Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

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Dileep
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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 25 Dec 2010 08:42

Chapter 48

The scorpio drove up, its upsized radials rattling over the concrete paving tiles, and screeched to a halt at the portico. The wheels skidded a bit on the smooth surface to the embarrassment of the driver. Nevertheless, he smartly jumped out, trotted around to the rear left and opened the door. A bespectacled man in safari suit and a woman in salwar, both apparently in early fourties, stepped out. The driver snapped to attention and saluted them. With an air of self importance, the couple walked up the two steps of the portico. The security standing there looked puzzled, weighing whether to salute or not.

The driver of the scorpio meanwhile had slammed the door shut and jogged up ahead of them. He himself assumed an air of importance, and announced. “It is SP of NIA. Came for the spy case.”

The ex-service man donning the light blue uniform mustered all the strength, clicked the heels and made a smart salute. The man waved his hand in response and regally walked in through the glass door, followed by the woman in step. She was wearing lightly tinted glasses and a rather heavy coating of makeup, which did not really shade the flab under her chin, or the dark circles around her eyes. The salwar was a bit loose fitting, but still the layers of fat in the middle section was apparent. The slender hands and feet were the only visible signs of a past that could have been pretty.

The receptionist was observing this show. She immediately hung up the phone she was chatting into and jumped up, instantly pasting the canned smile on her face. The couple walked in, completely ignoring her, and choosing to walk straight to the elevator to the left side of the lobby. The driver who had followed them darted forward and pressed the button. The doors opened and all three walked in.

The receptionist looked questioningly at the security. N-I-A he mouthed. The poor girl lost half of her life force right there. She decided to keep standing up, just in case.

At the fifth floor, the door of the elevator opened and the driver got out, holding the door for the others. They walked towards the main entrance that held the sign of Breeze Technologies. The man paused and did a brief survey of the surroundings. The building was a seven floor rectangular block with all the offices opening towards a central atrium. The ground floor had the food court with a small indoor garden. He looked around, both at the floor where the food court was, and also the walkways and lobbies all around. Satisfied, they walked over to the entrance, where a policeman was standing guard.

The driver jogged ahead and said something to the cop. He nodded and waited for the couple to approach. He smartly clicked the heels and saluted.

“Can I see some ID, sir?” He asked.

The man’s face put up a grave expression.

“I am Nagesh Naik, SP of NIA. This is Mrs Niloufer Khan, DySP.” He said, standing high and his chin up.

“Indeed, sir. But I need to see some form of ID, sir.” The policeman insisted. His impeccable accent and the clear statement gave a little bit of concern to the safari suit.

The visitor squinted at the name plate of the cop.

“Head Constable P. R. Rajan! You seems to be a bit unaware about the ranks here!”

“I am sorry Sir. I have strict orders to check ID” The cop stood his ground. He was the product of the new generation training of Kerala police, and it showed.

“You want ID, officer? Well, you can have it!” The man pulled out a photo ID from the breast pocket of his suit. The woman ignored the gesture.

The cop took the ID and scrutinized it. He spent an unusually long time on it, but finally he nodded and gave the card back.

“And your ID, maa’m.” He asked the lady.

Showing the expression of the utmost inconvenience, she took out hers from the purse and handed it over. That too was scrutinized and returned with a brief nod.

“What can I do for you, Sir?” the cop asked.

“Didn’t your DySP tell you already?” He asked.

“No, Sir. I had no information of any visit.” The cop said. His brows creasing a bit.

“Hmm, such is the efficiency of the Kerala Police.” The man said sarcastically. “Why don’t you call DySP Manikyam Nadar on his cell and find out?”

“Yes, Sir.” The cop took out his phone and dialed. The call connected to a very noisy connection. He just managed to get an earful for doubting an NIA officer, and the clarification that the visit was authorized before the call went dead. “He should be driving” he thought.

“OK, sir. You can go in. What exactly do you want to look at, sir?” He asked.

“Mrs Khan is tour computer expert. She needs to inspect the computer lab in order to prepare them to be moved tomorrow.” The man in safari suit said.

“DySP Sir didn’t tell me that. But I think it is OK.” The poor cop didn’t want to antagonize further. “Gopi!!” He called out for his colleague inside, and gave instructions to take the visitors to the computer room. The driver who was mutely watching the spectacle lazed around, finally finding a place on the visitors sofa in the lobby.

It took almost an hour for the couple to reappear. They nodded to the cop and walked away, followed by the driver. The cop gave out a sigh of relief.

Five minutes did not pass, before a commotion and shouting was heard from the ground floor. Rattle of service boots were heard running around. The lift opened bringing a part of the commotion up. The cop on guard looked, and stood there in disbelief.

There was DySP Manikyam Nadar, in all his six and a half feet, hundred kilograms pitch black monstrosity, charging at him.

“You! Rajan! Why did you let those buggers in?” Manikyam Nadar yelled from afar, even before Rajan recovered from the shock. Poor Rajan forgot even to salute.

“Sir!! You told me, Sir” He stammered. One of the worst profanities the local language offered was the reply. Rajan cringed in virtual pain.

“Sir, I called you on phone Sir!” He tried to explain.

“Your mothers %$^&*^% Phone!” Manikyam Nadar yelled. In anger, he extended his heavyweight class arms and snapped off Rajan’s cap.

“You are suspended! You bloody #$%^&%$” He roared.

Rajan lost his cool.

“Sir, you need not make a show. If I am suspended, you please issue a memo. I will give the reply officially. Please give back my cap” He said in a firm voice.

Gopi and the other cops had already reached the place after hearing the commotion. Manikyam Nadar looked at them, and with a grunt, threw the cap into the hands of Rajan. He then stood there, grunting and snorting like an angry bull.

Rajan took his phone out, and punched up the record of the call he made an hour ago. “Sir, pardon me please.. Kindly see this record of the call I made. This is your number, right?” He asked, careful to add a lot of reverence in the voice. Manikyam Nadar looked at the phone disgustedly. He stood motionless for a moment. He then grabbed the phone from Rajan and checked the call time and duration record. Like a lunatic, he pulled out his own phone and checked.

“I haven’t received any call on this phone.” He declared. After a moments thought he pressed the call button on Rajan’s phone.

Nadar’s phone started ringing. He hit the close button hard to hang up without answering. He then looked at the call log again, comparing digit by digit.

“It is my number alright! But I never received the call. Whom did you talk to?” He asked to Rajan. His anger had reduced a lot, and the tone was remarkably milder.

“To you, sir. You were driving the jeep I think. The connection was very noisy, and I could hear horns Sir.” Rajan answered very reverently. He was utterly regretting the ourburst he made to his superior officer moments ago. Nadar’s temper was notorious in the department. He was a very capable officer. He should have been promoted to IPS cadre by now, if he had some control over the temper.

Nadar went into deep thought.

“This is serious, Rajan. If you, me and these buggers standing around here end up retaining our caps, that would be a miracle. Come let us see if they took anything.”

The large frame walked past, dwarfing the others, who followed him inside.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby niran » 25 Dec 2010 09:21

man! this is really real thrilling, true thriller i say.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 26 Dec 2010 06:42

Chapter 49

“Are you really telling the truth? Arjun asked in the tone of complete disbelief. “You guys are not together?”

Sreejith nodded negative.

“Man! You are either a moron, or a homo.” Arjun said. “No disrespect to homos. I mean, how can you not fall for of that hot thing?”

