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   by Tobias  Sturt

All  text   in  this  work  is  licensed  under  the  Creative  Commons  Attribution-­‐Noncommercial-­‐Share  Alike  2.0  UK:   England  &  Wales  License.   To  view  a  copy  of  this  license,  visit   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-­‐nc-­‐sa/2.0/uk/  or  send  a  letter  to   Creative  Commons,  171  Second  Street,  Suite  300,  San  Francisco,  California,  94105,  USA. ISBN  978-­‐1-­‐291-­‐42451-­‐5 Inspired  by  characters  and  events  created  by  Mike  Dicks,  James  Erskine  &  Tobias  Sturt ©  2013  Tobias  Sturt

1 The Street
      A  single  drop  of  blood  ran  down  the  speedometer  from  30  to  20.   He  could  see  the  whole  interior  of  the  Range  Rover  re[lected  in  it.   The  blank  light  of  

the  empty  windows,   himself,   held  up   right  in  his   chair   only   by   the  seat   belt,   Lily  slumped   forward  over  the  steering  wheel,  everywhere  crumbs  of  safety  glass  that  winked  and  scintil-­‐ lated  in  the  bright  summer  sunshine.       In  the  aftermath  of  the  crash  the  silence  was  shocking.   His  [ingers,  slick  with  blood,  numb  and  unresponsive,  scrabbled  at  the  release  on  the  

seat  belt.   Slipped,   found  it,   popped  the  button  and  the  belt  reeled  itself  in.  He  fell  forward   onto  the  dash.    

Months  ago.  Monotonous  grey  skies  above   monotonous  grey  buildings  and   the   ferrous  

taste  of  approaching  snow  in  the  air.  Maybe  there’d  be  a  white  Christmas  this  year.     Broken  glass  ground   under  foot,   under  his  palms,  the   powder   shimmering   in  the   >lat,  

bright  winter  light.   There  were  feet  everywhere,  stumbling,  stamping.  The  crowd  had  become   a   single   thing,   lurching   back   and   forth   unpredictably,   panicked   and   confused,   torn   between   >ight  and  >light.     Right  now  it  was  staggering  back  towards  him,  where  he  was  lying  on  the  marble  tiles  

and  he  just  knew  he  was  never  going  to  get  back  to  his  feet  in  time.     Then  her  hand   grabbed  hold   of  his  collar,   pulling,   and   his  feet  found  purchase   where  

the  glass  gravelled  on  the  marble  tiles.  

“You  hit  me.”   “They’re  beating  her  up,  Adam!  You  saw  them.”   “Police!  We’ve  got  to  get  out  of  here,  Lily,  the  police  are  coming!”   “Then  get  up,  you  fucker,  get  up!”  

 

At  the  other  end  of  an  undisturbed  expanse  of  pale  leather  dashboard  was  the  wing  

mirror.  In  it  the  sky  was  an  endless,  calm  blue.  Skyscrapers  loomed  up  into  it  shining,  while   at  their  feet  the  traf[ic  had  snarled  to  a  stop  round  the  crash,  groaning  and  hooting.     And  between  the  cars  [igures  moved.  Dark,  sober  [igures  in  dark,  sober  jackets,  mak-­‐

ing  their  way  down  through  the  traf[ic  towards  them.       Then  get  up,  you  fucker,  get  up.   “Lily,  we’ve  got  to  get  out  of  here!”   He  hauled  himself  up  off  the  dash  and  it  took   all  the  strength  he  had,  stranding  him  

back   in   the  soft   leather   seat   again.   All   he   wanted   to   do   was   stay   there,   rest,   sleep  in  that   comforting  grip.   He   grabbed  hold  of  her   shoulder,   the   fabric   of  her  suit  bunching  under   his   [ingers,  

coarse,  but  she  didn’t  respond.     “Lily,  get  up!”   He   pulled   himself   forward,   grabbing   her   with   both   hands   and   pulling   with   all   his  

body  weight,  and  her  head  came  up  from  the  steering  wheel.   Afterwards   he  was   never  quite  sure  of  what  he  saw  and  what  he  imagined,   but  the  

