She pricked up her ears when chief of staff Dr. Peter Teleborian was interviewed on TV. Salander had last seen him eight years earlier, in connection with the district court hearing regarding her declaration of incompetence. His brow was deeply furrowed and he scratched at a thin beard when he turned to the studio reporter with concern and explained that he was bound by confidentiality and thus could not discuss an individual patient. All he could say was that Salander's was an extremely complex case, that she required expert care, and that the district court, against his recommendation, had decided to place her under guardianship in society rather than give her the institutional care she needed. It was a scandal, Teleborian claimed. He regretted that three people had now paid with their lives as a result of this misjudgment, and he made sure to get in a few jabs at the cutbacks in psychiatric care that the government had forced through in recent decades.
Salander noted that no newspaper revealed that the most common form of care in the secure ward of the children's psychiatric hospital, for which Dr. Teleborian was responsible, was to place "unruly and unmanageable patients" in a room that was "free of stimuli." The room contained only a bed with a restraining belt. The textbook explanation was that unruly children could not receive any "stimuli" that might trigger an outburst.
When she grew older she discovered that there was another term for the same thing. Sensory deprivation. According to the Geneva Conventions, subjecting prisoners to sensory deprivation was classified as inhumane. It was a commonly used element in experiments with brainwashing conducted by various dictatorial regimes, and there was evidence that the political prisoners who confessed to all sorts of crimes during the Moscow trials in the 1930s had been subjected to such treatment.
As Salander watched Teleborian's face on TV, her heart became a little lump of ice. She wondered whether he still used the same disgusting aftershave. He had been responsible for what was defined as her care. Salander had rapidly come to the realization that an "unruly and unmanageable patient" was equivalent to one who questioned Teleborian's reasoning and expertise.
She had spent about half of her time at St.Stefan's strapped to the bed in the "stimulus-free" room.
Teleborian had never touched her sexually. He had never touched her at all, other than in the most innocent situations. On one occasion he had placed a hand on her shoulder as a warning when she lay strapped down in isolation.
She wondered if her teeth marks were still visible on the knuckle of his little finger.
The whole thing had developed into a vicious game, in which Teleborian held all the cards. Her defence had been to ignore him completely whenever he was in the room.
She was twelve when she was transported by two policewomen to St.Stefan's. It was a few weeks after "All The Evil" had occurred. She remembered every detail. First she had thought that everything would work out somehow. She had tried to explain her version to police officers, social workers, hospital personnel, nurses, doctors, psychiatrists, and even a pastor, who wanted her to pray with him. As she sat in the backseat of the police car and they passed the Wenner-Gren Centre on the way north to Uppsala, she still did not know where they were heading. Nobody told her. That was when she began to sense that nothing would ever work out.
She had tried to explain to Teleborian.
The result of her efforts was that on the night she turned thirteen, she lay strapped to the bed.
Teleborian was the most loathsome and disgusting sadist Salander had ever met in her life, bar none. He outclassed Bjurman by a mile. Bjurman had been unspeakably brutal, but she could handle him. Teleborian, on the other hand, was shielded behind a curtain of documents, assessments, academic honours, and psychiatric mumbo jumbo. Not a single one of his actions could ever be reported or criticized.
He had a state-endorsed mandate to tie down disobedient little girls with leather straps.
And every time Salander lay shackled on her back and he tightened the straps and she met his gaze, she could read his excitement. She knew. And he knew that she knew.
The night she turned thirteen she decided never again to exchange a word with Teleborian or any other psychiatrist or shrink. That was her birthday present to herself. And she had kept her promise. She knew that it infuriated Teleborian and perhaps contributed more than anything else to her being strapped down so tightly night after night. But that was a price she was willing to pay.
She taught herself everything about self-control. She had no more outbursts, nor did she throw things on the days she was released from isolation.
But she refused to talk to doctors.
On the other hand, she spoke politely to the nurses, the kitchen staff, and the cleaning women. This was noted. A friendly nurse whose name was Carolina, and whom Salander trusted up to a point, asked her one day why she acted the way she did. Salander gave her a quizzical look.
Why won't you talk to the doctors?
Because they don't listen to what I say.
She was aware that all such comments were entered into her record, documenting that her silence was a completely rational decision.
During her last year at St.Stefan's, Salander was placed in the isolation cell less often. When it did happen it was always because she had irritated Dr. Teleborian in some way, which she seemed to do as soon as he laid eyes on her. He tried over and over again to break through her obstinate silence and force her to acknowledge his existence.
For a time he prescribed Salander a type of psychiatric drug that made it hard for her to breathe or think, which in turn brought on anxiety. From then on she refused to take her medicine, and this resulted in the decision to force-feed her three tablets a day.
Her resistance was so strong that the staff had to hold her down, pry open her mouth, and then force her to swallow. The first time, Salander immediately stuck her fingers down her throat and vomited her lunch onto the nearest orderly. After that she was given the tablets when she was strapped down, so she learned to throw up without having to stick her fingers down her throat. Her obstinate resistance and the extra work this made for the staff led to a suspension of the medication.
She had just turned fifteen when she was without warning moved back to Stockholm to live once more with a foster family. The change came as a shock to her. At that time Teleborian was not yet running St.Stefan's. Salander was sure that this was the only reason she had been released. If Teleborian had been given responsibility for the decision, she would still be strapped to the bed in the isolation cell.
Now she was watching him on TV. She wondered if he fantasized about her ending up in his care again, or if she was now too old to arouse him. His reference to the district court's decision not to institutionalize her provoked the indignation of the interviewer, although apparently he had no idea what questions to ask. There was nobody to contradict Teleborian. The former chief of staff at St.Stefan's had since died. The district court judge who had presided over Salander's case, and who now had in part to accept the role as the villain in the drama, had retired and was refusing to comment to the press.
