Frank had me rescind the two messages to
his Editor. The timing had
changed. He had me resend new time
encrypted emails with a thirty day window.
It had been almost two weeks since Frank had submitted an article to the
paper. He knew that soon his editor
would get pissed and haul him into his office in New York. To placate him he sent a message that
Princess Marianne was on her way to New York and suggested they have some
reporters hanging around the airport to follow her antics. She was always a person of interest to
the media. Several tabloids had
already printed articles that she was pregnant or having an affair with some
movie star. I realized that would
help the Princess make sure her plan would be well publicized. While the Princess was enjoying buying
$400,000 dresses and $30,000 shoes to wear at the latest Fortune 500 chic
restaurant Frank and I stayed with the Monsignor. The hotel did not have room service so I
made frequent shopping trips to Waitrose.
Frank was nervous and had all kinds of cravings for desserts and junk
food. I would try and tempt him
with a healthy salad, but he would not touch them. He averaged about a bottle a day of Jack
Daniels. I’m not sure the Monsignor
appreciated sharing his room with a rugged journalist like Frank. In fact, the next day the Monsignor
disappeared for the entire day.
He came back late at night with his own
GAIC. While dogs often get excited
when they see another dog, it is not the same with robots. While we are programmed to immediately
communicate our identification data we don’t exchange any personal data. My business is only Frank’s business and
the same would go for any other GAIC.
The Monsignor undressed quietly and crawled next to Frank in the small
double bed. He fell immediately
asleep so I guessed he must have had a busy day.
The next morning at eight the Monsignor’s
GAIC woke the Monsignor up. The
Monsignor, in turn, woke Frank up.
Frank’s response was just to groan, “Why so early? Do we have to go to
Mass or what?”
The Monsignor got the bathroom first. He was out and dressed in less than 15
minutes. He told Frank to go shower
and without any groans this time he did.
Frank was not as fast as the Monsignor and so he was not dressed until 22
minutes had passed. Once he had
adjusted his tie he turned to the Monsignor and asked if he had a plan of
“I’ve been working on it. As you see I brought my own tin
can. I had him flown up from the
Vatican. He is a security robot
that I borrowed from the Swiss Guard.
He has clearance to use defensive force and also a few surveillance
upgrades that your JAIC unit would find useful considering your line of
investigative reporting. I figured
we might need him,” the Monsignor said in a deadpan
“Good, if we have to break into Lutts’s
evil lair we might need him,” Frank said looking at the empty bottle of Jack
“It may not come to that, but you never
know. I thought we could go to
Edinburgh early and case out the Larson joint. I asked some of my friends in government
and got some intelligence on Dr. Amy Larson.”
“Who did you ask? MI6? No, I don’t want to know before
breakfast” Frank said with a hint of sarcasm.
The Monsignor smiled, but went on with his
intelligence report, “Her mother lives in one of those assisted living
homes. She was a research assistant
and was basically blinded when some equipment blew up. Our girl has a flat about a mile away in
a posh part of New Town. I thought
we would go have a look at it. My
guess is she has access to Lutts’s computers and my Robocop might help us out
“Monsignor, I’m shocked, shocked. This all sounds
“I know, I know. Enough with the sarcasm.”
“I can’t imagine how many Hail Marys you
are going to have to say.”
“If I can stop the world-wide death of
religion I imagine Mary will owe me a few Hails.”
“Don’t count your chicks before their
cracked, Monsignor” Frank said chuckling to himself.
“Anyway, I have borrowed a car from a
Catholic Church near here so we don’t have to parade in front of all those
security cameras that Lutts’s people probably are scanning to find
“Once we get out of Central London we can
stop at a small abbey on the way for breakfast. Can’t fight a Holy War on an empty
With that banter finished
we grabbed our coats and small hoard of clothes and took the stairs down to the
back of the hotel where the Monsignor had left the car. It was a small black minivan with tinted
windows. I guess it doubled as both
transportation and for funeral services.
It only took a minute for the vehicle to be ready to take us to
Ealing Abbey in West London.
