The Omega Team: Cyber Tracked: The Cobra Project (Kindle Worlds Novella) (IATO Series Book 4)

Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.

This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Desiree Holt. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original The Omega Team remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Desiree Holt, or their affiliates or licensors.

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              CYBER TRACKED Blurb

 

Rowan O’Malley, descended from a long line of Irish Nationalists known for their affiliation with the NIRA, is wealthy, brilliant, and beautiful, but over time she’s learned to keep her distance from dangerous men.

The self-made businesswoman, and one of the most exceptional cyber hackers alive, dragged herself from the dark net and developed system security programs that can’t be broken.

When IATO [International Anti-Terrorist Organization] discovers what she’s capable of, they need her expertise to protect the international military security programs, but once the news about her new program gets out, there’s a billion dollar bounty on her head.

Cade James is assigned to get to her before the bounty hunters. His orders are to keep her alive and stop her from completing her newest project…or better yet buy it…but to do that he’ll need to win her trust and her trust doesn’t come easily.

The former SEAL has no idea how capable the fragile beauty is, physically and intellectually, but when his perfect fantasy woman is more willing to seduce him before trusting him with her life or her project he’s angry.

She’s going to take some convincing that his black-ops ghost group are the good guys, references or no references, especially since she can’t find a trace of them in any government or dark net system. And yet in spite of all that, for once she considers following her heart instead of her head. She hopes she isn’t wrong.

 

 

 

CYBER TRACKED:

The COBRA Project

 

by

 

Eliza March

 

 

IATO Series

 

 

Dedication

 

This book is dedicated to author Desiree Holt.

Prologue

Location: London’s East Silicon Roundabout

 

Rowan O’Malley came by her suspicious nature naturally. So she didn’t completely ignore the message she received from her father warning her to watch her back. She was always cautious. So the chill creeping up her spine made her wonder why this warning felt different from the hundreds of others she’d been issued over the years? Maybe Michael O’Malley should have thought less about his lifelong struggle with his father’s goal for peace in Northern Ireland and more  about the safety of his wife and child.

The NIRA claimed responsibility for the bombings still happening to this day. There were always old and new paramilitary factions waging campaigns against British security forces and the ceasefire. Years ago, Rowan’s grandfather had been an essential member of the IRA, jailed and eventually killed while trying to broker a peace agreement. Her own father worked to complete and finally fulfill her grandfather’s mission, but not before her mother became collateral damage in a demonstration gone wrong.

She’d learned a great many lessons from the men in her life. After her mother had been killed, her father’s enemies hoped it would prevent him from completing the peace agreement. Rowan learned never to put her safety in any man’s hands. The only one she trusted completely to take care of Rowan O’Malley was herself.

Instead of getting involved in the family business, she rebelled and took a different path—cyber hacking, which then eventually lead her to legal espionage. Mentored by a high-level government official, Rowan learned how to hack into the toughest systems legally, and eventually became the world’s most elusive but proficient program developer under an alias known as Dark Death.

What she managed under other aliases on the dark net never reached the media. She’d learned to be ever vigil when taking credit for any of her company’s ventures. She kept plenty of young talent around to pass the credit to.

Rowan considered her father’s message as she nodded to the doorman and entered her London office. She would call him later and determine the level of alert she should effect based on his information. There were plenty of places she could disappear, if it was warranted.

Her secretary handed her a stack of messages when she entered her suite of offices. Daniel shrugged. “I check marked the ones you should deal with. Your charities are all being handled by the team you assigned to work with the kids.”

Determined to cultivate her computer genius into a money making venture and provide jobs for the kids like her who’d grown up on the streets of Belfast, Rowan had done even better. She was the youngest and a uniquely philanthropic businesswomen in the world, developing and promoting opportunities, and until recently, had been satisfied with her life.

“Ah, you’re my angel, Daniel,” she kissed him on the cheek and he reacted with a blush from the praise and not from any interest on his part. Daniel’s tastes leaned toward tall muscular men with great asses. In that they were alike.

“Ah ’tis nothing, Rowan—”

“You’re my right hand, Daniel. How would I do all this without you?”

Flustered with the compliment, he tried to brush off his worth.

“Truly. You do everything I don’t want to do, and everything I haven’t the nature for. And you do it better and more efficiently than anyone I’ve ever had working for me. Make a note. I’m authorizing a raise for you.”

Lately, she’d been cultivating exceptional friends and co-workers. But as far as finding men to spend time with on an emotional level—not a bit. She’d grown tired of being alone; dating the men she dealt with on a day-to-day basis, or the ones she met through her business. They seemed shallow and too tame for someone with her background.

