fredbassett: (Default)
[personal profile] fredbassett
Title : Silk and Steel, Part 86
Authors : fredbassett & munchkinofdoom
Fandom : Primeval
Characters : Connor, Blade, Annie, Miller, Lester, Thomson
Rating : 18
Disclaimer : Not ours, no money made, don’t sue
Spoilers : None
Summary : The ARC’s computer syetems aren’t the only things to come under attack.
Warning : Slave!fic.
A/N : The links to all previous parts can be found HERE. Captain Thomson appears by courtesy of [ profile] deinonychus_1.

7.44am. The Atrium. Anomaly Research Centre.

Connor leaned back in his seat, plonked his feet up on the desk in front of him and yawned. He’d spent the last few hours taking advantage of the relative peace and quiet before the day-shift staff arrived to run a series of tests on his computer system. His intention was to run some tests on the Anomaly Detection Device and make sure that no more Trojans had slipped past his defences. A series of what appeared to have been false alarms had plagued them recently where an anomaly would seemingly appear then disappear again a second or two later. The duration had never been more than four seconds at most, probably not enough to have allowed any creatures through, but it was still causing concern and he wanted to check that nothing sinister within the ADD itself was at the root of the problem.

An full anomaly call out in the middle of the night to a derelict warehouse in London’s docklands had resulted in several very boring hours collecting data on an anomaly that led to a desert wilderness of nothing more than rocks and sand, with dangerously high levels of C02 and very little else. While they’d been sitting around in the docklands, Connor had been informed by the duty technician in the ARC that the Forest of Dean anomaly had opened again. Captain Stringer had muttered a long string of inventive profanities and had dispatched a small secondary team over there to keep an eye on their old friend.

The anomaly in the warehouse had closed at 5am, too late to make returning home worthwhile, so the field team had simply made their way back to the ARC. According to the small military contingent in the Forest of Dean, nothing appeared to have come through and the anomaly was blinking on and off like a faulty Christmas tree light, so Helen Cutter, who’d been busily throwing her weight around the ARC in their absence had insisted on giving it a little while longer to either stabilise or disappear before sending a science team to take any readings. She had over-ruled her ex-husband’s desire to take yet more readings over there and eventually, he’d allowed her to have her own way for once. But he’d demanded to be told if it stabilised ling enough to make the two hour road trip worthwhile.

On their return to the ARC from east London, the soldiers had headed for their bunkroom leaving Nick Cutter and Stringer to collaborate on a report for Leek while Stephen and Abby both went off to get some rest.

Connor had drunk far too much coffee to make sleep a viable prospect, so he’d taken up his accustomed place in front of the ADD and started to run some diagnostics whilst keeping an eye on any developments in the Forest of Dean. One check had run into another, leading to the consumption of more coffee and half a packet of chocolate biscuits. Now, a couple of hours later, he was tired but still far too wired for sleep. And if the last two hours was anything to go by, the bloody siren would only go off as soon as he’d got his head down, so he might as well just stay on station and wait for the next false alarm.

He yawned again and rubbed his eyes. A few minutes downtime wouldn’t do any harm.

8.05am. Science Labs. Anomaly Research Centre.

“Take a break, ma’am,” Blade said quietly.

Since their conversation on the other side of an anomaly two days ago, Annie Morris had worked unrelentingly and, in his opinion, the professor was pushing herself too hard. She had still been hard at work in her lab when the full anomaly alert had sounded at 1.30a. For a moment, Blade had thought she would want to accompany the field team out to take some more readings, but to his surprise she’d simply asked Connor to notify her if he noticed anything unusual and then gone back to analysing the data they’d already collected. Since Helen’s bombshell about the funding for the physics research being cut, Annie had insisted on working almost around the clock to finish her projects and the strain was starting to show.

She turned to him and smiled tiredly. “I’m fine, Niall. This isn’t the first time I’ve worked through the night and I doubt it’ll be the last.”

