Spiro lay in the centre of a huge futon, lost in the dunes of its silk sheets. Holly pulled back the covers, rolling him over on to his back. Even in sleep the manâ€™s face was malevolent, as though his dreams were every bit as despicable as his waking thoughts.
â€˜This is no trick, Arno. Iâ€™m right here.â€™
Holly drew her Neutrino 2000 from its holster. â€˜Iâ€™ll just have to trip this switch myself.â€™
Artemis coughed, clearing his throat. â€˜The Cube cannot scan a closed system unless the omni-sensor is actually touching the computer or, at least, close by. Phonetix is so paranoid about hackers that the research and development lab is completely contained, buried under several floors of solid rock. They donâ€™t even have e-mail. I know because Iâ€™ve tried to hack it myself a few times.â€™
They released Loafers three hours later after a full search and several phone calls to the parish priest in his home town. Mulch was waiting in the pre-ordered rental car, a specially modified model with elevated accelerator and brake pedals.
Artemisâ€™s eyes were downcast. â€˜A perfect model, true, but in reverse. Like a photo negative. Ridges where there should be grooves.â€™
Spiro punched a final number sequence into the columnâ€™s keypad and the perspex panes retracted. He took the Cube from its foam nest.