The game’s afoot
“So where do we start?” the assistant manager asked.
“To be the least upsetting possible for the guest, with your permission, could I get a name tag as a member of management. After all we don’t want a rush for the exits any more than you do,” I explained. “It would probably avoid the need for employees to be told of the inspection as well.”
“That sounds like an excellent idea. Just let me call the boss to get permission to make you a nametag. Would Tina Timmons Asst Manager be satisfactory?” she asked while holding a cell phone to her ear.”
“Of course,” I replied. There was nothing like getting the real people involved in the cover story, I thought.
“That was fast,” I said when five minutes later the assistant manager named Janet handed me a metal ‘pin on’ tag with the hotel emblem with my name and title on it.
“We make them right here. So where do we go first?” She asked.
I lifted the black bag a little larger than an old time doctor’s bag filled with electronic gadgets. Most of which had a real purpose. It also held a tablet. Since I was a guest it was normal to run through the hotel’s wifi system.
I had Wilson online immediately. I turned on the tablet’s sound and video conference features. I turned my volume down and plugged in the ear piece. “Let’s do a quick walk through of the office,” I suggested.
It took only a moment of pointing the box with flashing lights to have Janet in awe of me. Meanwhile I was probing the areas for Wilson to determine where the servers were located, if there were any. There were none at least not on site. There was a control room no bigger than a large janitor’s closet. It probably had been a closet before the last renovation. There was a CCTV camera for each floor, two more in the lobby, and finally one on each of the front and back entrances.
“Janet I’m going to piggy back on your system to search for toxic noise pollution. It requires only that I leave this box in the control room. Wilson had bought a ton of this type shit when I gave him the go ahead. He just packed the bag with the shit he thought I would need. He explained the operation of the equipment as if he was talking to his slow ten year old niece. I knew just enough to know where and how to install the junk plus he talked into my ear constantly.
From there we went into the kitchen, where I pointed the flashing light toy at everything in site. I left monitors everywhere. “I just found out that Jing-a-ling is going to be in room 808,” Wilson said in my ear. I used the monitor to crack their firewall. I wasn’t alone so I couldn’t ask. I could only hope Wilson would have told me, if she had anyone else in her party.
I spent the rest of the morning faking inspections and placing bits of plastic with what looked like controls in the other rooms. They actually did nothing and could never withstand a close inspection. We got to 808 late in the afternoon. There I planted real cameras and microphones. I continued putting the bits of plastic in the rooms until we finished the ninth floor.
“Janet, I think we have enough monitors for the primary investigations. I just need to monitor them for a few days. It’s to see how the climate might effect the substance, if it is indeed the walls. I’m going to be setting up my monitors. I might have to go back and check one here and there but other wise I am through being obtrusive. I will just be hanging around here and there.”
“I understand. I will leave you to it and let me know, if you need anything else,” she suggested.
“Just keep housekeeping out of this room till I leave please,” I said. Wilson had booked me into a room on the seventh floor which was half way up the fourteen story hotel. It would be easy access to either floor. I would have to run up the stairs one floor if we had a threat.
“Tomorrow I want you to clone her cell phone,” Wilson said.
“Wilson almost all the cell phones sold in the USA come from China. I bet you can’t clone hers,” I said. “I’m putting my money on the GPS target tracking system.”
“It’s going to be hard there is no automobile, since she is in a limo,” Wilson said.
“I’ll find somewhere,” I said. “Did you get my transport?”
“Yes it’s black with a trunk to hold the helmet. The key is with the parking lot attendant he was given twenty bucks and promised twenty more to deliver it safe to you,” Wilson explained. I had to trust him, but I would leave an hour early for the airport in case I had to drive the truck. I preferred the transport Wilson had arranged, but I wasn’t going to be without a back up plan.
I slept poorly since Wilson called me twice during the night to update me on things that he thought too important to wait. “It seems that Jing-a-ling has more enemies than I would have thought possible,” he said.
“Well Duh, that’s why you hire body guards,” I said.
“Well in addition to economic terrorist, and human rights terrorist, there are also members of the communist party who wouldn’t mind seeing her dead. Especially if it embarrassed the US Government. I hope you did a good job with those cameras the state department and CIA may sweep the rooms,” he said.
“I did what you told me. I plugged the fancy air fresheners into the wall plugs. Even if they find the camera in the heat vent they might miss the microphones,” I suggested.
“If they find one they will tear that room apart and you are going to have to make a run for it,” he said.
