Read Edge of Tomorrow Online

Authors: Wolf Wootan

Tags: #thriller, #assassin, #murder, #international, #assassinations, #high tech, #spy adventure

Edge of Tomorrow (8 page)

By 1973, the first international connections
came into being in London and Norway. By 1981, ARPANET had 213
hosts, and new hosts were being added rapidly—approximately one
every three weeks—and the term Internet came into use in 1982. In
1986, Soup Campbell suggested to Hatch that Triple Eye become a
host and use the huge resources of the Internet to transfer
information from around the world. Hatch approved.

In early 1986, rumors began surfacing that
the CIA would get a Cray supercomputer. Hatch met with Soup and
discussed the possibility that the CIA would pull out of Triple Eye
when they got such computing power. Soup had a possible solution if
they acted quickly. His mentor at MIT, Dr. Robert Mills, had
discussed concepts with Soup about a new approach to computer speed
and architecture. What Dr. Mills was lacking was money to prove his
concepts. After meeting with Dr. Mills, Hatch hired him to start a
new company: Lincoln Research and Development. That move, more than
any other, proved to be the beginning of the rise of the Lincoln
empire. Dr. Mills would later be tagged with the nickname “Toy
Master,” since he became so adept at inventing ways to build the
“toys” Hatch kept dreaming up.

Using several millions of Triple Eye’s money,
Dr. Mills was able to create not only a new, molecular-sized one
gigahertz computer, he also devised denser and faster memories for
his fast processors. By the middle of 1987—when the CIA took
delivery of their Cray computer—Triple Eye had a multiprocessor
system that surpassed anything in existence. Soup rewrote the
operating system to take advantage of the new system, and the vast
amounts of memory now available. The intelligence community clients
could not come close to matching the performance offered by Triple
Eye, so business grew at Triple Eye instead of waning.

By 1992, Dr. Mills and Soup Campbell had
developed desktop and laptop computers that were faster—and had
more memory—than any other in existence. Hatch launched Lincoln
Computers, and began taking over the computer market like a
hurricane. An initial public offering (IPO) raised millions of
dollars that could be used by Dr. Mills to pursue other items of
research on Hatch’s wish list.

• • •

Hatch’s reverie was disturbed as Lili
joined him on the lanai. She was dressed in a skimpy bikini, and
she had brushed her long, black hair and tied it back in a pony
tail. She was a
very
beautiful woman. She sat her mug next to Hatch’s and leaned
over and kissed him.

“I can’t believe the weekend is nearly over
again, Hatch,” she pouted.

She was a flight attendant for an
international carrier, and she had a flight leaving Honolulu at 6
o’clock that evening. Hatch would whisk her to Honolulu in his
personal Gulf Stream V jet in time to make her flight.

In a way, as much as he enjoyed his sexual
interludes with Lili, Hatch was glad it was time for her to leave.
She tended to get a little possessive, and was obviously seeking a
more permanent commitment from him. He was not ready for that
yet.

“We have a few more hours, Lili. We’ll leave
around 4 o’clock and get you to your flight in plenty of time,”
smiled Hatch.

She looked at the watch on her slim wrist and
said, “I can’t drink after twelve o’clock, so I think I’ll have a
Bloody Mary now. Want one, too, sweetie?”

“Sure, why not? You make such a good one!
Give me extra Spanish olives in mine,” he laughed.

She arose and padded barefoot back into the
cabana. Hatch continued his reverie.

• • •

In 1990, two events caused another change in
the direction Hatch took. The first was the collapse of the USSR.
The entity that Hatch had spent his life fighting dissolved into
fragments, each new nation a problem in itself.

The second was the hiring of Thomas Tenneson,
a digital communications expert recommended by Dr. Mills. Tenneson
began applying Mill’s computer and memory technology to the
development of an advanced, secure communications satellite—as well
as several related gadgets.

