7 Days in May
Having backed up Frank Booker’s incriminating telephone conversation with Holland onto her laptop, Sheena sat at
her desk thinking. She felt uneasy about trusting Frank Booker with her future. What guarantee did she have that he
wouldn’t somehow put the blame for all this on her? For the past seven years he’d been a chauvinist, could he really have
changed so much, so quickly? Rubbing tired eyes, she sighed.
Pulling her laptop nearer, Sheena created a secure partition on the hard drive onto which she transferred all the
AspByte files and records from Area 7’s computer network. She might have no option but to go along with Frank
Booker’s plan, but she didn’t have to do it without some sort of alternative backup. Next she searched the internet until
she found the programme she was looking for. Downloading it, she let it install on her laptop, working her way through
the usual screen prompts and disclaimers.
Satisfied that she had done all that she could to protect the information, Sheena left her office, hurrying down the
corridor to the lift, which she took to the lower-basement. Entering the hot atmosphere of the server room, she crossed to
the nearest terminal, where she sat down and pulled out the paper-clip tray above the nested drawers to the right of her
knees. Feeling under the edge, a smile broke across her face when her slim fingers detected the paper taped there. Tearing
it off she smoothed it on the desk, then tapped that weeks Administration Password into the server’s keyboard.
Reaching behind her head, Sheena tied her hair back into a ponytail. She was tired and wanted to go home but there
was a lot of work to get through before the Tech guys got in tomorrow morning. Pushing such thoughts from her mind,
she pulled a thumb-drive from her pocket and slipped it into the nearest USB port. Booker had guaranteed that the
programme on it would destroy all the files on the mainframe server. When the programme had finally run its course,
Sheena repeated the operation on both Dr Mani Vasant and Frank Booker’s Personal Accounts.
Knowing the programme would take a long time wiping the files, Sheena went through to the animal house and began
euthanising the research subjects. Luckily they hadn’t started any research work with the pigs yet.
Two hours later she was back at the server, nodding in satisfaction. If Booker was to be believed, now only somebody
with access to the latest forensic recovery software and a lot of time stood any chance of recovering the files.
The back-up copies of Area 7’s projects were kept at Frank Bookers mansion and he would wipe those when he
arrived home. It would create some chaos when the facility opened in the morning but they would talk their way around
that as best they could. The important thing was to cover their tracks and get rid of any incriminating information.
They hoped that they could persuade the staff that somebody had hacked the system and intended telling them that,
when they arrived in the morning.
Sheena arrived back at her office, hair in disarray and clothes dirty from handling the animals. She had burnt three
large bin-bags of papers and files, along with all the carcasses in the large basement incinerator. The pungent smell of
burnt paper and fur still clung to her skin and she longed for a hot shower.
Sheena tidied herself up as best she could in her en-suite toilet and she made herself a cup of coffee, sitting at her desk
with a soft groan. She drank slowly, her eyes tired and gritty. Putting the empty mug on her desk, she picked up the
telephone. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt so exhausted.
As Sheena expected, the call went straight through to voice-mail. Cutting the connection she redialled, repeating the
process twice more before a sleepy voice answered.
“This better be good.”
“Dimitrios, listen it’s Sheena. I’m really sorry to be ringing you so late but I need some advice.”
“Early,” the voice mumbled.
“Early Sheena. It’s half-past four in the morning for God’s sake!”
“Yes Dimitrios, I know and I’m really, really sorry.”
“Hang on a sec.”
Sheena heard the sound of a match striking and then a soft cough as her friend filled his lungs with smoke.”
“I thought you’d given those up Dimitrios.”
“Yeah well, enough of my troubles. What’s up with you that you’re dragging me out of bed at this unearthly hour?”
Dimitrios Hampus was a young up-and-coming biochemist who had made a lot of contacts among scientific circles,
including one or two in the M.H.P.R.A.. Sheena had run across him when he’d contacted her about some tricky virus he’d
discovered in a fungus some years ago. It had led to a new research opportunity that had given Dimitrios a high standing
among his peers. Now it was his turn to help her.
“Listen, have you heard of any research being carried out for the armed forces on aggression?”
Dimitrios whistled and chuckled quietly. “What the hell have you got yourself involved in now Red?” he asked.
Her nickname went back to a drunken night a few weeks after their first date, when they had watched Gone With the
Wind and fumbled around on the couch. The dates had led nowhere but the nickname had stuck.