Ch. 23 — Welcome to The Wild, Wild East

Department of Homeland Security – U.S. Secret Service officials come into possession of a copy of the criminal case filed by the St. Petersburg Police Department concerning the theft of the Richardson family’s SUV.

The transmission of the e-mailed document came about when a detective in St. Pete’s reading the official report of the incident, paid especial attention to the unusual value of the evidence presented in the case.

Detective Lieutenant Paul P. Lomelino has a brother working for the Secret Service Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It occurs to him that the person who obtained and supplied police authorities with the evidence relating to the theft of the vehicle might be of interest to USSS.

Possibly the party is in a position to gather evidence that might prove useful in dealing with the Service’s more difficult cases.

The government of the United States is constantly plagued by counterfeit U.S. greenbacks being printed and distributed by individuals, covert organizations, and even hostile foreign governments, constantly seeking to disrupt the cycles that keep the financial infrastructure of the capitalist world afloat.

While counterfeit currency notes are relatively easy to detect individually, locating them in their thousands and tens of thousands in boxes, packing cases, and ocean containers, or airplane cargo compartments, has proven to be a horse of a different color.

Officially, some 80-90 percent of the smuggled phony currency is being stopped at ports and airports prior to its entry into the United States. However, approached privately, officials cite other statistics, which show that, in reality, the number of forged bills reaching circulation is actually much higher than stated. Conservative guesses are that only some twenty to thirty percent is actually being stopped at ports of entry. This just ‘doesn’t cut the mustard.’

Isaac R. Lomelino, Secret Service Special Agent-in-Charge, is fascinated as he reads his brother’s e-mail about the SUV incident, especially of the video and digital photographs presented as evidence by the vehicle’s owner.

It takes no time at all deciding to pass this further up the chain of command at this agency of the Department of Homeland Security, so, next morning, in the absence of his own superior, the Chief of Staff, Isaac takes the opportunity to speak to his superior’s boss, Secret Service Director James Pasternak.

“Jim, take a look at this file and let me know if you think it would be worthwhile having a word with these folks in Florida. It may be that they would be willing to share their technology with us. That would sure be a helpful tool for the Service to use in tracking down bulk supplies of bogus currency.”

“I’ll do that Isaac. Thanks for this. I have no idea what this is here, but you sure seem excited about it, so I’ll take a look at it, and let you know in a day or two. OK?”

#

Jim Pasternak: “Isaac, I need to speak to you about the file you gave me a little while ago. You’re right! Something like the technology this man has could give a real boost to our success rate. It would enable us to nail counterfeiters like it was going out of style. Could you get hold of your brother and ask him to clear our speaking to the folks whose SUV was lifted? It’s their lead. No sense in getting the cops in St. Pete’s mad at us. We might want to go fishing off their Pier next winter.”

“OK, I’ll do that. Let me get right back to you.”

#

“Hey, Paul; It’s Isaac! How’s it going?”

“Hey, what’s up? Why are you phoning me at the office? Is everything OK with Mom and Dad?”

“They’re just fine. Actually, I know they’re looking forward to seeing you and Lita next month, when you’re up here on vacation. No, I just wanted to thank you for sending me that e-mail about the Richardson SUV. That was a kind of interesting case. Listen, the Secret Service here in Washington could sure make use of a capability like that for its undercover operations.

“Close-up photos and video clips of hoodlums, taken without their knowledge, would sure be useful in keeping abreast of what our bad guys are up to without them knowing it.

We would perhaps be able to get a lot of them off the streets. Too, it could help keep some of our operatives in the field out of trouble; probably stop some of them from getting themselves shot or stabbed.

“I understand that the perp didn’t even know the pics were being made. Have I got that right?”

“That’s it! Cool, huh?”

“Fantastic, Paul! Listen; do you think you could clear a way for the Service to contact Richardson direct? My Director is extremely interested in this potential and would like to get hold of the man to see what he actually has, and how we might fit it into our operations.”

Paul: “OK; but this is something I’d have to put before the chief here. Do you remember Chief Berhe? Sure. Can I get back to you? I have your number.”