Arjun was making a narration of his adventures of the day. He had formed a picture of the now famous woman by the time they went out to meet her, but all his expectations were blown away by the reality. Sreejith hadn’t really spilled anything from the humongous repertoire of stories featuring her sourced from Breeze. Not even the titles conferred on her by the staff. Arjun had his doubts on taking a complete amateur on a covert mission that involved disguise and role play. Jasmine carried out her part to the dot, for phenomenal appreciation by the man who already has many years of experience in the field.

Lucky that they had a narrow escape by a margin of a few minutes, according to their watch at the location. He can’t imagine having to leave the lady in the hands of local police or the NIA themselves. He held some amount of protection by virtue of his job, but she was a civilian.

“I guess it should be the moron part. Because I haven’t hit on you or anything yet, did I?.” Sreejith smiled. Arjun and himself have started to make a bond of friendship. He was really concerned about putting Jasmine on a mission to take out the capture data. Arjun sat with him, explained and patiently answered all his questions to convince him. Deep within, Sreejith had his doubts, given the easygoing and often goofy nature of Arjun. Maybe it showed. In any case, Arjun took the pains to narrate the mission in minute detail once he came back.

“So, are you toting the old line? She is like my sister only?” Arjun mocked.

“I wouldn’t mind that.” Sreejith shrugged.

“Then, machchaa*, you wouldn’t mind me hitting on her, would you?”

“No, but my worry is that you would be hit back. On the head, and hard too, that’s all.” Both of the men laughed.

Arjun’s phone rang. He excused himself and attended it.

“It is Rajeev. He wants you” Arjun hit speakerphone and held it out.

Sreejith took a sly look over on the phone. It carried no brand name, and it did not resemble any of the known models/brands. Maybe house built, he thought.

“Sreejith, are you sure the hacking was on a server, and NOT on a desktop?” Rajeev asked, without any introduction.

“Yes, it was. Why do you ask?” Sreejith was surprised by the direct question.

“Because this vector needs a Trojan planted in the server. Hadn’t you guys figured that already?”

“Well, I wasn’t doing the..” Sreejith started to answer the latter part, before his mind registered the implication of the former.

“I mean, you guys are defense contractors, and your security measures are so poor to allow this?”

“Honestly, I don’t know, sir. I was not involved in that part.” Sreejith said, trying to remember what went on during the brief period he had worked on that project.

“Well, if you were not involved, they why are you implicated..” Rajeev abruptly stopped.

Sreejith paused a moment, trying to figure what was just said.

“OK.” Rajeev was heard to take a deep breath. “Tell me, what exactly did you work on, in connection to this hacking business.”

“I was called in to capture the data, and make test cases using the vector” Sreejith said, after some thought.

“Just that!! And you didn’t try figuring the vector itself?” Rajeev asked, a bit incredulously.

“Not really. This system belonged to the defense group, and they had a team doing the analysis” Sreejith felt a bit uncomfortable with that explanation, as if he was bringing up excuses.

“What is this ‘defense group’?” Rajeev asked, almost interrupting.

“Our company has two groups. I belong to the civilian group. The other, defense group, work on the DRDO projects. We are kept separate, and we rarely interact.”

“Interesting..” Rajeev’s voice trailed off, and there was keyboard clicking in the background.

“OK, have you ever accessed that server remotely?” It was a sharp question.

“No. As I said, I just worked on that physically at the server room.” Sreejith was not sure of the intent of the question. “Why do you ask, Sir?”

“Oh, nothing. I was wondering if you inadvertently caused the loading of the Trojan. I guess not.” Rajeev said vaguely.

“Can you give me some details of this Trojan, sir?” Sreejith asked, sounding innocent.

“Let me see. I will get back to you.” Rajeev said, a bit absent mindedly. “OK, bye for now.” The connection clicked off.

Arjun looked at Sreejith questioningly. Sreejith shrugged ignorance.

*machchaa: cousin/brother-in-law. Friendly address between men.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 27 Dec 2010 10:38

Chapter 50

Baiting by e-mail is not something new. Mostly it involved phishing for information, and often, scams to swindle money from the gullible. Sending e-mails offering huge sums in windfall was an often used technique of scamming. Even after a lot of publicity being given to such tactics, people still fall for it.

When one see something really interesting in the inbox, the natural instinct is to click on the link to see what it is. This is a benign action mostly, as it would just open the message or an advertisement. Unless you actively take the bait, by replying or filling a form, you would be safe.

That is, unless there is malicious content in the message.

The general belief among the users of the Internet is that just opening a web page can not harm you in any way. You are just viewing information, and nothing can happen to your computer. This is what the companies that build the operating system and the programs make you believe.

But then, they push security updates to you on a regular basis to fill those holes.

Internet browsing was safe in the olden days. You just received information that told the computer on how and what to display on the screen. No other information was passed to the browser, and hence it could not possibly do any harm.

Things changed with the invention of scripts. Scripts are essentially programs that tell a system to do certain things. As long as the instructions are entirely about displaying information on the screen, these too can’t possibly harm your computer. But as scripts became complicated, enabling them to do many things other than displaying information, they became tools of malice, allowing remote agents to take control of the computer.

Mostly, the activities involved in forcing the user to see certain information, and using the computer to infect other computers. But it could very well be adapted to do many other things.

Like snooping into the information handled on the computer.

Companies making operating systems and programs spend millions of dollars to fight the vulnerabilities, and plug the holes in their psoftware. But as they plug the holes, more open ones are detected. It was a never ending process. As new versions of the programs are released, old holes are plugged, but more often than not, new ones are opened.

Such was a vulnerability that crept into a well known remote access program. The exploitation was so sophisticated, that it went undetected for months. When it was finally detected, the implications of the same was so dire, that the whole thing was quickly buried in a deep pit. No one really talked about it.

Except the conspiracy theorists. Stories of the ‘emerging superpower’ having the balls of the ‘lone superpower’ was traded around, but surprisingly, failed to get any traction. Some lame excuse was propagated about the massive operation to upgrade the software on millions of PCs in govt departments, and everyone assumed that everyone else swallowed it.

Once he knew what he should look for, Sreejith didn’t find it too difficult to isolate the encrypted payload that the system tried to spread around. It tried to push it periodically, to whoever machine tried to connect to it. It was indeed a vulnerability of the Trojan, but without that, the original agent would not be able to communicate to it. Out of the hours of tracking, there was one unlucky and unprotected machine in the network that accepted the push. The payload, innocuously embedded in a sequence of domain query/response chains was recorded as it was transferred.

It enabled Sreejith to decrypt and re-assemble the full package from the streams. He had in his hand one of the most potent cyber weapons ever developed.

Like the legendary Shakti weapon of Karna, he had only one use for that.

He prepared a bunch of various flavors of the bait e-mail that carried the hook to the vector. If the receiver clicked the link, and if his machine hasn’t bothered to update the latest version of the operating system, he can take control of it at his pleasure.

With a prayer, he sent the first of the e-mails, which offered two million dollars in unclaimed inheritance to his target.

The target was the lone e-mail address he could decipher from the phone of the terrorist.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby ramana » 27 Dec 2010 11:07

This a cyber ninja, a code warrior unlike Bond.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Bala Vignesh » 27 Dec 2010 13:36

In the name of all that is holy, i swear, i have never read such an awesome piece of spy story. Add to this the indian flavour, this becomes a beautiful masterpiece.
Thanks to you sir, the prolonged wait in mumbai airport due to my flight being delayed was barely noticeable. I was just glued to my mobile and my laptop.
Waiting for the next fix.

