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The Dewey Connection

by nbrooks 

Posted: 02 October 2011
Word Count: 19880
Summary: The Dewey Connection weaves together three distinct paths to an action packed conclusion. See how Dr. Benson's research on memory restoration of Alzheimer patients relate to the Islamic community of Dearborn, MI as well as Homeland Security.

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Emma sat looking out the window at a bright sunny Palo Alto day but her eyes were anything but bright. Emma was in a moderate stage of Alzheimer but had recently shown symptoms of moving into a severe stage. “How are you doing today, mom?” her son asked. Dr. Lawrence Benson sat next to Herman Brown as he spoke to his mother. As Herman listened for an answer, he looked intently at his mother. Dr. Benson took note of the vacant stare as Emma had continued to look out of the window and was non-responsive. Herman had reached out and gently touched her silver-grey hair careful not to interfere with the sensors connected to her head. Herman was the older of Wilhelm and Emma Brown’s two children. Wilhelm on arriving in America had changed their last name from Braun to Brown because he felt they would fit in better. Herman had a sister named Gretchen. Dr. Benson encouraged Herman to attempt again to engage Emma in conversation as he directed Herman’s attention to the name Gretchen on his clipboard, “Gretchen called yesterday and told me that it’s looking better for Howard to get back to work soon. It was reported that the unemployment rate for Kentucky for March was 10.2 per cent down from February’s 10.4 per cent.” Emma turned her head slightly towards Herman and with a hint of a smile said “Herman, remember when we picked you up after your junior year at the university in Indiana and went to Kentucky to visit Mammoth Cave?” Herman and Dr. Benson’s full attentions were focused on Emma and waited for her to say more. But she returned to looking out the window. The smile faded and the brightness in the eyes dimmed to vacancy. She said no more.

Jan, a research assistant, softly said “Dr. Benson, you need to come see this.” He walked over to the monitoring console Jan was studying. Having pointed to a point on the sensor readouts, she said, “Notice right here where Herman said the word ‘Kentucky’?” There’s a definite indication of an electrochemical excitation in this synapse triggered by the word “Kentucky”. Jan continued, “And look here at the pharmacology readout of the synaptic protein interactions connected to that synapse which was practically non-existent before “Kentucky”. Dr. Benson chimed in, “It rapidly diminishes until she says ‘Mammoth Cave’. But it doesn’t disappear completely.” He walked over to Emma and said to Herman, “Let’s get her back to her room to rest for awhile. Jan and I will review what we have from today’s session and we’ll try again tomorrow.”


As had been the previous day, Emma sat staring out the window watching the students moving about the campus on a somber day; however, she made no indication of being aware of the actions of the students hurrying to get out of a light rain. Dr. Benson had taken a quick perfunctory check of the sensors connected to his Emma’s head and then had sat down next to Herman. “How are you doing today, mom?” He paused but no response. As previously discussed with Dr. Benson, Herman said, “I was thinking about what you said yesterday… about the Kentucky trip…” Again, Emma turned to her son with a hint of a smile and said, “That was such a nice trip and the cave was so beautiful, do you remember Herman?” Attempting to build on her response, he had said, “What else do you remember about the caves?” “It was cold!” Dr. Benson motioned to Herman to continue this line of conversation, “Remember how dark it was when they turned the lights out for a moment?” A look of confusion came over her face and the smile faded, “I’m tired.” Emma returned to her stare out the window. The light in her eyes dimmed. The vacancy returned.

Jan had been intently studying the console and said in a barely audible voice, “It’s the same pattern. The same electrochemical excitation but more intense. Also, the synaptic protein interactions have the same pharmacology; however, at a slightly higher volume and remains slightly higher. Perhaps we’re on to something.”


Dr. Benson stood next to Jan as he studied the console and noted aloud, “Good! The increased levels in the pharmacology of the synaptic proteins have maintained their growth. Today, I’m going to see if we can jump from a familiar subject to another related subject and see if she is able to handle it.” Dennis, a new research assistant who has been recently added to the project, had brought Emma into the room and was just finishing the sensor connections. The heads of the university research department had been happy with Dr. Benson’s progress and allocated more resources to the project.

Lawrence walked over to where Emma was sitting and as he sat down next to Herman. As the doctor sat she turned her head to Herman, smiled and said, “Good morning, dear!” Herman responded “How are you doing this morning, mom?” “Very nicely. Although, I’m a little tired.” In an attempt then to bridge subjects as Dr. Benson had instructed him, he asked, “Mom, do you remember after our nice trip to the Mammoth Caves we went to the Kentucky Dam before heading on back to Kansas.?” “Kentucky Dam?” A moment of confusion came into her eyes and then she said, “ Oh, yes. That was a big dam!” As they continued their conversation, Jan standing at the console started to smile and under her breath said, “Bridge completed!”

1823 HOURS SaturDAY APRIL 23, 201 1

Safia and Abia were just leaving the JC Penny located in the Fairlane Town Center, Dearborn’s most popular shopping mall, when Abia stopped Safia and pointed to two young men in conversation about twenty yards away. “Who’s that with Hakima?” Safia responded, “Oh, that’s Ahamad.” Abia quipped back, “Well, your brother and Ahamad seem to be having an argument!” Her eyes had brighten and with a smile Abia said, “Ahamad is cute!” “Don’t let my brother hear you say that!”

As they continued to walk to their car girlishly laughing at the thought of Safia’s brother hearing Abia say that Ahamad was cute, a gruff voice interrupted, “What are you Iraqi towelheads laughing at?” Abia struck with fear then fear gave way to anger and she whirled around and retorted, “I’m not Iraqi! I’m an American. I was born right here in Dearborn, Michigan, USA!” Her tormentor having lost interest blurted out, “Whatever!” Abd-al-hakim pushed in between the girls and the bigot said, “Is there a problem here?” “Naw, man…just all of you need to go back to Iraq where you belong!” As he left, Abd-al-hakim turned to his sister and Abia, “You wouldn’t have these kind of problems, if you wore hijabs and kept your eyes cast down like a good Muslim woman. Come on, I’ll walk you to your car.”

1 106 HOURS MONDAY APRIL 25, 201 1

“Let me say that myself and my staff have appreciated the support and interest in our project that the department has shown. To be able to move forward and substantiate the creditability of our work, we are requesting that you authorize us to expand the number of patients we’re working with.” Dr. Benson paused as he looked across the large oak conference table at the three heads of the department and he quickly tried to read their reaction to his request. “I have asked my assistant to prepare some data for you on a recent breakthrough that is very exciting. Jan?” Jan walked around the table to the department heads and handed each of them copies of some charts and data. She returned to her seat and Dr. Benson continued,
In our process of getting our patient, Emma Brown, to respond to induced synaptic excitations, we were able to isolate the pharmacology of the electrochemical present in the synapse. It was consistently the same formula. Here’s what excited us, when extending the memory path the formula remained the same except for a slight variation in one element. If the path branched to a stream of memory based on the original recalled memory but slightly different, a second formula element varied slightly. As we expanded the memory branches we became aware, excuse me, Jan became aware of a pattern which resembled the Dewey Decimal system she worked with in the library to catalog books. The Dewey Decimal system assigns a number to indicate a subject matter ‘History’ let’s say. That number is followed by a number assigned to ‘European’. Additional numbers are assigned to narrow down to a specific book. We felt we can use this Dewey pattern to trace and manipulate the formulas of the synaptic electrochemical to restore and maintain memory in these patients.
He paused for a response but nothing. Anxiously Dr. Benson and Jan looked to each other for support. The three department heads seemed to confer through eye communication and then the response. “We’re encouraged by your report and have a positive feeling about the project. Please provide us with a documented proposal as soon as possible and we’ll give it our immediate attention.” They stood and with a smile nodded their approval. As they left the room Dr. Benson looked at Jan and a big smile came on their faces as they “high fived” each other.


A look of consternation came upon her face as her brown eyes focused intently on her notebook and she tapped her pencil but to no avail. Safia knew that she ought to know the poet’s name who wrote about good fences and good neighbors, but it just wasn’t coming to her. “Safia…just google it!” pleaded Abia. Raising her head up looking at her best friend and in a slightly exasperated voice, “You know I can’t do that! … Don’t you have some English Lit questions you’re supposed to be working on?” “Done!” As she looked at some pictures on her cell phone she said, “Oh, here’s one. It’s a picture of you in that cute outfit you were trying on in the mall the other day.” Safia looked at the picture and smiled. She was about to make a comment about the outfit, when Abd-al-hakim and Ahamad entered the kitchen where the girls were studying. They’re engaged in a very animated conversation. Safia’s brother was saying, “But there is no contradiction of ‘religious freedom’ and carrying out Sharia. The Inman says that the true understanding of ‘religious freedom’ means free of unbelievers in Sharia.” “So, you would have Islamic law enforced to the full?” asked Ahamad. “Yes!” “Even all the laws on women?” As Abd-al-hakim was about to respond, they both became aware of the girls and interrupted their conversation. Ahamad self-consciously said, “Hi, Safia and …Abia, isn’t it?” Abia replied with a smile, “Yes. Hi, Ahamad.” The guys made a hasty exit and Abia smiled at Safia and her eyes said, “Well?” Then Abia reached out and touched Safia’s hand as she said, “What was all that about Islamic law and women?” Safia just shrugged her shoulders.

1743 HOURS WedneSDAY may 4, 201 1

“Please! Please, let’s give Mr. Walid a chance to state his concerns. Mr. Walid?” Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council of American-Islamic Relations stepped up to the microphone positioned in the middle aisle of the auditorium, “Since the death of Osama bin Laden there's a concern that the fear of retaliation could lead to increased profiling.” “Thank you for expressing a concern I know is common among many of you.” Margo Schlanger, national head of the office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the Department of Homeland Security responded. Her tasks at this meeting which had been scheduled as a Building Respect in Diverse Groups to Enhance Sensitivity program was to assure the Muslim community of Dearborn Heights and equally throughout the country that they would not be profiled in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden's death. She added, “The federal terror alert is at the same level now as it was before bin Laden's death.” As the meeting concluded, Abd-al-hakim and Ahamad overheard Imad Hamad, who co-founded BRIDGES as regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee say, “We're on the same page when it comes to safety and security." As they left the meeting Ahamad said to Abd-al-hakim, “What do you think? Are we on the same page with the feds? What do you think about a guy like Imad Hamad?” “I don’t think this is the place to discuss it.” He curtly replied. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” They left going their separate ways.
0333 HOURS ThurSDAY may 5, 201 1

As John Morris rode the elevator up to the Intensive Care Unit he mentally reviewed the facts of the incident that had brought him here to Oakwood’s Midwest Medical Center, in Dearborn’s Town Center. He had flown in as soon as he could arrange a flight from DC. What he knew so far was a deep cover agent using the name Ahamad ibn Karim had been shot leaving a meeting of a group to build respect in diverse communities. This particular meeting featured Margo Schlanger of Homeland Security’s Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Department. He was in critical condition. Morris was to be met by Omar Washington of the Detroit FBI field office. The elevator bell announced the arrival at the chosen floor and brought him back to the moment. The doors had open and he saw a sign with an arrow indicating that the ICU was to the left. As he walked down the hall towards the nurse’s station he saw a man there, obviously an FBI agent. He also took note of a uniform policeman standing by a door to a patient’s room.