He debated pointing out that she was no longer in the first flush of youth, but decided against it. No woman liked to be reminded of her age, and he didn’t think Annie Morris was any exception to that rule, but the dark shadows under her eyes told their own story.

“Can I get you anything?” he asked.

She mustered a bright smile that made him long to reach out and stroke the grey hair that fell around her face in soft waves. “A cup of tea would be nice, dear.”

“One cup of tea coming up.”

The small kitchen used by the military contingent and the security guards was closer to the science labs than the one used by the civilians. Its only occupant was Sergeant Miller, dressed casually in track suit bottoms and an old tee-shirt. He glanced at Blade, his trademark sneer firmly in place. The man was out of uniform and Special Forces were notoriously casual, so Blade saw no reason to stand on ceremony. If Miller wanted to pull rank, Blade would salute, but frankly the man looked half-asleep, so he doubted there would be a problem.

Blade still didn’t understand how the hell Helen Cutter had been able to create her replicas, and more importantly, neither did Annie Morris. Nor did they even know whether the man himself actually knew that he’d been copied, but either way, Blade didn’t trust Miller as far as he could throw a something-big-o-saurus. The guy was trouble with a capital T and after what had been done to Ryan it would only take half an excuse for Blade to happily repaint the walls with Miller’s blood.

Miller pushed past him carrying a mug of coffee and then sprawled out in one of the worn chairs, picking up a dirty magazine that had been left behind on the stained coffee table. The sergeant belched, scratched his balls and started to flip through the pictures of what looked like an improbably big-breasted woman taking it up the arse from a tattooed bloke hung like a horse while another one was making sure his dick got closely acquainted with her tonsils. It looked like it was about par for the course for Miller’s preferred reading material.

By the time Blade had finished making the tea, Miller had one hand stuffed down the front of his pants and was definitely doing more than just scratching an itch. From what Blade could see, the sergeant wasn’t in any hurry to go on duty.

Blade snaffled the last of the biscuits from a tin and made his way back down to Annie’s lab with two mugs of tea. He was pleased to see that the professor had taken a break from her calculations long enough to turn one of her computer screens onto a news channel.

8.10am. Sir James Lester’s Private Rooms. Anomaly Research Centre.

Lester poured himself a mug of strong coffee. He seemed to have spent most of the night awake, disturbed by the ADD siren on just about every occasion when he’d been about to fall back asleep. By 5.30am, he’d given up any attempt at sleeping and had got up, showered and dressed. He was still unused to putting on anything other than a suit in the ARC, but he drew the line at wearing work clothes when he was likely to be doing nothing more than sitting around again and getting bored.

The clothes he’d worn on his last night alone with Ryan were still draped over the laundry basket. On impulse, Lester picked up the old cashmere sweater and inhaled deeply, half-believing that he could still smell Ryan on it. Tears pricked his eyes and he clenched his hands hard in the soft material. He still had no clear idea of what had happened to his lover, but he was clinging desperately to the hope that Ryan was still alive.

When he’d said his goodbyes to Ryan, his lover had had an angry red, self-inflicted burn in the shape of Lester’s initials on the inside of his wrist. But the body Lester had seen on the floor of the lower corridor only minutes after hearing the sound of shots had possessed no such blemish. On that slender thread hung all his hopes.

As he drank the coffee, Lester was still turning over in his mind the ramifications of what he’d learned from Leek the previous day. He hadn’t been entirely surprised to learn that Helen Cutter had murdered her counterpart. The woman was clearly not what could be described as stable. After a perusal of the contents of the notebook – or at least the sections he had been able to decipher, as her handwriting was even worse than her ex-husband’s – he had come to the same conclusion as Leek and Thomson. If the sharks in Downing Street realised the full potential of the technology Helen appeared to have access to, they would think nothing of handing the ARC to her on a plate, neatly wrapped in gold foil and with a sprig of holly on top.

