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Chapter 15 - April 5-7, 2003 - Episode 7

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It is morning in Jenin. A pair of Israeli Cobra helicopters rise above the horizon, so distant that they appear to float soundlessly straight up. They are actually advancing quickly towards the city. At a predetermined distance, each of the helicopters launches two very guided missiles. Despite its smart electronics, one missile has a mechanical malfunction and self-destructs just before hitting the desert sand. The other three missiles slam into three different small buildings in Jenin. Immediately there are secondary explosions and then thick black smoke from two of the buildings indicating that there were explosive materials stored in them.

Part of the story is on the BBC within an hour. The announcer is an emaciated woman with hollow eyes and stringy blond hair who looks as if she has not slept in weeks. The video cuts from her to a shouting man running with a bleeding child in his arms as she says: "Witnesses report that missiles from five Israeli gunships struck residential buildings in this refugee camp this morning. Many of the victims reportedly were children. UN observers were quick to condemn this further escalation of violence by the Israelis."

There is no mention of the secondary explosions.


Mark’s cell phone rings.

"I’m going to have to go out in the hall and answer this," he says to Dom who still has his head down. "I assume you’ll wait for me."

Dom doesn’t answer and Mark steps out into the hall and away from the door. After answering the call, he asks the caller to hold while he arranges for a cop lurking around the corner to keep the door in view. Then he resumes the conversation.

Dom springs up the minute Mark leaves. He quickly goes to his computer and sends an encrypted email to an address that doesn’t exist at AOL. A bot running inside AOL grabs the email as it bounces, decrypts it, and forwards it. Then the bot erases itself.


From: lion

Sent: Sunday, April 6, 2003 5:14 AM

To: mouse

Subject: we did it

not to worry, alte, we did what needed to be done. i am safe and look forward to seeing you again. don’t know yet when i can but not to worry. thank you thank you thank you.


Mark comes back into the room. "You have friends in foreign intelligence," he says. "If I did, I wouldn’t say," says Dom. "Isn’t that the way the game is played?" "I didn’t ask. That was a statement. It’s probably a good thing for you."

Dom says nothing.

"Why are you protecting Donna Langhorne?" Mark asks. "She’s not protecting you. Where do you think we got the video of you putting poison mushrooms in Larry’s mushroom jar? Who do you think has been trying to implicate you in Larry’s murder since this all began?"

"I’m under no obligation to her," says Dom vehemently. "I thought she was my friend; she’s not. But she didn’t murder Larry. We’ve both seen the tape. We’ve both seen Larry shoot himself."

"But we don’t know why. We don’t know why, and somebody’s bound to say it was the mushrooms."

"We may be able to hear Larry’s meetings with Ahmed and Donna." Dom has clearly just made a decision. "I don’t promise, but we may be able to."

"Would be nice," says Mark. "How? Do you know what happened to the audio that goes with the video?"

"No. I don’t. It seems strange that it has no audio; maybe something broke. But I used to have a bug of my own in Larry’s office. That’s how I got the audio that I pointed you to last night. Then someone took the bug out of Larry’s office; it was in a Lucite thing the underwriters gave us after the IPO. It disappeared from his office. But Ahmed brought it back. I guess he probably stole it in the first place, but you could see him give it back in the video. But I don’t know if it was working when he brought it back."

"Interesting," says Mark. "It’s part of a crime scene, though. We can’t just go take it out of there. Maybe tomorrow…"

"Don’t have to touch it. I can download its audio from here. If there’s anything to download, if it’s still working. If it’s okay with you, I mean." He is exaggerating his politeness. "I can see what’s on it now."

"Go ahead," says Mark. "Hopefully for you, we hear something more than Larry complaining about the mushrooms in his gut."

Dom mouses for a few seconds. "I can still get its radio to work," he says. "We have contact. First new recording is from February 28, about when I first noticed it was gone. So maybe we’ll find out where it went. It’s voice-activated, so we’ll only hear when there’s something to listen to." A grinding and screeching comes from his speakers. "Sounds like it went for a ride on a subway."

The subway sounds continue intermittently for fifteen minutes.

"It skips over the quiet parts," Dom explains, "so we don’t hear anything in the stations."

"Lady, can you spare a buck?" asks a bleary male voice.

"Get lost," says an indistinct woman’s voice.

"Sounds like a homeless person has it," says Dom. "Wonder how he got it?"

Now a man and a woman are talking.

"Can you back that up?" asks Mark.

Dom does and they listen again to the couple.

"That’s Donna Langhorne," says Dom. "She must have taken it for some reason. I think…"

"You think what? You think you know why she would take it?"

"No... No. I was surprised, that’s all. I don’t recognize the man’s voice."

"Noted," says Mark, "that you’re holding something back again. You do have an idea why Donna might have taken it. I know who the man is and I’ll tell you just because I hope you’ll start telling me the truth. It’s her husband Francis; I interviewed him briefly on the phone. He’s out of the country."

Dom nods. "Right. I met him a few times. Scumbag lawyer of some kind." He repositions at the beginning of their conversation. "Okay, Donna and Francis, let’s take it from the top."


Donna: (indistinct even after several tries)

Francis: What are you doing home so early, babe? What’s that thing?

Donna: It’s a Lucite tombstone from our IPO; Barcourt gave them to us. Isn’t it nice? You won’t believe what the fuck is going on at hackoff.

Francis: I’d believe anything, babe, try me. I’ve seen that in your office before. Why did you bring it home? Are you going to tell me? You’re carrying it like it’s a bomb.

Donna: It’s not the one from my office; it’s the one from Larry’s office. It was too dangerous to leave it there. Look, get me a drink, would’ya? Then I’ll tell you the whole story.


"She must’ve known it was bugged," murmurs Mark.

"I doubt it," says Dom, stopping the playback, "or she wouldn’t be talking in front of it and it never would’ve come back. I trusted her and I told her a lot but I never told her I bugged Larry’s office."

He clicks the ‘Resume’ button on his screen.


Donna: Okay. Let’s start with this morning. Somehow Dom knows we’re using the Israelis to write the warning thing that’s gonna scare our customers into upgrading to managed service...

Francis: (alarmed) He’s a (indistinct) ...on. How’d he find out you’re doing it? He could make a lot of trouble. He might turn you in. Kill you. Way you explained it, babe, he’s got this hacker’s honor thing like religion. That’s bad...


Dom shakes his head as if trying to clear it. "I didn’t know she was in on it. God, I WAS dumb. When I found out Larry had hired those guys in Jenin to do what I wouldn’t do, I told her about it. I thought she was on my side. I thought she’d help me stop him. She told me she’d help me stop him. ...Shit."

Mark holds up a finger to hush him and he subsides.

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