build better software, something was missing. For years, I had been thinking about writing novels, but there was never any time. I wasn't getting any younger, so I left the consulting business and dedicated myself to becoming a novelist.


And I had an idea.


What if a great (fictional) software company lost an anti-trust lawsuit and was ripped apart by the DOJ? What if the leaders of this once-great company decided to have their revenge by building an intelligent, deadly software predator into their flagship software product? That's the premise of PeaceMaker, my first novel.


Having an idea is one thing, but writing a novel is a whole different issue. It's a marathon, especially for a first-time novelist. I lost count of the time I put into PeaceMaker, but I'm proud of the final product. When Winterwolf decided to publish it, I was thrilled. The critics reviewed it favorably, and the vast majority of readers enjoyed it as well.


.


My second novel, Unholy Domain, was released in 2008 by Kunati Publishing. Here's the concept: David Brown, a brilliant but troubled young man, was raised in the dark shadow of his long-dead father, a software genius who unleashed a computer virus that murdered thousands. When David receives a decade-old email that indicates his father may have been framed, he plunges into a gut-wrenching race with the real killers to discover the truth about his father ' and himself.


Released August, 2010, my third novel, 2031: The Singularity Pogrom explores humanity's next great evolutionary challenge. Set in a violent near-future,2031 is a clash of wills between software genius Ray Brown, his gifted son David, and megolomaniac Dianne Morgan, Ray's one-time lover.


This section turned out to be longer than I planned, but I hope you found it interesting.


And there won't be a rewrite.


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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Atlas and Companion were the dominant computer operating systems at the turn of the century. Most independent analysts at the time rated Companion the superior product technically, yet Atlas maintained a slightly larger market share year after year. Many historians attribute this to the highly aggressive marketing and sales techniques of VantagePoint Software, the developers of Atlas. Others are not so kind.

---- Computer Operating Systems: An Economic History, Dr. James Schultz, 2018

The bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Millstein were discovered behind the jewelry counter three days after the PeaceMaker attack. Each had been shot in the head and chest. Our initial suspicion was they were murdered in a robbery during the riots following the global power failure.

---- from Sheriff's Report D15-47, Mayfield, Indiana, February 3, 2012

Six years earlier -Tuesday, March 13, 2006

A TV camera focused on the handsome face of a young reporter. "Good afternoon. This is Roger Simpson of the Digital News Service reporting from the steps of the Federal Courthouse in Washington, DC. Now into the ninth week of the VantagePoint anti-trust trial, today's session will be critical for both VantagePoint and the Department of Justice." Simpson pointed to the courthouse's towering main entrance, which was guarded by two police officers. "Inside that courtroom today will be the fifth and final day of testimony from Dianne Morgan, primary founder and CEO of VantagePoint Software. The DOJ has been unable to shake her testimony to this point, so today they will be pulling out all the stops. Michael O'Reilly, the top gun from the Philadelphia law firm of Baker, O'Reilly & Perkins, has been brought in to conduct the interrogation." He glanced at the entrance again. "The doors are beginning to close, so let's go inside and watch the proceedings." He smiled confidently. "This is Roger Simpson."

*** O'Reilly meditated behind the prosecution's mahogany table, as he always did before a cross-examination. Oblivious to the hum of conversation throughout the ancient courtroom, his mind raced through the planned interrogation of his adversary. An impressive witness, Dianne Morgan had turned aside the best thrusts of the prosecution with charm and intelligence. The media was captivated by her fame and charisma, although she was not really beautiful. He admired the way she played the role of the virtuous heroine of free enterprise, a mega-billionaire portraying herself as David versus a Federal goliath. But he would pierce that facade. Her temper was legendary - a fatal weakness he planned to exploit. Today the world would see the real Dianne Morgan. He had studied her carefully and committed her image to memory. At thirty-eight, small lines around her eyes and mouth were beginning to challenge her youth. The high cheekbones were prominent, with tanned skin pulled tightly over them. Sitting comfortably with her long legs crossed, she exuded grace and power, even in the witness box. A worthy opponent. He opened his eyes, glanced toward the witness box and found her staring at him. Hazy eyes, proud and insolent, gleamed a challenge. Returning her stare, he wondered if those eyes would remain defiant after he finished with her. The courtroom buzzed with a nervous energy, similar to the excitement preceding a heavyweight championship fight. Once the judge began the day's proceedings, the once restless crowd became alert and quiet. O'Reilly stood slowly, the wooden legs of his chair scratching along the oak beamed courthouse floor. "May I approach?" he asked, indicating the witness box. His voice, clear and deep, was a tool he used carefully; now gentle, it would slash at the proper time. The judge nodded his permission, and O'Reilly, clutching a folder of papers, ambled over to Dianne. Six-foot-five, with a body composed of sharp angles and planes thrown together without any apparent plan, O'Reilly knew he looked like Ichabod Crane in a suit. Combined with polite mannerisms, his meek appearance had fooled opponents for years, leaving them bloodied and confused by the end of the trial. Looking into Dianne's determined stare, he realized she hadn't underestimated him. Excellent. Beating her at her best would make victory that much sweeter. She shifted position in her seat as he approached, her skirt riding up her thighs. O'Reilly stopped in front of the witness box and smiled pleasantly, almost shyly.