She had no doubt dropped sufficient hints to ensnare the Home Secretary at the very minimum and had obviously expected that to have been enough to have landed her the director’s job, but at the end of the day it looked like she hadn’t been trusted enough for that. But the position as head of science hadn’t been the prize she’d been after. According to Thomson, her tendency towards mayhem was rather too pronounced to gain the approval of his superiors. The words loose cannon had been used about her even more than about her ex-husband. Or rather her counterpart’s husband, who probably had no idea that he was no a widower, courtesy of this universe’s Helen Cutter..

Lester shook his head. The thought of two universes was mind-boggling but the thought of two Nick Cutters really was more than any sane person could bear.

It had come as no particular surprise to Lester when Leek had told him that Helen had returned from a meeting at the Home Office with the news that the funding for Annie Morris’s research had been a casualty of the latest round of cuts. His old friend was now almost certainly running herself ragged in the short time left to her, trying to finish her research into the twinned anomalies, something Lester had to admit made little sense to him, but according to Annie, identifying such anomalies when they occurred was the key to returning Nick Cutter to his own world, whilst hopefully exchanging him for the one they were meant to have.

The biggest surprise for Lester had been Thomson effectively throwing in his lot with Leek and conspiring to keep the knowledge gained from the notebook to themselves whilst trying to decide who else could be trusted with the information. It appeared that both Leek and Thomson were intending to exonerate him from any suspicion of sabotage and if Lester had read the situation correctly, Leek even seemed to favour Lester’s return to the director’s job. Having achieved the power that he’d coveted for so long, it seemed that the so-called top job wasn’t exactly to Leek’s liking after all.

As Lester had always told his children, there really was no substitute for learning things the hard way.

8.13am. The Atrium. Anomaly Research Centre.

Connor turned away from his virus scan for a moment to glance at the 24 hour news channel showing on one of the monitors. The days when they’d relied on the emergency channels coupled with news reports on television and radio to alert them to possible anomalies were long gone, but old habits died hard.

He wasn’t surprised to discover that all that seemed to be going on was yet another round of recriminations over the state of the economy interspersed with coverage of what looked like a lorry that had got jammed in between two houses. According to the newsreader, the driver had been following his sat. nav. rather than his common sense.

“Is everything in order, Mr Temple?”

Connor jumped violently, kicking his coffee mug over in fright, spilling the dregs across the table, but fortunately not depositing them on one of his keyboards. He had no idea how anyone wearing what looked like size ten combat boots had been able to creep up on him like that, but Thomson had managed it. Connor swung round in his chair and looked up at the man warily, glad that he’d emptied his bladder not that long before or the coffee wouldn’t have been the only liquid he had to contend with.

“F… fine, thanks,” he stuttered. “I was just running some c… checks.”

Thomson’s answering smile reminded him of something out of Jaws. “I take it there are no more uninvited visitors in the system?”

Connor shook his head emphatically, glad of the fact that the rest of the Anomaly Research Centre was now starting to come alive, so at least he wouldn’t be alone with the Section 42 captain for much longer. The guy scared the crap out of him and so did that tame gorilla of his. Connor had seen Miller on the CCTV a few minutes ago, heading in the direction of the armoury, no doubt intending to rub himself off against some heavy artillery or something equally lethal. Just the sight of Miller in his black uniform had been enough to send a shiver down his spine. The bruises on his back left behind by the strapping he’d received from Miller might have faded, but the memory of the pain he’d endured certainly hadn’t.

“Everything’s fine,” he repeated.

A sudden series of bleeps wrenched his attention away from Thomson, and Connor’s heart rate suddenly rocketed. No, everything wasn’t bloody fine; everything was suddenly very far from being fine indeed. And it was just his bad luck that Thomson would have to be looming over him when his life turned to rat shit.

“Mr Temple?” The tone was politely inquisitive but still managed to make him feel like the man was applying thumbscrews at the same time.

