Volume 88 - Mystery "Italy" (continuation of Volumes: 82-83-84: excerpts unpublished novel)
...The secured telephone conversation between Tony Tuscono and Francesco DiGiuda, Captain with the Corps of the Pontifical Swiss Guard (Guardia Svizzera Pontificia) concerning the kidnapping of the God-Son of Pope Paul II who was very good friends with Pope Francis concludes.
Tuscono gets up from his desk, within the soundproof/telephonic glass enclosed studio, ready to start the checklist of details necessary for he and the Shanghai office Team 3 unit to video conference when Jonathon Carpenter (GST's IT guru) clicks the speaker and advises both Tuscono and O'Brian that there is a second call coming in from Francesco DiGiuda. Tony instructs Carpenter to put it through the same secure line as previous call and motions for Maggie to sit back down as obviously his friend Francesco forgot to mention something from the call of only a few minutes ago.
(Golds, Sachs & Thomas - GST, the business name, and security firm used by Tony Tuscono and the members of a unit designating "Gold 6" only for Presidential access. An access initially ordained by a former President while the architect of this unit was heading up spook headquarters engaging in some rather dicey dealings especially in the Middle East. The main headquarter office is located in the newly renovated Victor Hotel, 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami with satellite operations in New Orleans, 1104 Toulouse Street across from the Maison Dupuy Hotel and Shanghai, China, 2 ChangDe Road, each with a skilled over achiever running day to day operations.
The Victor Hotel was a dilapidated structure and part of Gianni Versace's real estate holdings that went into receivership and located only a few short blocks from his opulent residence which was taken over by his family and will undoubtedly be served up to some group with more money than brains. This renovated Hotel had some serious union construction problems which was solved by GST, who at the time was looking for space as well as living quarters in Miami for Tuscono. In return for the problem solving feat and all future security, GST acquired 2,600 square feet with an additional 2,150 square feet of residential space blueprinted into the plans with secure entrance off the main lobby. A four foot wide by eight foot high eight panel solid oak door opening with a state of the art i.2 series G16X7 iris/voice scanner built into the locking mechanism esthetically consisting of only two four inch in diameter holes was part of the lobby construction less than twenty feet away from the main elevator banks. This i.2 device has the capabilities to measure the human characteristics of the Gold 6 Group separating out the hundreds of people using the lobby on any given day. This State of the Art technology continued through this secured section of the building with full hand-print scanners, facial recognition devices and keyless pads and proximity sonar all trailing from this door through the twenty-two foot enclosed narrow hallway to the next set of doors that led into the office complex with all product specifications and installation directly involving the i.2 Shanghai group, another division of Gold Sachs & Thomas, including their research and developmental arm. The mix of privacy, security, secretiveness all within public scrutiny was truly the stroke of genius, and to some degree a point of humor, that permitted the integrity of the group to function.
The residential entrance was off the original garden of Versace's building patio and kept for the most part in-tack with the renovation of the Hotel. A relatively plain, non-descript metal door, bullet resistive, artistically painted to blend with surrounding décor with grade 1 six point keypad locking mechanism, i.2-series 1790, combined with a 5-point fingerprint access on outside, viewer and i.2's newest security exit trim opens to a 6' x 14' x 12' high foyer. The foyer is scanned with three remote HD CCTV units and heat sensors working in conjunction with the proximity sonar to allow a specially equipped MRI type reading access control for entrance. At the far end was another 4' x 8' door, blast resistant, designed by Mega-Met company. It was their model MRB-2S, a medium range swinging blast door on five stainless ball bearing hinges, i.2 series 1101 and lock/unlock sensors tied to the main control panel. Upon passing through this 3" thick opening an ordinary steel stairwell two flight up onto a balcony and a pair of French doors lead into Tuscono's residence.)
It didn't take but a few seconds for Tuscono to feel uneasy as something was missing from this conversation and the previous request for assistance. He looked through the glass separation at Carpenter who motioned that something was different technically with this secure line. Turning his head slightly he motions to Maggie, who was also involved in listening to the conversation to not contact J. Hymon, Operations leader of Team 3 Shanghai office, as he previously ordered. His gut instinct didn't disappoint as Francesco apologized but said that he had forgot some specific instructions and requests from the Church Hierarchy concerning this kidnapping situation. Tuscono turned his head slightly in his usual manner when taken aback with something unexpected as he looked at Maggie while DiGiuda stated, "Mr. Tuscono, sorry for this call back to you but His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Baptista is very concerned not only with the safety of Karol Jozef Stephenson but with the political fallout of this kidnapping; therefore, he does not desire the end result ending in some type of public trial; and, to that end his request is that your team put the final end to these kidnappers so please be prepared accordingly."
A long pause occurs as Tuscono simply looks at Maggie (Maggie O'Brian, VP of Operations GST Miami, former Olympic Shooter, SIS - UK's secret intelligence service - the only member who had duel citizenship due to her father being English, M15 - UK's military intelligence unit specializing as Sniper Captain, and a stint working on special assignment to the Masada with degrees from Athens University.)
After what seems like several minutes DiGiuda starts to apologize again for the second call but is interrupted by Tuscono saying "my friend, our friendship goes back to your father and we have had a mutual respect for a number of years but I'm afraid that we now have a problem with your request." With his voice taking on a growing intense tone by the second, Tuscono continues, "GST is noted for doing a variety of assignments with not only people of various reputations throughout the world but also with many diverse countries some of which have no diplomatic relations with this country. We run the 'rail and the edge' on what is legal and what is moral but we don't kill people simply for the sake of keeping someone quiet. It appears from what you stated in our previous communication that you have good intel on the alleged kidnappers as well as the cooperation from Interpol to the extent that you seemingly are even convinced of their general location. Your objective of rescuing a God-Son of a former Pope is your assignment to which we wish you all the good fortune in that pursuit. But if our assignment is simply to kill the alleged perpetrators in this matter I suggest you find some independent mechanic and please advise Baptista that we recognize the political fallout and understand his concern. I will continue to wish you the best and feel free to keep us informed but this is something that we cannot be involved with. Good-by DiGiuda." Tuscono ends the conversation.
Before Tony could say anything Maggie simply says, "What the Fuck was that about and why the attitude to Francesco? Isn't he a friend of yours?" And, as Maggie is about to say something else Tuscono simply raises his hand, a jester of his that means 'Stop' but is also a very irritating motion that everyone at GST is sadly aware of. Maggi just rolls her eyes and becomes silent.
Tuscono hits the speaker and instructs Jonathon to play back both of the phone transmissions and says, "Do your digital magic on both calls. Something is wrong. I need those calls gone over with your sweep programs as well as your new 'truth' technology that you patented last month and I need to know immediately what you find. I spoke long enough that it should give you a larger playing field to cover all background sounds as well as to compare this call from the previous.
He looked at Maggie, who's expression was now not of surprise but the beginnings of understanding, and said "we'll find that both calls are technically different and I'm sure Carpenter will find that out, to some extent or another. Secondly, and most importantly, our friend is in trouble. He has never referred to me as 'Mr. Tuscono' and knows full well that we would turn this request down because of the requirement that didn't exist previously. 'Political fallout' aside the mere mention of Baptista makes me think the worse and thus much more to this kidnapping with possibly something that goes back to the Vatican Bank, but more importantly Francesco and maybe even the Pope are in serious trouble. Remember Cardinal Baptista was banished from the advisory group not long after Pope Francis took office."