PS: Sorry for cluttering but couldn't help my self here.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 28 Dec 2010 10:30

Chapter 51

“How would we find him?” Sreejith asked, the voice barely coming out. He was panting heavily as they ascended the steep path of concrete steps. They were nearing the summit of the hill, climbing almost a thousand feet within the distance of less than a kilometre. The flow of the pilgrims slowed there, as the security check point at the plateau beyond the summit caused a backup. It was a dangerous hike. If one person slipped and fell, it could result in a human avalanche. It was fine when the flow of the pilgrims was comparatively low. But when people try to climb up in a packed mass, it is a scary proposition. The police had installed steel barricades, and allowed the pilgrims to climb up in blocks. One block is allowed to fill only halfway, and the preceding block is opened only after it is empty. Sreejith and Arjun fell back from the frenzy, and tagged along at the rear of their block.

“Well, the lord up there could only help.” Arjun replied. It was his first time to these parts of the land. He had heard a lot about the temple, but never got a chance to visit. His family was not a particularly devout one, and he was practically an atheist. He felt it is a bit funny to see all these people, clad in black mundu, carrying bundles on their heads, and always chanting, climb up the hill tirelessly. There were men of all ages and physiques. From the thin, hungry looking village folk, to the plump and flabby upper class. From the little kids to octagenarians. There were young girls and aged women. All wearing similar clothes and chanting the same mantras. He even made fun of Sreejith when he took a few valuable minutes at the river head to purchase a black mundu and change into that before the trek began. He also wondered why he bought some coconuts and other sundry things to fill a pair of cloth bags. But that concern vaporized after passing the first security check. The police manning the check post viewed anyone not conforming to the regular getup of a pilgrim with suspicion and always picked off the line for extra security check. The foresight of Sreejith had saved them the embarrassment and the trouble. They were readily waved past the check points.

When the day began, neither Arjun, nor Sreejith had absolutely no clue that they would end up at this remote pilgrim spot later. They were having a lax day. Praveen was away, gone to Delhi, for reasons unknown. Of course, there was a speculation that the big boss of the agency was scheduled to confront the NIA top brass with the evidence they had collected in the previous days. This rumour originated from Rajeev Mallar. Rajeev had called Sreejith in the morning, teasing him to wait for good news, but refused to give any more information. Arjun did a bit of investigation with the office staff at the head office to see if any more information could be obtained. He learned that Anil Nambiar also took the same flight, which kind of corroborated the theory. The team was excited, mostly because it would mean a successful completion of the current campaign, with potential to take over the investigation from NIA. All of them, with the exception of Praveen, by then had established a genuine interest in the well being of Sreejith. They were also excited about the possibility of finally absolving him of all accusations.

Sreejith seemed a bit indifferent about the news, which Arjun found extremely perplexing. He tried to explain that once the big bosses work things out, the NIA team will be briefed to remove Sreejith from the list of accused. Sreejith nodded nonchalantly. Arjun gave up after prodding him a little bit more and left the room. Maybe tension, and he is trying not to show it, Arjun thought. He went back to the main office room, trying to get a bit of repose.

Everything turned upside down by mid morning. The tracker client that Sreejith kept running detected a hit of the bait. Some user of the e-mail address had taken one of the baits and clicked the embedded link, activating the trojan. The system has downloaded the Trojan and it was installed. It immediately reported back, and the script on the tracker commanded the Trojan to enable the keylogger, logging each and every keystroke on that computer.

It didn’t take long to capture the password for the mailbox being viewed.

Sreejith waited, running a ping to the target every minute. It was not wise to log into the account while a user was active on it. It seemed like ages, and his patience was running low. Finally, after a long time, the IP of the client went inactive, and Sreejith dared to log into the mailbox.

The inbox was practically empty. It just had a couple of the bait messages he had sent. The latest one, that offered child ***** showed the status as read. Sreejith thanked the analyses on the mindset of the terrorists on ‘Prahari’ forums for the intuition. In the back of the mind, he was under the impression that all those crazy notions about the behaviour of the fanatics thrown around there were figments of imagination. But here, he got direct proof that the image was accurate. The terrorist had chosen to open a message that promised child *****. To his surprise, he found the drafts folder having some content. He opened the folder. There were a few messages, some created moments ago. He opened the latest one.

What he saw there froze his blood. He read it again and again. It was generally in English of bad grammer, heavily interspersed with words transliterated from a language Sreejith barely knew.

But it was clear enough to understand the message. Sreejith’s worst fears are coming true, only sooner, and at a different location than he thought. The attack is a go as of the day. He hit save and took a copy of the web page to the local drive. He repeated the same for all the messages in the draft folder. Frantically, he closed the browser session, and killed the tracking session to the target. The Trojan went to sleep. It would take a closely choreographed exchange of benign looking packets to activate it again.

He then ran out of the room, looking for Arjun. First, his excited gibberish failed to grab Arjun’s attention from the game of Plantation Pioneer he was completely absorbed in. Sreejith had to grab his hand and practically slap him out of it, before he could tell him what is going on. Both ran back to Sreejith’s room to read the saved pages. For the first time, the otherwise resourceful Arjun Rai stood frozen, with complete ineptitude to handle the situation.

Praveen and Anil was still up in the air en route to Delhi. Arjun’s chain of command ended right there. Rajeev claimed the same, though Arjun was not really convinced about it. There were other known resources in various levels of the organization, but sharing mission information outside the team was the capital sin, which is unthinkable.

It took some serious arguments, but within half an hour, Arjun’s bright yellow Gilera Velo-250 was seen screaming up southward on the highway, with Sreejith trying hard to hold on as pillion. Rajeev Mallar, muttering curses at the impulsive youngsters, waited in his home office for the Future Airways flight to land at IGI Airport, Delhi. He had urgent reports to make to the boss.

He had the means to get to the plane if he really needed, but he decided to wait.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby nits » 28 Dec 2010 11:04

Dileep wrote:Chapter 51

What he saw there froze his blood. He read it again and again. It was generally in English of bad grammer, heavily interspersed with words transliterated from a language Sreejith barely knew.



Sir bolded line can say what i go through after reading your post... awesome...

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Rahul M » 28 Dec 2010 22:52

I got to say this in bangla, 'pagla !'

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 29 Dec 2010 11:07

Chapter 52

The alerting of the police and NDRF* about the impending attack was a double edged sword. It raised the alert levels at the temple complex several fold, tightening the already stringent security. It also created great hindrance for Arjun and Sreejith, as they operated undercover. There was no way they could officially involve, as their unit had no mandate on these affairs. But they held the key to the intelligence that could possibly track the perpetrators, which could never be shared with any other agency.

And the operation is officially called off by the bosses. They were now acting on their own, in direct violation of their orders

Arjun was riding like a maniac, weaving in and out of traffic on the two lane highway, winding its way up through the foothills. The road was well paved, and most of the sharp curves had been smoothened with the correct banking angles. Still, it was a dangerous endeavor. The sporty motorbike, the first offering in India by the Italian brand Gilera, hugged the road like a gecko, as Arjun expertly put it around the curves. The scream of the twin cylinder direct injection engine muffledly reverberated among the rubber plantations that lined either side of the road. The nice cool wind wrapping around his neck and sneaking into his jacket gave Arjun some added excitement, and the bike responded like a thoroughbred horse.

