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To give you a taste of my book The Unseen here is another extract from Chapter 1. Extracts will continue every Wednesday and Saturday.

Extract from CHAPTER ONE

“SPI over computer screens directed at the right people could put our country in the direction we require, indeed, we could influence our whole civilisation.”

Caswell curled his fingers into a fist. “Covert control by the unseen. Money, just think of all that money.”

“Which is why I’m closing you down.”

“What?” He stepped back, sagging, his arms splayed.

Stella sat motionless, teeth clenched, trying not to gloat over Caswell’s demise. What game was Wileman playing?

“Such controversial research is highly volatile. Any connection to my company would be disastrous. Your programme is terminated forthwith and you are dismissed from Starways.”

“You’re kidding me? I’ve proved what we can do.” Caswell raised both hands in bewildered question.

Wileman remained looking out to sea, his expression bland. “At this point, Richard, note the extent of my power over your bank account. Then listen to my requirements.” He paused. “You listen too, Stella, because your research is not dissimilar. WorkWell, our new business and office support application, will soon be ready for integration into the Starways operating system. In England you will set up a company and using what Stella sends over, you’ll develop WorkWell so it accepts coded SPI viruses. In other words, install a facility which will interpret certain coded viruses as updates from a source provider.”

“That would corrupt your own software.”

“You misunderstand. What I want you to develop and incorporate into the WorkWell programme is a means whereby a virus from an unknown source, but carrying the right code, is accepted by the software as legitimate. These viruses will lie in a server or PC as a Trojan horse. They will not damage or cause a problem. Their only function is to send subliminal messages to the terminal user whenever there is screen movement. Within two years SPI, subliminal psychotic induction through our WorkWell application, will influence the world, will influence the money markets and politicians. Think of that, Richard.”

“But why England? Why not here, in America?”

“Starways must never be involved. If we were ever accused of experimenting with SPI it might be interpreted as an intention to influence individual or public opinion. The media would slaughter us. That’s why this meeting is private and witnessed only by Stella, who in turn chooses to prove her loyalty and obedience beyond question.”

“But why go to England?”

Stella felt her breath, sharp and short. She swallowed and watched Wileman turn hard eyes on the Englishman before raising a bony finger. “It is illegal to use SPI on the public. If the government found out they would confiscate our research for themselves. They too would like to influence, the Senate and House of Representatives. Perhaps even now they watch us, waiting to intercept and steal our programme and they would use it, Richard, believe me.” He shook his head. “All done while the courts crippled us with a fine of billions. No, security is paramount, that means out of sight and out of mind, somewhere in Britain.”

“Employees would talk.”

“Not if you pick only those who share your morality and ambition. Pay them well, the same way I do Stella, then you’ll have their silent obedience,” he said and squeezed her hand. “You will start a cover company known as PKL. Starways own the rights on two computer games, Princess Kay-ling and Killing Fields. PKL will pick up those rights very cheaply. You’ll infuse both with the SPI research already developed. Over the Internet you can then send SPI out to these games as a virus and use the British population as guinea pigs. As a British firm, you will also be a listed sub-contractor on the WorkWell application. But the sole purpose of your involvement will be to adapt the application to accept SPI which had been developed through the games. For every other appearance your work is to create an SPI firewall provided as an upgrade.”

“For user safety,” Richard added.

“Diplomatically put. But our insertion must be designed so no-one can trace the source. At all times we must remain the unseen.”

“Starways will fund the whole operation?”

“Starways will have no involvement. Your set up funding is in place via Russian contacts. Thereafter PKL should make enough profit to fund itself.   I don’t want you drawing attention. Use any excessive profit to keep trusted employees silent. Your reward will be waiting here when you return and that reward will be substantial.”

“I have a free hand?”

“Stella will use her research programme to covertly pass you information, otherwise no-one this side will come near you. Insofar as Starways is concerned, you’ll be a minor British non-entity and totally deniable. But there are three provisos. You must stay clean and you must stay hidden. Keep PKL as a family game, that’s where the money lies.”

“You’re on, Mr Wileman.”

“The third proviso is, when finished, you remove all traces of research in the UK, then via Stella you will personally deliver the results of your work to me, here at Casco Bay. On no account must you transfer anything relating to Starways by e-mail or let any other party have a copy. The result of failure in this would be unpleasant for you. Stella will monitor your progress and be your only contact.”

“Have no fear, Mr Wileman, my ambitions will always be at your disposal.”

“Excellent. Go down to the summerhouse and wait for Stella. You may use her as you please. She won’t like it, but she’ll accept. She also has ambition and once she sacrifices her integrity to that ambition, then I will trust her loyalty.”

“Mr Wileman, what’s going on here?” Stella said, watching Caswell saunter down towards the beach. “Listen, listen please. I’m not a whore and I see no logic in what you demand. You already have my loyalty.”

“Do I, Stella? Well, I demand more. I need your hatred of Richard Caswell, your ruthless determination to destroy him if required. I need your anger, your contempt. The path

you have chosen is the building of power for the purpose of self. It is a path without morals and to that end we are all whores. Your mind and body are but a means to an end. Greed has placed mankind on the edge of destruction; only control by the strong will save the human race. Do you wish to be amongst the strong? Because if we fail what will occur over the next hour may well occur every day of your life. I know Caswell, I know his past, his lack of morals, but I chose you to stand with the inner circle, with the unseen.”

When Stella entered the beach house Caswell had stripped to his shorts, the hang of his gut folding over the stretched waistband.

“Can we talk this through,” she said, moving from the door and circling the open plan floor as he came towards her. “Wileman has this notion that if I let you make love, there’ll be some kind of bond.”

“Love, Stella, who’s talking of love? I don’t want love, I want absolute control. I want you suffering and humiliated.”

“Listen Mister, you’re crazy.” She put the couch between them as he crossed the room. “I’m not some floozy and I ain’t gonna let you fuck me like some pig.”

His movement and precision came much faster than she expected from a middle-aged slouch. Stepping on the couch he grabbed her blouse and a handful of hair simultaneously, pulling her over the back so she fell head down to the cushions, her legs flaying the air.

“I don’t intend to love you, Stella. I intend to rape you, to fuck you purely for my pleasure. Have you monitor my progress, some chance. You don’t know half of it. Soon I’ll have power over you as I have power over Zoby, eventually over Wileman, power over everyone who uses a computer.” One hand reached into her skirt, grabbing and yanking at her pants, while the other ripped open her blouse.

“You bastard, fucking get off me. Fuck off.” She thrashed her arms as his overweight body pinned her full length on the cushions. His hands seemed everywhere, ripping, pulling, grabbing. Reaching her nails to his neck, she gouged in primeval retaliation, clawing until the back of his hand smacked hard across her face. For moments her sight fragmented then another blow hit her mouth. In the dazed cloud of pain she laid comatosed, feeling his full weight flop over her, feeling him probe then enter her body, feeling him heave and squirm, then in seconds roll away.

“Bitch,” he said and began to dress.

Frontcover of the unseen

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