:





Friday, October 24




:
  1. Friday, December 20
  2. Friday, December 20
  3. Friday, January 3
  4. Friday, July 11
  5. Friday, June 12th Final project meeting
  6. Friday, March 7
  7. Friday, May 16Saturday, May 31
  8. Thursday, January 9Friday, January 31

Blomkvist had been poring over Salanders computer printouts for three daysboxes full of papers. The

problem was that the subjects kept changing all the time. An option deal in London. A currency deal in

Paris through an agent. A company with a post-office box in Gibraltar. A sudden doubling of funds in an

account at the Chase Manhattan Bank in New York.

And then all those puzzling question marks: a trading company with 200,000 kronor in an untouched account registered five years earlier in Santiago, Chileone of nearly thirty such companies in twelve different countriesand not a hint of what type of activity was involved. A dormant company? Waiting

for what? A front for some other kind of activity? The computer gave no clue as to what was going on in Wennerströms mind or what may have been perfectly obvious to him and so was never formulated in an

electronic document.

Salander was persuaded that most of these questions would never be answered. They could see the message, but without a key they would never be able to interpret the meaning. Wennerströms empire was

like an onion from which one layer after another could be removed; a labyrinth of enterprises owned by

one another. Companies, accounts, funds, securities. They reckoned that nobodyperhaps not even Wennerström himselfcould have a complete overview. Wennerströms empire had a life of its own.

But there was a pattern, or at least a hint of a pattern. A labyrinth of enterprises owned by each other.

Wennerströms empire was variously valued at between 100 and 400 billion kronor, depending on whom

you asked and how it was calculated. But if companies own each others assetswhat then would be their value?

They had left Hedeby Island in great haste early in the morning after Salander dropped the bomb that was

now occupying every waking moment of Blomkvists life. They drove to Salanders place and spent two

days in front of her computer while she guided him through Wennerströms universe. He had plenty of questions. One of them was pure curiosity.

Lisbeth, how are you able to operate his computer, from a purely practical point of view?

Its a little invention that my friend Plague came up with. Wennerström has an IBM laptop that he works on, both at home and at the office. That means that all the information is on a single hard drive. He has a broadband connection to his property at home. Plague invented a type of cuff that you fasten around



the broadband cable, and Im testing it out for him. Everything that Wennerström sees is registered by the cuff, which forwards the data to a server somewhere else.

Doesnt he have a firewall?

Salander smiled.

Of course he has a firewall. But the point is that the cuff also functions as a type of firewall. It takes a while to hack the computer this way. Lets say that Wennerström gets an email; it goes first to Plagues cuff and we can read it before it even passes through his firewall. But the ingenious part is that the email is rewritten and a few bytes of source code are added. This is repeated every time he downloads anything

to his computer. Pictures are even better. He does a lot of surfing on the Net. Each time he picks up a porn picture or opens a new home page, we add several rows of source code. After a while, in several hours



or several days, depending on how much he uses the computer, Wennerström has downloaded an entire programme of approximately three megabytes in which each bit is linked to the next bit.

And?

When the last bits are in place, the programme is integrated with his Internet browser. To him it will

look as though his computer has locked up, and he has to restart it. During the restart a whole new software programme is installed. He uses Internet Explorer. The next time he starts Explorer, hes really

starting a whole different programme thats invisible on his desktop and looks and functions just like Explorer, but it also does a lot of other things. First it takes control of his firewall and makes sure that everything is working. Then it starts to scan the computer and transmits bits of information every time he clicks the mouse while hes surfing. After a while, again depending on how much he surfs, weve accumulated a complete mirror image of the contents of his hard drive on a server somewhere. And then

its time for the HT.

HT?

Sorry. Plague calls it the HT. Hostile Takeover.

I see.

The really subtle thing is what happens next. When the structure is ready, Wennerström has two complete hard drives, one on his own machine and one on our server. The next time he boots up his computer, its actually the mirrored computer thats starting. Hes no longer working on his own computer; in reality hes working on our server. His computer will run a little slower, but its virtually not noticeable. And when Im connected to the server, I can tap his computer in real time. Each time Wennerström presses a key on his computer I see it on mine.



Your friend is also a hacker?

He was the one who arranged the telephone tap in London. Hes a little out of it socially, but on the

Net hes a legend.

OK, Blomkvist said, giving her a resigned smile. Question number two: why didnt you tell me about Wennerström earlier?

You never asked me.

And if I never did ask youlets suppose that I never met youyou would have sat here knowing that

Wennerström was a gangster while Millennium went bankrupt?

Nobody asked me to expose Wennerström for what he is, Salander replied in a know-it-all voice.

Yes, but what if?

