Wednesday, July 28, 2010

(Scott) Murphy's Laws of Spying.

My characters are real people to me.
Take Scott Murphy, from the Pius Trilogy.

(Scott) Murphy's Laws of Spying.


2.A relaxed spy is a dead spy.

3.Keep your head on your shoulders, or someone else will keep it…mounted on their wall.

2.The worse the weather, the more you are required to trail someone through it.

3. When your target drives to work every day like clockwork, the day you arrange for a car bomb, he'll walk.

4.If your mission is going really well, it's a trap.

5.Throw rocks before grenades— it desensitizes the reflexes of who you're throwing them at.

6.And remember: five second fuses are three seconds long.

7.The easy way is always booby trapped..

8.When in doubt: improvise. It's hard to trace a bomb when it's made out of Bisquick.

9.Make it tough for the enemy to get in.... and you can't get out.

10.Even paranoids have real enemies.

11.The shortest distance between two points is money.

12.Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity.

13.Control the situation. If you can’t handle the variables, the variables are going to handle you. The moment that happens, they will handle you right into a jail cell if you’re lucky, and a field execution if you’re not.

14.The only thing more accurate than incoming enemy fire is incoming friendly fire.

15.Guns may be nice tools, but they leave behind other problems. Bodies are messy and hard to dispose of unless you plan in advance. Try not to kill someone unless you really have to. And if you have to, invest in plastic wrap, gloves, and hefty bags (see: Dexter).

16.The closer the synagogue the better the bagel.

17.The spy who plans for everything to go well is usually the one who will be shot in the back with his own gun. Conversely, the spy who plans for everything to go to hell from the first minute will never have to use a single contingency plan.

18. Invest in people. If you rely solely on a multimillion dollar piece of equipment, the more likely someone is to circumvent it with something found at Wal-Mart.

19.“Guns make you stupid. Duct tape makes you smart.”

Corollary 1: Tracers work both ways.

Corollary 2: The seriousness of a gunshot wound is inversely proportional to the distance to any form of cover

Corollary 3: The complexity of a weapon is inversely proportional to the IQ of the weapon's operator.

Corollary 4: Friendly fire – isn't.

Corollary 5: The day you need to clean your gun is the day the SWAT team arrives to kill you.

Corollary 6: A gun is hard to explain the security. A magazine you can roll up into a tactical baton, isn't.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Scott Murphy's book of Improvisation. Another page

Scott “Mossad” Murphy hates guns. He can't hit a target with a handgun, and any weapons he can use aren't easily concealed. However, his spycraft is second to none, and he's great with improvised weapons, traps, and knows enough spy craft to survive when talking very, very fast doesn't cut it. He's the sort of person who takes notes on a tv show called Burn Notice—which looks like one part MacGyver for the dark side and the A-Team.

This is a page from the notebook of Scott Murphy, including Pens (the deadliest office supplies), the Penny is mightier than the mugger, Surveillance on a budget, and homemade brass knuckles:


* Keys are wonderful inventions. The more the merrier. I prefer four per keyring—that way, should you get into a tight corner, you can wrap your hand around the keyring, each key coming out between the fingers of your fist. They make for some nice brass knuckles. They will hurt to use them, but I can guarantee that they will hurt the other guy more. Also, if you are dealing with only one person, key make for a nice, shiny distraction when you throw them at your attacker's face, and plant a solid kick between his keys.

* Wifi cameras are great in terms of surveillance—when you want to break in. Call in a bomb scare at the building next door; the bomb squad's signal jammers will stop all cell phones, remote control bomb detonators, and the wireless linkup of the camera.

* Always carry AT LEAST one good solid pen with you. A silver-colored, metal pen works best: holding it like a knife can work well for you in a dark alley, filled with bad lighting —the average thug sees something bright and shiny, moving quickly, they will hesitate for seconds, which is usually all you need to get the hell away, or follow up with an attack. Holding an average pen in the middle, with both ends sticking out of your fist, works if you're well acquainted with pressure points; jamming it into the inside of someone's wrist (about an inch down along the forearm) will cause their fingers to pop open, and ramming it behind their ear or into their temple will at least give them a bad headache, if not disorient and/or knock them out.

* Metal pen (ONLY), holding it a like a knife: for instant kills, stab it into, and through: right behind the ear, into the ear itself, under the chin (through the tongue), into the throat (all sorts of good things there), the eye, or through the temple (if you can generate enough force). With a sturdy fountain pen, you can stab someone in the kidneys, but I wouldn't rely on it a second time, and you'll probably never write with it again.

* When you're feeling lazy about surveillance, or when your target is wary about someone sitting in a parked car outside of their house, a web camera with a wifi hookup can work well for you. They're cheap, reliable, hard to spot, and they'll stay in place if you use dental putty to anchor it. Webcameras also come with night vision; it's more expensive, but worth it.

