Sunday, February 28, 2016

There's still a lot of work to be done to extensively rewrite The ZOO and turn it into The Smartest Phone. I've got a lot of NSA research to do and tweak some of the characters and maybe change the POV to rework the plot. Still feel free to enjoy this rough draft of my spy novel.

January 7, 2006-V.A.

            Charles Scott was my roommate at Wabash College in Illinois.  We were the best of pals.  After graduation in 1991, he enlisted in the Air Force and intended to pursue a career with the FBI, and I followed my dream to be a CIA agent.  We kept in touch over the years, and I even spent a few holidays with Charles and his family.  He was a typical family man, a loving wife and young daughter.  Charles and Tracey Scott wed back in 1992.  I was the best man.  His daughter, Brenda, recently celebrated her eleventh birthday. 
            During his downtime, Charles resided with his wife and kid in his hometown, Danvers, Massachusetts.  He always spoke highly of the small New England town when we were in college.  I had a chance to enjoy the Danvers experience first hand a few times since 1990.  Charles always took me to his watering hole, Ducky’s Pub.
            It was NFL playoff season.  I thought I could find Charles at Ducky’s watching his beloved New England Patriots on one of the flat screen televisions.  I was correct.  He was at the bar drinking a bottle of Heineken.  I sat next to him and ordered a Grey Goose vodka and Red Bull cocktail.  Charles did a double take when he noticed me.
            “Holy hell!  Victor, is that you?” Charles spoke with a heavy New England accent.
            I nodded and signaled to a booth where we could sit and have more privacy.  When we sat down, I said, “Let me guess, you thought I was dead, right?”
            “Fuckin’ eh.  We at the FBI even investigated that fire you supposedly died in, but we did not discover any foul play.  What’s the deal?  Did the CIA fake your death for a special mission or something?  We do that at the Bureau sometimes.”
            “Not quite.  They actually sent an agent to eliminate me.”
            “What the hell did you do to deserve that?”
            “I didn’t do anything.  My boss’ wife came on to me.  I couldn’t help myself, Chuck.”
            “Well, you did help yourself, just like you helped yourself to our dean’s fiancé way back when we were in school.  You almost got expelled.”
            “These dashing good looks are a curse.”
            “So, what have you been up to lately?”
            “Jack shit.  I’ve been trying to keep a low key and be discrete.  I don’t want Paul to find out I’m still breathing.”
            “I understand, but what brings you to my neck of the woods?”
            “This kid named Dewaun from Okeechobee I saw on MTV said something that blew my mind.  He gave me an idea.”
            “Go on.”
            “With you help, we can start a private spy firm.”
            “Like private eyes, man.  A lot of agencies have sanctions which don’t allow them to carry out certain missions.  I know that the untouchable missions in the CIA are dubbed black missions.”
            “At the FBI, we put cases lake that in our Z-Files.”
            “Exactly, and I’m sure Interpol, ISR, and the UN are the same.  Imagine if we started a private firm that they could contract to handle their dirty work.  We’d be soldiers of fortune and offer assistance to the highest bidders when a plain old private eye won’t do.”
            “I don’t know, Victor.”
            “What do you mean, Chuck?  We’ve got the knowledge and expertise.  We can find people to recruit and train as well.”
            “Maybe, but this reminds me a lot of the ill-fated S.M.U.R.F.S. and the Grey Rangers’ fiasco.”
            “Yeah, but those guys were amateurs and poorly trained militias.  We won’t be insane vigilantes, Chuck.”
            “How do you plan on competing with high-profile private investigators and agencies with almost limitless resources.  You’ll need an edge.”
            “I knew you’d say that.  A few days after I faked my death in Japan, I was able to gain access to some privileged information from Imagine Enterprises.  Have you ever heard of biological artificial intelligence?”
            “Of course.  Who could forget the story of ol’ Dr. Monkey’s Brain?”
            “Right, Dr. Malcolm Brain was one of the pioneers of biological artificial intelligence, a real genius.  Still, people laughed at him when he said it might be possible to tap into unused potential energy of the brain.  He thought his concept could harness brain impulses of paraplegics to power robotic prosthetics.”