Suddenly, he slowed down, pulled into the empty area near a curve and stopped, to the surprise of Sreejith. It took him some effort to get off from the pillion seat, as his legs were stiff from the awkward and uncomfortable sitting position. He held onto the hand rail of the bike to steady himself.

“What happened?” He asked, before he noticed that Arjun is frantically opening the zipper of his jacket, groping for the phone that was ringing from somewhere inside.

Sreejith strained his ears hard to listen to the one side of the conversation. He could not gather much more than the fact that it was Praveen on the other end, and he was admonishing Arjun for sallying forth on the uncalled mission.

“The boss is asking us to abort.” Arjun said in a dejected voice, and hung his face.

“Is he out of his mind?” Sreejith screamed. He couldn’t believe what he heard.

“Well, he is right in a way. They have forwarded the messages to the local police. It is really their job.” Arjun said, obviously parroting the words of his boss.

“Forwarded!! Do you know what time is it now? It will all be over before the police even move their behinds even to read the stuff.” Sreejith stomped his feet in anger. “We can’t let it happen, man!! The country will burn down if we do!”

“What do you mean, country will burn?” Arjun asked in a bit disinterested tone. He was becoming scared of the intensity of Sreejith’s excitement.

“Don’t you get it? If the place blows up, it will be a communal carnage all over the country. India as we know might cease to exist, and that is what our enemies want.”

“Well, the bosses would know it better than you and I” Arjun tried to defend.

“Do you really think so? I mean, just giving some information at the last minute to the state police is going to prevent a carefully planned terror strike?” Sreejith put both of his arms up in despair. Arjun couldn’t find an answer.

“What do you suggest?” He finally asked.

“I don’t know about you! For me, I am going to go there and try whatever I can to prevent it.” Sreejith said, turning his face away, and looking at the hills visible in the distance.

“My orders are to take you back.” Arjun began.

“I don’t give a damn about your orders. You can go back and report that I gave the slip and ran away.” Sreejith cut him off, indignantly.

“Sorry, man. I can’t do that. They are not going to believe that anyway” Arjun sighed. “You better come back with me.”

“Don’t you get it, Arjun? Have you ever thought why it is happening this way? Why it is always me? Sreejith Raghuram?” Sreejith held onto the handlebar of the bike for support. “I believe I was ‘sent’ on this. There is a purpose behind all these. It is my mission, no, it is my destiny.” He felt a bit dizzy, as he spoke simultaneously as the thought formed in his mind. “I know I have to go. I know it is me who will prevent the disaster.” He took a gasping breath.

“And you, my friend, are in no position to challenge that destiny.” He finished, as his vision cleared and he regained his composure. He felt the energy surging back into him, and the gently breeze caressing his sweat drenched back.

Arjun stood awestruck for a moment. Then he started laughing.

“What is so funny?” Sreejith enquired a bit indignantly.

“Get on the bike.” Arjun walked to the parked bike.

“No.” Sreejith stood his ground.

“Get on the bike, man. We are going to the hills.” He straddled over the seat, straightened the body and kicked the stand away.

Sreejith stood there, looking at the hills for a second. With a silent prayer, he stepped forward and got on the bike. “Let’s go” He commanded.

The scream of the Gilera again echoed among the hills.

*NDRF :National Disaster Relief Force.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Jamie Boscardin » 29 Dec 2010 15:02

Rahul M:
"Asadharan" would be better term(add the o's to make it sound bong)!
Dileep,
Almost a 100 count at this time!
Brilliant!!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Rahul M » 29 Dec 2010 15:50

pagla >> osadharon !!

'kaapiye diyecho guru' would do as well I guess. :D

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 29 Dec 2010 16:42

Chapter 53

Even while enjoying the daredevil kind of riding offered by the terrain, Arjun Rai still couldn’t help wondering what made him end up at the hills, undercover, unauthorized, and accompanied by the totally inexperienced and often crazy civilian, trying to trace a terrorist trying to blow up the place. He was having conscience attacks asking him to turn around and scram back. What he is doing right now is crazy. It goes completely against all his instincts, all his principles, and all his common sense. Still, something pushed him over during the small exchange with his companion. Something he couldn’t explain. Maybe Sreejith is right. It might be a destiny he too shared. Who knows!

He could end up in deep trouble because of this. There was no available information of any disciplinary action in the company, but such information is something that would be very scarce in the setup. But it is inconceivable that everything worked hunky dory in such a setup. The agency is legally a private company. They could do pretty much anything to an agent if they want.

But the bright side is, they could also completely hush up the infraction if they wanted.

A lot of leeway is customarily given to the agents of the organization for bona fide actions they take. It is not to the level of the ‘license to kill’ glorified in fictions, but the strict rules of conduct and rigid disciplinary requirements of the government service was absent in the company. Even taking liberties at the laws in good intention was acceptable, as long as it didn’t fall directly in foul with the legal system. As Anil Nambiar, his first boss, used to remind him, it was intentions that mattered, not actions itself. Arjun hoped that at least at some points in the chain of command, someone would see reason in his actions.

But, operating unauthorized has its own perils. He is not likely to get the back channel support from the company. If he gets a bad encounter with the police, there will be no calls to release him from the higher ups. It is a risk he had to take.

It would be worse for Sreejith. He is still legally a wanted criminal. He can be apprehended by any of the security forces, being a plenty at the place. The only hope is that the police there will be so focused on the primary task of ensuring the security and safety of the place, so that they will not really be looking for an absconding suspect in some court case.

Still, they need to be careful. Sreejith being a civilian, untrained and inexperienced, was a major concern. But if the experience till now was any indication, his inexperience would not be a big problem. “He seems to be a better rookie than myself.” Arjun smiled on that thought

“The phone had been ringing a lot” Arjun said, as they stopped for a moment en route to stretch the legs and to answer nature’s call. “It is Praveen Sir. The bugger will not rest till I confirm that we are riding back” Arjun said, as they shuffled around, trying to bring life back to the stiff legs. The Velo-250 was a great sporty bike, but the long distance cruising comfort was not one of its strengths.

“Well, tell him that we are.” Sreejith suggested.

“You want me to lie to my boss? Don’t forget that he can track us by the phone.” Arjun asked, a bit indignantly.

“Well, how worse can that be?” Sreejith shrugged.

“The last straw broke the camel’s back.” Arjun quipped. “I don’t want to pile on any more crimes on myself. I am already neck deep in it”

“Suit yourself. But we might need to call Rajeev.” Sreejith said, as they prepared to mount their ride again. Arjun paused a moment.

“Why?’ He asked sharply.

“You guys are capable of monitoring cell towers, isn’t it?” Sreejith asked innocently.

“Maybe! So what?” Arjun didn’t get it

“I think we should keep an eye on the cell handsets operating in the region of the temple.” Sreejith said.

“What do you mean? There will be tens of thousands of handsets active around there. How can someone track them all. And what is the use?” Arjun turned back from the bike and faced Sreejith.

“You did read all those email messages! Doesn’t it make sense?” Sreejith asked.

“What do you have in mind?” Arjun’s interest got piqued.

“Didn’t they mention, ‘call when ready’?”

“Yes, I guess. What with it?” He was still confused.