“Done! Thanks, bud; talk to you soon. Bi.”

“Bi.”

#

Paul: “Chief Berhe, sorry to bother you, but I just got a call from my brother at the Secret Service in Washington. He was asking about the Richardson SUV file that I sent him. Remember, I cleared that with you a while back?

“Well, Isaac’s director is very interested in the evidence Mr. Richardson obtained, and which we were able to present, about the GTA episode. He thinks the Service could make substantial use of the technology Richardson used. He figures USSS would be able to make a drastic increase in its success rate against counterfeiters.”

“He’s asking for our go-ahead to contact Richardson direct, to see exactly what technology he used to get the evidence he presented to us to prosecute the perpetrator. Would you have any problem with that, Chief?”

Chief Yafet Berhe, “Not really, Paul. I guess we should be developing this lead ourselves, but, right now, it’s an unknown quantity to us and I would probably have the fight of my life getting money out of the city to cover the advancement of a project like that.

“Don’t forget, Paul, we’re due to replace our entire fleet this fiscal year, and I just can’t see the mayor coming over onto our side on something so ambiguous at this point in time. You’d better tell your brother that it’s OK to go ahead as far as we’re concerned.”

“Thanks, Chief. I’ll call Isaac right away and let him know your decision.”

Chief Berhe: “Thank him for thinking of us, Paul, and give him my best.”

“I will, sir. Thank you.”

#

“Isaac, it’s me again … Listen … Chief Berhe here says OK to go ahead and make contact with Richardson yourselves. He reckons that it would not be a good time to start spending the city’s cash, when we have a fleet replacement this year. As it is, he figures he will already be fighting tooth-and-nail to get any money out of the mayor right now.

“You can get the family’s phone number and street address off the complaint page on the SUV file. Oh, by the way, the chief said to be sure to pass you his best wishes.”

“Great! Tell him ‘Thanks’ and give him our regards. Thank you, too, Paul, for thinking about us. I’ll let you know how things work out. See you soon; all the best to the family.”

“OK, Isaac, I will, and to yours. Talk to you soon.”

#

Jim Pasternak: “Isaac, did you get a chance to call St. Pete’s about the Richardson contact? Gosh, I can’t get that pier out of my mind. It’s just paradisaic there. Sun in the sky—fish biting like crazy—planes flying out of Albert Whitted—KC-135s, F-18s, F-15Es, all landing at MacDill, just across the bay. Yep, paradise.”

“I did, Jim. Paul spoke to Chief Berhe, and he gave us a go-ahead to liaise directly with Mr. Richardson. Seemingly, the city has a huge expenditure in the works for a new fleet of patrol cars in the current fiscal year. He says Chief Berhe reckons he’ll ‘be in for World War III to get extra money out of the mayor in the present circumstances, seeing that most of us are still pretty much in the dark as to what it is that we’re dealing with here.’”

“OK, Isaac, here’s the file you gave me. It has the contact information for Richardson on the bottom sheet. If he’s agreeable, make an appointment for the two of us to see him day after tomorrow, Thursday. You’d better look after the travel arrangements, if anything is required.”

“Right. I’ll confirm anything I set up with you a bit later on.”

#

“This is the U.S. Secret Service in Washington; my name is Special Agent-in-Charge Isaac Lomelino. May I please speak to Mr. Russell Richardson?”

“This is Russell speaking. How can I help you?”

“Mr. Richardson, thank you for taking my call. I am phoning with respect to the complaint you filed with your local police department about the theft of your SUV.”

“Why on earth is the Secret Service interested in a stolen truck?”

“Frankly, Mr. Richardson, it’s not the vehicle so much as the photographs and video footage you gave to the police to support your complaint. The cops in St. Petersburg seem delighted with the evidence you provided.

“My Director was questioning as to whether you had found some way to obtain such strategic pictures from a secure location. It was obvious from the photographs that you were immediately in front of the stolen vehicle, yet the thief showed no sign of recognition that you were in that position.”

“That’s right. He really was surprised when the officers showed him our evidence.”