* Simply, keep your cash in a money clip, even a sturdy paperclip will do. And at least keep some cash on you in that fashion even if it’s just a bunch of fives and a few singles. For preference sake, keep the money clip in order of denomination, with the smallest dollar bills on the outside—from anyone’s point of view, it looks like a collection of dollar bills. However, when someone comes up to you on the street and asks for your money, they’re more likely to take into account your clothing and your body posture than money.

With the money clip, you just hold it up, and make sure their attention is firmly focused on it, then you hurl it to the side, and run in the opposite direction while they eyes follow the money. Most muggers are just thieves, and are most likely to just take the money and run. They’d really much rather not have a felony murder charge in the making... unless they're aiming for a Darwin Award, then all bets are off.

A similar variation works for just plain running. If you’re the kind that throws away pennies, hold onto them, they can work to your advantage if you keep them in one pocket… take a collection of them in your hand while you’re “searching” for your money, then hurl it straight up, into your assailant’s eyes, making him cover up. If you’re interested in running, you can add a sharp kick to the groin or solar plexus for good measure. Or, if you want to put him down, you can use it as a distraction while you beat the hell out of him—if you have some idea of what you're doing. If not, I suggest running.

* When escaping from a room when the hallway is flooded with security, or other unfriendlies, go through the subceiling, since vents are too small unless you're a six-year old..

Monday, July 12, 2010

Scott Murphy's Notebook: Spytech

Scott “Mossad” Murphy hates guns. He can't hit a target with a handgun, and any weapons he can use aren't easily concealed. However, his spycraft is second to none, and he's great with improvised weapons, traps knows enough spy craft to survive when talking very, very fast doesn't cut it. He's the sort of person who takes notes on a tv show called Burn Notice—which looks like one part MacGyver for the dark side and the A-Team.

This is a page from the notebook of Scott Murphy:


* Ammonium Iodide—take one part ammonium, one part iodine, and stir well. Let it settle overnight, and then, later, strain through coffee filter paper. Be very careful with the resulting little green crystals. Enough crystals to cover your palm will be enough to blow off your leg if you step on them.

* How to bulletproof a car. Yellowpages can stop a non-Armor Piercing bullet; they penetrate an inch into the phonebook, and they stop. If you add steel plate, it will only only penetrate a ¼ inch—line the walls of the car with the phone book: put them and the steel behind the panels of your car, unless you like swimming in phonebooks and yellow confetti. Put foam in the tires to make them bullet resistant, and use dual layer plexiglass for the windows.

* Molotov cocktail: a classic that never goes out of business, mix some high proof alcohol into a glass bottle, slip a rag into the mouth of the bottle... light rag, throw bottle, and you have a nice little firebomb.

* Homemade hand grenades: A New York street gang in the mid twentieth century adopted a science geek. He took a test tube and a stopper, then filled it with some interesting chemicals: glycerin, nitric acid, and sulfuric acid. They separated the chemicals with a layer of parafin wax—basically, you can use melted candle wax on each level of chemicals. Drive a nail through the stopper, and then through the rest of the layers of wax, shake well, and throw away quickly before you blow your hand off: you have just created nitroglycerin.

* Take a metal chain and wrap it around two power lines, and you've created an electrical circuit. It certainly makes sparks fly, and acts as a great distraction. Highly illegal, so you better have a great reson for taking out the power of up to two or three city blocks.

* Wrap a metal wire around the prongs of a plug—a paper clip will do. Plug it back into the wall, watch all of the lights go out when the circuit breakers disagree with the effect.

* Use a cigarette as a time delay switch, and matches as a detonator. If you put multiple aerosol cans in a garbage can, the cigarette burns down to the matchbook, and flares, heats the aerosol cans, which are already under pressure. The effect is like puncturing the oxygen tank in Jaws, only on an obviously smaller scale.

* Security cameras as easily overloaded. Flash the laser into a camera, you've just created your own blind spot.

* An optical bug uses a laser against a window pane to pick up vibrations, enabling the listeners to hear everything in the room. To detect it, take the infrared filter off of a digital camera, and it will pick up a great big red spot on your windows. Your pictures won't be something you want in your photo album, but you can be certain you're not being bugged.... unless you are being bugged, in which case, you wan to give your listeners nothing but noise. With a listening device in your room, you can always turn on a television, a shower, or a radio. With an optical bug, you can put a vibrating back massager against the window; if the laser bug picks up vibrations, the massager will give them pure static.

# In the middle of Queens, New York, a Chicklet's factory exploded. The reason: there were enough dust particles in the air and on the floors to create an issue. A spark went off; that spark ingited a wave of fire that set each individual particle of dust on fire instantaneously. You can recreate the effect with baking powder made into a dust cloud. Or, for something a little simpler, use powdered nondiary creamer powder to cut gunpowder, and you get a fireball full of sound and fury.

# If you must beat someone over the head with sports equipment, use a golf club, not a baseball bat: the golf club has a smaller surface area, and the force isn't as distributed.