The novel’s title has changed from “The Suspect” to “Terror.” I did just finish the general outline and the last part is vague enough and doesn’t give away the ending, so that I think it can be shared in toto. I have to leave that vague for myself, too, because exactly how it turns will depend on the characters and their interactions. Anyway, here’s the outline. Again, it’s fiction, and a bit of science fiction, too, I suppose, as it’s not exactly the past as we have lived it.
I expect to spend the next 9 weeks or so writing the first draft, so posts other than the weekly Civil War update will be light to nonexistent. Also, unfortunately, I am going to have to take a bit of a hiatus from Helium.
PS: Sorry about the spacing – haven’t time for more than a simple copy and paste, and apparently there were minor format issues.
Part I – Laura’s World
A. Late 1999-2000
1. Laura and her world
2. Gangsters in the complex
3. July 4, 2000: The Liberty attack
4. Suspicion and reporting
1. Harassment in the complex
2. Hope: Signs of surveillance but no direct contact.
3. Laura says no.
1. Dec 23, 2001: Laura leaves the complex and goes to a motel.
2. Feb 2002: She rents a house on the edge of town.
3. Feb through end of year: Growing fear, recognition of ongoing attacks.
4. Jan 2003: Laura goes homeless, gives up cat and accepts bus ticket sent by a friend to head up North.
Part II – Ray Is On The Job
A. The new kid on the block.
1. January 2002: Ray Petruchi, an FBI agent from Ohio, joins the team in New York.
2. He’s briefed on the complex joint operation to catch a terrorist, Laura Simpkins, and the inability to extradite her due to lack of proof.
3. Jan-December 2002: He suggests an “open” approach to increase pressure on Laura.
4. It works and gets her back to New York State.
1. Jan 2003: Ray is promoted to the elite”special ops” unit as a supervisor of undercover agents.
2. Jan-May 2003: Ray runs operations as Laura finds housing and gets back on her feet in upstate New York. The purpose is to isolate her in deniable fashion and maintain pressure on her 24/7 using physical intimidation and chemicals that confuse, sedate, and make fearful.
3. May 2003: One day Laura has seizures and almost dies, but does recover. Ray discovers there’s no backup to rescue her in case of an overdose.
4. Ray asks his boss about the lack of backup and boss just shrugs and says it was a mistake, probably won’t happen again, but if it does and she dies, that’s just one less terrorist in the world. Ray is afraid to point out that she has not been charged yet, let alone found guilty.
C. Something’s not right.
1. May 2003: Ray’s fear about speaking his mind surprises him, but as he goes over recent events in his mind after the meeting and in more detail, he sees odd little things that weren’t noticeable at the time but now need explaining.
2. A couple of those he is in a position to look into unobtrusively. Neither fits into the assumptions Ray has made about this operation, and one of them mentions a special file that Ray can find no evidence for, but he stops searching for it when he detects special measures designed to alert someone of inquiries about the file.
3. While back in Ohio to testify in court, Ray visits with a former black-hat now white-hat hacker who is trustworthy and owes him. Ray describes the measures in very general terms, asking if the hacker’s ever heard of those before. Hacker recognizes it as a high-level NSA setup and warns Ray not to get into it any further, but says it’s oddly vulnerable.
4. Hacker gets Ray the file, which is named Happy Valley and appears to be an organizational list, with two echelons above the one he thought was the top one. Above these, is “Happy Valley.”
Part III: Asylum
A. The bridge.
B. On the run.
C. The Canadian