Castle Roland


by Eric Aune


Chapter 1

Posted: N/A

DisconnectedBrett and Kathy made their way through the university president's house as Brett talked to various faculty members and accepted congratulations from fellow doctorate students and some of the invited alumni. The dinner for the brand new doctors had been a tradition for decades. At twenty-five he had just received his doctorate in genetics, after having gone to the university at the age of sixteen. His fiancée Kathy had a short time left in her neurosurgery fellowship and she would be done as well.

They had met when he was twenty-one and he had just finished his medical degree after previously receiving a bachelor's in computer science. She was twenty-four when they met, was a resident at the hospital and was close to receiving her MD. Brett had decided to go for his medical degree because he wanted to go into genetics and find ways to help people. In a way their two doctorates would complement each other when they were finished with school.

They had just finished talking to one of the neurosurgeons that Kathy had been working with at the hospital and were giving each other the "Do you want to go" look when another member of the board who had examined Brett came up to them. They shook hands.

"Good evening, Dr. MacLeod. Congratulations on your doctorate."

"Thank you Dr. Hunt. It was a seminar that I attended a few years back that you spoke at that got me interested in genetics. After that seminar, I did some research and read some of your papers. The rest, as they say, was history. I hope to be as well published in the field as you are some day."

"Well after hearing your dissertation, I have little doubt that you soon will be."

"Thank you sir, that's generous of you to say."

"Not at all. Besides congratulating you, I did have an ulterior motive. I would like to speak to you soon about the possibility of working with me at my lab, Hunt Labs. Think about it and call me in a few days if you would like to discuss it more." Dr. Hunt handed Brett a business card.

"Thank you, sir. I'm very flattered. I will give it some thought. I promise to call you."

"Very good, I look forward to talking to you, Doctor."

Brett gave a little laugh.

"As do I, Doctor."

They shook hands one final time before parting. He looked at Kathy. "Well, are you ready to get out of here?"

She nodded. "My feet are killing me and I've got to be at the hospital tomorrow morning. We have a young girl with an astrocytoma that's counting on me to be well rested."

Brett gave her a peck on the cheek and took her hand to lead her out of the house. They said their goodbyes to the university president and his wife before making their way to their car to go back home. On the way home, they talked about the offer from Dr. Hunt.

"So what do you think about Dr. Hunt's offer?"

Brett smiled at her. "Weeellll, I didn't want to seem too eager. It wouldn't be right for a doctor to act like a little boy who just got a new toy that he always wanted, but….I think I'll wait until Monday to call him instead of tonight. I suppose he'd prefer to not be disturbed on his weekend."

Kathy laughed and placed her hand on his shoulder and rubbed it lovingly. He took her hand and gave it a quick kiss. They drove the rest of the way home in companionable silence, her hand held in his. At their apartment, they had their own private celebration.

Brett saw Kathy off the next morning and wished her luck with the surgery. The rest of the weekend was relaxing. Kathy was wiped out when she got home. The surgery had taken six hours and they weren't sure they got all of it. They had to wait for the final word from Pathology. So it was a waiting game for her. Brett pampered her with a massage before bed which relaxed her and put her to sleep.

Brett called Dr. Hunt late in the morning on Monday, and made an appointment for the next day to meet with him at Hunt Labs.

The next morning Brett made his way to Hunt Labs out in Long Island. The building was located on a few acres of land near Stony Brook, New York. He pulled into the parking lot before the concrete and glass building.

Inside a security guard greeted him. "Good morning, sir. How may I help you?"

"Good morning, Dr. Brett MacLeod to see Dr. Richard Hunt. I have an appointment."

The guard looked down at a list on his desk and made a mark. He looked up and smiled at Brett. "Just a moment Dr. MacLeod and I will let Dr. Hunt know that you are here."

Brett nodded and went to sit down in one of the chairs in the reception area. He did not have to wait long until Dr. Hunt came out and greeted him.

"Dr. MacLeod. Thank you for coming."

"Please call me Brett, sir."