As breakfast was at six in the morning and long past, we were taken to
the Abbot’s private dining room.
The Right Reverend Randall Smithe was the Abbot and he drank tea and
entertained us with light conversation while the Monsignor and Frank enjoyed a
traditional English breakfast. The
Monsignor was the only one who responded to the Abbot’s comments. I could tell by the lightweight
conversation that the Abbot was clueless as to the real work that the Monsignor
did for the Church. Frank was as
quiet as a clam. Being surrounded
by all the trappings of a medieval institution based on superstition was not
Frank’s idea of life.
the humans had sated their hunger we piled back into the church minivan and
headed towards Edinburgh. The car
only stopped once to fill itself at a fueling station. It took just over seven hours to bring
us to St. Mary’s RC Cathedral. The
Bishop of Edinburgh gave us a light supper and rooms. It was at supper that we met Mr.
Antonio, or Tony as he preferred.
The Monsignor did not provide a last name and we sensed Tony did not want
It was only when we got into our rooms that
we found out that Tony’s expertise was electronics. He had a big black suitcase filled with
electronic equipment that was curious to say the least. The Monsignor said that Larson was
scheduled to fly into Edinburgh in two days. What he wanted to try and do was break
into her flat and see if they could hack into her computer. It would be Tony’s job to get us in and
let him do the hacking. The rest of
us would search her flat and see if she was careless enough to leave any papers
or notes around that might also help us.
It was all like some James Bond movie. The Monsignor had night vision glasses
for the humans. His GAIC and I
would not need them as our vision cams were perfectly capable of seeing in pitch
dark. Once the plans were laid out
the humans took a nap until two in the morning. When they woke they changed into black
pants and shirts. The Monsignor
even had dark clothes for his GAIC and myself. They all had synced their earbuds so
they could talk to each other quietly without having to raise their voices no
matter where they were in Larson’s two story flat.
At 2:40 we got in the black minivan and
drove to Dr. Larson’s flat in New Town.
It was a cloudy night and so only the street lights gave off any
illumination. With the street
lights being in the style of the early 20th Century they were not
very bright. We were able to park
in the back where Dr. Larson would normally park. We all stayed in the car while Tony did
his thing. It took him less than
five minutes to disarm the security system. He said it was just a standard
commercial grade system. Something
you would find in many homes or businesses with small security needs. He told us to wait in the kitchen which
was the first room we entered from the back door until he swept the flat for any
other security systems. He said it
was very common to have more than one layer of security and surveillance. Tony said the commercial system was just
to keep the local thieves out. Sure
enough in the hall there was a motion infrared camera that he had to blind. He found similar devices in her study
and her bedroom.
“Okay, you guys, it’s clean. Remember, don’t turn on no lights.
Capire?” Tony said into everyone’s earbud.
After that he went into the office and looked at the good doctor’s
computer. It was a nice setup. Three large monitors. It was a Dell machine, but one that was
only available to governments. I
heard Tony mumble to himself, “The lady's got class.” That was the last we heard from him for
a while. The rest of us had split
up into two teams. We figured that
with the bedroom and the study being monitored that if there were any papers
that could be of interest they would be there. The Monsignor and his GAIC were in the
bedroom. Almost right away they
found a tablet and took it down to the study for Tony to look at. Frank and I were going through the
drawers of her desk, which was difficult as we did not want to get in Tony’s
way. Frank was very careful. He pulled out each drawer one at a time
and brought it over to a sofa and check it out carefully. He even looked under the drawer and
inspected it to see if there might be a false bottom to the drawer. It was my job to put the items back in
the place they were. Frank relied
on my photographic memory to do that.
He knew he could easily make a silly mistake that would leave a big fat
clue for Dr. Larson to realize someone has been in her candy jar. By the time we were ready for the file
cabinet good old Tony said, “Bingo.”
The Monsignor came down even though he was
not finished searching her bedroom.
He knew that the best stuff would be in her computer.
“What do you have, Tony? the Monsignor
asked as he looked at the three flat screens.
