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Monday, 22 September 2008

The Rising - Chapter 36: Visitors

The rumble of trucks outside made the security guard look up from his newspaper. He rubbed his eyes and had to do a double-take. He couldn’t believe what he saw.

A line of military vehicles had stopped outside the reception. He watched in awe as countless men in urban combat gear jumped out of the vehicles and made their way up the steps. One man led the way and ran up to the front door. He barged his way through the door before the security guard could hit the button to lock the doors. The security guard’s hand reached for the panic button that would alert the police to an emergency.

Stop!’ the man in the lead shouted and aimed his machine gun at the security guard. ‘Don’t touch the panic button!’

What do you want?’ the security guard asked, complying with the soldier’s wishes as he looked down at the red spot of light that marked his heart as a target.

My name is Captain Luke Sayers. I represent the World Health Organisation.’

Still aiming his weapon, Captain Sayers reached into his pocket, pulled out his WHO pass and showed it to the security guard.

We’re investigating the potential threat of the release of an infectious disease,’ he continued, ‘Have you had any visitors in the last few hours?’

The security guard examined the captain’s pass. ‘That’s funny,’ he said, ‘One of your colleagues was just here. You only just missed her.’

Was she alone?’

No, there was someone else with her. An old man with glasses.’

He pulled the clipboard out from under the desk and handed it to Captain Sayers. ‘Look, they just left five minutes ago. Jane Simpson: she was the one with a pass like yours.’

Captain Sayers turned on his heels and barked orders at the men behind him. ‘They were here. You and you, take a truck each and find them.’

He turned to the security guard again. ‘Do you know which way they went?’

No, I didn’t see them leave, but we might have it on the security cameras.’

We can’t waste any time, they’re on the move,’ he said, pointing at his men, ‘At the exit, you do a left and you do a right. Keep in touch.’

Yes sir,’ the men said and made their hasty exits from the building.

Captain Sayers took his radio off his belt. ‘Come in, General Graham. This is Captain Sayers.’

Almost immediately, he received a reply. ‘This is General Graham. Go ahead.’

The intelligence supplied by the World Health Organisation was correct. They were here. It must have been Doctor Owen that deleted the data from the storage system.’

They must be going for the tapes as well.’

I agree. I’ll tell the men at the storage location to be on guard.’

Okay. Don’t begin restoring the data yet. We can’t risk transporting the tapes. Once you’ve neutralised them, we can start bringing the systems back.’

I’ve sent some men out to search for them but I need to check the security tapes here.’


They could easily have logged on and deleted the data remotely. There must be something else here that they were looking for.’

Out of the car park and a few miles down the road, someone on a motorbike overheard that conversation and decided to keep an eye on the rear view mirror for approaching trucks.

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