380 Getting the plan together



When I checked the email, I found one from someone called Wolf.  I knew that it was a dummy account for Peter.  The email simply said call me.  I had told him to leave me a dead drop email and I would call him.  It was only part of the cyber security, which I forced on him.


I explained to him that one day someone would grab his computers and try to trace his movements back to me.  He needed to set up a system to make if difficult, if not impossible to do.  One thing about ole Peter the Wolf, he listened.


He explained that he went to a swap meet in Tryon.  There he bought a five year old laptop.  He got a really good deal because it had a very small hard drive and memory capacity.  It also was at least two generations behind in processors.


“A big processors and lots of memory is very. very important if you are playing games, or downloading movies.  However, if you are just going to do research. a slower, older computer is fine.  Memory might be a good thing,  but most computers, even the old cheap ones, can  have more memory added.  That’s what I did.” he explained.


“Okay, so now you have an old computer  that they can grab and trace back to me?” I suggested.


“Well not easily.  I took the hard drive out completely so it is impossible for the computer to save information internally.”  He saw my curious look.  “I went into the BIOS and forced it to recognize the USB drives and to write to them,  It isn’t even a hard thing.  Most BIOS programs have a setting you just need to engage it.”


“Okay, so if you have no hard drive how does it work?” I asked.


“I run the operating system from a CD.  It loads into the RAM memory and just runs from there.  If I download anything it goes to the USB drive, aka thumb drive.  When I am finished with the session, I remove the thumb drive and put it in my pocket.  I can dump it if they come to the door with a warrant.”


“And if you don’t dump it and the cops get it?” I asked.


“ The number one program on the drive is an encryption program.  If they break the encryption but don’t do it exactly right, there is the nuclear option.  It totally destroys the drive making it unusable for about twenty thousand years.  It is truly a thing of beauty.  The whole system was devised by a hacker name Bullrider.” Peter said.


“He sounds gay,” I replied.


“Who knows and who cares in cyber space,” Peter informed me.


“So your home computer is clean?” I asked.  I was about to suggest that being totally clean would be suspicious as well.


“Not exactly, I have some pictures of naked women on it.  Just in case they do grab it.  I want them to find something.  Another suggestion from Bullrider,” he informed me.


“Very good plan.  Do I know any of the women?” I asked playfully.


“You might,” he replied mysteriously.


I placed the call to  his burn cell phone.  I was a little surprised that he was still using the older one.  “Peter, you need a new phone,” I suggested.


“After this call, I’m going to the marina.” he said.


“I didn’t need to know that,” I replied.  Just to let him know not to trust anyone.  “So what do you know?”


“I know that you are dealing with one miserable son of a bitch.  He is one of the worst mother fuckers it has ever been my displeasure to run across.  The  family, that’s who has the lease on the casino is one nasty bunch of assholes.  The head of the family came to the USA after the fall of the Shaw of Iran.  He took all the money he could smuggle out and ran.  He knew the new regime would behead him as an enemy of Islam.  He wasn’t wrong either.


So he came to the US with something like two million bucks on deposit in Europe.  He invested in things that would make the most money.  From night clubs and disco’s to illegal back room casinos.  The night clubs sold drugs and he took a cut.


He married and had children.  In the tradition of those third world countries he took them into the family business. He brought them in, when they were old enough to understand his warped sense of right and wrong.  The last few years he has tried to get the kids into more legitimate, but still highly profitable operations.  Enter the Cruise ships,” Peter explained.


“Okay so far I don’t much like the family, but there are lots of family’s, which I don’t like,” I said.


“This son of a bitch decided five years ago he wants to die back in the old country.  But he wants to take a lot of his money home with him, and leave his kids in the west with a big chunk of it as well.” Peter said.


“Go home to die, that isn’t all that unusual either,” I said.


“Remember he is still on the revolutionary guard’s kill on sight list.  So he can’t go home without making a deal.  He also doesn’t want to go back to Iran to live in poverty.  So he started to negotiate with the Quds Force quietly.  The cocksucker has been helping them smuggle men and bombs from Iran to the West.


Your operative friend thought he had turned Akmed, but Akmed rolled over on him.  His price was a ticket home.  That is the story anyway and it plays well with the facts I can find.”


