Going Viral

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Authors: Andrew Puckett
Tags: UK
thought … Whether it was the people in the flat who raised the alarm or not, it’s a perfect excuse for those two cops to go and talk to them, ask them if they saw anything. If they didn’t, the cops can say the door had been left open... And they can have a look round the flat while they’re about it… How big did you say a hidden lab had to be?’
    ‘Ten by ten.’
    ‘Could it be smaller?’
    ‘Not by much…’
    ‘All right,’ she said. She dropped the fag out of the window and wound it up. ‘I’ll be in touch.’
    This was obviously the signal for me to go, so I pulled the door handle. As I got out, she said,
    ‘Thanks for coming, Herry. Sorry it was a waste of time. It seemed so right…’
    ‘It’s OK,’ I said, and shut the door. Watched as she drove off, then let myself into my house.
    I was too wound up to sleep. I poured a medicinal brandy and took a medicinal swig. Swallowed what was left, poured another, sat down.
    If they were right about BTA, and right about the area, then it would have been the ideal place for a lab…
    Could it be the flat? Unlikely, with the baby.
    Was it in someone’s house, or garden shed? Or would they have chanced doing it in one of the academic labs? Were there any small ones around where the risks would be minimal? Torbay, Taunton…?
    Were there any small industrial labs around? Couldn’t think of any…
    I went to bed and tried to sleep, but it wouldn’t come. My mind went round and round, not constructively. I thought about me and Rebecca on the stairs and felt horny again…
    I got up and had some more brandy. After that, I did sleep.

 
    Chapter 9
     
    I crawled like snail, unwilling, to work. I don’t know whether I had a shining morning face or not.
    Maybe I did, because Tim looked at me rather strangely when he came in to tell me about the labs he’d visited, although he didn’t comment.
    Security in the Bath labs had been pretty good, he said, nearly as good as Exeter, with Gloucester, Bristol and Plymouth not far behind. ‘Which brings us to Bristol Cabot,’ he said, with a certain relish.
    ‘Go on.’
    ‘Lax,’ he said, ‘to say the very least…’
    Apparently, it hadn’t changed much since he’d been there six years ago, with research students still wandering in and out at will.
    ‘What about the equipment?’ I asked. ‘Would it be possible to grow Variola there?’
    ‘Oh, easily.’
    I looked at him thoughtfully. ‘I do get the impression that you’re not exactly unhappy to be putting the boot into them… are you sure you’re being objective?’
    He laughed a trifle unwillingly. ‘Yes, I am being objective, they really do deserve a kicking for their security.’ He paused. ‘But no, I’m not unhappy to be putting the boot in.’
    I said, ‘Did you see any actual evidence of anything going on?’
    He shook his head. ‘No.’
    ‘Did you say anything to them about their security?’
    ‘Just that I might be back for a closer look.’
    ‘Did they say anything about that?’
    ‘Didn’t seem to bother them much, not the people I spoke to, anyway. But they wouldn’t be the ones up to no good, would they?’
    I thought for a moment. ‘If you went back there – to Bristol Cabot – what would you tell them? How would you go about it?’
    ‘That now I’d finished the preliminary checks, I wanted to inspect more thoroughly. I’d spend a day or two there and really take them apart.’
    ‘But wouldn’t they be forewarned?’
    ‘I pitched it pretty low key this time, so I don’t think so.’
    ‘OK,’ I said. ‘Let me think about it.’
    He nodded and asked if there was anything else.
    ‘One more thing,’ I said, and told him we still had to bear in mind the possibility of a clandestine lab somewhere. ‘I’ve told them it’d have to be at least half the size of this room, say ten by ten, but I’m wondering if it could be a bit smaller than that.’
    He thought for a moment. ‘I’d say if anything you were

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