Quip realized that Andy’s observation was very astute. He also noticed the change in Andrew’s communication vernacular and recognized how he’d allowed his chain to be yanked. Later he would admit to Otto that having Andy on this assignment was a good idea. He was now also in a position to figure out how to yank Andy back, but for the time being he let Andy continue.
The consummate professional now, Andrew continued, “So it looks like the no-track zone begins here in the Chihuahuan Desert, yet ends here in the Cayman Islands. Since it is a straight line with rapid and consistently timed movements from one area to the next, I’d hazard a guess that it is an airplane. Most likely a twin engine since you wouldn’t want to go swimming if you had engine trouble. It looks capable of a cruise speed of about 325-350 knots. Probably something like a King Air or maybe a light jet.”
Quip was now annoyed with this much conclusion from Andrew ahead of his own evaluation, but ICABOD seemed to concur.
He was interested so he asked, “So how do you know just how fast this supposed plane has to be flying?”
Andrew, still staring into the 3-D ICABOD screen, said without looking at Quip, “Well, young feller, if you watch the time each of these zones is blocked out and take a distance reading for each and leaving some margin for error in each no-track zone, I come up with each zone being similar in diameter and each is in a no-track zone for the same period of time.”
Then Andy added with a degree of good-o-boy sarcasm, “Now if I use my ciphering skills that momma taught me, I take that twenty kilometer, times minutes, times the number of zones that ICABOD has spotted. I should be able to use my times table for a total distance and speed of the aircraft so long as I remember to carry the naught like she taught me.”
Quip felt Andrew yank his chain about his ciphering, but just then ICABOD confirmed the calculation with a dialog balloon above the tracked area. Quip was ready to go to the other room to pout when Otto walked in.
Otto asked, sensing some tension from Quip, “So how are you doing, gentlemen?”
Before Quip could admit to being humbled, Andrew blurted out, “Otto, sir, you should see what Quip has uncovered with this high-falluten contraption of his! We got ourselves here a real smart hacker that has learned to cover his tracks with a U.S. based satellite. Old Quip here wasn’t fooled a bit. Ain’t gonna be no work left for someone like me if Quip and his ICCYBOB machine can always figure everything out. I might as well call it a day, boys.”
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