So because we have a wimp in the white house, we won’t touch Akmed, since he is in bed with the Iranians.  Some members of the government sure as hell don’t want him to walk away clean.  That explains why there is going to be a coordinated raid on this cocksucker.  Since we have who we have in the Oval Office, it also explains why I am doing this and not their own people.  I would bet my ass that the admiral has people on the other two cruise ships, where Akmed leases the casinos.  It added one more thing to the mix for me.  One of Akmed’s kids managed the casino on my ship for sure.


“Peter it is time to lose the phone, and that drive at least,” I said.


“My thinking exactly.  Is there anything I can do to help fuck this guy up?” he asked.


“If there were, you would already know, since I would have ask.  You are part of my Band of Merry Men now, like it or not,” I said.


“Cool, bring your ass home safe,” he demanded then broke the connection.  The phone and the thumb drive at least would be headed off the bridge on the way to the marina.  The same marina where we sometimes went to lunch.


So what I had was an old man who thought he was untouchable.  He had the Quds Force in front of him and a wimp ass president behind him.  I would bet my ass that he also had Swamp Thing and me between them all.


The information Peter gave me was the final piece in my plan for the ripoff. It would be intricate, but completely doable.  It would also be fun for Simon, I expected.  Best of all, it was something that could be sold by the farmers.


Timing was going to be important, but that to was doable.  Emails began to fly between me and the pig farm and also between me and the hacker Peter had called Bullrider.


Email to Bullrider:


Can you get into their computer and turn off all the power on my signal?  Even the reserve power?”


Email from Bullrider:


I could do that when I was sixteen.  The communications link to the ship is going to be a problem, but that too is easy enough.  I just can’t stay on line very long.


Email to Bullrider:


It won’t take more than that one message I hope.


Email from Bullrider:


Just give me the message.


Of course there were a lot of more detailed messages, but those are the important ones.


Message to Pigfarm:


Do you know where we will be at 2AM?


Message from Pigfarm:


Unless something happens we know.  We are also tracking that fat ass tub.  If anything changes we will know.


Message to Pigfarm:


You know what the plan is and you approve?”


Message from Pigfarm:


We know, but you don’t need our approval.  We will just have the people there to do their jobs, no more, no less.


Message to Pigfarm.


Make damn sure they keep their hands off the merchandise or there will be a second bloodbath I assure you.


Message from the Pigfarm:


You are dealing with pros, not thugs.


Message to the Pigfarm:




Everything seemed to be more or less set with the outside people.  Next it was time for us to get our own shit in order.  To do that I needed a planning session with Simon Jerrod.


“Simon all the research in the world is not going to tell us some things.  We just need eyes on the ground.  People we can trust and who no one in the whole would would suspect of being involved in this kind of plot.”


“Two swishes with no sense of guilt?” he asked with a smile.


“Yes, we need them to follow the crew around and keep track of their movements.  Also to photograph some areas of the ship.  They need to keep it casual.  What we don’t need is for us to ever be seen in those areas of the ship.  After the initial intelligence we can see if they can be of any more help without having to be a part of the plan.  Oh yeah we need them to steal us two maid’s uniforms.”


“Are we setting them up to take the fall?” he asked.


“And if we were?” I answered.


“I will not kill them,” he said.  “Not just so that I can make a few bucks.”


“What if they had a fifty, fifty chance to survive and using them would keep us out of prison.   And hurt some really bad assholes.  How about then?” I asked.


“I could do that,” he said nodding his head in agreement.


“I give you my word they will have at least that good of a chance.  In exchange you have to promise me not to let them get even a clue that they might be in any danger.  Or give them any reason to think this might be more than a simple surveillance job.  Explain that we need the uniforms so that we can watch some people in the casino nothing more.” I demanded.


“I can do that as well,” he said.


“Fair enough lets get them started.  We want to get this done tonight,” I said.  “And Jerrod this isn’t just about the money.  There is more, just like there was in the jungle.”


“I never doubted that.  I know that sometimes we don’t always get to do things that are absolutely right.  Sometimes we have to just do the most right thing.”


“Sadly, that is true,” I admitted.


Jack and Michael were so excited when they brought us the maid’s uniforms.  Both were size 16 which meant mine was going to hang awful, but on Jerrod it would look pretty good.  When I showed it to Jerrod, Michael was still in the room.


“Let me get my kit, it won’t look great, but it will look better.  I don’t have everything I need, but I do have a needle and some black thread.  I can do some tucks.”


And that is how I came to have a maids uniform that didn’t look all that bad on me.  “Now listen you two.  I need you to meet me again to night at 2am sharp.  Meet me  where I gave you a blow job last night    No matter what you hear, just go there.  It might be a matter of life and death.”  I figured they would love the drama of the life and death thing.