“No problem…” Connor lied as his fingers danced over the keyboard. He’d spoken to bloody soon. Something was trying to breach his firewalls and he needed to make sure that it didn’t get past his outer defences. “Just something I need to check…”

He’d laid enough tell-tales in both the ADD itself and the security systems to make it obvious if anyone was attempting to gain unauthorised entry. The SOS signal that was now bleeping at him via the main terminal and also his mobile phone had been designed to alert him to a problem if one arose. But he hadn’t expected it to happen when the scariest man in the ARC was standing behind him.

“You didn’t think that noise through, did you, Temple?” Thomson said quietly. “That’s rather an obvious signal, isn’t it? Now stop panicking, turn those sodding bleeps off and tell me what the hell is happening.”

“Someone’s trying to get into the system,” Connor admitted, abandoning any pretence of a cover-up as he grabbed his phone and switched off the alarm before doing the same to the noise coming from the ADD. He pressed a button on the intercom and said as calmly as he could, “Ali Khan to the control centre…” adding, “…as quick as you can, mate…”

A moment later, the ADD alarm sounded, blaring out of every speaker in the building.

“Is it genuine?” Thomson demanded.

Connor glanced at the screens and tried to work out whether the alert was genuine or something tied to the cyber-attack that had just been launched. “Yes… no… I don’t know!”

Ali Khan entered the atrium at a run and skidded into the seat next to Connor. At exactly that moment another half a dozen flashes on the ever-present map of the UK on one of the screens flared into life and the technician’s eyes widened in shock.

Connor shot him a grateful glance. “Check that lot out, mate. I’m not convinced they’re kosher. Someone’s just taken a battering ram to the firewalls.” He could hear more running footsteps and swivelled around in his chair to look up at Thomson. “I don’t want the world, his wife and the dog breathing down my neck. Keep everyone out of here until I know what’s going on… please,” he added as an afterthought, as the realisation dawn on him that he’d just given what amounted to an order to Thomson.

Thomson flashed him a grin that made the man look almost human for a moment. “Well done, Temple, that backbone suits you.” The captain switched channels on his radio and announced over the tannoy system, “All personnel to remain where you are. Do not, I repeat not, make your way to the atrium. The system is undergoing testing. Await further orders.”

With Ali Khan at his side, Connor had the back-up he needed to concentrate on what the hell was happening to his systems. As far as he could tell, the intrusion prevention systems were holding, but it looked like the network was under attack from just about every conceivable angle. Multiple access requests were bombarding the servers, threatening to overload them, and from Ali’s mutters, it looked like something had sneaked in under the wire and was triggering anomaly alerts, but his fear was that somewhere in the chaos, a genuine alert would go unnoticed.

In the midst of everything else, the phone line used by the field teams for communication with the command centre in the ARC started bleeping. Connor pulled his headset on, punched a button to take the call and announced, “Bit busy at the moment, mate.”

“Hughes here,” one of the soldiers on duty at the Forest of Dean anomaly told him. “Just wanted to let you know that the professor is on his way back. He left about an hour ago. I couldn’t let you know earlier as we lost comms for a while and the mobile signal here’s as shitty as ever.”

“But he’s…” Connor bit back the words he’d been about to say. Cutter had been asleep in one of the bunkrooms an hour ago. He certainly hadn’t been in the Forest of Dean.

Trying to appear casual, Connor quickly brought up the feed from the security cameras, flicking from one to the next as fast as he could. He saw Blade on his way back from one of the kitchens carrying two mugs of tea, Miller prowling one of the lower corridors, Abby curled up on one of the bunks fast asleep, Norman in one of the rec rooms reading a newspaper, and finally Stephen and Cutter in a bunk-room, both asleep. Nope, Cutter was definitely not somewhere on a motorway between the Forest of Dean and the ARC. Or at least this particular Nick Cutter wasn’t.

His heart racing uncomfortably in his chest, Connor dragged his scattered wits together and replied to the soldier, “Great, thanks for letting me know.”

