Moon In Scorpio

Chapter 68

They pick up a couple of coffees and head over to a table near one of the steel encased and highly polished columns. Looking around and deciding that they are unlikely to be overheard, Kate turns to Castle and says "Ok, out with it Castle, not only did I nearly have kittens when you said I was your legal rep, you obviously were telling some porkers there … spill!"

"Ok, Cosmopolitan wants to run a serialisation of the first Derrick Storm book along with a piece on me. My lawyers deal with all the legal side of it, I just sign on the dotted line and do my spiel. We had an appointment with Marty Greyson, the person handling the serialisation, for today, but as Grace said, it was postponed. I thought it would be a good excuse to get us in as far as here to let you look the place over. No one's surprised if Richard Castle goofs up on his appointments" and though he says it with a grin, she detects a slight look of resignation on his face.

Placing her hand on his she gives it a squeeze and says, "That's because they don't know you" and the look of appreciation he gives her makes her forget the hysterics he'd almost caused her a few moments earlier.

"If it's ok with you, I'd like you to accompany Luke and I when we come next week, we'll be heading up to the ivory tower …" he adds grinning and pointing upwards, "… give you a better chance to look things over"

"Castle, this is just fiction right? I mean you're not intending to go busting in here?" she checks, the thoroughness he's employing beginning to worry her.

He chuckles at her look, "Only research, I promise. So given what you've seen so far, how would you go about it?"

She searches his eyes, then nods in acceptance, not that she'd ever thought about it, but if this is how far he goes with his normal research then no wonder his books are so good! Taking a sip of coffee, she puts the cup down and looks around her, eyes searching for those all-seeing spots which security firms like to use … as well as the less obvious ones that were the real problem. Turning to him and keeping her voice low, she asks "What do you know about security systems? Alarms and sensors I mean?"

"Not much, most of it what I've seen in films and what I've had installed up in the Hamptons and since your intrusion, in the loft" the latter part said with waggling eyebrows.

She nods and takes a breath, "Ok, well start by forgetting just about everything you've seen in film … Hollywood's imagination, their bending of the laws of physics and stretching of reality is just that, imagination. Take laser beam systems, so popular with them, they are very expensive, prone to go off if there's too much dust in the air, only of practical use in places where people don't generally go and as to blowing smoke or chalk dust to see where they are, not only would you barely have time to make the beam out, but the smoke or chalk particles could be enough to interrupt the flow of light and set the alarms off"

He's looking at her like a boy who's just been told Santa Claus doesn't exist and she has to smother a laugh. "The next one are cameras, they aren't in themselves alarms or detectors … unless they're connected to very sophisticated facial recognition software. All they will do is alert whoever is watching the monitoring screens or give you away later on if the tapes are viewed after the crime's been detected. Make it casual, but look up at where the angled columns meet …" and when he's slowly looked up and then returned his eyes to hers "… see the thing that looks like an inverted gumball that cops stick on the roof of their cars?" and on getting his nod, "Cameras, three sixty degrees, zoom and directional control at the security post, but will generally just be recording the scene, gives a bit of a fish-eye view but is pretty good for general observation. However, as I said earlier, unless it's hooked up to sophisticated facial recognition software designed to set off alarms either if a face is not recognised or the opposite, if a specific face is recognised, then they are only as good as the guy watching them."

She can tell he's fascinated and so she points to her now empty coffee cup, "You expecting me to lecture you for free Castle?" Grinning he gets up and returns shortly with two fresh cups. Taking a sip, she allows the coffee to run down her throat and marshals her thoughts.

"Third item on the list … and a total waste of time, are photo-sensor motion detectors, you know, the kind of thing you find at doors in stores or shops, they sound a chime or bell when you walk in or out or open and close the doors for you when your trolley's full …" she looks at him and he nods, so she carries on "They have two components, a source of focused light, like a laser beam and a light sensor. When someone walks between the two, the sensor registers a drop in light levels and sends a signal to the control box. They're fine for the uses I've mentioned, but some really cheap home security systems use them and all you have to do is spot the two components and crawl under them or make sure you don't come between the two, not the kind of thing you'll find in a place like this I can assure you, other than for opening doors or whatever"

"Then you've got Ultrasonic Motion Sensors or Proximity detectors, a bit like sonar ... or bats, they send out a pulsed signal through the surrounding area and measure how long it takes for the signal to bounce off surrounding objects and come back. If someone or something enters the area it will cause the signal to return sooner than expected which will set off the alarm. Problem? If you walk really slowly and carefully and use sound absorbing clothes such as thick wool or drape yourself in a cotton sheet or two, they don't present much of an obstacle ... you can even get special acoustic curtains and material ... they normally use them in recording or sound studios, but pick one of those up and hey!"

He's looking at her in awe and she feels herself colouring up slightly. Her illegal career has never made her feel good about herself, but the way he's looking at her she's in danger of changing her mind, not of course that he's admiring her … trade, so to speak, its more her knowledge … right Kate, stop rambling and let's get this buttoned up shall we?

"Acoustic sensors pick up on noise, generally they're placed near windows or glassed in areas to pick up the sound of braking glass, but they can also be used say near metal fire escapes or ceramic tiled flooring, anywhere where noise can easily be made. Avoid breaking glass, breathing heavily …" and here she has to grin at him as they both think back to their morning activities, "… or making noise and you can ignore them"

"Sixth and the ones you're most likely to encounter are PIR or passive infrared motion detectors. These sensors 'see' …" and here she uses her fingers to make quotation marks, "… the infrared energy emitted by your body heat. When you walk into its field of view, the sensor detects the sharp increase in infrared energy. You're always going to have gradual fluctuation of heat in an area, like the sun warming the floor during the day and it cooling down at night so PIR detectors are designed to trigger the alarm only when there are rapid changes in energy levels"

She pauses to take another sip of coffee and continues "In order for the sensor to detect a human being, they're set to detect our body temperature ..."

"Ninety-seven degrees?" he asks eyebrows raised in query

She shakes her head "Ninety or ninety-one max, ninety-seven is core temperature, skin temperature is between about eighty-nine to ninety-one, it's what the sensors are set to with a degree's variance either side"

"So how do you deal with those?" he asks

"Well, you're faced with a couple of problems here, PIR's are pretty tamper-proof, mess around with them and they're likely to set the alarm off. You could try to raise the ambient temperature to around ninety degrees ... possible in a small room, just about impossible in a large room or a place like this" she says waving her hand around. "You could try lowering your body temperature ... having an ice bath and then moving through the area ... the problem is your body would soon build up the heat again and you'd need an ice bath in each area. You could try with a neoprene diver's suit or some specialised fire-fighter's outfits, but one little bit of exposed skin and you're toast ..."

Here she trails off and looks at him "So? How do you beat it?" he asks expectantly

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