“I’m not in Lutts's computers, that will
come later if I can do that. But in
the meantime I checked her temporary memory. We were lucky in that she did not turn
off her computer. It was only
asleep. Thanks to your file on her
and one of my little black boxes I was able to figure out her
Frank asked, “What was it? Frankenstein?”
Tony smiled, “As a matter of fact it was
rather prosaic, Amy4Terrance. She
might as well have used 1234.
Anyway, let me show you what I found and you tell me if it is anything
you were looking for.”
On the middle screen there started to come
up photos and various diagrams, pdf documents, and blocks of text that had been
copied in order to be pasted into something like an email or document.
“Hold it”, Frank said when a diagram of
something geometric came up, “What do you make of that
I studied it and then ran a visual search
on the Internet. “Sir, it looks like some kind of distorted buckyball. You can tell by the scale - it is measured in nanos. It is mostly of carbon, but there is a
very odd flaw on the end made up of some kind of protein fragment. I don’t have enough information to say
anything beyond that.”
“Well, our robots can show that to some of
my people and maybe they will have an idea, but that may be your nano-capsule
you told me about, Frank” the Monsignor whispered.
Next came up a photo of one of the labs in
Finland. Frank asked me if that
looked like one of the labs we saw on the tour last week. I had to tell him no. I commented that,
“It looks more like a factory set up, sir.
Look at those machines on the right. There must be fifty of them and they are
all the same. They look similar to
DNA assemblers, but much bigger.”
A paragraph came up next. This was something that must have been
copied and then pasted. It
Per beta test 5355 for nano-vector
solubility of blood/brain area the results were on the low side of only 3%
bridging the barrier. This is too
close to a negative result considering the population variability that we have
found in our subject organism.
Further tests must be made to determine if shape can increase
percentage. It is my opinion no
less than 75% of a given nano-vectors type must pass the blood/brain
barrier. When I get back on Monday
we can go over possible nano-vectors.
The Monsignor asked out loud to everyone
“What is a nano-vector?”
“I think it is what we may be calling a
nano-capsule. Damn, bits and
pieces. This is all tantalizing,
but we still don’t have a damn smoking gun” Frank said
“Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither
will this investigation be done in an hour” the Monsignor
The next two dozen memory
items offered no information.
Finally, a very long PDF of a scientific paper on cellular communication
and fractal algorithm came up by some
Ph.D. at Oxford. Frank and the
Monsignor read the abstract and then just scrolled the rest so GAIC and I could
scan it into our memory. Neither
Frank or the Monsignor made any comment on the paper as it was mostly Greek to
them. Another 40 memory items were
viewed and they all seemed irrelevant.
Then a fantastic clue came up.
It looked to be a deleted email.
It was short, but telling.
Old Jerusalem is new. Perfect penetration. Job well done, Dr. Larson. TL
“I don’t think TL stands for ‘the lord’,
Monsignor. In my biz this is what I
would call a smoking gun” Frank said with a broad smile on his
“We’ve seen enough. Let’s get back to our searching her
home. Tony, keep bringing up
whatever you can from her memory and make a copy of it. Call us if you get into Lutts’s
The Monsignor went back up into the bedroom
and Frank and I worked on the file cabinet. After about an hour I could tell both
Frank and the Monsignor were getting tired. It wasn’t long before just GAIC and I
were finishing the work of looking for evidence. By now both GAIC and I had a pretty good
idea what our humans wanted to find.
In fact, we probably understood better than they did. In the end there was nothing of value as
far as papers. GAIC was able to do
a scan of both rooms and was able to determine there were no secret compartments
or a hidden safe. That was the
stuff of Hollywood movies. Dr.
Larson was obviously a modern girl and did all her work on her computer.
The only papers of hers that had any
distant merit were the sixteen bound research papers she had written and
published from high school and on.
I made of list of them so Frank could look at them if he decided to try
and read them. It would probably be
a waste of time for him as he would not be able to understand half the
vocabulary nor any of the mathematics.
One thing fascinating is she never once had a dedication page.
