This is my first post in this seemingly awesome forum.
I need some suggestions for mobile communications in my detective novel.
My story features a US police detective who is pitted against a group of billionaire funded mercenaries.
In the first encounter, my protagonist and his detective partner follow a lead to a warehouse on the docks in the middle of the night. They are supported by a colleague with access to the full range of a major city precinct's police surveillance equipment. This surveillance cop becomes aware of some active communications in the area of the wharf but is not able to directly understand them due to them being encrypted.
On entering the building a firebomb is triggered and not only is my hero badly injured but his partner is killed.
I have a second bombing encounter, much later in the story, where my hero needs to be alerted to the presence and location of the mercenaries' communications a few moments before the bomb goes off, giving him time to escape the area. Aside from being able to identify the location of these communications, it's vital that my protagonist can be sure that the perpetrators are one and the same group, to enhance his motivation to avenge the death of his partner.
I imagine, after the first encounter, that the surveillance cop puts in place a 24/7 monitoring system with an alarm set to go off when it encounters the same unique communications identified on the night of the wharf bombing.
I wrote a rough draft revolving around military, channel-hopping radio technology but have been advised that this is a bit dated. The modern terrorist has better encryption opportunities by using mobile Internet data connections but I need someone to outline an approach that seems feasible and yet offers me my required plot devices.
What forms of communication would fit these requirements:
- They might be chosen by a current day, privately funded, quasi military mercenary group enacting terror on US soil.
- They could remotely detonate a bomb.
- They could be detected and their location identified by existing police surveillance equipment, even if they can't be decrypted.
- They should have a unique identifier which could be recognised as belonging to the same group.
To my mind, if the mercenaries are using burner phones, and fake online accounts, communicating over Skype or similar online chat, there would be no possibility of identifying them. This would suck for my story.
I could of course opt for a signature explosive charge to identify the group but, if there's no advance warning of the second attack then my story will end abruptly if my hero dies.
Nigel Byron Bay