Salander found one of the most astonishing articles in the online edition of a newspaper published in central Sweden. She read it three times before she turned off her computer and lit a cigarette. She sat on her IKEA pillow in the window seat and dejectedly watched the lights outside.
SAYS CHILDHOOD FRIEND
The 26-year-old woman sought in connection with three murders is described as an introverted eccentric who had great difficulties adjusting to school. Despite many attempts to include her in the group, she remained an outsider.
"She obviously had problems with her sexual identity," recalls Johanna, one of her few close friends at school.
"It was clear early on that she was different and that she was bisexual. We were very concerned about her."
The article went on to describe some episodes that this Johanna remembered. Salander frowned. She could remember neither the episodes nor that she'd had a close friend named Johanna. In fact, she could not recall ever knowing anyone who could be described as a close friend or who tried to draw her into a group at school.
The article did not specify when these episodes were supposed to have taken place, but she had left school when she was twelve. This meant that her concerned childhood friend must have discovered Salander's bisexuality when she was ten, maybe eleven.
Among the flood of ridiculous articles over the past week, the one quoting Johanna hit her hardest. It was so obviously fabricated. Either the reporter had run across a mythomaniac or he had made up the story himself. She memorized the reporter's name and added him to the list of subjects for future research.
Not even the more positive reports, ones that criticized society with headlines such as SOCIETY FAILS or SHE NEVER GOT THE HELP SHE NEEDED, could dilute her standing as public enemy number one - a mass murderer who in one fit of insanity had executed three honourable citizens.
Salander read these interpretations of her life with a certain fascination and noted an obvious hole in the public knowledge. Despite apparently unlimited access to the most classified details of her life, the media had completely missed "All The Evil," which had happened just before her thirteenth birthday. The published information ranged from kindergarten to the age of eleven, and was taken up again when, at the age of fifteen, she was released from the psychiatric clinic.
Somebody within the police investigation must be providing the media with information, but for reasons unknown to Salander, the source had decided to cover up "All The Evil." This surprised her. If the police wanted to emphasize her penchant for vicious behaviour, then that report in her file would have been the most damning by far. It was the very reason that she was sent to St.Stefan's.
On Easter Sunday Salander began to follow the police investigation more closely. From what she culled from the media she built a picture of its participants. Prosecutor Richard Ekstrom was the leader of the preliminary investigation and usually the spokesman at press conferences. The actual investigation was headed by Criminal Inspector Jan Bublanski, a somewhat overweight man in an ill-fitting suit who flanked Ekstrom when they were speaking to the press.
After a few days she had identified Sonja Modig as the team's only female detective and the person who had found Bjurman. She noted the names Hans Faste and Curt Andersson, but she missed Jerker Holmberg altogether, as his name was not mentioned in any of the articles. She created a file on her computer for each person on the team and began to fill them with information.
Naturally, information about how the police investigation was proceeding was kept on the computers used by the investigating detectives, and their databases were stored on the server at police headquarters. Salander knew that it would be exceptionally hard to hack into the police intranet, but it was by no means impossible. She had done it before.
When working on an assignment for Armansky several years earlier, she had plotted the structure of the police intranet and assessed the possibility of hacking into the criminal register to make her own entries. She had failed miserably in her attempts to hack in from outside - the police firewalls were too sophisticated and mined with all sorts of traps that might result in unwelcome attention.
The internal police network was a state-of-the-art design with its own cabling, shielded from external connections and the Internet itself. In other words, what she needed was either a police officer who had authorization to access the network or the next best thing - to make the police intranet believe that she was an authorized person. In this respect, fortunately, the police security experts had left a gaping hole. Police stations all around the country had uplinks to the network, and several of them were small local units that were unstaffed at night and often had no burglar alarms or security patrols. The police station in Långvik outside Vasterås was one of these. It occupied about 1,400 square feet in the same building that housed the public library and the regional social security office, and it was manned in the daytime by three officers.
At the time Salander had failed in her efforts to hack into the network for the research she was working on, but she had decided it might be worthwhile to spend a little time and energy acquiring access for future research. She had thought over the possibilities and then applied for a summer job at the library in Långvik. In a break from her cleaning duties, it took her about ten minutes to get detailed blueprints of the whole building. She had keys to the building but, understandably, not to the police offices. She had discovered, however, that without much difficulty she could climb through a bathroom window on the third floor that was left open at night in the summer heat. The police station was patrolled by a freelance security firm, and the officer on duty made rounds only once a night. Ridiculous.
It took her about five minutes to find the username and password underneath the police chief's desk blotter, and one night of experimenting to understand the structure of the network and identify what sort of access he had and what access had been classified as beyond the realm of the local authorities. As a bonus she also got the usernames and passwords of the two local police officers. One of them was thirty-two-year-old Maria Ottosson, and in her computer Salander found out that she had recently applied and been accepted for service as a detective in the fraud division of the Stockholm police. Salander got full administrator rights for Ottosson, who also had left her Dell PC laptop in an unlocked desk drawer. Brilliant. Salander booted up the machine and inserted her CD with the programme Asphyxia 1.0, the very first version of her spy-ware. She downloaded the software in two locations, as an active, integrated part of Microsoft Internet Explorer and as backup in Ottosson's address book. Salander figured that even if Ottosson bought a new computer, she would copy over her address book, and chances were that she would transfer it to the computer at the fraud division in Stockholm when she reported for duty a few weeks later.