As the agent approached he extended his hand and asked, “John Morris?” John nodded affirmatively. “I’m Omar Washington out of the Detroit office.” “OK, where do we stand?” John asked in a voice that says let’s get down to business! Omar retrieved his PDA from his pocket and tapped the screen several times to get where he wanted to be and started reciting “Last evening about 11:00 pm Ahamad was leaving a meeting attended by Margo Schlanger of your department to discuss the Muslim community’s concerns about profiling. He apparently walked away from the meeting by himself and as he was walking along by the street a dark colored van pulled up along side of him, shot three times and then sped away. The Dearborn police are considering it a random drive-by shooting.” “But we believe he had information on a creditable imminent threat“ interjected John. “What information has gone out to the news media?” Omar confirmed from his ePad “That he was shot in a random drive-by shooting and is in critical condition.” “Good! Now leak to the news media that he has died.” Then nodded towards the policeman standing guard on Ahamad’s door, John continued directing, “Pull the policeman off the door and get one of our agents into scrubs and have him work in the area to keep an eye on the room.” After a pause he continued, “Why was the policeman put there in the first place?” “When the chief of the police found out the FBI had interest in the incident, he thought it prudent to put the guard there.” “Hmm, … I guess we better bring the Chief into the loop, but impress upon him that this is a tight-lip situation and only he needs to know. Let them bury it as a routine drive-by shooting. We want those involved to think they have succeeded in removing the threat. Now, let’s go and check up on Ahamad.”

0643 HOURS ThurSDAY may 5, 201 1

Safia was just getting a piece of samoon bread to go with her Bastrama wa Beudd before getting dressed for school when her cell phone rang. Putting the bread back down she answered the phone. It was Abia. In a very agitated voice she told Safia to turn on the local news. Safia picked up the TV remote turned on a small set kept in the kitchen. The coverage of a shooting had just concluded an interview with the police and the field reporter wrapped up the report, “So, last evening a young man that they have identified as Ahamad ibn Karim was shot twice by an apparent drive-by shooting. The doctors at Oakwood’s Midwest Medical Center were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead. Back to you in the studios.” “Safia… isn’t that the cute guy we’ve seen with your brother?” As Safia was about to respond she heard Hakima in a hushed but very excited voice in the other room, “Abia, I’ve got to go. I’ll see you at school.” Safia hung up and picked up her piece of samoon bread and went to the door to the other room and struck a casual pose. She overheard him saying on his cell phone, “All I said was he seemed to be asking a lot of questions …I know but…” he became aware of Safia. Gave her a threatening look as he left the room.

0646 HOURS ThurSDAY may 5, 201 1

John and Omar had seen Ahamad and spoken to the attending doctor and had made their way to a small cafeteria on the same floor as the ICU. John was on his third cup of coffee, black, since he had arrived at the hospital. John, set his coffee down, leaned forward to Omar and said, “So he was hit by two of the three shots. One shot hit him in the right shoulder and is not critical. But the second shot entered the left side of his head at the cheekbone and exited after passing through a portion of his brain.” He paused for another sip of coffee and then continued, “The doctors have him in an induced coma while the swelling in the brain is reduced.” He had another sip. “Ok, what do we have on Ahamad’s work so far?” Omar retrieved his PDA, “According to his handler Ahamad felt he was very close to having enough info to proceed with counter actions, but he needed to verify a couple of more things. He was to meet with his handler later that day.” “Do we have any leads… any names?” “The handler has a couple of names that Ahamad has given him, but Ahamad could not tell yet if and what their involvement might be.” John gulped down the remaining coffee in the cup and to emphasize the need for action slammed it down on the table. “OK! I’ve work for you to do Omar. First, I want follow-up on the names we have and any other intel the handler may have. Go through the Chief and get Dearborn’s best Muslim affairs man. Do it from outside the police offices. I want to keep a tight lid on this. Second, as soon as Ahamad is able to be transported, I want him taken out of here in a body bag and transported in a Corner’s van to the airport. We need to get him to a secure medical facility in Virginia. We may have to lean on the doctors a little. If indeed, this is a critical and imminent threat time is of the essence. The attention on this threat goes all the way to the top. So, we’ll get whatever we need.”

1006 HOURS ThurSDAY may 5, 201 1

Dr. Benson studied the elderly man who sat before him. His head bowed and eyes closed. He appeared to be sleeping. Lawrence looked back at some documents he was holding. It was information on the man. His name was Henry Schyler, age eighty-three and was in an advanced stage of Alzheimer. His attention was drawn back to the man because he had raised his head and opened his eyes. However, he had that familiar vacant stare out the window. Lawrence looked back to the documents, found a list of subjects that would not only be familiar to the patient but also hold a feeling of fondness. Henry’s wife and daughter had provided the list of subjects. Lawrence looked down the list and focused his attention on a subject on which he had made some notes. They had made some progress on this subject in getting Henry to remember the event and life had come back into his eyes if only for a moment. After having gotten this initial breakthrough with Henry, they had asked his wife and daughter to give them more information on the subject so that they could start attempting to take Henry down that memory path to related but different subjects. Lawrence found the additional page that Henry’s daughter had just provided them. He looked back to Henry, who had returned to his bowed head and eyes closed position, Lawrence said, “Henry? … Henry, remember Playful your beloved dog?” Henry’s head raised and a smile came to his face and light returned to his eyes. “Playful, oh yes. He was a good friend. He was always there for me.” Lawrence kept the conversation going, “Remember how he would always be at the door when you came home from work?” “Yes, even if I had had a hard day, Playful would always bring a smile to my face.” Lawrence attemptd to branch to a new related subject. “Remember, one time when he brought a dead rat that he had caught and proudly placed it at your feet?” Henry laughed softly and said, “He was so proud of his conquest. He was such a hunter! … I’m feeling a little tired now.” Henry’s head went down and his eyes closed. Lawrence looked over to Jan at the console as she raised her eyes and gave him a “thumbs up!”

1643 HOURS ThurSDAY may 5, 201 1

Safia and Abia were at the door to Safia’s home having just returned from School. Abd-al-hakim approached them with his head slightly down deep in a disturbed internal struggle. Abia interrupted his thoughts asking, “Hakima, what happened with Ahamad?” Startled, he looked at them and a look of anger came upon his face. “How should I know!” He pushed by them going into the house. Abia and Safia looked at each other and said without speaking, “What was that all about?” Safia slowly collapsed to the steps and hugged her school books. Abia looked at her and then joined her on the steps. “What is it, Safia?” She looked at Abia through a gaze of distress. After a moment she looked back down and hugged her books almost in a fetal position. After a moment in a soft, barely audible voice, “I’m worried about my brother.” Abia attempted to comfort her said, “That was just probably his way of handling grief.” “No,… there was a sense of guilt in his reaction. I know Hakima.” They looked at each other and then both looked down and were lost in thought.

0912 HOURS SATURDAY may 7, 201 1

John showed his identification to Security as he entered the secured medical facility deep in the woods of Virginia. Omar had already arrived and was waiting for him in Dr. Schoenfeld’s office. Dr. Schoenfeld was the trauma specialist in charge of Ahamad’s care. Omar had traveled in the Coroner’s van dressed as an assistant to the Examiner. Once at the airport and after seeing that Ahamad had been securely boarded on the department’s jet, he changed back to his agent attire. The trip to the secured medical facility had been uneventful and Ahamad had been accommodated in the ICU and stabilized. John found Dr. Schoenfeld’s office and stuck his head in Omar jumped up from his seat and introduced him to the doctor. Introductions and handshakes having been taken care of, John sat across the desk from the doctor and got to business, “Ok, bring me up to speed.” “We’re quite satisfied with the patient’s progress since he arrived” began ,Dr. Schoenfeld. “Yesterday afternoon we felt the swelling in the brain had been reduced sufficiently to start a slow reduction of the coma inducing medication. As of this morning we stopped completely the medication.” John waited a moment for more info which didn’t come as quickly as he wanted, “And …” but nothing followed. “Doctor, what is his status now?” Having sensed John’s impatient he said, “He’s still unconscious … we can’t force him to regain consciousness.” “I understand that doctor, but I don’t think you fully understand the situation here. Ahamad, the patient, has valuable information locked up in that unconscious brain that we need to avert a major terrorist act that we feel is very imminent. We don’t have the luxury of time!” Dr. Schoenfeld stuttered, “Yes….yes, of course. I’ll go check on him right now.” “That would be a good idea. Perhaps you might want to keep close observation of him. Like ‘bedside’ close.” John called firmly to the fleeing doctor.” Omar nervously looked up at John. John looked back at Omar with the intensity he had spoken to Dr. Schoefeld. Then after a moment, a smile came on his face and he grabbed Omar by the elbow and said, “Come on, let’s go find some coffee, I’ve got work for you to do.”

1009 HOURS SATURDAY may 7, 201 1

As John was just finishing his fourth cup of coffee for the morning, Dr. Schoenfeld rushed into the cafeteria. “Mr. Morris, sir! The patient, …Ahamad, has regained consciousness.” John and Omar jumped up immediately and rushed out of the cafeteria racing Dr. Schoenfeld down the hall. After too much time John felt, they arrived at Ahamad’s room. John had won the race and was the first to enter into the room. What he saw was definitely disturbing. Ahamad was conscious but still under lingering effects of the sedation. But even more he seemed very disoriented. John moved calmly to Ahamad’s bed side and asked, “How are you feeling, Ahamad?” A look of confusion came to his face and after a moment Ahamad seemed to attempt to say something but was unable to utter a word. John kept it calm, “Ahamad, that’s your name.” Ahamad again attempted to speak but was not able. He looked away in frustration. John threw an intimidating look at Dr. Schoenfeld, who timidly responded, “I was about to tell you he doesn’t seem to have any recollection … not even who he is.” Hesitantly Dr. Schoenfeld added, “Also he has apparently lost his ability to speak.”

1043 HOURS SATURDAY may 7, 201 1

After John and Omar had each attempted to communicate with Ahamad without any success they stepped outside the room. John thought for a moment and then said, “You know that congress woman Gifford, who was shot in the head the first of the year? “ Omar quickly responded, “Yes. I believed her attacker was a disgruntled voter. He shot several people as I remember.” After another moment of thought, John continued, “The team of surgeons were credited with being top notched in that kind of trauma. I want a surgeon with that kind of brain injury experience brought here immediately.” Omar’s face had doubt all over it. “Is there a problem, Omar?” John demanded. Reluctantly, Omar responded, “Those doctors are from the private sector.” “Your point?” John was relentless. Omar stammered, “There’s no point. I’ll get on it!” John continued with his orders, “Also, get back to your people in Detroit and our contacts in the Dearborn PD. Get any updated intel you can no matter how insignificant it may seem.” They left going their separate ways. Omar was headed for an office where he could carry out John’s direction. John needed to find a secured phone and a cup of coffee, black.

1513 HOURS SATURDAY may 7, 201 1

As Detective Isaiah Butler drove to the home of Imam Abdul-Hadi he strolled down memory lane tracing his twenty-three year journey from a rookie Detroit PD on the streets to his current detective position at the Dearborn PD. It hadn’t always been easy. Interacting daily with lawbreakers fostered a cynical outlook on people and had taken its toll on his family. But fortunately for him he had a loving wife and had been able to weather the roughest times. Now that he had become the lead detective of Dearborn PD’s cultural diversity squad the type of stress load had changed and he was better able to not take it home. Twenty-three years of experience in life also helped in his maturing in human relations.

