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Cyberspiracy (Cyber Thriller, Fiction)

A lonely hacker in pink attacks a high-tech fortress to thwart murderous conspirators hellbent on stealing the US presidency.





Federal Bureau of Investigation

Jacob Farmer et al   –v–   U.S. Department of Justice

Final Report 

The following report presents events in chronological order based on testimony in their own voice of persons of interest to the investigation. Statements have been merged to fill gaps and create a coherent narrative, then edited for grammatical mistakes and to improve clarity. Identifying information of video specialists, court reporters, examination counsels, and other unrelated parties has been redacted.

Statements of Jacob Farmer came from recordings he made on his cell phone.

In accordance with federal executive order 13927 and provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act this report in its entirety is classified TOP SECRET.

Exh. 112-01         Jul 4 – Recollection of Jacob Farmer, Farnaz Sarashpa

Twenty million dollars in a numbered Grand Cayman account—but I did it for the principle. As usual, the client approached the “old man,” my alias for my job broker, at the Navy Riders headquarters. A sizable contract for sure, but I've worked my way up to it. Small investigations, surveillance. Occasionally clients wanted to make sure they never saw the mark again. Ever. The United States Navy trained me for such missions, on Sea, Air and Land. Learning the high tech side helped with gathering intelligence from gadgets. It helps to know how to get the most from a running computer. Soon advanced weaponry will dominate the battlefield. Might as well get with programs like unmanned aerial vehicles. Not to say that I couldn't take out a target from a mile the old-fashioned way.

Most clients value discretion. Plausible deniability. This one had no problems giving his name to the old man. Farnaz Sarashpa. Second generation Iranian. Goes by the name Charlie. Invited me to the family farm for the initial meeting. Raised all the hair on my neck, which doesn't happen often. Win or lose, he may decide to eliminate witnesses later. I'm recording this meeting to ensure the truth comes out after my death. Or his.

The gate guard directs me away from the mansion, to a windsock in the middle of a wooded area. Amateurish or devious? Certainly harder to bug a place in the open without walls, but anybody hiding behind a tree can use a long-range directional shotgun microphone to eavesdrop on the conversation from fifty meters away. I've done it myself. A marksman can take out a person easily from four hundred meters away, although I can't see the purpose of that on the first meeting. Nevertheless, I'll have my hand on my trusted Glock. I always pack. Old military habits die hard.

The trees clear in front of me. A middle-aged woman in a white shirt, black vest, slacks, and cap sticks out against an overcast sky. No one else here. A bit old for a personal assistant. First signs of billionaire paranoia? With that kind of dough, you turn suspicious of everybody and rely on precious few trusted, longtime aids.

The night had dumped thunderstorms on the area, leaving behind a hot, muggy haze. Air conditioner weather. No wonder Charlie sent her to an outdoor meeting. She stands between two square foldup tables and eyes my car. Off to the side, a wood rack with five shotguns. This is getting interesting.

I park next to an electric golf cart, unsure if my camouflage jacket confuses her. The generous pockets of military wear hide weapons and ammunition and other vital items. Mine is not a suit-and-tie business. The old man should have passed on my credentials. That’s all the client cares about.

Not that I trust a woman any more than a man, but I do nothing without half as down payment. Even ten mil buys my retirement to wherever. I already have all the passports I need and the house by the ocean picked out. Outdoor bar. Drinks under palm trees while Washington freezes their asses off during Roland Drummel’s inauguration. For that, I'll schmooze a senior-citizen gopher.

 

My name is Farnaz Laleh Sarashpa and I make this statement voluntarily under a grant of immunity. For the record, the alleged evidence presented by the FBI consists mainly of a questionable recording inadmissible in Federal court.

I met the man known to me as Mr. Seal once, on the shooting range of my family’s private ranch. For one, the wide-open space gave us more privacy. Making him prove his prowess would also quickly reveal any impostor. It’s not as if I can call his references.

He certainly fit his chosen pseudonym. Towering, in fatigues, broad camouflage jacket, polished combat boots, head clean-shaven, he walked straight out of a war movie into an audition as high-tech mercenary.

“Mr. Seal?”

“Call me Norman.”

“And you can call me Charlie.”

For a moment, I thought he’d lose his composure. He probably did not expect a woman. I often experience that. Many men have a hard time imagining that a Muslima could inherit an oil empire. True, I'm an only child, but you also cannot compare the Iran of my father to the religious bigotry going on now. The Shahbanu and her staff wielded considerable influence on governmental affairs. Irrespective, I'm American. Naturalized. I took an oath on this country I love, and nowhere does it say in the Constitution that women can't pursue the American Dream.

Without betraying much of any emotion, he offered me his hand. “A pleasure to finally meet you.”

“Do you shoot skeet?”

“I shoot anything.”

Seal took his time selecting a gun, and after careful inspection, picked a beautifully engraved double-barreled over/under Caesar Guerini, a favorite of my father’s, and in a class truly its own. My stackbarrel Bilanx, perfectly balanced for my handling, and a birthday present from my father, failed me that day. Or I failed it, losing most of my clay pigeons. Mr. Seal? He killed all. Nothing survived.

In typical patronizing fashion, he offered his advice, mansplaining. “You're tensing your shoulders.”

“You have a solution?”

He answered by destroying another target. “Your fighting last century's war.”

“She's bad for the country.”

“You mean for business.”

“My father always said, ‘America's business is business.’”

“Many good men died defending American values.”

Naturally, I missed my next bird. His objection unbalanced me. The agency contact had explained Seal’s modus operandi, all red, white, and blue. With my pitch-black hair, I'm used to people questioning my patriotism, but not for the money I’d offered. “I understand SEALs have their code. If you can't handle the job—”

“She'll ruin our country.” He killed another target to make his point.

I figured I’d give this macho man his money’s worth, called double, and hit one of the birds.

Unimpressed, Seal presented a small drone from his jacket pocket. No more than three inches across, the copter had four one-inch blades arranged at the ends of an X. “There are modern ways. Clean. Undetectable. Assured.”

“There's no sure thing.”

Mr. Seal tossed the tiny drone into the air, killed both targets, then caught the drone in the palm of his hand. “I never miss.”

“It’s agreed then.” A show-off who had practiced this move repeatedly, for certain, but he impressed me nevertheless. In any case, I had few options. All the ads, the superpacs, the rallies had not helped. Carlton held her lead over Drummel post convention. We needed drastic measures, and Seal had convinced me that he could pull it off, and would do so by any means necessary. How, I didn't know and didn't care.

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