shock   of   it,   he  never  forgot:   the  brightness   of   the  blood,   the   livid  face,   the   imprint   of  the  

steering  wheel  smashed  into  it.  He  let  go   before  he  could  see  too  much.   She  was  an  impas-­‐ sive  weight  beneath  his  hands  and  fell  back  against  the  wheel  as  if  she  belonged  there.  She   didn’t  belong  there.     In  the  rear  view  mirror  he  could  see  a  dark  [igure  climbing  up  onto   the  bonnet  of  a  

car  stuck  in  traf[ic  behind  him,  the  driver  protesting  through  the  windshield.   For  a  moment   the   [igure   became   unpredictable,   shimmering   as   if   in   a   heat   haze,   the   shape   twisting   in   something  monstrous,  shadows  ramifying  up  into  the  air  behind  it.     Instinctively  his  hand  reached  for  the  door  latch,  but  the  collision  had  already  blown  

the  lock  and  it  swung  open  at  his  touch.  He  fell  straight  through,   onto   his  hands  and  knees   on  the  tarmac  outside.   He  pulled  himself  up  onto   the  wing,   his  legs  unsure  of  his  weight.   Lily  still  slumped  

there,   hair  down  over  her  face,  thank  god.  She  wasn’t  moving   but  he  wasn’t  quite  ready  to   accept  that  she  wasn’t  going  to.     “Lily?”   Above  the  noise  of  the  traf[ic,   of  the  city,  he  could  hear  someone  shouting,  someone  

nearby.  The  driver  had  got  out  of  his  car  and  was  waving  his  hands  at  the  impassive  [igure   denting  the  bodywork  of  his  BMW  bonnet.   The  [igure  wasn’t  looking  at  the  driver;  he  was  looking  at  Adam.   Hauling  himself  over  the  bonnet  of  the  Range  Rover,  willing  his  legs  to  keep  moving,  

his  feet  grinding  on  the  fractured  glass  embedded  into   the  soles   of  his  shoes,   Adam  forced   himself  onto  the   pavement.   Not  looking  back,   not  looking  back   at   Lily  in  the  driver’s  seat,   determined  that  she  was  not  going  to  be  there,  that  she  was  going  to  be  following  him,  that   she  was  never  going  to  have  been  there.  

 

There   was  an  alleyway  just  there,  a  sliver   of  shadow   between  tall   buildings,   a  faint  

memory  of  the  old  medieval  pathways  of  the  city,  and  he  let  it  swallow  him  up.  

 

Nico   could  see  someone   moving   round  the   crashed  Range   Rover,   but   the  driver   of  

the  BMW   was   unhappy   about   him   standing   on  the   bonnet   and   was   now   standing  by   the   open  car  door,  waving  his  arms  and  shouting.   People  shouted  at  Nico  Wolf,   they  always  had.   He  seemed  to   have  spent  most  of  his  

life  with  people  shouting  at  him,  to  the  extent  that,  for  the  last  ten  years,  muscle,  soldier,  se-­‐ curity,  it  had  pretty  much  been  his  job.  People  shouted  at  him  when  they  wanted  something   doing,   shouted  at   him   while   he  was   doing   it  and  shouted  what   they  thought  of  what   he’d   done  when  he’d  [inished.     As  a  young  man  Nico  might  have  just  hauled  off  and  punched  the  shouting  man,  like  

he  had  his  father,  a  tactic  that  had  earned  him  a  beating  and  further  shouting  until,  one  day,   Nico   had  [inally   been   big   enough   for   it   to   work   and  his   father   had   never   shouted   at   him   again.     These  days,   though,   he  was  learning.  What  Nico   did  these  days  was  just  get  on  with  

what  he  was  doing  and  let  the  shouting  happen,  and  he  was  getting  pretty  good  at  that  now.     He  ignored  the  man  and  got  on  with  what  he  was  doing.  Had  someone  got  out  of  the  

Range  Rover?     The  man  shouting  at  him  was  called  Hugh  Devereux  and  he  had  spent  an  awful  lot  of  

his  life  shouting  at  people.  He  was  used  to   getting  his  way  and  his  way  certainly  did  not  in-­‐ clude  men  standing  on  the  bonnet  of  his  BMW  2002  and  denting  it.   And  when  he  didn’t  get  his  way,  he  shouted.  

