The Human League (Part 2 of 4)


Olivia wasn’t at the house when they arrived.

So Terry showed her around. Eventually, they ended up on the second floor, where Shawna was given her choice of bedrooms.

Then they hauled her bags up and Terry left her to unpack and have a shower.

“My Gram has gone to a shareholder meeting in Boston. She’ll be back sometime tomorrow. Come down to the pool-house when you‘re hungry and I’ll take you to dinner.”

When she came down Terry was sitting at a table beside the pool reading something on his Kindle.

She sat down beside him and looked out at the ocean. An hour later, they were sitting at a table in a restaurant called Martini’s, in downtown Plymouth. Terry was drinking a beer and Shawna was sipping a Long Island Iced Tea.

“Your house is pretty amazing. Have you lived in it all your life?”

“Yeah. When I lost my parents, Gram sold her condo in Boston and came to live with me until I left for MIT. She commuted for a while, but then we had a chat and I set up and networked her computer here to her businesses. It wasn’t long before she got to love working remotely. Gave her a chance to spend more time in the garden, which is really where her heart is.”

“She did everything I saw? I mean. It’s a showpiece.”

“Yep. She had a landscaper named Mel Thorpe, who helped her design the whole garden, but she takes care of it pretty much by herself. Gram is a very high achiever,” Terry said. “But what about you, Shawna?”

“Pretty ordinary by comparison. My mom is a public school teacher and my dad works on the docks. He’s some kind of foreman. Spends his days unloading ships. I have one brother, Shane, also a nerd. He fell in love with girl from Canada and moved to Quebec City. I got interested in computers watching him. He’s a wizard. World-class hacker, but doesn’t really take advantage of it. Just wanted to learn how to do it because he was curious. Guess I’m a lot like him in that regard.”

“So you’ve done some hacking.”

“Little bit. Just peeking though. No stealing. No sabotage.”

“How do you feel about hacking?”

“Well, it would depend on the reason.”

“How about saving the world?”

Shawna just laughed. Not too loud. But she definitely thought it was funny.

“Well, you’re gonna have to quantify that somehow, because that’s a pretty big statement.”

Terry leaned back in his chair. He took a deep breath. “Look, what we have starting in the AI world is kind of like a wild west show. It’s a free for all. Everybody’s trying to carve out the biggest slice of the pie possible. And they’re doing it with absolutely no regard for the consequences.’

“I don’t disagree. The number of people who are going to be displaced as a result of a lot of this stuff is staggering.”

“Right. And the reason this is going to happen is because governments all over the world are just sitting back and letting it happen because nobody has lit a fire underneath their butts.”

Shawna stared at Terry for several seconds. “So are you talking about hacking the government, you know, to send them a message about how vulnerable they are? And using AI to do it?”

“Not quite. When my grandfather established this trust for me. I was only about fourteen at the time, he told me that when I got older, I should use this money to do something good. Well, I’ve got fifty-four million and what I want to do is wake the government up. And if the US government wakes up the rest of them will surely follow suit…at least that’s the theory.”

“And you think we can do this, you and me?”

“Yeah, I do with a little help from some friends.”

Just then the waiter came with their dinners.

“Just think about it, Shawna. That’s all I’m asking.” Terry said.


Later that night they sat at the table beside the pool. The air was cool and salty. They started to talk. And they talked until about three in the morning.

The next afternoon, they went to the Rockland Trust Bank on Court Street and met with a lady named Gloria Rose, who was the personal banker for the Moorehouse family. She added Shawna to the payroll of Moorehouse Digital and arranged for a direct deposit to Shawna’s BankAmerica in Boston.

They then walked down the street. They walked past all kinds of shops and restaurants. The street was bustling because it was summer and filled with tourists and residents just enjoying the warm weather. As they walked Shawna noticed that Court Street had changed to Main Street. They stopped at a large, beautiful white frame house on the corner of Brewster and Main.

They climbed onto the massive front porch and Terry used a thumb-print to open the front door. Inside was a small reception area, a wide staircase and, behind the partial wall of the reception area, a large open space, held up by pillars. There were eight multi-screen workstations, all managed by people Shawna and Terry’s age.

“This is the bullpen where most of the day-to-day stuff gets done.’ Terry said. “These people are dealing with the two hundred-odd websites we maintain. There’s a green screen studio in the basement for shooting stills or making video.”

They then climbed the stairs to the second floor, which was also an open lounge area with comfortable furniture and coffee tables. There was a line of glass-walled offices along two of the outside walls. At the far end was a large counter with a couple of coffee machines, two fridges, a stove, a microwave and cupboards. A couple of people were sitting at the counter, drinking coffee and looking at something on an iPad.

