Who Watches the Watcher?
Played on May 5th, 2013
October 14th, 2010
Larry received a list of addresses of the members of the mathgeeks mailing list. Our instructions: to track down those in the U.S. and find out if there was a risk of them finding out about The Number, and take measures if that was the case.
First, however, we visited Professor Johnson, Wei's tutor. He last had contact with Wei about 2 or 3 months ago. He was surprised about Wei's behaviour, but he'd also heard that perhaps he might have had a mental illness. When pressed on the matter, Johnson revealed that he had heard that from Beema. I didn't think it was such a big deal, but Larry was less than pleased and had a stern talking-to with the PR lady.
Next was a visit to the 24th Precinct. Blue stayed outside in the car while the rest of us trooped inside. We talked to the guy in charge of the weapon room, Marvin. It didn't start well as he didn't even know there was a shotgun missing. Well, there was, and since we knew exactly which one it didn't take long to point the shotgun-sized emptiness inside one of the cases. Apparently, there had been some redecorating and moving some days ago. The guns had temporarily been moved to the parking lot, where Marvin had kept watch. He swore he hadn't left them out of sight, but of course, he had. (That's one thing I learned at Vigil Security -- security's weakest link is often the human element.) There had been a accident on the road in front of the station, Marvin had ran towards it to help out. At exactly that time, a guy looking a lot like Wei had walked into the parking lot and picked up the case of guns. He'd removed the hinges, pulled out a shotgun, put back the hinges and walked away. The timestamp: 09:21While I couldn't be 100% certain that the man on the video was Wei, it was a reasonable assumption.
I started chewing out Marvin and warning him that we'd better keep this thing quiet, but I have to admit that was uncalled for and wasn't part of our mission, as Larry pointed out later. Sometimes I can get wrapped up in the job, and I hate these kind of security slip-ups. Sorry, Marvin. We let him simmer in his wretchedness, while my fellow Delta's discussed how it was possible that Wei had walked in at exactly the right moment at the right place and picked the right case. It was marked as a coincidence, but I don't really believe that. I had my suspicisions about The Number and Wei's calculations, but couldn't voice them. Not yet.
It was getting late as we moved across the highways towards up-state New York, on our way to visit Tia Markell, the first member of the math geeks. While munching down some fast food at the drive in, we saw on the news that a house in Modesto, California had burned down together with all its occupants. Was that Julius Sward's house? We put out our feelers, but I feared the worst.
Markell turned out to be a jobless 29-year-old woman. She didn't do much anymore with the mailinglist as it had progressed beyond her meager math skills. Using a cover story that her (decrepit) PC was infected with a virus that was part of something larger and attracted the Secret Service's attention, I removed the e-mail and any traces of it. Being on a roll, Larry convinced her that we'd take the thing and promised that a new computer would be delivered shortly. The poor woman was all worked up and was mostly worried whether she'd retain her old files. I assured her of that and that settled it.
October 15th, 2010
I slept a bit better but the news we received next put my teeth on edge immediately. Cell A informed us that the Modesto incident was indeed Sward. They apologised that they'd reached him too slow. I guess he went insane?
That put more urgency on our mission and we raced towards Julio Kimbrell's place, him being the list admin. His wife opened the door and asked for a warrant, which we didn't have. Larry, being a champ again, convinced her to let us in while Julio was called at his job at the university. He quickly came down and gave us access to his files. He was a passive admin, having giving up moderation some time ago. He hadn't read the mails going through it for quite a while now, nor did he have printouts. That made our job a lot easier.