Technosis: The Kensington Virus (9 page)

BOOK: Technosis: The Kensington Virus
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There was another silence, followed by Blaise saying, “That is a date. Now me the approach, please.”

Blaise repeated the route to Lieutenant Fenwick who confirmed it and then Blaise signed off. For the next few seconds the City of Detroit flashed by and then miles of woods engulfed it where three quarters of the city had been turned under thirty years earlier. A stretch of broken highway that had been left over from the Michigan reorganization came into view. The now closed Detroit international airport became visible, with its abandoned terminals and acres of tarmac. Then, west of there, the new HDMP air support and command center came into view. Blaise made his approach, and descended gently for a soft touch down. He powered down and Lieutenant Fenwick ran through the check with him.

“Grab your kits and let’s get,” Blaise said, climbing out of the pilot’s seat.

“Are we okay?” Drake asked, popping his safety buckle.

“I very much doubt it.”

“Why?” Agent Ganos asked, grabbing her kit.

“Because we are in Detroit,” Blaise explained, opening the door.

“Welcome to Detroit,” an officer holding a machine gun said. “Put your hands in the fucking air.”

CHAPTER 10

HDMP AIR COMAND, DETROIT, MI

“W
ho the fuck flies without guidance tech?” A six foot two, muscular HDMP air controller was demanding.

“Someone who knows how to do his job,” Blaise said. “We still got that date, you and me.”

“Right now,” the HDMP air controller growled.

“Stand down,” the HDMP commander barked at the air controller. “You,” he said, addressing Blaise, “were flying over mach 1 over populated areas from DC to here. You are in violation.”

Blaise pulled out a plastic card from his jacket and handed it to the commander.

“Fuck me. Really? Seriously?” the commander exclaimed, turning the card over.

Blaise remained silent.

“Cooper, Evans, the rest of you, get out of here, now,” the commander ordered.

When the other HMDP officers had withdrawn, the commander turned on Blaise. “I hate you fucking people.”

“My mother was French, sir,” Blaise said.

“Is that supposed to be funny?” the commander asked.

Blaise shrugged. “When someone starts saying ‘you fucking people,’ I think it’s kind of important that they know which ‘people’ they are singling out. Oh, and my dad was from Belarus.”

“You fucking spook, black ops types who come in here and tie up my men and my services,” the commander began to rant.

“Who else have you had here?” Blaise asked.

“A group of you came in four days ago. All gung ho and bossy,” the commander said.

“Do you have a secure line I could use?” Blaise asked.

“Yes, but -” the commander blustered.

“Fenwick, find out from the commander everything that team did, and acquired, and any other information you can. Agents Drake and Ganos, I want you to call your agencies and find out about any deployments or operations in Detroit. I’m really hoping this is just an operational cluster fox trot, but I’ve got a real bad feeling about this,” Blaise said, and went over to a grid line connection at the commander’s desk.

“Just run an iris scan and it will give you a secured line,” the commander said, conceding to Blaise’s authority.

“Thank you, commander,” Captain Blaise said. Then he dismissed everyone from the commander’s office so he could contact Cyber Central Command.

“Blaise, what the hell happened?” the general demanded.

“We were compromised. Our order tablets were hacked. Command Central system services have been hacked and for all I know the helicopters have been hacked. The order tablets exploded after giving us a message. The message was from some joker calling himself Cronus.”

“Cronus?” the general asked.

“I didn’t get to read the message. It was Baxter who saw it first,” Blaise explained.

“Cronus was the next name that came from the system assignment generator,” the general explained.

“Was that what Bocholt team was called?”

“No, they were team Albatross.”

“I have to ask you,” Blaise said. “Were there any operations sent into Detroit before us? Command here says there was one, four days ago.”

“No. Wait, let me check,” the general said. There was a pause. “No. Definitely not.”

“Drake and Ganos are checking their side, but I doubt anyone is doing anything without full disclosure here.” Blaise said.

“What are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking we might be close to the source or at least someone involved with the outbreak. If they were here four days ago and the KVBs started showing up in the last twelve hours, it’s possible they were sent here to launch it.”

There was a silence. “Blaise, we just lost contact with team Albatross. Their systems show that they were just approaching Ohio.”

Blaise did not reply.

“If it can be landed, Captain Bocholt will land it,” the general declared.

“If he was alive that would be true,” Blaise agreed.

“Captain -” the general said.

“Albatross. It was a Cronus joke. Albatross is dead. While we, we are the lemmings. He’s letting us know that we are going to die next,” Blaise cut him off.

The door to the HMDP commander’s office opened. It was the HMDP commander, signaling to Blaise.

“You can’t possibly know that,” the general sputtered.

