By Cindy and Walt
We were lead to, of all things a Washington DC taxi. “Where did you get this?” I asked.
“We have our ways,” Andrew said handing Jeremy the keys. “You should be in DC in time for an early dinner. While you are on the road read the file and figure out how to scam the Good Father. Your equipment is in the trunk, don’t worry, if you get pulled over there is nothing that looks like what it is.”
“Thanks Andrew,” Jeremy said. I knew what Andrew was doing, even if Jeremy didn’t. He was trying to encourage Jeremy’s influence in the team. He was insinuating Jeremy was in charge of the equipment and technical details. I didn’t mind, since I hated that shit.
As we headed out on the almost ten hour drive, I was busy with the file and the computer. There were few hot spots along the way, so the file was pretty extensive. The Good Father had been dismissed from the church due to his political activism. He just wouldn’t leave it seemed. He went to his homeless shelter everyday in his priest collar to meet with agents and immigrants alike. So said the file.
“The Good Father has lost his church’s support so how is he living?” I asked out loud.
“My guess is he is a millionaire collecting money over the Internet from famous leftist,” Alice said. She was reading her own copy of the file as we rode in the back seat of the taxi. “It says here he has a Facebook page which gives a Paypal account for supporters to donate to the good works. You did see his photograph?”
“Yes he is rather kind and humble, but it doesn’t hurt that he is good looking. Well he is good looking in that hard life kind of way,” I suggested. “So if he no longer has to conform to the church doctrine, he is free to pursue his more base emotions.”
“The file does not mention any sexual proclivities,” Alice said.
“It also doesn’t say he lives a simple celibate life either,” I said. “The address listed for him is a condo in the burbs. He does his good work with the poor from relative comfort,” I commented. “Never heard of Alberta Va.”
“According to this,” Alice said waving the report at me. “It’s a suburb of Washington like Arlington only smaller. It has a very large Hispanic population. Mostly illegals I would imagine.”
“That would make the Good Father very popular with the lefties,” I said.
“Did you read the forensic accounting report?” Alice asked.
“No but I will,” I replied. I scanned the report quickly. “It appears the Good Father gave in to skimming. A charity is a good way to launder money as well. So it seems being a revolutionary pays well. His youth hostel, the homeless shelter and the comfort kitchen for the homeless all lumped together take less than 25% of his incoming funds. The rest just languish in the off shore account of the Good Father. So he is not keeping to his vow of poverty. He probably isn’t keeping any of his other vows either.
“I’ve been reading the methods of the drug backed rebels. If they take the ambassador it will be to get something changed about the government’s drug program. They have an incentive to return him relatively unharmed. That being the case, they will need a place to stash him. Somewhere the FBI won’t look. They will also need someone to help them get around since they are strangers,” Alice said.
“The Good Father,” I suggested. “Unless the bad guys hire US talent. In that case they will have their own assets and safe houses. We can infiltrate the Good Father’s operation. Then we will need to hope that Swamp Dog or Church Camp get the killer elite crew identified. No telling how long we will have to sit on this,” I said.
“Okay so job one is to bug the shit out of the Good Father’s operation,” Jeremy said.
“No, job one is to locate the places to bug, then to find a central place to set up a listening post,” I said. I recognized that I was beginning to sound like the crew from the Church Camp.
“So what do we need,” Alice asked.
“Well several bugs in his condo for sure, the offices of his hostel and homeless shelter. The comfort kitchen needs a bug as well. We need to clone his telephone and put a GPS marker on his car. Those same places need as many camera’s as possible,” I suggested.
My cell phone rang. “Hello,” I said. Since it was the burner, I knew it was from one of ours.
“Stop by the airport at 11 PM tonight and meet your computer genius in the general aviation waiting room. His name is Wilson and he will set up the computer system and then fly out again. He is not an ops guy,” Sylvia Porter said.
“You are going for broke on this one,” I suggested.
“We are going to be playing defense most of this game, so we need all the help we can get,” she answered. Then she was just gone without a goodbye even.
“We are going to have a package at the general aviation desk at the airport tonight at 11 PM. So we need to find a cave in the center of things before then,” I said to Jeremy and Alice.
“Okay,” Jeremy said. “That isn’t going to give us much time.”
