Vineri, 17 Noiembrie 2017 19:57

Adrenaline rush, espionage and ASUS UL30

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“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking. Prepare for landing in Oslo in fifteen minutes. The local time is 6:30 am, temperature 2° C...” The pilot's announcement awakens us from the numbness of the flight. We recover our luggage in record time and in less than 40 minutes we arrive at the hotel, despite the abundant snow that took over the city. I have a strong feeling that we are being watched. “There goes our incognito flight”, I think aloud, reaching the room. We do not have much time. We dress thick and divide the equipment in three backpacks: the Asus UL30 laptop goes with me; M. takes the cameras and S. oversees the GPS systems. The rest of the luggage is left in the hotel room, where we will return after the mission is completed.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking. Prepare for landing in Oslo in fifteen minutes. The local time is 6:30 am, temperature 2° C...” The pilot's announcement awakens us from the numbness of the flight. We recover our luggage in record time and in less than 40 minutes we arrive at the hotel, despite the abundant snow that took over the city.

I have a strong feeling that we are being watched. “There goes our incognito flight”, I think aloud, reaching the room. We do not have much time. We dress thick and divide the equipment in three backpacks: the Asus UL30 laptop goes with me; M. takes the cameras and S. oversees the GPS systems. The rest of the luggage is left in the hotel room, where we will return after the mission is completed.

We mix in the crowd, certain that we can easily pass as mere tourists. I’m the only one in the group who's amazed by every building or scenery, as if I were an extremely impressionable tourist and not a (very special) secret agent. We find our chauffeur on a side street, unhappy with our delay. After a strenuous trip (how long had it last, an hour or two, maybe?), the car stops in front of an old castle, near a lake. In the southern part of the area, miles and miles of forest surround the construction. Inside, in a huge dark room with old stone walls, we are acquainted with P. He is our contact from Oslo and one of the heads of the Agency. Short and to the point, we recap how the mission will unravel. In this part of the castle we have everything we need: skis, infrared glasses and quite a few weapons. In addition, the castle has a very good surveillance system and a garage full of snowmobiles.


ASUS UL30We start installing the devices. I open my Asus laptop (given to me at Langley) and I connect through Wi-Fi on a super secured channel. Due to the Intel ULV processor, the laptop has lower power consumption, and greater autonomy. While M. and S. are preparing their reconnaissance mission, we are reaching out to Langley and to Agency headquarters in Oslo. We connect the surveillance systems and the GPS tracker to the laptop, while it runs the infinite information received from the Agencies.

My colleagues return confident to the castle. They found the enemy's hiding place and planted infrared cameras inside and out of the hut, hopefully without being spotted. We're going to watch their every step until we get back the stolen USB drive containing highly sensitive national security data.

It's getting dark quickly, here in the north. I cannot sleep. I wake up a little stiff and inflamed. M. is the agent on watch duty, while P. monitors the laptop. Not long until I’m seeing that one of our “friends” at the hut opens a secret floor compartment. We zoom in and find the stick flashing in an unknown source of light. I am grateful for the NVIDIA GeForce G 210M motherboard and the High Definition H.264 technology… they are giving us true-to-life images with 1366 x 768 resolution.

M. and S. are getting ready to recover the memory stick. They'll be in lurking in the forest, near the hut, until we get the OK. Suddenly, the room I’m in sinks into the darkness. Outside, the wind blows stronger. The guys are caught in the middle of a snow storm that is leaving the castle without power. The Asus reboots, switching from electrical to battery. The backup generator fails to power the other devices. I've lost communication with field agents. It's my turn to watch the enemy, but the stream is getting worse with the weather. The illuminated keyboard of my laptop helps me to quickly enter the complicated Langley alert code.

The hours pass. The wait is almost over; M. and S. come back tired. They recovered the drive without bloodshed, but they angered the Norwegians. Langley and Oslo are summoning an emergency conference. I start the 0.3 Mp webcam and the 13.3-inch screen is showing us the bosses’ poker faces. However, they warn us to prepare for a hostile situation.

We’re still in the dark; to be fair, the power is down. We have gone 10 hours without electricity and we’re getting hungry. P. offers us sandwiches he prepared the day before. We eat hastily, hoping that whatever we chew on is not reindeer meat. As we’re swallowing the last pieces of sandwiches, we’re hearing the noise of scooters in the distance.

We prepare for combat, placing strategically in each corner of the room in order to surround them. But the enemies ruin our plans by simply flying their snowmobiles through the big windows in the hallway and shooting warning shots. We duck to the best of our abilities. M. and S. struggle with three imposing men. Somebody pulls my feet and I’m falling, not being able to grab the USB drive from the laptop.

I'm fighting a furious masked Norwegian. Angry, he pushes me against the wall and manages to throw the laptop from the table, which closes due to the blow. Desperate, I'm looking for a solution. P. is trying to free himself from an overturned snowmobile; he throws the USB drive to my direction. I push the table into the enemy, crawling towards the stick, and try to restart the Asus. The laptop works, with the battery lasting for almost 12 hours! In a few seconds I enter the Express Gate operating system, insert the drive and copy the data from it, sending it to Langley. Then, I delete any information on it. Though being held at gunpoint, I manage to do a maneuver worthy of a ninja fighter and fly his gun out of his hand, securing the perpetrator with my handcuffs.

M., S. and P. have the same success with immobilizing the enemies. The dawn is rising, throwing a reddish light into the room, slowly revealing the signs of a no-casualty confrontation. We're connecting to the Agencies’ secure lines. P. goes back to the headquarters along with the “war” prisoners, then we head to the hotel and the Oslo International Airport. It will be a nice flight back to Virginia.

This article was initially written for the SuperBlog2009 – a Romanian creative blogging competition. The original story can be found here.
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Lexa Verzes

Public Relations Specialist in European Union-funded projects. (Also a dreamer, writer; music lover; radio lover; movies lover.)

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