I did tell you, she said.

Blomkvist dropped the subject.

Salander burned the contents of Wennerströms hard driveabout five gigabyteson to ten CDs, and she

felt as if she had more or less moved into Blomkvists apartment. She waited patiently, answering all the

questions he asked.

I cant understand how he can be so fucking dim to put all his dirty laundry on one hard drive, he said. If it ever got into the hands of the police. . .

People arent very rational. He has to believe that the police would never think of confiscating his computer.

Above suspicion. I agree that hes an arrogant bastard, but he must have security consultants telling him how to handle his computer. Theres material on this machine going all the way back to 1993.

The computer itself is relatively new. It was manufactured a year ago, but he seems to have transferred

all his old correspondence and everything else on to the hard drive instead of storing it on CDs. But at

least hes using an encryption programme.

Which is totally useless if youre inside his computer and reading the passwords every time he types

them in.

After theyd been back in Stockholm for four days, Malm called on Blomkvists mobile at 3:00 in the morning.

Henry Cortez was at a bar with his girlfriend tonight.

Uh-huh, Blomkvist said, sleepily.

On the way home they ended up at Centralens bar.

Not a very good place for a seduction.

Listen. Dahlman is on holiday. Henry discovered him sitting at a table with some guy.

And?

Henry recognised the man from his byline pic. Krister Söder.

I dont think I recognise the name, but . . .

He works for Monopoly Financial Magazine, which is owned by the Wennerström Group.

Blomkvist sat up straight in bed.

Are you there?

Im here. That might not mean anything. Söder is a journalist, and he might be an old friend.

Maybe Im being paranoid. But a while ago Millennium bought a story from a freelancer. The week

before we were going to publish it, Söder ran an exposé that was almost identical. It was the story about

the mobile telephone manufacturer and the defective component.

I hear what youre saying. But that sort of thing does happen. Have you talked to Erika?

No, shes not back until next week.

Dont do anything. Ill call you back later, Blomkvist said.

Problems? Salander asked.

Millennium, Blomkvist said. I have to go there. Want to come along?

The editorial offices were deserted. It took Salander three minutes to crack the password protection on

Dahlmans computer, and another two minutes to transfer its contents to Blomkvists iBook.

Most of Dahlmans emails were probably on his own laptop, and they did not have access to it. But through his desktop computer at Millennium, Salander was able to discover that Dahlman had a Hotmail account in addition to his millennium.se address. It took her six minutes to crack the code and download

his correspondence from the past year. Five minutes later Blomkvist had evidence that Dahlman had leaked information about the situation at Millennium and kept the editor of Monopoly Financial Magazine updated on which stories Berger was planning for which issues. The spying had been going on at least since the previous autumn.

They turned off the computers and went back to Mikaels apartment to sleep for a few hours. He called

Christer Malm at 10:00 a.m.

I have proof that Dahlman is working for Wennerström.

I knew it. Great, Im going to fire that fucking pig today.

No, dont. Dont do anything at all.

Nothing?

Christer, trust me. Is Dahlman still on holiday?

Yes, hes back on Monday.

How many are in the office today?

Well, about half.

Can you call a meeting for 2:00? Dont say what its about. Im coming over.

There were six people around the conference table. Malm looked tired. Cortez looked like someone newly in love, the way that only twenty-four-year-olds can look. Nilsson looked on edgeMalm had not

told anyone what the meeting was about, but she had been with the company long enough to know that something out of the ordinary was going on, and she was annoyed that she had been kept out of the loop.

The only one who looked the same as usual was the part-timer Ingela Oskarsson, who worked two days a

week dealing with simple administrative tasks, the subscriber list and the like; she had not looked truly

relaxed since she became a mother two years ago. The other part-timer was the freelance reporter Lotta

Karim, who had a contract similar to Cortezs and had just started back to work after her holiday. Malm

had also managed to get Magnusson to come in, although he was still on holiday.

Blomkvist began by greeting everyone warmly and apologising for being so long absent.

What were going to discuss today is something that Christer and I havent taken up with Erika, but I

can assure you that in this case I speak for her too. Today were going to determine Millenniums future.

He paused to let the words sink in. No-one asked any questions.

The past year has been rough. Im surprised and proud that none of you has reconsidered and found a

job somewhere else. I have to assume that either youre stark raving mad or wonderfully loyal and actually enjoy working on this magazine. Thats why Im going to lay the cards on the table and ask you

for one last effort.

One last effort? Nilsson said. That sounds as if youre thinking of shutting down the magazine.

Exactly, Monika, Blomkvist said. And thank you for that. When she gets back Erika is going to gather us all together for a gloomy editorial meeting and to tell us that Millennium will fold at Christmas and that youre all fired.