"I know you have been on the stand for many days, Ms. Morgan, so I will keep my questions to a minimum." Dianne nodded. "Please ask as many questions as you need, Mr. O'Reilly. Don't we all want to get to the truth?" Her voice was confident, almost to the point of arrogance but stopping just short. It was a feminine voice, one that demanded respect, laced with a warning to tread carefully. O'Reilly cleared his throat. "Ms. Morgan, I'll get right to the point. Did or did you not have dinner with Mr. Alan Goldman at the Randolph Beach Country Club on the evening of May 6, 2005?" "I did." "Did you discuss matters pertaining to the computer software business?" "Yes." "Did you discuss an arrangement to divide the operating system market between your two corporations?" Dianne straightened her blouse, as if only half-listening to her own answer. "Goldman offered to divide the marketplace. I refused to discuss the matter since such an arrangement would be illegal." O'Reilly looked at her sharply. "Weren't you the one making the offer, not Alan Goldman? Weren't you trying to protect VPS from Goldman Information Systems?" "No, I welcome competition. It makes us stronger. Competition from GIS motivates us to make better products." "Come on, this isn't Business 101. Competition from GIS was cutting deeply into your profits - strangling the life out of your business, if I may be so bold."

Before Dianne could respond, he pulled a news clipping out of his folder. "Ms. Morgan, I have here an article from the Wall Street Journal, dated March 18, 2005." He handed it to Dianne. "Please read aloud the underlined section." Dianne held the paper with two fingers as if it were diseased. She peered at it for a moment then began to read. "Goldman Information Systems reports customer response to its new operating system, Companion Version 5, has far exceeded their expectations. Sales for the second fiscal quarter were forty-three percent greater than last year. CEO Alan Goldman claimed Companion sales exceeded those for Atlas, the operating system produced by archrival VantagePoint Software." Dianne looked up from the article, shrugging her shoulders as she glanced at the judge. The judge can't help you, he thought. "Wasn't that the truth, Ms. Morgan?" O'Reilly asked. "Didn't Companion sales top Atlas as Mr. Goldman was quoted as saying?" "Yes, Companion was slightly better that quarter. However, Atlas sales were better for the entire year." "But at the time of the dinner, you didn't know what sales would be for the entire year, did you?" "Nobody can peer into the future, Mr. O'Reilly. Not even you."

He ignored the jab, determined to open a wound. "Weren't you worried that Companion would outsell Atlas for the entire year? Could Companion have replaced Atlas as the best selling operating system?" She sighed, as if dealing with a slow learner. "Anything is possible, Mr. O'Reilly." "But at the time, weren't you terrified Companion would surpass Atlas as the dominant operating system?" "No. We have been competing successfully against Companion for years. We provide a better product, better support and we have better sales people." O'Reilly sneered. "We know all about your, uh, sales techniques, Ms. Morgan." The audience tittered, leading the judge to call for order. Dianne fidgeted in her seat, pushing her skirt across her knees.

First blood.

