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Hidden Agenda of Electronic Terrorism
By Roger G. Ford
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013Roger G. Ford, Ph.D., P.E.
All rights reserved.
Month One - March
Toni was aware that she had been asleep. She was dizzy and groggy as she struggled to open her eyes. The surface that she was lying on was cold and hard, certainly not her comfortable bed in her small apartment in Dallas. The first attempt that she made to open her eyes failed. She tried again, and was able to just slightly raise her eyelids a crack and look around to see that she was in a bare room about the size of her apartment with nothing in it but the steel table she was lying on. There was no one in sight, but there could be someone behind her since she had not tried to raise up yet.
Toni Chai was a tiny female Taiwanese engineering graduate student at a Texas university whose life for the past four years, up until now, had been one of study, work, and not much else. Yet, here she was, in a place that was totally unfamiliar, dizzy, groggy, and rapidly developing a severe headache. She had not heard anything since waking up, so she tried to sit up. Immediately, Toni gasped at the sharp pain in her right side. She felt her side to find that she had a gauze bandage over her kidney about the size of a small envelope. When she touched the area the bandage covered, she winced from the pain. What had happened? Where was she? What was going on?
Slowly, Toni began to recall events through the fog that her brain had been in since she awoke. She remembered being at home working on her dissertation when there was a knock on the door. Toni rarely got any visitors since she was so dedicated to her academic pursuits and her job that she really had no time to socialize. She was single, attractive, and certainly made many take a second look when she was walking by, but she did not want to be distracted in any way before she got her Ph.D. in Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering.
When Toni answered the door, she saw a work colleague standing at her door. She started to speak when he jabbed a syringe into her leg just above her knee. Toni really didn't have time to react or say anything before she collapsed and everything went dark. The next thing she knew was when she awoke to find herself on a metal table in a place unfamiliar to her.
Toni made another effort to sit up, but fell back on the metal table wincing in pain once again. She tried to turn over on her left side which she was able to do with some difficulty. What she saw was a stark room with only the metal table in the center of the room and an open case of some sort over against one wall. There was a door to the room in the direction of her feet, and a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling as the only source of light. She had no idea whether it was night or day since there were no windows.
Toni carefully rolled her feet off the edge of the table to the left and started to ease herself into a sitting position. She took it slow, and was able to sit up even though a tear fell down he cheek as she bit on her lower lip because of the pain. She felt a little light headed, so she shut her eyes and held onto the edge of the table for a moment or two. When she felt a little stronger, she opened her eyes again, and looked around from this new vantage point of sitting upright. She saw nothing else except that the case was open over against the wall, and it looked like there were bandages and other hospital paraphernalia in it.
This was all so weird and frightening. What should she do? Attempt to leave through the door? Could she stand and walk? She had to try, but, before she could even make the effort to try to get off the table and stand up, the door opened. The man in the doorway was her work colleague with a gun in his hand, the one who had jabbed the syringe into her leg. All he said was, "Come on. Let's go. I need to talk to you so you will know exactly what is expected of you. We can do that in the car on the way back to your apartment."
* * *
Wayne, Howell, and Philips (WHP) Aerospace Corporation is in Abilene, Texas, about 100 miles due west of Fort Worth. Abilene has a relatively low cost of living so, five years ago, WHP wrestled the contract for the Lance Cruise Missile away from the existing contractor in New Jersey because of lower manufacturing costs, mostly because of cheaper labor, and an improvement in the guidance computer which, essentially, made the accuracy of the missile to within one foot over a range of 1000 miles based on new GPS technology developed by WHP.
WHP is a company currently suffering from high emotion and overall disbelief because of the recent murder of the plant manager. Murders are rare in West Texas anyway, but especially when the victim was such a decent and well-liked man. What made the murder even more unusual and emotional was because a sniper killed him from a very long distance. Reports were that the WHP plant manager was still in his car not far from the plant when coming to work one morning early last week. His car had been moving at less than 20 miles per hour because of morning school traffic. His light blue Prius coasted to a stop on someone's lawn after the kill shot. Police investigation found that there was no indication of robbery or of any sort of a traffic encounter, just a high caliber rifle round to the head from a distance of over 800 yards while the car was still moving. And, if the plant manager's murder wasn't enough of a shock, the production manager, and the most likely replacement for the murdered plant manager, is currently under indictment by the District Attorney for "molestation of a minor" because of some internet chat room record linking him to a child pornography site from his home computer. This just happened, and he has been placed on a temporary leave of absence by corporate headquarters pending a hearing.
All of this is understandably very upsetting to the plant workers, over 400 of them, because Abilene is really still a small town where everyone knows a little and usually the bad stuff about most people. The plant manager, called by his first name 'Shane' by everyone, was unusually well liked which, in itself, is almost unique because of his job title. And, the plant production manager, father of three and married for over 15 years, was thought to be a very good dad and a moral man. No one in the entire plant can begin to imagine who would want to kill the plant manager or can even fathom that the plant production manager would be capable of doing anything so repugnant and disgusting.
The acting plant production manager is Ahmed Jafar, who joined WHP about six months previously upon graduation from Texas Republic University (TRU) with a Master's Degree in Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering. This seemed to be an inappropriate appointment to all concerned, including Ahmed. His experience is slim, his seniority virtually nonexistent, but the appointment came from Mr. Howell, himself, one of the owners of the company. There were other capable candidates for the temporary position, but Ahmed's appointment had come directly from Mr. Howell himself by phone, fax, company website, and direct announcement over the plant's PA system.
Ahmed was sitting in his new, albeit temporary location, the production manager's office, busily completing shipping papers for the latest production run of 20 Lance missiles. Each of the twenty-foot long aircraft- or ground- or ship-launched mini-rockets is capable of flying up to 1,000 miles at radar-avoiding and terrain-following altitudes of 100 feet or less. The on-board radar enables this capability as well as allowing the missile to zero-in on its target and deliver a conventional bomb blast equivalent to 10 tons of TNT or even deliver a small nuclear device equivalent to the Hiroshima bomb of World War II. A significant weapon to be sure even in its non-nuclear configuration
Excerpted from Advanced Degrees by Roger G. Ford. Copyright © 2013 by Roger G. Ford, Ph.D., P.E.. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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