Saturday Sampler: The Enigma Source
August 18, 2018
The Enigma Source is the tenth book in the award-winning Enigma Series by authors Charlies Breakfield and Roxanne E. Burkey.
The world is almost ready for fiat currency to be replaced by a superior digital currency. The trouble is, which one and who will own it? The R-Group is back and trying to guide the players to a safe destination in the complex world of cryptocurrency. The Global Bank has tasked Tonya to find and hire a cryptologist to create a new global cryptocurrency, though sometimes it seems she may not be up to the task. Along the way it appears she is the one getting played.
The cynical hack-and-slash cryptocurrency swindlers, Matthias and Dutch, are jumping from country to country, trying to peddle their new cryptocurrency as a savior for economically flailing countries. Next on their hit list is Venezuela, where the failing economy is desperate for a solution. Leadership there is willing to do anything to save their country, so long as they get a cut of the action. Watch these new friends do their coupon-clipping right out of your digital wallet.
One of the early cryptocurrency pioneers, Su Lin, is threatened by a dark figure from her past at the farm in Georgia. The evil henchman has his orders to bring back Su Lin and re-instate Master Po in her defining role as the founder of the Chinese Cyber Warfare College to help leaders there finalize their cryptocurrency ambition. Julie’s CATS team dispatches Mercedes to the farm to protect Su Lin and her husband. Colonel Guano uses all his resources to outsmart the protection and takes Su Lin to China. She plays her role well to the point you wonder which side she is on.
Jacob, Petra, and Quip keep tabs on the opportunistic cryptocurrency swindlers as well as other digital currency players. This team discovers more about one another as they learn that the R-Group‘s dynamics are about to change. Who will take charge and who will fall short?
The cryptocurrency battles have the cyber good guys engaged in cyber skirmishes with bad actors from the Dark Net that ranges from Atlanta, Paris, Venezuela, and finally to China. Can they maintain economic balance across the world in lockstep with the cryptocurrency wars of the 21st century? The twists and turns of events keep both sides struggling to stay ahead.
In The Enigma Source, the tenth book within the award-winning Enigma Series, authors Breakfield and Burkey explore the future of world commerce, cryptocurrency, and the complications that arise from creating an all-digital monetary system. Is digital currency really the way of the future? In the digital currency gold rush of the 21st century, is there anyone looking out for the average man?
Sampler: Chapter 1
In his cheeriest voice, Otto greeted, “Bruno! How are you, friend? It’s been ages since we’ve spoken! I was beginning to think that our last round of business was the end of our interactions, but I am delighted to see I was mistaken. How can I help you and your associate? It is not often that I am approached by one of Interpol’s finest cyber detectives and one of the governors of the International Monetary Fund, commonly referred to as the IMF. May I assume that this has something to do with the latest developments in the crypto-currency markets and the ensuing theft that occurred?”
Bruno sat dumbfounded for a moment, unable to respond. In his Instant Message window on his PC, he was alerted to a new message.
How does this man know that I’m on the call?
Bruno, somewhat dazed, responded:
You said you wanted the best…no one sneaks up on these people…
Otto puzzled a moment then asked, “Bruno, are you still there? Are you okay? Is there a sound problem on your end?”
Finally Bruno cleared his throat and responded, “Otto, this is my anonymous calling line that goes through a bank of anonymizing servers just so I can have a completely cloaked conversation with people demanding extreme security. How did you know it was me? And, furthermore, how could you possibly have guessed who was on the call with me? Finally, why do you suspect we are calling about crypto-currency matters?”
Otto suppressed a smile and innocently replied, “Oh, pardon me, Bruno. Have I made some misstatements to your distinguished guest?”
Bruno clucked his tongue in annoyance and then continued, “On second thought, I don’t really want to know all the tricks of the magician. Allow me to introduce Tonya Van Den Berghe from the International Monetary Fund.
“Otto, I was asked to make introductions, but as you can see, Tonya, these are the people we call on when we need that which cannot be done. I’ll leave you two to talk in private. I assume that the voice tunnel is encrypted, Otto, after my initial but naïve outreach to you. Good day to you both.”
Otto didn’t have time to reply to Bruno’s hasty departure, so he offered, “Tonya, apologies if your call didn’t catch me unawares. We work very hard at being informed. Then when we are called upon to help we can take up the assignment quickly. How may I be of service to you and your organization?”
Tonya, relatively young but well-educated and informed about the world stage, quickly moved past her initial surprise, almost smiled and acknowledged, “Otto, I believe your demonstration clearly proved your point of your organization’s effectiveness. You are correct, I am calling with regards to crypto-currency matters and some very high profile thefts, from which we believe we have been compromised.
“To that end, I would like to meet and discuss the contents of a package I need to provide you. It will give you all the details we have so far, but there are some things that I cannot discuss over the phone, even though I rather believe that the line is certainly encrypted. Would that be possible?”
Otto nodded and answered, “Understood. In a chat window that I’m opening up on your computer, I will place the location of a cyber-DropVault. We use this with special customers for secure document and data sharing. It will help us to begin work immediately with current information. When and where would you like to meet? I presume that time is of the essence.”
Tonya smirked as she replied, “You know it, Mr. Magician!