“Couldn’t that mean that the device will be triggered over phone?” Sreejith asked excitedly.

“It could also mean just a feedback.” Arjun said.

“No. Why should they call when ‘ready’. It makes sense to call after the event. Right?”

“Well, it could mean a trigger.” Arjun scratched his chin, where the band of the helmet had made an impression. “But how can we find the phone that is going to do it?”

“It is a long shot.” Sreejith said. “But I think we should be able to establish a pattern by looking at the handsets that follow a route”

“But aren’t they all follow the same route?” Arjun asked.

“Do you think someone can bring in a package via the route we came?”

“I guess not” Arjun agreed. “Aren’t there other routes to the temple?”

“There is another. That too should be under heavy alert.”

“Well, if there are only two routes, and both are secured, why are you worried?”

“You can never be sure, Arjun.” Sreejith sighed. “I know there are jungle trails around. That is one reason I want to trace the handsets.”

“I didn’t get that. What is the relationship between trails and handsets?

“I could have explained better if I had a satellite map handy. The sequence of the cell towers to which a handset connects will depend upon the route, especially in this hilly area.”

“Oh, I get it. You can eliminate the majority of handsets that way and focus on the few that are oddities.” Arjum smiled widely. “Man! Have you ever considered a job with us?”

“Well, I didn’t know about your agency till last week!” Sreejith laughed. Before they continued the journey, Arjun placed a call to Rajeev and passed on the request.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 30 Dec 2010 10:55

Chapter 54

“Too bad we couldn't bring a cell tracker.” Sreejith said. It was a wild shot. He had just heard the name being mentioned by Rajeev sometime back. Given the antics of Arjun, it was only fair to play games on him. Rajeev was so excited when he was apprised of the idea that of tracing the cell tower access patterns in the area. Every concern of assisting a non-sanctioned operation vanished from his mind, and he started on the trail right away in the most ernest. It took him a bit of time, but before the duo on site reached the pinnacle, he had a list of fifteen SIM cards that suited a possible approach. He was on constant watch on those SIMs, and pared the list down as they deviated from the set rules. The list was down to three when they approached the covered queue shed. Still, the stifling question of how to locate those phones remained.

“Oh, I have it with me.” Arjin said in a totally disinterested tone. They were approaching the final descent to the complex, and the queue had stopped moving, as the block was held at the barricade. Arjun was scanning his eyes around the dense forest just beyond the trail, and the hills that are partially covered in the silky white dupatta of fog visible at the distance through a gap. The stunning natural beauty of the western ghats had made a remarkable impression on him, reminding him of his childhood spent in the hills of South Canara.

“You did? But isn't that a bulky piece of equipment?” Sreejith asked, suspicious of a bluff, which is not unexpected from Arjun.

“Well, that was the old version. The new version is embedded in my phone.” Arjin said, looking back at Sreejith with a sly smile.

“Oh come on, man, I know enough of the technology to know that it is impossible.” Sreejith said

“Well, I don't know ANY technology at all. I just use the equipment.” Arjun said and moved his gaze back to the jungle.

The flow of pilgrims moved again. Here at the security check, they had to take out the cell phones and demonstrate them by turning them on. Arjun's phone was already on. The cop took a look at the screen and waved them through.

They were starting the final descent to the temple complex when there was a 'ping' sound from Arjun's phone. He immediately pulled it out and looked at the screen. Sreejith craned his neck and took a peek. There was a target roundel displayed, with the number '-286m' displayed on the screen.

“He is on.” Arjun whispered, turning the screen so that Sreejith can see it better.

“What does it mean?” Sreejith asked.

“It means that good old Rajeev has zeroed on a suspect. He is 286 metres closer to the tower than we are.” Arjun explained, somewhat imitating a magician explaining his trick. Sreejith slapped his forehead, and started laughing.

“What is there to laugh? You think I faked this?” Arjun was at a loss why he was laughing.

“No. I had proposed this technology to my company some years ago, and it got rejected citing it is unviable”. He explained.

“Don't give me the bullshit, man! You are pulling my leg.” Arjun said, unimpressed.

“No, man, seriously. I do know how it works. You are comparing the time offset correction factor in the packets.” Sreejith said matter of factly. Arjun made a gesture indicating that it went way above his head.

“Look, he is moving”, Arjun observed. They were standing aside, hugging the barricade, having moved aside from the stream of pilgrims. The number on the screen had changed.

“How would you find him, with just this information?” Arjun wondered aloud. Sreejith looked around, observing if anyone was watching them. “I can, if you give me the phone.” He whispered, extending the hand. “We should be careful here, because two guys walking around looking at a phone is not going to go well with the police here.”

“I can't. It is against the company rules.” Arjun began to protest, but stopped in mid sentence, as he watched the dead serious expression on Sreejith's face. “What?”, he asked.

“We don't have much time.” Sreejith grunted. There was something in his voice that was commanding. “And when did rules become important to you?” Involuntarily, Arjun handed over the phone. Sreejith threw himself on the cross beam of the barricade and squeezed out through the gap to escape from the queue. Arjun looked at him with surprise, but in an instant, followed suit.

“Come..” Sreejith took a glance on the number displayed on the screen and started briskly walking down. Arjun had to jog after him to keep up. They barreled down the narrow and uneven path outside the barricade, while the pilgrims struggling within looked on with surprise. After going a distance of around fifty metres, Sreejith stopped, and stood holding onto a pillar for balance. He then glanced at the screen again, and did some mental calculations.

“The tower should be that way”. He pointed towards the tall building to the right of the canopy down below. “There are a bunch of towers on top of that one.” His glance went back to the screen, watching the number displayed. It was not changing.

“Could you, PLEASE, tell me what is going on..” Arjun asked indignantly.

“Isn't that simple? We moved around 50 metres in this direction, but the number moved only thirty. From that we can estimate the angle. We know that there are no towers on that cliff to the left, so it must be to the right.” Impatience brimmed in his tone.

“I should have paid attention to my geometry classes.” Arjun mumbled. Sreejith ignored the quip.

“He hasn't moved” Sreejith observed. “He should be either approaching the complex from the northern access, or already near the temple. Come, we got to move fast”. He almost pulled Arjun and started jogging down. They approached the clearing where the buildings started, where they could cross the queue and go towards the canopy. As they approached the entrance to the canopy, they slowed down, as a cop was standing there, watching the passers by. Sreejith felt the eyes of the cop coming back to them. He casually gave the phone back to Arjun. “Police. Turn it off.”, he whispered. Arjun was already extending his hand for the phone, as he too was observing the cop. He blind typed a key sequence, and the normal display came back on the phone instantly.

As they approached the cop, deleberately not looking at him. They heard the soft spoken, but dreadful, command. “Swamy, please stop there for a moment.”

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 31 Dec 2010 10:08

Chapter 55

“Where are you going in a hurry?” The constable asked, looking at Arjun and Sreejith alternating.

“I got parted from my little brother, Sir.” Sreejith said, with his breathing heavy, and a tinge of sob in his voice. “I am going to the information office to make an announcement on the PA system.”

Arjun stood spellbound by this magnificent performance.

“Where did you lose him?” The cop asked, with the tinge of suspicion clear in his voice.

“We realized he is not with us when we reached Marakkoottam* swamy. He was with us till we passed the under-pass.”

“How old is he?”

“Eight years, swamy. Please, let us go.” He felt the hard earned tears fill up the corner of his eyes.

