Foster parked his XF as usual and followed the green-painted footpaths to the stairs. It was not a substantial distance and his long strides, based on his six-feet frame, soon brought him to the stairwell. The usual daily routine was interrupted on this occasion due to the screams he heard on the floor below. Foster jumped down the stairs three at a time and located the cause of the commotion on the first floor of the multi-storey car park. The woman, visibly shaking, screamed, ‘He took my bag’, and pointed to a youth half way across the car park. Foster chased after him. Height favours the sprinter and Foster was no slouch. Indeed, in his thirty-five years he always remained physically fit, playing many sports and working out in the gym. His leather-soled shoes and business suit did not aid breaking his fastest 100, but when he reached the stairs the youth was just leaving the complex. Foster bounded down the flight and was now only 20 yards from the youth. Knowing he was being caught and could not out-run his chaser, the youth stopped, turned and pulled a flick knife. Foster continued unabated and grabbed the wildly swinging knife arm, twisting it around the owner’s back, using the force of his momentum and sound timing, until the knife clattered to the ground. A passing pedestrian picked it up and followed Foster as he frog-marched the youth back to the car park. The stolen bag was now in Foster’s free hand, not the youth’s.
The woman, now quieter and surrounded by four policemen, saw the youth and Foster and shouted, “That’s him, the bastard.” Foster assumed she meant the youth and allowed two of the police to take over manhandling duties. Foster handed the woman her bag.
“Oh, thank you, mister. Most good o’ yer. Glad someone stands up to these thugs.”
“Only too pleased to help,” Foster replied, as he straightened his tie.
The police warned him of the risks, emphasised when the passer-by handed them the flick knife. Statements were taken and Foster, now sixty minutes late, continued his walk to Eventsoft, the company of which he was the IT Director.
As he approached the office, he noticed Trevor Edge, one of Eventsoft’s software developers, climb out of the passenger side of a new Mercedes SLK. He could not make out the driver. Trevor normally arrived around nine, the approximation always on the later side: he was never early. Normally, Foster would have been in the office by eight, so the delay caused by catching a mugger enabled this observation.
Foster was not overly concerned about clock-watching; as long as the total hours were put in, he was fairly relaxed about lack of adherence to a rigid nine-to-five routine. He was a stickler for punctuality when needed. Any lateness for meetings would be met by a frosty glare and continued lapses were guaranteed to result in a quick private chat.
Foster took the lift to the 15th floor of the block Eventsoft shared with six other companies. The office block was not overly plush, being adorned with the usual hard-wearing man-made fibre carpeting with neutral painted walls. Probably magnolia, so favoured by the topical decorating make-over shows. Psychologists may suggest different colours should be used for different purposes and thus rooms would be decorated appropriately. However, bland neutral colours do not cause offence, so are very common everywhere; much to the psychologists’ angst, no doubt. The lifts were standard office fare: mirrors on one side, presumably to give the impression of space to aid the claustrophobic. The same plastic carpets covered the floor as in the corridors, apart from being a darker colour. Foster stepped out and extracted his access card from his shirt pocket. He held it near to the security panel and the door opened. In that instant the computerised system had extracted the information from the card, compared it to the centrally-housed database stored on the computer server, checked that the card did have authorisation to open that particular door and therefore opened it. That last point is the one Foster had reservations about. Should a card be lost, any individual who finds it would have access until the loss was reported and the card inactivated. The building’s security guard should request to see all of the cards prior to individuals accessing the lift, since the photograph on a lost card would obviously not match the new owner, so that should prevent access. The problem is: do they always check, and who is to say the photograph had not been changed? There is also the issue of the other six companies who share the building. Their staff share access to the lifts and, if they were the finders of an Eventsoft security card, they would have access to the Eventsoft floor as well.
It was only after winning a significant part of the 2012 Olympics computer systems development and support that Eventsoft was a brand the public may have actually heard of. Foster was still proud and impressed that the Olympic Authority had awarded them the contract, especially since major players, including the multi-national who had just completed the same work for the Beijing Games in 2008, had also bid for the work. Security may need tightening as a result. Bad publicity would prove very damaging to Eventsoft, Britain and the Olympic Games themselves.
Risk meetings had already identified that cranks or anti-establishment protesters, angry at the development, may wish to interrupt the Games. Terrorism always remains a very valid threat. Political protesters may try to embarrass the nation; possibly individuals or organised efforts by official agencies. Software competitors perhaps could even try to knock Eventsoft out of business altogether. All Eventsoft could do is to evaluate each risk and apply counter-measures as seemed appropriate.
“Good morning, Jane; how are you today?” enquired Foster, as he approached the reception desk.
The reception area was quite smart and functional. Not large, since square footage did cost, but large enough to accommodate the reception desk with a couple of comfy chairs and a coffee table for visitors. Jane the receptionist was very pleasant and smartly dressed. Like all private companies in that respect, they were hardly likely to have unpleasant staff in such customer-facing positions. Jane was a vibrant, lively person: her large brown eyes sparkled, emphasising the point. Her petite frame fitted her five-feet-four height admirably. She was wearing a reasonably short red dress, not as short as would be found in a night club, but most alluring. The v-neck front reached down to the very beginning of the divide of her pert breasts, tantalisingly close to revealing flesh; much more sensuous than baring significant amounts. The hem was a few inches above the knee; when she sat and crossed her legs, the slender, firm thighs would be revealed: but that particular view was rarely available.
