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Friday, 19 September 2008

The Rising - Chapter 35: Signing Out

Where do we need to go next?’ Jane asked as they sat staring at the screen, waiting on the computer to finish deleting all of the data.

The First National bank,’ Doctor Owen said, ‘We’ve got a safety deposit box that contains papers and notes on our work. Only Doctor Forrest and I can access the box. We then need to go to the Mantek offsite storage facility and collect the storage tapes to ensure all the data has been removed. After that, there are two more sets of samples we need to collect from different labs around the city. It should take us most of the day but with a bit of luck on our side we won’t run into any trouble.’

The progress bar indicating how much longer it would take to delete the data from the Mantek file system reached one hundred percent. Doctor Owen took his pen drive out of the computer and logged off.

Let’s go,’ said Doctor Owen.

They left the room, walked back along the corridor and down the stairs to the reception area. They didn’t give the security guard on reception a thought until they reached the front door and heard a voice behind them.

Hey, you two!’

Jane and Doctor Owen froze to the spot and slowly turned round. They were faced with the security guard, holding the clipboard they had signed in with.

Just need you to sign out,’ he said.

They tried not to make their sighs of relief obvious but they both knew that in the current situation, they could have done without that short rush of adrenaline.

The security guard returned to his desk as they left the building and reached the car. Doctor Owen put the frozen bottle of primary treatment into the trunk and Jane started the engine. They both breathed an even bigger sigh of relief once they had got past the security booth and were out on the open road.

Jane and Doctor Owen both cast knowing looks at each other.

We have to be careful,’ she said, but before she could finish her sentence, she had to swerve the car out of the way of the approaching traffic, which was taking up most of the carriageway. They kept their heads down when they realised what the traffic was.

A line of military vehicles thundered past them. Jane counted four transports and they were in such a rush that she was certain they would have driven over their car without thinking twice had they been in the way. They both kept their heads down and tried not to look too conspicuous.

Oh my God,’ Jane said, ‘That must have been The Brotherhood.’

Looking for us?’

Why else would they be here? Like you said, someone must have been alerted to the fact that we were deleting data from the system.’

Damn it. As soon as they check the sign-in log, they’ll know we’ve only just left. We’ve got to stay ahead of them and gather everything together before they call in reinforcements.’

Do you think we can do it?’

We have to. It’s the only way we’re going to get Emily back and complete work on the treatment.’

Shouldn’t we pick up the storage tapes now? Won’t they try and restore all the data when they realise it’s all been deleted?’

In an ideal world we probably should, but the storage facility was built on another power grid so it’s on the other side of the city. The bank isn’t far and it’s on the way. It won’t take us long in there so we may as well stop off on the way.’

Jane jammed her foot on the accelerator and headed for the First National bank, unaware of the motorbike in the distance in her rear view mirror.

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