Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Chapter 5: Jane

The green glow from the digits of the alarm clock lit the corner of the room. Sitting on the bedside table were a purse, a mobile phone, a compact of makeup that was rarely used, a silver DKNY watch and a swipe card giving the highest level of access to the World Health Organisation’s global offices.

The name on the card was Jane Simpson.

Strictly tools of business. No wedding ring. No engagement ring. Not even a number in the mobile phone that wasn’t work related.

Jane was lying in the comfort of her king size bed, sound asleep in her pink satin pyjamas. Her head was buried in a pile of pillows and cushions, the covers thrown to the floor hours before to let her body cool down. She was halfway through a two-week vacation and hadn’t felt this relaxed for years. The project she was involved in wouldn’t come to fruition for another few weeks so she had allowed herself the time off.

Once the current phase of the project was complete, there would be a lot of work to do. Very dangerous work.

Even in her unconscious state, she knew that she had another whole week of reading, watching black and white movies and that old favourite that she never had time for: retail therapy. God forbid, maybe one day in the not too distant future she would even have time to call the guys that gave her their numbers. She’d have to find those business cards first though. They were probably somewhere under a pile of papers somewhere…

Then, just when all seemed rosy in the life of Agent Jane Simpson, her mobile phone started to ring. Her eyes opened and she sighed when the reality check kicked in.

Why the hell didn’t I turn it off?

She rubbed her eyes and looked at the alarm clock. Two in the morning. Wonderful. She answered the phone and heard a familiar voice on the other end. It was the voice she had expected to hear but really hoped she wouldn’t: the manager of the emergency response team. She had lost count of the number of times they had spoken to each other at this ungodly hour.

“They’ve got him,” he said. With that, she sat up in her bed. She was now one hundred percent awake.

“What about his work?” she asked.

“Destroyed. His office at Mantek has been bombed. We need you to find out what happened. A lab assistant was murdered so we’ll need to get the police department in on this as well.”

Jane got to her feet and opened the first door of her massive wardrobe to reveal her collection of work clothes. She had enjoyed not having to open this door every morning for the past week. Now it was time to get back to work.

She wasn’t looking forward to working with a cop. They never shared the same priorities. The World Health Organisation was completely focused on tracking the spread of known diseases and aiding the search for a cure. Cops only wanted to solve the crime, in this case a murder, or at least find some poor sucker to pin it on.

It was important that she got on the scene as quickly as possible. That way she could get all the necessary investigation underway before one of the local boys in blue turned up and slowed her down by sticking his nose in.

“I’m on my way. I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

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