“Seven minutes!” a technician called out.
“Eight rows of eight!” Susan shouted, excited.
Soshi typed. Fontaine looked on silently. The second to last shield was growing thin.
“Sixty‑four letters!” Susan was in control. “It’s a perfect square!”
“Perfect square?” Jabba demanded. “So what?”
Ten seconds later Soshi had rearranged the seemingly random letters on the screen. They were now in eight rows of eight. Jabba studied the letters and threw up his hands in despair. The new layout was no more revealing than the original.
P F E E S E S N
R E T M P F H A
I R W E O O I G
M E E N N R M A
E N E T S H A S
D C N S I I A A
I E E R B R N K
F B L E L O D I
“Clear as shit.” Jabba groaned.
“Ms. Fletcher,” Fontaine demanded, “explain yourself.” All eyes turned to Susan.
Susan was staring up at the block of text. Gradually she began nodding, then broke into a wide smile. “David, I’ll be damned!”
Everyone on the podium exchanged baffled looks.
David winked at the tiny image of Susan Fletcher on the screen before him. “Sixty‑four letters. Julius Caesar strikes again.”
Midge looked lost. “What are you talking about?”
“Caesar box.” Susan beamed. “Read top to bottom. Tankado’s sending us a message.”