We are getting close to the conclusion of this story. I will be going back and reworking it into a book of some length when it does conclude. I’m enjoying the buildup and intrigue as it gets closer to the end. You continuity geeks out there might recognize that the timeline has gone whacky. Initially, back in around Part 15-17, I said the attack would take place on June 10th and 11th. We are now well into August. Instead, I’ve gone back and changed those parts so that the attack will now be sometime around September 10th-11th. This date seemed much more symbolic to the story and will likely be around the conclusion of this serial.
If you want to read the previous parts, there are links after this installment of the story:
Road Kill Part 28
25.8576° N, 80.2781° W,16237,1800…What did it mean? It was a cryptic response. As I was looking at it, Maria Colluccio was plugging the coordinates in. 25.8576° N, 80.2781° W was obviously a set of coordinates.
“It’s in Hialeah,” Maria said. “It’s right smack in the middle of a residential area about 7 blocks northwest of the Hialeah Park, the horse racing track.”
“It’s in a house?” Jones asked.
“The satellite photo shows that it might be a commercial building,” Maria answered.
I looked at the satellite image. Had we stumbled upon a planning destination? That would be a huge step in the right direction. But, the obstacle here was we still needed to know when our bad guys would be there and find a way to listen in.
“It’s a Julian date,” Jones blurted out. “16237. It’s a Julian date.”
I remembered Julian dates from my early days in computer programming. It was a format that showed the year in the first two characters and then the sequential day in that year in the remaining three characters. It was used as an easy way to sort dates and to save storage space on early computers. It’s use had thrown the computer world into a tizzy during the Y2K buildup. I probably would have figured it out eventually, but the speed with which Jones recognized it was staggering.
“I use Julian dates all the time to name documents so I can sort them in my file folders easily and know at a glance when they were written,” Jones said as if anticipating my wonder at the speed in which he reached the solution.
“It’s August 25th,” Maria said. “16237 is August 27th of this year.”
August 25th was only a week away. This piece of information was huge. We had a date for some kind of event. Granted, it wasn’t the location of the soccer match, but I guessed that it was the timing of some kind of planning meeting.
“The rest must be the time,” Jones said. “1800, that’s 6PM in military time.”
This team was brilliant. We had very quickly determined the location, date and time of some kind of event related to the attack. We could swoop in and capture the culprits before the attack could be carried out.
A meeting was quickly called with Admiral Baker, Donovan, Rafferty and the three of us, lovingly referred to as the spy nerds.
“I agree that this looks like some kind of planning meeting,” Baker said. “It’s right in plain sight in an residential neighborhood. I don’t like that. We can’t really run a full-scale assault on the building without potential collateral damage. If we try to evacuate the neighborhood ahead of time, it’s going to draw lots of attention.”
“It’s too early,” Rafferty said.
At his comment, Donovan nodded his head.
“What do you mean, it’s too early?” Baker asked.
“Do you really think that Secretary Martin-Conway is going to show up at a meeting in a residential area of Hialeah?” Rafferty asked. “She isn’t going to risk exposure. It wouldn’t surprise me if she doesn’t show up at all during this whole thing.”
“So what are you suggesting?” Baker asked.
“We need intelligence from this location. If there is a meeting on this day, we will need to get some devices inside to make sure we can get information,” Rafferty said. “I want to catch Secretary Martin-Conway in the act and bring her down along with her associates.”
“I agree,” Baker said. “Wouldn’t it be acceptable, though, to stop the attack. The closer we get to the actual event, the more risk there is that we won’t be able to stop it.”
“She needs to go down,” Donovan said. “She needs to be an example to other ambitious political types that this type of plot won’t be tolerated.”
“How do you propose we get intelligence equipment into this location?” Baker asked. “Even if we do, they probably sweep for it on a regular basis if this is an operational center.”
“That is an issue,” Rafferty said. “If they detect the bugs, we’re dead. Chances are they’re going to do a careful sweep right before the 25th.”
“I might have an idea,” Jones said.
All eyes around the table turned toward him.