Where would she find a man who’d understand the adrenaline junkie driving her nature? The woman who loved living on the edge, challenging danger at every turn? It wasn’t just what she did for a living and what she loved, but where she came from. It had to do with the loneliness of losing her mother to a bomb and her father to a cause. She’d had a dark secret past but couldn’t discuss and lived with a cleaned up version. Nevertheless, her life was full of too many secrets. Too many lies.

Chapter
One
– IATO

Washington, D.C.

 

Emily DesJardins, Cyber Division head of the International Anti-Terrorist Organization, twisted around in her seat and sighed as her husband, Jason, IATO’s director, entered her office and closed the door behind him.

“What’s so urgent and so secretive?” He scooped her out of her seat for a kiss and stopped as soon as he saw the frown.

“Jason, there’s some interesting chatter on the dark net.” Emily pulled a report off the printer and handed it to him before returning to her console.

He took the papers from her. “Is ‘chatter’ a euphemism for ‘we’re fucked’?”

“Rumors are flying. Someone may be creating just the cyber security system we need, but if we want it, we’ll be competing against some of the most dangerous cartels in the world.”

“If it exists, what choice do we have? We have to find it before it falls into the wrong hands or the risk becomes even greater, right?” He always had a way of getting to the heart of a situation.

“If it’s only the rumored security system, it wouldn’t be much of a threat. But I think it’s more,” Emily said, hoping she was mistaken.

As Jason took a seat across from her, he ran a firm hand through his dark wavy hair. “What could it be and how exactly is it a threat?”

“There’s a woman from Northern Ireland whose name keeps popping up. Her background is sketchy at best, but in relationship to this project, she could be the one who’s working on it. At the very least, she’s involved in some way and we should try to meet with her.”

“What’s her story?” Jason ran the entire International Anti-Terrorist Organization for a reason. Emily’s father had been killed as part of an anti-terrorist situation. He took his job very seriously. They both did.

“Presently, she’s a reputable business woman, well-known for her charitable work for the city of Belfast and upstart computer businesses in the Netherlands. But her darker past is only known to a few. She’s a former dark net hacker brought in as a teen to work for British Intelligence. From what I’ve observed on the web, her name is revered among the cyber geeks. She’s a brilliant developer. I ran a deep background check on her and came up with some startling information.”

Jason leaned forward. “What?”

“From what I’ve seen of her latest programs and the research, I believe someone—and it is either her or people working for her—who may be creating a super-fast, invasive system hack, one that leaves no footprint of having been there.”

“Okay, dumb it down for me. This isn’t exactly my area of expertise. I’m not my brother. Cade should be in on this. But for now, explain this on my level, please.”

“I have a call in.” While Emily explained, Jason flipped through pages of data. “Can’t we create a fire-wall or something to block it?”

Emily tried not to roll her eyes. She loved her husband who came with a list of credentials from Naval Intelligence, CIA, and NSA to the IATO, but this was well beyond his level of computer jargon. He recognized his own limitations and deferred to those who were experts in their own fields.

“It’s not a virus or a worm, either. I’m concerned it mimics the invaded system like a mirror image, and then reverts taking the whole system over. The real problem enters the picture if speed is a factor. We have nothing that can detect it fast enough to counteract it.”

“What kind of targets are we looking at?” Jason slapped the papers against his leg.

“The targets and systems at risk could be anything from banking to personal security, but the banks and personal security are the least of our worries. Our greatest concerns are the global satellites and military systems. Your brother may know more.”

Cade James background was in cyber security. Like his brother, he had an impressive list of letters after his name, but his experience as a SEAL and his former work with the CIA covered bases IATO needed in the leader of their cyber security division.

Emily continued, “All I know is we don’t have any security measures in place that can react quickly enough to defend all we’ll need. Everything could be at risk.”

“I know we’re devoted to working on our cyber defense systems, but the third world countries are behind. Food and water are bigger issues for them than fighting cyber espionage.” Jason had to manage the council and the council came to the table with multiple issues. This wasn’t the UN. Unpolitical, IATO had to fight their battle in secret. Fortunately, funding from private donors and corporations with big financial incentives kept the fight on terrorism funded on all fronts.

“As fast as we develop one thing, another issue pops up,” Emily said. “It’s worse than rain pouring through an old thatched roof.”