Isaac: “My purpose in contacting you today, Mr. Richardson, is to see if the Director and I can come to some arrangement with you to obtain the rights to use your technology for the purpose of combating the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit American currency.

“In reality, you would be doing every resident of this country a huge favor by letting us have access to your equipment to conduct our covert operations.

“Actually, your technology, Mr. Richardson, would appear to allow us to offer much greater protection to our field agents who are often threatened or attacked by would-be forgers and counterfeiters.”

Russell: “Well, Mr. Lomelino, was it? I’m sorry. This technology has only existed for a few weeks and we are still establishing the guidelines by which it can operate. So, we’re not yet set up to handle any contractual obligations.

“If I could explain briefly; legally, we’re going through the initial phases of setting up a non-profit organization that will make the portal available for uses such as you propose.

“In principle, we wish to restrict its use to cases where a large portion of humankind will benefit from the phenomenon.

“Our sponsor, the Alexander Allca Foundation, has given us parameters that we will be expected to respect, both in letter and spirit.

“I can certainly understand your wanting to use our product; if the entire population of the United States will be helped by your operations, then that would certainly seem to fit the criteria the Foundation has set for us.”

Lomelino, “Well, I appreciate your vote of confidence, Mr. Richardson, but, what I really needed was just to be able to see exactly what the capabilities of your technology are.

“Would it be possible for my director and me to come and visit with you in St. Petersburg, and see how your product works and how it might fit in with our needs?

“If it does, I’m sure my Director would be quite willing to file a formal request with you that you can pass along to your principals.”

“I don’t see any harm in that, but could I ask you to formalize your request by having you apply through the Allca Foundation’s legal department? My Board of Directors insists that we take extraordinary measures to protect the product. I hope that will not deter you from coming.”

“Would Thursday, say early afternoon, be a possibility?”

“If you can get the legal beagles to agree, I don’t have any other commitments for that time slot. I’ll pencil you in for 13:00 hours.”

#

Isaac Lomelino, “Jim, we’re on for Thursday afternoon at 13:00 in St. Pete’s, to check out that guy’s gear for the pictures of bad guys. He gave me a bit of a run around; made me get hold of our legal department and have the legals make a formal application for an appointment, but I guess that’s his way of protecting his assets from nasty people.

“By the way, Logistics Office will have our travel documents ready by end of day today, so, we can be ready to head out first a.m. on Thursday—I’ll see you later.”

“Thanks for all your help, Isaac.”

#

“Mr. Richardson? This is SAIC Isaac Lomelino from the Secret Service, in Washington. We spoke on the phone on Tuesday. This is Director James Pasternak.

“I have a letter for you, sir, which bears a serial number from the Allca Foundation’s attorneys authorizing our visit. They said they have already forwarded you a copy of this same document for verification purposes.”

“Yes, I have the letter. Come in, gentlemen. Thank you. I have to keep your copy for my files.

“Please call me Russell or Russ. Thank you for your interest in our technology. We call it the System because, frankly, we can’t come up with a more suitable name for it.”

“What exactly is it that you have developed, Russ?”

“Stumbled over, Director; stumbled over is a much more explicit way to describe what has happened.”

“Please call me Jim, Russell, and then I’ll really feel at home.”

“Would you like a drink, Jim, or Isaac? I have a nice bar downstairs, I used to entertain a few clients from time to time, but I had to give that up once the System showed up as I didn’t have time to devote to my business, or anything else for that matter.”

Isaac: “A soda would be fine for me thanks, Russ”

“Same, Russell, thanks,” the director added.

“You may as well come downstairs to the rec room. That’s where the System is kept.”

#

“Holy crow! What in the world happened to your sofa?”

“We’ve kept it like this as a sort of memento. This is what happened when my son first discovered the System. Let me just get us a soda, and I’ll explain what transpired.”

#

“James, my son, was channel-surfing on our new TV, this HDTV with a plasma screen, when a World War II U.S. Marine from Iwo Jima suddenly appeared through the TV screen, and started shooting at him. The stream of bullets struck the arm of the chair on the far end where he was sitting and almost scared him to death. Fortunately, he had the presence of mind to use the remote-control to back off from the scene and managed to avoid getting himself shot.”