Now alarm began spreading through the group. Even Malm thought for a moment that Blomkvist was

serious. Then they all noticed his broad smile.

What you have to do this autumn is play a double game. The disagreeable fact is that our dear managing editor, Janne Dahlman, is moonlighting as an informer for Hans-Erik Wennerström. This means

that the enemy is being kept informed of exactly whats going on in our editorial offices. This explains a number of setbacks weve experienced. You especially, Sonny, when advertisers who seemed positive pulled out without warning.

Dahlman had never been popular in the office, and the revelation was apparently not a shock to anyone.

Blomkvist cut short the murmuring that started up.

The reason that Im telling you this is because I have absolute confidence in all of you. I know that youve all got your heads screwed on straight. Thats why I also know that youll play along with what

takes place this autumn. Its very important that Wennerström believes that Millennium is on the verge of collapse. It will be your job to make sure he does.

Whats our real situation? Cortez said.

OK, here it is: by all accounts Millennium should be on its way to the grave. I give you my word that thats not going to happen. Millennium is stronger today than it was a year ago. When this meeting is over, Im going to disappear again for about two months. Towards the end of October Ill be back. Then were

going to clip Wennerströms wings.

How are we going to do that? Nilsson said.

Sorry, Monika. I dont want to give you the details, but Im writing a new story, and this time were

going to do it right. Im thinking of having roast Wennerström for the Christmas party and various critics for dessert.

The mood turned cheerful. Blomkvist wondered how he would have felt if he were one of them sitting

listening to all this. Dubious? Most likely. But apparently he still had some trust capital among Millenniums small group of employees. He held up his hand.

If this is going to work, its important that Wennerström believes that Millennium is on the verge of collapse because I dont want him to start some sort of retaliation or indeed get rid of the evidence which we mean to expose. So were going to start writing a script that youll follow during the coming months.

First of all, its important that nothing we discuss here today is written down or is referred to in emails.

We dont know to what if any extent Dahlman has been digging around in our computers, and Ive become

aware that its alarmingly simple to read co-workers private email. Sowere doing to do this orally. If

you feel the need to air anything, go and see Christer at home. Very discreetly.

Blomkvist wrote no email on the whiteboard.

Second, I want you to start squabbling among yourselves, complaining about me when Dahlman is around. Dont exaggerate. Just give your natural bitchy selves full rein. Christer, I want you and Erika to have a serious disagreement. Use your imagination and be secretive about the cause.

He wrote start bitching on the whiteboard.

Third, when Erika comes home, her job will be to see to it that Janne Dahlman thinks our agreement

with the Vanger Corporationwhich is in fact giving us its full supporthas fallen through because Henrik Vanger is seriously ill and Martin Vanger died in a car crash.

He wrote the word disinformation.

But the agreement really is solid? Nilsson said.

Believe me, Blomkvist said, the Vanger Corporation will go to great lengths to ensure that Millennium survives. In a few weeks, lets say at the end of August, Erika will call a meeting to warn you about layoffs. You all know that its a scam, and that the only one whos going to be leaving is Dahlman.

But start talking about looking for new jobs and say what a lousy reference it is to have Millennium on your C.V.

And you really think that this game will end up saving Millennium? Magnusson said.

I know it will. And Sonny, I want you to put together a fake report each month showing falling advertising sales and showing that the number of subscribers has also dropped.

This sounds fun, Nilsson said. Should we keep it internal here in the office, or should we leak it to

other media too?

Keep it internal. If the story shows up anywhere, well know who put it there. In a very few months, if

anyone asks us about it, well be able to tell them: youve been listening to baseless rumours, and weve

never considered closing Millennium down. The best thing that could happen is for Dahlman to go out and tip off the other mass media. If youre able to give Dahlman a tip about a plausible but fundamentally idiotic story, so much the better.

They spent an hour concocting a script and dividing up the various roles.

After the meeting Blomkvist had coffee with Malm at Java on Horngatspuckeln.

Christer, its really important that you pick up Erika at the airport and fill her in. You have to convince her to play along with the game. If I know her, shell want to confront Dahlman instantlybut that cant

happen. I dont want Wennerström to hear any kind of buzz and then manage to bury the evidence.

Will do.

And see to it that Erika stays away from her email until she installs the PGP encryption programme and learns how to use it. Its pretty likely that through Dahlman, Wennerström is able to read everything

we email to each other. I want you and everyone else in the editorial offices to install PGP. Do it in a natural way. Get the name of a computer consultant to contact and have him come over to inspect the network and all the computers in the office. Let him install the software as if it were a perfectly natural part of the service.

