The Bomb

Unlike the pistol silencer, the bomb broke up and scattered its components all around the explosion. With the silencer, there really is only one way it can be made, starting from the front and the wipe, working back in order through the compartments of steel wool, using a dowel to both thread the piece for handling and as a reamer for keeping the center clear for the travel of the bullet, and finishing with a threaded coupler attached to the back and held in place by the dowel while the epoxy dried.

The leftovers of Bernadette’s Chicago purchases were found in Caitlin’s apartment, and the dates of her trips back and forth were recorded by customs on both sides. So it’s possible to describe Bernadette’s silencer assembly as a straightforward narrative with reasonable certainty of it’s accuracy. But we don’t know how Bernadette built the bomb. What we do know is what was in it and can describe what it must have looked like before it was set off.

So starting from the outside, we have an old fashioned genuine leather accordion style lawyer’s brief bag with a fold over clasp and “brass” fittings under the handle on one topside of the case. This is meant to be carried only one way, vertically in one hand, is usually lifted or placed vertically, and opened from the top. You can’t swing it easily every which way like other containers and it is difficult to move at a pace faster than a fast walk while carrying it.

The explosive in the bomb was ammonium nitrate fertilizer mixed with gasoline motor oil. When mixed, it can be set off by even a hard jar one way or another, like nitroglycerin. So a bomb case like the brief bag which can only be lifted easily in one way, placed easily in one way and carried only so fast is an excellent safety feature to prevent accidental detonation.

The mixed components are a dense liquid paste like thick paint or dry wall mud and need a container other than the leather of the brief bag, in this case an ecoplastic lidded shoe storage box which can be placed width to width and length to length inside the bag with the box lid on top. The box just matched the brief bag’s interior width when the accordion bottom was almost fully stretched. The explosive is heavy and carrying it in the plastic box in this way markedly lowers the bomb’s center of gravity so it is hard to tip over, another safety consideration.

The other components consisted of the following: a lantern battery, a Dictapad, a small toggle switch, and a blasting cap. Except for the blasting cap, the other three of these were liberally puttied with epoxy putty packed below them and around them onto the shoebox top. The cap itself was puttied vertically through a hole in the center of the box top with it’s explosive lower end dipped into the nitrate/oil mixture. The puttying turned top and components into a single unified mass. The components were attached in a circle together with electrical wire in the following order: battery-switch-blasting cap-Dictapad-battery.

Except for the Dictapad wiring these together was a simple matter of twisting the exposed ends of copper wire onto prongs or other wires on each component. But since Bernadette needed a precise soldering of the connections in the Dictapad, she carefully soldered each wire/component joint as well, preventing any of them from coming loose and insuring that current would flow through them without interruption. The Dictapad had to be opened up and two separate pieces of wire attached and soldered into the circuit of the pad ringtone. Two outlet holes, one for each piece of wire were drilled through the back of the Dictapad case and the two wires threaded through them. These were attached to the other wires in the circuit.

All of this was easy to do without any explosive at all, and the whole shoebox lid treated as a single component to be attached to the explosive merely by fastening it on to the top of the shoebox. The sheets of plate glass to make the shrapnel were all set on one side between the shoebox and the brief bag leather.

The ammonium nitrate and the motor oil were not only found as residue at the crime scene, but extra cans of oil (each pack held 4) and half a 10 lb bag of fertilizer was found afterward in Caitlin’s apartment, along with three extra blasting caps, and a loaded snub nose revolver. There were multiple sources in the Zone for fertilizer and it’s not known which was used. There was only one source for the oil, a Montpellier hardware store that sold gasoline engine emergency generators. These engines are called 2 stroke, the oil and gasoline are mixed by the user, and both together go into the engine’s gas tank.

The male hardware clerks and the female store owner all remembered selling only a package of 4 oil cans to a black haired woman with black glasses about a week before the crime. The oil is never bought without gasoline and neither are bought together unless you have a generator bought from that store, so the purchase of just the oil by an unrecognized customer stood out. Also in Caitlin’s apartment there was a paint can and wooden stir sticks with explosive mixture residue. The explosive was mixed in batches in the paint can, and carefully poured into the shoebox as it sat in in the bag. The lid could then be locked on top.

There were two arming switches in the circuit. The first was the toggle switch. If it was off, the circuit wouldn’t complete no matter what the Dictapad did, and if the Dictapad is turned completely off, turning the toggle switch on won’t set off the blasting cap either. The bomb would be armed when both switches were on, but wouldn’t explode until someone dialed the Dictapad number and activated the ringer.