A older lady, dressed in a stylish business suit walked out of the corner office. She and Terry hugged affectionately. Then Terry turned to Shawna and said. “Shawna Lennox, this is Jamie Goldman, she runs the joint.”

Shawna and Jamie shook hands.

“Welcome, Shawna.”

“Thank you. This quite the going concern you have here., How many people in all?”

“Well there’s the eight sloggers downstairs, who deal with website creation and maintenance. There’s me, up here coordinating, I have two site designers and two app designers, but they work mostly at home. And we have three sales people, who are on the road most of the time. Hence all the empty offices up here.”

“That’s quite an operation.”

“ Yeah, we try and have as much fun as we can. And keep the days contained to eight hours.”

“OK, so you and I,” Terry said to Shawna. “Will be working separately from the rest of Moorehouse Digital. Jamie has even given us our own separate server, which we can cloak.”

“So Jamie knows what you’re planning.”

“Yeah, Jamie’s part of the family. She was Gram’s executive assistant in Boston and Gram gave her this company to run after she decided to be more hands off. Jamie’s president. Gram is the CEO.”

“So what are you? I mean what are we?”

“You can call yourself anything you want. Tell Jamie and she’ll put it in your business card. Mine just says, Head of Digital Innovation. That would be a good title for you too.”

Terry showed Shawna into one of the offices. There was a large desktop monitor and keyboard on a beautiful oak desk. Terry asked Shawna to sit at the desk. He reached over and activated the monitor. A small logo came up on the screen. Displaying the words ‘The Human League’.

“This is us.” Terry said.

Shawna smiled. Terry clicked on the logo and a page of text came up.

“The Human League is dedicated to helping bring sanity to the digital future. Our mission is to create awareness, in governments around the world, of the threat that unbridled and unregulated AI development poses to humanity. We will do this with skill, cunning and in complete anonymity. The Human League will lobby the government to enact sensible and sane laws governing the use of AI.”

Shawna looked up at Terry. “So this is more than just some idea you’re noodling.”

“A little bit. Yeah.”

Just then a man entered the office. His name was Jackson Freeburgh. He looked to be cut from the same cloth as Terry, but maybe five years older. He was dressed in a beautifully tailored linen suit with a black T-shirt underneath. His hair was long and dark. His sunglasses were perched on his forehead.

“Hey Cisco.” Jackson said.

“Hey Pancho.” Terry replied.

The two man embraced. Then Terry turned to Shawna. “Shawna Lennox, this is Jackson Freeburgh. Jack is the third wheel in our little tricycle.”

Jackson shook hands with Shawna. “Wow, if you’re as smart as you are beautiful, we’ll be in great shape.”

Shawna looked completely puzzled.

“Jack is a lawyer. Harvard Law. He started his own intellectual property practice four years ago. Very well-versed in the AI community. Once we get the attention of the people we need to reach, Jack will do the talking. He knows his way around DC ‘cause his dad’s a Senator and he grew up there. Lots of solid connections. He won’t just be our lawyer though. He will also be our writer and front man with the government.

They moved to a small meeting room in the other corner of the house. Jamie Goldman joined them.”

“Terry has briefed me fully and I’m totally on board.” Jackson said. He put his briefcase on the table and pulled out four sets of documents and distributed them.

“These are non-disclosures agreements. They’ll keep up all safe from each other.” Jack said.

They spent the next few minutes signing documents, which Jack then gathered up and put back in his briefcase. They spent the next few hours talking about the approach they would take. Jack used the whiteboard on the wall to write it all out.

In a surprisingly short span of time, they had a plan of action, and everybody knew what to do. This was accomplished so easily because all four people in the room only had one agenda and were all motivated by the same passion.

After the meeting adjourned, Jack took off, and Jamie headed downstairs to deal with some Moorehouse issues, leaving Terry and Shawna in the meeting room.

“So now you’re in it, Shawna. Right up to your neck. How do you feel?”

“So far so good. Ask me again when the heat gets turned up.”


Jim Murray
Jim Murray
I have been a writer since the age of 14. I started writing short stories and poetry. From there I graduated to writing lyrics for various bands and composers and feature-length screenplays, two of which have been produced. I had a  20-year career in senior positions in Canadian and multi-national agencies and a second career, which began in 1989, (Onwords & Upwords Inc), as a strategic and creative resource. Early in 2020, I closed Onwords & Upwords and effectively retired. I am now actively engaged, through blogging and memes, in showcasing businesses that are part of the green revolution. I am also writing short stories which I will be marketing to film production companies. I live with my wife, Heather, in the beautiful Niagara Region of southern Ontario, after migrating from Toronto, where I spent most of my adult life.

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