“You got an eight years old brother?” The cop asked with a snicker. Sreejith realized his folly.

“That.., He.... He is my step brother, swamy. My father re-married.” He was glad of the scrape through. “Please swamy, let us go.” He pleased in the most pitiful voice he could muster.

“OK, OK. Go ahead.” The cop said, as he turned his attention to a pair of porters walking down with head loads. Sreejith held onto the sigh till they cleared the earshot of the cop.

“Man! Aren't you good!!” Arjun applauded, slapping Sreejith’s shoulder. Sreejith ignored it, as he extended his hand for the phone. Almost dutifully, Arjun turned the tracker app on again and gave it to him.

Together, they briskly walked to the other end of the canopy, and clearing the roof, they looked back at the tall concrete building. There were a few cell towers on top of it, and one of them carried the signboard, advertising the service provider they were looking for. Sreejith silently pointed to the tower. Arjun nodded.

“Still not moving.” Sreejith observed. “Arjun, is it possible to find out if any communication had happened on the number?”

Arjun took out another phone and dialed Rajeev's number. Once connected, he relayed the question to Rajeev and got the answer in the negative.

“Hold that call. We might need him.” Sreejith advised.

“What is going on there? Why it took so long for you to call?” Rajeev asked.

“Long story, sir. We are tracing the package.” Arjun whispered to the headset.

“I can see that. You are near the tower. The guy is hardly 100 metres away from you.” Rajeev reported, which Arjun relayed to Sreejith.

“Whom are you talking to? Where is Sreejith?” Rajeev wondered aloud.

“He is here. I will explain later, Sir.” Arjun whispered, and turned around to look for Sreejith. He found him standing, facing the temple and praying. He walked towards him, and touched his shoulder. Sreejith turned with a start.

“What next?” Arjun asked. Sreejith looked at the display of the phone. “He is 80 metres.. Oh, My god!” He exclaimed, as he finished a roundabout scan of the area.

“What?” Arjun asked.

“Nothing. We got to rush.” Sreejith started walking fast towards the steps that led to the elevated yard of the temple. “Quick.. follow me..” He commanded, as he walked around the main complex, to the rear. Arjun followed closely on his heals. He reached the trail to the temple pond and stopped abruptly. A bunch of pilgrims were trying to settle there, and a few cops were trying to shoo them away. Sreejith casually slipped back behind a pillar and observed the display of the phone for a few seconds. He then took a careful and critical look around, his glance darting from corner to corner and pilgrim to pilgrim all around. He then looked up, towards the inner sanctum, closed his eyes and prayed for a few seconds.

“Arjun, ask him to turn off the cell network!” He almost barked.

“What? What are you talking about?” Arjun stammered.

“Ask Mr. Rajeev to turn off the cell network. It is rigged for detonation by command.”

“I heard that!” Rajeev exclaimed on the phone. “Your friend is either a complete moron, or he is a genius.”

“Sir, I would lean to the latter. Could you do it?” Arjun asked.

“Of course, kid! Is there anything I COULDN'T do? But you are going to lose this connection, and all the trace capabilities once I do that. Are you sure?” Arjun looked at Sreejith's face that was looking at him with palpable anxiety.

“Do it, Sir. I will call you over a land line once all clear.” He said into to the handset, and gave Sreejith the thumbs up sign.

Moments later, both the phones went dead, indicating lost signal. Sreejith let a deep sign out, and once again, turned to the direction of the sanctum and prayed.

“What now?” Arjun asked.

“Listen carefully, Arjun. The package is in one of those ancient rooms, not more than ten metres from where we stand. That gives a very small area to search. Use whatever influence you can get, to alert the police and do a thorough search without raising a panic among the pilgrims. You are your own there, as I got to vanish now.”

“What are you going to do?” Arjun managed to ask.

“I have some very important work to finish. I will meet you near the information office after you are done.” Sreejith removed his shirt. He then collected everything on his person, except the black mundu and stuffed all of it into the cloth bag he was carrying. He handed over the bag to Arjun.

“Swamy Saranam.” He muttered to Arjun and stated walking down the steps that led to the pond.

*Marakkoottam : A waypoint of the trek path.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 31 Dec 2010 10:10

Chapter 56

It was the ritual of ‘kalabha abhishekam’ at the sanctum. The pot of the fragrant holy paste was emptied over the idol after the long series of pujas and rituals. The thanthri* finished the puja and stood up. He made a final bow to the deity that the punya of millions of births had enabled him to serve, folded his hands and retired. The assistant priests crowding the small sanctum moved aside to give way to the revered supreme priest. As he turned, he extended his hand for one of the wild plantain leaves stacked to one side. These leaves were used to deliver the prasaad to the devotees. The thanthri normally doesn't handle those, so the surprised assistant priest grabbed one and handed it over, respectfully to the old man.

He stood there for a moment, as if unsure of himself. Then he proceeded to assemble some flowers, holy ash, and the holy fragrant mix that was just been showered on the deity, into the leaf. He chanted some mantras and anointed the platter. After that he took the leaf in his hands, turned around and walked back towards the door. The assistant priests were surprised on this unusual action by the man. Maybe there is some special guest for the chief, they thought.

The thanthri came out, backing out and stooping not to hit his head on the rafters. Once out of the doorway, he turned, and stopped the police guard from pushing away a youth from in front of him. The youth, clad in a wet black mundu, with water streaming from his hair and body, came forward, with folded hands and shivering body. The thanthri took a pinch of the holy ash from the leaf, and rubbed it on the forehead of the youth, as the youth bent down, almost touching his feet. He then gave the leaf with the offerings to him, and walked away, through the avenue formed by the pilgrims, back to his room.

Sreejith stood there, almost unconscious, seeing only the idol, so close and completely unhindered for the first time in his life. Tears streamed from his eyes, as he stood there, his mind completely blank, devoid of all the fears and tensions he had undergone since the last time he was there.

“Swamy, please..” He was awakened by the gently touch of the policeman. He wiped his eyes, took another look at the idol, and moved back.

“Are you a relative of the thanthri, swamy?” The policeman asked, with unsatisfied curiosity.

“No. I am just blessed by Lord Ayyappa himself.” Sreejith said, with a bright smile flashing from behind the tears. He then walked away, around the sanctum, and en route to the lower level of the outer yard.

He found that the rear entrance was completely blocked, and all the pilgrims are being routed through the side entrance. A big cordon of state police and NDRF was visible. He tried to walk to the side of the platform to take a look, but was harshly sent back by the guards on duty there. Slowly, he merged with the stream of pilgrims who go out, and walked down the steps, and proceeded to the information office situated at the lower yard. He turned back to see the cordon of state police and NDRF blocking the accessways at the rear entrance and the pond.

“What happened?” He heard a pilgrim ask. “They found a leopard hiding in a room” was the reply by another.

“Oh, the lord rides leopards@. Swamy Saranam” Someone quipped.

Sreejith found the information office empty. He sat there at the verandah, waiting for Arjun. He did not pay attention to the commotion around him, as people moved around confused, having no idea what is going on at the rear of the temple.

His journey, begun a few weeks ago at the same place, had come to a finish.

The End.

*thanthri: The supreme priest of a temple. This position is hereditary to a family. He is considered the guru/father of the deity, and his is the final word on anything related to the rites and rituals of the temple. It is a speciality of Sabarimala that the thanthri takes part in the daily rituals.

