Monday, 14 June 2010

Chapter Eleven

The Locus Point building in Regent’s Park was large and ornate. There was no identifying plaque on its imposing doors. It resembled many of the other stately buildings there, innocuous amongst them, especially at night.
Katherine drove around to the side, into a narrow approach lane that sloped beneath the building. There was a rolling security barrier that halted her progress to the first checkpoint. She leaned from the window and swiped her key-card, then said her name into the microphone. She waited. A tiny camera watched her, equipped with voice-print identification and facial-recognition software.
An electronic voice said, “Integrated Network – Active. Welcome, Doctor Reece.”
The rolling barrier bleeped and began to rise. Katherine descended into the underground car park. After passing through all three checkpoints she quickly spotted Wesley’s silver Mercedes amongst the other cars.
In the elevator to the fifth floor, she stood with her hands clasped. Now she would get to see what they had planned for her.
She stepped out into the marble corridor and saw the secretary at the end, sitting at a desk in front of a reproduction of a Rembrandt painting. The secretary was dressed in dark grey, with a phone-mic clipped to her ear. She smiled when she saw Katherine approaching.
“Is Wesley in there?” The secretary nodded. Katherine shook her head and stepped through the door.
The room was large and circular, ringed with paintings from the renaissance period. A large mahogany board-table dominated the room, folders open on its surface. Wesley Morgan was sitting with two others – an older man in his sixties and a woman dressed in a sharp black suit, her skin a sickly shade of milk-white, her hair just as bleached and sterile. Katherine forced a smile and sat at the table, glancing again at the woman. Her skin had an almost pearly sheen and the irises of her eyes were pink. She looked like she was dying.
“Deacon,” Katherine said quickly, to the older man. His real name was Francis Saul, Deacon was his unofficial title at Locus Point. He smiled at her.
“You look tired.” She silently returned the smile. “Wesley tells me that you spoke to a witness? What happened, did containment release her?”
Katherine glanced at Wesley Morgan who was conveniently looking away. “Yes, they didn’t hold her for very long. I spoke to logistics.”
Deacon placed his hand on the pale woman’s arm. “Kathy, this is an associate of mine – a very brilliant woman. She’s also a psychologist, and a particle physicist.”
The woman extended a gloved hand and Katherine shook it dutifully, careful not to seem apprehensive.
“Angelina Rose, and please don’t be alarmed.” She had a muddy American accent with touches of French. She laughed softly. “I’m not dying, at least not yet. I have a rare cellular disease that leaves me with no pigmentation, virtually no immune system, it’s not contagious…it’s similar to albinism only far more destructive. I just wanted to get that out of the way. The eyes frighten most people. They say it makes me look sinister. I usually wear contacts, but they hurt if I have them in for too long. ”
“I wasn’t-”
“Of course you were,” she interjected, “Almost everyone is. They find me very unsettling when they first meet me. It’s all image, I assure you. Deacon tells me that you were Rebecca Cole’s doctor while she was with us?”
“Yes, for quite a while, ever since she began displaying tendencies. A lot of money was funnelled into researching her.” She glanced at Deacon, looking for permission to continue. He nodded. “Her extra-sensory perception was off the scale, all her abilities were beyond anything I’ve ever seen. She was reading lines back to me before I’d even formed them in my head. It was frightening. Security became the biggest issue.”
“It always does,” the woman said. “Go on.”
“I read an OSS file, that explored the case of a Russian boy back in the forties, but it didn’t hold a candle to Rebecca Cole.”
“I know, I’ve read some of her files, at Deacon’s kind permission. It reads like something from a sci-fi novel. I used to be an honorary resident at SRI, and we had some incredible finds, but nothing like I’ve read here.” She gestured at the folders on the table. “It says that you personally experienced Rebecca Cole levitate three marbles from the palm of her hand…Is that correct?”
“Yes,” said Katherine, “that’s correct.” She almost wanted to laugh but she didn’t. She’d seen Prayer do a lot more than that. “We have the incident on digital video, Miss Rose. Three minutes of undeniable footage. It’s locked in a vault in the editing-suite.”
The pale woman nodded. Her pink eyes made it hard to read the expressions on her face.
“I’d like to see that disc.”
Deacon looked pointedly at Katherine. “Report downstairs now, we’ve got ISAX technicians working on trying to trace the EM radiation. They’ve got a cascade array set up. I’m not sure of how successful it will be but we’re going to try nonetheless.”
Katherine immediately got up from the table and walked from the room without looking back. In the hall she glanced at the secretary, who frowned.
“Is everything okay, Dr Reece…?”
“Everything’s fine.”
She stalked down the corridor and pressed for the elevator. She heard shoes on the marble floor and turned. Wesley Morgan was hurrying after her. She stepped into the carriage.
“Hold the doors,” he called out. She was about to let them close and then stopped them, thinking better of it. Wesley stepped into the carriage, beside her. She finally let the doors close and turned, scowling at him.
