Chapter III, Center Pointe

"Donald Vaughan, where the hell are you?" a woman's voice on the phone shouted.

"Well good morning to you too, Nancy," Donald replied. "Where do you think I am?"

"Are you still in Costa Rica?" Nancy shouted.

"Nancy Dear," Donald smoothly replied, "you told me to catch the next non stop flight to Greensboro."

"So," Nancy grumbled, "why aren't you here?"

"Paul is flying down tomorrow morning to fly me back tomorrow night," Don answered.

"I've got a press conference to do today with the FBI and Homeland Security, You mean to tell me you waited three days on Paul?" Nancy asked. Don could tell she was about to lose it completely.

"Well," Don replied, "you did tell me to catch the next non stop flight back to Greensboro."

"You son of a bitch!" Nancy shouted as she hung up the phone.


Detective Mark Steed had been with the Greensboro Police Department since soon after he graduated from high school. The son of a Methodist minister, Mark had lived all over Greensboro as a child, knew every neighborhood in town and was friends with everyone. At 53 years old Detective Steed was older than many of his superior officers and could have retired long ago but Mark was doing exactly what Mark wanted to do with his life.

Detective Steed was an Internet crimes investigator-- one of the first to ever work for the Greensboro Police Department. Most of his cases involved fraud, people using the Internet to rob someone or chasing down online child molesters. Yes, he'd been involved in a few murder investigations over the years but Greensboro, North Carolina had not fallen victim to what most people might consider terrorist attacks until now.

Ironically, Detective Mark Steed's biggest challenge was to come closer to the end of his carer than the beginning.

While Homeland Security, the FBI and various other State and Federal agencies were all investigating these two incidents, Chief Wayne Scott had made it well known the Greensboro Police Department would be dedicating every available man and woman towards finding out who was responsible for these attacks and if at all possible, preventing the next attack from taking place.

Mark examined the devices taken from Cone Denim Entertainment Center. The bomb squad had confirmed that Potassium nitrate, the same chemical that was used to make the bombs that exploded in the Melvin Municipal Building had also been used to make the smoke bombs but that some of the other ingredients were different and the bombs had been constructed very differently. Whoever made the second bombs intended for them to be smoke bombs and intended for their mechanisms to be found. It was as if the bomber wanted everyone to know how smart he was.

The fire investigators had also been right that these devices were controlled not by cell phones but by the Internet. Mark was beginning to feel a knot in the pit of his stomach. Cell phones could be triangulated. Devices operating via Internet could be bounced off of hundreds of servers and fake IP addresses all over the world. The bomber could be across the street and make it appear as if he or she were in China. Or the bomber could have planted the bombs and already be in China.


Chief Scott, Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes and representatives from Homeland Security, the FBI, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and several other law enforcement agencies all gathered at City Center Park to hold a joint press conference. Usually such an event would be held in the City owned Governmental Plaza adjacent to the Melvin Municipal Building but with the front and the back of the building blown out the construction crews needed that space for repairs.

Reporters and camera crews blocked lanes on both Market and Elm streets as television crews struggled to position live trucks so that the signals from their trucks would make it past the tall buildings downtown. Even the legendary blogging television photographer Stewart Pittman had been sent up from Charlotte to cover the story.

Chief Scott, Sheriff Barnes and the other law enforcement officers all gave short speeches about how they would find and stop the bomber, and how the Citizens of Greensboro shouldn't allow a terrorist to dictate their lives to them, how life must go on despite the threat, despite the danger. They pointed out how people are more likely to die from heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, automobile accidents, suicide and a thousand other things than they are a terrorist attack.

When all the others had spoken Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughan walked up to the microphone. Just then an explosion rocked the whole of downtown Greensboro. It was Billionaire Developer Roy Carroll's Center Pointe just across the street.

Please continue reading  Chapter IV, Greensboro Transit Authority