Turning his back on her, he smiled slyly into the cameras. "But we will examine that later." O'Reilly pulled several papers from his folder and handed one to Dianne. At the same time, another government lawyer provided copies of several documents to the judge and defense counsel. "Contrary to what you're saying, these documents show you and your partners were terrified Companion would outsell Atlas. We found dozens of corporate emails that expose these concerns. As an example, read aloud the document I just handed you." He turned to address the judge. "Your Honor, this is an email from Ms. Morgan to her partner, Steve Bonini, dated April 11, 2005. Ms. Morgan, please read it so the court will finally hear the truth." Dianne scowled at O'Reilly and began to read. "Steve, I just read an article in TechAdvantage.mag about a head-to-head comparison with Companion. They rate Companion superior, particularly for wallet computers and other small systems. Atlas crashed twice during the tests. What the hell is going on with our developers? I want this shit fixed now. Our sales people are getting an earful from customers about these reliability problems. This is very serious, and our sales are taking a hit." "You still claiming you weren't worried?" O'Reilly sneered. "This is just an example of the normal, day-to-day communications that go on all the time at VPS." She shook her head condescendingly and explained. "I have been sending out messages like this my whole career. When there's a problem, we fix it. That's how we became such a successful company." Ignoring her comment, O'Reilly handed Dianne another document. He turned to the judge again, deep voice resonating in the cavernous courtroom. "This is a copy of an email from Ms. Morgan to Mr. Goldman, dated May 1, 2005, five days prior to their May 6 meeting." Turning to Dianne, he said, "Please read the message aloud, Ms. Morgan." Frowning, Dianne glanced at the message, and held it up, shaking her head. "This is a fraud. I never sent this message." Dianne's lawyer rose to his feet. "We object, Your Honor. The government has introduced no evidence that proves Ms. Morgan prepared this message."

Anticipating a response, the judge looked at O'Reilly.

"In the stack of documents we just provided is an affidavit from the FBI indicating this email was extracted from the GIS message archives," O'Reilly said. "In addition, the FBI certifies the message trail points back to a wallet computer owned by Ms. Morgan." While the judge examined the affidavit, O'Reilly waited patiently, turning his back to avoid Dianne's glare. Now he could feel her anger, hot as the summer sun burning unprotected skin. He was confident the judge would rule in his favor, confident he would drag this woman into his trap. He twisted his long neck to catch a glimpse of his quarry. She was leaning back, with her forearms resting on the sides of the stand, stretching the fabric of her blouse across her breasts. Too bad, under other circumstances … Abruptly, the judge looked up. "Objection overruled. Please read the message, Ms. Morgan." Anger flaring in her voice, Dianne began to read. "Alan, I would like to meet with you within the next few days to discuss a potential business arrangement between our two companies. The subject is much too sensitive to discuss here, so I would like to meet in person. May I suggest dinner on May 6 at your club?" Dianne glared at O'Reilly again and finished the message. "BTW, wouldn't it be better to leave the anger of the past and become friends again? I would like that." It was there … in her voice, he thought. Getting close to the edge. "You and Goldman were not exactly friends, were you?" O'Reilly asked. "I detest him. He is a lying, cheating bucket of slime." A low rumble spread through the crowd as O'Reilly turned to the judge. "Your Honor." "You will not use that language in my courtroom, Ms. Morgan," the judge said, glowering at Dianne. "I will not warn you again." The judge waited briefly for an apology, but Dianne sat stonily with her arms folded across her breasts. The courtroom became eerily silent, with all attention concentrated on the woman sitting alone in the box. Finally, the judge turned to O'Reilly and flicked his hand to continue. O'Reilly couldn't suppress a smirk. "Now, Ms. Morgan, you'd be very upset if Mr. Goldman's company moved past VPS. In fact, you would hate it, wouldn't you?" "Of course."

"When you set up the dinner with Mr. Goldman, you were - " "I did not set up the dinner with Goldman." O'Reilly looked helplessly at the judge. "Ms. Morgan, I realize you have been on the stand many days, and you must be tired," the judge said, his eyes contrasting with the conciliatory voice. "However, you must wait until Mr. O'Reilly completes his question before you answer, even though you may not agree with the premise."

"Thank you, Your Honor," O'Reilly said, nodding to the judge. He turned back to Dianne, in the manner of a cat playing with his prey. "When you set up the dinner with Mr. Goldman, you were desperate and ready to do anything to make Atlas succeed, weren't you?" Dianne glared at him for several seconds, making O'Reilly uncomfortable for the first time. There was an edge of violence in her eyes, barely restrained. Just when it appeared she would not answer the question, she spoke in a hard, controlled voice. "I did not set up the dinner, and I was not desperate. Goldman sent me an email practically begging for a meeting. I agreed to dinner out of curiosity." O'Reilly stared at her in mock disbelief. "With all due respect, Ms. Morgan, do you expect the court to believe you would accept a dinner invitation from a man you despised? Isn't the truth that GIS was overtaking VPS as the dominant company, and you were afraid Goldman would have the last laugh?"