“I will upload the information within the hour. I would like to meet with you or possibly your right hand designate the day after tomorrow in Paris. I would prefer that we keep discussions on this topic out of our headquarters in Washington D.C., though I assure you I have the support of our Managing Director in this matter. I can of course provide credentials.”
Otto reviewed the background information on Tonya, including several photos, being provided by ICABOD, the team’s Artificial Intelligence Supercomputer. The young woman had graduated in the top of her class from Harvard Business with a focus in International Finance, with no extraordinarily high financial portfolio and her remaining two years of education debt being paid monthly. The photographs provided included professional headshots of her even smile, heart-shaped face framed by shiny chestnut colored waves that just reached her shoulders. The photo date was three months ago and included her physical attributes of height at almost 1.8 meters and a lean 59 kilograms. It struck Otto that her facial lines were very sophisticated, yet she seemed approachable.
He commented, “Based on the nature of the discussion, credentials will be necessary. I will have you meet with Wolfgang Mickelowski, our Financial Director in Paris, at noon on Wednesday. Unless you have an objection, we will arrange for the meeting to take place in a secure conference room at Regal Financial inLa Défense, just west of the Paris city limits.I have an associate on the Board of Directors of the main branch of the institution’s headquarters in Zürich.”
Tonya replied, “That is very agreeable. Thank you, Otto, I look forward to meeting with Mr. Mickelowski.”
The call was disconnected and Otto called Wolfgang. Wolfgang and he chatted for a few moments and decided the best course of action was to assemble the team. They agreed to a time, and Otto waited for the package upload from Tonya to read en route.
Tonya Van Den Berghe studied the desk phone, then reached for her personal cell phone that was still capable of making an encrypted call, and dialed a familiar number from her contact list identified by only an icon. Once the encrypted call was launched, she steeled herself for the pending conversation.
It seemed like an eternity before the call connected, and a pleasant voice answered, “How did the call go with Bruno’s recommendation? Do we have the services of this unbiased group in Switzerland?”
Tonya replied, “Yes, Madam Director, we have their services, but, boy, what a creepy call! I mean, he knew right away who we were and almost to the letter of what we wanted. It was almost like Otto had written the Statement of Work, and we were simply interns verifying the Terms and Conditions. Bruno was so undone he bailed from the call, and I finished the negotiations.
“Madam Director, I am not completely comfortable with this type of contact, no matter how highly your Interpol contact, Bruno, recommended them.”
The smirking voice on the other end of the call asked, “Do you feel we are on the right trajectory?”
Tonya had some trouble reeling in her irked state of mind but offered all the professionalism she could muster.
“Yes, Madam Director, we are on the right trajectory with these people. Not only did they know exactly who was calling over a supposedly anonymized voice channel, but they picked up on my presence, while correctly surmising the nature of the call. I’ve not witnessed this kind of digital sleight-of-hand before, and, well, it made me feel like I was right out of the University again.
“Since I took this job with your organization, I’ve only been embarrassed and humiliated twice during my tenure. The time you first pulled me aside and suggested that I not dress like a low class/no class call girl, and now this time with Otto the Magician.”
The Director chuckled and gently reminded, “Oh, so not the time I stumbled into your office after hours and almost interrupted you with, what’s his name? Well, never mind. What are our next steps with the Magician? I assume they took the project, but what fee did you settle on?”
Tonya swallowed hard and admitted, “I…, we didn’t discuss a fee, only where to meet and where to ship the advance materials so his team could begin work.”
The Director giggled slightly and commented, “I’m glad your taste in men has improved over the years, but remember that even a low class/no class call girl discusses price before putting the goods on the table. This is most unlike you since you hardly ever get rattled on assignment.”
Now mortified, Tonya nearly stammered, “I didn’t get rattled. Okay, I did get a little rattled, but when we meet in Paris I can…”
Now thoroughly enjoying the teasing she was delivering to her associate, the Director soothed, “Tonya, it is okay this one time with Mr. Magician. I can tell you that because he did the same thing to me many years ago. I was just like you, an up and coming professional who thought she could hold her own in a male dominated world of high finance. My ego had to be ambulanced off the premises the first time I encountered him. I was pretty sure you were going to have a similar session.”
Tonya was dumbfounded at the statement, but before she could say anything the Director responded, “That encounter helped me to get to this position. I’m hoping that someday it will help you get here too.”
Tonya, now somewhat chastened, quietly offered, “Thank you, Ingrid. I will try and be that person you believe I am.”
Ingrid stepped back into her hard-edged Director role as she sharply reminded, “Understand, we need all the resources we can muster to intercept these disruptive crypto-currency Johnnies and their cottage industry before one of these products catches on. We need time to get ours to market before we lose control of global finance. We don’t want to be caught making buggy whips while the internal combustion automobile is being rolled off mass- production lines as was done in the early 1900’s. Time is not on our side in this matter, so whatever Mr. Magician wants to charge is fine. If he and his organization can help us hold our position until we are ready, then his price is chump change compared to what our next position will be. If he doesn’t, then he will be paid with useless currency, and none of it will matter anyway.”
Tonya swallowed hard and stated, “Yes, Madam Director. I understand.”
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