He had arrived at the Imam’s nice but modest home in one of Dearborn’s moderate income and relatively calm neighborhoods. As he parked and walked to the door he reflected on the just short of a decade that he had been working with Imam Abdul-Hadi. Over the years he had gotten to know him well and they had become friends. The Imam answered his ring of the doorbell and ushered him into a modest entryway where Isaiah paused momentarily to remove his shoes and slip on homemade booties provided for guests. He was glad he had selected a pair of his new socks to wear that day. The Imam had been expecting him and led him to his den which also was a simple home office. They exchanged traditional greetings and sat down. Normally they would have spent a moment or two asking about each other’s health and families, but the Imam had sensed in the detective’s phone call that there was an element of urgency in the requested meeting and so he said, “How can I be of help, Isaiah?” “I would like to ask you a few questions about Ahamad ibn Karim, the young man who was shot three days ago” began Isaiah. “Did you know him?” Cautiously the Imam prefaced his answer with “So, it was not a drive-by shooting?” Isaiah answered with a quiet noncommittal look. The Imam continued “I didn’t know him well. I first became aware of him perhaps a month or two ago.” Isaiah continued his questions in a conversational and not an interrogative manner “Did he seemed to have made any friends?” “I’ve seen him talking with a young man who’s a regular in our congregation. His name is Abd-al-hakim.” “Does Abd-al-hakim seem to you to be radicalized?” queried Isaiah. “Radicalized? No, I wouldn’t say he has. Is he disturbed by unfair treatment of Muslims? Like many in the congregation, yes.” Moving on, Isaiah asked, “Are you aware of any others that Ahamad had been interacting with?” “There were two other young men in the congregation with whom he has had conversations.” Isaiah pressing a little, “How would you describe them?” With a bit of defensiveness the Imam responded, “Do you mean are they radicalize?” Then losing the defensiveness he continued, “I wouldn’t say they were radicalized; however, they seem to be angry to a greater degree than Abd-al-hakim.” Isaiah had been avoiding making physical notes as he would in a normal interrogation, but made mental note of these last two. The Imam seemed to have just remembered something more, “Oh, yes. There was another man not of our congregation that I do not know that Ahamad spoke to on a few occasions at the mosque.” After a pause, the Imam offered, “That one I’m concerned about.” After a few more questions and answers, Isaiah stood up to take his leave. As the Imam ushered him out he gently reached out and touched Isaiah’s arm to stop him and quietly said, “You know, Isaiah, I cooperate with you because I am aware that you understand that violence is not the way of Islam. If we have a problem with radicals within our community, please keep me involved. Terrorists are not are people.” “I will.” Isaiah said and they exchanged farewells as Isaiah left.

1606 HOURS sunDAY may 8, 201 1

After the kids had moved out Dr. Benson had converted one of the upstairs bedroom into an office. It had a nice view out of the window which looked between two pines and out over the King’s Mountain Golf course. He had brought home a file on a new Alzheimer patient and had just finished reviewing it. He picked up the latest copy of a medical journal which had not only accepted a paper he had written on the university research project on restoration of the memories of Alzheimer patient but they had published it. He had received very satisfying response from the medical community. The university department had been very supportive increasing his staff almost before he requested. They had more than doubled the number of patients they were working with and they were achieving a high percentage of success. Very promising indeed. He noticed something move in the yard and then realized it was his wife. She was working on her prize roses which had been unusually large and in vibrant colors this season. He decided to put everything aside and joined her on this beautiful spring afternoon.

0918 HOURS monDAY may 9, 201 1

Dr. Peter Li, a surgeon who led teams of doctors in remarkable recovery work of patients with brain trauma similar to that of congress woman Gifford, had been flown in from Arizona on Sunday. He had spent the rest of the day examining and running tests on Ahamad. He had made several calls to confer with fellow brain trauma doctors but had been cautioned to keep the communications strictly on medical terms. He was not to say anything about the event which caused the trauma nor about the patient Ahamad. Dr. Li was making last minute reviews of tests and notes from his conferring with his colleagues before he met with John and Omar. They were already in a conference room waiting for Dr. Li. John was pacing about liked a caged tiger. Dr. Li knocked and then opened the door. He moved straight to the conference table spreading out his material and took a seat in a manner of a man who was used to being in charge. With a gesture he invited John to sit. “The good news first. The injury is not as serious as the congress woman’s. His inability to speak and apparent loss of memory were to be expected with trauma affecting the brain. The swelling experienced by the patient placed pressure on the area of the brain responsible for memory retention which includes some motor skills and speech.” Dr. Li paused to see if John and Omar were understanding what he was telling them. He proceeded, “The swelling should continue to recede and with the reduction of the swelling, we should see speech and memory recollection return.” John, regaining control, asked “How long are we talking about?” “Perhaps two weeks for speech to return. As to the memory, that’s difficult to say.” “We don’t have two weeks!” John blurts out. “Mr. Morris, I will not put the patient in jeopardy!” Dr. Li stood his ground. “Yes, yes. I understand. We’re concerned about Ahamad’s well being also.” Then in an attempt to win the doctor over to his side John implored him. “Doctor, this man’s brain, his memory holds a key to preventing what could be a major act of violence with lives in the balance.” Then to plead his case for urgency, “This act of violence could happen tomorrow. We don’t know how much time we have.” Dr. Li looked into John’s eyes as he attempted to read the character of this government man. Then resigned to do what he could to move the recovery forward at a more rapid pace he offered, “A Dr. James McGaugh in working with rats at the University of California Irvine found that adrenaline actually made the rats memory work better. I’ll look into seeing if I can administer some adrenaline without jeopardizing the patient.” John with a sense of a small victory said, “Thanks!” Dr. Li added a warning, “I’m not promising this will work.” “Understood.” John said and managed a bit of a smile. Dr. Li retrieves his paperwork and as he exited the room said, “I’ll let you know as soon as I have any results.” John looked to Omar. Omar nodded and said, “Coffee!”

1548 HOURS monDAY may 9, 201 1

Safia and Abia were about a half a block away from Safia’s home when they saw Abd-al-hakim talking with someone in a car parked in front of their home. Suddenly their voices got louder and the speaker in the car was speaking in Arabic. Due to the distance from the voices and the fact that Safia’s Arabic lacked real fluency, she did not understand what they had said. Abd-al-hakim had backed away from the car and it had sped away. When Safia’s brother had seen her and Abia he had immediately turned away and hurried off down the opposite direction. They looked at each other for a moment and then Safia had hugged her books tightly as they continued walking towards the house. After a couple of moments of walking in silence, Safia confided in Abia, “I’m really worried about Hakima. I think he’s involved in something that’s going to cause him trouble.” Abia had looked like she was going to say something and then didn’t. They walked a few more steps and then Safia stopped and looked at Abia, “I’m going to talk with Imam Abdul-Hadi. I can trust him. He has been our family friend for years.” Abia with a tinge of fear offered, “Safia, maybe you should just leave it alone!” “I can’t. He’s my brother and I don’t want him to get hurt!”

0818 HOURS TuesDAY may 10, 201 1

John was sitting at a desk in a temporary office which had been assigned to him at the secured medical facilities. He had been reviewing a report on Radical Muslim Activities in the Dearborn, Michigan Area when he received a call on his cell from Dr. Li telling him he was on his way to his office. Dr. Li had hung up before John could get a question in. Exasperated he jabbed at the phone contacts on his cell and jabbed Omar. Omar had answered and John just said, “Get over here!” After he had hung up on Omar, he realized he had been as short with Omar as Dr. Li had been with him. “Well, sometimes there’s no need for a lot of words” he thought. Omar arrived first. Dr. Li arrived and since John’s door was opened he had no need to knock. Without an invitation he sat down across from John and without formalities said, “It’s too early to say if the adrenalin is working or not; however, the patient appears to be awkwardly saying a few words. Also, his motor skills are improving.” “So, that’s good isn’t it?” asked John. “Yes, I would say his progress is coming along faster than I expected” answered Dr. Li. John and Omar gave each other a quick look and smiled. Dr. Li continued, “Being aware of your need for urgency, I remembered a paper recently published in a medical journal on Restoration of the Memories of Alzheimer Patients written by a Dr. Benson from Palo Alto. His work has great promise.” John interrupted, “What do you mean restoration of memories?” Dr. Li responded as if he were talking to interns, “The patients he has been working with were in advanced stage of Alzheimer. So, there memories had been virtually lost.” John, with hope in his voice asked, “This could be what we need, right?” “Remember these patients’ lost memory was due to the disease of Alzheimer not injury inflicted brain trauma” responded Dr. Li. He continued, “ We don’t know if his solutions will work on the patient’s condition.” “We don’t know that it won’t work either, right?” Dr. Li gave him a non-committal shrug of the shoulders. “Well, then” John took control again “Please give Omar the information he would need to contact this Dr. Benson.” As Dr. Li gets up and starts to leave he said, “Please come with me, Omar.”

1933 HOURS friDAY may 13, 201 1

The prayer meeting was over and Safia and Abia were just leaving the mosque. Safia had stepped out of the mosque with her left foot and then recited humbly, “O Allah, I beg You for Your Bounty, Grace, and Mercy”. Abia close behind had exited the mosque in the same manner. After they had walked away from the entrance a few steps, Safia stopped and turned to Abia and said, “I’m going to wait for Imam Abdul-Hadi. Please wait with me, but I think I should speak to him privately.” “You know I’ll stay with you, but I think you should reconsider speaking to him about your brother” she implored. As they stood waiting some young Muslim men that they did not know came out of the mosque and was checking them out. Both of the girls looked down and away pulling their hijabs up over the lower part of their faces. Imam Abdul-Hadi had come out of the mosque, noted the young men looking at the girls. He paused and gave them a penetrating look. They moved on. The Imam walked over to Safia and Abia and greeted them, “May Allah be with you.” They responded respectfully, “And with you.” He smiled at them and was about to move on when Safia stepped towards him a little and said, “May I speak with you for a moment?” “Of course” he replied. Abia took the cue and stepped away just out of hearing. “What is it my daughter?” Imam Abdul-Hadi said in a comforting voice. Safia paused for a moment and then with difficulty said, “I’m worried about Abd-al-Hakim!” “Your brother? What has you worried?” She paused again worried about getting her brother into trouble, she continued, “He knew the young man who was shot and killed last week. I have seen them together and talking a lot just before he was killed.” The Imam cautiously probed, “The police thought it was a random drive-by shooting; so, why are you concerned?” “After he had been shot , I have heard pieces of conversations between Abd-al-hakim and someone on the phone. He was very agitated and said something about he had only told them that Ahamad had asked a lot of questions.” The Imam waited for a moment and then attempting to reassure her, “I can understand your concern. I’ll see if I can get your brother to come by my home and talk with me.” Close to tears, Safia said “I don’t want Abd-al-hakim to be angry with me, but I was worried.” “Safia, you have done the right thing. Your brother does not need to know you came to me. Let me see what I can find out.” He paused looking into her face and then in a fatherly voice said, “Will you and Abia be okay going home?” “Yes, thank you. Good night.” Safia collected Abia and they both looked back to the Imam and gave a gesture of good night as they walked away. The Imam watched them for moment making sure they would be alright. Then he pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number. “Isaiah? This is Imam Abdul-Hadi. I think I should get you and a member of the congregation together at my home as soon as we can. … Yes, I think he might have some information of interest for you. … He and his family have been friends for many years.”