Ill do my best. But Mikaelwhat are you working on?

Wennerström.

What exactly?

For the time being, that has to remain my secret.

Malm looked uncomfortable. Ive always trusted you, Mikael. Does this mean that you dont trust me?

Blomkvist laughed.

Of course I trust you. But right now Im involved in rather serious criminal activities that could get me two years in prison. Its the nature of my research thats a little dubious . . . Im playing with the same underhand methods as Wennerström uses. I dont want you or Erika or anyone else at Millennium to be involved in any way.

Youre making me awfully nervous.

Stay cool, Christer, and tell Erika that the story is going to be a big one. Really big.

Erika will insist on knowing what youre working on . . .

Mikael thought for a second. Then he smiled.

Tell her that she made it very clear to me in the spring when she signed a contract with Henrik Vanger

behind my back that Im now just an ordinary mortal freelancer who no longer sits on the board and has

no influence on Millennium policy. Which means that I no longer have any obligation to keep her informed. But I promise that if she behaves herself, Ill give her first option on the story.

Shes going to go through the roof, Malm said cheerfully.

Blomkvist knew that he had not been entirely honest with Malm. He was deliberately avoiding Berger.

The most natural thing would have been to contact her at once and tell her about the information in his possession. But he did not want to talk to her. A dozen times he had stood with his mobile in his hand,

starting to call her. Each time he changed his mind.

He knew what the problem was. He could not look her in the eyes.

The cover-up in which he had participated in Hedestad was unforgivable from a professional point of

view. He had no idea how he could explain it to her without lying, and if there was one thing he had never thought of doing, it was lying to Erika Berger.

Above all, he did not have the energy to deal with that problem at the same time as he was tackling Wennerström. So he put off seeing her, turned off his mobile, and avoided talking to her. But he knew that the reprieve could only be temporary.

Right after the editorial meeting, Mikael moved out to his cabin in Sandhamn; he hadnt been there in over a year. His baggage included two boxes of printouts and the CDs that Salander had given him. He stocked

up on food, locked the door, opened his iBook, and started writing. Each day he took a short walk, bought

the newspapers, and shopped for groceries. The guest marina was still filled with yachts, and young people who had borrowed their fathers boat were usually sitting in the Divers Bar, drinking themselves

silly. Blomkvist scarcely took in his surroundings. He sat in front of his computer more or less from the

moment he opened his eyes until he fell into bed at night, exhausted.

Encry pted em ail from editor in chief

< erika.berger@m illennium .se> to publisher

on leave of absence

< m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se> :

Mikael. I want to know whats going ongood grief, Ive com e back from holiday to total chaos. The news about Janne Dahlm an and this double gam e y ouve com e up with. Martin Vanger dead. Harriet Vanger alive. Whats going on in Hedeby ? Where are y ou? Is there a story ? Why dont y ou answer y our m obile?/E.

P.S. I understood the insinuation that Christer relay ed with such glee. Youre going to have to eat y our words. Are y ou seriously cross with m e?

P.P.S. I am trusting y ou for the tim e being, but y ou are going to have to give proofy ou rem em ber, the stuff that stands up in courton J.D.

From < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se>

To < erika.berger@m illennium .se> :

Hi Ricky. No, for Gods sake, Im not cross. Forgive m e for not keeping y ou updated, but the past few m onths of m y life have been topsy -turvy. Ill tell y ou every thing when we see each other, but not by em ail. Im at Sandham n. There is a story, but the story is not Harriet Vanger. Im going to be glued to m y com puter here for a while. Then itll be over. Trust m e. Hugs and kisses. M.

From < erika.berger@m illennium .se>

To < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se> :

Sandham n? Im com ing to see y ou im m ediately.

From < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se>

To < erika.berger@m illennium .se> :

Not right now. Wait a couple of weeks, at least until Ive got the story organised. Besides, Im expecting com pany.

From < erika.berger@m illennium .se>

To < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se> :

In that case, of course Ill stay away. But I have to know whats going on. Henrik Vanger has becom e CEO again, and he doesnt answer m y calls. If the deal with Vanger is off, I absolutely need to know. Ricky P.S. Who is she?

From < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se>

To < erika.berger@m illennium .se>

First of all: no question of Henrik pulling out. But he is still working only a short day, and Im guessing that the chaos after Martins death and Harriets resurrection is taking its toll on his strength.

Second: Millennium will survive. Im working on the m ost im portant report of our lives, and when we publish it, its going to sink Wennerström once and for all.

Third: My life is up and down right now, but as for y ou and m e and Millenniumnothing has changed. Trust m e. Kisses / Mikael.

P.S. Ill introduce y ou as soon as an opportunity presents itself.