This solved a problem that had been eating at
Hatch. The Internet was no longer a viable method for moving the
massive amounts of confidential data required to feed the Triple
Eye intelligence machine. Even though Triple Eye had the most
powerful data processing engine in the world, the other servers in
the system were slow and communication rates were generally low.
Another problem was, as the Internet grew, the arrival of crippling
“viruses” and the hacker. Hatch wanted more security and a lot more
speed in data transfers. He believed satellite communications was
the answer—satellites under his control.

In late 1993, he had four satellites in
orbit, and the conversion to that form of communication was
underway. Lincoln Communications was born.

• • •

Lili returned with two beautifully garnished
Bloody Marys. Hatch took a sip of his and popped a Spanish olive in
his mouth, then said, “Umm! Excellent, Lili! You have the
touch!”

“Hot enough?” she smiled, a wicked glint in
her eye.

“Yes, you are! Oh, you mean …” he laughed as
he ogled her lithe body. “The Bloody Mary is just right, too!”

He lit another cigarette and exhaled slowly.
Lili put her left leg up on his knee and he absently ran his hand
up and down her long, smooth leg.

• • •

The crumbling of the Soviet Union was
heralded as the end of the cold war. That may have been true
semantically, but the emerging conflicts that replaced it were an
even greater challenge to the world’s intelligence organizations:
the global economic and technology wars. The era of the “digital
spy” had arrived, and Hatch’s companies were better prepared to
fight this type of war than anyone else. As his business volume
grew, so did his capabilities. More communication/spy satellites
were launched, and data gathering and processing offices were added
worldwide. No intelligence organization could match Triple Eye’s
ability to gather, filter, and analyze data. His main clients, of
course, were the intelligence arms of the U.S., but all NATO
countries were allowed to buy limited functions from Triple
Eye.

The assassin’s target had also changed.
Killing an enemy agent was no longer as effective as killing the
enemy’s ability to access, process, and analyze data. Namely, his
computer and communication systems. The new assassin’s expertise on
the shooting range was less important than his knowledge of the
intricacies of digital devices and what made them tick—or more
importantly,
not
tick.

• • •

Lili wiggled her toes as Hatch’s hand rubbed
the inside of her thigh and bumped against her crotch. She made a
noise that sounded like a cat purring.

“That feels scrumptious!” she murmured. “Why
don’t we take this inside?”

“We have time before you have to leave.”

“Are you saying you don’t want
me
right now
?!” she exclaimed
with a wicked smile.

“You talked me into it,” he laughed as he
followed her into the bedroom. Her bikini bra hit the floor at the
door, and the bottoms a step later. She stretched out on the bed
again and he joined her, taking one of her pert nipples into his
mouth.

 

Chapter 8

 

The White House, Washington D.C.

Monday, January 29, 2001

9:00 A.M.

 

Mr. West was ushered into the Oval Office by
a Secret Service agent, who then left and closed the door behind
him. The new President stood up from his desk and offered his
hand.

“How do you do, Mr. West?” said the
President.

“I am well, Mr. President. I appreciate you
seeing me, what with your very busy schedule,” replied Mr.
West.

“Well, the Deputy Director of Intelligence of
the CIA insisted on it. He says you have something of great
importance to discuss with me,” he said in his cheery, political
voice. He was convinced that this was a waste of time, but he did
not want to offend the DDI. He was new at this job, after all.

“Before we start, Mr. President, if you will
allow me,” stated Mr. West. He opened his briefcase and took out a
small device with a short antenna on it. He turned on a switch and
began walking around the Oval Office, watching a small display.

“If you are sweeping for bugs, Mr. West, you
are wasting your time. The Secret Service does that every morning,”
scoffed the President.

“I know, Mr. President, but not with an
instrument like this. I can tell, for example, that there are nine
telephone lines terminating in this office. There are six here on
your desk phone, and one to the hot phone, so there must be two
more somewhere. Ah, this desk drawer here. A private two-line
phone?” West queried.

“Amazing! Yes, that is my private phone. Most
people do not know about it.”

“Well, everything else seems clear. May I sit
down, sir?” asked West.

“Please do,” answered the President,
indicating a chair in front of his desk.

