Interface: A Techno Thriller

Interface: A Techno Thriller by Tony Batton Read Free Book Online

Book: Interface: A Techno Thriller by Tony Batton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tony Batton
her."
    "Well, then I have good news, with a twist." Chatsworth jabbed at the tablet screen. "We ran a full spectrum analysis on your blood and urine. We also put you through an ECG and MRI and we've been monitoring your heart function for the last eight hours."
    "Eight hours?" asked Tom. "What time is it?"
    "He fainted again?" asked Jo.  
    "No, no," Chatsworth said. "We had him under a general anaesthetic."
    "For tests?" Jo asked.
    "Some of the scans required Tom in a consistent state of inactivity. It's the most reliable path."
    "So what did you find?" Tom asked.
    "You're in good health. Nothing to suggest the problem will reoccur."
    "Why do I feel there's a 'but' coming?"
    "We think we know what caused it." Chatsworth turned the tablet to face Tom. It showed a scattergram. "This is a breakdown of your bloodwork. There are statistically significant flags for a Methamphetamine derivative."
    "I took meth?" Tom took a deep breath. "Are you sure?"
    "As far as we can be. The markers typically only show up in the blood one to three days after consumption."
    "And that's what caused the problem?"
    Chatsworth shrugged. "Everyone reacts differently. Also, there could have been a contaminant in the drugs. Now I'm sure I don't need to say that taking this type of substance is risky enough at the best of times--"
    "I didn't knowingly take it," Tom said abruptly.
    "Someone gave it to him," Jo said, "against his will."
    Chatsworth raised his hands. "I'm just a doctor. I can't speak to how you came to ingest it. If you wish to notify the police, I can confirm to them that you had Methamphetamine in your system but unless you can demonstrate that you didn't take it purposefully..." Chatsworth seemed to hesitate. "It's really up to you. I know how sensitive employers get about that type of thing these days."
    Tom frowned. "You're sure I'm OK now?"
    "We'll monitor you overnight and you should come back for daily checks for a week or so, but we've seen nothing to give us cause for concern."
    "So I go back to work?"
    "As soon as you feel ready." The doctor's phone chimed. "If you'll excuse me."
    Jo watched him leave. "Isn't he the slick operator?"
    "You don't like him?"
    "He sure came up with answers fast."
    "Isn't that what he's supposed to do? Look, all I know is that he said I'm OK. I think I caught a break here." Tom smiled. "And shall I tell you what else is a good thing?" He picked up a leather-bound folder. "This is a hospital with room service."

    ◇◇◇

    Chatsworth returned to his office on the far side of the clinic, then closed and locked the door. He started-up his computer, logged into an encrypted voice service, pulled on a headset then dialled a contact. "The set-up is complete and the subject should be viable. There appear to be no adverse side effects from the procedure."
    "Excellent," replied a soft, metallic voice. "Any difficult questions?"
    "He seemed to buy into the story."
    "How about the loss of consciousness?"
    "He thinks he just fainted. Of course it was always a possibility with Phase One. But we're beyond that now."
    "Good. I trust you did not run him through an MRI, as agreed."
    "There didn't seem to be any need. What was the concern there?"
    "You don't need to know. Are you ready to proceed?"
    "Yes. The tests will start on his next visit."
    "Keep me advised."
    Chatsworth disconnected the call. Something about that voice gave him chills. He wondered, not for the first time, if he had made a mistake getting involved with this project.

FOURTEEN

    BERN'S LEVEL 90 PENTHOUSE WORKSPACE had, he liked to think, the finest views in London. When coming up with requirements for his 'statement' office, Bern had asked that the architects 'let go of their inhibitions'. The room was triple aspect and, if you included the luxury private apartment, took up fully half of the floor. His boardroom accounted for most of the other half, with a small reception area that housed his personal assistant and a security guard making up the

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