When Salander went out to Sandhamn she found an unshaven and hollow-eyed Blomkvist, who gave her a

quick hug and asked her to make some coffee and wait while he finished what he was writing.

Salander looked around his cabin and decided almost at once that she liked it. It was right next to a jetty, with the water three paces from the door. It was only fifteen by eighteen feet but it had such a high ceiling that there was space for a sleeping loft. She could stand up straight there, just. Blomkvist would have to stoop. The bed was wide enough for both of them.

The cabin had one large window facing the water, right next to the front door. That was where his kitchen table stood, doubling as his desk. On the wall near the desk was a shelf with a CD player and a

big collection of Elvis and hard rock, which was not Salanders first choice.

In a corner was a woodstove made of soapstone with a glazed front. The rest of the sparse furnishings

consisted of a large wardrobe for clothes and linen and a sink that also functioned as a washing alcove

behind a shower curtain. Near the sink was a small window on one side of the cabin. Under the spiral stairs to the loft Blomkvist had built a separate space for a composting toilet. The whole cabin was arranged like the cabin on a boat, with clever cubbyholes for stowing things.

During her personal investigation of Mikael Blomkvist, Salander had found out that he had remodelled

the cabin and built the furniture himselfa conclusion drawn from the comments of an acquaintance who

had sent Mikael an email after visiting Sandhamn and was impressed by his handiwork. Everything was

clean, unpretentious, and simple, bordering on spartan. She could see why he loved this cabin in Sandhamn so much.

After two hours she managed to distract Mikael enough that he turned off his computer in frustration,

shaved, and took her out for a guided tour. It was raining and windy, and they quickly retreated to the inn.

Blomkvist told her what he was writing, and Salander gave him a CD with updates from Wennerströms

computer.

Then she took him up to the loft and managed to get his clothes off and distract him even further. She

woke up late that night to find herself alone. She peered down from the loft and saw him sitting hunched

over his computer. She lay there for a long time, leaning on one hand, watching him. He seemed happy,

and she too felt strangely content with life.

Salander stayed only five days before she went back to Stockholm to do a job for Armansky. She spent

eleven days on the assignment, made her report, and then returned to Sandhamn. The stack of printed pages next to Mikaels iBook was growing.

This time she stayed for four weeks. They fell into a routine. They got up at 8:00, ate breakfast, and spent an hour together. Then Mikael worked intently until late in the afternoon, when they took a walk and talked. Salander spent most of the days in bed, either reading books or surfing the Net using Blomkvists

ADSL modem. She tried not to disturb him during the day. They ate dinner rather late and only then did

Salander take the initiative and force him up to the sleeping loft, where she saw to it that he devoted all his attention to her.

It was as if she were on the very first holiday of her life.

Encry pted em ail from

< erika.berger@m illennium .se>

To < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se> :

Hi M. Its now official. Janne Dahlm an has resigned and starts working at Monopoly Financial Magazine in three weeks. Ive done as y ou asked and said nothing, and every one is going around play ing m onkey gam es. E.

P.S. They seem to be having fun. Henry and Lotta had a fight and started throwing things at each other a couple of day s ago. They ve been m essing with Dahlm ans head so blatantly that I cant understand how he can m iss seeing that its all a put-up j ob.

From < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se>

To < erika.berger@m illennium .se> :

Wish him good luck from m e, will y ou, and let him go straight away. But lock up the silverware. Hugs and kisses / M.

From < erika.berger@m illennium .se>

To < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se> :

I have no m anaging editor two weeks before we go to press, and m y investigative reporter is sitting out in Sandham n refusing to talk to m e. Micke, Im on m y knees. Can y ou com e in? / Erika.

From < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se>

To < erika.berger@m illennium .se> :

Hold out another couple of weeks, then well be hom e free. And start planning for a Decem ber issue thats going to be unlike any thing weve ever done. The piece will take up 40 pages. M.

From < erika.berger@m illennium .se>

To < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se> :

40 PAGES!!! Are y ou out of y our m ind?

From < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se>

To < erika.berger@m illennium .se> :

Its going to be a special issue. I need three m ore weeks. Could y ou do the following: (1) register a publishing com pany under the Millennium nam e, (2) get an ISBN num ber, (3) ask Christer to put together a cool logo for our new publishing com pany, and (4) find a good printer that can produce a paperback quickly and cheaply. And by the way, were going to need capital to print our first book. Kisses / Mikael From < erika.berger@m illennium .se>

To < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se> :

Special issue. Book publisher. Money. Yes, m aster. Any thing else I can do for y ou? Dance naked at Slussplan? / E.