It looked very much like the shit was hitting the fan in more ways than one but he didn’t have time to worry about that particular development. He was waging all out war on someone trying to gain control of his systems.

“Cover my back, Ali,” Connor muttered. “This is going to get dirty…”

Oblivious now to what was going on around him, Connor concentrated on what needed to be done. Protecting the system that he’d constructed from scratch.

When it came to computers, Connor knew he was the best, but he had a nasty feeling even his skills were about to be tested to the limit.

Date: 2012-06-27 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Eeeeeee! Don't stop now!
I want to know what's going to happen next, and I want to know now! *whines*

Oops, sorry, just let myself go there for a moment.
Awesome tension builidng chapter.

Date: 2012-06-28 06:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*g* Thanks :)

Date: 2012-06-27 07:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Brilliant - loads of tension! And two Cutters - eek!

Date: 2012-06-28 06:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
LOL, it had to happen eventually.

Date: 2012-06-27 07:20 pm (UTC)
ext_27141: (Connor Mission Control)
From: [identity profile]
Clone/doubles all over the shop! Because I don't think that was the real Miller Connor saw on the camera feeds... And who is this other Cutter, I wonder?

The shit is most definitely hitting the fan!

Date: 2012-06-28 06:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*g* I was wondering who would notice that.

Date: 2012-06-27 07:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really like all the developments in the different locations.

Connor at the security cameras........ things are starting to fall into place

Great stuff.

And at the heart of it all, Lester as we so know and love him: "As Lester had always told his children, there really was no substitute for learning things the hard way."

But this line is a gem:"Connor had seen Miller on the CCTV a few minutes ago, heading in the direction of the armoury, no doubt intending to rub himself off against some heavy artillery or something equally lethal."
Edited Date: 2012-06-27 08:12 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-28 06:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! The time stamped locations were necessary, but a real headache to get right!

Date: 2012-06-27 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMG! This is just so good. You go Connor! It's your system so don't let the bastards get past you! Also, another Cutter? Is this the correct one or one of Helen's clones? After all, she needs more control if she's going to take over and a Nick Cutter in her pocket would help immensly. Very well done!

Date: 2012-06-28 06:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Connor will certainly do his best.

Date: 2012-06-27 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Connor wired by coffee!!

Cutter clones!!

Lester sniffing Ryan's scent!!

It's all happening. Brilliant!!

Date: 2012-06-28 06:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It certainly is all happening!

Date: 2012-06-27 08:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh desr, I fear Lester's sanity is about to be strained to its limits! Two Cutters?

Is it next week yet?

Date: 2012-06-28 06:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He'll end up with a migraine!

Date: 2012-06-27 09:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay for Lester and for Leek and Thompson telling him what's going on.

All actiony and why do I think Helen's behind the second Cutter (poor Lester *g*).

*purrs* Is the next part up yet?

Date: 2012-06-28 06:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It is always yay for Lester! YAY!

Date: 2012-06-28 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Definitely! Yay Lester!

Date: 2012-06-27 09:37 pm (UTC)
fififolle: (Primeval - Connor *faints*)
From: [personal profile] fififolle
OMG! Whats going on? The old baddie Cutter back in action? Wow.

Thomson flashed him a grin that made the man look almost human for a moment. “Well done, Temple, that backbone suits you.”
What a lovely moment :D

Poor Lester, and his sweater *wibble*
and lovely Blade moment *happysigh*

Can't wait for more!

Date: 2012-06-28 06:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*g* You and Muchkin think alike. She liked that bit with Thomson as well.

Date: 2012-06-28 07:02 am (UTC)
fififolle: (fifi - easily distracted by tanks)
From: [personal profile] fififolle
I will now have to go back through the whole series and see if he has any sex scenes. *shallow* *terrible memory*

Date: 2012-06-28 07:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Chapter 41, he rapes Becker
Chapter 59, gets a blowjob off Matt Rees.

