Breed Book 4, Part 31


Mahmoud was concentrating, navigating the cell towers in search of any clues.  

“Mikaela said she was using burners, if that helps,” Rox said.

“Only if she bought up all the burner phones on the East Coast, and she even is on the East Coast,” he said, trying to maintain his concentration. “But Mikaela also said she was cautious, bordering on paranoid. I’ve found four phones she used once in the last nine months, no connection, other than a lack of connection. Each purchased on a different credit card, some fake, some stolen, from different chains, in different states at different times of day. The one constant is that they either didn’t have surveillance equipment or it wasn’t functioning that day, as best I can piece together through maintenance records. Worse, the phones were always purchased at the least minute, before she burned an identity and left town, so even if I discovered a pattern, it would lead us to where she had been, not either where she is or is going to.”

“Well we know where she’s going, but that-”

“Do we, though?” he asked. “Because statistically there’s almost even odds that he’ll be in New York or Florida, rather than in D.C.”

“Shit,” Rox said. “We need to start thinking like a terrorist.”

“Start?” Anita asked.

“Bugs?” Rox asked.

“You’re clear,” Mahmoud said. “No one’s mics are on.”

“If we were going to attack a President, how would we approach it?”

“Depends,” Anita said. “You just want him gone, or you want to make a statement?”


“I could slip into the White House undetected, inject him with an agent to paralyze his vocal chords, force him at gunpoint to slash his wrists on the assumption that they can probably save him from that, but not a bullet. You want a statement, you attack the White House, you topple him in his castle in broad daylight with his guards on high alert.”

“That’s… actually a fair point,” Rui said, “if meandering. But I don’t think anything they’ve done to this point suggests they think they can siege the White House. Not even in a quick, smash and shoot style raid.”

“Unless they’ve powered up,” Rox said. “We know part of what they’ve been doing globetrotting is recruiting. If they got their hands on a heavy hitter, all bets would be off.”

“True,” Ben said, “but then, if they did recruit a heavy hitter, we probably couldn’t do much to even slow them down.”

“So I guess we’re left with the choice between assuming we’re fucked, or guessing they keep on the subtler track they’ve been on.”

“Or plan C,” Rox said. We pick our target, and hope we’re right. And to cover our bases, we call the Secret Service to tell them there’s an imminent threat. It’s halfway to a hail Mary, but half a loaf is better than starving.”

“I still say my plan is solid,” Anita said. “I can slip in. I’ve cased the place every few years when I swing through Washington. They’ll never even know I was there.”

“We’re trying to thwart an assassination, not do one,” Sonya said.

Right,” Anita said. “I forgot we’re in the boring draft.” Ben’s head swiveled towards her. “You have no idea how kinky alternate you gets,” she told him.

“So any other insights, then?” Rox asked. Anita’s face lit up, and Rox put up her hand, “Insights not about anyone’s alternet reality sex lives.”

“Pooh,” Anita said. “The problem is they’re doing the exact same kind of guessing game as we are. Probably. Unless this is one of the timelines where… heh, yeah. I have insight. You know how nobody in this administration even bothers using appropriate channels, they’re all on public email and using unsecured phones? Mahmoud.”

“Shit,” he said. “Feel dumb I didn’t think of that- of course, I’ve missed most of what she’s talking about, because I’ve been trapped in an information-free hole. But still, his schedule is on an unsecure phone. Or twelve. Jesus. It wouldn’t even take a skilled technopath to crack this. I’ve got his schedule. Access to his taxes. Bank records. I really think we should have a talk about selectively leaking some of this before November…”

“For now,” Rox said, “we’ve got an idea of where their target will be, and the timeframe, so it should be fairly simple to figure out some approaches.”

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