P.S. I assum e y ou know what y oure doing. But what do I do about Dahlm an?

From < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se>

To < erika.berger@m illennium .se> :

Dont do any thing about Dahlm an. Tell him hes free to go right away and y ou arent sure y ou can pay his wages any way. Monopoly isnt going to survive for long. Bring in m ore freelance m aterial for this issue. And hire a new m anaging editor, for Gods sake. / M.

P.S. Slussplan? Its a date.

From < erika.berger@m illennium .se>

To < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se> :

Slussplanin y our dream s. But weve alway s done the hiring together. / Ricky.

From < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se>

To < erika.berger@m illennium .se> :

And weve alway s agreed about who we should hire. We will this tim e too, no m atter who y ou choose. Were going to scupper Wennerström . Thats the whole story. Just let m e finish this in peace. / M.

In early October Salander read an article on the Internet edition of the Hedestad Courier. She told Blomkvist about it. Isabella Vanger had died after a short illness. She was mourned by her daughter, Harriet Vanger, lately returned from Australia.

Encry pted em ail from

< erika.berger@m illennium .se>

To < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se> :

Hi Mikael.

Harriet Vanger cam e to see m e at the office today. She called five m inutes before she arrived, and I was totally unprepared. A beautiful wom an, elegant clothes and a cool gaze.

She cam e to tell m e that shell be replacing Martin Vanger as Henriks representative on our board. She was polite and friendly and assured m e that the Vanger Corporation had no plans to back out of the agreem ent. On the contrary, the fam ily stands fully behind Henriks obligations to the m agazine. She asked for a tour of the editorial offices, and she wanted to know how I see the situation.

I told her the truth. That it feels as if I dont have solid ground under m y feet, that y ou have forbidden m e to com e to Sandham n, and that I dont know what y oure working on, other than that y ou are planning to sink Wennerström . (I assum ed it was OK to say that. She is on the board, after all.) She raised an ey ebrow and sm iled and asked if I had doubts that y oud succeed. What was I supposed to say to that? I said that I would sleep a little easier if I knew exactly what y ou were writing. Jeez, of course I trust y ou. But y oure driving m e crazy.

I asked her if she knew what y ou were working on. She denied it but said that it was her im pression that y ou were extrem ely resourceful, with an innovative way of thinking. (Her words.) I said that I also gathered that som ething dram atic had happened up in Hedestad and that I was ever so slightly curious about the story regarding Harriet Vanger herself. In short, I felt like an idiot. She asked m e whether y ou really hadnt told m e any thing. She said that she understood that y ou and I have a special relationship and that y ou would undoubtedly tell m e the story when y ou had tim e. Then she asked if she could trust m e. What was I supposed to say ? Shes on the Millennium board, and y ouve left m e here totally in the dark.

Then she said som ething odd. She asked m e not to j udge either her or y ou too harshly. She said she owed y ou som e sort of debt of gratitude, and she would really like it if she and I could also be friends. Then she prom ised to tell m e the story som eday if y ou couldnt do it. Half an hour ago she left, and Im still in a daze. I think I like her, but who is this person? / Erika P.S. I m iss y ou. I have a feeling that som ething nasty happened in Hedestad. Christer say s that y ou have a strange m ark on y our neck.

From < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se>

To < erika.berger@m illennium .se> :

Hi Ricky. The story about Harriet is so m iserably awful that y ou cant even im agine it. It would be great if she could tell y ou about it herself. I can hardly bring m y self to think about it.

By the way, y ou can trust her. She was telling the truth when she said that she owes a debt of gratitude to m eand believe m e, she will never do any thing to harm Millennium. Be her friend if y ou like her. She deserves respect. And shes a hell of a businesswom an. / M.

The next day Mikael received another email.

From

< harriet.vanger@vangerindustries.com >

To < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se> :

Hi Mikael. Ive been try ing to find tim e to write to y ou for several weeks now, but it seem s there are never enough hours in the day. You left so suddenly from Hedeby that I never had a chance to say goodby e.

Since m y return to Sweden, m y day s have been filled with bewildering im pressions and hard work. The Vanger Corporation is in chaos, and along with Henrik Ive been working hard to put its affairs in order. Yesterday I visited the Millennium offices; Ill be Henriks representative on the board. Henrik has filled m e in on all the details of the m agazines situation and y ours.

I hope that y ou will accept having m e show up like this. If y ou dont want m e (or any one else from the fam ily ) on the board, Ill understand, but I do assure y ou that Ill do all I can to support Millennium. I am in great debt to y ou, and I will alway s have the best of intentions in this regard.

I m et y our colleague Erika Berger. Im not sure what she thought of m e, and I was surprised to hear that y ou hadnt told her about what happened.

