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Chapter 14 - April 4, 2003 PM - Episode 8

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Mark texts back instructions to get a warrant for Dom’s arrest on charges of attempted murder. He also orders that Ahmed be brought in for further questioning. When he gets back to his office, he congratulates the tech who brings him the video.

“How did you get back past the start time?” asks Mark. “That’s great.”

“Well,” says the pleased tech. “Thanks. I looked at the device. Turns out it partitions its memory in two hour chunks. So every two hours it flips over and is ready to use another buffer if you know what I mean…”

“I don’t, but go ahead.”

“So that means that current buffer always contains some older data that is inaccessible through normal software but hasn’t yet been physically overwritten. Once I knew that, I just hacked something together to read the buffer and found an extra hour-and-a-half. By luck, it starts with Dom Montain in the deceased’s office.”

“Fantastic,” says Mark and settles in to watch the video.

He sees Dom already in the room. He stands indecisively for a few minutes, then paces around the room, looks out the window, and finally walks to the shelf on which sits a clock with the wrong time, some empty file folders, and Larry’s jar of mushrooms. He watches Dom take a baggie from his pocket, and then, back to the camera, do something which cannot be seen. He then sees Mark shake Larry’s bottle of mushrooms thoroughly and put it back. Part of the baggie protrudes from his pocket. He faces the camera as he leaves the room.

Mark’s computer chimes that he has mail.



From:         Cpl. Harry FitzGerald

Sent:         Friday, April 4, 2003  7:55 PM

To:       Det. Marcus Cohen

Subject:  Attempted Arrest of Dom Montain


Attempted apprehension of suspect DM at home address, office and West tenth squared tavern. Suspect not found at any of these locations. Are continuing watch. Advise.




From:         ultramole@znowherez.com

Sent:         Friday, April 4, 2003  7:55 PM

To:       mark cohen

Subject:  temporary unavoidable absence




it is necessary for me to avoid arrest for awhile. i do not intend to hide forever; I think it is my karma to be arrested and im not trying to defeat it but not ready to play that game yet. there is something I must do first.


i have been looking at video which is the same as what donna gave to you. for a while I couldn’t figure out where that came from because I monitor devices on our network and would have noticed a strange device. but once I knew what to look 4 I found it. must have been installed by a master hacker because it sends with the ip address of a bunch of different computers in the network so it always looks like them sending. it always sends to donnas computer but sends broken packets that the computer ignores and whatever the recorder is picks up. i can retrieve it from my log records.


i don’t expect you to stop looking for me; you have your role to play and i have mine. i don’t think though that you will find me until im ready to be found.


if you are willing to cooperate to the extent your role allows, email me back. i have more to tell you if there is some way for it not to be used against me. there is good reason why I might have wanted to put larry out of commission for a while — note that i am not saying that i did — but I DID NOT try to kill him. I do not kill.


you can email me by replying to this email. you will get back a message that your email bounced but it will get to me.


BTW, i know who you are. you are “columbo” and you and I have played against each other in some big games. I knew I recognized the way you ask questions but you threw me off because you played dumb which should have been the tip off.




From:         Det. Marcus Cohen

Sent:         Friday, April 4, 2003  8:02 PM

To:       ultramole@znowherez.com

Subject:  RE:  temporary unavoidable absence




Good to hear from you. It would be even better to see you — better for you, too, I think.


That being said, I do want to work with you, particularly if I have your word that you will surrender at the appropriate time. However, it is very difficult for me to attempt to get any kind of immunity for you while you are a fugitive. Moreover, you haven’t given me any idea what kind of thing you can tell me that you want immunity for.


I do remember ultramole; should’ve guessed that was you, especially with your fondness for backdoors. It must have been hard for you to take a backseat to the author of Gotcha seeing that kind of hack is very much your MO. Or did you learn hacking from the deceased?




From:         Mail Delivery System [MAILER-DAEMON@nypd.gov]

Sent:         Friday, April 4, 2003  8:02 PM

To:       Det. Marcus Cohen

Subject:  Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender


This is the Postfix program at host mail.nypd.gov.


I'm sorry to have to inform you that the message returned below could not be delivered to one or more destinations.


For further assistance, please send mail to <postmaster>


If you do so, please include this problem report. You can delete your own text from the message returned below.