Jane looked up, and used her right hand to push the long black hair away from her face, smiled and replied, “Hello, Steven; very well, thanks, had a lovely weekend.”
She liked Foster. He actually waited for a reply to his question. She thought of Wade, the rather dry Finance Director. He asked the same question, but just as he was passing through to his office and obviously with no interest in the reply. The modern ethos, ‘Hi, how are you?’, is now just a way of saying hello: no answer expected or wanted.
“Oh, good; you went to Brighton to see your parents, didn’t you?” Jane had mentioned that some time last week and was impressed he had remembered.
“Yes, they are both very well; we had a great time.”
Jane was a modern receptionist; her duties were many and varied. Traditional roles such as receptionist, telephonist, secretary, post room attendant were clouded. Indeed, Jane did aspects of all of them, but also maintained the security access database.
“I keep getting calls from Dick Jarvis, that reporter. He does not say what he wants, but keeps asking to speak to you.”
Foster ran his fingers through his hair, an action to keep the parting in place, but one he did when thinking.
“Hm, I cannot talk to the press if it is about the Olympic contract. I’m sorry, I don’t know how to stop him calling you. It must be most annoying.”
“Yes, but it’s all right. I always tell him that. I don’t know why he keeps calling.”
“Well, if it gets too much, let me know and I shall try to stop it.”
“Thanks, Steven, will do. The only thing you have scheduled today is the two o’clock with the Olympic chap.”
Foster inwardly smiled at the office terminology for a meeting: it sounded more like a train timetable. 14:00 to Birmingham. The only difference being the transport company’s preference for the twenty-four-hour clock, rather than the twelve-hour clock favoured and understood by Jane.
“Yes. 14:00 with George Warton; he is one of the top chaps.”
Foster liked the lack of ambiguity of the twenty-four-hour clock and used it constantly. With a background in IT, that was fairly predictable.
“So he is important then.”
“Very. He is one of the main reasons we won the contract. He runs the Technology Team; the Games Management System is one of the significant systems he is responsible for and it is that that we are involved in.”
Jane liked to know who was who and what fitted where; the actual details were of less interest. She knew Eventsoft developed systems predominantly for sporting events, and that was about it. If anyone mentioned C, J2EE, SQL, Oracle, Linux, Unix or Windows, she would not get excited. Not many people would over programming languages, databases or Operating Systems, but they were the tools of Eventsoft’s trade.
“OK, I’ll let you know when he arrives.”
“Thanks. See you later.”
Foster stopped by the vending machine, selected a tea with no sugar and went to his office.
Trevor Edge had also made it to his desk. He was more casually dressed: sports jacket and trousers, complete with the branded shirt with the emblem on the pocket. The shiny, all-leather shoes completed the outfit. He certainly believed in dressing expensively. He was certainly even more extravagant since he met Natasha, the well-dressed, well-heeled beauty who had just dropped him off in her Mercedes. She had one of those faces and complexions that made age-guessing tricky. She could have been anywhere between nineteen and twenty-five; she was actually the twenty-three she had honestly told Trevor. She too was very much into branded clothing and was always immaculately dressed. She followed the old principle of ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’, so was often in very short skirts and plunging tops. Her body could easily have graced any fashion catwalk and her face was beautifully set off by the long blonde trusses that reached half way down her back.
Trevor was very happy. Eventsoft had just won the major contract for the Olympics; what an item for his CV, as he was to be one of the developers and only a couple of days later he had met Natasha, who was by far his best girl-friend ever. Of course, Trevor’s idea of best may not be everyone’s. He liked her car, the apparent wealth and the looks she got when she just walked around. Trevor loved showing her off. In only a month he was in one of the deepest relationships he had ever known. The only problem he had was when he gave her a love bite whilst in the throes of passion. She shouted at him immediately and said never to mark her. Trevor was most apologetic and vowed never to do anything she did not like. She calmed down quickly and the episode had apparently been forgotten. Trevor was a little upset. He especially liked showing his girls off with love bites to prove what a stud he was. Mind you, Natasha was so special he would survive without that extra ego boost. Trevor had a working class background but a very large degree of self-confidence and an easy way with words that girls seemed to like. Chatting girls up and bedding large numbers had never proven difficult, but he had never experienced such a classy bird as this one. Perhaps that was why she objected to the hickey. Most birds he knew seemed equally proud of the hickey. It proved how good they were in bed to bring their partner to such extremes of passion. He also knew it was just show. But Natasha did not want any such marks on her body. He could not even mark her pert little tits.
Simon Jones approached Trevor’s cubicle. “Good morning.”
No reply, so at an increased volume, “Morning, Trev.”
Trevor jumped; he obviously had been day dreaming. He looked up. “Morning, Simon, not quite there for a sec.”
“No, you seemed somewhat distant. Everything OK?”
“Everything OK? I should coco! Never been better; you should see the piece I’m with now.”
Strangely enough, he had not been able to show Natasha off to his work mates. Simon was not overly interested in whoever Trevor was jumping now, so decided not to pursue the subject.
“We need to get together to design the scoring system.”
“Why did you not just send an invite?” Trevor was a little annoyed Simon did not want to hear about Natasha.
“Since I just sit ten feet away, that seems rather unfriendly; besides, I’d miss the updates on your latest conquests.”
Trevor warmed immediately. “Yeah, you would. Let’s do this afternoon. Give me time to pull together my ideas so far.”
“Great. 14:00 then.”
“Ok. Rather be with my bird, though.”
Simon ignored that further opportunity to discuss Trevor’s love life and returned to his desk.