“Looks like drive thru food in the cab for the rest of the day,” I said. We had gotten pretty far into the files by the time we stopped for gas and food at noon. Lunch was a not too awful hot dog and chips for me. Jeremy and Alice found a box of equally uninspired fried chicken at the deli counter of the convenience mega store.
We held off on dinner until we arrived in Alberta Va. The GPS led us to the condo occupied by the Good Father. It turned out to be not the small condo we expected but a large townhouse style condo. It had to be either 3/4 or a million bucks easy. The Good Father was doing well for himself. That fact didn’t make it into the website asking for contributions.
Still it was a fact and had to be treated as a potential crime scene. Someone was going to be helping the out of town pros. If it was the Good Father, no telling what other illegal acts might take place in his condo.
Two miles from the upscale gated condominium project was the city’s little Havana district. The residents were from all over South America, even a few from Cuba. It was also the poorest of the poor, even for an area whose poverty rate was well over 16%. The good that the father did was needed, but he could have done more with the contributions of the bleeding hearts.
Unfortunately it wasn’t my job to steal his money and redistribute his wealth. My job was to keep someone from being kidnapped by radicals. Actually it was the Swamp Team who were tasked with that chore. Mine was simply to gather information and hold it for a rainy day.
Jeremy went from the condo to the homeless shelter. It was in a historic looking building. “Alice you are better with the files than me, what is the story on the shelter?” I asked.
It took her about two minutes during which time Jeremy drove around so that I could see all parts of the building. I could see three exit doors in the building. It would not be easy to assault the building, if that became necessary. The building was about three times bigger than any shelter I had ever seen.
“The building was a catholic elementary school for the DC area from 1953 till it was closed in 2005. It was later sold to the charity that is really the Good Father,” Alice informed me.
“They probably don’t use the top floor. A good place to stash a kidnapped victim. Easy access through any of the three doors without going through the front. It would be a nightmare to bug it all. Maybe we can just put some cameras on the doors. They wouldn’t be carrying anyone through the front, so we could save a camera there I thought with a chuckle. This was going to be a hell of an expensive operation, I thought.
The comfort kitchen was in the old lunchroom of the school. So that was one less location to bug. When I read out the address for the youth hostel it was the residence hall which faced a different street, but was on the same property. The kids were screwing in a former nunnery, I thought.
“Okay Jeremy we have one hour to find a place to bed down and get to the airport to pick up our hacker. Let’s get a move on,” I said.
“I saw one of those Greenwood Suites things about two blocks from the condos,” Alice said.
“Okay let’s drive right to it and get checked in,” I suggested.
I used Andrew’s prepaid card to pay a week for a two bedroom suite at the Greenwood. We got the key, but had to leave immediately for the airport. The small plane landed, taxied up to the terminal and the older man stepped down. From all the crap we see on TV I was shocked to see Wilson. I expected a hacker to be around twenty years old, but Wilson was almost seventy. I sure hoped he didn’t have to run a mile or two. “Wilson?” I asked when we met.
“Yeah you Lillian?” he asked.
“Yeah this beautiful chick is Alicia and the pretty dude is Jimmy,” I said.
“Right,” so lets get this crap in the car and get moving,” he said.
We loaded two large boxes into the trunk of the cab. It was a good thing we didn’t bring anything much of our own. It was filled with tools nothing else. Wilson’s tools required that we repack the trunk to make a little more room.
“So Jimmy, we need to go to Walmart and buy some clothes,” I suggested.
“Wilson, you want to go with us. We won’t take too long,” I suggested.
“No let me get set up in the suite, while you guys do that. I have already gotten into their site and planted a piece of Spyware. I can access some of their security items remotely, so I can be set up by the time you get back,” he said.
“We are going to go in with you just to check the place. Then we will head out to the store,” I said when Jeremy pulled up in front of the suite. While they unloaded I took a quick look around.
“We need to hide this thing and get a plain car,” I said about the taxi.
“I think you need to go back to the scooter like last time. It would be easy to maneuver and to hide when not in use. We can pick up one tomorrow,” Jimmy said.
“That might work, but I’m thinking we need to get into the shelter somehow. The people who operate it will be suspicious, if they know what’s going on with the Good Father,” I said.
“I’m sure the Good Father doesn’t trust them with that kind of information,” he said.
“I think what you need to do is go in as some mid level government agency’s bureaucrat,” Alice said.
