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Help Me Brainstorm Something to be Stolen
Old 07-03-2015, 12:44 PM   #1
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Help Me Brainstorm Something to be Stolen

In my next book, one of the main characters is an accomplished jewel thief. As part of the climax, the government enlists her help in stealing something.

I haven't figured out what that something is yet. It has to be of earth-shattering importance. This thing may be in the possession of terrorists or a mad scientist.

My ideas so far:

Doomsday device
Cure for cancer (held hostage by terrorists)
Deadly, easily spread virus
Thumb drive with devastating computer virus
Revolutionary new weapon

Any suggestions?

Thanks.
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:48 PM   #2
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Evidence that the President (a) was not born in the US, (b) committed a crime, (c) is a secret convert to an unusual religion, (d) is in the pay of a foreign power.
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:54 PM   #3
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Old 07-03-2015, 01:41 PM   #4
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Are you looking to make it a double-cross, where the gov't sent her in to simply be a 'decoy', while another team tries to extract something else that was the actual prime target? Or perhaps she goes in with another agent, and that other agent breaks away to do their primary objective, which you don't find out what it really is until the sequel book (or prologue of the book)?

Perhaps a new strain of some nasty virus that is 90% lethal and spreads like wildfire, developed in a former Soviet bloc country?

A piece of metal that was from a UFO crash site? (When she first sees it, she can't understand what its value is, since it looks so ordinary) The Tunguska Event turns out to actually be a UFO crash site, where the UFO was coming in at a high velocity and crashed, or perhaps the UFO exploded in the air just before hitting the ground, and researchers only recently discovered the metallic pieces during a scientific or natural resource mining expedition.
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Old 07-03-2015, 02:19 PM   #5
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is your book a believable type story or something fantasy like starwars ?

If believable, then the item being stolen has to be based somewhat on reality, so how about stealing the smallpox virus as this has been eliminated. Or rinderpest which would then endanger food supplies as the kill ratio for this virus was nearly 100%. It would eliminate cattle, deer, pigs, sheep, goats and it was fast killing within 6-12 days.
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Old 07-03-2015, 02:42 PM   #6
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1. Something small, easy to steal, conceal, and transport, like the Rosetta Stone of DNA code, giving the owner unimaginable control over all forms of life on earth.
* i.e. -could be used to build a designer super-virus and immunity to the creator.

2. A secret financial tool that would enable a handful of select individuals to gain an unconscionable level of prosperity at the expense of ordinary people.

3. The long missing, top secret, highly effective 6 minute abs program.
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Old 07-03-2015, 04:39 PM   #7
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1. A true perpetual motion machine.

2. A wallet sized nuclear device that emits no telltale radiation.

3. Tabletop fusion.

4. The secret of eternal youth.

5. The secret of turning water into gasoline and/or lead into gold.

6. Chocolate that has no calories.

Edit to add: 7. An investment with a 50% rate of return with zero risk.
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:17 PM   #8
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The manuscript for a book plot that hasn't already been published.
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:17 PM   #9
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Your premise sounds like a new episode of the "It Takes a Thief" TV series from the late 60's. It Takes a Thief - Episode Guide - TV.com You may want to refer to the episode guide so that you know you aren't creating a plot that is accidentally too similar to one of those episodes.
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Old 07-03-2015, 05:36 PM   #10
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Old 07-03-2015, 06:00 PM   #11
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Physical evidence from moon landing proving ET life on moon.
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Old 07-03-2015, 10:40 PM   #12
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T-Al, you could just leave it as a "MacGuffin" as the Master (Hitchcock) and others have done very successfully. A major advantage to the MacGuffin (sometimes called a McGuffin) is that it remains timeless. In today's rapidly changing society, being specific can "date" a piece very quickly. Just a thought so YMMV.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:11 PM   #13
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I would go in the direction of a security cryptography algorithm of some sort. To make it timeless, you could tie it to the assassination of a president, major airline disasters and similar events in each decade since the 50's. These events have been caused by a multi-nation race to pursue, steal, modify, and test the algorithm in new ways.
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davis65 View Post
Evidence that the President (a) was not born in the US, (b) committed a crime, (c) is a secret convert to an unusual religion, (d) is in the pay of a foreign power.
of course that would never happen,,,,,
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:55 AM   #15
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I would go in the direction of a security cryptography algorithm of some sort. To make it timeless, you could tie it to the assassination of a president, major airline disasters and similar events in each decade since the 50's. These events have been caused by a multi-nation race to pursue, steal, modify, and test the algorithm in new ways.
Love to answer my own posts!

This may give the idea more traction. Essentially, the NSA has developed and used code which takes over the firmware in almost every major hard drive manufactured. That means what the target thinks is erased is actually still on the drive.

I think this type of threat would be of interest, as it is an idea that pretty much dispels everyone's beliefs about "what is secure."

https://securelist.com/blog/research...alware-galaxy/
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:54 AM   #16
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Great ideas here. I'm especially liking the tabletop fusion. Thanks, Walt.

>is your book a believable type story or something fantasy like star wars?

Somewhere in between those two.


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I was sure that was going to be a joke, and the guy was going to drop it.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:14 AM   #17
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Doomsday device
Deadly, easily spread virus
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