After they had gone I said to Jerrod.  “We will take our life jackets to them.”


“What the hell is going on?” he asked.


“You have to trust me Jerrod.  Can you do that just one more time?” I asked.


“Of course,” he replied simply.

About cindypress

sorry it is a mystery.
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17 Responses to 380 Getting the plan together

  1. jack says:

    Damn! Now that is a plan coming together. It would make Hannibal and Mr. T proud.

  2. jack says:

    And no approval needed from the farm ,, Max is moving up.

  3. cindypress says:

    actually it is going to be a bit diabolical I think but I haven’t finished it yet.

  4. Enuf says:

    I like this character a lot, I really do. I much appreciate an ongoing story as well. So many just sort of flame up and fade away. Maxine is a unique character. Reminds me of a few real people I have known, in various circles.

    Male and female.

    Having some difficulty with a couple of things though. I can easily buy into, say, the concept of advanced medicine fixing up Maxine. We already have the earliest efforts in literally “printing” simple organs using cells cultured from the patient, so they do not reject. These have been successful so far, the future for this new medical tech is truly exciting. I can see Maxine benefiting from advances in that which are well beyond the public’s knowledge.

    The cyborg thing though, well it’s just vastly beyond our technology. I find myself skipping over sections of story that spend much time discussing that.

    The other thing are these two statements:

    “So because we have a wimp in the white house, we won’t touch Akmed, since he is in bed with the Iranians. ”

    … and …

    “Since we have who we have in the Oval Office, it also explains why I am doing this and not their own people. ”

    If those refer to a fictional current White House occupant, well okay, that’s cool. Plenty of Chickhawk, chickenpoop dang fools in politics to build a wee touch of realism around.

    If they are digs at the current guy, well that just makes it one more thing that doesn’t make sense. Too out of synch with real world realities. We are killing people like this Akmed pig every night. Days too, but night ops are the rule. The operational tempo for SOCOM and related forces is just plain dog nuts crazy.


    • cindypress says:

      I absolutely appreciate you as a reader. We do not have to agree on everything to be friends or have this reader storyteller relationship. Iran has a buy on most everything they do since they are a country not a loose terror group, I think. That is my opinion at least. The same is true of Pakistan and China. He is not the first president to just ignore the realities and hope it gets better. It is more an institutional blindness than anything else. But a operative in the field would be much less likely to rationalize it and more likely to see it as not having the courage to take a stand.

      I generally try not to poke sticks at people, but their has to be some rationale for using a freelance agent on such a mission and that is mine. I doubt that anyone agrees with everything I write, nor should they. I don’t think that makes us right or wrong.

  5. cindypress says:

    In general, about Maxine and the robot thing, I think I developed the concept pretty well. Going from the Lucy, to the Eve, who had some human memories to the Maxine who has her complete memories but does not a frail human brain. I don’t think taking her memories and programming them into a computer is all that difficult a stretch from Watson, who is real now. The micro electronics to create a large robot with human like movements is just a matter of wanting to do it. I know it seems far fetched and I lost some readers because of it. But this Maxine will never change and she will require a twenty minute knee replacement, not be laid up for months with even more aches and pains, or bleed out in a jungle because she dared something impossible. Poor Maxine was banged up once a month or so, as a human.

    I never saw Maxine as a man or a woman. She is more a truly gender neutral entity if there is such a thing. And she was even before the exchange of bodies. That also fits well with the robot concept.

    BUT Maxine is no super hero. She can’t fly without a helicopter. If she gets shot, she gets damaged, she has to hide who she is when she is working. She is not like superman or batman, so she has to hide her strength. Maxine is just Maxine just more of her now.

    In other words I think she is a believable character. But I don’t have a Million seller on my hands either. She will never be totally believable even for me and I live with her. If I sound unsure of her place in the world it is because Maxine is ever evolving. I like that about her. I can’t imagine what it would be like to write someone who was two dimensional now. I never know what she is capable of or how she will feel about what she has to do next. It’s a fun ride for me as well.

