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An excerpt from

The Shadow Code

Mike Hawkes

After spending some time going through Clive’s history, his family, and MKI, Steve called Mark Lockhurst and asked him to bring some of the site photographs with him.

Mark was the force’s senior analyst. Clive thought that Mark looked exactly as a senior analyst should - tall, bespectacled, suited. Mark had worked for the police as a civilian for most of his career. He had transformed the process of data analysis - and brought the force, kicking and screaming, into the right century at least.

Having worked through numerous confidential and intelligence cases, Mark had a huge amount of experience of dealing with data relating to cases involving the mafia, extortion, fraud, and terrorists. Mark had also developed several analysis tools to improve how police officers could visualise crime scene data. To most people around him, Mark was an extremely valuable and competent, if somewhat geeky, resource.

‘OK’, said Mark in his broad Yorkshire accent, ‘we took some photographs just after fire and rescue cleared the area. I’m only showing you a few of the pictures because I’m only interested in the technology. I’m trying to work out what should be in the picture - and if there’s anything there that shouldn’t be, if that makes sense?’

‘Yeah, perfect sense’, replied Clive, who managed to surprise himself - he actually wanted to see the damage done.

‘It’s a bit of a mess’, said Mark, half apologetically.

Mark opened a mauve folder and started to lay out a selection of A4 prints on the table.

‘These’, he said, pointing to the first couple of pictures, ‘seem to be close to the main blast site. The others move further away for the epicentre.’

Clive stood up and looked at the pictures.
‘Geez! What a mess.’
‘Sorry, I guess it’s a bit brutal’, said Mark.
‘It’s ok - I hadn’t expected it to be quite that bad ...’, said Clive.

Steve, Alan, and David also stood and looked at the pictures. Actually, Alan and Steve were watching Clive more than looking at the pictures: Clive’s body language could give them huge amount of information.

‘Ok?’, asked Mark.

“Yes’, said Clive, looking at each picture in turn. ‘I’m struggling to work out where everything is - pass me the pad and I’ll draw out where everything was, then we can look at these again ...’

Clive quickly sketched out a plan of the kitchen/diner and the position of all the equipment that had been there when he left the house.

‘So’, he said, ‘if we go back to the pictures ...’

Mark handed Clive a pack of highlighter pens and they started highlighting obvious parts of each piece of equipment all colour keyed back to the sketch.

After about half an hour or so, Clive stepped back.

‘Right’, he said, ‘we’re missing the protocol analyser and the router. I also think there’s a drive missing from my PC. Can you tell if it had its case on at the time of the blast? Look’, he said pointing the one of the photographs, ‘this is the chassis - and I would have thought the case would have protected it - or would still have been around the chassis.’

‘What else did you say?’, asked Mark.

‘A protocol analyser and my router: the protocol analyser’s only small, so it could be under something - it’s in a plastic case and looks like this ...’, Clive sketched out a rough-and-ready picture of the analyser.

‘Do you have anything showing the wall above this lot?’, he asked, ‘because it looks like my system design has gone too ...’

‘Sure’, said Mark and fetched his tablet. He called up a series of scene photo’s trying to shield the gory scene from Clive as much as possible. ‘Here.’

Clive looked and then nodded.

‘Yes - there should be a system design on the wall here’, he said, pointing to an area clearly marked with scorch patterns. You know, that’s weird ...’

‘What?’, asked Steve immediately.

‘Well, I would have thought that the wall would have been at least a little protected from the paper stuck to it - I mean, if that burned after, I would have expected to have seen where it was ... it looks like the rest of the wall ... just weird.’

‘I can ask our fire experts about that’, said Steve, ‘I take it you’re suggesting it was removed before the explosion?’

‘Possibly’, replied Clive, and sat back down on the bed. He suddenly felt overwhelmed again.

‘We’ll call it a day’, said Steve, although we’ll probably need to speak to you again over the next few days.’

‘Yeah, sure’, replied Clive.

‘By the way - was the safe intact?’

‘Safe?’, asked Steve.

‘Yes - it’s under the stairs. It’s a fire safe so it might have survived. I had it fitted when I was tendering for projects with these guys’, said Clive, looking at David.

‘I’ve got the keys here ...’

Clive walked over to his coat and pulled a set of keys out of the right hand pocket. After a few minutes of working on the keyring, he passed the key to Mark.

‘There are a few memory cards and pieces of kit in there amongst my notes. I strongly suggest you copy anything on a non-networked machine before doing anything with the content of those cards. They hold the only proof that I have - and a working copy of the protocol analyser software. Please take great care of it.’

David held his hand out to Mark.

‘It might be more appropriate for me to look after that. We’ll make sure you get a copy of anything you need.’

Mark and raised a questioning eyebrow towards Steve. Steve nodded, so Mark handed the key over to David.

‘Yes of course’, said Clive to David, ‘Sorry - I hadn’t thought that the safe might contain sensitive material. I’m not thinking properly.’

Steve, Alan, and Mark left the room and advised Clive that they’d send the PPS officer back up when they got back to the hotel lobby.

‘Interesting’, said Steve to Alan as they walked down the corridor, ‘seems our intelligence friends are taking this guy seriously. I wonder how long we’ll have the case ...’

At that moment, Steve’s ‘phone rang. ‘DCI White, hello’

‘Hello Sir’, said a voice, ‘it’s DS Bates. We’ve just had a call from traffic. They’ve picked up a young man driving a black Mercedes. He and the car are on their way to the station now so I’ll go down and meet them because the driver says his name’s Jason Haggely.’

‘What?’, exclaimed Steve, ‘If Haggely’s alive then who the hell was in that house?’