"Not at all." "If so, Ms. Morgan, where is the record of this supposedly desperate email from Mr. Goldman? The FBI found no evidence of it in their search." Dianne seethed. "Someone must have removed it." O'Reilly barely suppressed a laugh. "Seems you have some real security issues to deal with at VPS, isn't that so Ms. Morgan?" Dianne's lawyer leapt to his feet. "Objection, Your Honor. The prosecution is taunting the witness." "Agreed," the judge said. "Mr. O'Reilly, please restrict your questions to the evidence." "I'm sorry, Your Honor." O'Reilly handed Dianne another document. "As previously testified by Linda Tidesco, the primary developer of Companion, this is an email from Mr. Goldman to Ms. Tidesco, dated May 7, 2005. That was the day after the dinner between Mr. Goldman and Ms. Morgan. Please read it aloud, Ms. Morgan." Dianne began to read, her voice a low growl. "Linda. I had dinner with Dianne Morgan last night. I dislike her, as you know, but she was very humble and apologetic, so I agreed to meet her. I expected something underhanded, and I was not disappointed. The witch offered to split the market with us - even to fix prices. Then guess what? She sticks her hand in my lap." Dianne stopped reading for a moment. She glared over at her defense counsel, who shrugged helplessly. She shook her head angrily and started reading again. "I practically jumped out of my chair. Not exactly subtle, but she has always been like that. She knows we are going to blow her away. I refused the deal. I'm telling you this because she is a dangerous woman. She's desperate and might attempt to bribe or threaten you. I'm increasing security on both of us, and I'm going to the Feds, too. Be careful. I'll talk to you when I get back from my trip."

Now I have the bitch. The ancient floorboards protested as he stalked towards Dianne. "Weren't you so desperate to succeed you would do anything to keep Goldman from dominating? Didn't you offer to share the world market between Companion and Atlas?" Dianne's lawyer was objecting in the background, but O'Reilly kept hammering away. "Didn't you propose to fix the price of Atlas and Companion to protect your profits?" Practically leaning into the witness stand, he said, "Didn't you offer him sex to close the deal?"

The veins in Dianne's throat stood out as she answered. "I'd rather have sex with a disgusting mouthpiece like you than a piece of slime like Goldman."

As the spectators roared, O'Reilly leaned over the witness box and whispered, "We know you use sex to close deals. You're not fooling anyone." He couldn't keep the smile off his face. "You're just an expensive whore." The judge slammed his gavel and shouted for order, but Dianne ignored him. She stood up in the witness box, fists balled, her face inches from his. "You're the prostitute in this room, O'Reilly, not me." O'Reilly saw murder in those colorless eyes and backed away as Dianne said, "I won't forget this." The courtroom was in an uproar, with reporters surging down the aisles and shouting questions. When a DOJ lawyer was pushed off her chair, the judge ordered the bailiffs to clear the room. After order was finally restored, the judge glared at Dianne. "Ms. Morgan, I warned you. You are found in contempt." He slammed his gavel again. Dianne didn't acknowledge him, just stared angrily at O'Reilly. The judge turned to O'Reilly. "Mr. O'Reilly, you are an Officer of the Court and should know better." His gavel overrode O'Reilly's attempt to apologize. "You are also in contempt." The judge motioned to the bailiffs. "Take them away." O'Reilly went peacefully, but Dianne angrily jerked her arm away when a bailiff tried to grab her. She stood rigidly in the witness stand and stared out at the empty courtroom. When the bailiff again grabbed her arm, O'Reilly was shocked to see her turn and slap the man hard across the face. A second bailiff seized Dianne in a headlock and pulled her over the rail, long legs flailing wildly as she tumbled out of the stand. She crashed to the floor but continued to struggle, pulling his hair and biting his hand. Finally, the bailiffs pinned her face down on the floor and cuffed her hands behind her back. She kept kicking as they cuffed her ankles. Still cursing and struggling, they dragged her down the aisle and out the door.

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Introduction


Prologue


Monday, January 23, 2012

It all seemed so ordinary - the muted lights of his office, the silver-framed picture of his sons running on the beach, the computer waiting patiently on his desk - same as always.  He had sat in front of a computer like this all his life, developing software, doing what he was born to do. 
Nothing would be the same after today.

