**Who killed Geoffrey Steinberg?!?!?!**
… ‘That was Steinberg Island.’ Langley reported. ‘Emphasis on the was part. Until we ran radiological scans we had assumed it was a small nuke. It wasn’t. What you just watched was a thermobaric in action.’
‘Damn big one too.’ Tom added.
‘Yeah. Too big. From what we’re gathering, that was the largest non-nuclear bomb in the world. Bigger than anything we have. Or the Russians or anyone else. Whole island is gone. Crushed and incinerated.’ The voice continued, ‘The press doesn’t know it. Bureau either. But… Steinberg was on his island at the time. He’s dead.’
‘Good! Thank God!’ Tom yelled. ‘Case closed, huh? Well, thanks for the good news. I’ll SLEEP well now.’
‘Hang on, Tom, there’s more.’ The voice conferred with someone in the background and continued. ‘Anything strike you as funny about the blast?’
‘I find the whole thing hilarious,’ Tom said while laughing, ‘But, yeah, it was an aerial delivery. Not a rocket, unless there’s a Saturn Five gone missing. Any leads on a plane? Would have had to be a larger transport.’
‘That’s the other thing – one of them actually.’ A woman’s voice interjected.
‘Good morning, Madam Director. They got you up early too?’
‘Good morning. Dr. Ironsides. Yes. In here at oh-three-hundred.’ She spoke with someone else and continued, ‘Get back with the Bode, ASAP! … Sorry, Tom. Right. It had to be a plane. Obviously not a missile. But… we can’t track anything from the time. Someone … we don’t know who … anything, really … someone blocked out the sat system, in that sector, and at that time. It was a rolling obscurement, to hide all logistics.’
‘Nation-state, then. But, which one?’ Tom mused.
‘We can’t think of any nation that would be interested in such action, Tom.’ The replacement added.
‘Well, maybe our nation should have done it, given the circumstances…’ Tom rejoined with a little force. ‘There’s us. The Russians, England, France, and China would be the other usual suspects. It’s possible that Germany, Italy, India, Israel, maybe a few others could have done it – with great effort. But, I don’t see why.
‘And, just how do we know all of this anyway?’ Tom was dubious.
‘SAS was preparing to move against the targets just before the bombing.’
‘Move against them with hugs and welfare checks, or move against them the right way – with slightly smaller explosives?’
‘Several strike teams were assembled before… This was a major interruption to the plan… Don’t know. We’re thinking that maybe it wasn’t a state actor.’ Said the Director.
‘Terrorists? Or, are you going to send that FBI kid here again a little later to congratulate me on another job well done?’ Tom was still laughing. ‘I have plenty of time away from school to build the world’s largest bomb, you know. And deliver it while blacking out Big Bird and Snow White.’ He chuckled to the point that it was hard to get the words out.
The Director attempted to reign him in: ‘This isn’t a laughing matter.’
‘It really is!’ Laughed Tom. …
So much more when The Substitute starts class…