7 Days in May
The sound of an approaching helicopter competed with the rumblings of the low hanging clouds as the summer storm
grew in intensity, lashing the landscape with rain.
“Over there,” Gonzalez told the pilot, pointing to a big cross painted on the building’s roof .
As the helicopter touched down, Gonzalez got out, shouting at the pilot above the din of the rotating blades, “Stay
with the chopper and keep your eyes open. Report anything suspicious on the RT.”
Gonzalez beckoned and another man jumped out, turning up his collar against the rain. They were both dressed in
combat fatigues and wore holstered side arms. In addition Gonzalez’s companion carried a stubby automatic machine gun.
They hadn’t taken more than a dozen steps when a voice cut through the rain. “Okay you, hold it right there. This is a
A security guard appeared out of the gloom, rain running down the peak of his cap onto the thin plastic mac covering
his uniform. Gonzalez knew from his briefing notes that there were two security guard s on duty, and from the prominent
nose and slight limp, this had to be Lynas. The other guard would be on duty at the main gate.
“Lynas, right?” Gonzalez said holding out his pass.
As the guard leant over to inspect it, Gonzalez punched him in the throat w ith curled knuckles. The guard opened his
mouth, gulping, grabbing at his throat, trying to pull air through his crushed larynx.
“Get him out of sight, then deal with the man on the gate. Meet me in the main lab. Go.”
Gonzalez headed for the roof staircase without a backward glance, knowing his orders would be carried out ruthlessly
The door squealed on its hinges, echoing down the brightly lit concrete staircase. From the architectural drawings he’d
studied, Gonzalez knew the stairs led down to a main corridor running the length of the building. The offices were
situated towards the front, with laboratories at the rear. The basements held the animal housing and smaller labs.
Walking the length of the corridor Gonzalez entered the reception area. Even this early in the day a young man was
sitting at the reception desk, reading a novel that was half-hidden under the counter.
Gliding across the carpeted floor Gonzalez came up behind him, gripping the receptionist’s shoulder so tightly that his
fingers disappeared into the man’s muscles. Crying out in pain he clutched at Gonzalez’s hand, turning his head. The sight
of the large black muzzle made him gasp. It seemed to expand in size with every passing second.
“You will make a general announcement over the tannoy,” a hard voice whispered into his ear. “Nod if you
understand.” The receptionist nodded, licking dry lips, body trembling with an adrenaline rush.
Gonzalez could feel the man’s sudden fear - a musty smell that flared his nostrils. “Tell the staff that there’s been a
security breach and they must assemble in the canteen immediately.”
Pressing a button on the intercom the receptionist tried, but his dry, frog-like croaks were unintelligible.
“Take a drink and try again,” Gonzalez ordered.
Picking up a bottle of water, the receptionist took a long gulp, and after the warning „ding-dong’ signal, made the
announcement in assured, clipped tones - the last words he ever uttered.
Five minutes later Gonzalez and his companion were standing in front of the canteen counter, surveying the seven
people sitting around a table. Even though the rota had shown Doctors Vasant and Mackenzie only worked on the day
shift, Gonzalez had hoped that at least one of them might have been here. It would have saved him the trouble of having
to track them down to their homes.
Moving forward a few paces, Gonzalez addressed them in a hard, flat voice, “Ladies and gentlemen, my name is
Danny Santius. As you are probably aware from the recent news reports, the Isle of Wight is under threat from terrorists.
You may have noticed that certain computers at this facility have been interfered with during the night.” One or two heads
nodded. “We believe that the terrorists have stolen some of the hard drives and other sensitive information from the
facility. While we investigate this, you will all go down to the small office behind the animal house and wait there please.”
A tall thin man got to his feet. “But this is ridiculous. Who are you? There aren’t any terrorists here. I can assure you
that I’d have seen them if there were.”
“Sergeant Bream,” Gonzalez said turning to his companion. “Take this man out to reception. Show him why we think
this is the work of terrorists, then bring him back here.”
The two men returned a few minutes later, the tall man’s face a deathly white. He sat down without saying a word, his
hands trembling. Gonzalez nodded at his companion who gathered the staff together, herding them towards the lift.
“Any more trouble?” Gonzalez asked when he returned.
“I locked them in an office but it won’t hold them for very long if they make a concerted effort to get out.”
Gonzalez thought for a moment, then nodded. “Okay, I’m going to be at least a couple of hours. Go and keep an eye
on them. How about the main gate?”
“Locked up tight. The guard’s body is out of sight.”
“Shouldn’t be anyone trying to get in for another . . .” Gonzalez checked his watch, “three hours. The day-time staff
start at nine. Okay, let’s get this done.”