Dr. Hunt nodded.

"Very well, since we are soon to be colleagues, I hope, then please call me Richard."

"Thank you, Richard."

"Would you like a tour before we talk?"

Brett nodded and Richard turned to lead the way. He led them through some double doors and back into the lab area proper. He took him first to one of the labs. There were a man and woman in there at work. Both were not much older than Brett. Rich introduced them as John and Christine Stuart. They were immunologists.

They left that lab and went to another room where a couple of younger men were working on computers. Rich introduced them as Eric Peterson and William Mason. Both were computer science majors working on their master's degrees. Both were a couple of years younger than Brett.

They left that room and went to another larger lab room. In this room there were three people working at computers, microscopes and other analysis equipment. Rich introduced the two women and one man as Claire McClendon, biologist, Julia Mellen, neurologist, and Patrick Kelly, Oncologist. Claire was a little younger than Brett while Julia and Patrick were a little older.

They talked a little about what they were working on with Brett before Richard left them to their work and Richard led Brett upstairs to where the offices were located. As they passed one office Richard stuck his head in and introduced Brett to Alistair Merrick, neuroscience. He was in his mid forties like Richard.

They said their goodbyes and Brett followed Richard to his office a little further down the hall. Richard closed the door behind him and motioned for Brett to take a seat.

"Well Brett, what do you think? Are we a fit for you and what you want to accomplish?"

"Richard, I am very interested in joining your team. What is it that you are working on, if you don't mind my asking?"

"I'll give you the short version. You'll understand if I don't go into specifics until you are part of the team."

"Sorry, of course, I understand about the specifics."

"Fine, then what we're trying to working on is to look for genetic markers that can be used to detect certain central nervous system defects. We hope that if we can isolate them, we may find ways to counteract their affects."

Brett digested that information. Richard sat quietly waiting for him to speak.

"Sir, I think I'd like to join your team. I'm interested in the genes that control how a person's brain develops and I think I can help you with your work. I would be happy to accept a position with your team, sir."

Richard stood up and came around the desk with his hand out.

"Welcome to the team Brett. It was your dissertation on that subject that made me wish to make this offer. I have no doubt you will be a great asset to the lab. Now to start, I can offer you $80,000 a year. Depending on the government grant money and the donations that we receive, you should be able to increase that in the upcoming years if everything goes as I expect. I'm sure you could make more at a hospital or in private practice but since we rely on grant money mostly from the government, this has to be something that you want to do, not get rich from, at least not yet."

"Thank you. I accept. The research you are talking about is what I wish to do."

"I assume you live in the city now?"

"Yes, we live in a small apartment in Upper Manhattan. Kathleen is almost done with her Neurosurgery Fellowship at Columbia. Once she's done we plan to be married."

"That sounds very good. Perhaps the two of you would be interested in moving out here to Stony Brook so that you are closer to the lab. It's a nice place to raise children. The University Medical Center is nearby and she might want to consider working there. It is a teaching hospital. I'm sometimes asked to give a presentation there. So I have a good relationship with them. I could put in a good word for her, if she likes."

"Thank you, I will talk to Kathy about it and see what she thinks. She hasn't made any definite plans about where she plans to practice after she finishes. I think she'll like it out here. The area is very nice. So when should I start?"

Richard sat down behind his desk once again and pulled up something on his computer. He looked at it for a few moments before he looked back at Brett. "When did you say Kathleen will be done with her fellowship?"

"About three months, I think."

Richard nodded as he looked at his computer screen.

"How about this, why don't you start in four months? That will give her time to finish her Fellowship. You two can be married, have a honeymoon and find a place to live, unless you wish to start working sooner?"

"I think that will be perfect. I will keep you up to date on what we do."

"Good. Give me your contact information and let me know if you need anything. I know a good real estate agent here in Stony Brook if you like."

"Thank you, sir. I may need one if we decide to move here."

Brett gave him a business card with his info on it. Richard got up and walked Brett out to the main entrance. They shook hands once again.

"Thanks again, sir."