“General, I’ve got to go. The HMDP commander is about to tell me that my helicopter is on fire,” Blaise said.

“Exploded, actually,” the commander corrected.

“Close enough,” Blaise agreed. “General, I hope I’m wrong about Albatross and Bocholt. I will be in touch once we have established a secure vehicle.”

Blaise ended the call and walked out to the landing pad, as he could see no point in running. There wasn’t anything they could do now, other than watch the fire response team try to put out the fire that was raging following the explosion.

“Did you know this was going to happen?” the commander asked.

“No,” Blaise said.

“But you said -”

“We just lost another helicopter when you showed up to tell me about mine. I knew the other pilot. He wouldn’t disappear or drop off without a major event. So I guessed.”

“Who could do something like this?” the commander asked.

“I intend to find out,” Blaise told him. “I’m going to need your help.”

“What can I do?”

“Find me some pre-tech transport. I’m talking forty years or older.”

“That kind of stuff is in museums.”

“Then point me to a museum.”


Ganos and Drake found Captain Blaise in the hanger near the melting remains of the black helicopter, with his kit spread out on a bench and a knife in his hand. His sleeping roll was shredded, his provisions were broken open and his equipment was laid out on the table.

“What are you doing?” Ganos asked.

“The other team was team Albatross,” Blaise said, not looking up from the tablet he was prising a power plate from.

“So?” Drake asked.

“Team Albatross is dead, missing over Ohio. About the time our bus blew up,” Blaise explained, the power plate finally popping free.

“I’m sorry,” Drake said.

Blaise looked up. “They’ve compromised all of our tech. We’re going to have to do this old school. Start stripping your kit of all tech. That means all power sources, RFID, taggers; anything that has any tech signals has to go.”

“How will we communicate or coordinate anything?” Drake asked.

“We will plan and be guided by our experience and good judgment,” Blaise smiled, reassembling his kit. “I’m going to get Baxter, Marshall, Rosen and Fenwick up to speed. We will meet back here in fifteen minutes. We’ve got a ride over to old Dearborn Michigan.”

“What’s over there?”

“If I’m really lucky? A 1965 cherry red Mustang and two black Ford Excursions, with tinted windows and bullet proof armor,” Blaise smiled, slinging his pack over his shoulder.

“And if you’re not?” Angie asked.

“A couple of Ford Escorts and a Pinto,” Blaise said, and headed off to HMDP command.

Fenwick was sitting at a data station when Blaise entered the HMDP command center.

“What do we know?” Blaise asked.

“The team that came in before us cleared out the armory, took a fully stocked urban combat unit that cyber command had here for operations, and that has a kill switch,” Fenwick said, reading off the monitor.

“Not good,” Blaise noted.

“So not one of ours?” Fenwick asked.

“No.”

“I’m trying to get us something comparable. I’m having HDMP move some equipment up from Columbus.”

“That’s fine. Let them know we will be waiting here for it,” Blaise said.

“Don’t trust the copter?” Fenwick asked.

“The copter is gone, blew up and melted down.”

“What?”

“Just confirm the equipment transfer,” Blaise said.

“Got it. They’ll be here in 12 hours,” Fenwick told him.

“Great, log out.”

“Okay.”

“Where are Rosen, Marshall and Baxter?”

“They went down to the mess hall to grab some provisions.”

“Get them and meet me out on the tarmac in five minutes. We’re all going to take a walk to clear our heads,” Blaise announced.


When the four men arrived out on the tarmac, Blaise motioned for them to be silent and to put down their packs. He then motioned for them to walk toward him. He signaled for them to turn out their pockets. The men pulled out their com hand devices and turned out their pockets. Blaise gave a signal for them to put them down and walk to him. When the men arrived near Blaise on the tarmac he drew out his knife and handed it to Fenwick. He made a motion. Fenwick nodded and went back to the devices and disabled them. Then he went through the individual packs and began to remove tech. The three men stood and stared in shock as their kits were dismantled. Fenwick returned, handed Blaise the knife and waited.

“We’re clear now,” Blaise said.

“What was all that about?” Fenwick asked.

“All of our tech has been compromised. The helicopter blew while we were in the command center. The other team, Bucholt’s group, they were blown out of the sky near Ohio. I’m thinking it was the same hit we took except we flew faster so we were on the ground when it happened.”

“But we need tech to move through the city, to communicate with command,” Marshall said.

Blaise shook his head. “The team that came in ahead of us was not one of ours. It looks like whoever is involved in the KV and KVB breakouts is here, on the ground, watching this. They are expecting us and they are expecting us with a lot of tech. They are also expecting us to meet tech with tech. I’ve informed Drake and Ganos and now I’m informing you, we are going to do this old school. I’ve got transport taking us out to old Dearborn.”