0933 HOURS SaturDAY may 14, 201 1

Lawrence had parked his car and entered into the research building. It had been a nice drive over from his home. Things had been going well with the memory restoration project and he was in a good mood. In fact he had driven with the top down on his convertible and enjoyed the wind blowing through what hair he had left. Even though it was Saturday there was enough activity in the research building that there was a receptionist on duty. He was just about to greet her as he passed by when she said, “Dr. Benson? The department heads are waiting to meet with you in the conference room.” Lawrence paused and with obvious puzzlement in his voice said, “I don’t remember having an appointment with them this morning. Is there anything wrong?” She quickly replied, “No, I don’t believe so. It was a last minute arrangement.” Lawrence asked “They’re in the conference room?” “Yes, and there are two gentlemen with them.” That stopped Lawrence in his tracks and he looked back to her and gestured, “What’s up?” “I don’t know who they are, sir?” she responded and Lawrence was convinced that she didn’t know.

Lawrence arrived at the conference room door, paused and then gave a firm but quiet knock. Many questions were running through his head. A voice from within said, “Come in.” As he opened the door and stepped in he saw the department heads were in their usual seats at the head of the table. Seated at their left were two men with an air of authority about them. One was perhaps about twenty to thirty years older than the other. As Lawrence closed the door behind him and moved to the opposite side of the table from the two men they got up from their seats in polite recognition of Dr. Benson. The older one spoke first, “I’m John Morris of Homeland Security and this is Omar Washington of the Detroit office of the FBI.” As Lawrence had thought the older one was in charge. As they started to sit the one from Homeland Security gestured for Lawrence to be seated. He definitely was used to being in charge. Taking over John said to the department heads, “If I may, I would like to tell Dr. Benson why we’re here.” They in unity nodded in consent. “Dr. Benson, we have come to know about your fine work and progress in memory restoration and are greatly impressed. You may be able to help us out with a problem we have.” Lawrence interrupted, “Excuse me, but I’d like to say up front that I don’t work on military projects!” Then looking to the department heads, “We’ve discussed this and I thought I had made that clear!” John regained control, “Please hear me out, Dr. Benson. I think you will realize what we want to ask of you will not violate your principles” John produced his best PR smile and waited for a response. Lawrence relaxed back into his seat and nodded consent. John began:
We have a deep undercover agent that has received a head wound from a failed assassination attempt. He’s recovering from his wounds; however, his speech has been impaired and his memory is almost non-existent. Prior to his being shot he had passed on to his handler intel indicating a creditable imminent threat. Here’s the problem any information of when, where and how this threat is to be carried out is locked up in his memory which we can’t get to. So, we’re asking you to assist us in unlocking his memory.
Lawrence had leaned forward as he had listened to the government man and now had leaned back in his chair as he had begun to digest what he had been told. Looking John in the eye he asked, “First, you mentioned a head wound and then mentioned ‘wounds’. So what kind of injuries are we talking about?” John realized that he had Dr. Benson attention and answered, “He received two bullet wounds. One in the shoulder and the other entered the left front side of his head.” Lawrence wanted to get on firm ground and so stated, “You realize that my work has been with Alzheimer patients not brain trauma?” John had anticipated this question, “We’ve received medical opinion that even though the cause of the memory loss is different that your procedures might still have success.” Lawrence had wanted to be on record that he was not making any promises, “That’s true. Not having worked with trauma patients I don’t know what will happen. But you must understand I’m not promising anything.” “We understand” replied John and then added, “We can have an indemnity paper drawn up, if you like.” “No, I don’t think that will be necessary.” With a bit of irony Lawrence added, “We are men of honor, right? Besides there are sufficient witnesses.”

John brushed off this intended affront and having gotten his man moved forward with logistics. “Due to the urgency, we will need you to come to our facilities immediately.” Lawrence tried to keep some control of the situation said, “Yes, I understand the urgency. I’ll start arranging matters right away.” “No need. That’s all been taken care of” John said. “But my equipment?” Lawrence interjected. John in full control said, “A duplicate of your research lab is being set up at our facilities as we speak.” And then John had added, “By the way when your work is completed for us, the equipment will be donated to your research lab. No need to thank us.” Overwhelmed and with a bit of anger Lawrence asked, “I suppose you already know that I will require my research assistant, Jan?” John smiled. Lawrence had thought “what a smug bast… government man” and then added, “Already arranged?” With one last attempt at dignity, “How did you know I would agree to this assignment?” John replied, “We knew you to be a principled man and would see the need to do whatever you could to prevent the loss of innocent lives.” Was that his smugness coming through again or was that a sincere compliment? Then any doubt was removed from his mind. As John was preparing to leave the room he turned to all in the room and said, “Omar will remain with you to see that everything is carried out smoothly.” He turned back to the door and then paused and turned again to all in the room, “By the way, is the federal grant money coming through for your research project okay? I would think that with the success and growth in the project more funds could be useful.” John smiled and left the room in complete silence as the department heads and Lawrence looked at each other.

1933 HOURS tuesDAY may 17, 201 1

The man that Imam Abdul-Hadi had seen talking with Ahamad who was not a member of the congregation walked down a dimly lit hallway lined with apartment doors every ten or so paces. He arrived at a door. Looked back over his shoulder to see if anyone else was in the hallway. He knocked twice paused and then knocked three times. Within seconds someone could be heard on the other side of the door. He could be heard looking out the peep hole and then there was a sound of the door being unlocked. The door opened slowly and a face appeared at the opened door. Recognition was made and the door opened to allow him to enter. He said to the man who had opened the door as well as a man working at a table, “Çááå íßæä ãÚß” They responded, “All praise be to Allah!” The man at the table was working on circuit boards from cell phones which lay on the table. The smell of a hot soldering iron lingered in the air. The room was stark with just the table and a couple of chairs. It was obvious that the apartment was not lived in. “How is the detonating device coming along?” asked the man who had just arrived. “I still have some connections to make and more tests to run, Abdul-Qahhar” responded the man at the table. ”How many times do I have to tell you, NO USE OF NAMES!” He glared at him for a moment and then asked, “Will the detonator have any problems receiving signals through the sides of the vendor cart?” The one working at the table paused from his work for a moment and answered, “No, I will make an antennae attached to the cell phone circuit board which can run to the outside of the cart.” Abdul-Qahhar evaluated his answer and then said, “Good.” Then he walked over and looked out of the second floor window at Dearborn at night. The man returned to his work at the table. The third man went back to his reading of the Qur’an.

1655 HOURS wednesDAY may 18, 201 1

Isaiah was seated comfortably in the Imam’s den as they had been talking about families. Having finished their updating each other about their families’ health and activities, Isaiah leaned forward and brought his hands together and looked at his friend, “So, why do you think this young man who is coming knows something of interest about Ahamad?” The Imam leaned forward also and said, “His sister, Safia, came to me last Friday after prayer meeting. She was very upset.” The Imam had Isaiah’s full attention and continued, “She felt her brother knew something about Ahamad’s shooting and may be into something that would get him into trouble.” Jumping in Isaiah asked, “What made her think that?” “The morning after the shooting she overheard Abd-al-hakim talking on his cell phone. She heard him say, ‘All I said was he seemed to be asking a lot of questions…’ and when he saw Safia he became very disturbed and left the room.” Just as Isaiah was about to ask a follow-up question, there was a knock at the front door. They both paused and looked at each other. The Imam said as he was rising up out of his chair, “That’s probably Abd-al-hakim. … I’ll go let him in.” As Isaiah waited for them to come to the room, he asked himself, “how should I handle this?” Just as he was about to mentally answer himself the Imam re-enter the room followed by Abd-al-hakim. Abd-al-hakim stopped abruptly at the sight of Isaiah. He shot a look at the Imam and then in a nervous voice said to the Imam, “I didn’t know anyone else was going to be here.” The Imam reached out and touched his wrist in a re-assuring way he said, “Yes, I know. I apologize for the surprise, but I wanted you to meet an old friend of mine.” He made an inviting gesture for Abd-al-hakim to take a seat by him and across the room from Isaiah. The young man hesitated before sitting as he obviously was trying to remember something. A look of recognition came upon his face and he announced, “I know this man!” Isaiah sat up straight but maintained the face of a stoic. Abd-al-hakim then in a confident voice said, “You were at that meeting where that woman from Homeland Security spoke about no profiling!” Isaiah responded in a matter-of-fact way, “Yes, I was at the meeting.” The young man continued, “You were in uniform. Are you a cop?” Isaiah looked Abd-al-hakim in the eye and responded, “Yes, I’m with the Dearborn PD.” Isaiah then sat back as if to say, “I’m not a threat.” The Imam again with a reassuring look indicated for Abd-al-hakim to sit and said, “Please sit. This is Isaiah Butler and I’ve known him as a friend for many years.” But he was still visibly agitated and would not sit. Again the Imam tried to calm Abd-al-hakim and asked, “What are you so angry about?” He responded with fervor, “He is police! He is a part of the oppression!” “What oppression is this man a part of?” the Imam asked. He fired back, “What about when Muslims re-enter from Canada? They’re subject to harassment of all kinds.” Abd-al-hakim paused for a brief moment and then continued his tirade, “Parents have been ordered out of cars at gunpoint and handcuffed while their children watched. … and that student from the University of Michigan, Abdulrahman Cherri, who upon returning from visiting his fiancé in Canada, had his car torn apart and was subjected to an invasive full-body search!” Isaiah calmly but firmly stated, “Those incidents are being investigated by the Justice Department.” Abd-al-hakim still breathing heavily said, “That’s like asking the fox to investigate what happened in the hen house!” The Imam trying to reason with him, “But Isaiah is not a part of these actions. This man understands your anger. I understand your anger.” The young man fired back, “How can he understand? He’s part of the harassment.” “How can I understand harassment?” Isaiah said with an underlying controlled anger. “I grew up in Detroit.” Isaiah paused for a moment and then continued:
You probably don’t know about the ’67 riots in Detroit, but at the conclusion of 5 days of rioting, 43 people lay dead, 1189 injured and over 7000 people had been arrested. What led up to the riots was urban unrest rooted in a multitude of political, economic, and social factors including police abuse, lack of affordable housing, urban renewal projects, economic inequality, black militancy, and rapid demographic change. Police elite 4 man units frequently stopped youths who were driving or walking through the 12th street neighborhood. They verbally degraded these youths, calling them “boy” and “nigger”, asking them who they were and where they were going. Most of the time, black residents were asked to produce identification and if they couldn’t, being stopped led to the injury or death of those who were detained. I was only six years old at the time, but old enough to have scared memories. Oh, I can understand harassment.
Abd-al-hakim visibly relaxed a little and sat. The Imam smiled and said, “Isaiah is following up on the shooting of Ahamad ibn Karim and would just like to ask you a few questions.” Both the Imam and Isaiah smiled at the young man and waited for a response. No verbal response came; however, he did appear to relax a little more. The Imam continued, “Isaiah thought you might be more comfortable answering the questions in the company of a friend.” Abd-al-hakim looked first at Isaiah and then back to the Imam. Then he said, “OK, but I don’t really know much about him.” Isaiah casually took out a notepad and pencil. This time he would take physical notes in the old fashion detective way. He started off with some simple general questions about Ahamad. As the evening wore on and Isaiah gained Abd-al-hakim’s confidence, he skillfully worked in more specific questions. Isaiah later left the meeting confident that he had gained some creditable and helpful information. He had begged off sharing a treat that the Imam’s wife had made saying, “maybe another time.” He said his ‘goodbyes’ and had let himself out.