“Are you serious, Russell?”

“I’m afraid I am—You can check out the holes in the sofa for yourself; there are four .30 caliber bullets still buried in the wood.

“Wait until I give you a demonstration of the System. That will let you gauge for yourselves what DJ found.

“You know, we haven’t turned this TV off since that first incident, to avoid losing the System. We’ve also hooked up three other similar TVs with the first one, and made them perform in an identical way.”

Russell picks up the touch-pad remote control and changes the view of the St. Pete’s Sunshine-Herald clock-calendar, where it still spends its downtime. He backs up in time to that infamous February day and hour when the SUV was stolen.

The view changes rapidly to the area of Interstate I-375, then quickly transitions to the I-275, when Lyndsey had so skillfully maneuvered above the speeding Jeep.

Once at the Interstate, Russ finds his SUV, and drops the System to the level of the Jeep’s hood. The former transportation consultant reaches over to the top of the TV and grabs Lyndsey’s dental mirror to use as a rear-view device as the girl had done.

Jim and Isaac now have a view identical to that seen in the bad-guy pictures. There he sits at the wheel of Russell’s car. As bold as brass! Why not? Has he not stolen a late-model SUV and gotten away with it?

“Is this a DVD video? This is excellent quality, just like we’re watching it live.”

“No, Isaac. This is live! I’ve ‘driven’ us back in time to February, 2015, to see the actual incident as it happened on the I-275 and I-375 here in St. Petersburg. What you can see is really happening six weeks ago. We are actually viewing the car through the screen, not on the screen.”

“This has to be a joke! There’s no way humans can travel in time! At least, not as far as we know.

“Wait! Don’t tell me this is the same gizmo that Ethan Thomas talked about on National News a while ago. I didn’t manage to see the program myself, but agents at the office say he interviewed a Florida man who mentions something about the war in the Pacific in his program. An aircraft carrier is being bombed off the coast of Iwo Jima—That was you he was talking to—Good grief!”

“Here’s that same scene that NNN showed that night,” said Russell as he smoothly transitioned from Interstate 275 in St. Pete’s back to the newspaper offices and resets the big clock to the 1945 date that would permit him to show the now-familiar view of USS Saratoga. Once again, Sara withstands the onslaught of the Japanese suicide pilots making their infamous kamikaze dives onto the wooden deck of the World War II ocean-going air base.

“My God!” exclaimed Jim Pasternak, watching in horror as the resulting explosions and flames eat up a hundred or so US sailors. “How could the ship survive such an attack?”

“It was hard for them. I ask myself the same question every time I see that action taking place, Jim.”

“Looking at the System from the point of view of the responsibilities of the Secret Service, if you are able to travel back in time, what would be the possibility that you would be able to back-track a load of phony currency?”

“Isaac, seriously, it could be just the same as if you were standing beside whatever it is that you want to trace.”

Director Pasternak, “Russell; often we find counterfeit currency, but the air or ocean carrier has been given false documentation, which makes it almost impossible for us to trace it back to its origin. It’s the people in the place where the money is being printed that we need to get our hands on. How do you think you could help there?”

“Jim, can one of you get me the date and location of your last shipment of fake bills that you were unable to trace? I’ll use that as a sample of what the System is able to do for you.”

“If I can use your phone, I’ll get that info for you right now.”

“Help yourself, in my office two doors down the hallway.”

#

“Russell, here’s the info you asked for. The air waybill is on Hong Kong International Airlines, and shows number 1255-2224 3476. It landed at LAX last weekend, and we impounded forty boxes.

“We haven’t been able to track the shipment because the shipper gave a fake name and address, and the Hong Kong freight forwarder, by mistake, declared it was from a well-known client, which had the effect of making sure the airline accepted it from the agency’s driver without question.”

“The arriving shipment was seized at LAX last Sunday at 15:32 hours, so perhaps you can start about that time at the Hong Kong International Airlines cargo terminal at the airport.”