CHAPTER 11

FEDERAL MUSEUM, OLD DEARBORN, MI

J
amie was silent as they rode in the transport out to old Dearborn. Ganos, Drake and Marshall were going over their files and discussing what they should do.

“Why so quiet?” Rosen asked.

Jamie looked at him. “The message. The one we got on the helicopter just after takeoff. That could have been the new virus.”

“Nobody has changed,” Rosen said.

“I know. That’s what’s bothering me. The one we are looking for is here, and bringing us in. No matter what we do, no matter how we do it, this is their plan,” Jamie said.”

“Blaise is handling that.

“Yes, but they know about Blaise. They know about all of us.”

“So…”

“Look…anyone that can figure out how to write a virus that kills you when you see it on tech can anticipate your actions. They have to know all of the possible actions we will take. It stands to reason,” Jamie said.

“No,” Rosen blustered. “We’re not up against -”

“We have profile systems that can identify events before they happen. The bigger the group, the easier it is to predict.”

“Why didn’t this bother you before, this prediction crap?” Rosen queried.

“Before Paramus, I thought this was just some catastrophic governmental fuck up. I thought ‘Oh, this is like the Telermere Vaccine that killed 100,000 people in three months,’ or, ‘Oh, this is like the time the CDC accidentally released a strain of Dengue Fever that killed 30,000 people in the Carolinas.’ But now this isn’t a government fuck up. There is a reason for all of this and whoever is behind it sent us here, named our mission, named our teams and has a reason to want us here,” Jamie explained.

“You okay over there?” Fenwick asked.

“Dr. Baxter is getting paranoid,” Rosen said. “Thinks we are here because whoever launched this virus wants us here.”

Blaise shrugged. “You’re in the right state to be paranoid about conspiracies.”

“I’m just saying, whoever did all of this – the team names, the mission name, the tech hack – doesn’t just know we are here. They want us here. So there isn’t much we can do that they won’t be able to predict,” Jamie said.

“That is true,” Blaise replied.

“We think we know where we should go to look,” Ganos advised.

“Bloomfield Hills,” Drake informed them. “There was a federal forensic psychiatric facility built there in 2025 after the federal reorganization of the state. It’s possible that is where our unsub was sent after they were arrested.”

“And it’s possible they were sent to a different state, a local lockup, or to their room without supper,” Lieutenant Marshall said.

“If Baxter is right and we are here because they want us here, then it may be that they have a history with the area. We’ve got that pacemaker killing where the kid programmed it to shut down his dad’s heart. He was from Bloomfield Hills,” Drake pointed out.

“We can sort that out after we get our transportation situation resolved,” Blaise advised.

Outside the transport vehicle, the shuttered Federalized Museum of Human Climate Aggression – Formerly the Henry Ford Museum – came into view. The gate, the parking, the theater, the pre-industrial Devastation Village were all chained, locked and displaying notices that they would remain closed as part of the ongoing ceiling budget impasse. The impasse was over a decade old and enjoyed bipartisan support as it was being used to avoid responding to the creditor’s notice of intent to foreclose on the United States for defaulting on its horrendous debt. This was widely viewed as a sane and well-reasoned response by the US and was adopted by other countries in the EU and South America. In this way the international financial markets were shored up and a general economic collapse was avoided.

“Where do you want me to drop you?” the HDMP transport officer asked.

“At the federal service entrance,” Blaise said.

“It says it’s shut down,” the driver said, jerking a thumb at the sign.

“Yes, and so does the sign outside the Cyber Ops parking lot, so we all have to park out back instead.”

The HDMP transport driver sighed and wheeled the transport around the corner, across sections of broken pavement back to a small dirt access road. The road passed through a broken gate to a docking bay at the back of the facility where a single light was shining. The transport driver pointed Blaise to the door.

“All out,” Blaise announced.

The team exited the transport and hiked up the stairs to the bay, and Blaise knocked at the door. The HDMP transport driver backed around, turned and left as quickly as he safely could on the access path.

“What was his big rush?” Jamie asked.

“We are in Old Dearborn. This was the area that was federalized after the ground war and then the state reorganization,” Agent Ganos said.

Blaise knocked at the door again. There was no answer.

Blaise knocked a third time. “I’m here with the update on your federal pension!” he yelled.

The door opened immediately and a man in coveralls and a blue short-sleeve shirt stood at the door. “Man, you ain’t no union representative.”

“Never said I was,” Blaise declared, shoving a badge in the man’s face and pushing past him.

“Jesus, K Rist. I’m minding my own damn business, doing my job and you show up,” the man growled.

“You are?” Blaise asked.