“Who the fuck do you think you are going behind my back! I’m on point, and you’re running around like a school prefect! Are you trying to sell me out?” She stared daggers at him. “If Rebecca Cole has some kind of meltdown, you’re going to throw yourself at Deacon’s mercy, is that it?”
The handsome black man nodded, cold-eyed. “Something like that.”
Katherine slammed her palm against the Emergency Stop button and the elevator carriage shuddered to a halt.
“I should put a bullet in you, Wes.”
“Maybe. But we both know this is beyond Locus.” He leaned towards her, “Deacon is sitting up here in his ivory tower, and he hasn’t got a damn clue what Cole is really capable of. We know. I know about what you didn’t include in your files. I know about the spiritual implications.”
“Well, bully for you.”
He laughed, “You must think I’m really, really stupid.”
She shook her head, stared into his face. “No, I just think you’re a coward. What did you tell him? That I falsified the original data?”
“I told him that I know logistics is already vetoing a contingency plan, that they’ll offer you up to the Interregnum as penance. I don’t want to lose in this. Not over some psychotic teenage girl, no matter how ‘powerful’ she may be.”
Katherine had to bite back her disgust. She smiled sadly. “So this ‘Nekyia’ technology I’ve been hearing about, it’s a part of this contingency plan, isn’t it?”
He nodded gently.
That means they knew. They were monitoring her the whole time.
‘Nekyia’ was a name she’d heard traded in the past few weeks, and she inferred it was a code-name for some type of exotic software. She brought up the matter with Deacon, who told her that Nekyia was much more than that. It was a security system that used radical forms of covert technology, a project that had been given the highest classification possible, developed by an organisation called C-SOL for the Branton Clinic.
Branton was a private medical centre in Earls Court, a refuge for intelligence circles. It was also used as an abortion clinic for London’s power-elite. It had been shut down almost two years ago when rumours began circulating, about aborted foetuses being sold to occult groups for purposes of ritual. Katherine hadn’t doubted the sickening stories. Branton was supposed to be on lock-down until the Home Office decided what would happen to the site, but everyone at Locus knew there were still operatives secretly working at the facility.
Now she realised why.
They were prepping the site for Rebecca Cole. A security system based on new computer technology, that cost almost thirteen billion pounds to develop and design, to contain one nineteen year old girl?
Oh God…something very fucked up is happening. That woman…
“So,” Katherine tried quietly, “Deacon just fed me nonsense about Nekyia? This thing that C-SOL developed – it was under orders from Interregnum, wasn’t it?”
“So the freakish albino, Angelina Rose…she’s Interregnum, right?”
“Yes, Kathy, that’d be my educated guess.”
“Did they test something on Miss Rose? Some kind of genetic polymer?” Wesley shrugged. “You set yourself up as their asset. Deacon has done the same, hasn’t he? If I don’t bring back Rebecca alive and viable, Locus gets shut down.”
“Yeah,” Wesley said, with such certainty that Katherine felt tears threatening their way forth. She held them back. She wouldn’t let this bastard see her cry.
“You realise what you’re doing is treason?”
“Of course.” He slapped his hand against the Emergency Stop button and the elevator shuddered, starting its descent again. He glared at her. “I’d love to tell you I’m sorry, Kathy, but I’m not sorry. I’m just doing what I have to. Deacon’s doing the same. We’re out of our depth, and Interregnum are experts on all this stuff; black magic, occult symbolism. Money is power, I’m afraid. And power is always, always control.”
Katherine laughed, “You know what, I’m not even surprised…”
“I didn’t think you would be. Bring her in alive and viable, and you’ll be a hero. I’ll be right beside you, holding your hand. Either way, Interregnum still gets first crack at her. Way of the world, darling.”
“Fuck you,” she hissed, although she didn’t have the strength to inject much venom into it. The elevator doors opened and they walked down the sub-basement corridor beneath the underground car park.
She thought of her son again.
As perverse as it was, in so many ways, she had tried to turn her son’s death into a joke, tried to debase him in this way, to ruin him finally, even in death. She was after all, among other things, a well-paid killer.
Sean. God, she missed him. She really did. All this guilt and anger. She was a doctor, with a PhD and numerous other qualifications; she knew what it could do to her, she acknowledged it for what it was, and yet she still didn’t feel like she was healing. To heal – a dream beyond dreams. She wanted it but it couldn’t be done here, not now.
She’d blamed Robert for Sean’s death for a long time. But in her deepest heart she knew. She had indirectly murdered her only child, her one true miracle. If there was proof to the existence of God, it was a proof that lay in the heart of her son. Locus Point was sometimes called ‘the miracle deconstruction’ by insiders. She supposed now that she’d simply taken that pet-name to its most logical, heinous conclusion. Christ, I just don’t have the will anymore…

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