Last Week on the Disapprovers: The crew has a new bunneh crew member named Pancake. They get to know her better when Molly proposes a night of playing bridge. Pancake opens up about her past, and the disapprovers include her in their plans for the bust.
We decided that Pancake, along with Izzy, Mila, Molly, Bruno, and myself, would go on the stakeout at the doctor's house. We would visit strictly in "preview" mode and never leave the safety of Singularia. Zeus wanted Bruno to get some exposure to Singularia. Well, we had to give Bruno some prep. Abby got close to him, telescoped, and put her paw around his neck. "Bruno, when you regain your vision in Singularia, you will see a big, glowing tumbleweed. It will remind you of a big ball of yarn. Ignore it! You must ignore it and let it be. We have no idea what would happen if you tried to touch it or even get close to it. Got it?" Bruno nodded agreeably. Frankie got up and chimed in, "You see, Bruno, we don't want you to lose your mind in there. Because we have no idea if we'll ever be able to find it. You see, we suspect there's no convection in Singularia. We're not even sure if there's gravity. So if your mind gets lost, it just might dissolve, or float away, or sink. We don't want that kind of excitement, do we, Bruno?" Bruno arched and hissed, "I used up one of my lives to save your hairless tail, you ungrateful little ..." Molly jumped, put her paw to his mouf, and rubbed his head. "Let it go, Bruno; let it go." Frankie put up his paws in a peace offering and backed away apologetically, with a grin, of course.
We snooped around the doctor's house all day long and stuck our noses into every nook and cranny we could. Bruno did his best to blow our cover by harassing the old golden retriever that was napping in one of the hallways of the posh mansion. At least these hoomins took good care of the old dog. Could that cancel out any of the other things they were committing? Of course, the poor old beast couldn't see us, but he sensed something that he couldn't explain, and it drove him a little mad. I felt sorry for him, so I got onto Bruno to cut it out.
As we wandered around the house, we noticed an awful, semi-industrial noise coming from one of the bedrooms upstairs. Although the sound was muffled by the distance, it was still distinct, like an old steam engine towing its girth uphill. When we climbed the stairs and got closer to the source of the rumble, we recognized the pool person (I thought it was the pool-dude) fervently engaged in "other duties as seduced" by the missus. I made a note to myself to get some welding goggles because this can't be good for my eyes.
We discovered where they kept all of the networking hardware, and Zeus was delighted. Unfortunately, we didn't observe the missus doing any work, which meant another trip to the place would be required. Zeus wanted to plant a keylogger on the lady's laptop. We discussed the possibility of putting a video cam or two in that little office but decided against it. Why bother with the cam if one of us could play a "fly on the wall" over there? Watching what happens on the laptop warranted some close and personal scrutiny. On the other hand, having a video peek at the rest of the house could be useful. We were interested in general information that an occasional gander from the safety and comfort of our pad could provide.
Zeus got all he needed when he and Frankie re-visited the house in person. They almost got caught, though. While Zeus was messing with the laptop, they heard and felt the thumps and vibrations of very stompy and hurried footsteps approaching the office. They scrambled and hid under the desk, barely avoiding being blinded. The missus must have forgotten something and frantically rummaged in her purse as she searched for it. When she found what she needed, she fled in a hurry and resumed the judo or wrestling rumble with the pool-dude. Zeus says he'll never be able to unsee some things now and demanded compensation or at least a hazard duty bonus. Later, Molly offered him a piece of her carrot. He took it.
They did tap the network, though, so the hunt was a success. A few days later the payoff started to trickle in. The missus was heavily involved in selling materials used in cosmetics production to a company in the Far East. She seemed to have a very close working relationship with the prime minister and a high-ranking party official of an emerging superpower. Our "doctor" and his wife appeared to have the majority stake in the cosmetics company itself. That outfit, in turn, was getting all its products tested in the doctor's lab. The company sold cosmetics via the classic pyramid scheme. If that wasn't enough, the chairman of the Means and Ways Committee in our government had a substantial stake in the business, and his re-election campaign's coffers were very well funded. He was friends with both the foreign prime minister and our dear "doctor."
As juicy as this was, the best was yet to come. When Zeus analyzed the network traffic coming in and going out of the office, he discovered that someone else was watching the communications. It turned out the feds were watching. Was that a good or a bad thing, we wondered? Eventually, we learned that the feds were watching everything, but they were not doing anything with it. They were just sitting on it, and that's been going on for a very, very long time. Why?!? They had enough material to put the entire circle to work in a license plate factory for decades. We concluded that was a good thing because now we had the means of forcing the feds' hand. If the feds refused to act on the information they gathered, some news organization would have enough material to win any journalism prize they dreamed of. We planned to play a couple of the news outfits against one another. That way, one would try to beat the other to the presses.
Thus, we had the second major piece of the project in place. Next, we had to prep for the bust itself.