“OK, here we go. First back to our default location, the Sunshine-Herald newspaper office for its clock-calendar, to make sure we have the right date and time.

“Right, last Sunday 18:00 hours, remember, LAX is three hours behind us.” Russell leans into the System and adjusts the company watch to match the newspaper’s time. “Off we go to Los Angeles, a trip of less than thirty seconds in this flying machine … Here we are at the cargo terminal.”

“Isaac, bring your Secret Service ID with you and come with me.”

Russell eases his body through the screen, with a very apprehensive Isaac following him into the parking lot of the cargo building. Opening the front door, Russ lets Isaac approach the cargo agent with a request for a copy of HKIA air waybill 1255-2224 3476. The agent obliges without query after getting sight of Isaac’s U.S. government ID card.

They note from the travel document that the air waybill does indeed call for forty packages.

He permits our heroes to view the forty packages covered by the consignment note (the transportation contract covering the freight), not flinching at all when the Special Agent pulls out his digital camera and takes both photographs and video footage of the offending packages that have not as yet been seized by local Secret Service operatives.

The agent also provides the weight and dimensions of the boxes of counterfeit US currency. Too, they obtain the exact departure and arrival times of the aircraft that has transported the 40 packages of interest from Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong to LAX. Now the trio has something for which to look once the group arrives at the other end of the line – Hong Kong.

Russell and Isaac make their way back to the rec room by way of the plasma TV and Russell again ‘drives’ the System; this time just ‘chauffeuring’ the group around the airport until he finds a clock showing LAX time.

He wants to orient the System so as to be at the right time that will permit them to see the arrival of the HKIA flight so that they will be able to identify the plane upon departure from HKG (We sure hope that you’re good at IATA’s airline codes).

Once the correct time at LAX is verified, it is possible to direct the view over to the area where the flights are landing. Sure enough, right on time, the HKIA flight lands and is duly photographed and caught on video by both Russell and Jim Pasternak. Both make a point of recording the aircraft’s registration.

Meanwhile, Jim is still having trouble adjusting his mind to the idea that two men can climb through the screen of a TV and walk around in the past.

Now the System is directed toward the Far East, namely the airport at Hong Kong, no longer a British Crown Colony, but now a Special Administrative Region of China.

#

The time on any HKG airport clock enables Russell to make the adjustment to permit the three musketeers to see the departure of the LAX freighter carrying the package in which they are interested. Once more, the watch receives the same treatment.

Next, they have to backpedal and follow the aircraft in reverse to the point at which the cartons are placed on the airplane.

This is simply a matter of reversing in time, so that activities around the airplane back up to the moment when the cargo containers are loaded onto the flight.

Backward once more; we are going to follow the cargo containers from the ramp back to the cargo buildings.

Reversing quickly as the cargo containers are being loaded until the 40 boxes of phony cash they had seen in Los Angeles appear on the loading platform.

Continuing backward again, until the skid holding the forty packages begins to be moved in the direction of the door, as the driver is seen in reverse delivering the consignment to the airline’s cargo department.

At last, we have something that Jim and Isaac can use! Out come the digital cameras again. At close range, we suddenly have several pictures and some video footage of the freight forwarder’s driver with the goodies in his hands.

But, you’ll have to recall that this is not our bad guy. The forwarder’s driver is innocent. He’s only a driver, he has no knowledge of the illegal nature of the contents. The bad man is whoever gave the packages to the driver’s company. So that’s our next job; to backup in time to find the various hands that these packages passed through since they left the print shop where their contents were forged. Those are the bad guys!

So, back-pedaling again. This time, after watching the skid sitting in the freight forwarder’s warehouse for some time, we see the goods suddenly reverse themselves into a small pickup truck. This causes us to hit the road again, pursuing the pickup truck traveling in reverse. The driver finally backs into a long driveway, eventually stopping outside the garage door of a small industrial-looking building where, again in reverse, he unloads 40 boxes, identical to the ones they had seen at both LAX and CLK airports.

[Now you might think that this would be an ideal opportunity to do a bit of extra-vehicular activity and grab the perps. However, you must remember that we are concerned with the need to grab Mister Big, not a small fry.]