1135 HOURS friDAY may 20, 201 1

John and Omar had been in John’s temporary office at the secured medical facilities for about an hour reviewing what they knew and what they did not know. Frustration was high because they still had no idea of the intended target or its location. What really had them on edge was not knowing “when”. Omar had been going over the latest intel from their Dearborn PD contact. John reviewed out loud, “So, this detective Butler’s source had seen the car that the shooters were driving, right?” Omar nodded affirmative. John continued, “We have a partial on the license plate and a possible ID on the make and model. Any progress on tracing the vehicle.” Omar checked his PDA and answered, “They found a car which fit the description and matched the partial on the license plate. It was abandoned on a street in Detroit.” “The owner?” John asked. “The Detroit PD had received a stolen car report a couple of days before the shooting.” John queried, “Where’s the car now?” “Since the car may have been involved in a shooting in Dearborn, Detroit PD released it to Dearborn PD.” “Dearborn has the vehicle now?” Again Omar nodded affirmative. John directed, “OK, go through the Chief at Dearborn PD and have him tell his people we have suspicions of the car being used to smuggle explosives into the US. Get your office to get agents over there to pick up the car and go over it thoroughly.” John looked at Omar for acknowledgement. Omar quickly said, “I’m on it!” John added, “Have them dust everything for prints. My hunch is these guys were probably careless.” Omar quickly added, “Detective Butler also got a couple of names of interest and is checking them out.” “Good!” John said and added, “Have someone from your office work with him, outside the Dearborn office.” Omar was just about to leave when there was a knock at the door. John motioned Omar to sit back down and then said, “Come in.” Dr. Li in his taking charge manner entered the office and got right to the point, “My work here is completed. The patient physical recovery is coming along excellently. Your medical staff should be more than competent to take it from here.” He paused briefly but not long enough for anyone else to get a word in. “As to his memory, I’ve been conferring with Dr. Benson and he seems to be making some progress.” John managed to interrupt, “Progress? What do you mean?” Dr. Li responded, “His equipment is all functioning well and he’s been able to hold simple conversations with the patient.” “I think we need more ‘progress’ than that” John could not contain himself. Dr. Li did not let the slight affect him, “Dr. Benson did say he needed more biographical information on the patient for his process to work. I told him that I didn’t think that Ahamad ibn Karim was his real name.” “I would have preferred to have informed Dr. Benson with information of that nature myself.” There had been a slight indication that John’s last remark got under Dr. Li’ skin but he pushed on, “I find Dr. Benson’s work fascinating and would like to have observed it further, but I need to get back to my work in Arizona.” “Yes, well your country has appreciated the expertise you have brought to this case.” John managed in his most diplomatic manner and then added, “And of course you know you can’t talked with anyone about what you’ve been a part of here.” Dr. Li returned a condescending smile, “Yes, I understood.” Dr. Li turned and without a handshake left the office, but as he left he did give a nod or recognition to Omar. Once the door closed John could not resist adding a last line, “He wouldn’t mind observing Dr. Benson‘s work. I can’t imagine him just observing anything!” He glanced at Omar for a reaction. Omar gave none. John had to add one more thing, “The two of us are too much alike to get along!” Omar gave a “could be” look to John. “Okay, we’ve got work to do.” As Omar started to leave he stopped and said, “The two of you are not alike in one thing.” He paused for effect, “He doesn’t drink coffee.” John shot a hard look back at Omar and then broke out in laughter to which Omar joined in. John got the last word in as Omar left, “Yeah, how can you work with a guy who doesn’t drink coffee?”

2005 HOURS sunDAY may 22, 201 1

Imam Abdul-Hadi had just sat down in his den and picked up the Qur’an when the front doorbell rang. As he went to answer the door he wondered who might be calling. He had his answer as he opened the door and saw Isaiah. As the Imam welcomed him in with, “As-Salam Alaikum.” Isaiah stepped in and responded, “Wa alaikum assalaam.” The Imam gestured for Isaiah to proceed him on into his home, but Isaiah said, “This should only take a minute.” He took from him pocket and showed the Imam a couple of pictures. He asked, “Do you recognize either of these two men?” The Imam still had his glasses in his hand as he had prepared to read the Qur’an. He put his glasses on and took the pictures. He first looked at one picture and studied it for a moment. He had no recognition of the man. Then he turned his attention to the second picture. At first no recognition of this man and started to return the pictures to Isaiah. Then he pulled the second picture back and looked at it again. Isaiah said, “Do you recognize him?” The Imam replied, “I’m not sure, but this past Friday after prayer meeting I was talking with Abd-al-hakim and his focus abruptly went over my shoulder to someone. Someone who disturbed him.” “Did you see this someone?” Isaiah interjected. “Only for a brief moment. As I turned to look he had started to walk away.” Isaiah pressed, “But you think it was this man?” With guarded certainty he answered, “Yes.” “His fingerprint was found in the vehicle we believe to be the car used in the shooting of Ahamad.” Isaiah revealed. He continued, “His name is Azzam and he is from Yemen.” As he returned the pictures to his pocket and he turned to go he said, “Thank you my friend.” As Isaiah walked to his car he thought, “We need to get 24 hour surveillance on this guy!”

1923 HOURS thursDAY may 26, 201 1

Azzam approached the door in the hallway and looked both ways to check if anyone else was there. There was no one. He knocked twice and then paused. He followed up with three knocks and then waited. There was the sound of the door being unlocked. After a moment the door opened and Azzam went in. As he was about to say a greeting, “You’re late! Where have you been?” demanded Abdul-Qahhar. Azzam obviously intimidated by Abdul-Qahhar was able to reply, “I thought for a moment that someone might be following me so I detoured for a couple of blocks. The person didn’t follow so I came on here.” Abdul-Qahhar stared at him for a moment and then in a calm voice said, “It’s good you took the precaution.” He returned his attention to the table where a large container was sitting. On a closer look it became clear that this was the body of a vendor’s cart. A man’s upper body was bent over into the container like a dumpster diver. He raised back up out of the container. It was Fakih the techie. He had spent time in Afghanistan learning how to build explosive devices. Abdul-Qahhar returned his attention to Azzam and said, “Tomorrow, we need you to go to the local hardware and buy three pounds of roofing nails.” Azzam looked puzzled and asked, “Roofing nails?” “Don’t question, just do as your told!” demanded Abdul-Qahhar. As Azzam moved to a chair and sat down pulling out his copy of the Qur’an, he looked daggers at Adbul-Qahhar’s back.

1043 HOURS friDAY may 27, 201 1

John quietly stepped just inside Ahamad’s room and listened. Jan raised her head from focusing on the console in front of her long enough to acknowledge John’s presence and then her focus was back on the data being displayed on the monitor. Dr. Benson’s back was to John and he was not aware of his presence. Since he sat between Ahamad and John the patient was not aware that John was in the room. Dr. Benson asked Ahamad, “Do you remember anything about Nebraska?” Ahamad tried to recall any memories of Nebraska but was unable. He looked to the doctor with his apologetic eyes and shook his head No. Lawrence looked to Jan but her negative look told him that there had not been any synaptic response to Nebraska. John in a subdued voice said, “Try Donald Webb.” Dr. Benson turned in his chair to look at John and in doing so Ahamad could see him standing at the door. Dr. Benson gave an acknowledging nod and turned back to the bed. He said, “Do you recognize the name Donald Webb?” A soft “Yes!” emitted from Jan. Ahamad face relaxed because he was able to remember. “Donald Webb is from Nebraska, isn’t he?” Benson looked back over his shoulder to John and he mimed that Ahamad is Donald Webb. Benson smiled and turned back once again to Donald and said, “Yes, Donald Webb is from Nebraska. You are from Nebraska because you are Donald Webb.” A look of puzzlement came upon his face as he tried to grasp what he was being told. In a reassuring voice Dr. Benson said, “Your real name is Donald Webb. Ahamad ibn Karim is the name you use in your work." A smile came to Donald’s face as he began to sense some things were coming back. Lawrence looked over to Jan who was doing a little victory dance behind her console. He reached out and with a gentle pat on Donald’s arm told him to rest that he was going to step out of the room for a moment to speak to Mr. Morris. John had preceded Dr. Benson into the hallway. As soon as the doctor joined him John excitedly asked, “That’s a good sign, isn’t it?” “Yes but don’t jump too far ahead.” warned Dr. Benson. He continued, “I’m well aware of the urgency and the need to get vital information from this young man. But I must not rush him.” John looked as if he was going to protest but Benson stopped him short, “To get the results that we do get, we have to stimulate identified synaptic areas of the brain. Remember he has had brain injury. He’s not suffering Alzheimer. John had not given in yet so Benson added, “I might be able to throw caution to the wind and gain you a day or two; however, it might backfire and we lose a week or two…maybe worse we lose him altogether.” John finally resigned himself that they were doing all they could. Seemingly out of nowhere Omar appeared. “John I need to talk with you. I’ve got some new information from Detective Butler of Dearborn PD.” They started to rush off to John’s temporary office, but as they left John threw back at Dr. Benson, “Good work! Keep me up to date.”

1343 HOURS saturDAY may 28, 201 1

Safia looked at herself in the full length mirror by the front door. She turned one way and then another as she made an assessment at how well her graduation gown fit her. As she smiled at her reflection, Abia knocked and entered. She stopped just inside the front door and whistled approval. “Safia, you’re looking good!” Safia turned to her and asked, “How did yours fit?” Abia replied impishly, “The gown fit fine, but I not working with the same package that you’ve got!” They looked at each other and giggled. Then Abia unable to control herself any longer asked, “You want to see what I got for graduation?” Safia looked at both her empty hands and wondered what could she be talking about. Abia opened the front door and as she rushed out cried, “Come on! I’ll show you.” As Safia stepped outside Abia had reached her new Ford Fiesta parked at the curb. Safia ran out to the car and gave Abia a hug. “You want to go for a ride?” chirped Abia. “Sure! But let me put my cap and gown back in the house first.” “Just put them in the back seat” Abia said as she jumped in the driver’s seat. Just as Safia was putting her cap and gown in the back seat a car drove by slowly going the opposite direction. The driver and occupants were looking intently at Safia’s home and didn’t notice the girls. As Safia got into the car she was obviously disturbed by the incident. Abia added to the tension by asking, “Wasn’t that the car we saw parked at the curb in front of your house a few weeks back and your brother was arguing with those guys?” Safia didn’t answer but just nodded Yes. Abia looked at Safia for a moment and then started the car, turned the radio on loud to their favorite music station and drove away.

2013 HOURS sunDAY may 29, 201 1

Abdul-Qahhar stood at the edge of the window where he could not be seen from the outside but he could see out. He saw Azzam walking quickly towards their building looking back over his shoulder every few steps. Azzam disappeared from Abdul-Qahhar sight into the building, he noticed a dark figure coming down the other side of the street. When the figure got directly across from their building he stepped into a doorway. In a low voice he said to Fakih, “I’m afraid Azzam has been compromised and thus this is no longer a safe place.” Fakih responded in an equally low voice and without emotion, “Maybe he has become expendable.” “No ...” Abdul-Qahhar replied, “I believe we have need of him as a decoy.” There was two knocks, a pause and then three knocks. Abdul-Qahhar went to the door, unlocked it and let Azzam in as he said, “As-Salam Alaikum.” Azzam responded, “Wa alaikum assalaam.”

1313 HOURS saturDAY june 4, 201 1

John had finished about half of a turkey club at his desk which wasn’t half bad for agency cafeteria food. Coffee was on his tray for dessert. At times like this when he had a moment of down time his thoughts invariably went to Jane. John had been on an assignment overseas for the CIA when he had received a message that his wife had been rushed to the hospital. By the time he was on a flight back to the states he received another message that she had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage caused by an undetected tumor. She had died during surgery. John and their son, Charles, had a moment of shared grief at the funeral even though they had not seen nor talk to each other in several years. It wasn’t anger that separated them. It was just that John had been absent so much of the time when Charles was growing up. When he did see his father they were not able to talk about what John had been doing. So, a bond between them never had a chance to grow. Fortunately for John, he and Jane had such a deep love for one another their marriage survived his long periods of absence. Oh, how he missed that woman! It’s ironic that the work that kept them apart was now his salvation.

