Chapter 8 | Pantone 871
Hundreds of golden metallic bullet shells covered the warehouse floor where Agent Emma Samuels surveyed one of the many strange scenes she had witnessed or been called in to investigate today. A bank of ten computers surrounded a pole where power and network connection was being supplied. The computers and monitors were all demolished. Crates from various companies and universities lay opened and partially shot up. And then there was the matter of the four dead men and three dead women scattered about. It was obvious that three of the men and one of the women were there for security and had training in combat. And worse, although shells covered the room, the dead did not seem to have been killed by gunfire, but rather crushing blows and dismemberment.
But what were they doing?
“Agent Samuels?” asked a young agent and one of the fifteen officials on the scene. Between the local law enforcement, fire and rescue, and the federal agents, it was quite the hub of activity. Officials were pretty spread thin with the blaze at the University and the explosion during the raid on the tech company downtown.
“Yes, agent Hobbes, right? What do you have?”
“Yes, sir. Preliminary report, as far as we can tell, is that this ‘cell’ was putting together all these pieces, the robotics, software, hardware, and some additional elements we haven’t deciphered yet as some of the crates were unlabeled. At some point, we’re guessing someone came in and stole whatever they were working on and the gunfight began catching the techs in the crossfire. The equipment is smashed beyond belief and won’t power up. We’re suspecting either magnetic or even a low yield EMP since nothing around this block has been affected,” Hobbes reported.
“What about the gunfire and are any of these people the ones who were involved in taking whatever they were working on?” Emma asked.
“No sir, although there are a few bullet wounds in the bodies, they seem more like friendly fire. The shells are all consistent with the weapons on the scene. Unless the culprits also had the same weapons, I’d say they came in with something else to fight with. And looking at the bodies, and how they’ve been…ripped apart…it almost seems like some sort of armor, although I am not familiar with any sort of development that could take this kind of gunfire and do this kind of damage,” both he and Emma surveyed the area for a moment.
Another agent, Billings, came up to them both. “Sir, just got word back from Cyber and they’ve confirmed this location is the other source tied to the company downtown. They were able to reconstruct enough of the digital footprint to track it back to a router here.”
“So, Ashmore’s company didn’t have anything to do with the cyber terrorism we were tracking?”
“No, sir. Looks like they were being hacked and used. Everything is looking clean from there,” Billings reported.
“So, Ashmore’s statement checks out. That intrusion into their system really did happen. Guess we’ll have to let him go” Emma let out a sigh.
A crime scene investigator came up to the agents and handed Hobbes a report, “Sir, this doesn’t make sense,” he said after reviewing the information.
“What’s that?” Emma asked.
“They’ve found some additional biological material, but it doesn’t seem to be human remains, but rather inert tissue. Like, grown in a lab. They’re checking to see if it came from one of the crates.”
“Hazardous?” she asked.
“No sir, more like…for grafting,” he answered.
“So, we’ve got a group of cyber terrorists collecting and assembling robotics, software, hardware, and biological material. A group or someone comes in to take it. They manage to avoid all gunfire, kill everyone, leave no trace of themselves, and take off with everything after destroying everything left behind. Have I missed anything?”
The agents all stared at her.
Nearby, several radios chirped to life for the police and emergency responders.
“Fire in Park Hill Medical park. Possible gas explosion. Emergency vehicles needed. Fire. Rescue. EMS.” the dispatcher called out.
Agent Samuels’ phone buzzed. “Agent Samuels,” she answered.
The other agents all stared and waited. “Understood. I’ll leave two agents here and be on my way.” She hung up.
“Think there’s any connection that a prominent doctor in the field of skin grafting and burn victims office just exploded?” she raised an eyebrow as the other agents shifted with concern. “Hobbs, you’re with me. Billings, you’ve got lead here.”
“Helluva day. And no clue who’s still behind it all,” she mumbled to no one in particular.
© 2013-2019 Eric Huber. Silicon(e)™ is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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