“OK, there’s your man, your 40 boxes, and the place where he loaded them. What do you want to do now? The thing is, these goods are already in the United States. The redeeming feature is that you have already confiscated them; that’s history. At least, now, you will know where to set up a stake-out to catch the next shipment and perhaps find out who’s behind the whole set-up.”

Jim Pasternak, “I’m flabbergasted! This is so impressive!

“OK,” he agrees, “let’s go home. We can work this out with the HKG authorities through the office in Washington. I think we have enough photographic and video evidence to be able to proceed with some serious action against this location.”

Russell: “As a standard, we always make a DVD of every trip we take, so if you don’t have enough info, I can burn you a copy of our DVD and send it to you.”

“About the only other thing I can think of is, can you drop down and let Isaac get some video of the house, its number and the street name and the Hong Kong district that we’re in?”

“That’s all?” Russell queries.

“Awesome! Thanks.”

#

“I guess it’s a no-brainer to realize that we could stamp out the counterfeiting of our currency with the use of this technology.

“Would you be able to accept our proposal for consideration by your sponsor?”

“It would be a pleasure. Let me have that as soon as you can and I’ll relay it on to the Foundation for approval. Once the Foundation passes it along to us, you’ll be dealing with my wife. Dianne is our Director of External Communications and is responsible for negotiating our contracts.

“If you decide to proceed with your application, you’ll actually be the flagship customer of our non-profit organization. We’ll be doing business under the name of ‘Time-Travel Teens’ Organization,’ which is a name arrived at by our teenaged kids who have done most of the work toward the operation of the System as it is today.

“When you get to start working things out with her, you’ll find that she will offer you an initial level of service, which we will be providing out of our home to begin with. Then, as time goes by, we will be able to establish a secure location in your Washington premises where our staff will be able to work.

“Our personnel are called Untouchables, and are hired only in consultation with our parent the Allca Foundation. They are absolutely trustworthy, and know how to keep any information they have in the strictest confidence.

“Just to give you some information to be mulling over; in the cost department, because we don’t have any knowledge as to the extent to which you’ll be using the System, Dianne will probably be asking you to pay ‘Time-Travel Teens’ a per-transaction fee of about five thousand dollars. Remember, we’re a non profit-making organization, and on an experimental basis to start with.

“On occasion, five thousand dollars will seem like peanuts for what the System manages to achieve for you. On the other hand, five thousand will seem like a lot. In the end, I’m sure it will balance out. NPOs generally are not out to gouge their customers anyway.

“It was nice to meet you, gentlemen.” Russell has genuinely enjoyed his time with these law-enforcement officials from the nation’s capital. He shows them to the door and gives a warm handshake to each of them. “Thank you for coming.”

“We should be thanking you for being willing to receive us, and letting us share this afternoon with you, and for the fantastic experiences we have had today.”

#

The Foundation of Alex Allca sends a courier to the Richardson household with an approved application for the U.S. Secret Service. This gives the go-ahead to Dianne to request a board meeting of the ‘Time-Travel Teens’ Organization in order to discuss the terms of the contract that is to be signed between the two parties.

#

Russell calls the meeting to order and asks Dianne to open the discussion on the matter of the USSS contract.

Dianne begins by first explaining the dual task assigned to the Secret Service. It is best known for its provision of protection for presidents, vice-presidents, and visiting heads of state while in the United States. A lesser-known responsibility given to the agency is the protection of the currency of the United States. The mighty ‘greenback’ has been under fierce attack in recent decades by certain unscrupulously persons, and foreign powers, who would like to see the US replaced as the leading world power of the twenty-first century. This, they think, can be accomplished by undermining the US dollar by means of forgery, counterfeiting huge quantities of treasury notes and putting these into circulation. USSS has the task of combating such counterfeit operations.

“USSS will be our ‘flagship’ contract. We will be supplying them with the services of the System, on an ad-hoc basis,” she continues. To start with, we will be working from home with the HDTV, and taking calls from USSS, perhaps in the same manner as we have been working with John Cox at NNN.