Omar rushed into the office which snapped John out of his reverie. Omar launched right into the new information they had received. “I just got a call from Detective Butler. The surveillance team keeping watch on what is believed to be the workshop of the terrorist cell, believes now that it has for all practical purposes been abandoned.” John shot back, “Why?” “One of the suspect, a man named Azzam, is behaving differently” explained Omar. “He goes to and from the location almost on clock work. He had always been on guard about being watched, but now he acts very nonchalant about his movements.” Thinking out loud, John said, “It does seem he wants us to keep watch on him. “ Turning his focus back to Omar and giving directions now, “Have an agent dress as a telephone repairman and act like he got the wrong address. If he can confirm to a reasonable degree that Azzam is just a decoy, then take him and secure the apartment.” John was in full action mode. “We don’t want SWAT involved. Keep as low a profile as you can on this one.” “Let’s keep Detective Butler off the scene, so that we don’t compromise his ability to have the community’s confidence.” Omar starts to leave but John motioned him to stay, “This Azzam is the one that surveillance found was buying the large amount of nails, right?” “That’s right” Omar responded. “He’s probably expendable and just a foot soldier. The chances that he will know much of anything of value is pretty slim. But sweat him anyway.” Omar paused to see if there were more. There was. John continued, “So, if they got nails, they most likely were building a shrapnel bomb. That probably means a bomb with somewhat limited radius of affect. It would have to be used in a large crowd to have a meaningful effect.” He shifted from calculating to giving directions, John continued, “Have your boys go over that apartment with a microscope checking for any evidence that explosives had been there. Have them look at every detail that will help us know what they are up to. I know they can do it!” John was not quite through, “I’ll take care of whatever approvals, warrants or anything else that needed from this end.”
Now, Omar was being dismissed, but just as he was about to leave there was a knock at the door.” John still going at full speed quickly said, “Come on in.” Dr. Benson stepped into the office and said, “Someone here to see you.” He stepped out of the way and Jan pushed Donald’s wheelchair into the office. “Hello, boss” Donald said. Benson takes advantage of John and Omar’s surprised silence to say, “Donald is beginning to put together more of his memories. He was able to remember, with pain, having been shot.” John and Omar register even a greater expression of surprise. Benson continued, “He still doesn’t remember much from the events leading up to the shooting.” “As much as I’d liked to get some questions answered right now, we can’t. We have a hot lead to follow up on.” John responded as he headed for the door. Dr. Benson then offered ”Tomorrow morning then. Come by with your list of questions and we’ll see how it goes.” As John was about to exit the room he remembered he needed to work on his handling personal relations. He stuck his head back in the room and said “I’m glad to see you’re better, Donald! After a second he was back at the door with “Great work, Benson!”

0903 HOURS sunDAY june 5, 201 1

Jan was at her station. Dr. Benson was at his usual bedside position. However, this day John sat across the bed from the doctor and Omar was at his side. They had just concluded the hook up of the sensors feeding the console Jan was operating. Dr. Benson asked Donald a few routine questions as to his comfort with the sensors and his general well being. He then looked to John and nodded an invitation to begin his questions. John mustered up a smile for Donald and started by stating, “I understand you remember the incident in which you were shot but what went before you’re not able to remember.” Donald answered, “That’s right.” “What do you remember about the shooting?” John asked. “I remember having just left some kind of meeting and I was walking down the sidewalk.” “Where you alone?” John interrupted. Donald thought for a moment and then replied, “Yes, I was alone. However, I believe that I left the meeting in someone’s company.” John prompted him, “Does the name…” the name does not immediately come to John and he looked quickly to Omar who provided the name, “Abd-al-hakim”. John repeated himself, “Does the name Abd-al-hakim sound familiar to you?” “Yes, yes it does.” Donald said and an obvious association occurred. He continued, “We had attended a meeting for better cultural diversity at which the subject of profiling in the light of the bin Laden’s killing was being discussed.” Donald stopped speaking and something was nagging at his thoughts. Then he spoke directly to John, “I’m sure that we have not met before my being here in the hospital. But I know this man or have met him. Omar isn’t it?” Omar looked at John for direction. John nodded consent for him to answer the question. “My name is Omar Washington. I work out of the Detroit office of the FBI, the same office you worked out of.” Omar paused for reaction but Donald was waiting for more. Omar obliged, “We may have passed each other in the office but you were mostly out in the field in deep cover. Your handler’s name is Hafa.” Donald showed no sign of recognition of the name. Omar got out his PDA and said, “Let me show you a picture of her.” He pulled up a picture of Hafa and showed it to Donald. His eyes showed that he did recognize her and he said softly, “Hafa! Yes, I do remember her.” Jan exclaimed out loud, “A bridge!” Her exclamation got everybody’s attention. John asked Dr. Benson, “What does she mean ‘a bridge’?” He answered, “When we’re going down a memory path on a subject and then jump to another subject which is related but not directly, we see a group of synapses between the two paths awaken … forming a bridge, so to speak.” “Is that good?” queried John. “Yes. Those synaptic bridges tend to remain awake and thus strengthen the overall memory recollection.” Donald closed his eyes and his breathing became a bit labored. Dr. Benson took note of this and told John, “We need to stop and let him get some rest. Remember that in addition to recovering his memory he also has to recover from brain trauma.” John started to protest but Dr. Benson was emphatic, “I must insist that you let him rest for now. There’s a good chance that while he is resting his brain will keep on strengthening the synapses we’ve awakened. He most likely will be able to remember more the next time.” John took a look at Donald as Jan disconnected the sensors from his head. He looked peaceful and like he was already slipping off into sleep. John motioned to Omar that they should leave.

1308 HOURS wednesDAY june 8, 201 1

John sat at his desk. An open file lay in front of him. He had been shuffling through different pieces of intel trying to put the jigsaw puzzle together. He mentally put together some of the pieces making up the frame of the puzzle. Most people like to build the frame first and then start filling in from the edges. Of course invariably you find a few piece that go together and fit in the middle of the picture. OK, part of the frame. A shrapnel type bomb with a limited radius of affect; therefore, the target will most likely be a dense group of people. Fortunately, or at least the lesser of evils, it’s not a dirty bomb. Another piece of the frame, all known facts so far would indicated a small cell. Probably a couple of imports but mostly home grown. The raid on the workshop apartment in Dearborn yielded a few frame pieces. Explosive sniffing dogs had pretty conclusively found that explosives had been in the apartment. A vacuuming of the floor had discovered circuitry elements common to cell phones. The tech boys had started to narrow down the types of cell phones the elements would be used in. Not much else of note was found in the apartment, but it did give them “probable cause” to hold on to the foot soldier, Azzam. So far, he had not given up any useful information. What turned out to be a corner piece of the puzzle was in canvasing the neighbors, a homeless person was found who saw at least two men coming up out of a basement exit into the alley. They had brought things out of the building and loaded them into a SUV. Here’s the kicker, he saw them throw things into the dumpster which was of course immediately taken into custody. Some used masking tape was found which apparently had been used in painting some kind of item. The lab boys have been working on identifying the color used and going over the rest of the contents of the dumpster.

Donald’s memory restoration had been improving with each day. Dr. Benson and his assistant had been doing a great job. Omar had been able to put together some photos of likely suspects known to be in the Detroit/Dearborn area. When he showed the photos to Donald he picked out two that were familiar to him. One man, who had been identified as Fakih ibn Hasan, Donald believed to be in the vehicle that was involved in his shooting. Fakih’s trips to both Pakistan and Afghanistan had put him on a Watch List. The other, identified as Abdul-Qahhar, had been the one who had talked with him and Donald believed was going to attempt to recruit him. It was this man Donald was trying to get more information on and was going to meet with his handler to discuss. But of course he was shot before he met with her. There was not much intel on Abdul-Qahhar but it’s believed he might have been born in Southern California and grew up in Orange County. The whereabouts of both men was currently unknown. Both of the photos had been shown to Detective Butler’s source and Abn-al-hakim had recognized both of them. Abdul-Qahhar had discussed with him outside the mosque the harassment that Muslim were experiencing . Fakh ibn Hasan had been one of three men whom Abd-al-hakim had gotten into a heated discussion in front of his home. John became aware that all this mental exercise had created a need for a cup of coffee. He got up and headed for the cafeteria.

1928 HOURS monDAY june 13, 201 1

Abdul-Qahhar and Fakih sat at a folding table in an unfurnished apartment which had become their new safe location. There was a map of the Detroit area which covered approximately a fifty mile radius around the city lying on the table. There were three locations in the Detroit area which had been circled, but one had additional notes written by it. That location was a modest sized town of about 150,000 named Wyandotte and was located approximately twenty-five miles mostly south and a little west of Detroit. Over the years urbanization had made it difficult to tell where one city ended and another began. Fakih leaned back in his chair having finished his study of the map and after a moment of thought said, “Since Azzam has been arrested, who are we going to have be the ice cream vendor?” Abdul-Qahhar gave him a knowing smile and said, “It was never going to be Azzam. I’ve recruited a nice, home grown all American looking jihadist who won’t fit their profiles.” He looked at Fakih for reaction and then gave a little sardonic laugh. A worried look came upon Fakih’s face and he asked, “Are you going to trust this recruit to detonate the bomb?” Abdul- Qahhar quickly responded, “No … no, of course not! You are going to detonate the bomb?” The announcement startled Fakih which was apparent in his facial reaction. Abdul-Qahhar responded to his reaction, “Is there a problem here?” Fakih recovered and said, “No. There’s no problem.” Abdul-Qahhar continued, “The recruit will only sell ice cream until the parade starts and then position the vendor cart in a crowded location. You will position yourself within sight of the cart but outside the bomb’s radius.” Both of the men turned their focus to the completed ice cream vendor’s cart. The art student they had recruited had done a good job of duplicating the logo design of a popular local ice cream company which had a fleet of vendor carts at parades, sporting events and concerts in the greater Detroit area. Abdul-Qahhar contemplated the cart quite happy with the decision to target a celebration of great importance to this country of infidels.

0933 HOURS FriDAY june 17, 201 1

John and Omar sat at Donald’s bedside across from Dr. Benson who was at his usual position. He had just finished checking Donald’s vital signs and said to Donald, “You’re feeling pretty good today, right.” Donald smiled and replied, “Yes. The headaches are beginning to go away.” Donald did not have any sensors connected to his head and so, Jan was present in the room but sat back away from the console observing. The doctor looked to John and with his eyebrows raised in effect said, “Ok, fire away.” “So, Donald” John paused and smiled. He decided not to just launch into questions as he would usually do, exchanged a few niceties. John continued, “It’s good to see that your recovery is moving along quickly.” “Thanks.” Donald said. “Now, are you able to remember any of the details that made you conclude that there was an imminent threat?” John was now into business at hand. Donald in a much more fluent manner said:
This Abdul-Qahhar and I had had several impassioned discussions on the harassment of Muslims by the governmental authorities. In one of our discussion he asked how I felt about what Salafi Shaykh Abi-Ishaq al-Huwayni had said about being in an era of jihad. The Saykh further said that we should fight any of those who got in the way and that this was the way to bring many to Islam. Of course, to gain his confidence, I agreed this was necessary. So he asked how I would like to strike a blow against those who oppose us on a day that the country holds big celebrations. I told him I was ready to do whatever was needed. Then he asked what I thought was rather strange. He asked if I had ever worked as a vendor at sporting events, parades or concerts. I told him I had not. He said he would get back to me soon. That was the day before I was shot.
John and Omar gave each other a look of “bingo!” when Donald had mentioned the vendor question. John thought it best to bring Donald in on the information that they had on the intended bomb. It might trigger some other memory. John said to Donald who had noticed the look they had exchanged, “It looks like they are planning to plant a shrapnel type bomb in some kind of a vendor cart. Do you remember anything else about when or where they are planning to use this bomb? Donald shook his head No and said, “My memory is still disjointed and shaky.” John assured him, “You’re doing fine. You gave us some things to work on. You rest and we’ll talk with you later.” John and Omar rushed out of the room.