  6. Finbar says:

    I actually rather like the way this soap opera has played out in its daily snapshots of Maxine’s life.
    Yes, there were some who dropped out when it moved to the realm of SciFi, but I think you would have had a huge problem trying to place Maxine into the sort of situations that we all enjoy, and have her survive them all.
    I mean, in real life by now she’d have been invalided into a wheelchair or bedridden. It’d be a pretty dismal storyline that described her battles with a catheter and a bed pan every day.
    The robot thing has managed to breathe life into the discussion of what it is to be a government-appointed (or at least, government-approved) killer — which is what Maxine has always been.
    The philosophical discussions about the point where a person is still a person even after all her body parts have been replaced, has been ongoing since the time of Descartes.
    There’s a lovely subtlety to the way you’ve taken Maxine from a human in a robot body to becoming much more a new species. I was pleased when she was able to negotiate her autonomy from the people at the Farm. That was one of the things that put me off about the storyline as I thought it was going. Having a personality like Maxine, locked in a body that was a slave to those shadowy figures would have been pure torture for her. I would like for her to be able to find a way to achieve even more autonomy.
    Of course, there’s got to be some psychological problems coming down the pipeline surely? Unless Maxine is never going to fall in love with someone. She’s doing a good job of maintaining a high level of cynicism, but surely her obvious love for the Gunny shows that she isn’t a completely cold-hearted loner.
    that’s my $0.02 🙂

    • cindypress says:

      If there was a single note that you missed in your analysis of this story I can’t think of it. With max still being human there would have been a part of this story missing. How can she remain max trapped in the hydraulics and extra virgin Olive oil laced body. To me that and the keep her believable have been the fun challenges.

      On the slave to the farm. All of us are trapped in things we just learn to make them fit us or we go mad which might yet happen to Maxine.

  7. Darrell says:

    I enjoy her interaction with the community.

    • cindypress says:

      That is interesting because if I had gone super hero there would be no local connection really. The fact that she is living normal even when she is out play heroine is a challenge sometimes. I like thinking of Maxine in small town where people just take you for what you are and don’t really look for the hidden meanings until you shoot up the first baptist church.

      Helen of course is all our mothers and Jennifer all the the high school cheer leader who stole our boyfriends or refused to acknowledge that we existed. Only now we see her through her only friends eyes. She is still a bitch but she is our bitch now.

      Oh hell I don’t want to write another two thousand words explaining what we all feel inside for these characters.

  8. Walt says:

    First I agree about keeping current politics out of the story. Sure, it’s easy to picture Obama in our minds but this could be most any president as well. I quit one other story because the author injected Marxist idiology and trashed Conservatives and Foxnews. It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with him. I read fiction to get away from that crap regardless of which side one is on. You are ok, in my opinion, as you have not been that specific about the “President” of this story since there is no specific timeline as to when all this has occurred.

    As to folks who quit because of the Sci Fi, or robotics, they must still believe in Santa Claus or Grimm’s Fairy Tales. They should do research into what is being done for our men and women who return from Iraq and Afganistan who have lost many of their body parts. It is amazing what they are doing with robotics and electronics, that would make these naysayers ashamed they even opened their mouths. I’ve seen some pure robots do some amazing things. Based on the advancements to date, it is not unrealistic to believe a true Max could exist one day in the future. It wouldn’t surprise me to know someone is believing it in real life but just hasn’t been able to perfect it yet. But who says it won’t be some years down the road?

    You are doing good. Stay with what you feel and where the story goes intrigues me.

    • jack says:

      We seem to end up with a squishey president evey few elections or so. In recent years (my life time) there was Carter, now Obama in a few more cycles there will be another one just as there have always been in the past. The real challenge is not to have two in a row.

      • cindypress says:

        Well the country survive them all the good the bad and the ugly. Sometimes we tend to forget that fact in our desire to make things better instantly. All part of the instant coffee instant gratification generation.

      • Walt says:

        Jack…you are right. I remember Carter well, sky high unemployment, interest rates all in double digits, the gas lines….shudder. Obama finally got approval ratings lower than Carter which I thought would never happen to any other President. The two things that bother me now is, if a Repub gets elected and the Dems still control the Senate he will be powerless. If Obama gets reelected I foresee a civil war between Patriot Americans who want to protect the Constitution and the Communist/Socialist who want to destroy it.

        I’m glad I live way out in the country. Even the ladies out here know how to use shotguns and AK-47’s. (smile)

  9. cindypress says:

    You are right Walt the next big break through won’t be replacing body parts with robotics, it will be salvaging the brains of those people who can build those body parts. Maxine was just the first experimental model. If it had failed they wouldn’t have lost an Einstein just a Stone. The fact that she works is just icing on the cake.

    Now the next challenge for the creator is to figure out how to control her and all the future Max models.

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