Nevers peeked through the cracks in the garage door at the vehicle. It was a vehicle from his unit. This one in particular belonged to the supply clerk. He had plastered the ‘name’ of his truck on the hood with decals that were used for driver and vehicle commander on each window. Bot Tholy was the name of the truck. Lunch, Al, the other supply clerk and Nevers had thought deeply about what the name could signify. Lunch tried to imagine something from Voltaire; Al supposed an ancient Norse mythological creature. Ideas flew around from the whimsical to the impossible to the inane. When they finally asked him about it, the name was less symbolic then any they had imagined. It was all the clerk could come up with from the letters left over after everyone else had robbed the box for their own names. From then on they all decided Bot Tholy would mean under-funded, inadequate supply system.
The twilight had passed into full darkness as Nevers lifted the door and slipped alongside the big truck. As he proceeded along the side to the rear of the truck, he noticed the sagging canvas. The tailgate chains were rusted, and the locking handles bent to match the mangled tailgate. Clearly, the truck had been backed up one too many times without a ground guide in a wooded area.
Without much effort the tailgate fell. As the echo of the metal clanging died away, Nevers climbed into the bed. The inside looked similar to the outside. Half the boards for the seats were gone and the brackets supporting them were absent as well. Every other bracket supporting the canvas roof was missing, and the few that remained were on their last legs as well. A spare tire and jack had been rolling around the interior. Not much help for a plan, but one was forming nonetheless.
With the power back on, Maggie tried the computer. As the start up screen came on, she involuntarily crossed her fingers. As Neils Bohr once said, “Of course I don’t believe in it. But I understand that it brings you luck whether you believe in it or not.” She glanced at the wall of pictures behind the monitor. How well did she know Mark? Did it matter? Why would he betray the group? Did she even trust Nevers’ version of the story? What was happening on the island of Aragon?
The computer completed its startup procedures, and Maggie browsed to where she knew Mark kept his work files. Pulling up the directory, she absentmindedly saw his email program starting up. While it loaded, she opened Mark’s aerial photos of the island. He had proudly shown her many times the detailed geographic information system database he was working on for the facilities he maintained. Life on Aragon was idyllic and laid back as most islands in the Caribbean even with the constant threat of the political turmoil of the neighboring country boiling over onto their isolated territory. That laid back approach meant that Mark had always taken a more low-key approach to the security of the information he kept. It was about to pay off for a different reason.
The email program popped onscreen over the top of the still loading GIS software, so Maggie scrolled through the recent emails. It was his personal email but he had forwarded work emails here. Work, joke, joke, work, link to a news article, something in Spanish, work, joke, old high school friend, junk. As she scrolled, she skimmed the preview pane that showed the contents of the emails. She spun the mouse wheel quickly going through many past emails. Half of them were still shown as unread, Mark had a knack for not throwing things out whether they were paper or electronic. Emails were no exception. Several emails had flags attached, and just as she was about to give up looking at the old emails, the window that showed reminders obscured the screen. Of the six listed, one was tied to a bank deposit, one had the subject line “Plane out” and one said simply “Latest.”
The bank appeared to be on another island, still in the Caribbean but nowhere near Aragon. She clicked on the link. The bank name was unfamiliar to her. While it loaded, she looked at the “Plane” email. It read simply, “Ministry of Air Travel 1100 hours, first day. Remainder deposited.”
Deftly maneuvering through the computer she pulled up Mark’s password storage program. It asked for a password. One word to rule them all. She tried his birthday. Nothing. Her birthday. Nothing. Minimizing all the open programs she looked at the picture behind the icons. Mark and Henry holding up two fish they had caught. Henry was their youngest son. Not Mark’s biological son, but they had married when Henry was less than one. Henry had never met his father and only knew Mark in that role. Mark treated him like he was his own. Flipping back to the password program she tried Mark’s birthday, still nothing. Glancing at the help button she saw that it did not have to be just numeric. Henry was what they called him, but that was his middle name, she typed in his first name and his birthday and the program loaded.
Returning to the bank page it was loaded and ready for the login. Four quick clicks between those two programs and now she was in. The bank account included Maggie’s name but she knew nothing about the account. It looked like a savings account and it had quite a lot of zeros in it. Before she closed the site, she forwarded the email and the password database to her own account.
The “Latest” email contained aerial photographs that had been taken the day Mark had been reassigned to provide local guidance for the fresh incoming troops sent to bolster the island’s American presence. As she scanned the file names Nevers walked up behind her.
“Is that what I think it may be?” he asked. “What did your husband do when he wasn’t guiding strangers around?”
While she skillfully browsed through the database location copying the newest photos into the GIS system, she replied, “He worked on the base’s infrastructure inventory and facilities technology upgrades. This is the stuff that Jack Bauer would be proud to have.” Completing the file transfers, she switched the screen to the database browser. Another security login screen popped up. “He took the low-key approach to everything, but this system is locked up pretty tight.” While she talked she flipped back to his password storage program.
An image of the island filled the monitor, but she quickly zoomed in on the base, and then the route from the housing development to the heart of the base operations complex.
Nevers pulled up a chair and said a quick prayer of thanks. This day may have started good, and then turned bad, but somewhere along the way, he had been picked up and carried across the sands to a place where everything worked into his favor. Now was not the time for the charm to wear off. If ever faith alone could carry the day, it was now.
A half hour later a worried Maggie asked, “Can you figure it out?”The two of them had been exploring the virtual map of the post. Nevers was no stranger to a laptop, but he was no Paul Allen either.
The file Maggie had found was copied onto Mark’s hard drive, but another lucky email find included a hyperlink to the actual database on the post server. This password was also in the password program but an additional level of encryption made entry impossible. She reclined back from the keyboard and popped her knuckles. The database called for a PIN, all numbers. Again she tried his birthday, no go. Mark’s birthday, no go. A warning popped up.
One more chance to enter the right PIN or the program would lock down. She took a deep breath and held it. Slowly she punched in she and Mark’s anniversary, paused, then hit return.
Abruptly the screen changed and the hard drive whirred. Success.
Maggie manipulated the locations of both databases to match up and began copying the online version to the hard drive. It would take some time but they could still browse the map while it copied.
Nevers began exploring the post. He found the correct series of clicks to enable multiple layers of information on each facility on the base. The main buildings had nodes at each door indicating levels of encryption and passwords, while the smaller buildings simply had one node containing everything needed for their single checkpoints. Nevers unknowingly browsed the virtual map of the base with someone else. At another location, a lone PDRA officer panned through the same electronic copy of the secured area, intently looking for what few people knew existed. The real reason Logue had been attacked.