I would very m uch like to be y our friend. If y ou can stand to have any thing m ore to do with the Vanger fam ily. Best regards, Harriet P.S. I understood from Erika that y oure planning to tackle Wennerström again. Dirch Frode told m e how Henrik pulled a swifty on y ou, as they say in Australia. What can I say ? Im sorry. If theres any thing I can do, let m e know.

From < m ikael.blom kvist@m illennium .se>

To < harriet.vanger@vangerindustries.com >: Hi Harriet. I left Hedeby in a big hurry and am now working on what I really should have been spending m y tim e on this y ear. Youll be advised in plenty of tim e before the article goes to press, but I think I can say that the problem s of the past y ear will soon be over.

I hope y ou and Erika will be friends, and, of course, I have no problem with y ou being on Millenniums board. Ill tell Erika about what happened, if y ou think thats wise. Henrik wanted m e never to say any thing to any one. Lets see, but right now I dont have the tim e or the energy and I need a little distance first.

Lets keep in touch. Best / Mikael

Salander was not especially interested in what Mikael was writing. She looked up from her book when

Blomkvist said something, but at first she could not make it out.

Sorry. I was talking aloud. I said that this is horrible.

Whats horrible?

Wennerström had an affair with a twenty-two-year-old waitress and he got her pregnant. Have you read his correspondence with his lawyer?

My dear Mikaelyou have ten years of correspondence, emails, agreements, travel arrangements, and

God knows what on that hard drive. I dont find Wennerström so fascinating that Id cram six gigs of garbage into my head. I read through a fraction of it, mostly to satisfy my curiosity, and that was enough to tell me that hes a gangster.

OK. He got her pregnant in 1997. When she wanted compensation, his lawyer got someone to try to

convince her to have an abortion. I assume the intention was to offer her a sum of money, but she wasnt

interested. Then the persuading ended up with the heavy holding her underwater in a bath until she agreed

to leave Wennerström in peace. And Wennerströms idiot writes all this to the lawyer in an emailof course encrypted, but even so . . . It doesnt say much for the IQ of this bunch.

What happened to the girl?

She had an abortion, and Wennerström was pleased.

Salander said nothing for ten minutes. Her eyes had suddenly turned dark.

One more man who hates women, she muttered at last.

She borrowed the CDs and spent the next few days reading through Wennerströms emails and other documents. While Blomkvist kept working, Salander was up in the sleeping loft with her PowerBook on

her knees, pondering Wennerströms peculiar empire.

An idea had occurred to her and she could not let it go. Most of all she wondered why it had not occurred to her sooner.

In late October Mikael turned off his computer when it was only 11:00 in the morning. He climbed up to

the sleeping loft and handed Salander what he had written. Then he fell asleep. She woke him that evening

and gave him her opinion of the article.

Just after 2:00 in the morning, Blomkvist made the last backup of his work.

The next day he closed the shutters on the windows and locked up. Salanders holiday was over. They

went back to Stockholm together.

He brought up the subject as they were drinking coffee from paper cups on the Vaxholm ferry.

What the two of us need to decide is what to tell Erika. Shes going to refuse to publish this if I cant explain how I got hold of the material.

Erika Berger. Blomkvists editor in chief and long-time lover. Salander had never met her and was not

sure that she wanted to either. Berger seemed like some indefinable disturbance in her life.

What does she know about me?

Nothing. He sighed. The fact is that Ive been avoiding her ever since the summer. Shes very frustrated about the fact that I couldnt tell her what happened in Hedestad. She knows, of course, that Ive been staying out at Sandhamn and writing this story, but she doesnt know what its about.

Hmm.

In a couple of hours shell have the manuscript. Then shes going to give me the third degree. The question is, what should I tell her?

What do you want to tell her?

Id like to tell her the truth.

Salander frowned.

Lisbeth, Erika and I argue almost all the time. It seems to be part of how we communicate. But shes

absolutely trustworthy. Youre a source. She would rather die than reveal who you are.

How many others would you have to tell?

Absolutely no-one. It will go to the grave with me and Erika. But I wont tell her your secret if you

dont want me to. On the other hand, its not an option for me to lie to Erika, make up some source that

doesnt exist.

Salander thought about it until they docked by the Grand Hotel. Analysis of consequences. Reluctantly

she finally gave Blomkvist permission to introduce her to Erika. He switched on his mobile and made the

call.

Berger was lunching with Malin Eriksson, whom she was considering hiring as managing editor. Eriksson

was twenty-nine years old and had been working as a temp for five years. She had never held a permanent

job and had started to doubt that she ever would. Berger called her on the very day that Malins latest temp job ended to ask if she would like to apply for the Millennium position.