0913 HOURS monDAY june 20, 201 1

John had spent most of the weekend pouring over what facts, circumstantial evidence, tips, guesses and rumors that they had gathered so far. His wastebasket full of empty coffee cups attested to his marathon endeavors. The gem that Donald had given them that Abdul-Qahhar spoke of striking a blow on a “day that the country holds big celebrations” had to be referring to the 4th of July. It was the next holiday to come and the whole US goes all out to celebrate the birthday of the country. That’s part of the problem the WHOLE country celebrates the 4th. We can bet on the 4th of July being the “when”, but everybody and their uncle has some kind of celebration so how do we nail down the “where”. And what about the “how”? We have a good idea that they’re going to use a shrapnel bomb in a vendor’s cart but what kind of vendor? There were still details to put together on the “how”. John’s train of thought was interrupted when Omar rushed into the office and without a pause said:
“I just got some update on the contents of the dumpster from our Detroit office. First, the color of the paint on the masking tape is a mustard yellow and is a very common type of paint found everywhere. However, further sorting of the contents produced paint stencils of script letters ‘A’ and ‘S’. The paint residue was a sky blue and again a very common type of paint. Here’s the award winner though, a section of a newspaper which had been used for keeping paint off of the floor was found and initially set to the side as of no importance. But one of the techs looked closer at it and noticed that three articles had been circled with a ball point pen.
John sharing the excitement butted in with “Let’s get a copy of those articles.” “Voila!” said Omar as he produced a copy of the three articles.

Mt. Clemens: The Stars & Stripes Festival takes place from July 1st to July 4th and includes over 100 performances on four stages.

The Westland Summer Festival runs from June 30th to July 4th, 2011.

Wyandottete’s Independence Day Parade

Event Date:
July 4th, 2011 at 10:00 AM until end
This is a family friendly event.
Event Description
The Parade route begins at Northline near the Police/Court Building and ends at Eureka Avenue. The parade begins at 10am and usually runs approximately two hours. Wyandotte's Independence Day Parade often draws participation from over 100 marching troupes, pipe and drum and marching bands, schools and organizations from throughout Michigan and Canada.

John looked over the articles very quickly and turned to Omar, “For my money the Wyandotte’s Independence Day Parade is the front runner. But before we set our focus let’s get the low down on all three of these events.” John clapped his hands and pronounced, “I think we have narrowed down the ‘where’ to these three places!” John put an arm around Omar’s shoulders and gave a quick hug. He followed with a “well done” pat on the back. Then he morphed back into his John giving instructions, “We need to find out what kind of vendors and who they are that consistently worked these events. Of special interest will be the ones that used vendor carts.” John thought for a moment and then added, “I think, Omar, that you can be of more service back at your office in Detroit where you can keep a close management of these needs. I’m going to stay a couple of days more to see if Donald can give us any more information. I’ll join you shortly.” Omar starts to leave but John stopped him with, “But first, come have a cup of coffee with me.”

1023 HOURS thursDAY june 23, 201 1

Omar had just entered his office having retrieved a list of vendors who consistently had done business at the 4th of July events in the Detroit area when he noticed John had made himself at home in Omar’s office. He sat opposite the desk and was just finishing a cup of coffee. “That was not half bad coffee.” he offered and then added, “The Detroit office gets the John Morris Approval Star.” “I’m glad you’ve had your transfusion because we have some work to do.” Omar beginning to sound like John. “I just picked up this list of vendors which frequent the 4th of July events. I knew you were on your way so I got two copies” Omar said as he handed John a copy. John immediately started on the list. Omar took his seat behind his desk and did the same. After John had checked two of the three pages he expressed his thoughts out loud, “I see this one company, La Mexteca, keeps coming up. It appears that they sell both food and ice cream.” Just about the same time Omar exclaimed, “Un huh!” He turned to his desktop and grabbed the mouse waking up his computer. He quickly brought up the search engine and typed in “Ashley Silver” and hit ENTER. He tapped his fingers impatiently and finally the site came up. He quickly navigated through a couple of drop down menus and then, “Ah hah! That’s what I’m talking about!” Omar turned the monitor so that a baffled John could see a picture of a yellow vendor’s cart with a logo that featured a blue scripted “A” and “S”. John still looked baffled. Omar blurted out, “The masking tape with yellow paint residue found in the dumpster and the stencils for the letters ‘A’ and ‘S’” “With blue paint residue.” John finished the statement. Trying to contain their excitement John said, “Okay… Okay. We need to get over to …” he stole another look at the monitor. “We need to get over to Ashley Silver Ice Cream and find out all we can about how they do their business at the events. I just remembered that Donald in our further conversations had said that Abdul-Qahhar had asked him if he had ever sold ice cream.” Omar did a fist pump and said, “I think we’re hot on the trail now!” John’s focus had gone back to the list and thought out loud again, “Let’s see…Ashley Silver has worked both the Wyandotte parade and the Stars and Stripes events but not the Westland Summer Festival. We’ll put our main focus on the parade, the secondary focus on the Stars and Stripes event, but just to be safe we’ll have an agent check out the Westland Summer Festival.” John slammed his fist down on the desk for emphasis and said, “Good job, Omar! Let’s get crackin’.”

1703 HOURS MonDAY june 27, 201 1

Abdul-Qahhar and Fakih had moved again. This time they moved not because their location had been compromised but to be near their target. They found a duplex that they were able to rent that was only a few blocks away from the parade route. The area of Wyandotte that the duplex was located was primarily residential but some small businesses were nearby. They had mapped out the parade route and decided that Biddle Ave. between Walnut St. and Popular St. would be a good location for their vendor’s cart. There was ample parking in the area and it was within a few blocks of the starting point of the parade, and should therefore be a spot that would draw a large crowd. Fakih had constructed the cart with a small but adequate container near the top of the cart so that the Recruit would be able to access the Ashley Silver ice cream bars. The container would be able to accommodate enough ice cream bars that the Recruit would be able to sell ice cream for forty-five minutes to an hour before abandoning the cart as the parade started. The refrigerated container was made of a metal that would retain its lowered temperature and keep the ice cream bars frozen. It would be refrigerated by using pieces of dry ice. The remainder of the cart was constructed of thin plywood so that it would not inhibit the explosion’s affect.
All seemed to be ready and they only had to wait. They wanted to arrive early so that they could establish a low profile presence that would not arouse the neighbors’ suspicions. The Recruit who would take on the role of the vendor would not know where they were located and would be picked up the evening before the 4th of July parade. He had been told that the bomb was to make a statement of the vulnerability of Homeland Security and was just a smoke and concussion bomb. He was to remain at his post selling ice cream until he could hear the Marine Corp band which would be leading the parade. He would then leave the cart during the distraction of the arriving band and blend into the crowd removing his vendor’s outfit. Once he had gotten free of the parade crowd he was to immediately make his way out of town. Fakih would find a location in the crowd that he could observe the cart and yet be a safe distance away. All seemed ready.

1303 HOURS thursDAY june 30, 201 1

Omar had just received an agent’s report on Ashley Silver Ice Cream Company. The company does not use vendor carts at the Stars and Stripes event, but has had a fleet in use at the Wyandotte parade. For this 4th they have scheduled ten company carts to work the parade and expect five to ten franchises to have carts at the parade. It’s their practice to deploy the company carts at the beginning and end of the parade route leaving the middle to be covered by the franchises. The vendors wore a yellow ball cap, yellow shirt and a white apron. They have a roving man to monitor the vendors and he had been given Omar’s cell number in case they see anything unusual especially any unattended carts. Omar had also received a report on the Westland Summer Festival. Since it had a carnival like environment the agent’s assessment was that the crowd’s behavior would be too unpredictable to be a viable target. After they had gone over the reports they had laid out a map of the Wyandotte parade route. John gave directions to have the Wyandotte PD cover the beginning of the parade. The Dearborn PD had been asked to provide personnel and under Detective Butler’s command would cover the end of the parade. He wanted the middle to be covered by plain clothes agents from Detroit FBI. Omar was to be in a news helicopter covering the whole route to provide John, who would be at a command post in the Wyandotte police station, a bird’s eye view. If these terrorists had the experience John thought they would have, the vendor they would be looking for would not look like a typical Muslim radical. John was not concerned about keeping a lid on their actions any more. He figured if any leaks come from enlisting the local PD’s there would not be enough time for it to reach the cell. Since the killing of bin Laden there had been limited communications between the various groups and leaders. They had three days to coordinate the various groups of law enforcement and ensure that everyone had pictures of Abdul-Qahhar, Fakih and what the vendor cart should look like. John and Omar went to get a cup of coffee and go over the arrangements again.

0947 HOURS saturDAY july 2, 201 1

Hakima had noticed two nicely dressed women talking with Safia as he had approached his home. They seemed to have a friendly conversation for a couple of moments and then the ladies took their leave. As he had passed them they had greeted him with a smile. When Hakima had reached the door Safia stood there and greeted him with a smile. He said to her, “Why do you speak to those people? You know they just want to make us Christians.” The smile did not leave her face as she replied, “We know from the Qur’an that Jesus was God’s messenger and he once said that we should treat others as we would want them to treat us. Did he not?” Hakima gave a half-committed nod of agreement. She continued, “If we want others to respect us as Muslims even though they don’t agree with us, shouldn’t we treat them with respect when they come to our doors?” He didn’t want to discuss the matter any further and went by her on into the house. Safia followed him in and Abia joined them. Hakima noticed that they were following him and turned to them and said, “What’s up?” Abia spoke first, “Would you like something to drink? A soda maybe?” He became good natured as he asked, “All right. What do you two want?” Safia and Abia looked at each other as if saying “you go first” and then Safia went first, “Our high school band is playing in the Wyandotte 4th of July parade and we want to go see them play.” Abia jumped in, “My dad won’t let me drive there unless we get you to come along with us.” Hakima fired back, “Why do you want to go to this American patriotic thing?” Abia answered right back, “Well, I am an American you know!” Safia added, “We have several friends that play in the band and we want to go to support them.” Then both of them chimed in, “Please!” He looked at both of them and then laughed as he said, “You two are pathetic. … Okay, I’ll go.” The girls jumped on him and each kissed him on the cheek. He feigned displeasure as he pushed them away and left the room. They turned to each other, hugged and jumped up and down with glee.