"Welcome to the team Brett."

Brett went back to his car and drove home. He started running through his head the things he needed to talk to Kathy about. As he drove through Stony Brook, he was pleased with what he saw. By the time he got back home, he knew they had a lot to talk about.

Over the next few months the two of them discussed their future plans and Kathy started looking at Hospitals in the Long Island area. She made inquiries and went to a few different hospitals in the area. Each of the places said they would contact her with their decision. The two waited and finally she got a call from Stony Brook University Medical Center. She was offered a clinical position. They further offered her a part time teaching position as well. They said that it could grow to be a full professorship at some time in the future if it was something that she wished to pursue. The next day after the two of them discussed it she called Stony Brook and accepted both positions.

The next couple of months were busy for the both of them. Kathleen finished her Fellowship and she did receive other offers, but the one from Stony Brook was the best and most convenient for both of them. They were married soon after she finished. Richard Hunt received an invitation and came to give the couple his best wishes. He also gave them the card of a friend of his who was a realtor. On the return from their honeymoon, they contacted the realtor and were soon being shown several nice houses. They found one that suited them and after closing the deal on it, they moved in. They were all settled in time for them to both start their new jobs.

Richard had asked Brett to come in a little early so that he could get oriented to where he would be working. At the front desk, the guard told him to go on up to Dr. Hunt's office. Brett thanked him and made his way upstairs. At Richard's office he knocked and poked his head in the partly open door. Richard looked up and smiled.

"Brett. Good to see you. You ready to get to work?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good, follow me."

He led Brett downstairs to the large lab where he again met the people who were working in there. Richard showed him the workstation he would be using. One of the computer engineer's he'd met before, Eric, came to get him set up on the system and he was ready to go. Richard handed him a CD ROM with information on what they were working on. This had the specifics that Richard had mentioned and it also had some instructions on what he wanted Brett to start with. Richard left him alone then.

The work being done consisted of finding and isolating the genetic markers that pointed toward the susceptibility of a person to neurological disorders. They labs plan was to hopefully define those markers and come up with ways to mitigate the effects of the disorders. Some of the work involved stem cell research in adults, children, and fetal tissue.

Brett and Kathy settled down to life in Stony Brook. They made friends at the university as well as their respective jobs. The lab began to gain some small successes in their research, and it was enough to continue bringing the grant money in.

While working on the goals of the lab, Brett's research started to lead him off on a slightly different tangent. He ran across an article on using PET scans to map the brain of a person who professed extrasensory perception. He found it fascinating and started to incorporate it into his research. He thought that if he could find the right locations in the brain that were active in these people, that perhaps with stimulation to the proper area of the brain, such a person with this gift could be proven either a fraud or real.

He began his investigation into this hypothesis. He starting to find patterns in his investigation and thought that it was something worthwhile to pursue as well. The lab continued to have some successes with their main line of research. After the first of the year, they added two biochemists to the team, Russell and Barbara Merrill. They had just completed their doctorates at Stony Brook and Richard invited them to be a part of the team at Hunt Labs.

After a year at Hunt Labs, Brett presented some of his ideas at a genetics conference at Columbia University that was well received. A few weeks later Brett was called up to Richard's office. When he arrived at the office he saw that there was someone else sitting in the office talking to Richard.

"You wanted to see me, Richard?"

Richard and the other man both stood up and turned to him.

"Brett, I'd like you to meet Mr. Hank Archer. He is from one of the government research agencies that fund our research."

"It's nice to meet you, sir."

Brett and Hank shook hands.

"It's my pleasure, Dr. MacLeod."

"Have a seat Brett. Mr. Archer wanted to talk to both of us."

Hank smiled at Richard before saying anything.

"Drs. Hunt and MacLeod, we have been hearing a lot about what you have accomplished over this last year and my agency is very impressed and intrigued with the work you have been doing and what you have accomplished so far. Because of that, we have a proposal for you, for both of you really. My agency would like to fund your work at a much higher level. We are prepared to put up the money necessary to make this a state of the art lab. We would like to increase the size of the lab, and help you find more researchers so that you can reach your goals at a quicker pace."

Richard and Brett were speechless.

"Mr. Archer. I don't know what to say. I'm shocked by your agency's generosity."

"Like I said, we believe in what you are doing. We at the Genetics Research Agency believe that your lab could be at the forefront of genetic brain research. You've shown some minor successes in your work so far, but we believe that with state of the art equipment at your command, those small successes will become larger successes."

Brett had not said anything yet. He just looked at the other two men.

Richard looked very pleased with the news. Hank seemed to be genuinely happy that Richard liked the news. He turned to Brett. "Dr. MacLeod, you've said nothing so far. What are your thoughts?"

"I am, of course, very glad to hear such news. I am only a little confused as to why I was asked to be here. I'm just a junior member of the team."

"Well, Dr. MacLeod. You recently presented some of your ideas at a genetics conference. One of our researchers was in the audience and he presented your ideas to us. We were intrigued by your line of research and would like to see you continue it."

"It's a little different than our main line of research here. I started it because the subject intrigued me."

"Well, the agency is interested in all types of genetic based research. We see possibilities with it and would like to see what you can accomplish with the best equipment available."

"Thank you. I'll do the best I can."

"That's all we can ask."

Hank stood up, followed closely by the other two.

"Well gentlemen. It has been a pleasure to talk with you and I look forward to the successes that you will achieve."

They shook hands and Richard walked Mr. Archer to the front door. Brett followed along behind them. Richard and Hank discussed a few items as they walked out. Once Hank was gone, Richard turned back to Brett and gestured for him to follow him back up to his office. Once there he waved to a seat as he took the other seat next to him.

"Brett, Hank told me that part of the reason that they wished to invest more in our research is this work you've been doing on the side. Tell me more about it, if you don't mind."

"I read a couple of papers about some functional PET scans that showed which parts of the brain were active when a person who claimed to have some form of ESP is using their gift. I wanted to see if I could find genetic differences in such people that claim these gifts."

"Do you think that you will find these genetic markers?"

"It's still too early to tell. I've been doing the research on the side because it intrigued me. If I can concentrate more on this line of research, I may have a better idea after a few months or maybe a year. I think by then I will have a better idea if it is worth researching it."

Richard nodded as he listened to Brett's explanation.

"Good, I'll give you the year to see what comes of it. Concentrate your efforts on this research of yours. I am intrigued by it as well. Keep me updated on your progress."

"Yes sir, I'll do that. Thank you for the chance."

Richard stood up signaling the end of his questions. Brett headed back down to his computer station and started doing some more extensive research on his ideas. Later that day, Richard called everyone into the main lab for a short meeting to announce the news about the expansion. Everyone was enthusiastic at the thought of having state of the art equipment. Several came away from the meeting with thoughts of what they could request to assist them in their part of the research.

A few weeks later construction equipment arrived to begin the lab expansion. They crew were quick and efficient with the build. Within a short time the walls of the new two story building were up. The new lab building was three times larger than the original building. Richard had several meetings with the man who was overseeing the project, Marcus Kelly. Brett met with the man a couple of times as well. Marcus was the point man assigned to work with Hunt Labs as a liaison between Hunt Labs and the GRA.

The expansion took about four months. While building the new building, they also put up a new fence as well. It was about twelve feet tall, topped with razor wire. There was a guard shack at the driveway entrance and a stronger gate. Marcus told Richard that the greater security was necessary because of the expensive equipment that was going to be onsite. He introduced Richard to Martin Swift, the head of security. Another addition was a small parking structure as well.

At the end of the four months, everyone was gathered outside the front of the new lab building for its grand opening. Everyone was allowed to bring their spouse or significant other. A couple of the lab staff took the chance to bring along people that had started to become important to them.

Julia brought a guy that she had met at the University while doing part time work with the university sports team. His name was Wyatt Blackhawk, he was a sports medicine doctor like she was. He was also a full blood Cheyenne. William Mason brought a physics masters student, named Marion with him. Brett of course brought Kathy with him.

Richard Hunt stepped up in front of the doors to the lab with a big smile on his face. Joining him was Hank Archer of the GRA.

"My friends and colleagues, welcome to the opening of our new state of the art lab. With the generosity of the Genetic Research Agency, we will be able to increase our knowledge and hopefully make some advances in the field of genetics and neurological disorders."

Everyone clapped and there were smiles and appreciative nods on the faces of most of the researchers.

"We will further be able to bring more specialty researchers onboard to assist us in our work."

There was more applause from the crowd.

"Okay, I'm sure you really don't want to listen to me talk anymore, so let's go take a look inside."

He turned to Hank and they shook hands before the two of them turned around and led the crowd into the atrium of the lab. There was a security desk manned by a security guard. Richard led the group past the desk and toward the labs. At the entrance to each of the labs was a card reader. Richard pulled a card out of his jacket pocket and swiped it through the card reader. The red light turned from red to green, there was a click from the door and Richard opened the door. The door opened and Richard led them into the main lab. There were smiles from the researchers as they surveyed the room. There were several workstations with testing equipment and computers on them. In one part of the lab were a couple of powerful electron microscopes.

As they entered the room the staff members spread out throughout the huge lab room, looking over the equipment and talking about how they could apply it to help them with their research. The tour continued through the lab. There was medical imaging equipment that hospitals would kill for. All of the equipment had the potential to help Hunt Labs become one of the premier research facilities. There was one part of the facility that was set up to house patients someday, if they got to that point. All the connections for oxygen, suction, etc were in the walls at several locations in one decent sized room.

There was also a very powerful server farm located in the basement, which of course made Eric and William very happy, like two kids with a brand new toy. They practically had to be dragged away from their new toy. The tour ended in the lunch room where a catered lunch was set up for everyone.

Hank Archer and Marcus Kelly made their way around the room, getting to know everyone. Alastair Merrick walked around with them. He was the senior researcher on the staff next to Richard. He had been the first to join Richard in his work and he was the oldest member of the team besides Richard. He seemed to get along well with Hank and Marcus. The three of them, with Richard, sat together and discussed how they would be going forward.

Brett and Kathy walked around talking with Brett's colleagues and meeting the new faces. Most of them were around the same age and found a lot of common ground among them. After the luncheon, Richard again got everyone's attention.

"Well my friends, it has been a momentous day and I believe that we will have success in our future endeavors. Thank you for coming today and helping us christen this new facility. Welcome to those friends who came along to visit with us today. One last thing before you leave today, all of the lab staff must pick up an ID badge from the security desk. You will need that on Monday when you come into work. Thank you once again, everyone."

The gathered crowd applauded enthusiastically. Richard and Alastair walked out with Hank and Marcus. At the door they paused for a moment.

"Well Richard, I think you've got a good team built. I believe you will have a great deal of success with them. Marcus and I have some meetings to attend but he will be back early next week to assist you with getting what you need. We are ready to supply it. Good luck, all of you."

"Thank you Hank. I believe we will achieve good things as we go forward."

Hank nodded in agreement and after shaking hands with the two researchers, he and Marcus left for their car. Richard and Alastair went back to join the others.

When everyone came to work on Monday, they hit the ground running. Although for the first few days it was like a bunch of kids with Christmas presents as they tried out all their new toys. Soon enough they settled down and got back to work.

Brett worked out of a small lab that he had been assigned so that he could continue his work on his theory of genetic brain function enhancement. While he worked on his theory, changes continued for Hunt Labs. More people were hired and a few personnel changes happened. Patrick met a colleague of Brett's wife Kathy, Cheryl, a neurosurgeon like Kathy, at a party at Brett and Kathy's house. William and Marion got married, as did Julia and Wyatt. Another couple of young researchers were hired, Charles Badger, molecular biologist and Stephanie Rhoades, neuroscientist joined the team.

A few months later Brett was in his lab when William dropped by, "Hey Brett, you have a master's in computer science don't you?"


