The Killing Code
The Killing Code
Copyright \u00a9 2013, Craig Hurren
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted by any means-whether auditory, graphic, mechanical, or electronic-without written permission of both publisher and author, except in the case of brief excerpts used in critical articles and reviews. Unauthorized reproduction of any part of this work is illegal and is punishable by law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
This novel is dedicated to my family.
Thank you for your love and support.
I sincerely thank my close friends, Dennis Jamison, U.S. Army helicopter pilot (CW4 retired) and CIA Operations Officer (retired), David R. (DMFF) Fouts (former U.S. Marine and private military contractor), and Karl Osborn (computer guru) for their expert technical advice. Thank you to Colin Murray and Chris Holifield of Writers' Services UK, and Dan Pollock for his professional editorial service. I also thank Randy Tinsley, Tim Young, Tom Dragoo, Bob Finch, my parents Geoffrey and Rita Hurren, and my beloved wife Robyn for their helpful input and assistance.
Dr. Helen Benson stood quietly but impatiently in the modern chic elevator, waiting to reach her floor in the luxurious Eleanor building. She had been at an international psychotropic pharmaceutical seminar in Washington for the past two days and was excited to reunite with her husband, Jim, and her two daughters, Bethany and Crystal. Busy imagining the adoring faces of her darling little girls and the embrace of her loving husband as she opened the door and they came rushing to greet her, she hadn't paid much attention to the strange-looking little man with piercing eyes standing behind her. Now though, she could feel those eyes on her, and her mind wandered to thoughts of him. He was in the elevator before she entered so she'd assumed he must have come from one of the parking levels below the ground floor but she couldn't remember having seen him in the building before.
Helen and her family had been living in 'The Eleanor' since they bought their comfortable, modern four-bedroom condominium eighteen months earlier; and despite the grand size of the building, and the fact that it contained ninety six apartments, she was familiar with many of the occupants. It wouldn't be unusual for a guest to be riding unaccompanied in the elevator, since the modern security system enabled occupants to allow entry to visitors via a camera-phone, but she couldn't help feeling slightly uneasy at his presence. Despite her tickling intuition, Helen admonished herself for being mildly paranoid and tried to put it out of her mind.
As the floor numbers flowed past on the LED display beside the elevator doors, the anticipation of seeing her family was renewed. She longed for details of the last two days. She wanted to ask Bethany about her new school and talk to Crystal about her friends in kindergarten. Essentially, she just wanted her much needed dose of family time after all those endless dry hours of lectures, display booths, and scientific chatter that had consumed her time at the convention center in D.C.
Just as the display passed through floor ten and Helen was deep in thoughts of her family, she felt a slight prick in the skin at the back of her neck, near the base of her skull. Before her mind could properly process what had happened, the small, sharp-featured man's hand darted out toward the twelfth-floor button and the elevator came to a smooth stop as Helen rubbed her neck with a puzzled look on her face. The man exited the car and, as the doors began to close, Helen wondered if the mild pinch in her neck had come from him. With his hands deep in the pockets of his overcoat, he turned and glared straight into her eyes.