This is part 14 of a 15-part series (click here to read the first blog in the series).
It happened simultaneously at seventeen separate locations across Eurasia – banks, deposit facilities, mega-casinos and an art gallery. All of their doors and safes suddenly opened, just as armed gangs stormed in. It was total carnage! The most audacious strike was a hundred-man, commando-style raid on a fortified, deposit-storage facility in the mountains of southeast Asia. Over twenty people were killed in the ensuing fire-fight and billions of dollars-worth of gold, silver, gems and artefacts were stolen. A less successful attack in a neighbouring country ended up with the robbers getting besieged inside a bank. The military were called in to clear the building and in the ensuing chaos, managed to shoot at least as many hostages as hostage-takers. People were also killed during raids on a Russian casino and an Indian bank.
Thanks to X’s software, and the ruthless deployment of overwhelming firepower, most of the robberies were successful. The total haul was rumoured to be in the double-digit $billions, but the specifics were unclear, because many organisations and governments were too embarrassed to admit quite how much they’d lost. At least forty-six people died during the attacks.
When the police finally told Rose she was the person who initiated the whole operation, she obviously didn’t believe it could be true. But it was true – she’d injected the penetration software into the network at its weakest point. She was shocked and horrified, but the investigating officers were convinced she’d been in on the whole masterplan… as implied during her supposed voicemail to Paul:
‘And the penetration software infiltrated the system, so we get the proper big bucks as well!’
X and Natalya had really gone to town making it look as if Paul had sold the penetration software to the Russian mafia. The poor bastard must’ve thought he’d really lucked out recently: selling his legit security software intellectual property to a Russian buyer who seemed to have more money than sense. However, the police concluded these suspiciously-large payments were part-compensation for the criminal enterprise. They accused Paul of masterminding the whole operation, with Rose as his enthusiastic accomplice.
Naturally, the atmosphere around Rose’s case changed after it was found to be a crucial part of the Great Heist. The police were really out for blood. They were under pressure from the Prime Minister! Who was, in turn, being pressured by various foreign governments – some of whom were effectively petitioning that Rose and Paul be extradited for execution. Luckily for the investigating officers: everything was set up on a plate for them to eat. Rose had carried out the robbery and Paul had developed the software and sold it to his dodgy, Russian contacts. The evidence was neatly laid out with everything covered, so no need to search for further accomplices in the UK. The British police could claim to have efficiently solved their part of the case.
At the trial, Rose and Paul were accused of the jewellery heist, but also faced various terrifying charges for their part in the whole shebang. Rose pled guilty to the minor robbery and not-guilty to everything else. Paul pled not-guilty to everything and generally attempted to disassociate himself from his ex-wife. The trial was a media circus of epic, international proportions and the citizens of the world lapped it up… especially the sex stuff.
Rose had initially drawn attention to her torture injuries, yet dropped that defence as it began to work against her. However, the prosecution decided to use the BDSM as evidence of how evil and depraved the accused were. Arguing that: ‘Ultimately, this was a sex game in which forty-six people lost their lives!’ There were plenty of tantalising photos and messages to be shown, or read out, in court. Many of which went viral on social media and ended up splashed over front pages everywhere. It was unbelievably humiliating.
In the end, it was judged that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove either Rose or Paul had knowingly participated in the Great Heist, so those charges didn’t stick. But Paul was found guilty of participating in the jewellery heist, so was sentenced alongside his ex-wife. They had the book thrown at them – receiving unprecedentedly-severe punishments for people found guilty of a mid-range unarmed robbery. Paul got eleven years whilst Rose got nine. Nine years in jail!
One thought that struck cold was the realisation they only needed to go to jail, because of the particular way X’s technology worked. The technicalities were complex, but essentially: if the software had been transmitted to the safe, without robbing it, then the auto-reset wouldn’t have been triggered for systems across the world. That’s the single reason Rose needed to spend nine years in prison!
The fallout from the Great Heist rumbled on, publicly, for years. Lots of people got arrested in various different countries, but law enforcement didn’t get anywhere near the top guys. Just line-ups of scared looking teenagers, triumphantly paraded in front of cameras during various attempts to draw a line under the matter. Diverse political ramifications across the globe, as politicians squirmed and twisted to deflect blame from themselves and onto their enemies. And Platinum Standard Security Solutions went out of business of course.
Rose was now four years into her sentence. Good behaviour meant she could expect to get out a couple of years early, but that still meant two or three more years in here. Prison was unpleasant… and it really didn’t suit her. Although it could’ve been worse. At least being associated with the Great Heist made her popular in jail: she was the most infamous prisoner ever housed in the facility! And her public association with the world’s most dangerous mafia organisations meant no one dared cross her.
On the other hand, it could definitely have worked out better. It had for X and Natalya. Rose opened the magazine to find out how they’d been doing…