"Do you have time to come down to the server farm? I want you to look at something and tell me what you think."

Brett shrugged and stood up.

"Sure. What is it you want me to see?"

"Not sure, and I don't want to say too much that might skew your thinking."

"What about Eric? Has he looked at what you want me to see?"

William nodded.

"He was the one who suggested that I ask you to look at it."

Brett nodded.

"Well, lead on, and let's see what this mystery is."

Brett followed William downstairs to the basement where the server farm was located. When they arrived, they saw Eric sitting in front of a monitor typing. He stopped when he heard them come in and turned around.

"Ah, you brought him, good. Brett, come and look at this. William noticed it a couple of days ago when we were doing some system checks. It was well hidden and would not normally be seen. We've been doing some checking and backtracking on it since then."

Brett stood behind Eric and watched as he started entering commands. Eric finished what he was typing and a several lines of information started filling the screen. Brett scanned the lines and didn't see anything.

"I don't see anything."

William looked at the screen.

"Oh, hit enter, Eric. It's on the next page."

Eric nodded and tapped the enter key. The screen once again filled up with information. Brett scanned it and shrugged, but continued to look at the screen, and then something caught his eye.

"Eric, do you mind if I sit down?"

Eric scooted to the side and William pushed a chair over for Brett. He sat In front of the computer and canceled the current command before he started entering other commands. He would enter a command, let it run, read the results and then enter another command and followed the same process several times before stopping. He frowned at the monitor for a few moments after reading the results of the last command that he had entered. He looked at his two friends.

"I'm not sure, but you're right, that's unusual. It seems like some kind of key logger program, but you guys as the computer systems administrators don't have access to it. I believe someone else sees this."

Brett looked back at the screen before continuing.

"Let me think about this for a few days, and I'll let you know what I come up with."

"You want us to keep checking this out?"

"No, I don't want anyone to find out that we've found this. It could be from outside, but if it's inside, I wonder who looks at the information that the key logger, if it is a key logger, gathers. I'll get back to you guys."

"Okay, thanks Brett."

"Yeah, I'll talk to you guys later."

Brett clapped each of the younger guys on the back as he left the room to head back to his lab. Back in front of his computer he just sat there thinking about the program. Finally he got up and left for the day, his mind mulling over the problem. That evening at home he worked on his computer to see if he could get a handle on what the program that William had found might be.

The next morning when Brett came in, he saw William walking toward the elevators and caught up to him. They nodded their heads in greeting. He looked around and spoke low enough so that only William could hear him.

"Will, could you set up a link to the server to my desktop."

Will nodded slightly, and Brett continued in a louder voice, "Will, could you check my workstation. It seems a little laggy sometimes."

Will nodded. "Sure Brett, I'll be right up after I finish taking care of a few things downstairs."

Brett clapped him on the back as he headed off to his lab. A couple of hours later William showed up and Brett got up from the workstation to let him work. It didn't take William more than a few minutes to set up the link.

"I think that will take care of it Brett. There were some extra files in your temp file and it was slowing it down a little bit. I just cleaned them out and it seems to run a little better. Let me know if you have any other problems."

"Thanks Will."

William left the lab and Brett resumed his seat in front of the workstation. He clicked on the link that William had put in. He noticed the piece of paper that William had slipped under the keyboard. When he pulled it out he saw that it was an administrator login and password. He next plugged a jump drive into his workstation and typed a command. He watched as his screen changed a little and he smiled that his camouflage program that he had written last night worked. Whatever he typed on his computer was now hidden from the key logger.

He clicked on the link to the servers and started working. After an hour of entering commands he sat back, entered another command and his computer screen changed and now his computer was no longer hidden from the key logger. He removed the jump drive and returned it to his pocket. He went back to what he had been working on before William had done his main work.

After lunch he entered a command and again there was a change on his screen and he was hidden once again. He clicked the server link, entered a command and studied the information that came up. He nodded at what he was seeing. He started entering more commands before changing, turning off the camouflage program, and then went back to his main work.

