Vladimir had a lot of time to read and surf the Web with his current job. He needed to work only when the hits came into the “ping server” and not all of those had to be responded to quickly. Any IP address he had previously identified and stored in the database would simply generate an automatic email out to the team stating the time the hit had come in and what hit number this was.
When Vladimir played the killing game, information was his friend. He analyzed everything when it came to an operation. More often than not he got it all right, too. The problem with being in the field and being right was that those making the decisions tended to filter your reports via a paper shredder because those reports exposed them as idiots too many times. This was how Vladimir had ended up in this wheelchair. Those who should have listened didn’t, and his team was sent into a meat grinder. When the grinder was done, two of his team were dead and he had a bullet lodged in his spine. The debacle made the news and some government officials had to investigate. When they got a copy of Vladimir’s report there were some people no longer working in the agency and there was a comfortable retirement for Vladimir. Nobody spoke about what had happened to those no longer working for the agency.
Of course most major media were completely controlled by the interests of the MBAs running the media corporation. They would never run a news story lambasting a corporation they held stock in. They would also never allow a story to be run that said their money maker was either bad or about to hit a brick wall.
Vladimir knew where to look online to get the real news. He had written his own spider programs to crawl the blog sites looking for keywords and pulling down the content for him to read. Blog sites that happened to get something really right had a tendency to disappear in a matter of hours. One MBA called another MBA and the account got deleted. In this way the Internet was not an avenue of free expression, but was quickly becoming a heavily moderated form of Corporate Correct Speak. Politically correct didn’t matter, as long as you never dissed or pointed out the crimes of a company one of the other MBAs held stock in.
Since Vladimir learned what part of this project was really about, he had been using his talents to identify the next terrorist hotbed. Nobody cared about the desert training camps and everybody knew about the current hot spots. He was looking for the next event horizon — the one that would be the basis of a 9/11 or larger-sized attack. For the last three days Vladimir had been reading stories which were scaring him. The Indian IT workers were trying to unionize.
There were quite a few articles in the Indian news and on various blog sites stating Union Network International was trying to organize the call center and back-office workers in India. They had already made some progress in Bangalore, but were having an uphill struggle.
UNI had failed to organize the programmers back in 2000, but they just might succeed with the call center and back-office workers. Currently, these people made around U.S. $2,400 per year, well below the poverty level in any industrialized country, but way more than the $500 per year many other workers made in the country.
What was going to help UNI was the stress level. Three in ten changed jobs at least once per year and one in seven left the field entirely during that same time frame. Burn out and poor treatment were commonplace. Most of the major offshore companies already had operations or were starting them in places like Korea where the work could be done for even less. Indian workers were getting ten dollars per day and the companies were billing them out at ten to twenty dollars per hour. That kind of margin allowed you to exploit any poor person in any country you wanted.
Vladimir did what he always did. He wrote a report and emailed it to the man in the suit. He was pretty certain the report would just be ignored as the report was ignored for the operation that had cost him his ability to walk. If the IT workers unionized and the offshore companies moved the jobs, this would be the largest pool of disenfranchised educated people in the world. Many of them were Muslims already; Al-Qaeda would have a field day bringing in recruits. After a moment’s thought, he also sent a copy of his report to his friend in the Russian mafia.
He did some quick number crunching to gauge the impact of this event. According to some reports, most of the IT workers held on to over half of their money. There wasn’t much in the way of quality home builders in the areas where the data centers were, so they couldn’t go into debt on McMansions. They also didn’t have much in the way of roads, let alone interstates to drive on, so most didn’t buy cars, or they bought those $3,000 cracker boxes made by Indian and Chinese car makers for sale in that market. Some employment reports stated there were as many as 300,000 IT workers in India working for offshore companies. That was a lot of untraceable cash. If they banded together, they would be able to purchase a nuke or a biological weapon. Vladimir doubted if such a sale could be stopped again.
Once, a few years ago, one of the Russian crime families dealing in arms tried to sell some uranium to representatives from al-Qaeda. “Tried” was the operative word. Vladimir’s friends found out about it and took care of the problem. You could sell all of the grenades and automatic weapons you wanted to them back then, but if you tried to sell something uncontrollable, you were dealt with. A few phone calls were made to some other crime families and two days prior to the delivery, that crime family ceased to exist. When the police tried arresting some of the mechanics, the information was given to Russian intelligence along with the location of what the family had been trying to sell. Everyone was released. It was OK to be a bad man in Russia — it was not OK to be that kind of bad man.
What bothered Vladimir the most was not being able to see how the attack would occur. Educated people with money tended not to strap bombs to their chest and blow up buses. He didn’t think it would be enough for this group to simply design and fund an attack. Then again, given the class system, the upper class might choose to design and fund those attacks and order the lower classes to their deaths. The problem with that idea was that the lower classes were the ones working in IT, while the upper classes made a profit off them.
You are reading a special promotional version of “Infinite Exposure” containing only the first 18 chapters. This is the first book of the “Earth That Was” trilogy. You can obtain the entire trilogy in EPUB form from here: