7 Days in May
Frank Booker sighed as he read the report lying on his desk, his pudgy finger running down the pages picking out the
relevant details. He fidgeted in his seat, not really believing his Director of Research would have had the audacity to turn in
such a negative piece of work.
“God damned woman,” he muttered, flicking over another page, scanning it with his steel-blue eyes while wiping his
forehead with a man-size tissue. Booker was running to fat and tended to sweat in the enclosed glass cage that was his
As he read, Booker tapped a pen on the desktop, his small, almost feminine mouth - framed by ruddy jowls - pursed
in concentration. He cursed again, wondering how he had ever employed such an unsophisticated scientist in the first
place. A doctor she might be but one with little imagination about positing a resolution. If Booker’s army career had
taught him nothing else it had made him realise that fortitude made the man.
Booker’s favourite lament when drinking his evening port at the Duck and Drake was the way that the youth of today
expected everything to be handed to them on a silver plate.
“Where is the effort, the drive,” he’d ask anyone willing to listen.
Booker slammed the report shut and removed his glasses, rubbing the bridge of his nose with a forefinger and thumb.
Leaning back in his chair, he swung it around to face the huge picture window behind him, staring across the grounds of
the facility he’d managed for the past six years.
The sun was high, glinting from the razor-wire atop a high electrified fence paralleling Military Road. The name always
brought a smile to Booker’s lips, reminding him of better times. Military Road ran south-east along the Isle of Wight’s
coast line, winding its way through scattered villages. It was a pleasant walk at this time of year but one Booker hadn’t been
able to take for some months. The project was burying him under complexities that should have been resolved by his staff.
What the hell was he paying them for, he wondered.
Closing his eyes, he pictured his golden retirement fund disappearing because some stupid bitch couldn’t do her job
properly. Breathing deeply he watched two gulls skimming low over the sea, trying to calm himself.
The facility he administered, designated Area 7 by the authorities, but known by the staff as „The Camp’, had been set
up in the late 1990s to research pharmaceutical methods of improving warfare. Booker was offered the post of Director
General after he’d retired from the forces. Sir Craig Holland, an old army comrade, had put forward his name, smoothing
the way by reaching out to the numerous government contacts he’d built up over the years. It was the loyalty shown to
him by Sir Craig that had carried Booker through his initial doubts about the latest project that they were researching.
The Aggression Stimulation Project, or AspByte as it was quickly christened, had raised some serious doubts in
Booker’s mind, but Sir Craig had visited Area 7 personally, explaining how important the Government considered the
project to be.
Sir Craig was Chairman of Biosphere Cojoin Ltd, a company supplying drugs to the armed forces. He had assured
Booker that there was no conflict of interests in this latest undertaking and Booker had taken his word on the matter -
after all the man was a retired General, a member of COBRA, and Military Advisor to the Prime Minister.
Sir Craig explained that the Aggression Stimulation Project was being set up by the army to explore the feasibility of
producing a drug capable of raising aggression levels in their troops, going on to tell him that Human Rights issues were
chipping away at their success rates in such places as Afghanistan - a theatre where the enemy had no such considerations
to worry about. And Booker had to admit that after reading media reports of families lining up to sue the government for
not supplying proper equipment to its soldiers, he could understand that point of view.
While Sir Craig continued his inspection of the facility, he expanded on the army’s aim of forming a small, select
fighting unit within the Gurkha Regiment. These soldiers, treated with the new drug, would form a compact fighting force
that would terrorise any enemy into submission. Despite Sir Craig’s gushing enthusiasm, Booker had a difficult time
coming to terms with the doubts forming in his mind.
Bringing his thoughts to the matter at hand, Booker turned back to his desk, dropping the report into his top drawer.
Walking to a filing cabinet across the office, he pulled a keyring from his pocket, sorting through it, trying a couple in the
lock before finding the right one.
Returning to his desk he sat down, dropping the file he’d taken from the drawer in front of him with little enthusiasm.
The AspByte file was thick and Booker spread it open on his desk, wiping his forehead as he searched for any clues as to
what pressure he might bring to bear.
The file indicated that the early research had gone well, the subjects - initially rats but later cats - displaying an
awesome aggression, attacking their handlers at every opportunity - but the project had stalled. The problem facing the
team now was finding a method of controlling the aggression. Something they hadn’t yet accomplished.
Dr Sheena Mckenzie, Booker’s flame-haired Director of Research had even tried advanced viral techniques but to no
avail. Now she was convinced that it couldn’t be done, recommending that he close the project down.
Booker didn’t accept her analysis, feeling nothing but contempt for somebody who gave up so easily. If it couldn’t be
done one way, they would find an alternative. They had to, a lot of money, and his own future was tied up in this project.
She just needed the right motivation and it was up to him to find it. He continued reading her file, pouring over every little