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John Grisham

The Broker

ment limousines in Beijing. Neptune could listen as Chinese pilots bantered back and forth at twenty thousand feet, and it could watch a suspicious fishing boat as it docked in Yemen. Neptune followed an armored truck, presumably Castro's, through the streets of Havana. And in a live video feed that shocked the three, Arafat himself was clearly seen stepping into an alley in his compound in Gaza, lighting a cigarette, then urinating. For two sleepless days, the three peeked inside the satellites as they crossed Pakistan. The software was in English, and with Neptune's preoccupation with the Middle East, Asia, and China, it was easy to assume Neptune belonged to the United States, with Britain and Israel a distant second and third. Perhaps it was a joint U.S.-Israeli secret. After two days of eavesdropping, they fled the apartment and reorganized their little cell in a friend's farmhouse ten miles outside of Karachi. The discovery was exciting enough, but they, and Safi in particular, wanted to go one step further. He was quite confident he could manipulate the system. His first success was watching Fazal Sharif read a newspaper. To protect the identity of their location, Fazal took a bus into downtown Karachi, and wearing a green cap and sunglasses, he bought a newspaper and sat on a park bench near a certain intersection. With Farooq feeding commands through a ramped-up sat-phone, a Neptune satellite found Fazal, zoomed down close enough to pick off the headlines of his newspaper, and relayed it all back to the farmhouse where it was watched in muted disbelief. The electro-optical imaging relays to Earth were of the highest resolution known to technology at that time, down to about four feet-equal to the sharpest images produced by US. military reconnaissance satellites and about twice as sharp as the best European and American commercial satellites. For weeks and months, the three worked nonstop writing homebrewed software for their discovery. They discarded much of what they wrote, but as they fine-tuned the successful programs they became even more amazed at Neptune's possibilities. Eighteen months after they first discovered Neptune, the three had, on four Jaz 2-gigabyte disks, a software program that not only increased the speed at which Neptune communicated with its numerous

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John Grisham: The broker  

John Grisham - 2005

John Grisham: The broker  

John Grisham - 2005

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