The Prologue

Within sixty minutes it was well on the way to becoming the most watched YouTube video in a single day.

Before the last ember was doused and the crime scene turned over to the Los Angeles Police Department’s anti-terrorism unit, edited highlights were leading news bulletins from New York to Beijing to London.

The footage had initially been uploaded to the Grassroots Intelligence blog from a stolen iPhone. It showed the audacious attack from the moment the Mazda Bongo pulled up outside the steel mesh fence to the simultaneous bursts of orange, yellow and white flames that reduced the controversial biotech lab in Pasadena to a heap of melted steel and ash. And fragments of bone.

In between were jerking images of the security guards being overwhelmed, the alarm and sprinkler systems disabled. Skylights ratcheted open to increase the oxygen content inside the building. Green plastic buckets of accelerant strategically placed throughout by the six perps disguised tip to toe in gorilla suits.

The fire was so intense it was difficult to tell if any of the bone fragments were human. Confirmation took three days. Professor Roman Tolminsky, creator of the revolutionary Alo seed coating, was dead.

By then investigators determined the accelerant was a mixture of ammonium perchlorate, aluminum, eutectic salts and diesel fuel. The same cocktail used in arson trials at a fire technology lab in Longview, Washington. A recipe freely downloadable from the net. The gorilla suits were purchased from Guise ‘N Gals party rentals in Santa Monica by someone dressed as a carrot. He or she paid cash. The Mazda had vanished.

Over the following months, despite assurances of justice from the Governor of California to the President of the United States, no arrests had been made.

As the first anniversary of the attack approached, the world’s attention was focused elsewhere.


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