Its a temporary post for three months, Berger said. But if things work out, it could be permanent.

Ive heard rumours that Millennium is having a difficult time.

Berger smiled.

You shouldnt believe rumours.

This Dahlman that I would be replacing . . . Eriksson hesitated. Hes going to work at a magazine

owned by Hans-Erik Wennerström . . .

Berger nodded. Its hardly a trade secret that were in conflict with Wennerström. He doesnt like people who work for Millennium.

So if I take the job at Millennium, I would end up in that category too.

Its very likely, yes.

But Dahlman got a job with Monopoly Financial Magazine, didnt he?

You might say that its Wennerströms way of paying for services rendered. Are you still interested?

Eriksson nodded.

When do you want me to start?

Thats when Blomkvist called.

She used her own key to open the door to his apartment. It was the first time since his brief visit to the office at Midsummer that she was meeting him face to face. She went into the living room and found an

anorexically thin girl sitting on the sofa, wearing a worn leather jacket and with her feet propped up on

the coffee table. At first she thought the girl was about fifteen, but that was before she looked into her eyes. She was still looking at this creature when Blomkvist came in with a coffeepot and coffee cake.

Forgive me for being completely impossible, he said.

Berger tilted her head. There was something different about him. He looked haggard, thinner than she

remembered. His eyes had a shamed expression, and for a moment he avoided her gaze. She glanced at

his neck. She saw a pale red line, clearly distinguishable.

Ive been avoiding you. Its a very long story, and Im not proud of my role in it. But well talk about

that later . . . Now I want to introduce you to this young woman. Erika, this is Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth, Erika Berger, editor in chief of Millennium and my best friend.

Salander studied Bergers elegant clothes and self-confident manner and decided after ten seconds that

she was most likely not going to be her best friend.

Their meeting lasted five hours. Berger twice made calls to cancel other meetings. She spent an hour reading parts of the manuscript that Blomkvist put in her hands. She had a thousand questions but realised that it would take weeks before she got them answered. The important thing was the manuscript, which

she finally put down. If even a fraction of these claims were accurate, a whole new situation had emerged.

Berger looked at Blomkvist. She had never doubted that he was an honest person, but now she felt dizzy and wondered whether the Wennerström affair had broken himthat what he had been working on

was all a figment of his imagination. Blomkvist was at that moment unpacking two boxes of printed-out

source material. Berger blanched. She wanted, of course, to know how it had come into his possession.

It took a while to convince her that this odd girl, who had said not one word during the meeting, had

unlimited access to Wennerströms computer. And not just hisshe had also hacked into the computers of

several of his lawyers and close associates.

Bergers immediate reaction was that they could not use the material since it had been obtained through

illegal means.

But, of course, they could use it. Blomkvist pointed out that they had no obligation to explain how they

had acquired the material. They could just as well have a source with access to Wennerströms computer

who had burned everything on his hard drive to a CD.

Finally Berger realised what a weapon she had in her hands. She felt exhausted and still had questions,

but she did not know where to begin. At last she leaned back against the sofa and threw out her hands.

Mikael, what happened up in Hedestad?

Salander looked up sharply. Blomkvist answered with a question.

How are you getting along with Harriet Vanger?

Fine. I think. Ive met her twice. Christer and I drove up to Hedestad for a board meeting last week.

We got drunk on wine.

And the board meeting?

She kept her word.

Ricky, I know youre frustrated that Ive been ducking you and coming up with excuses not to tell you

what happened. You and I have never had secrets from each other, and all of a sudden theres six months

of my life that Im . . . not prepared to tell you about.

Berger met Blomkvists gaze. She knew him inside and out, but what she saw in his eyes was something

she had never seen before. He was begging her not to ask. Salander watched their wordless dialogue. She

was no part of it.

Was it that bad?

It was worse. Ive been dreading this conversation. I promise to tell you, but Ive spent several months suppressing my feelings while Wennerström has absorbed all my attention . . . Im still not ready.

Id prefer it if Harriet told you instead.

Whats that mark around your neck?

Lisbeth saved my life up there. If it werent for her, Id be dead.

Bergers eyes widened. She stared at the girl in the leather jacket.

And right now you need to come to an agreement with her. She is our source.

Berger sat for a time, thinking. Then she did something that astonished Blomkvist and startled Salander;

she surprised even herself. The whole time she had been sitting at Mikaels living-room table, she had felt Salanders eyes on her. A taciturn girl with hostile vibrations.

Berger stood up and went around the table and threw her arms around the girl. Salander squirmed like a

worm about to be put on a hook.

CHAPTER 29


: 2015-09-15; : 6;







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