“I have a device that I’ve used in the past that fools the bug sweeping devices,” Jones continued.
Sweeping for bugs usually involves a physical and an electronic search. Bugs can be hidden in lamps, light switches, smoke detectors and various other places. Bugs can be either cameras or sound transmitting devices that usually transmit a short distance.
Because these devices have become so small, the physical search is followed by an electronic search using specially-designed devices.
Camera detectors are generally the simplest to use and most straightforward. They have a light attached to them that flashes to reflect off of even the tiniest pinhole camera lens. A lot of them also have a specially tinted viewfinder to make it easier to see the lens’s reflection.
Sound transmission detectors, though slightly more complex than camera detectors, are simple to use. Since bugs transmit RF (radio frequency) signals, bug detectors hone in on those signals and indicate that there is a bug present, by lighting up, making a sound, or both.
The intelligence community in the U.S. had very advanced detection devices so there was a palpable skepticism at Jones’s claim.
“Mr. Jones, I know your talents are significant, but it’s virtually impossible to defeat a bug sweep,” Baker answered.
“Not if you know when it’s happening,” Jones responded.
He then paused as if wondering if he should continue vomiting information that he universally kept to himself. He sighed audibly and continued.
“I’ve rigged up audio and video surveillance equipment to work from a centralized kill switch,” Jones said. “If a sweep is about to start, I can shut down the RF signals and obscure the camera lenses with a simple command from my cell phone. When the sweep is over, I can turn them back on instantly.”
Baker, Rafferty, Donovan and I exchanged looks. The solution was brilliant and we privately wondered why the government, will all of their brilliant engineers and technologists, had not come up with this.
“We’ll want to do some tests on this,” Donovan said. “If it works, then our only problem is how to get the bugs inside and conceal them from the physical search.”
“Mr. Jones, I’d like you to oversee the testing,” Baker said.
“I’m torn here, Admiral,” Jones said. “I want to help, but I don’t want the government turning around and using this technology against U.S. citizens after I show it to you.”
Baker pondered Jones’s concern.
“Mr. Jones, if this works, we will not incorporate it into our body of knowledge and you can personally destroy or confiscate every device that is modified.”
“It’s not a perfect solution,” Jones answered. “It will have to do.”
It was time to get tactical and this was Brad Rafferty’s specialty.
“Okay, we have two parallel paths that need to be addressed in the next week,” Rafferty started. “First, Mr. Jones will help us modify the necessary devices so that they will evade detection. Second, the rest of us will get to know the building we are targeting and come up with a way to get the devices inside and conceal them so the physical sweep won’t reveal them. Mr. Jones, you can have access to whatever devices, tools and bodies you need to do this quickly. If your piece doesn’t work, we’re dead in the water.”
“It will work,” Jones said. “I only need a few people. The modifications are extremely simple once you know what to do.”
“Let’s get to work, people,” Baker said. “I want reports twice a day. We need to move forward and get this building wired well ahead of the event on the 25th. Let’s put together a solid plan.”
We spent the next four days going over blue prints, satellite photos and street maps of the area. We knew every tree, bush and most of the blades of grass in the area.
Maria Colluccio was able to tap into satellite surveillance and monitor movement in and out of the building. The maintenance workers and casual personnel hanging out near the building had the appearance of operatives conducting security that was meant to avoid being obvious to the untrained eye. Although it was casual, it was going to be hard to penetrate.
Jones had amazed the highly-trained technology people with the simplicity and effectiveness of his plan to avoid detection of the surveillance devices. They were beginning to work with our team to devise the best areas and methods to conceal them in the commercial building so that we could both blanket it with audio and video surveillance and avoid detection from the physical sweep.
At the end of the fourth day, with only three days remaining until the event at the building, we were still coming up blank with how to get past the security and plant our devices. Finally, at about 11:30 PM, Maria Colluccio came back from a quick coffee break and announced to the room, “I’ve got it!”
Her plan, perhaps influenced by spending time with Jones, was both brilliant and simple.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26, Part 27