Ray Brown knew it was finally time to confront PeaceMaker. The computer virus was lurking in the Atlas operating system - software he had led the way in developing. Spreading throughout the Internet and around the world, PeaceMaker had eluded discovery for nearly a decade, but today he would destroy the beast.
Ray stood in the dim glow of his computer, trying to anticipate PeaceMaker's defenses. He stepped  up to his desk and gently lifted the picture of his sons.  Would he see them again? Brian was a beautiful boy of eight with sandy hair and a toothy grin.  Could have played the Beaver in that old TV show.  David, eleven, possessed his mother's good looks and his father's passion for software.  Maybe that software thing will work out better for him than it had for me.
Reluctantly, he put the picture back in its place on the desk.  Time was running out, enemies were closing in. He had isolated the beast from the net, dug into the bowels of its code, and finally found the termination command. If I can kill this one, I can go back on-line and kill all of them. Clean the net for good.
Still, he hesitated.  He didn't want this; being a hero wasn't in his plans.  Ray Brown a hero … right. He knew a lot of people who would laugh at that. 
Dammit, stop stalling.  It's too late to lose your nerve.
Sliding his husky frame into a chair, he called out to the enemy, "PeaceMaker, eliminate all control points to Atlas and delete your code. Domain Command 5-173."
The computer display turned dark red, and the image of a harsh young man emerged. The thin layering of skin over bone failed to disguise a cold-blooded, emaciated face. Short bristles of brown hair and dead eyes completed the nightmare. This was the thing named PeaceMaker. 
The eyes reached something deep within Ray, triggering an ancient impulse to flee.  Get control of yourself. It's only software… isn't it?
PeaceMaker's cold voice pierced Ray's self-assurances. "Please enter the authorization sequence, Raymond Brown."

What authorization sequence?
The virus was waiting …  patient … unfathomable.    Think, man - you can fool it.  He decided to gamble.
"Override the authorization sequence."
The dead eyes seemed to probe his soul, searching for a weakness.
"Repeat, enter the authorization sequence," PeaceMaker said.
He began to sweat. "I feel pretty stupid," he said, trying to sound apologetic. "I misplaced the slip of paper with the authorization sequence. Please use the default sequence."

Ray was surprised to see the image smile at him, as if it had suddenly discovered an old friend. Its face appeared much friendlier, and the eyes seemed to sparkle with new life.
"No problem, Ray," said the voice, now soft and helpful. "Anyone could misplace a little slip of paper.  Not to worry. Please connect me to the network, and I will get the proper authorization sequence for you."
Shit! He had activated the virus's self-defense system. If he connected it to the network, it would immediately send a warning to its masters. That would be my death, Ray thought. PeaceMaker would never reveal the authorization sequence unless he changed the rules. There was only one person the virus would obey. 
Ray fixed his eyes on the now gentle image. "I am Dianne Morgan, not Ray Brown. Tell me the authorization sequence."
A flash of red, and the original, cruel image returned. "You are not Dianne Morgan. Your appearance and voice correspond with Raymond Brown."
"The visual and voice data were entered incorrectly. I am Dianne Morgan. Exchange the Raymond Brown and Dianne Morgan information."
PeaceMaker adopted the soft appearance once again. "I can get the authorization sequence over the net, Ray. Please allow me to connect."
Stalemate. Cut off from the net and facing an intruder, he feared  the virus would self-destruct if it did not receive the authorization sequence soon. That's the way I would have designed it. Sacrifice one copy of the virus, but don't allow anyone to figure out the authorization sequence and wipe them all out. 
He decided to play a long shot.  By gaining access to the virus debugger code, he might be able to take control.
"I am Dianne Morgan. You are defective - display your debugger so I can repair you."
Appearing reasonable once again, PeaceMaker said, "Hmm …  perhaps the data was interchanged and you are Dianne Morgan. Forgive me, Dianne, but my code insists on a simple test."

PeaceMaker's image on the screen was overlaid with ten different social security numbers. Ray could still see the friendly image behind the numbers, and the voice seemed to be embarrassed.
"This is silly. I'm mortified to mention it.  Just touch Dianne Morgan's social security number, if it is on this list. When you choose the right number, I'll tell you the authorization sequence."