At the end of the work day he saw Eric walking out to his car. He walked a little faster and as he passed him, he spoke quickly.

"Eric, when you get home, can you contact Will and tell him that I'd like both of you to come over to my house tonight. We need to talk."

Brett continued on to his car and got in. As he started up he looked over to where Eric was just getting in his car and caught the slight nod that Eric gave him to say, 'message received'.

That evening while Kathy was still at the hospital, Will and Eric showed up at the door and Brett let them in. The three of them went into his office. "Okay, drag those stools over so that you can see my screen."

They brought the stools over and sat down on either side of Brett. He was already typing. They watched as the server screen came up. He entered another command and they could see that they were now logged onto the server. He started typing and a schematic of the lab came up. It was split into four images. Two images showed the two floors of the old lab that had been turned into offices for the most part, with some of it slated for storage of needed supplies and extra equipment. One showed the main lab floor of the new building and between it and the old building schematic was the basement. In each room of the lab that was located in each of the two buildings throughout the compound, there were varying numbers of glowing blue boxes in each room. In the old building most of the rooms held just one blue box per room. There was even one that connected to the guard shack that had been installed at the front gate.

"Okay, each of the blue boxes is some piece of equipment or computer workstation that is on the lab computer network."

He typed something else in and lines then ran from each box to other boxes in the room or directly to the servers in the basement to show the network and small writing floated above each line.

"Each line shows the connections for each node on the network to each other and the servers. The writing gives the path information."

He typed in some other commands and the lines started disappearing and the blue boxes dimmed a little. There was one line that turned to red and connected from one of the servers to a red box in one of the offices in the old building.

"This is the path that that key logger program sends the key strokes that it collects to."

"Whose office is that?"

Brett typed another command and glowing words appeared in all the rooms of the compound. They identified each of the rooms. Over the office with the glowing red box was the name Marcus Kelly. Brett looked at the two of them for their reaction. The three of them exchanged calculating looks.

"Why is he spying on us?"

Brett shook his head.

"I don't know, but I'm curios to find out. He works for the GRA not us and it is probably part of his job to keep track of what we are doing, since they have funded us to such a great extent."

"Is that bad? I mean it makes sense that they would want to track progress and things like that, but this seems underhanded."

"Eric, it is a government agency and I don't think anyone would say that they have never done anything underhanded before."

"True. So what's the plan?"

"I'm going to do some snooping when I can. I'll keep you guys up to date on what I find."

"Uh oh, uh, Brett? Won't that key logger program know what you've been doing on the server tonight?"

Brett smiled and shook his head.

"Nope, I wrote a program to cover my tracks. As far as the key logger is concerned, everything's running normal. I've put the program on my workstation at the lab and this one at home."

"Can we get a copy of the program?"

"Not yet Will. I don't want there to be too many of these running at the same time, so I'm going to keep it where I have it for now. Later I may set you guys up with it if necessary, but I want to play it close to the vest for now."

He got up and they went to the den to watch a baseball game. Kathy came home an hour later. She looked tired and Eric and Will took that as a cue to head home. Brett saw them to the door.

"I'll let you know what I find out."

They nodded and headed for home. Brett went over to Kathy and gave her a kiss. "Hard day today?"

She nodded, "That last case took five hours. Is there anything to eat?"

Brett led her to the kitchen and pulled a covered plate out of the oven, he set it in front of her at the counter. "Sweet and sour pork on steamed rice."

"Looks good," She started eating while he got her some ice tea to have with it.

He moved around behind her and started gently massaging her shoulders. She closed her eyes and almost purred as her muscles unknotted. "Keep that up and I'm going to fall asleep in my food."

"I'll stop for now, but I think you need the full treatment later. I'm going to my office for a few minutes. Once you finish your dinner, I'll open a bottle of wine and we can go relax in the den for a little while."

Kathy nodded. Brett gave her a peck on the cheek and got the wine out. They spent an hour or so in the den, until Kathy got tired. When she went to bed, Brett went to his office to begin his search.

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