Finally Bruno cleared his throat and responded, “Otto, this is my anonymous calling line that goes through a bank of anonymizing servers just so I can have a completely cloaked conversation with people demanding extreme security. How did you know it was me? And, furthermore, how could you possibly have guessed who was on the call with me? Finally, why do you suspect we are calling about crypto-currency matters?”
Otto suppressed a smile and innocently replied, “Oh, pardon me, Bruno. Have I made some misstatements to your distinguished guest?”
Bruno clucked his tongue in annoyance and then continued, “On second thought, I don’t really want to know all the tricks of the magician. Allow me to introduce Tonya Van Den Berghe from the International Monetary Fund.
“Otto, I was asked to make introductions, but as you can see, Tonya, these are the people we call on when we need that which cannot be done. I’ll leave you two to talk in private. I assume that the voice tunnel is encrypted, Otto, after my initial but naïve outreach to you. Good day to you both.”
Otto didn’t have time to reply to Bruno’s hasty departure, so he offered, “Tonya, apologies if your call didn’t catch me unawares. We work very hard at being informed. Then when we are called upon to help we can take up the assignment quickly. How may I be of service to you and your organization?”
Tonya, relatively young but well-educated and informed about the world stage, quickly moved past her initial surprise, almost smiled and acknowledged, “Otto, I believe your demonstration clearly proved your point of your organization’s effectiveness. You are correct, I am calling with regards to crypto-currency matters and some very high profile thefts, from which we believe we have been compromised.
“To that end, I would like to meet and discuss the contents of a package I need to provide you. It will give you all the details we have so far, but there are some things that I cannot discuss over the phone, even though I rather believe that the line is certainly encrypted. Would that be possible?”
Otto nodded and answered, “Understood. In a chat window that I’m opening up on your computer, I will place the location of a cyber-DropVault. We use this with special customers for secure document and data sharing. It will help us to begin work immediately with current information. When and where would you like to meet? I presume that time is of the essence.”
Tonya smirked as she replied, “You know it, Mr. Magician!
“I will upload the information within the hour. I would like to meet with you or possibly your right hand designate the day after tomorrow in Paris. I would prefer that we keep discussions on this topic out of our headquarters in Washington D.C., though I assure you I have the support of our Managing Director in this matter. I can of course provide credentials.”
Otto reviewed the background information on Tonya, including several photos, being provided by ICABOD, the team’s Artificial Intelligence Supercomputer. The young woman had graduated in the top of her class from Harvard Business with a focus in International Finance, with no extraordinarily high financial portfolio and her remaining two years of education debt being paid monthly. The photographs provided included professional headshots of her even smile, heart-shaped face framed by shiny chestnut colored waves that just reached her shoulders. The photo date was three months ago and included her physical attributes of height at almost 1.8 meters and a lean 59 kilograms. It struck Otto that her facial lines were very sophisticated, yet she seemed approachable.
He commented, “Based on the nature of the discussion, credentials will be necessary. I will have you meet with Wolfgang Mickelowski, our Financial Director in Paris, at noon on Wednesday. Unless you have an objection, we will arrange for the meeting to take place in a secure conference room at Regal Financial in La Défense, just west of the Paris city limits. I have an associate on the Board of Directors of the main branch of the institution’s headquarters in Zürich.”
Tonya replied, “That is very agreeable. Thank you, Otto, I look forward to meeting with Mr. Mickelowski.”
The call was disconnected and Otto called Wolfgang. Wolfgang and he chatted for a few moments and decided the best course of action was to assemble the team.
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