“Who would get a novel to a rock concert? What’s wrong with you?” asked Robin.
Julie did not feel the need to answer the question. She had two more chapters to complete. She was too curious about the climax. She wanted to read it at home peacefully and complete the book. But, Robin came up with the tickets to the rock concert at the last minute and forced her to join him.
Robin, often, thought that Julie was always lost in her books and that she did not have any worldly knowledge. Being a good friend, he thought it is his responsibility to take her out once in a while and let her know the true colors of the real world. She cannot live life in terms with the stories in her fiction books. Real life is way more dangerous, he thought. There are far too many complicated people than you can come across in the books. You need to maneuver your way through difficult situations in real life with tact. Books do not teach you anything, he thought.
Julie, however, had a different viewpoint about books and life. She learnt long ago that books contain myriad characters that you find difficult in real life. Though most of it might be fictional, you get a chance to be a part of a crime scene easily in a book. In real life, you are allowed nowhere near the scene. And, you get to learn about mutations and reactions of nuclear chemicals on human beings and the various interpretations of science and its effects according to various people. In real life, you hardly get a chance to interact with scientific experts and discuss the vicissitudes of nuclear chemicals and the effects of their exposure in the short and long run. She thought that our everyday lives are ruined by mundane activities. She never found any challenge in reality. There were so many complicated situations in science fiction and thrillers that she read. She found such stories stimulating. She loved the edge-of-the-seat thrillers – whether they were books, movies, or movies made from books.
They reached the venue of the rock concert two hours in advance. They got premium tickets because Robin’s friend was part of the sound engineers group that helped with the performance that evening.
A few minutes after they reached the venue, Robin got a call from his friend who got him the tickets.
“We’ve reached, man. Thanks for the tickets,” Robin said.
“We have a problem here. Can you please come and meet me in the engineers room behind the stage,” said Steven, the voice on the other side of the phone.
Robin and Julie left for the engineers cabin. While Robin hated the idea of any problem before a rock concert, Julie finally found something interesting happening in real life. Unlike anyone else and everyone else, she prayed to God to make it a big thing that they needed to address.
As they reached the engineers cabin, Steven welcomed them. His face was clearly marked with displeasure and some amount of fear.
Robin asked him, “Is everything alright?”
With a frown on his face, Steven replied, “In fact, nothing is alright. I thought you might be able to help me with some of this. I know you are into hacking. Can you help me with this? Someone hacked all the laptops as soon as we connected them to the music systems. We tried playing music and arranging for the effects during playback. But, instead of hearing the songs from the mic, we are hearing some weird sounds on the systems, because of the hacking. I’m clueless as to how to deal with this. Why would someone hack our laptops? I’m not sure how they are going to benefit from that. But, can you try and help us in un-hacking…if there is something like that.”
Robin hated the turn of events. He did a lot amount of ethical hacking as part of his daily job. He worked as part of the information security team. He had to hack their company websites to find out any gaps and help the development wing of the security team build patches to fill these gaps. So, he was not much used to un-hacking as he is used to hacking. He despised the idea of doing work-related stuff just before a rock concert. But, he had to do something soon as the rock group that is to perform that evening would arrive within the next thirty minutes. They would want to check the infrastructure before starting the session for the evening.
Though it seemed to be a simple task of un-hacking for everyone else, Julie realized that there was something bigger to this.
Julie interrupted and said, “Can I listen to the sounds that are being played? I find that there is something wrong with the entire story. Why would they want us to merely un-hack? And, like you asked, how would they benefit by hacking these laptops? There is a bigger goal out there. If we can know what it is, we will be able to solve the problem better.”
Steven said, “I like the way you think. It makes sense.”
Robin ignored their conversation and sat to deal with one of the laptops. He thought that Julie must be weird to think about something. Some lunatic had no work to do. So, he hack these laptops merely out of sadistic pleasure, he assumed.
Julie took another laptop and tried to listen to the sounds emanating because of the hacking. Some weird noise started playing when she tried to direct the mastering software through the virtual mic interface. This noise was repetitive. After every few seconds, she could hear some beep sounds as part of the noise. Nothing made sense out of the noise that came. But, she thought, it would definitely irritate the audience and drive them away from the auditorium immediately. After listening for more than sixty seconds, she felt a slight tinge of headache. She immediately took off the heavy DJ headphones.
She reached for her phone and started searching for something on the Internet. While she was doing her research, she noticed that the headache lingered for a few more minutes.
Julie told Steven, “Someone is trying to make use of hypersonic effect. When I tried to listen to the noise, I got some headache. This is characteristic of inaudible high-frequency sounds that can potentially damage your ears, heart, and your entire body.”
Steven wondered, “How would they benefit? I mean, it should take a lot of time for it to have any effect. And, people would feel normal after a few hours again.”
Julie replied, “Not necessarily. If the frequency is too high and you run these sounds through the loud speakers of the music, almost all of us at the venue can become deaf. Most of our hearts will respond to these sounds. Some people might even die immediately. You got it right. It is a homicide. Cancel this event right now, if you have the authority.”
Robin laughed it off. He said, “Now, come out of your fictional world. This is not a science fiction story that you are reading.”
Steven did not want to take any chance with his life or with the lives of others. He immediately called his uncle, Peter, who worked for the FBI and told him everything about this evening episode and Julie’s interpretation. Peter listened to him and the call ended.
After a few minutes, Steven got a call from his uncle. While he was talking to his uncle, cops reached the venue and stopped all the activity for the evening.
After the call, Steven got back to Julie and told her, “This is bizarre and strange. Nobody ever thought this could be possible. Someone hijacked all the music systems in all places in New York. And, people are able to listen to some noise. There have been cases of heart failure in a couple of small time pubs. Your research and analysis has helped. It is a terror activity and they have planned something big this time. Who thought they could use sound to kill us all in one evening.”
Steven’s uncle Peter reached the venue and told them, “This is the first evening in the history of New York when there is no music playing anywhere, except for live performances without the use mics.”
He added, “Thank you, Julie, for applying common sense and helping us in preventing a huge homicide in the entire city. Now, we have alerted the authorities and they are trying to find the perpetrators. We might need your help during the entire investigation.”
Robin felt clueless. Julie felt glad that something big finally happened. But, she decided never to pray again for such terrorizing twists in real life.