Chapter 15

Jesse woke the next morning with a headache. Looking out the window confirmed his suspicion. When low pressure storm fronts moved through, Jesse's head was a better barometer than the evening weather report. He took a pair of acetominophen pills with breakfast, hoping to ward off the pain before it spoiled his day.

The headlines for the day included a shooting in Memphis, a large anonymous donation to the National Science Foundation, and a nice article about a newscaster who had recently passed away. Turning to the next page, Jesse noticed a blurb about a foreign student from New York who had been arrested for his involvement in an organized crime ring. The full article was on page 6B, and he quickly located it.

From the first line, Jesse knew that this was same case that he had been lectured about the night before.


NEW YORK - A Hungarian student in his third year at New York University was arraigned last week on charges of extortion, espionage and obstruction of justice. The student, whose name has not been released by the NYPD, is accused of working for a Mexican drug cartel and Hamas, a Palestinian political organization. He was arrested in July during a joint police and FBI raid of an abandoned warehouse in the Bronx. It was determined that the student had lived in the warehouse for his three years at NYU and was in the United States legally on a student visa. At a press conference on Tuesday, NYPD chief of police Sam Blanczyk said that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement was working with Hungarian officials to determine how the student would be tried.

"We have been tracking this student for several months, and it's believed that he has connections to activist political organizations in France, Poland and the Czech Republic," Blanczyk said. The student's activities have also come under scrutiny from NYU, and City University of New York has expressed concern over an incident in which the man impersonated a police officer in order to steal sensitive student records. CUNY president William Tweedie could not be reached for comment by press time. John Shelby, an attorney for CUNY, said that his office was investigating the case and would be pressing charges if mistakes by CUNY staff had led to the disclosure. When asked whether CUNY would be filing charges against the accused student, Shelby said that he would let the FBI and NYPD handle that litigation.


Jesse stared at the newspaper. He had been reluctant to associate the current batch of events with the events that led to the Warsaw trial. The charges against him were different, and the details that he learned at the meeting the night before had given him no reason to think that there was a connection. This article had given him a shadow of a doubt, however. The student had connections to unscrupulous, and even dangerous, political organizations who might in turn be connected to organized crime. The background material that Jesse was given for his flight to Poland had included a section on the many connections of the political party whose office the students had bugged. The party was very old, and it had established relationships in agriculture, textiles, and more recently high technology. The material went on to explain that despite these well-regarded relationships, the party had made a fortune by bankrolling crime bosses and helping them stay out of trouble. This symbiosis made the party popular because it appeared to have organized crime under its boot heel, but the facade was exactly that -- a front -- and one that could only hold sway until the seas got rough for either the crime bosses or their friends in the party. It wasn't clear what the nature of their relationship was in 2010, but some inside sources had said that there were signs of fractures in the old alliance.

It now seemed possible that there was a connection. Jesse picked up his phone and sent an SMS message to Sascha. He wondered if Sascha, another avid New York Times reader, had seen the article. A moment later, the response glowed on the tiny screen: Saw it. Meet me at the cafeteria at 8:30 and we'll figure out what to do.

Apparently Sascha had not only read it, but he was having the same thought that Jesse was.

Jesse had begun to wonder just how deep this rabbit hole went.