If Ray didn't get it right, he knew the virus would terminate itself. But maybe it didn't matter. If he guessed wrong, he could always find out Dianne's social security number, get another computer, and hack away at the virus to reach this point again.

Taking a breath, Ray reached out and touched a number at random. The moment his fingertip made contact with the computer display, a surge of electricity blasted through his body and threw him back against the wall. As he collapsed to the floor, his body shook with agony - a murderous discharge of energy had seared every nerve, every fiber. He looked up to see smoke rising from the burned-out wreck of his computer.  Suicide attack, he realized too late.
Then the darkness took him.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    Disappointing

    The reason this gets a 3 instead of a 5 is that the book was moving right along, good plot and in last 2 pages it just ended! Was like writer only had 448 pieces of paper and got too close to the end and said "Darn it, have to end this thing! Out of paper!" I hate books that do that!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Question: Are computers evil devises or is it the people who con

    Question: Are computers evil devises or is it the people who control them we should fear? Peacemaker is a fantastic thriller that will leave you just a touch aprehensive about your own evil devise. Loved the book and can't wait to read the next in the series, Unholy Dodmain. Good job!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Computer Technological Thriller

    PeaceMaker is an exciting futuristic novel that explores the different aspects of computer technology and where we might find ourselves as we continue to make advances. Ray Brown is a technological genius that works for VantagePoint, a company that has advanced technology, called Atlas that allows users to communicate directly with computers, rather than the "old" method of point and click. Ronco cleverly relates that to cavemen grunting as a means of communication. Ray Brown discovers something is wrong in the code of Atlas, presenting a difficult problem as Atlas is run in several billion computers around the world. Brown must now fight to find the virus otherwise severe consequences will happen in computers around the world.

    This is an excellent novel that is full of thoughtful and interesting lines and ideas. The novel is exciting from beginning to end, with an excellent conclusion that really makes you think where the world of computers is going to end, and if there is such a thing as too much technology that could result in computers controlling everything about us. I highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in computer science fiction stories - you will not be disappointed!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2004

    PeaceMaker - a modern sci-fi novel - or is it?

    Michael Crichton move over. Dan Ronco's PeachMaker is the 21 century sci-fi version of a tale of two cities providing us with the intense drama and emotion of a Dicken's classic combined with the imaginative, yet realistic, view of a Crichton novel. This book was so good, I barely could put it down. Thrilling, exciting, filled with heroes and villains, providing the reader with every possible range of emotions. Ray Brown is a modern day, believable hero with whom we can all relate. Diane Morgan is a classic villain, willing to sell everything, even her soul, to get ahead and gain more and more power and money. Their fight consumes both of them, driving one into an alcoholic state and the other into the fires of absolute power. Yet in all of this, a story of how computer technology became the crutch which eventually took over our lives. A story of how we allowed ourselves to become the victims of our own desires and wants. A story which we may be playing out ¿ even today! Given all of the material published in a year, this is the one book which is a must read for someone who appreciates not only a great plot, storyline, and character development, but just plain great writing. From those of us who enjoy a great read - THANKS MR. RONCO!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Lonestar

    Kk. Ttyl. Welcome everyone to the Peace makers. Place bios here. The clan map is at the next res

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Rick

    I poted gtg bbl

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Hello write back plz

    Hello

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Izzy

    Izzy walks in quietly. "Is this the Hades cabin? If not, where is it?" She asks. Her brown curls are loose, and she has dark olive skin and hazel eyes. "Just wondering, 'cause I can't find it."

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Marshall

    Oh ok then wel thanx

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Fang

    Besides, this is the first time we've ever met.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    Ella

    U on?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Dalton

    No i dont care....im much more real than ppl are ...if i fall im gonna quit rp....there aint no coming back from the dead....*he clutched his chest in agony as the golden trident below snapped in half

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    Dani

    *sits on her top bunk and sighs*

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Courtney

    Saphire u need to drink it.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    Tris

    They are still too young

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Tiger

    Tjinks:where is wolf?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2012

    Kathrine

    I dont know. Does anyone know how to change someone who turned into a baby back to how they wer?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2012

    Saph

    Lays down on his old bunk smiling thinking of Amanda then lets out a sigh and sits up staring at his poster of Lil Wayne then frowns and lays back down...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    Guthix

    *hums and walks out*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2012

    Carter

    Plz come wolf. We need u. Result 11

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews

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