“That is an idea. I’m sure the charity is tax exempt. Wilson can check to be sure. If they are I can be an IRS inspector. They wouldn’t refuse me access to anything, if they are legit,” I said.
“That would work. I will also try to figure out a way to plant our bugs,” Jimmy said.
“Oh I know how you are going to do that,” I suggested.
“Don’t tell me,” he said.
“You get to spend tomorrow night in the shelter as a homeless guy. Go in with a pocket full of bugs and leave them lying around here and there. I’ll put the ones in the offices, when I inspect their tax status,” I suggested. Jeremy drove us to Walmart where we each bought clothes for a week.
It was well after midnight when we returned to the suite. Wilson was sitting at the dining room table, which was the size of a card table. It was a bit steadier, but I wouldn’t put the Christmas turkey on it.
“So Wilson the hunter, the gatherers return,” I said trying to play nice.
“Well I’m in their system,” he said.
“Can you tell if they ever had any trouble with the IRS?” I asked.
“That is going to take a while reading their email. What am I looking for specifically?” he asked.
“We want to go into the place tomorrow as inspectors of some kind, we need access to every part of the building to plant bugs. We are planning to roach bomb it,” I said.
“Do you really want to do that or would open microphones in each room be satisfactory?” he asked. “I think I remember they have an off site monitoring system. These days those require cameras and microphones in each room.
“Check it out and let me know please,” I said.
“Make it a building inspector and I can make you some ID’s in an hour or so.” he said. They won’t be great but they will be good enough I expect. But they may want to call the Good Father as you call him. So the person you send may be blown for the rest of the operation. You will also need an unmarked car.”
“Thanks Wilson, we will keep that in mind. Now I’m going to bed if you want you can sleep on the couch or share the bed with me,” I said.
“Now that isn’t much of a choice is it. Where are the blankets stored?” he asked.
“Spread out and look for extra blankets for Wilson,” I said. Wilson was going to be one of those people who really piss me off. He was going to be constantly offering unsolicited advice, I could tell. The only bad thing was that it would be good advice. It couldn’t just be ignored. We were going to need a plain newer car for a few hours.
When we were alone I said to Jeremy, “We are going to need to steal a car then drop it off after our visit to the Good Father’s shelter. What do you think of the rental car parking facility, like we have done before.”
“No sleep for the wicked,” he replied. Then he said to Wilson, “How long would it take you to hack into the National car rental parking lot’s security camera system.”
“Too long and I have too many other things to do. You are going to have to do it old school,” he said. His answer just pissed me off, but I fought back the urge to tell him to fuck off. I knew he was going to be a necessary evil.
“Come on Jeremy, let’s go steal a car,” I suggested.
We found the National parking lot at Dulles international airport. I just walked into the lot with my hair up in a knit cap and heavy eyeglasses. I went to the smallest car in the lot. Using the dealer’s master key, I made short work of stealing it and driving away. The Glasses with the heavy black frames and the large one way reflective lenses were going to make facial recognition software useless. One other thing would hamper recognition from the cameras. Jeremy was shining a laser pointer into the lens. It most likely burned out the optics. We parked the car in a parking lot several blocks from the motel for the next five hours. There was almost a zero chance of it being missed and spotted so quickly, but nonetheless we didn’t want to take the chance.
Wilson was still sitting at the computer, when we returned to the suite. Alice had been the only one sleeping. We decided that she was going to be the inspector, so she needed her rest. The rest of us would try to sleep after all the surveillance crap was up and running.
Jeremy joined her in bed. I stayed with Wilson. Just to be sure he didn’t steal the silver, I thought to myself.
“There, Alice’s ID is ready. I am going to put a bit of malware into the city computer system. It will last till they do a sweep. It might take them an hour or a year to sweep a city system. When a phone is transferred to the planning office, it will ring twice on this phone,” he said handing it to me. “Then it will ring in the office. If someone answers it here within two rings, it will never go to the office. To know, we will have to monitor the homeless shelter’s phones, which I have done since they are using one of those new Internet phones systems.”
“Wilson all that is interesting, but you could have save a lot of words if you had said I can answer the planning board’s phone when the shelter calls about Alice if they do,” I said.
“That wouldn’t be any fun. I like to show off how smart I am,” he said smiling.
