23:56:22 Somebody rings the doorbell firmly. I freeze in front of my console. The molecular model continues to rotate on the screen in solemn silence. "Police, open up!" Panic: time for my escape plan. I had never really thought I would need it, it had been more of a delightful paranoid intellectual game with my friends to come up with the steps. But now I need it - desperately.

23:56:27 With adrenaline shaking fingers I quickly start the script that will encrypt all my files and attempt to hide them; as long as I'm not caught and forced to reveal the password the evidence should be secure. I throw on my lightweight wearable and the backpack hidden beneath my bed, grab the nanolab in its black attaché case (darn! forgot the connectors to the computer; hope the noise wasn't loud enough to alert the people outside the door) and climb out through the window to the ledge outside. The wind ripples my thin shirt. This is the only physically dangerous part of the plan, and I am determined not to think of what will happen if I slip and fall down to the street 12 stories below. I try to close the window (the whole plan hinges on them not realizing where I have gone for at least 20 seconds after storming the apartment) and nearly drop the case - I'm not sure what I would do if I lost it. Probably jump myself.

23:56:58 I quickly crawl in behind the grating to the air shaft; all the trouble of unscrewing it has paid back. Dust. The wearable shifts over to light amplification mode. A small pop-up window tells me that my apartment door was breached 8 seconds ago. I'm still ahead of schedule. Now for the tricky part: getting out of the building while the police is pouring in. They are likely already scanning through all the available security cameras and sensors, but my system is doing some creative editing with reality (the ordinary police is notoriously easy to fool). But if they notice any discrepancies things will get nasty.

23:57:40 I'm choking on dust but I'm finally at my destination: the elevator motor room in the next stack of apartments. The window reporting from my apartment has gone blank, somebody has figured out that my security system was feeding its information to the Net. Bad. Hurriedly I put on a fake leather coverall and a cap marked KinkyDeath in eye-hurting crimson - better to hide in plain sight. I leave the backpack behind (the darn case cannot be hidden, let's hope everybody will think I'm a drug dealer) and leave. Right on schedule. The maintenance corridor is empty, and I quickly rush down the emergency stairs towards the floor below. Then an uneventful elevator ride, a carefully curious-but-not-wanting-to-get-involved style walk around the police cars around the next entrance, and then the subway. I open the door to the eleventh floor.

23:59:06 SHIT! They are waiting for me in front of the elevators. Three men in ordinary clothing but a cold assurance that tells me immediately that they are definitely not garden variety cops. Europol? One simply says "freeze", almost like a formality. The others have their hands inside their jackets - I know they could kill me before I could even turn the corner or slam the door shut.

23:59:07 I stall for time. I drop the case and slowly raise my hands in the air, while desperately trying to get the sequence right. A feeling of green, a slight twitch in the toe, the word "wine". Reuben told me it was designed to be easier for the system to recognize when I was under great stress, but the pattern seems to slip between my mental fingers. Green, toe, wine. EEG COMMAND NOT RECOGNIZED again and again. "Remove the wearable". Green, toe, wine. EEG COMMAND NOT RECOGNIZED. I try to move my hand as slowly as I can while not appearing to stall - this is it. They watch me, no doubt looking for any hint of trickery. I touch the plastic. COMMAND ACCEPTED: ULTIMA. As I remove the glasses I catch a glimpse of a status display quietly scrolling messages: all my files are being erased. The agents move up to seize me. Inside the case the evidence is quietly corroding; in a few seconds it will be warm sludge. A month's work and equipment worth anything on the Market, but I'll be fine. I hope.