Zev walked five hours a day. He slept eight hours and spent another hour doing light, camp chores. That left ten hours a day of enforced non-movement.
Zev used that time to study.
Two weeks after Scooter had mailed the envelopes with the micro SD cards the envelopes had been returned, “Incorrect address. Addressee unavailable.”
Scooter returned them to Zev with an apology.
After Scooter left, Zev inserted the cards, one-at-a-time into his Korean smartphone. Unlike most people in Cali he did not use a locally engineered product. Due to the close relationship between Israel and Korea, various back-doors had been engineered into the Korean product that allowed Israeli programmers to beef-up and customize phones like Zev’s.
One of the cooler features was that the upgrades remained hidden until activated by Zev’s voice and Zev’s voice alone. Not only that, but the activation code was in Hebrew and was a specific verse of scripture. A separate “self immolate” function was a different verse in Hebrew.
The first file Zev opened up was a personal message from his “handler”.
His handler informed him that the “home office” was not in a position to help him. Israel did not engage in over-throwing foreign governments. It had been their painful experience that the beast that stepped in to fill the vacuum was always worse than the one that had been bumped off. His handler then apologetically told him that Cali was twelve thousand km from Israel and the home office had bigger fish to fry closer to home.
That said, his handler went on to say that the home office kept their hands off of organic, local, grass-roots changes in government.
His handler had included various files that he thought Zev might find useful.
He informed Zev that it was his duty to commit suicide BEFORE he was caught.
But other than that, the home office was releasing Zev from his duties. He was now a free agent.
His handler’s last comment was a bit tangential. He mentioned that the Talmudic scholars in Jerusalem had recently been discussing the morality of burning a thorn thicket known to protect the lair of a leopard that had been ravaging local flocks. It had taken five years to determine that it was morally acceptable to burn the thicket under some conditions. He expected it would take another fifty years for the rabbis to fully enumerate all of those conditions.
Zev and his handler had once been friends.
Before Zev left the hunting camp he had run the upgrades on Scooter’s phone so they could communicate securely. Text messages would be embedded in .jpg files. The specific pixels holding the text were identified by a burn pad encrypt file. The upgrade also turned Scooter’s phone into a node on the Israeli neural network, but that was simply a case of value-for-value.
Zev had committed the Psalms to memory during his months of enforced solitude. He also found solace in reading Job and in rereading the tortuous path of King David’s life as found in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. He continued to study and pray over those readings as he made his way northward like a dagger into the heart of the dragon.