Truth Comes Out
It is May of two thousand and fifteen.
Barney joined Military Intelligence Six, when he finished at the university of Southampton. When he went to university, he chose to study science and maths.
Barney met Miles when Miles was looking for someone to help him with a bespoke project a few months ago, to design a algorithm to support a theory he had. Miles went to Barney’s line manager to ask him if he knew anyone in his department that could do him a favour. His line manager recommended Barney to help him with his dilemma. This happened a few times and so he and Barney built up a friendship, more than just a colleague.
Barney has been in the service for three years and his feet are starting to fall asleep. He feels that he is not being challenged enough with work. He also feels that his skill set and ability was under exploited. Six months ago, Barney was ready to leave the service altogether.
He sent his curriculum vitae to various recruitment agencies with his updated work experience and technical knowledge. While he started to look for a new role, Miles found out by chance when Barney asked him for a reference. So Miles offered him a promise of more responsibility and challenging projects by coming over to Military Intelligence Five.
Since changing service, he is a lot happier and as promised, been given more challenging projects. Barney’s and Miles’ friendship has strengthened as a result. They have a work relationship where they have banter and also serious conversation when appropriate.
Barney does not know that Miles wants him to be in his new agency, when he receives funding. Miles wants him to be involved in designing software for electronic keys to get into any secured building. Also to build a internal search engine to find information on companies of threat to the United Kingdom. He will be one of the first of the twenty staff to work in the new agency.
Barney has similar features to Jonah Hill who played a geek in Superbad. Barney has a similar hair style with the same thick curly hair like an afro and unshaven with a scraggly beard as a poor attempt. He is six feet tall. He has a thick Scottish accent because he is originally from Scotland.
His dress sense is kaki trousers, T-Shirt and zip-up hoody. He wears plimsoles for shoes.
In Barney’s personal life, he has a long-term girlfriend named Katherine, Kate for short. He and his partner are happily in love, with a lot in common.
They met three years ago when Barney first came to London from Southampton and when he went to Oktoberfest in Covent Garden. She has lived in London for four years after leaving Wales to study archaeology in London. She then found a career in one of the museums in London as a curator.
He is originally from Glasgow and she is originally from Pumsaint, Wales.
They share a rented flat in Brixton, not far from the London underground, behind the main roads.
Before he joined Military Intelligence Six, he signed up to a few recruitment agencies looking for work in the banking sector. He had no interest in working as a civil servant. One of the agencies put him forward for a role in Military Intelligence Six without his consent. He assumed it was for an information technology role in a townhall as a civil servant.
He was taught how to write code and picked it up quickly.
His current work is profiling people and creating software for new projects provided to him. He has to liaise with various departments to develop the end users’ requirements.
It is Monday evening, about seven o’clock. Barney is the one of the few left in the office besides Miles.
He is still in the office because his girlfriend is not at home herself in their rented flat. This is a regular event and so he would rather be in the office than at home alone.
He carries out his usual routine of calling his girlfriend at her place of work, using the office landline.
As he dials her landline number at work, he sighs from the tiredness, being as late as it is. His girlfriend answers the phone after four rings.
As he yawns he says, ‘Kate? I won’t be long. When are you getting ready to leave? Okay… no, I don’t have a girl sat on my desk, especially with her legs open. I will do a selfie to prove it. With her legs closed of course. How about you and your man, is he butt-naked again? Ha ha, don’t show me a selfie, I may get jealous. Ha ha. I am going to get going myself too. See you in about half an hour. No you hang up. No you hang up.’
This is quite normal for those two to talk to each other like this, when they are late at work. No one is around to listen in on their conversation.
While they are still on the phone, Miles creeps up on Barney, making him jump.
Miles laughs, ‘Is that your girlfriend? Still talking about your imaginary partners?’
After Barney jumps, he turns round to look at Miles, ‘Woah, stop eavesdropping on my phone sex.’
Miles is not phased by this, ‘Is that what you call it. Phone sex is not having a foursome or wife swapping.’ Barney gives him a glare, ’It is how we have phone sex. Wait. Why am I having this conversation with you?’
Miles ignores his last comment, ‘Shut up. I need a favour. Can you look up this person. I need everything as per usual by Thursday.’
He passes him a bit of paper with some personal details of the girl he met at the weekend.
Barney realises what he is asking, ‘Woah, this Thursday. I already have other deadlines.’
Miles was about to walk away, ‘This is more important. I need this person to help me with getting funding.’