“Then monitor them closely,” I suggested. I could only hope that we hadn’t left too wide a trail for the Feds if they found things in that room. If they didn’t and nothing happened to Jing-a-ling then we were golden. If it went south, at least it wouldn’t be a black bag over the head and flight to Cuba for my summer vacation.
When I awoke that Friday morning, I was feeling like shit. I didn’t want to run, but I did anyway. From six till eight I ran through Atlanta’s downtown. At the same time it was preparing for the day. It might not be a day in paradise, but it was an interesting beginning. I have forgotten what it took to keep a big city going.
I got back to the hotel in time for a shower and a quick check of our equipment. I also called Wilson to be sure he was in place for the day’s events. “Hello Wilson, did you have a good night after you kept me up till 2 AM?” I asked.
“You didn’t go out running already did you?” he asked.
“Of course, now lets get cracking. We have an 11 am plane to meet,” I said.
“Alright I have you, and I swept Jing’s room. We are ready for anything, I hope.”
“I’m going to follow that limo and stay behind her till she gets inside. If you see a threat inside the lobby, I will go in, otherwise I have to park the scooter somewhere before I go in.”
“I got it. We went over this ten times last night,” he said.
I left for the airport on the scooter that was way more than the 50CC allowed for a no tag or insurance moped. It was possible that I would need it to go on the expressway coming from the airport. I sure hoped not since I might draw attention.
I parked the scooter on the driveway of the passenger pickup area but not near enough to the door to warrant the immediate attention of security. The scooter would look like an inconvenience to a guard not a threat.
I matched Jing to her picture as she walked down the passenger corridor. I got close to her at the baggage pick up area and tried to clone her phone. I didn’t wait for Wilson to tell me the results. I just planted a GPS target in the pocket of her jacket.
I waited until she was in the limo before I jumped on the scooter. I was just out of sight of the limo only a moment or two. I had a feeling there wasn’t too much danger of an RPG to the limo, but one never knew. I managed to get behind them as they left the airport.
It was tricky but I stayed in sight of it all the way to the hotel. “We are on the hotel site,” I said to Wilson.
“Everything looks fine from this angle,” Wilson said. I took him as his word so when Jing went inside I rode the scooter around to the rear. I parked it behind a dumpster. I advised the Asst Manager Janet of it. It was easy enough to explain. She had no idea that it wasn’t an Eco friendly moped that the CDC had begun using.
“Wilson I’m headed inside where is she?” I asked.
“She is still in the lobby getting it on with reporters. She is about to leave for her room. The clone didn’t work,” Wilson said.
“Shit I am shocked. Is the GPS tag active?” I asked.
“Yes but it won’t work until she leaves the hotel. It can’t tell room 808 from 909,” He informed me.
“Now you tell me,” I said.
“We can check the tape of her entering the room, then watch the live feed to make sure she doesn’t leave,” Wilson suggested.
“Wilson you watch her enter that room to make sure she goes into the right room then we take turns watching the door for who goes in or out. If we get even a hint of anything hinky, I am going to check into her room and stay with her. But my guess is if there is a hitter, it’s going to be in the cab or going into the conference hall,” I suggested. “Call that limo and determine if he is the one booked to take her to the conference.”
“Hold on I got her going into the room. Do you see it?” he asked.
“Yes I have her on the cell phone,” I said. “Okay she is in a safe place for now. Before I stop to breathe tell me that camera was labeled 8th floor?” I demanded.
“Yes it was labeled correctly,” Wilson said.
“Now check on that limo service,” I said. “Tell them you are from the State Department.”
There was no reason the Concierge would know about the CDC ID, so I went down to the desk to ask. “I’m Tina Timmons,” I said. “I’m with the State Department. The representative of the People’s Republic of China Miss Ting is staying here in room 808. Have you made her dinner reservation yet?” I asked.
“Yes I have,” he said.
“Just to catch me up what time and where,” I asked.
“I never give away those plans,” he said.
“You want to create an International incident, if that happens, guess who is going to swing. I assure you it won’t me be.” I was proud I had said that like a petty state department official. Just like those at the Benghazi hearings.
“Alright she is eating at the Bacchanalia at 8 PM.” he said.
“I would expect no less. Did you call for a car reservation?” I asked.
“She said not to do that. She wanted to take a cab off the street,” he said.
“Hold that thought,” I put in a call for Martin. “I’m going to need a cab with a State Department driver from the Security Team, at 8 PM tonight.”
“Got you,” Martin said. “How did you know I was going to have a backup team there?”
“Because it is what I would do. I have to go. Have the driver come to the Concierge desk and show his ID,” I said.
“Got it.” Martin said and rang off. He was obviously going to be busy getting it done by 8 PM.
Edited by Walt