Date: 2012-06-28 07:20 am (UTC)
fififolle: (Primeval - Fred's Fangirls)
From: [personal profile] fififolle

Date: 2012-06-27 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod! *Bites nails* That was super intense. TWO CUTTERS! What is Helen up to now? Or is that one Cutter returning to his rightful place? Hmmmm... So much mystery and intrigue!

Oh I LOVED this chapter. It starts off all quiet and then BAM! Brilliance!

Oh, and good for Connor giving Thomson orders. I think that was one of my all time favorite interactions between those two. Including Thomson's response. :-D


EDIT: Forgot to mention this bit: it would only take half an excuse for Blade to happily repaint the walls with Miller’s blood.

I FREAKING loved that. I wouldn't put it past Blade to literally carry that out. AWESOME! LOL!!!!
Edited Date: 2012-06-27 09:48 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-28 06:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you :)

I'm glad this one worked, as it really is the beginning of the end now.

Just so you know, there are 7 more parts to go. And the final arc from when we started posting again in April has ended up as 20 parts.

Date: 2012-06-27 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Edited Date: 2012-06-27 09:58 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-28 06:57 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-27 10:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh, two Cutters - is it a clone, or is it the other one coming back?
Tension is building nicely :-)

Date: 2012-06-28 06:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you!

Date: 2012-06-28 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Not the best of days for Connor.I hope he can keep the intruders out of the system.
With the Cutter of this universe on his way to the ARC it should get quite interesting.

Date: 2012-06-28 06:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He's doing his best!

Date: 2012-06-28 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll let the Pointer Sisters say it for me:

"I'm so excited and I just can't hide it
I'm about to lose control and I think I like it"

Date: 2012-06-28 06:58 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-28 02:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
TWO CUTTERS? NOW THERE'S TWO CUTTERS? I hope the new one is the real Cutter and he's going to get Helen! I hope I hope I hope...

Date: 2012-06-28 06:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We'll see how right you are in due course...

Date: 2012-06-28 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
2 Cutters? This could get very messy very quickly. Poor Connor has his hands full.

Date: 2012-06-28 06:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
LOL, yes, it could.

Date: 2012-06-28 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sitting on the edge of my seat, trembling with anticipation....

Date: 2012-06-28 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*pets you*

Date: 2012-06-28 07:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, that's a bit of a gobsmacker! Two Cutters? Clone or the original Helen's found and dragged into her Evil Plan? Can't wait to find out.

The thought of two universes was mind-boggling but the thought of two Nick Cutters really was more than any sane person could bear.

Hee! I think I could bear it! :-D

Date: 2012-06-28 11:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
LOL, I imagine you could!

Date: 2012-06-28 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Another great chapter

Date: 2012-06-28 08:49 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-29 03:42 pm (UTC)
celeste9: (priwrimo: connor/abby)
From: [personal profile] celeste9
Oh shit! The other Cutter's back! I'm biting my nails in anticipation! And considering Miller was having himself a nice wank (er... a very disgusting wank, more like *g*), I'm guessing that's another clone roaming around!

And poor Connor! I feel bad for enjoying his interactions with Thomson so much. Also, there was a very small wibble at Lester and his sweater.

Date: 2012-06-29 03:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Connor and Thomson make rather a fun double-act. *g*

Date: 2012-07-06 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ooh! Oooh! Connor being cunning!

Date: 2012-07-08 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He's certainly trying to be! And i suspect he might be suceeding!

Date: 2012-11-28 02:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Eeeep! What's happening? *runs for part 87*

BtW loved the countdown of where people are, what they're doing and all the while the tnsion builds, because you wouldn't include a clock if times weren't important!
Oh and two Nick Cutters in one ARC... eep!

Date: 2012-11-28 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There was no way I could think of doing this part of the final arc withou the time-stamping.


fredbassett: (Default)

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