Barney is curious, ‘What is so special about this person?’
Miles is honest with him, ‘I need her to start work for me. I have two and a half months left to get evidence for funding on a new agency. I don’t have time to waste getting clearance.’
Barney suspects that she is a marker, ‘Is she another contact? What did you promise her this time?’
Miles smiles, ‘I just asked her and she said yes. She did not ask for anything in return.’
Barney does not believe him and jokes with him, ‘Yeah, right. She didn’t ask for sex? Didn’t ask to be romanced? What is the catch with this girl?’
Miles does not show any expression, ‘She really wants to help. She is a genuine person.’
Barney wants to push him to fess up, ‘What, you didn’t kiss. Give a promise of being swept off her feet?’
Miles feels as if he can be read like a book, ‘We didn’t even kiss. She is a girl next door. She will do anything, just because. So are you okay for Thursday? I said I would call her on Thursday to arrange to meet up on Saturday.’
Barney thinks what today is, ‘Thursday?! I have a new code to write. I have girlfriend commitments.’
Miles knows he is asking the world and his mother, ‘I will chuck in an all-expenses paid for dinner for the both of you.’
Barney thinks about what he has just said, ‘Two dinners. And flowers. She likes flowers. Cash up front.’
Miles is opened-mouthed, ‘Two dinners? Cash up front? You drive a hard bargain.’
Barney does not back down, ‘I will do anything for you. Except no sexual favours. I am not into that.’
Miles points to himself, moving his arms up and down, ‘You see all this? You should be wanting.’
Barney doesn’t know how to take it, ‘Well? If you chuck in three dinners…?’
Miles banters, ‘Unbelievable.’
He walks away back to his office. Barney is still talking to him.
Barney continues, ‘Is the two dinners on the table still?! My girlfriend will go to bed with you for the three dinners!’
Miles just continues walking.
Barney gets home tired, chucking his man bag on the sofa. He can hear his girlfriend in the shower. He tries to watch television but he cannot stop thinking about the bit of paper Miles gave him. He digs into his pocket for that bit of paper.
He just sits there staring at the paper until his eyes go blurry. After a few minutes of umming and erring, he decides to start looking into her now. His girlfriend is going to go straight to bed anyway and he still needs winding down.
He went into the second bedroom where he has his desktop computer. He starts his computer up while thinking about what he will find. While the computer slowly whirls, he looks at the paper to decide what info to use for his search. He wonders how he is going to know if he has found the right person without a photo.
Once the computer is on, he opens up the internet to search for her name. Barney thinks that there is something different about this request. It is not a usual interest that Miles would ask him to look into. He goes on social media first to look up her name.
He thinks he has opened up a can of worms, as a long list of people with the same name comes up. This is a minefield for him. Not all of the names has a picture to look at either. He gives up on the idea of social media. He decides to get into the electoral registrar to look up the name. He narrows it down to the different councils in London. This is really helpful as there are only three with that name with their address. He then goes by the age of the person that Miles gave him, as a range between twenty-five and thirty-five. Only one of the three ages fitted within the age range.
Once he has the address, he thinks about social media again but instantly thinks about the DVLA, using the address from the electoral register. The reason is because the DVLA will have a picture of her. Bingo, Barney sees a picture of Miles’ contact. He confirms this by copying her picture and pasting inside the search engine field.
Barney is relieved to see her profile appear, showing her on Facebook and LinkedIn. He focuses on LinkedIn as this will confirm the person if her profile is an accountant. There will be a very low probability of two people with the same name being an accountant and both with bleached blonde hair. He has found Miles’ contact.
Barney goes into auto pilot, listing what he needs to do next, based on his own methodical process. His next step is to bring up her historical postings on Facebook. The reason why is so it helps Barney to create a map of her life and find who her friends are and family.
As he brings up her Facebook page, his girlfriend Kate appears at the door entrance of the bedroom. She has just come out of the bathroom wearing her towel, covering her body from her chest to her thighs. She is intrigued in Barney’s activity. She sees a picture of what Barney is working on.
She is taken aback by her appearance, ‘Who is that?’
Barney is startled as he turns his head round to look at Kate, ‘Woah, how long have you been standing there?’
Kate is still fixed on the screen of her Facebook page, ‘Who is she?’
Barney turns back to the monitor, ‘I am doing something for Miles. I am not ready for bed, so I thought I would quickly look up someone for him.’
Kate stares again at one of the pictures of her, ‘She is really pretty. Who is she?’
