June 3rd, 2027 – New Candor Facility Genotech, 13:00
Perrin hid his face from view of the cameras as he stood in the elevator on his way down to Lab 3. The harsh, white lighting highlighted the pallidity of his skin, and would make him easily recognizable, if he wasn’t careful. Having only recently received clearance to be heading down to this level at all, he was considerably nervous to be using a false name. Add into that the fact that he was about to steal confidential, highly valuable material, one could understand why he was doubly nervous. He wiped the sweat off his brow, pushing back his auburn hair, but being sure to keep his face from view. The seconds ticked by as the elevator slowly made its way down. Two or three times Perrin almost talked himself out of it, but he stayed strong, the thought of the huge payout he would receive was more than enough motivation.
Maybe Genotech will learn to treat their interns better after they lose something this important, he thought bitterly as his mind strayed to the treatment he received from his superiors daily. He had earned his PhD for god’s sake, and they still treated him like an office assistant-slash-janitor.
“Perry, go get me a latte, and don’t mess it up like you did last time.”
“Perry, the downstairs toilet is clogged, can you get maintenance on it? Or just fix it yourself if you’re so smart.”
He ground his perfectly straight teeth as the elevator came to a stop. The doors opened with a metallic clank and Perrin was greeted by two surly looking guards.
“What are you doing down here?” The first one approached him, holding out his hand for Perrin’s badge. His employer had had the foresight to present him with a physical ID, but the guard’s intent examination had Perrin sweating once more. The man looked down at his picture and squinted slightly as he took in Perrin’s blue eyes and slightly stooped shoulders. Finally, he seemed to pass the guard’s inspection. Perrin had been right to assume that they wouldn’t even recognize him, even though he was sure he had seen these guys during their last shift at Genotech.
No one ever sees me, not here anyway, his bitterness returned, stamping out any residual nerves he felt.
“Dr. Carr asked me to grab some of his notes from the Lab. He’s in a meeting after lunch and needs to go over them before he talks to the board.” He hated using Evan’s name like that, the kid was one of the good ones, but just thinking the word ‘kid’ made him angry. Evan was also an intern and younger than him too, but he got to be down here with the big boys all day. Everyone called him Dr. Carr, no one insulted him by using his first name. Perrin had always been ‘Perry’ or ‘Hey, you, intern!’
Perrin made his way to the Lab and jabbed his thumb into the bio scanner at the door. He chuckled as the name populated with his picture beside it. David Smith stared back at him, Perrin’s face plastered onto a fake profile. They had told him his information would revert after the lunch hour was finished and he had no reason to doubt them.
The Lab was clean, everything a clinical white, with neatly organized grey, marble counter tops and specimens in cylindrical, covered cases along the edges of each desk. Along the back wall, there was a glass divider, a small area meant to house specimens as they observed behavioral traits during their various experiments. Perrin refused to look back there anymore, not after the last time. He shuddered at the memory of Genotech’s first primate trials and shook it off as he walked over to Dr. Jones’s desk and opened the case he was working on.
Just need one of these. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a mug they had given him. He unscrewed the base of the mug, as directed. Inside was a compartment he could use to carry the sample they had asked for. He had been told that the cup was lead-lined at the core and would look like a regular thermos during a security check. He carefully picked a sample out of Dr. Jones’s case and put it into the mug. As he was closing Jones’s case, he heard distant beeping as the bio-scanner activated. He slammed the case shut, struggling as it caught on the edge of the remaining sample before closing properly. He dove over to the nearest desk, yanking his phone from his white coat and grabbing a file off it as he righted himself. He was just quick enough to place the mug on the counter before him before the door opened, letting in one of the guards from earlier.
“You need help finding what you’re looking for buddy?” the big guard asked, taking a step into the Lab.
“No! No, I’m fine, I just got caught up sending a text message to Dr. Carr” Perrin casually put the phone in his pocket, his heart jackhammering as he willed it to settle down. Surely this guy could hear it? It was as loud as a drum in his own ears. He turned to the guard as he spoke, “I just need to make sure I’m grabbing the right file, this guy doesn’t know the meaning of ‘organized’.” He pretended to inspect the file in his hands and straightened up, “This looks like it. Wish me luck though, I really don’t want to get sent down here on my next break.” He shot the guard a charming grin as he made his way to the door. The guard, a younger man with sandy blonde hair and a smile Perrin was sure could make ice melt, grinned back at him.
“I hear ya buddy, sucks being the little guy, doesn’t it?” Perrin heard a chuckle escape his lips but saw red at the idea that this man thought of him as a ‘little guy’. He tucked the folder under his arm and casually grabbed his coffee mug off the table.
“Yea, tell me about it. I should probably take this for him too, he’s a beast without his coffee.” The guard nodded and smiled slightly at that. Perrin followed him out of the lab and was escorted down the hall, where the other guard stood at the elevator. He boarded the elevator, careful to duck his head from the camera’s view and waved jauntily at them as the doors closed, his blond friend waved back, his grin almost goofy. Once he was alone, Perrin sagged against the wall, always ensuring that his face wasn’t visible to the cameras above.
$500,000, wow! He grinned as he looked at the non-descript mug in his hands. All I need to do is hand this off upstairs! Life was looking up.
Downstairs in Lab 3, the second sample chamber shattered in its case.