20/03/2014 – 7am

Hackney, London

Brett woke up in a coughing fit as her alarm rang. She blindly switched it off and reached out for the glass of water by her bedside. It was stale from the evening before but it cleared her throat, she settled back down in bed and rubbed her tired eyes, trying to force herself out of bed. She moaned when she realised what it was: another day of the World Health Organisation annual conference. She hated these things; doctors using malaria cures as chat up lines and conversations about the next flu epidemic as if it were a fashion statement. There was only one thing good about these conferences: Kannan Ali MD. She recalled the first time they met. It was her first abroad conference as her job as an interpreter and she wasn't used to the scorching temperatures of Egypt and suffered from heat stroke. Kannan looked after her for the rest of the conference and checked up on her every day. From then on, they looked forward to seeing each other each year. She eventually convinced herself to get out of bed and have a shower before getting dressed.

The ICO Conference Centre in Soho was down a leafy street, with the BT Tower standing above her. She flashed her ID card at a security guard and he opened the door for her. In the lobby, she saw Angie "Morning Angie," Brett smiled, tapping her on the shoulder "Waiting for the minister?"
"No, he's talking to the Americans or Canadians, can't tell the difference to be honest," Angie sighed.

"One are overweight, the other are polite and French," Brett smiled as they scanned their ID cards to enter the second set of doors.

"Slight stereotype."
"What are they going to do about it, hey?" Brett shrugged as she checked her watch "The first talk of the day starts soon, I'd better be off. We'll get coffee afterwards, yeah?"
"Sure, send me a text!" Angie waved, while she tapped away on her BlackBerry.

Brett jogged up the stairs to the interpreter's boxes that overlooked the main conference hall. She settled down at the desk and pulled on the headphones and microphone as doctors, officials and minister filed into the room below her. She knew she had some time to spare so pulled out her mobile phone. There was one message from Kannan: Want to get lunch this afternoon?

She replied: I'll meet you in the lobby at half 1. Starbucks?

The pinging noise from her handbag made her check her phone again. It was Kannan: Ok, see you later.