Again he is fixated with his research on her, ‘Someone of personal interest. Kate?’
She is tired and rubbing her eyes, ‘Yes?’
He is engrossed in his work when he says, ‘I will be finished in a sec.’
She walks away, ‘Yep. See you in bed soon.’ Knowing that he will be up for a few more hours.
He goes back to his methodical process, by taking the next step listing her Facebook friends, focusing on the regular friends that post up-to-date news. This heavily saves time having security do face-to-face interview with families and friends. Barney finds it easy to see natural pictures and comments to depict what a person is like.
He looks into her family links and sees that everything is normal there. He then looks at her friends’ links and sees that there is nothing out of the ordinary. He sees that both her family and friends are not in cults or supporting unethical beliefs. He then focuses on her, her photos, her appearances. He is interested in how she carries herself in her social photos. The reason being, is that this is what normal security does, obviously is greater detail. Like his employers, he is not interested in silly things like pole dancing on a bar or throwing up in the street.
Her picture with a group of friends on a night out, strikes him. It makes him look at another similar picture to see if she looks the same. He instantly sees a potential pattern. This is why Miles asked him to do the work. He looks at another four pictures and his assumption is proven right.
He is finding himself being drawn to her looks, and he can now see what Kate could see. Barney is not creating any feelings for her but he is starting to see something. He notices that she does not leave any messages on her social page. He wants to prove his theory by finding her medical records.
As he gets into the National Health Service database,
he uses her personal details. It does not take him long to find her records with Miles’ notes and his own findings via the electoral roll and DVLA.
The details on her record confirms his suspicion. Everything in the electronic file supports his assumption. He decides to download all his findings on his computer, then email to his work. He feels that he does not need to allocate any more time to this. He thought it would take him a lot longer to gather the intel.
It is gone three o’clock in the morning and he needs to be in work for eight. He cannot believe the time has flown by. He switches off his desktop computer and goes to bed.
As he is lying with his girlfriend, spooning her, he just lies with his eyes open thinking of her and her background. His girlfriend stirs a little, pulling his arm round her stomach and falls back to sleep.
Barney has now finished gathering the immediate pictures of her in various situations. He is now interested in her educational background and work. He looks at her educational background first and hacks into the university she stated on her social media account. He searches the server of the university to see what grades she received. There is nothing of interest and he is not surprised she had good results. Barney starts to build up a picture of her character as being a academic and not so good as a social person. She does not wear any make-up which suggests she is very introvert. He also hacks into the school and college she attended that she stated on her social media. He focuses on the grades she was given. All seemed consistent confirming that she was naturally intelligent. He found it bizarre that a naturally pretty blonde girl would have so much intelligence. It does not fit with the genre stereotype.
It gave him an idea, and he next checked to see her medical records. He had an idea and wanted to prove his theory. He has a hunch, based on what he had observed when she was at school and college. After hacking into the National Health Service mainframe computer server, he was able to find her records based on her picture held on her records. The information he was looking for proved him right. But he did not imagine what he was going to see next.
The records state that she was on anti-depressants for a number of years starting when she finished school, going on to college and part way through university until she stopped making repeat prescriptions. He also read that she had a sporting injury during her school education. She also had scans of damage to her genitals at an age when she would have been at school still.
Barney could go no further. He stops there and decides to finish downloading the information he has reviewed and then go to bed. It is gone two o’clock in the morning now and he has to be up in six.
Barney has not finished doing his research on her. What he looked up last night was a preliminary check that is standard for him. The next two days is to look up her friends to get an idea what her character is like overall. They say that you attract people that are like you.
This time he decides to continue his data collection after hours at work. He giving himself a couple of hours over Tuesday and Wednesday night for Thursday. Also it gave him and his girlfriend time alone in the evenings rather than annoying her by working late at home.
The information he found on her friends honed in on four main friends from university. It does not appear that she made any long-term friends at school or college. However, she had friendship links on her social media that looked like were from her school and college past. Barney has concluded this by noticing that they did not go to the same university and none of the pictures feature them anywhere. Barney was good like this, focusing on the person’s character, building on their personality and their habits. Once he was happy with the search on her friends and pictures of her friends’ partners, husbands and any kids, his final search was on her family and what she does outside of work. He is able to do this by getting hold of her mobile phone records and getting the names of the owners to the telephone numbers on her phone bill. Also the texts from her network provider. He notices that the mobile phone records shows she mainly texts, and they are to her siblings.
