This story is the latest one I wrote for the Writer’s Hangout of LinkedIn. Every week, we have to write a 4000-character story based on an assigned theme or first line. Then the forum members critique and vote on the submitted stories. For this week’s story, the topic was “glasses.” I wrote a technically feasible science-fiction piece about multiple purpose surveillance glasses for law enforcement and military applications. The group hasn’t voted yet, but I don’t think this story will win any prizes. A couple of the other writers in the group said my story lacked emotion and a feeling of jeopardy. That’s because I had to cut it to the bare bones to fit the tight character limit.
It was early afternoon on a sunny spring day in Manhattan. Across the street from the UN building, two gay guys exited a side door of the office building that housed the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. They were holding hands and were headed for a romantic lunch. Or so it appeared!
In fact, the two guys were special agent Frank Harris of the FBI, and field agent Mark Leeds of the CIA. They were testing the prototype of a new surveillance device—eXtended Multiple Function glasses. It merged the imaging functions of Google Glass, night-vision goggles and digital binoculars. Later, it would include Microsoft’s 3D hologram technology. The existing version was bulky. The glasses looked like the aviator sunglasses worn by some police officers. The controller was an Android tablet computer–but with special-purpose apps.
Anyone wearing the glasses would look like a cop, so the guys testing the unit were forced into a gay charade as a front. Harris wore the glasses and had the controller in his pants pocket. Leeds handled voice communications. The Android controller had encrypted data interfaces so that images could be uploaded to face-recognition databases. For today’s tests, they were using the FBI database. With their gay attire, Frank and Mark could not wear body armor or carry weapons.
Harris took various pictures around the UN building and uploaded them to the FBI. Most of the subjects were typical tourists, so there were no early hits. Then Harris saw a swarthy guy with a beard who was checking the entrance ramp for the underground garage. Leeds pretended to take pictures of Harris with his cell phone so that Harris could move around and get shots facing the suspect. Soon after Harris uploaded the shots, Leeds got a call from FBI manager Stan Abrams on the cell phone.
“Bingo! You identified a guy on the “Most Wanted” list. He has several aliases, but we call him Abu Ibrahim. We didn’t know he was in the US.”
“So you want us to arrest him,” asked Harris, “then you’ll give us the reward?”
“You wish! No, just keep a tail on him. We want to stop whatever he has planned, and identify any co-conspirators.“
“The battery is flat on the XMF system, and we’re not armed.”
“Just communicate by phone. When the suspect stops, give us the location and we’ll send relief.”
The “gays” followed Ibrahim until he entered a building on Second Ave. They didn’t follow him into the building, but stood outside the Palm restaurant, called Abrams and gave him the location.
“Okay, I’m sending more guys.
Ibrahim left the building with a teenage boy. The agents followed them to an apartment in Tudor City, then Frank and Mark returned to base.
“A probable target is Israel’s Prime Minister, who is visiting the UN tomorrow,” said Abrams.
Early next morning, Harris joined the other agents at Tudor City. He looked more like a cop this time. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest and carried a Glock 40 in a shoulder holster. And he wore the XMF glasses–in case he needed the digital binoculars.
Shortly, Ibrahim left the apartment and drove out of the parking lot. Harris grabbed the FBI car and brought one of the two agents to give chase. With the other agent driving, Harris called Abrams and told him what was happening.
When Ibrahim pulled into a rest stop in Syracuse, Harris called Abrams again.
“Did we get this all wrong? Ibrahim is nowhere near the UN.”
“No we were right on target. The kid was a suicide bomber. He went to the UN building wearing a bomb under his coat. We already had men stationed on the ramp. We told the kid to raise his hands, but he refused. Instead, he ripped open his jacket, and yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’. Our marksmen shot him in the head, and the bomb squad defused the bomb.”
“So all’s well that ends well?”
“Yes. Arrest Ibrahim and that will wrap things up at our end.