They could make out the words DASH FOR FREEDOM on her front and BREAK FREE on her back. Her identity card hung 10cms below her navel on a gold chain. Two police motorcyclists followed her for 200 yards and helped officials manhandle her off the track.
Most of those who saw the incident on their PDAs replayed it several times in the next hour. They also looked at the best of more than ten thousand amateur clips shot by spectators on their PDAs.
Computer-enhanced pictures revealed the provocatively positioned words clearly, along with the shaven head, stage make-up and naked body glistening in the rain. The marathon winner's Olympic record triumph was eclipsed. The world wanted to know who had stolen the show.
The identity card, so prominently displayed, was false. At 17.07, a police bulletin was issued: “The Stratford Stadium streaker has remained silent. Our biometers have checked her finger, lip, earlobe and DNA prints, all of which are on the card she was wearing when arrested. We have been unable to confirm the signature or voice-print. The card is a good forgery but not good enough to fool our systems.
We have found the ex-Army camouflage rain cape which she discarded as she leapt the barrier onto the course.
A further bulletin will be issued as soon as we have a definite ID. Meanwhile, our computers are synthesising a polyscope from the thousands of videos distributed on the Internet. We are also sifting the calls to the Olympic security call centre, most of which appear to be part of a distributed denial-of-service attack. Someone may have recognised her and made a genuine call.”
Just as the IOC President started his closing address to the athletes, the spectators' eyes turned again to their PDAs.
“The Public Order and Transport Police have identified the Stratford Stadium Streaker. She is Jane Doe, who changed her name from Mary Smith seven years ago. A search of the databases associated with the national ID card system using her biometrics showed only one match for all the measurements. Her last quinquennial renewal photograph is attached to this bulletin.
We have also identified many of her blood relations, fellow students, work colleagues and sports team-mates whom we will be interviewing shortly.”
The Stratford Stadium Streaker story was a global sensation, not least because sympathisers with her cause stoked the flames of publicity on the Internet. They bypassed attempted censorship as easily as Jane had slipped past the course barriers.
Jane was a member of Hereward's Heroes, a clandestine network of freedom fighters linked through cyberspace. Each 'hero' operated alone and was unknown to the others until revealed by a public exploit.