“As soon as we are able, we’ll get a couple of Untouchables into the agency’s offices in Washington.”

“Lyndsey will be the project manager and whoever volunteers for this assignment will be working under her direction.

“We will need to have two volunteers to man the telephone and operate the System here at the house for a few weeks, or however long it takes us to finalize the setup of the NPO.”

A brief buzz of speech takes place around the table as the couples engage in discussion as to their own availability, and Jay raises her hand.

“Mom, please.” Dianne gives her mother the floor.

“Pop and I would like to look after that, if we may.”

“OK, Mom. Thanks. I’ll give you the contact names and the telephone numbers for the Agency people who will be authorized to contact us.

“Now, here comes the awkward part; how much are we going to charge USSS for providing this service to this government agency?”

Russell: “I have already discussed a pricing structure with Director Jim Pasternak and he seemed pretty favorable toward that. I quoted him on a per-operation basis of $5,000. I’m sure that on some, he’ll be losing money; on others, he’ll be taking us to the cleaners. Experience will show whether we need to put our pricing structure up or down. Even if he unloads ten million dollars on us by the end of the year, we’ll have saved him ten times that amount.”

“Five thousand dollars? Per operation? You’ve gotta be kidding,” Dianne erupts. “They’ll never pay that!”

“I told you,’ Russell assures, “I already discussed this with him, and he seemed quite alright with it. Just concentrate on the benefit to the Service. He’ll save many times that every time we do something for him. Five grand is peanuts to him.”

“Can we give him a refund at the end of the month?” she asks.

“There will be no need to do that, Di. Remember, the agency will be getting an enforcement tool like nothing it has ever had in the hundred and forty years since the Service got its start. Using the System, he can put counterfeiters out of business before than they can start up their nefarious operations. He’ll probably wind up putting himself out of a job.”

“All right, I’ll give it the old college try. What’s the next step, Russ?”

“The ‘AAF’ has approved the Director’s application and is sending it over by courier tomorrow morning. Once you get that, you can call Jim Pasternak or Isaac Lomelino and work out with them the major terms of the contract, like the price per operation; that the operations will be carried out from the house here, until we can get a bureau up and running at their location in Washington.

“Two members of our Board of Directors will be assigned to work any assignments they give us. Our hours of business are 09:00 – 17:00, Monday to Friday. Emergency assignments will be by appointment only.

We’ll need the names of anyone who is approved to call us; with a maximum of three individuals to begin with. Those Individuals should be absolutely 100 percent reliable, preferably the Director himself, and Isaac Lomelino, plus one other person of similar standing in the organization. We’ll need serial numbers for each assignment they give us. Also, where legally proper, and when security permits, we wish to retain the rights to the first broadcast of video we make of any operation we carry out on the Agency’s behalf. The nitty gritty, fine print of the contract can be worked out by their legals and Gavin Salmon.”

“Piece of cake” says Dianne.

“Good,” Russell replies. “Let’s presume they’ll be going ahead with the contract. You can tell whomever you talk to at the Service that we’ll be ready to take their calls first thing on Monday morning. Pop, Jay, you’re hired. You’ve got yourselves a job! Congratulations! Can we pick you up with the System at 08:55 on Monday and bring you over here ready to work?

“Count on it,” Pop says, delighted to have found a job at his age.

“Jay, as the Treasurer of the NPO, you’ll be the one to send out the invoices. You can use all the equipment in my office for that. We can set up a spreadsheet as a ledger so that you know the details of each job as it gets handled.”

“If there’s no other business, I declare this meeting adjourned.”

[Now we’ve helped you to see the inner workings of the “‘Time-Travel Teens’ Organization,” you can perhaps imagine this type of contract being negotiated for each client. As time marches on, other government agencies learn of the success of US Secret Service in combating counterfeiters both foreign and domestic, enjoying great success in taking the cartels’ top personnel off the streets for many years.

This emboldens the directors of other departments to approach the NPO with multiple requests to have the System relieve their agencies of problems too difficult to handle by conventional methods.

####

 

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