@Though the pictures and the movies show the lord riding a tiger, the legend always use the word ‘puli’, which means leopard in Malayalam.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 31 Dec 2010 10:12

Happy New Year Folks!! Hope you enjoyed it.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 31 Dec 2010 10:21

Epilogue

“Mr. Sreejith Raghuram, please approach the customer service desk for a message”. The sweet, but monotonously mechanical voice woke the addressee from deep thought. His eyes were wandering out through the large glass window, checking out a couple of LCA Tejas fighters parked at the apron of the airforce base across on the other side of the runway, but his mind was trying to put some order to the turmoil it had been through recently. He could not erase the memory of Saumya’s face, with tears streaming over the cheeks that lost their colour. And little Arjun, who desperately wanted to put a show of strength being a boy, but his six years old mind breaking down seeing the tears of his mother.

For the first time in his life he felt the meaning of burden of truth. He sincerely wished he could tell them everything. At least to Saumya. He never hid anything from her. At least after growing up. Now, he was being forced to lie to his family.

He didn’t choose this. He doubted if he even deserved this. But then, he hadn’t deserved any of the hardships he had been through in the past two months. Maybe that venerable astrologer was right. It may be his destiny. Maybe it is all planned by powers that he couldn’t comprehend.

He turned his right hand, and looked at the brass ring with the engraving of the Ayyappa Chakram. “Swamy Saranam”, he instinctively whispered. It was gifted to him by an unknown devotee at the temple. Now, looking back, he could see the divine guardian looking over and protecting him all through.

It is going to help him in the new life as well. He was sure about that. He had no doubt that it was a gift from the lord himself.

He could use all the help he could get. He is joining a career that is out of ordinary.

He has become a spy.

After clearing his name from the legal hassles, and receiving the certified copy of the court order, Sreejith was eager to get back to his old life. Breeze Technologies still existed, though many of the staff had left during the turmoil. “It was all a big misunderstanding!”, screamed the headlines in the media, quoting the authorities. It was easy for them. They didn’t lose anything. But the event put back the defense industry of the country by a lot. Something none, except a few interested in these matters, realized.

Sreejith hadn’t initially tried to get deeper into the details. He had decided that he had no intention to return to breeze. He wanted to find another job around. Something that did not involve anything related to security. Database Administration, maybe. Or even web design. He did not want to leave the city, and he did not want to leave his sister.

All that changed with a phone call from Praveen Kumar. All is not done, as the man declared in his militarily precise words. He was required to meet him personally to clear up some final issues He was to get to his office at Kochi pronto.

Sreejith was constantly reassuring himself that it will only be some bureaucracy, while the vast stretches of backwaters and paddy fields flashed past the window of the train carriage. His anxiety showed by the way he practically ran out of the autorickhaw, and up the stairs, bringing him to the glass door, etched with the logo and name of Nova Investment Services. It was the first time he was being there, unescorted and unincarcerated. The girl at the front office instantly recognized him, and in a sharp contrast to the previous visits, welcomed him with a smile and an invite to the conference room to the side. As he sank into the chair, trying to figure out what to expect, the door opened and Arjun Rai stepped in with a warm smile and extended hand.

“Hello Sreejith. Welcome to the club” He casually said, as they shook hands. “Praveen Sir will be here soon to brief you”

Sreejith lost his breath for a moment, as his brain tried to decipher the message.

Praveen was more straightforward. The essence of the brief statement was, the free life of Sreejith Raghuram has ended. He has the choice of joining the organization as a team member, or be exiled at an unknown place, out of any contact from the previous life. He saw and knew too much, as the organization saw it, and possessed skills that it could possibly use.

Sreejith didn’t know it then, but the second choice was purely a bluff. The organization, being a private company with no statutory powers, had no rights to execute upon the threat. “But he doesn’t know that” was the justification for Praveen. It was disclosed only after Sreejith was finally accepted into the organization, and signed the oath with the presidential seal underneath it.

He was beyond the point of return then. And he was too impressed and awe struck by what he had seen, to consider a rethink anyway. The suffering he had undergone was only the tip of the iceberg, compared to the malice that caused insufferable distress to the defense technology development in the country. What he got as a peripheral brief did blow him away.

The enemy had penetrated several echelons of the system. The moles were not only trying to get information, but also actively trying to sabotage. The attack on Breeze was just a consequence of such a sabotage, which got blown out of proportions.

The real target was to sabotage Skytech and Ravikant Hegde. He was developing some groundbreaking technology. After repeated attempts to penetrate his circles to steal the secrets, he was forced to move to a very low profile location. Apparently, the pieces of information obtained by the enemy was so damning, that they had decided to sabotage him. Unfortunately for the country, they were successful.

Apparently, one the estranged founders of Breeze Tech were part of the insiders. He had decided to grind his axe with the company by implicating them. Soon, things went out of hand, and a major scandal resulted. Many lives, including Sreejith’s were changed forever.

He became a spy himself. Poor Ravikant became an inmate at Nimhans, under close supervision by ISS agents. He suffered serious nervous breakdown. His work remains unfinished. Sreejith felt that he, after all didn’t fare too badly, thanks to all divine help.

But convincing his family was an entirely different issue. They did not swallow any of the reasons he gave them for his accepting a job in a company at Hyderabad, that too a smaller company, at a lesser salary. Finally, some demi-official prodding by the DGP of the state upon Vijay did change the wind. It is difficult to figure who was surprised more. Sreejith learning that his brother-in-law was indeed part of the intelligence apparatus of the state police, or Vijay learning that Sreejith is entering the security service that he himself knew nothing of.


Sreejith walked to the nicely done customer service desk and introduced himself. The girl there delivered him a small package, gift wrapped in red velvet, and tied with a silk bow. A card with his name written in calligraphy dangled from the package.

He instantly felt a familiarity to that writing. His heart started racing. He thanked the girl at the counter and walked back to the waiting area of the terminal. He couldn’t wait to open it and see what is inside.

He pulled the bow loose, and unwrapped the velvet. Inside, under several layers of wrapping paper and poly foam, was a box, made of red tinted bamboo wood. He recognized the material, and instantly guessed the source. He pulled the round pearl that served as a catch, and opened the box.

Inside, resting on padding of red velvet with golden embroidery, was a small bottle made of shiny brown ceramic. It was round, with a wavy curve up, ending in the slender neck. A stopper of the same material closed the bottle. A finely crafted monogram consisting of the letters J and B, co-sintered in gold dust in the glaze adored the front.

Sreejith started sweating. What the hell does she mean by this?

Without realizing what he is doing, he lovingly took out the bottle and turned it around. On the opposite side of the monogram, there was a logo in bright red glaze with the numbers 007, forming the stock of a handgun. The barrel extended to the right, to complete the unmistakably famous logo.

His eyes widened as a realization sunk in. “What a bitch!” He thought with a smile. He turned the stopper and opened the bottle.

A pleasant and overpowering masculine fragrance spread in the air. Even though the bottle was kept a foot away from the nose, he felt that the fragrance is pulling him into it, like the magic lamp pulls the genie into the spout.

“Excuse me,” Sreejith was rudely interrupted by the sound from behind. Annoyed, he turned his had to face the man sitting behind him on the other side of the chair set, and cast a look of query.