If he knew that much about himself, maybe he wouldn’t be so bad after all. I thought. What I said was, “Okay, I’m off to bed. You can join me if you want. I don’t have a gun.” Yeah it was a bit lame, but I went to bed right after saying it so there wouldn’t much of a problem. He also chose to sleep on the sofa.
The three of us slipped out to a real waffle house for breakfast, leaving Wilson to sleep. None of us showered first so as not to wake him. The French cologne Alice wore didn’t smell any better than my Dial deodorant after two days.
“We brought coffee,” I said to Wilson as he stirred. “So how was the sofa?”
“Not bad. It was meant for the third bed in this suite so it’s okay. Call the desk and tell them no maid service while we are here,” Wilson reminded me. He also reminded me why I was upset with him from the night before.
“So what you got going on?” I asked.
“The surveillance of the shelter is up and running. The youth hostel is a bit trickier. Since there are bedrooms, they didn’t want cameras or audio. If the Good Father decided to take the girl in there, we won’t be able to tell.”
“Then that is where he will take her,” I said. Alice you will need to put bugs in the hostel. Then we are going to need cameras on the back door. I don’t think they would go in the front when they could drive to the rear,” I said looking at the floor plan Wilson had pulled up.
“It would be nice if you could get a camera on this pole,” Wilson suggested changing the view to a site plan showing the utility pole in the rear that fed both the nunnery and the shelter. Since the shelter was covered it would only need one camera for the nunnery.
Okay Wilson. Alice is going in as a building inspector and Jeremy is going in as a homeless man so that leaves me or you to scale that pole. Want to flip a coin?” I asked. I was pretty sure no matter what he said I would not allow a 70 year old man to go up a pole. That was especially true since he was more valuable than me.
“The way that pole is sitting you won’t have to go up too high to get coverage,” Wilson said.
“It has to look normal, if they do a visual sweep of the grounds. We are going to need a better spot. How about that tree about ten feet from the pole. It is closer to the door. If I can find a branch above ground level with a clear view, that should do it. I can put the repeater in another branch or in a take out bag from a burger joint. There are several of those in the yard.”
“That does seem a little less dangerous,” Wilson said. Alice took the credit card and went to an upscale discount store to buy her outfit for the inspector gig. She arrived at the shelter at 3 PM. Wilson intercepted a call from the manager and explained the spot check to him.
It was 5 PM when Alice showed up with the car. While she was reporting to Wilson and helping complete the surveillance system, Jeremy and I returned the car to the parking lot. I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t be noticed.
We returned it in the failing light, but not full night so it wouldn’t be suspicious. I tried to look like a bored employee as they were the most likely to park those cars.
When we got back to the suite there was no time left to insert Jeremy. He would have had to be in the shelter by 6 PM to sign up for a bed. We had missed it because I wanted to see what information Alice brought.
About all we learned was there was a staff of three, a Manager and two Security Officers. During the morning after a shower, if they wanted one, the men ate breakfast at the comfort kitchen. The kitchen allowed the community to come in without being pre-qualified. I was counting on Jeremy giving me more information about the operation the next night.
It seemed like we barely had time to get Wilson fed before he was flying out. He explained that the clone phone thing would have to be done before we would have complete coverage. We saw him climb into the small aircraft and take off for wherever he called home.
After he left Jeremy and I had a talk about how to clone the Good Father’s phone. We just had to get within five feet while he was on it. If Jeremy couldn’t do it at the shelter, I would have to try it. I really didn’t want to show my face so soon, but it might become necessary.
Alice had been home watching the camera and listening to the microphones while we delivered Wilson. I was really anxious to see what was going on inside the shelter for myself. I figured I would take the next turn at the listening post.
“Lillian, Alicia and I are going to go get her something to eat, unless there is something we need to be doing?” Jeremy asked.
“No, but don’t be gone all night, I have to go place a camera after midnight,” I informed him. I watched the cameras for two hours before the two of them came back. When the other members of the team returned, I explained that I had watched but seen nothing worth while.
“We need to clone the Good Father’s phone and plant some bugs in his house. There is a pretty weak security system, but it’s good enough to catch a burglar and to get us on film, if we approach the house night or day. So how do we get in the house and clone his phone at the same time?” I asked.
Since no one had an answer. I made a pot of coffee in the coffee maker that we bought at Walmart. I could do a lot of things for the team, but go through a whole day without coffee was not one of them.