Chapter IV, Greensboro Transit Authority

It was Thursday, 3 incidents so far this week, all within a quarter mile of one another and downtown Greensboro was for all intents and purposes, a ghost town. No amount of government incentives would make most folks walk into what was now looking like a war zone. And no one knew who the enemy was or why all of this was going on.

Rumors abounded as to who might be responsible. A recent New York Times article exposing police abuses of African American citizens in Greensboro had added fuel to the fire of the local Black Lives Matter Movement. A letter containing racial epithets and threatening violence against B’nai Shalom Day School had the local Jewish community on edge. The murder of a Muslim taxi driver on Phillips Avenue by what was believed to be members of the Bloods street gang had the Islamic community and east side residents terrified and Dallas, Texas Mayor Mike Rawlings had stated he was more afraid of armed white men than the Syrian refugees that were coming into the country-- the same Syrian refugees the armed white men were scared of.

And some were saying as Mayor Vaughan's maiden name was Barakat-- a name used by both Jews and Muslims, that the attacks might have something to do with her.

Detective Mark Steed, like so many who were working on the case, was mired down in tracing the routes of thousands of IP addresses that had been bounced around the world off of thousands of servers. With suicide bombers someone had to actually deliver the bomb. With bombs activated via cell phones the calls could be triangulated until the location of the caller was finally pinpointed but as Mark already knew from chasing down IP addresses in fraud and child molestation cases the trails sometimes simply disappear into a vast dispersal of electrons in an ever expanding Internet seemingly as big as the Universe itself.

Making matters worse was wireless. Wi-Fi was everywhere in downtown Greensboro. The businesses that weren't served by Downtown Greensboro Incorporated's central business district Wi-Fi system had their own. Every library, coffee shop, restaurant, bar, park, museum and shoe shine stand had Wi-Fi. The bomber, or bombers, had found the most effective activation system ever conceived for use in modern cities and the only way to turn it off-- turn off the Internet itself-- might cause all the bombs to explode at once.


"Why don't you let me take her back to Costa Rica with me?" Donald asked. "She'll be safe there."

"You're not taking my daughter to a brothel!" Nancy exclaimed.

"She's my daughter too," Donald countered. "Besides, it's not a brothel, it's a club."

"Strip club, brothel, what's the difference?" Nancy asked.

"Look," Donald insisted, "there's lots of rich Americans and good private schools down there. She'll never even have to see the club."

"And she'll never see me or you either," Nancy insisted. "The answer is still no, you are not taking my daughter out of the country, you're not taking my daughter out of town, you're not even taking my daughter out of my sight you, you old pervert!"

"Well if you think I'm such a pervert then why did you marry me?" Donald asked.

"I didn't know you were a pervert," Nancy explained. "Besides you're a rich lawyer."

"And the longer I stay married to you the poorer I get," Donald complained.


"All in all there were 10 deaths and 70 injured. So do we know what caused the explosion?" Chief Scott asked on the telephone.

"Ether," Fire Chief Bobby Nugent replied.

"You mean ether like my grandfather used to spray in his tractor when it wouldn't start?" Chief Scott asked.

"Almost," Nugent replied. "Technically it was R-E170, a heavier than air, ether based refrigerant."

"How did the bomber get enough of it into the building to blow out the entire first floor?" Scott asked.

"He didn't have to," Nugent answered, "he used the building's air conditioning system."

"You mean to tell me we have buildings in this city that are potential bombs in the making?" Chief Scott asked.

"Well this one building did have a higher than usual ether content for R-E170 but other than that, yes," Chief Nugent answered.

"So how did he ignite the ether?"

"He didn't have to," Nugent replied. "All he had to do was put enough ether into the room and when the air to fuel mixture was right the pilots on the gas ovens ignited it."

"But wouldn't people smell it and try to get out?" Scott asked.

"They did," Nugent answered, "but he had installed remote locks on all the doors trapping them inside."

Chief," Captain Hinson shouted as he ran in the Chief's office, "GTA just called. They've got dozens of buses mysteriously stopping in the middle of the streets all over town. They're evacuating the buses and requesting our assistance right away."

"Looks like I've got to go," Scott said.

"I heard," Nugent replied as he hung up the phone.

Please continue reading  Chapter V. Greensboro Aquatic Center