            “I remember.  That was back in 1995.  People thought he was a mad scientist who wanted to build cyborgs.  The media slaughtered him after a fire destroyed his lab in ’97.  He kept saying, ‘The monkey’s brain did it’.”
            “No one believed him, and biological A.I. suffered serious setbacks, especially when the phenom of the World Wide Web became mainstream at the turn of the century.  All the computer programmers capable of designing a brain powered computer chip lost interest in Brain’s research and shifted their focus to cash in on the internet boom.”
            “Don’t long-story this shit, Victor.  I’m missing half the fucking fourth quarter already.”
            “Oh, excuse me, Chuck.  I’m sorry, Chuck.  I didn’t mean to babble on, Chuck.  I forgot about your precious Pats, Chuck.  It’s the fucking fourth quarter, Chuck.” My mock New England accent was impressive.
            “You’re a fuckin’ asshole sometimes, Vick,” Chuck said and pretended he was more pissed of than he actually was.
            Charles knew I was just fucking with him.  We stood up and stepped back to the bar where we could see his precious New England Patriots on the big screen.  We ordered a pitcher of brew and watched the rest of the game.  The home team was victorious, so that put Charles in a good mood.  We ordered another pitcher and returned to your booth.
            “How ‘bout those Pats!” Charles beamed as we settled back into our seats.
            “Yeah, the pulled it out.  Big whoop,” I joked.  “Back to the story.  Imagine Enterprises is trying to use Brain’s technology in a cellular phone.”
            “Like Rosie Jetson, robot phone?  Damn them.”
            “More like a super computer in a cell phone with A.I. powered by a human brain.”
            “That sounds like some Frankenstein shit, Victor.”
            “Yeah, I thought the same thing at first too.  It’s not a dead human’s brain though.  It’s got something to do with a computer chip implanted in the brain that is powered by impulses, or something like that.”
            “That’s some heavy stuff.”
            “The techs at I.E. have been using Brain’s research to develop their first living prototype, a cell phone with A.I. and capabilities far beyond any super computer on Earth, The First Living Imagine Prototype.  The project has stalled because Brain never completed his research.”
            “I know all about F.L.I.P., Victor.  I see where you’re going with this, and I don’t like it.”
            “Crazy ol’ Malcolm ‘Monkey’s’ Brain, I should I say crazy ol’ Harold Butts.”
            “Ha ha ha,” Charles laughed.  “Harry Monkey’s Butts.  Ha, he begged us a thousand times to change his witness protection alias.  The prick even threatened to us for deformation until we reminded him that we were responsible for protecting his sorry ass.”
            “Even for a snitch, he’s one dastardly bastard.  I’ve heard he’s a high-maintenance head case.  I don’t know how you guys put up with him.”
            “Do you think he has any clue of what the Japs are doing with his research?”
            “You guys made Malcolm Brain vanish off the face of the Earth after his eye witness testimony sent Benny Banks’ baby boy Teddy up the river in ’98.”
            “The wrong place at the proverbially wrong time type of scenario.”
            “Exactly, now Imagine Enterprises is on the cusp of developing a new ground breaking type of A.I. with Brain’s research, and he won’t get any of the credit.”
            “That kind of shit would devastate him if he ever found out, Victor.”
            “Which is why it’ll be so damn fun to burst his bubble.”
            “Oh, hell no.  No, no, no!  I know what you’re thinking, and it’s a horrible idea.”
            “You do get my logic though, right Chuck?”
            “No shit I get your logic.  I always get your twisted ass logic.  It’s just my responsibility as the reasonable one to articulate the risks and such in all your hair-brained schemes, Victor.”
            “It’s more like a crazy Monkey Brain scheme.”
            “Very funny.  Did you stay up all night thinking up that one?”
            “Not exactly, but I know you’re intrigued by all this.  The F.L.I.P. will give us the edge we need.”
            “Let’s assume this is crazy enough to work.  Let’s assume putting the squeeze on Harry Butts, while he’s in federal witness protection mind you, is a good idea.  What makes you think he’ll go along with this crazy shit.”
            “Here’s the simple answer, money.”

No comments:

Post a Comment