Tony had moved onto getting into her email
and documents. From those we found
a number of communiqués that referred to either the religion killing project and
the depression project. In one
email both were referenced. In all,
Tony had found several smoking guns.
One thing I found interesting is how impersonal and academic were all her
emails that she sent to either Lutts or to other scientists at Lutts’s
“Master, now that we are done have you
taken a look at the Doctor’s house from a human
“What do you mean, Jack?” Frank responded
with a puzzling look.
“What I mean is there are no personal
photographs anywhere. No
Frank looked around again and this time
with eyes of someone who was trying to discern the personality of a person by
looking at their home. You can tell
a lot about a person. What kind of
books they have or lack of books.
What they hang on their walls.
The color and style of their furniture. How neat everything is. What kind of music they listen to.
“Come to think of it, Jack, I don’t recall
seeing any porn on her computer” Frank said with a twinkle in his
We were hanging around Tony since our
physical search was completed. He
had been busy removing the cover of the computer tower and attaching a whole
bunch of cables from a little electronic box he had brought in his case. I could only guess it was some kind of
machine to get the security protocols needed to get into Lutts’s computer
“Okay, everybody. I’m going to attempt to
go in. From what I have gathered it
is a three set system. First is to
enter a username and password, next is facial recognition. For that I have tapped her camera memory
and found a buffered video of Dr. Larson.
The last is an audio password recognition. I have found a memory file with her
voice saying unrelated words. I
hoping that is her audio password.
If they have changed it we won’t get in. By the way this little box will bypass
the camera and microphone and use the video and sound I found in memory” Tony
explained to his attentive audience.
He picked up an iPad and fussed with
it. All of a sudden on the middle
monitor was the logo of the Lutts’s pharmaceutical business. Below the logo was a spot for username
and password. Tony on her keyboard
typed it in. Next it showed a
notice to make sure your camera and microphone were operational and a ‘Continue’
button. Tony clicked on the
‘Continue’ button and then clicked on his iPad. We saw Dr. Larson’s face flash on the
left screen and on the middle screen it flashed “Hello Dr. Larson. Please repeat the following words
orally.” On the right screen the
word “Protein” showed. All of a sudden Tony said, “Fucking shit!” and all the
screens went blank.
“What happened, Tony?” asked the
“We can’t get in. The verbal passwords are really a test
to voice match her voice.
Damnit. Unless you have a
supercomputer in your pocket so you can generate both her face and voice in
realtime to say the words they generate you can’t get in. Every time you try and log in they will
generate a new list of words to say.
They have one fucking good system.
We need to go. Most likely
they won’t investigate a failed log in as there are a million things that could
halt it, but just in case.”
By the time he explained all this he had
removed his equipment and closed up the computer. We then all headed towards the car. I made one last check to make sure
everything was where Dr. Larson left it.
Twenty minutes later we were back at the church.
Only when we were safe at St. Mary’s did we
review what we found. The Monsignor
started the conversation with this question, “Do you have enough evidence to
convince your editor, Frank?”
“Yes, plenty, but publishing it will not
stop it,” Frank said with a sour look.
“Why not? We know he doesn’t have enough
nano-vectors to do the job.”
“I wish we had his timetable,” the
“The only one who might be able to find
that out is Marianne. Anyway, I
have decided to approach this Dr. Larson when she shows up at the airport and
see if I can convince her to give me an interview on her role in creating this
new cure for depression. I’m going
to guess that Lutts won’t tell her I beat the shit out of him. I wonder what his face looks like
today? He is either going to have
to wear a lot of makeup or wait a week for his face to
“You may be right about the delay. He always likes to be the showman when
he wants to make a splash. Let’s
get some sleep now. Tony, can you
give me a copy of all the data you got off her computer?”
Tony handed a small memory device and said,
“Thanks for the job, padre. It was
fun. I’m going to leave you guys
and go catch a plane back to Chicago.”
“Tell your boss the Church appreciates his
unofficial help. God will bless you
both,” the Monsignor said sincerely.
Frank had to stop from rolling his
eyes. I’m sure he thought Tony’s
boss probably went by the title of ‘Godfather’.
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