Sunday, 10 July 2011

Episode 78

It was night once more, with just a few stars showing, as Mercury stopped the car.

"OK," he said, "The place Moon visited today is just at the end of this road on the right – you've seen it on Google earth. We're just going to go around the outside and see what we can see for ourselves. Be on the lookout for cameras and any other security . The whole idea is just to get a good look and see if there might be a way in or if there's anything else we can learn about the place. Let's try not to arouse suspicion."

Harold could feel a tingle of excitement as he got out of the car. They had finally made some real progress, they were finally closing in on their mysterious adversary.

Looking around though, he had to admit that, as secret headquarters went, this place was a bit of a let-down. The business park was typical of its type – a campus of single or two-storey brick buildings, as alike as Lego blocks. Each pale brick-built building was surrounded by a block-paved parking area and the regulation amount of carefully landscaped but essentially uninspired lawn and planting. Each building had a tasteful sign proclaiming the name of the company housed in it – Adept Engineering, MillCo, Branch & Simons, and so on.

"We'll be approaching Moon's building from the rear, which should be less obtrusive, but we still need to be careful." Mercury said quietly. "Prada, you're with the demon and Mr Teatime. Othello, you're with me." He took out his phone and dialled India's number. "OK, we're at the park and we're about to do a circuit of the building."

They set off, splitting up at the next intersection, so as to approach the building from different directions and save time by covering the area in two teams.

"Looks like a few things have changed since Google maps last photographed this place." murmured Prada, as she and Harold looked at Infinity Recycling's premises. Unlike the other Lego blocks on the park, this one had a 10-foot high fence of sturdy metal railings running around it. The landscaping had been torn out and replaced by asphalt. The building itself was not noticeably different from any others on the park. A couple of white trucks and a handful of cars were parked in the parking area and, while most of the building was in darkness, light glowed behind drawn blinds in a couple of the ground floor windows. The parking area itself was well-lit by tall light poles around the perimeter.

"There seems to be an awful lot of security for a recycling business," said Teatime. "I can't imagine anyone wanting to steal what is essentially rubbish."

"Maybe they recover gold from old circuit boards or something, or maybe it's toxic stuff and they need to keep people out for safety." said Prada, peering up at a light pole next to the fence. "Is that a camera up there?"

Harold looked where she was indicating and saw the telltale shape. "Looks like there might be more than one." he said.

"Maybe they've got infrared as well, just in case." Prada got out her notebok and jotted this detail down, marking the position of the pole on a sketch-map.  She took out a camera of her own and took a few quick photos. "OK, Let's move around the next corner."

They started walking, being careful to stay well out of the range of the light.

Inside the building, a security guard set down his coffee mug.  The console in front of him had emitted a beep, and a red LED was flashing. Below it, a monitor showed a red dot moving slowly to the east of the building. The security guard's heart-rate increased: this particular monitor had never shown anything, except during training exercises.

He picked up the phone and dialled a few digits. "This is Nugent at Security-one. Sorry to disturb you, but I thought you should know that the c-detector's just lit up. Yes, for real"