“I hate the idea the international defense systems are so fragile because of the third world weak links, but that’s what we have to deal with.” Jason had done as much as he could to get support from every country in the coalition, but the terrorists were multiplying faster than roaches. “Hear anything from Cade?”

She checked her phone. “No answer yet.”

“And your assessment of the situation is…?”

“Dire. Critical. An emergency of the first order. We need this woman on our side, but she’s apparently very illusive. Cade will need all his charm and then some. A reference wouldn’t hurt.” Emily smiled. “That’s where you come in. I think a the member of the Omega team may know her.”

Jason briefly looked over Emily’s data, again. “I’ll call Grey.”

“How much will you discuss with him?”

“He knows about us. I trust him with this.”

“Then that says enough.” Emily patted her husband’s hand. “I saw some of the old players in the system fishing for information too, while I was in the dark net browsing. Grey will be interested to know that Snake’s looking at this system too, but his lackeys don’t have as much intel as we do about the program developer and where or if the program actually exists. The terrorists have as much at stake as we do, so if Snake can get them this system—”

“Hey, if we gather any intel on Snake, and we’re able to share it, Grey would jump at a chance at him without any strings attached.”

The illegal arms dealer who’d sold illegal weapons in Afghanistan was responsible for taking out one of Grey’s team members. Omega’s dark ops group had had multiple dealings with Snake in the past, and Grey Holden wanted him badly. If IATO delivered information to help Omega capture him, any information the Omega team had would be at their disposal.

“The terrorists are looking for something to take out our defense systems in the Middle East. Snake was contacted and informed about IMTC interest by an underling for a higher member of the International Muslim Terrorist Coalition.”

“Who discovered the existence of this project in the dark net?”

“Someone named Ahmet.” She grinned as the light in Jason’s eyes suddenly came alive. “Coincidence?” he asked.

“I doubt it.” The net tightened. Ahmet had been the one who’d identified her father to the arms dealer they took down a few years before. “There are plenty of interested parties tracking the info through the dark net chatter. Ahmet apparently has a contact in the NIRA that could tie his interest to this woman.”

“Snake has a lot at stake. What he’ll plan to do is put an astronomical price on finding whoever is developing the program. He won’t kill the golden goose but he will find a way to force the person to work for his group. Consequences?” Jason asked.

“If this is what I think it is, and this O’Malley woman is the one developing it…she’s worth more alive.”

“Right. They’ll leverage her to work for them.” Jason paced for a minute thinking aloud, he said, “They can torture her for the password to get into the system she created. It won’t be long before they find out what we know, and someone with additional information just may decide to assassinate her.”

“Or if Snake doesn’t get to her, he’ll up the price on Rowan to be brought in alive. Ahmet has contacts in the Northern Ireland Republican Army. He could make a bombing look related to her father. Put a scare into her.”

“He’ll need her alive.” Jason waved it off the idea of them killing her for now. “Emily, what else aren’t you telling me?”

“Ah, there’s some other rather interesting info. Our old friend, Ahmet who is in contact with Snake keeps in contact with another man I keep seeing on the dark net who’s also looking for information.” Emily paused then went on slowly. “I think the other man is Mosel. If Ahmet’s trying to get his hands on this project for Snake, we have to stop him, and Mosel may be the perfect contact for us.”

“If Mosel’s out there, we don’t want to jeopardize him. Don’t say anything about this to anyone, unless we have to.” Jason pointed at his wife. “You try Cade again. If he doesn’t answer we’ll go get him.”

“What do you plan to do? Stop Rowan and force her to work for us?”

“Not if we don’t have to.” He shook his head. “If we’re sure it’s her, we need a direct contact to meet with her and convince her IATO is the only organization that can prevent the program’s misuse. Cade needs to handle it… He has the perfect credentials for a cyber-paramilitary operation.”

“If you say so.” Emily smirked. “His charm and good looks won’t hurt either.”

“I’ll contact Grey.” Jason didn’t respond to the comment about Cade. Everyone knew Cade’s reputation for being a ladies’ man. But Jason understood his true strength of character.

Five minutes later, Jason contacted Grey and his wife, Athena, to go over the information Emily discovered, and arranged for Cade to meet with the Omega team member who personally knew O’Malley. The woman, Jacqui Lyles worked directly with Rowan O’Malley on an undercover cyber security op.

Emily handed her secure phone to Jason and mouthed, “Cade.” He picked it up and gave his brother all the important details, along with the location and time to meet with Jacqui. Then he added his parting words, “And don’t bother flirting. Both of the women you’ll be meeting with are happily married. Save the charm for O’Malley. You’ll need it.”

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