He finished spending Tuesday night exhausting her circle of friends and spends the Wednesday night reviewing her mobile calls and texts. He builds up a picture that she speaks to her siblings every couple of weeks and the dialogue between her siblings are the usual conversations about life and tribulations. The texts are about arranging times to meet up and gossips. The gossips are mainly from her friends, based on how the dialogue goes in the texts. It takes him till midnight to finish collating the relevant samples of her mobile contents.
Barney now has a well-rounded idea of this person. He could comfortably bump into her and make a conversation with the knowledge on her and push the right buttons. This is what Miles wants, so he can get her to do what he wanted in a work capacity. The government does not sanction misappropriation of civilians’ personal life. Miles would never use the information to take advantage of her or abuse his power. That is a instant sackable offence and is not his character. It is now waiting for tomorrow to come to show Miles his findings in a file with her name on it.
It is Thursday afternoon, when Miles is finally freed up for the rest of the day from morning meetings which is a part of his current role. He now able to see Barney, so he can find out what he has found out about his potential employee. Miles feels excited that Barney has found out a lot about her, that will be positive and useful.
Barney feels that the information may not be what Miles wants to hear and know about. He feels that Miles will be disappointed with his opinion he will have to give.
He is not nervous at all, as it is a part of his job description and he does this day-in day-out.
Miles walks up to Barney’s desk to ask him to go to his office for the information collated. Barney finishes mid-flow writing a software code for a new project, and grabs his printout of her details in a file.
Once he is in his office, Barney puts the file on his desk for him to open. Miles stands behind his desk looking at the closed folder.
Miles looks nervous, ‘That is a look of “I don’t think you will like this.” Will I be disappointed?’
Barney pauses, ‘She is damaged goods. But she will be good for the new agency. Do you want the sugar coating or the salt?’
Miles sits down to brace himself, ‘I will take the salt. So long as there is lime and Tequila.’
Barney ignores his humour while he sits down, ‘She is smart, intelligent, but…’
Miles is anxious, ‘Just spit it out.’
Barney just comes out with it, ‘She was bullied as a child which caused her to take anti-depressants. Look in the folder. The picture under the first bit of paper.’
Miles opens the file and slides the top page to see the picture. He is shocked with what he finds.
Barney can see his expression of disgust, ‘Yeah. The bruising is superficial. She suffered a broken rib, internal bleeding in her abdomen and she was in hospital for a week. That was not the worst part. She had heavy swelling in her groin area. From police records, she said she was kicked in the area three times. Based on the medical pictures, this wasn’t a case of “oops, it was an accident”.’
Miles is still shocked, ‘If you were to see her, she is pretty.’
Barney continues, ‘I know. I took the liberty of finding out what she looks like now. No one gets back up and walks away unscathed. She was bullied before that.’ Miles looks up.
Barney gives statistics, ‘Do you know that bullying is one of the number of causes of suicide. One in three children will kill themselves by the age of fifteen. By the age of forty-five, one in ten will kill themselves. I am surprised she is still here. Her records show she was on anti-depressants. She should still be, but she stopped.’
Miles asks for his opinion, ‘Will she be a liability?’
Barney is no expert, ‘She is still suffering. Look at the photos of her in each pose.’
Miles suddenly sees what Barney sees, ‘Her eyes say it all. She is looking down in each photo staring into space. She looks in pain. She is smiling but there is hurt behind those lines. Maybe get her to do this one thing, then let her go.’
Barney gives Miles a ‘good luck with that one’ look, ‘She will fall for you. Give it three months. You tell her that you are just friends. Your looks, she will have her heart broken. No matter how clean you keep it, she will fall for you. She will see you are single.’
Miles ponders while Barney gives him an analysis of a projected forecast. He does not see what he predicts. Miles feels that he is too professional to give anyone the impression of fancying him. His new project needs the money. He has no time to look around as he will only have two months and a week to get a presentation done on four companies.
Miles says to Barney, ‘I will make it clear. I will keep it strictly professional. Besides, between me and you, I have a two year-relationship. I plan to get engaged after my new agency receives finding. So I cannot afford to allow that to happen.’
Barney is still not convinced, ‘I am just here giving my own opinion. You need her to be assessed by a medical doctor or a shrink, for a professional opinion.’
Miles has made his made up already, ‘No need. Get the reports. Let her go. I need more than one of her. So no need for an assessment. I will meet her in public areas and just discuss work.’