“What perfume is that?” The man, elegantly dressed in an expensive suit asked in the deep set French accent. “Did they launch a double-o-seven perfume line too?” He smiled, in an effort to reduce the rudeness of the question.

“I don’t know. It is a gift.” Sreejith said, a bit irritated.

“Can I have a look at it?” The man asked, ignoring the obvious hints. Sreejith had to hand the bottle to him. He took it and like a professional, waved it six inches under his nose. Then he carefully looked at the bottle, taking in its shape and the intricate hand crafting. He turned it around and inspected it closely, apparently to see any printing on it. There was none, not even the volume of contents that is legally required for a commercial product.

“Sample bottle, eh?” He finally asked to a visibly angry Sreejith. “Nice parfum. I am sure it is going to make a sensation in the market” He said matter of factly. Noticing the frown on Sreejith’s face, he thanked and returned the bottle, not before taking in another waft of the fragrance.

“As a matter of fact, mon ami, I don’t think this one will ever see the market” Sreejith said with a smile, as he replaced the bottle carefully back into the box, ignoring the bewildered look on the face of the man.

“All passengers, traveling to Hyderabad by Reliance Air flight two seven three, are requested to proceed to the security check.” The PA system blared. Sreejith carefully put the box into his bag, and stood up.

Another journey had just begun.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby niran » 31 Dec 2010 10:48

i thank thee the great Dileep to spare us mortal from the agony of wait.
a magnificent New Year Gift. Please accept my humble bow.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby merlin » 31 Dec 2010 12:09

Oooh too bad the story has ended. It sure kept me spellbound. A cracker of a story.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Rahul M » 31 Dec 2010 12:14

your best work so far saarjee. although I would have loved the epilogue as another astrology session.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby manish.rastogi » 31 Dec 2010 14:37

Dileep wrote:Happy New Year Folks!! Hope you enjoyed it.


hope??....i am sure everyone loved it....i have already started waiting for your next story.....your work is fantastic sirjee.....
Dileep wrote:was a box,
made of red tinted bamboo
wood. He recognized the
material, and instantly guessed
the source. He pulled the round
pearl that served as a catch, and
opened the box.
Inside, resting on padding of red
velvet with golden embroidery,
was a small bottle made of shiny
brown ceramic. It was round,
with a wavy curve up, ending in
the slender neck. A stopper of
the same material closed the
bottle. A finely crafted
monogram consisting of the
letters J and B, co-sintered in
gold dust in the glaze adored
the front.

uuaan...i want such gift too....
:((

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 31 Dec 2010 14:58

manish.rastogi wrote:uuaan...i want such gift too....
:((

Well, all you need to do is to impress a girl who makes perfumes for a hobby, take her along on a dangerous mission and then join the spy agency. If she gets to know/suspect what had happened, she might send you one bottle of custom made elixir.

Easy, no?

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby manish.rastogi » 31 Dec 2010 15:42

wow....that sounds quite easy....the problem is to find a girl making perfumes as hobby...its quite an unusual one....btw the way you described the packing and the gift made me yearn it like anything.....:P

also sirjee how do you go about writing your stories....i would like to know the thinking process behind it??....would try writing one!!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby ravar » 31 Dec 2010 15:46

Wow! Cool...After all, it is said that Saturn leaves the subject with a gift... highly insightful and spiritual in nature ('twas one for Sreejith, ain't it?); the end result of baptism by fire and all the travails...!

Enjoyed it thoroughly...!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Jamie Boscardin » 31 Dec 2010 18:50

Dileep Saar,

Thanks a ton for this remarkable story and I hope that you continue to give this kind of shock and awe stories all your life and mesmerize your readers. You probably single handedly have made a huge fan base of BRF, increased the number of lurkers etc etc!! :)

Wish you and every BRFite a very Happy and prosperous New Year!!!!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby chaanakya » 31 Dec 2010 20:55

“May each day of the New Year bring happiness, good cheer and sweet surprises to you and all your dear ones. Happy New Year!”



Dileep, you are simply amazing. I wish sreejith best in his spooky life. Wishing to see his next exploit.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Ankit Desai » 31 Dec 2010 22:07

Awesome work Dileep Saar, I will wait for another one :wink: .

cheers

Ankit

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Avarachan » 31 Dec 2010 22:53

Dileep, fantastic work.

In particular, I want to congratulate you on your fine dialogue scenes. The scene written on Dec. 24th was great: the banter between Sreejith and Jasmine about their relationship provided great insight into Jasmine's personality, and was also very funny. :)

Your overall handling of the romantic tension between those two was elegant; it was never vulgar, but it definitely kept me wondering what would happen next. The religious identities of the characters were also deftly portrayed. You handled a difficult subject with finesse. Again, congrats!

What's your email address? It'll take me a few weeks to contact you because I'm busy with work, but I'd like to run an idea past you. Thanks.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 01 Jan 2011 10:46

Thanx for the nice words folks.

Manish, writing, like any creative work mostly 'happens'. I start with a bare abstract idea, and build from that by imagining the situation in my mind. There will be a general direction of things to move, but how it gets there is completely arbitrary, moving from event to event.

This work evolved from the event where I was hit by a bunch of coins at the 'sannidhanam' at Sabarimala. The ISRO spy case had always fascinated me. I wanted to work on the plight of someone who ended up in a similar situation. The terror plot also was something I had in mind for some time. At some point of imagineering, these things dovetailed.

Then I saw the movie still from Anwar and got the 'now famous' character. I haven't seen the movie, and the characters themselves doesn't shave anything in common.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 01 Jan 2011 10:47

Avarachan, dileepks is my id on the gmail system.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby manish.rastogi » 01 Jan 2011 12:18

thank you sir....i am setting my brain into scan mode right away for such ideas....and once again awesome work.....gonna miss opening brf just as i woke up to see your posts....lol

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby astal » 01 Jan 2011 14:19

Dileep Saar,

A fine yarn you have woven. I really liked the mixture of deep traditional values with modern culture. Some things that stood out were:
Sister, brother in law relationship - As seen from your posts you have some deep insights.
Lack of pandering to western expectations such as stereotypical male female relationships.
Interesting details about cyber espionage.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby chackojoseph » 01 Jan 2011 14:27

Dileep is very talented. Good job!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby ramana » 02 Jan 2011 01:19

Great job Dileep.

I will make another thread with just the story and leave this for comments.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Sanku » 03 Jan 2011 14:37

Just read the complete thing. Awesome!!

Do you want to fill in the details of what happened exactly at the temple (your version)?

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 03 Jan 2011 15:02

Sanku wrote:Do you want to fill in the details of what happened exactly at the temple (your version)?

Well, that would remove half the fun, wouldn't it? Maybe you could post your version. As I see it, all pieces of information necessary to do it is given in the text.

One thing I can tell. The threat was real. There was no deception/misleading in the whole thing, except the 'hiding leopard' story made up to avoid mass panic.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Sachin » 03 Jan 2011 16:48

Now time to use BRF Archiver to only pull out Dileep's post and read the entire story at leisure and at one go. The piece meal stuff made me lose track of the whole thing.

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby Dileep » 04 Jan 2011 16:10

I made a google site and uploaded SS2 and SS4 in pdf ebook form.

https://sites.google.com/site/brfspystories/home

Enjoy!

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Re: Spy Story 4 - Glance of Saturn

Postby RamaY » 05 Jan 2011 07:17

Excellent work Dileep ji!

Keep it up...


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