Slither of Snake
Once the men had finished laughing at him, the bag and car routine were repeated. All of this time he had not been offered water or allowed to go to the bathroom. Even in this luxury ride, the bumps were starting to be excruciating. His bladder was nearly beyond its capacity. It would have been much worse had he not gone back to bed after relieving himself just before the security forces came crashing through his front door.
This time, when the car finally stopped, and the bag was removed, he realized he was in front of his own home. There were two new men waiting for him outside of the door. He noticed the door was shut and it looked as if it had been replaced. The men were dressed in common clothing. One of them opened the door for him. Everybody went inside.
Pointing to one of the new men, the man in the suit said, “This is your cousin Umar from Saudi.” Pointing to the other new man he said, “This is your friend Ramesh from university. This is how you will refer to them both in public and private. One of them will be with you at all times. You can see that your computer has been returned to you. We have a complete image of the hard drive. You will explain the code contained in each message you transfer and translate it for these men. They will report back to me. You and I will not meet again unless your life is about to end.”
With that the suit and the two brutes left. Once inside of the car, the brute behind the wheel uttered, “We are just going to let him continue?”
“We have installed a Trojan horse on his computer. Each mail message he sends will contain this Trojan. When a user opens the mail message it will create a connection to a server we have running. There it will send the IP address of the connecting machine and various other pieces of data from it. We have a database of every IP address from every known university, library and Internet café. It will be a slow process, but we will get them all.”
The driver pulled away from the house and started the return to headquarters. From the back seat, the man in the suit continued, “What do you know about these men we intend to kill?”
“They are terrorists who will bring the wrath of all nations down upon us. If they are allowed to continue, neither we nor our country will survive,” responded the driver.
“Is that all you know?”
“It is enough.”
“It is enough to want them dead, it is not enough to make it happen. These men are creatures of habit. While they may implement variations of a theme, they will not cease a pattern they perceive to be working.”
“Do you think Nedim is the only email relay in this network?” Silence.
“He is one of many. We know this, but until now, had not cracked it. Now we have a crack. Yes, he will lead us to the cells he communicates with and we will take them out after observing them, but that is not the real benefit. The real benefit will be the other relays he leads us to. This is a many-headed beast. Taking down a few cells responsible for one terrible bombing may make great headlines, but it will not kill the beast. To do that, you need one massive move that cuts off many heads at once. This will cause the beast to go into panic and bleed to death. We will pump this well until it runs dry, then we will decide what to do with the head of Nedim.”
Back at his home Nedim finally got to answer his most urgent call, put on some clothes and confront his keepers. One of the men, he could not remember if it was his cousin or his friend, informed him it was time to check his email. He resigned himself to doing just that. The men produced a small recording device and began taking notes in college thesis-type notebooks. At least that would lend credibility to the university friend story, if he could ever remember which was which.
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