Fraudpocalypse: Chapter Four
CHAPTER FOUR: UBERFRODER
High walls, barbed wire fences, guard dogs, laser security systems, fingerprint & retinal scanners, one time pass codes, miniguns, security guards, moats, keycards, vault dials, sharks with laser beams, voice and facial recognition software. These were all the things circling in James’ mind as they approached the facility that held the manuscript. His initial impression of the location was that it was plain. This was good to him because it didn’t stand out. What was odd was that none of the security greeted him. There were no fences, guards, or guard dogs.
James was hoping to be impressed as they exited the Jeep and approached the front entrance of the two-story building. It appeared that they would be the only people in the location, as no other vehicles were parked. Tess Bonhoeffer walked up to a keypad next to the iron door.
“I just need to type in the security code,” she said. He could see her input the numbers. 1…2…3…4…5. A light above the door turned from red to green and they walked into the building.
“Is that it?”
“That is it. Now we can go access the writing!”
“The security code was 1-2-3-4-5. Why would anyone ever use that, especially on something like this?”
“That is why it is genius! What person is going to guess something so simple?”
“Anyone,” countered James, annoyed. They had flown thousands of miles to get on to an island to view what was supposed to be a top-secret document only to find out that it was secured by a five-digit code in numerical sequence. “What agency is responsible for the security system here?”
“With it securing the Bonhoeffer Manuscript, that would be the Department of Anti-Fraud Technologies.” It was the second time he had heard of that department. It was DAFT. With this passcode issue and the incompetence and gullibility of Underling, who had worked for them, he was very concerned.
They found a stairwell that led to a basement. Tess led the way as the lights automatically turned on to illuminate their way. He and her came to a door with a keycard security access system. She initially reached in her pocket to pull a key card but they both noticed that the door was propped open with a piece of cardboard jammed in it.
“Someone must have forgotten their card,” hypothesized Tess. At this point Harrison “Montana” James was not surprised. They crept into a small room with old papers lining the walls behind glass frames. They had come to the apocalyptic writings of Dr. Rudolph Bonhoeffer.
Tess began to walk him through more family history as they perused the papers. She talked of past relatives, some of which were long gone but who she recollected in great detail. When she felt that she had given him an adequate family history, she began to go step by step through the document, translating for Monty, who did not know Rudolph Bonhoeffer’s native language.
“The whole thing starts with a monk in the 14th Century,” began Tess. “He was a very devout but gullible man who lived in a monastery. His name was Gerbert Schneider. Schneider is the first known victim of a celebrity imposter scam. At the time, there lived a sneak by the name of Hans Uberfroder. Hans had a history of criminal behavior in the adjoining towns, mostly thievery. The story goes that Uberfroder heard of the gullibility of Schneider and approached the monastery grounds as Schneider was truffle hunting one day. He was dressed up as the Pope. Schneider, feeling blessed by the pontiff’s visit, happily gave him all of his truffles. The sneak Uberfroder couldn’t have been happier.”
“Wow, that is gullible,” commented Monty.
“It gets worse. A week later Uberfroder returned, this time dressed as a nobleman. He convinced Schneider that he was on a quest for the Holy Grail and needed provisions. Gerbert, being very generous but naïve, helped him to load the monasteries supply of dunkel beer. The other monks were quite unhappy about this. They pointed out that Hans Uberfroder had twice scammed Gerbert. To protect Gerbert (and their future drinks), they assigned him to study; his area of study being eschatology.
“Gerbert Schneider was diligent and devoted in his studies. One night, after reading for hours by candlelight, he fell into a deep sleep. He had a vision. The world was on the brink of ending; chaos reigned. Humanity was being plagued with a scourge of torment. And at the center of it all was Hans Uberfroder. His vision transformed into darkness and a singular voice spoke saying, ‘Beware; when the Uberfroders lead governments, beware. Beware; when the Uberfroders influence society, beware. Beware, when the Uberfroders attack industry, beware…Beware.’
“The next day Schneider woke up and all was clear. He set about writing his dream in full, though he didn’t understand all of it. Eventually, his time of study had ended, and he went back to his day-to-day tasks within the monastery. This gave him plenty of time to think on the dreams, which he continued to have.
“Meanwhile, Uberfroder had been waiting for Schneider, wanting to scam him out of more beer. His new scheme was to convince Schneider that he was a judge who was coming to arrest him. Uberfroder told the poor monk that he would require three barrels of beer as a bribe not to put him in prison. Schneider hurried back to the monastery. However, Gerbert wasn’t to be scammed again. He called the other monks together to inform them of the activity and they went out to confront Uberfroder.
“Monks with torches and pitchforks are never a good thing. Gerbert and the others rushed at the fraudlum [fraud + hoodlum]. and he ran away. He was never seen again but Gerbert continued to have visions until his death, years later. He always held that Uberfroder would be behind the apocalypse.”
“What happened to Uberfroder?” asked Monty.
“They say he was run out of town and never heard from again. I think it stands to reason that he might have changed his name after the reputation he had developed.”
“So, it all stems from Gerbert being defrauded and reading Revelation?”
“And all around one person named Uberfroder?”
“It appears so,” said Tess.
“What did old Bonhoeffer say about it?”
“That was here somewhere.” She scanned the papers, finding a section and reading through it before summarizing. “He believed that Uberfroder’s offspring might be the ones to bring about the doom.”
“So, the guy gets word that his former victim, a monk, thinks he will bring the end of days through fraud and tells his kids. He gives them a legacy to destroy mankind?”
Tess paused before responding with an alternative, “Or it is truly a prophecy and Uberfroder was ignorant of his descendant’s role. Either way it seems that they are behind this.”
“So, Schneider warns against Uberfroder’s affecting government, society, and industry. It isn’t much to go on, but it is a good start. What else should we look into before we figure out where to stay?” No sooner had James asked this than the lights shut off in the small room. Back up illumination was turned on with additional red lights flashing.
“WARNING,” a loud digital voice sounded through an overhead speaker system. “FACILITY IS MARKED FOR SELF-DESTRUCTION IN FIVE MINUTES.”
A panic set into both Bonhoeffer and James. They jumped up from their seats and made for the room door. Hurrying out through the hallway and up the stairwell, they made their way to the front of the building with just over a minute to spare. Tess was first to the door and attempted to fling it open with all her strength. It didn’t budge. Monty tried too but he was denied as well.
“The passcode, 1-2-3-4-5!” She entered the passcode into the keypad.
“THAT PASSCODE HAS BEEN CHANGED,” the computerized voice said. “YOU HAVE TWO MORE ATTEMPTS. ONE MINUTE TO SELF-DESTRUCTION. GOOD LUCK.”
“Pick up something heavy and let’s knock out a window,” instructed James.
“There isn’t time. They made the windows too thick. We have to figure out the passcode.”
“1-1-1-1-1,” guessed James. Tess put it in.
“INCORRECT PASSCODE. YOU HAVE ONE MORE CHANCE. THIRTY SECONDS TO SELF-DESTRUCTION. SAY YOUR PRAYERS.” They looked at one another.
“Your turn,” relayed James. “This is it.”
“5-4-3-2-1, that is my guess.” She punched the numbers in. To their surprise and relief, the door opened and the two ran for their lives.
“Get behind the Jeep!”