Friday, November 23, 2018

Stub 9.7: Target rich environment

Zev settled on his favorite boulder and soaked up the sun.

He was watching his back-trail but wasn't too worried. As he spent more time outside and watching wildlife he had become more attuned to moving as they moved. For the most part, that meant to slow down.

The other day he watched six wild turkey take two hours to move one hundred meters. They fed as they moved with only two feeding at any one time and the other four watching. When they moved it was just a step or two at a time. The faintest threat on the horizon had them ducking into cover and waiting for developments.

Zev found himself becoming more like the wild turkeys. His hidey-hole did not have an efficient back way out. He could crawl into the Himalayan Blackberry thickets but would have no chance of eluding dogs. Nor could he survive any kind of organized shoot-out.

So Zev moved like the turkeys. It was surprisingly tiring to move that slowly.

After soaking up the morning sun for fifteen minutes, Zev pulled out his phone and dialed Aaron Ducat, the attorney in Sedelia who was responsible for intercepting the drug traffic that was northbound out of Mexico. This interdictions had thrown Cali's Department of Homeland Security in chaos as the Cartel blamed the DHS for leaking the truck numbers. The upper ranks of the DHS had been decimated and there weren't many high value targets left.

Zev hoped to prove his worth as an artillery spotter by redirecting the big guns to higher value targets.

"Hello Mr Ducat." Zev began. "I am the official in Cali who asked you to stop one, let me repeat one drug running truck."

"You have no idea what kind of unholy hell you caused here." Zev continued.

"Well, my friend, I am glad to hear that you weren't harmed. We have been hearing about the DHS officials getting killed and we were all afraid that you had gotten in harm's way." Aaron said with his most soothing voice.

"Nope, I am fine. I am in Regulations and it is a damned good thing the Cartel didn't go after us. That would have really frogged up Cali." Zev said.

"Why would Regulations have information about truck numbers?" Aaron said, genuinely curious.

"You really are a dummy, aren't you." Zev said, taunting his 'adversary' in Sedelia.

"We have road-blocks every fifty kilometers and we need to know which ones to just wave through. My god, can you imagine what would happen if we inspected a truck and found drugs. We would have to do something about it." Zev said, aghast.

"But why would it be bad for Cali if Regulations didn't come into work? Most economists think economies run better with fewer regulators." Aaron said. Again, still not getting the picture Zev was trying to plant in Aaron's head.

"That would be true in a 'default on' economy where citizens could do anything they wanted in the absence of input from Regulations. But that is not how Cali works. We have a 'default off' economy. Subjects cannot do anything without explicit permission. Trucks cannot drive on the next fifty kilometers of road until they have successfully passed the checkpoint." Zev patiently explained.

"If Regulations officers started getting knocked off, Cali would be on its knees in three days because of the Just-in-Time inventory system." Zev said.

"So you need to find the rat-bastard that is playing cowboy and make him stop, whatever it takes. If you don't the Cartel might figure out that the original info came from Regulations and that would put me in the crosshairs." Zev said.

"I assure you that we will find the person who is causing this chaos and counsel them." Aaron said.

"You better do more than that or it is going to get pretty fucking hairy around here!" Zev said, letting his voice crack and the emotion leak out.

"OK, buddy. I promise you that we are going to do a lot more than just counsel him." Aaron said.

And with that, Zev hung up. Smiling.

 ***

The dispatcher called the squad car somewhere north of the Salton Sea.

Estimates indicated that several thousand Cali Department of Homeland Security had been whacked by the Cartel over the last three weeks.

“Yeah, we got another tip out of Cali.” the dispatcher drawled. Whacking drug running trucks was becoming so routine as to be boring.

“Gimme the numbers.” the patrolman said. None of the patrolmen pushed back anymore.

The dispatcher shot him the information. Then added, “Yeah, turns out our source isn’t in the Cali Department of Homeland Security. Who would have ever guessed?”

“If not DHS, then where do they work?” the patrolman asked.

“We aren’t really sure but our cyber guys think it is some high level person in the military or regulation.” the dispatcher said in an off-hand way.

Aaron Ducat was taking a chance. He was only shooting this information to three squads of patrolmen. The key to making information look authentic was to not blare it out over loud speakers but to make it look like it slipped out.

It only went to three squads but it was the three squads judged to be most likely to be in the Cartel’s pocket.

Within a few hours the highest levels of the Cartel knew that the leaker that was costing them five percent of their shipments out of Mexico was either in the Cali military or the Regulation department.

The Cartel resources in Cali shifted targets.

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