“The mechanic.”

“Not furloughed?” Blaise asked.

“I’m in the budget under ‘maintenance, durable goods, supplies, paper product, oth,’” the man boasted.

“Not ‘other’?” Blaise asked.

“The category was shortened to ‘othe’ twenty years ago. Then when the ceiling impasse hit they recategorized it to ‘oth,’ so ‘continuum spending authorizations will be allocated to cover essential operations of the federal government and all oth operations.’ I’m an ‘oth’ operation,” the mechanic explained.

“I was kind of counting on that. I’m also counting on your diligence to get us some old school transport,” Blaise said, and presented him with a general warrant.

“Old school transport I’ve got,” the mechanic told him, ignoring the warrant. “What I don’t have is fuel. We were supposed to get four hundred gallons of ethanol blend 94 octane and fourteen gallons of leaded gas per week for maintenance purposes. We’ve got pre-catalytic antiques in here that require special blends. I had to mothball those when they stopped delivering the leaded.”

“Why don’t you give us the tour and we will work out the fuel problem,” Blaise suggested.

“Suit yourself,” the mechanic said, and turned on a bay of lights.

The bay, which extended for a block in either direction, was filled with cars. Blaise’s eyes gleamed. There were model As, Model Ts, roadsters, massive sedans, miniature subcompacts and concept cars, and then another bay was lit and another city block of cars was seen.

“What do you have in the way of a Mustang?” Blaise asked.

“What do you want? We’ve got the Mustang II from 1963. Which was the crossover concept car to introduce the idea of the I being released as a four seater rather than the two seater that the Mustang I was. I’ve got the 1964 -” the mechanic started.

“Do you have a red 1965 Mustang?” Blaise asked.

“Dell!” the mechanic yelled.

“Yes, dad?” a young man at the far end of the second bay called.

“We got a ’65 red Mustang?” the mechanic yelled.

“Two of them,” Dell called back. “One from the first ten to roll off the line and one that was custom job. Why?”

“Got some people here from the government. They will need a couple of cars,” the mechanic said, walking across the bay.

“Ok, I’ll go and get the keys,” Dell offered, and trotted off into a side room.

“Me, I’d go with the 57 DeSoto hard top,” the mechanic said, running his hand along the fins of a pristine blue and white Chrysler with chrome and white walls.

Blaise nodded. “Very nice.”

“Everyone has their preferences. The fifties are where I like to spend my time,” the mechanic confessed, pointing down the row where he had his tools laid out. “When I was a kid, before the third Canadian governor confiscated all private property, including this museum, my grandfather used to bring me here and he would tell me stories about cars. When roads were unbroken, when people would drive across the entire country and stay in hotels or camp in RV parks. There are times when I wish I was alive then to have seen all of that.”

“That was back during the industrial climate devastation,” Agent Ganos noted.

The mechanic stopped and looked at her. “You ever notice how we have these things in the past, we are told were so bad, and yet when we stop them things still only seem to be getting worse? After the ground war here, the government offered Michigan to Canada. They didn’t want it. They didn’t mind that their citizens came down here and got elected governor. But they wanted nothing to do with us. Too expensive, too polluted, too backwards, too many casinos, they said,” and the mechanic picked up a wrench. “It was a blessing that they didn’t take us. We were lucky to keep the Upper Peninsula. Those greedy bastards in Wisconsin tried to grab it during the reorganization. Said the ‘cheese head’ count proved the U.P. was Wisconsin all the way up to the Sue.”

“The Sue?” Baxter asked.

“Sault Saint Marie, north eastern corner of the Upper Peninsula. No KV outbreaks up there. No cell service either,” Blaise said.

“KV?” the mechanic asked.

“You or your son have cell phones, tablets or tech?” Blaise asked.

“There’s a federal terminal in the office we use for sending in our hours and filing our reports. It’s a PC and operates on Windows 98. Why?”

“You living here?” Baxter asked.

The mechanic looked sheepish and muttered, “Things with me and the missus haven’t been good for a while. She got a message from her sister in Sharpsburg. Ever since, she’s been…difficult. So I don’t see that it does any harm if me and Dell sleep here until things calm down.”

“A word of advice,” Blaise said, “Don’t take any panel calls or messages from your wife.”

“Why?” the mechanic asked.

“Blaise has a lot of experience with relationships,” Baxter answered. “You can trust him.”

The young man came trotting up the line of cars with the keys. “Here you go. 1965, cherry red Mustang. Only 300 original miles on it. We’ve done the normal maintenance and run it twice a month to avoid corrosion or engine seize.”

Blaise took the keys and asked, “What do you have in the way of armored vehicles?”

BOOK: Technosis: The Kensington Virus
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