Barney is still not convinced and stands up to leave. He lets Miles keep his findings and leaves him sat his desk, pondering over the printouts of his investigation.
The profiling that Barney made on her, left a reminiscence of her in his memories. He felt empathy towards her about what she could be going through. He cannot get the image out of his mind of her bruised body when she was sixteen. It makes him think what that could have done mentally to her. In his mind, he compares her features from when she was a schoolgirl to now. He feels that she changed from an ordinary duck to a beautiful swan.
He was not falling for her looks as he knew that Kate was the only one for him. He could not deny her beauty and wondered why she is not in a long-term relationship or married with children.
He never thought any more of her after walking out of his office, leaving the paperwork with Miles. Miles never came back to him on the matter. Barney would ask him how the liaison was going, but it would be brief and matter of fact. The truth about her demons never came out in conversation. He doesn’t think Miles has bothered to show any further interest in it.
It is now October of two thousand and fifteen. He finally gets to meet her when she joins the agency. He is surprised as Miles had told him that he would let her go.
Barney knew that she was starting today as human resources told him, that he had to assign her a key card.
Barney sees her come out of the lift with one of the female HR staff. She has her hair down, shoulder-length. He didn’t realise how short she was. He thought the pictures he found of her, on social media did her justice. He is watching the lady introduce her to all the other staff already working for the agency. She is smiling and polite to everyone. You would not think she was depressed. She looks happy-go-lucky.
After about half an hour, the woman from human resources finishes introducing her to everyone. Barney has been periodically looking over his computer monitor at his new work colleague. When they eventually walk over to him, he pretends to be engrossed in his work. He is nervous now as he knows everything about her. He is worried he will say something that he would not have known.
The HR woman comes over with her and gets his attention, ‘Barney, do you have a few moments?’
Barney pretends to be startled, ‘Oh, hi. Didn’t realise you were in front of me. How can I help?’
The HR woman wants to be back at her office quickly, ‘This is Jane Knight. Jane, I will leave you in the capable hands of Barney. Once you are done with Jane, can you send her to Miles?’
Barney smiles at both of them, ‘Yes. No problem.’
The woman smiles at Jane and then briskly walks back to the elevator. Now it is just the two of them. Barney cannot believe how blue her eyes are. They are almost dark and piercing. Her photos do not do her justice. Barney feels star-struck and nervous, knowing her whole life story. Jane just smiles, waiting for him to start the conversation. Barney realises that she is not going to start the conversation.
Barney quickly breaks the silence, ‘Right. I have finished what I am doing. I am the guy who is going to sort out your key card to get you in the building and this floor. I will need to first take your photo.’
Jane waits for him to guide her where to stand. Barney gets up from his seat and helps her to get into position.
Jane is wondering if her position is okay, ‘Can you see me okay?’
Barney looks at his monitor and sees she is in position, ‘Yep. Just a… moment. There. Done. Give me a second for the card to print.’
Jane appears nervous and blurts out, ‘You been here long?’
Barney is fixated by her looks, ‘Erm… over three years now.’
Jane goes quiet looking around, not knowing what to say next. The white key card comes out of the printer with her face on top and her name.
Barney grabs the card to look at, ‘That is perfect. The card gets you in the main building and this floor.’
Jane takes the card from him, ‘What if I need to go to the toilet?’
Barney looks at the direction of the toilet and wonders if she is joking or not, ‘You will have to hold it till you go home.’
Jane is stunned by his comment and looks straight at him, ‘Oh, I get it. Ha, ha. There are toilet facilities on this floor.’
Barney smiles, ‘Yes. There are. Ha, ha. Unless you want to use another floor.’
Jane feels embarrassed and looks down on the floor and then back at him, ‘That was a joke. Ha ha ha. Is that all?’
Barney is still gazing at her, ‘Yeah. If you have any technical issues, just come to me.’
Jane looks puzzled, ‘Right. Do you know where Miles’ office is? She told me I had to go and see him when you are done with me.’
Barney misreads the comment, ‘Sorry… Oh, I see what you mean. When I am done with you. As in finish getting your security guard.’
Jane smiles at him as she realises what she has just said, ‘Yeah. Not that.’
Barney puts on a serious face quickly, ‘Yeah. Just continue behind me. His office is the partitioned glassed office. See you around.’
Jane walks off and then realises her manners and turns round, ‘Ah, thanks. Yeah, see you around.’
Barney goes back to what he was doing.