0915 HOURS MonDAY july 4, 201 1

John was at the Command post at the Wyandotte Police Station and had an agent who was working with him do a radio check with the different sections of parade coverage. Detective Butler had checked in and said the crowd was just beginning to build at the end of the parade route. The contact from the Wyandotte Police had made a similar check in for the beginning of the parade route. However, the agent with the FBI group had said that a large number of people had already taken their places along the middle of the route. All had reported that there were Ashley Silver ice cream carts doing business in their sections. The temperature was beginning to heat up so the ice cream sales were expected to increase. So far, no one saw any unusual activity of any vendor and none looked out of place. Omar was in the news helicopter but it was still at the airport. It was not scheduled to take off for another fifteen to twenty minutes. There was a bomb squad deployed in a parking lot near the middle of the parade route. They were being kept inside an unmarked van so that they would not tip anyone off. A SWAT team was standing by at the nearby airport ready to deploy to any section of the parade route on a moment’s notice. If need be, the squad could rappel down without the need to land the helicopter. Up to this point everything was going like clockwork. The parade was due to start at 10:00 AM. The parade participants were forming on Frontline Road which was next to the police station. John saw out a window that it was all coming together smoothly. But it would be a mistake to take it easy. It was not going to be easy to locate the right vendor cart in time to prevent them from setting off the bomb.

0948 HOURS MonDAY july 4, 201 1

The Recruit had been told he could keep any monies he received from the sale of ice cream and had really gotten into the role of vendor. He had done quite well, but as he had looked at his watch and determined that the parade should start in about ten minutes he had begun to get nervous. Fakih had been able to locate some steps leading into a building that he was able to stand on and observed the Recruit from a safe distance. Everything seemed to have gone well up to that point. He hoped that when the time came the Recruit would be able to abandon the cart in the distraction of the parade without undue notice.

Abia had been able to find parking in a lot off of Walnut Street which was only yards away from Biddle Street where the parade would pass by. Hakima was sandwiched between Safia and Abia and in a rare mood. As they had walked to the parade route he had been talking a lot and laughing with the girls and not at them. Although the crowd had already grown to perhaps seventy-five to a hundred people at the spot they had chosen to watch the parade, they were still able to find a good viewing spot.

The news helicopter in which Omar was riding had taken off and was now over the parade route at about five hundred feet. They had gotten special permission to fly below the normal limit of a thousand feet over congested areas. Omar was equipped with binoculars, a radio set to a common frequency for all the contacts on the ground and a special device for jamming cell phone reception. The device had a target radius of a hundred to two hundred yards and a maximum distance from the target of six hundred feet. There was very little margin for error. From the helicopter he was able to see both ends of the parade route and without the binoculars could see good details on the ground.

1001 HOURS MonDAY july 4, 201 1

John heard drums and looked out the window of the police station. He saw the Marine Corp band starting to make a turn down Biddle Street. The parade had begun. John picked up his radio said so that all could hear, “Game time! Let’s get these guys before they can hurt anyone.” A chorus of “Roger that!” came back over the radio.

The Recruit heard faintly the music of a band and became anxious. He had turned to leave the cart when a young boy came up and asked for a chocolate bar. He quickly reached in and retrieved an ice cream bar and gave it to the boy. However, the boy did not have the exact change and as the band music got more distinct, the Recruit fumbled for the change. Nervously the Recruit waited for the boy to leave. Fakih had witnessed the Recruit’s attempt to leave, but it was too early. If he left early, he may draw attention to himself abandoning the cart. Fakih got his cell phone out of his pocket and prepared to trigger the bomb.

Abd-al-hakim had heard the sounds of the band in the distance and looked in that direction to see if there were any signs of the start of the parade. As he saw a motorcycle policeman who proceeded the parade get to their position, he noticed the ice cream vendor had left his cart and was working his way to the edge of the crowd. As he watched the vendor his line of sight took his attention to a man standing on some steps. The man had a cell phone in his hand but his focus was on the parade route. Abd-al-hakim then realized he knew the man. He quickly got his cell phone and pushed the contact selection for Detective Butler. When Butler answered, Abd-al-hakim said, “He’s here!”

As Butler answered his cell he could see that Abd-al-hakim was on his phone. Butler responded, “Who’s here? Where is here? The answer he received was that Fakih, the man that Butler had shown a picture to Abd-al-hakim for identification was there at the parade. Butler depressed the send button on his radio so that all could hear his conversation and quickly asked, “Where are you and Fakih located?” Everyone heard his reply that they were near Walnut Street. Butler followed with, “Are you on the east side of Biddle Street or the west?” All units were able to hear Abd-al-hakim answer the west. Butler asked, “Can you see the news helicopter? OK, look up and wave.” Omar broke in and said, “I see him. I see Fakih also.” John who had been listening to all this barked out, “All units in the area of Walnut and Biddle converge on the location. Apprehend both the suspect and the ice cream vendor. Bomb squad get over there immediately!” Butler said over his cell to Abd-al-hakim, “Get out of the area immediately, you’re in…” His cell phone lost its signal. Omar had targeted the ice cream cart with the jamming device and activated it.

Fakih noticed some commotion off to his right and heard the helicopter hovering overhead. He thought that matters had gone wrong and pressed the key on his phone to detonate the bomb. Nothing had happened and he pressed the key again. He then had turned to escape but was grabbed from behind and wrestled to the ground. Not far away the Recruit had been apprehended and hustled away. At that point uniformed police moved in and started crowd control to move them a safe distance away from the bomb. The bomb squad arrived on the scene and took over. The motorcycle policeman who led the parade had turned back and stopped the Marine Corp band. Directions had been given to the band to keep playing in place to help keep the crowd from panicking.

Abdul-Qahhar had waited in the get-away car parked in the Walnut Street parking lot. He saw uniform police had rushed to the area and out of a parked van the bomb squad rushed to the parade route. He had waited for three minutes to see if Fakih was able to get away. When he did not see him coming he drove away.

1017 HOURS MonDAY july 4, 201 1

The Marine Corp band started playing “From the Halls of Montezuma” and began moving forward. The parade had been able to continue and many along the parade route including those in the parade did not know what had caused the delay. The bomb squad had been able to defuse the bomb rather quickly since it was not a sophisticated device. They then removed the cart to a remote area away from the parade route and safely detonated the bomb. Before detonating the bomb they were able to examine it and determined that it was likely that something other than jamming cell phone reception had hindered the bomb from detonating. In an attempt to keep the ice cream in a solid state the suspects had generously packed the refrigerated container with dry ice. It had lowered the temperature inside the cart to a few degrees below what the cell phone elements were designed to work.

1028 HOURS MonDAY july 4, 201 1

Imam Abdul-Hadi had just sat down in his den and turned the TV on. The station was broadcasting “Breaking News” about a failed terrorists’ attempt to set off a bomb at the Wyandotte 4th of July parade. The reporter interviewed Detective Isaiah Butler of the Dearborn PD’s cultural diversity squad. Detective Butler said:
Homeland Security working with the Detroit FBI office and the Dearborn Police Department had been able to uncover a plot to make a statement by detonating a bomb at the Wyandotte 4th of July parade. The suspects were a small cell of radical Muslims; however, I want to emphatically point out these radicals were not members of any Dearborn synagogue. In fact we received cooperation in our investigation from members of a local synagogue. Let me say right now I will not answer any questions about that cooperation nor about the investigation itself.
Butler did go ahead to answer some general questions about the failed attempt such as “Were there any injuries? How many were in the cell?” The reporter closed off the report stating that two suspects had been apprehended at the parade, the FBI had one suspect already in custody and what is believed to be the leader of the cell was arrested attempting to cross into Canada at the Windsor Tunnel.

Three stunned people rode for several miles back toward Dearborn in silence turning over in their minds what they had just experienced. Finally, Hakima broke the silence and began telling Safia and Abia that he had been involved with Imam Adul-Hadi and Detective Butler. How at first he was angry at being confronted about his relationship with Ahamad and how he did not trust Detective Butler. The Imam convinced him that Butler could be trusted and he had developed a trust in him. The Imam and Butler had told him for his own safety he should keep his involvement secret. Abd-al-hakim then said that for all their safety none of them should tell anyone else. As Safia looked out the car window she thought to herself that she was glad she had gone to Imam Abdul-Hadi with her concerns.

Dr. Peter Li had just come out of his office where he had been reviewing an upcoming surgery patient’s file and was passing through a visitors’ waiting room when he saw the network news coverage of the attempted terrorist bombing in Michigan. He paused for a moment and reflected on his involvement and then smiled to himself realizing that he would have to be satisfied with being an “Unsung Hero”.

Another couple of unsung heroes were busy with a new Alzheimer patient. As had been promised Dr. Benson the equipment that they had used at the secured medical facility had been donated to their research department. As a result of the additional equipment the project was approved to not only increase the number of research patients but been able to bring on board another research doctor and assistant. Lawrence and Jan had reflected on their behind the scene roles and were happy how it had played out.

1033 HOURS WednesDAY july 6, 201 1

John had just returned to his office with a cup of coffee from the cafeteria and sat down at his desk. He was momentarily caught up with reflection on the events of the last months. He had been instrumental in a transfer with a promotion to Homeland Security which had been offered to Omar. John was happy to hear that Omar had accepted. He had been told that Detective Butler, their contact at the Dearborn PD, had taken a well-earned vacation and had taken his family on a camping and fishing trip to the Lakes area. John had also reaped some benefits from a job well done. There had been placed in his personnel file a commendation from the Director of the department. But even better, his son, Charles, had called after seeing him on the news refusing in his normal way to say anything about the investigation. Charles had told him how proud he was of him and the work he was doing. Charles had added that he thought his mother would be proud too. How much John missed his wife!

John had put his coffee down on the desk and opened a file labeled “SOVERIGN CITIZENS – An Anti-Government Subculture” inside were reports on the Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols and Joe Stack who flew his plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas. Also, a report on the more recent account of Jerry and Joe Kane, the father and son, who had killed two West Memphis, Arkansas troopers. “Evil never takes a holiday!”

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Comments by other Members

Freebird at 13:32 on 17 October 2011  Report this post
Hi there!

I'm not a member of this group (I host the Children's Writers' Group, so mostly hang out there) but sometimes when I'm having a break (procrastinating!) I look around and see what work has been posted.

When I saw that you'd taken the plunge and posted your entire novella, but nobody had responded, I felt it would only be the WW thing to do to respond to you!

Firstly, congratulations on completing a lengthy piece. You will find that people are more likely to comment on it if you post it in short chunks (probably a maximum of 2000 words) - it's just too time consuming to do it otherwise.

However, since you've gone to the effort of putting it up here, I've had a quick skim of the first little bit.

Your summary is totally intriguing - how you can work all this things together beats me! So you have a good premise here. I think the first thing you need to do really sharpen up your work is to read through it all and find the places where you have 'told' us something instead of 'showing' it.

For example, instead of
Emma was in a moderate stage of Alzheimer but had recently shown symptoms of moving into a severe stage.
, you could use some dialogue between the doctor and Herman.

Such as:
"When did you first notice a change in your mother?" asked the doctor.
"I think she began to show more severe symptoms a couple of months ago," said Herman, trying to remember his mother as she had been, before the Alzheimer's set in.

Of course, it's natural when you start out to assume that a storyteller just 'tells' everything there is to know about the character and what's going on. But if you're going to write something lengthy like this, the reader wants to really inhabit the characters - to feel things as they do, to see things through their eyes, to hear thing through their ears.
When you give us such a load of background information, you remind us that there is an author between us and the characters, filling in spaces. It makes the reader feel more distant from the action.

Do you see what I mean?
I reckon if you read through this and try to highlight any of these 'information dumps' and find another way to show them (imagine it as a movie - we only know what we see and hear at that particular moment), then your work will jump up another notch.


It might also help to decide who is the main character that you want us to identify with - is it Emma, or Herman, or one of the medical staff? Then try to stick with their point of view and show us what they're experiencing through their senses, as well as what they're thinking and feeling.
e.g instead of saying 'Herman felt stressed', you can say 'Herman's palms grew damp' or something like that.

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