The simplest way to carry it safely would be with both switches off until you reach the location, then arm both switches there. Bernadette had her own Dictapad recording all throughout the incident up to the explosion. It has been recovered, but no indication is on the recording of exactly when she armed the bomb. Nor were the police ever able to discover who drove Bernadette to the Matriarchal Residence. We might make a good guess, but still no one knows.

On Monday, GLCIS high command was in a total uproar. The situation was unprecedented, all the way back to the GLCIS founding in 2041. One Deep Cover Agent had been visiting the whorehouse and spent last night in bed with the second Deep Cover Agent! And neither of them knew this about the other. Henry Peterson, from his years of experience and pure analytical talent, would have grasped the possibility immediately before even both agents infiltrated the Zone. Everyone in the current Agency, however, was blindsided.

The actual contact between the two was lopsided. Bernadette Johnson, Agent Montecristo, had no clue that Sally the Madam spied for GLCIS, but Sally Bayer, Agent Semolina, easily concluded that “Caitlin Jones” was trying to hide what she looked like, and, more importantly, Caitlin still tried to hide some of it even when she was blonde and didn’t need glasses. The hidden high heeled shoes couldn’t be connected in any significant way as tradecraft to either of the GLCIS spying tasks for Bernadette, and they suspiciously looked like what was called “private enterprise”, some extra secret activity related neither to an agent’s cover nor an Agency assignment.

A quick audit of Bernadette’s expenses picked up corroborative evidence, a purchase of an extraordinary expensive 2 kilograms of marijuana in GLC! Smuggling was the easiest and most venal private enterprise for a spy to slip under the radar with cover and weed was illegal in the Zone. A serious consultation was in order, and, conceivably, after a firing of Bernadette, a visit to the lady by a Truth Team.

The mere fact that Sally and Bernadette had interacted at all put both of them at absolutely maximum risk and completely destroyed the watertightness of both. If either was rolled up, they were instructed, because they were supposedly watertight, to immediately and fully cooperate with interrogators. With Sally rolled up, the mere mention of “Caitlin Jones” would, at some point, if not immediately, have set bells ringing among Commander Cherry Hawkins’ FEM/DOM counters.

Caitlin’s address and Dictapad number were easily available. A call about a story lead would quickly render her apartment vacant, allowing not only a search, but also the placement of a clandestine arrest team to bring her in for interrogation, too. And the search itself would find three separate Citizenship Certificates with totally different names. “Bernadette Johnson” would be recognized immediately since they were already seeking her, and the mere fact that she had two others meant that they were forgeries (Bernadette’s deepest and most deadly secret of all). Give Cherry Hawkins the least idea that there were phony citizens out there, and every last GLCIS Medium Cover agent in the Zone was compromised. ONLY Sally and Bernadette had open and legal cover under their own names.

And if Bernadette were rolled up first, not only would all the Medium Covers be totally toast, a mere mention of Elizabeth’s Secret and Sally the Madam would have sent Cherry Hawkins and a search team to the house immediately, recovering every one of the two clandestine Dictapads in each bedroom as well as the desktop Dictapage that coordinated all the data and sent the messages, Sally’s interrogation would then yield the path of the GLCIS communications satellite that carried Sally’s messages to headquarters. Sally also would cooperate completely since she thought she was watertight.

Moreover in both instances of a roll up, the Electromagnometer issued to each of them to forge or fry the data in Sally’s Dictapage and Bernadette’s Dictalink would also be confiscated. The very existence of this alone was a major GLCIS secret. A whole new spy toy and two working models would be obtained in the bargain.

Of the two, Sally’s situation was the most salvageable; the only evidence of her spying was physical and inside the whorehouse so if she shut down immediately, used her Electromagnometer to fry the data in the Dictapage, removed the Dictapads and recycled all of them, then the Deep Cover could be preserved and she could lie fallow, even if Elizabeth’s Secret were shaken down by the counters. A protocol for that was already in place, including deposit of her Dictapage and Electromagnometer in a safehouse of two Medium Cover agents whose only tasks in the Zone were emergency escape, emergency electronics disassembly and disposal, and safehouse management.

Bernadette, however, needed to be extracted immediately, depositing the forged “Caitlin” and “Abagail” documents and her Electromagnometer with the Safehouse. She would then leave the Zone in her own, perfectly legal, identity and her Abigail clothes abandoning her Dictalink after having fried it’s contents. Lady Chief, and her upper level staff had reached these conclusions by mid-afternoon Monday and drafted messages to Sally, Bernadette, and the Safehouse agents to be sent the next morning.

But the next morning was too late. Bernadette had already gone renegade for vengeance

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