Monday, April 16, 2007

EDGE of PARADISE Episode 5

End of Message

The Federal Building in downtown Miami has become media haunt of the moment. Satellite up-link trucks line the street for blocks, and news crews from every major network and big market local station crowd the main entrance to the Federal Building. Officers assigned to building security are doing a fairly good job of controlling the anxious crowd of reporters. But the news dogs need meat; up till now no one has made a statement official or otherwise. Julio Suarez has been interviewed 15 times so far and has refused to talk anymore, claiming he has been exhausted from the onslaught, citing the questions were growing increasingly frivolous in nature.

Inside a large conference room five floors above the melee outside the building's front door, a group of men and women are milling around a 20-foot long conference table. A T.V. monitor is on at the head of the room, and everyone is in the midst of a sort of coffee induction mode as they stare at the T.V. screen. One man is looking out the window at the news media down below on the ground, schooling like a hoard of hammerheads.
The newscasters on T.V. are showing footage of the shot-up burned police cars left by terrorists on I-95 yesterday morning and the white crosses that were found on the Federal Building's lawn earlier in the day.
An agent walks into the conference room escorted by two other agents. All the agents are dressed in dark blue business suits and have their gold badges hanging from their coat pockets. The men are well groomed executive types in their mid to late 30's. The largest of the three steps to the head of the table. William Tanna, Department Chief of the Miami Region of the Justice Department, is familiar to almost everyone in the small group. "Most of you already know me. For those of you who don't, you will. I'm Bill Tanna, Department Chief, Miami Office D.O.J. I have with me the man we've been waiting for. This is Special Liaison, Agent Roscoe Tyler, he has been appointed by the President and just arrived via Arlington 20 minutes ago at M.I.A. Mr. Tyler works out of the office of Special Affairs for the National Reconnaissance Office in Washington D.C. Mr. Tyler,"
"Thanks Bill; now that we got all that out of the way, and I must say if that title gets any longer I'll need two business cards." Everyone around the table chuckles in a release of nervous tension. "As you all know, Washington is just as startled with these killings down here as you are. The ramifications are far reaching. I spoke with the President this morning and he assured me that the White House would make all of its resources available to the N.R.O. and any other appropriate agencies. I understand there was a CD-ROM found this morning that claims responsibility for the killings."
A man seated at the long table opens a file folder. "I have it here. Charles Wesson, U.S. Marshals office, sir. We haven't reviewed it as yet."
"Mr. Wesson, I'll take that, and it will be held as evidence under the National Security and Anti-Terrorist Act." Roscoe Tyler has always been quick with the legal citations and federal statutes, he has used them for years as an instrument of fear and intimidation; they have served him well. He would be the first to admit that sometimes he didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but if he could make it sound good and put enough conviction and authority into his big booming voice all but the best lawyers would believe him. Roscoe had studied law and intended to become a lawyer until he fell in love with the intelligence game. Tyler found little competition in the information gathering arena, unlike law which seemed to seethe with an ever growing population of bacterial-like law graduates. "Are we looking at this as a violation of national security?" ask one of the men seated further down the table. "Yes, for now. Witnesses claim helicopters with military- looking markings carrying men dressed in military style uniforms came from over the Atlantic and returned in that direction. We are following that lead right now, through our office in Washington as well as the National Security Agency. We're hoping some of our eyes-in-the-sky can help us in identifying those helicopters. I need to get on the phone to Washington. My assistant, Mr. Carson, the man standing here to my right, will brief you regularly on all developments - if you hear anything, no matter how insignificant, let us know. Good luck to all of you."
All the staffers and department heads are leaving the conference room except for Bill Tanna and Roscoe Tyler ,who are gathering briefs and Tyler's carry-on luggage. "Bill, do you have an office where I can set-up shop while I'm here in Miami?" asks Tyler. "I'm one step ahead of you Rusty; after you". Bill motions for Tyler to go before him through the door. Tyler and Bill Tanna walk down a long hall to a well equipped office with windows and a nice view of downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay beyond the cluster of high rise towers. "You know, Bill, no one has called me Rusty in years, not since our stint with Air Force intel." "That was a few years back," admits Bill. "Yea, I know, can you believe it. Bill, close the door and let's take a look at what we've got. I was supposed to call the Chief back at the office in Arlington 30 minutes ago." Bill closes the door and walks over behind the computer screen. Tyler has already loaded the CD-rom and started it. A man dressed in a gray designer suit is seated against a blue backdrop. A well-made sign hanging from the backdrop reads... Hombres De Negocios. The man has a black satin hood that covers his face. The eyes and mouth are cut out like a ski mask. The seams are stitched giving the whole mask a finished look. The whole setting looks like a well designed T.V. set. It's immediately evident that a great deal of thought, time, and money has gone into the production of what is about to play. The man begins to speak with his voice electronically altered. "Senors and Senoras, I represent certain business interests who trade in commodities all over the world. We have established that a number of U.S. politicians are currently engaged in the seizure and sale of our commodities, effectively cutting into our markets. Needless to say, we consider this to be robbery and theft.""Why don't these assholes ever call it coke; it is always a commodity or product," Bill asks.An icon blinks on the screen. Tyler directs the mouse over the icon and clicks. Photographs and names come up of eight U.S. Senators. Tyler clicks the mouse again over one of the photos. The face of a Senator. Black and white surveillance video runs showing a Senator accepting a briefcase from a man standing near a car in a deserted location.The program automatically returns to the hooded man. "We are offering a reward of $250,000 dollars for the uniform of every dead police officer, surrendered to us, until such time as the U.S. Government and its officials curtail the piracy of our commodities upon the high seas. We consider the actions of these officials extremely irresponsible. We have had no choice but to take actions which we hope will send a clear and exemplary message to those who would consider perpetrating such treachery against the Hombres De Negocios in the future." A graphic and logo appear on the screen along with the words .....end of message.

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