              The Postfix program


<ultramole@znowherez.com>: Name service error for name=znowherez.com type=A:

    Host not found




From:         ultramole@znowherez.com

Sent:         Friday, April 4, 2003  11:59 PM

To:       mark cohen

Subject:  the audio will blow your socks off


you wanted me to tell you more about what kind of information i have. Okay. im going to do better and give you the info and put you under obligation to help me


i have posted an audio which I recorded unknown to the people you will hear. it is at hackoff.com/~[your mother’s maiden name]/~[your father’s middle name]. you will need a password to get into it which i will text message you with for better security.


the audio will tell you about an attack that has been planned on hackoff customers that will happen soon if steps are not taken and which can be successful. larry was part of planning that attack and i was always against it and have tried to stop it. i must remain free until i have ended this threat.


i did not learn anything about hacking from the author of gotcha. that would have been impossible.


the fact that you were given the video of me and told about the backdoor has released me from certain loyalties which i would have been bound by otherwise so it would be good if we could find a way to work together.


After getting an instant message from Dom that the password for the file is Mark’s mother’s social security number, Mark begins to listen to the audio file. One voice is Ahmed. It is soon clear that the other is Larry Lazard.



Larry: I have a much bigger job for the Jenin Group than we’ve ever given you before.

Ahmed: I am pleased that we have earned your confidence, Larry.

Larry: Yeah, well, I still do have a confidence problem actually.

Ahmed: Have we not performed our work satisfactorily? Have we not delivered on the schedule we have promised? I know there has been some unpleasantness with Mr. Dom Montain but...

Larry: Yeah, all of the above, or we wouldn’t be giving you anything else. Look, here’s the problem. To do this job you’re gonna need a copy of some of our source code. That is a big risk for us. We never let the source code out.

Ahmed: Mr. Montain will not like this...

Larry: If MISTER Montain would’ve done this job himself like I asked him, then I would not be turning to you. I would not need the Jenin Group for this if he would do his fucking job. But he won’t so I’m turning to you. It is very, very fucking important that Dom not find out you’re doing this work or get any idea at all that you have the source code.

Ahmed: I understand, and I appreciate your confidence.

Larry: Yeah, well appreciation is one thing. I need your personal word that our source code will be safe. That it will be seen only by those with a need to know and only to do this particular job.

Ahmed: You have my word.

Larry: What I need the Jenin Group to do is to look at this code and figure out how to attack a very few sites that I will give you a list of. These sites are hackoff customers.

Ahmed: Is this a test?

Larry: Yeah, I like that. A test. You could call it that. It is time that customers understand that it’s not safe to use only our software protection; they need our monitored service as well to protect them. The problem is that our software’s been too fuckin’ good or hackers are too fuckin’ incompetent. Nobody has gotten in trouble because they don’t use the monitored service. Of course, we don’t want anything really bad to happen to these customers, but I’ll give you messages to leave inside their security that will indicate to them that they are vulnerable.

       There will be a little publicity about this after hackoff has come up with a fix. There will be no real harm to the customers, of course. But they will see that they are living on borrowed time if they rely on software protection alone. They really need our managed service.

       This is really in the customers’ own interest. Someday some real hacker is going to break in and do real harm if they don’t wake up.  This will do them no real harm but it will show them how important it is to use our monitored service.

       Can you do this job?

Ahmed: Yes, I believe we can. We cannot give you a price, however, until we have looked at the source code and ascertained the difficulty. How will we get the source code; I assume it will not be from Mr. Montain?

Larry: You assume right, buddy. I have the code you need here on this DVD. I am assuming you will guard it with your life.

Ahmed: You have my word, my friend.



Mark listens to the tape a second time.  Then his phone rings.

“Mark Cohen?”

“Yes, this is. Who’s calling please?”

“Mark, this is Rachel, Rachel Roth. I just got home and Ahmed’s gone.  Your police were here looking for him, waiting for him, but he’s gone. He left me a note.”

“What does it say?”

“I can’t, Mark. I can’t tell you on the phone. I misjudged him. Oh, shit, I did.”

“What has he done, Rachel? I’m sorry you’re disappointed but…”

“No, Mark, you don’t understand. You don’t understand at all. He wants me to show you the note. He says I’m to bring it to you myself.”

“Are the cops still there?”


“Okay, let me speak to the one with the most stripes on his sleeve. I’m gonna ask them to bring you down here.”

After talking to the sergeant, Mark orders an airport and ticket watch for Ahmed Qali and a trace on recent tickets in his name. The trace will come up dry.


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Error - "I do remember ultramole; should’ve guess that was you ..." Should say "guessed".

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