"What do you mean, he's gone?" Quince's voice barked out of the mobile phone.
Simonds could here the anger in Quince's voice. "His clothes and documents are all gone. He obviously packed in a hurry."
Quince gave a short humorless laugh. "I didn't think Kingston had the guts to do it. Never mind. His lab still seems intact. That's all that matters."
"He's going to go to the authorities, and he'll be able to prove his story."
"It'll be a close run thing, but I still believe we can process the consignment before we have to leave. Remember, this final shipment will make you wealthy beyond your dreams."
Simonds looked around Kingston's apartment. "Do you want me to stay here in case he comes back?"
"No, he won't be back. We have all we need. Get back here. I want you to go over the schedule again."
Simonds left the apartment and headed back to his car. He unconsciously checked the small bottle in his pocket. It contained a dose of the DNA virus. He had spent a very surreal night choosing a new form with Quince. His boss had no intention of spending the rest of his life as a wanted drug smuggler. Quince and Simonds would split the proceeds of this final run of restricted drugs for the black market and then go their separate ways.
Quince would get the lion's share of the takings, but what Simonds would get would set him up for life. He found the idea of having a different body very strange, but he realised the necessity for such an extreme disguise. It was based on a well-built male over fifteen years younger than Simonds.
He found Quince in Michael Kingston's lab. His boss was going through the notes Kingston had left behind. "Simonds, look at this. Kingston has found a way to reverse the effects of the virus."
This was news to Simonds. "How?"
"He boosted the strength of the virus. The stronger virus can replace the ordinary-strength viruses."
"That's great. So the process can be repeated at least once more."
"Not quite," said Quince. "The stronger virus has a good chance of breaking down the subject's body structure. On the tests he did here, Kingston thinks the survival rate of exposure to the second virus is only thirty percent."
"Bill isn't going to be happy with that." replied Simonds. "He can't wait to dump the black body you gave him."
"Don't tell him then. It either works or it kills him, I don't particularly care either way." Quince put the notes down. "We'll be receiving the shipment tonight, and I'd like to get rid of the other loose end before then."
"Paul Roberts." stated Simonds.
"Yes." Quince lifted a vial of the stronger-strength DNA virus. "We can test this at the same time."