“What I am going to tell you is for your ears
only. You must not tell anyone else; otherwise, the benefits you
can experience from what I reveal to you will be null and void. You
will be skeptical at first, but please hear me out.”

“I feel like I am in an episode of Fantasy
Island, or the Twilight Zone.”

West took what looked to be a blue cellular
phone out of his briefcase and put it on the President’s desk. The
President’s face acquired his practiced puzzled look.

West continued, “This phone, which we will
refer to as the ‘Blue Phone,’ is a very special device which can be
your link to a very special problem solver. Without going into
technical details, this phone connects to a private communications
satellite system; it is fully encrypted and scrambled so that no
one else in the world, including your own NSA people, can intercept
and decode its signal.”

“That’s hard to believe,” interjected the
President.

“Take my word for it. Conversations you have
on this phone will be completely secure. Also, to insure against
the unlikely possibility that someone else finds out about the
phone and tries to use it pretending to be you, your voice print
will be entered into our system while I am here, so we will always
know it is you on the phone.”

“This is all very interesting, Mr. West, but
why do I need this phone? I have more secure phones than anyone
else in the world! Are you some kind of phone salesman? I can’t
believe the DDI set up this meeting!” said a very irritated
president.

“No! Bear with me, Mr. President. I am not
selling you anything! The Blue Phone is a gift, but its only
significance is its ability to connect you to a person with great
problem solving powers. You see this button? When you push that,
you will be connected to ‘Bob,’ not his real name, but a man who
will discuss your problems with you. He is apolitical, so politics
do not enter into his decision making process. You, however, must
consider the political impact, national and international, of every
decision you make.”

“That is certainly true!” agreed the man
behind the desk. “But I still don’t see how that helps me in any
way.”

“I will try and make that clear in a moment.
Another important concept to be considered here is that of
‘complete deniability.’ If you, let’s say, had a very difficult
international decision to make, and what you wanted to do was the
right thing to do, in your opinion, but was politically impossible,
what are your options? If you do the right thing and it is found
out it was you who gave the order, you commit political
suicide—maybe even start World War III.”

“I have a few problems like that facing me as
we speak.”

“Precisely. But let us suppose you could have
a private conversation, one that no one knows you had, with an
understanding person. No actions suggested, no orders issued, just
a discussion of the problem.”

“You mean with someone like Bob,” suggested
the President.

“That is perceptive,” smiled West. “After an
interesting discussion, you’ll feel better just talking about it,
and Bob says, ‘Sorry you have so many problems, Mr. President, but
call me anytime.’ Then he hangs up. Suppose, just suppose, that the
problem, all of a sudden, gets solved. The affected Nations are
screaming their heads off, but the U. S. has no involvement. You
have complete deniability. In fact, you have no idea how the
problem was solved, or by whom.”

“This ‘Bob’ has the power to do things like
that?”

“Some problems cannot be solved even by Bob.
Or he may decide he doesn’t want to be involved. But either way, a
quiet conversation can’t hurt anything, can it?”

“Just what kind of problems can this ‘Bob’
solve?” asked the President, still skeptical.

“Well, we need to get your voice print into
our system for security reasons, so why don’t you chat with him and
ask him that question?”

“Fine. What’s next?” asked the Chief
Executive, glancing at his watch.

Mr. West picked up the Blue Phone and punched
the dial button. When a connection was made, a voice answered.

“This is Bob.”

“Hello, Bob, this is West. I’m going to put
the President on. He would like to speak with you.”

Mr. West handed the phone to the
President.

“Hello, Bob. Mr. West has been spinning an
unbelievable yarn about your extraordinary problem solving powers.
Is this entire thing a hoax?” wondered the President.

“No, Mr. President, it is definitely not a
hoax. How many problems, and which ones, will get solved this way
is yet to be seen. This is an experiment on my part. All I ask of
you is to discuss your difficult problems with me from time to
time—only the ones which you can’t solve easily. Never give me
orders, or even suggestions. You should maintain absolute
deniability at all times. You will never know who I am, or whether
I was instrumental in solving a problem, or whether the problem
merely solved itself. But sometimes, wishing a problem would go
away works.”

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