 

Jessica  blamed  his  mother  and  was   determined  that  she  was  going  to  do   something  

about  it.  But  right  now,  she  was  sitting  in  the  passenger  seat  of  the  Beemer  and  also  shout-­‐ ing.   What  was  really  annoying  Hugh,  was  that  the  man  was  some  kind  of  functionary.  If  it  

had  been  some  kind  of  vandal,  or  even  a  policeman,  it  might  have  been  interesting  or  excit-­‐ ing,   but   this  man  was  in  a   cheap,   manmade   fabric   suit,   with  the  kind  of  shoes  you  wore  if   you  were  actually  expecting  to  have  to  walk  somewhere  in  them.   His  tie  looked  as   if  it  was   clipped  on  and  there  was   even  a  little  patch  sewn  onto  the  breast  pocket  of  the  suit.  Three   dogs’  heads  in  golden  thread,  a  logo.  This  man  was  an  employee,  branded  with  a  brand,  this   was  exactly  the  sort  of  person  who   followed  Hugh’s  orders  and  who   got   shouted  at   if  they   didn’t.   “Get  the  fuck  down  off  my  car!   Are  listening  to  me?”  The  man  looked  like  some  kind  

of  security  guard,  that  was  it,  ”Are  you  some  kind  of  security  guard?  What  company  do  you   work  for?  I’m  calling  my  lawyer.  Jessica,  call  my  lawyer!”     Nico   jumped   down   from   the   bonnet   of   the   car   and   the   driver   reached   out   and  

grabbed  his  arm.   “Who  do  you  work  for?”   The  reason  you   learned,   as  Nico   had,   to   ignore  the   shouting   and   get   on   with  what  

you  were  doing  was  ”Don’t  escalate”.  That’s  what  they  always  said,  what  they  drummed  into   him,  ”Don’t  escalate”.  They  said  it  like  they  were  talking  about  the  [ight  that  you  were  about   to  start,  ”Don’t  escalate  it  into  violence”,  but  he  knew  what  they  really  meant  was  ”Don’t  es-­‐ calate  it  into  law”.  

You  throw   one  punch  and  you  are  throwing  yourself  into   the  police,   the  courts,   the  

lawyer’s  bills,   the  punishment.   That  was   the  escalation,   the  climb  into   the  world  that  men   like  this  had  constructed  so   that  they  could  shout  at  people  like  Nico  and  people  like  Nico   had  to  stand  there  are  take  it.     That  was  the  shouting.   The  touching,  though,  that  was  something  else.  That  grip  on  

his  arm,  that  was  common  assault.     That  was  the  second  part  of  the  talk   about   escalation,  a  painstaking  introduction  to  

the  law  surrounding  bodily  contact,  assault  and  escalating  things  very  fast  and  very  hard.   Nico  grabbed  the  man’s  arm  and  twisted  it.  The  man  gasped  and  let  go.  In  the  same  

movement  Nico   spun  him  round  and  slammed  him  up  against  the  BMW,  pulling  his  arm  up   behind  him.     Nico  had  learned  very  carefully  to  do  this  just  enough  to  argue  plausibly  that  he  was  

simply  restraining  his  attacker  but  quite  de[initely  enough  to  hurt.     The  woman  in  the  car  was  screaming.   “Sir...”  he  began,  but  then  a  woman’s  voice  behind  him  said:   “Wolf.”   He  looked  round.  A  woman  was  standing  between  cars,  at  her  elbow  another  man  in  

a  cheap  suit,  the  three  dogs’  heads  on  his  breast  pocket.  The  woman’s  suit  was  anything  but   cheap  and   the   only   logo   on   it   was   discreet,   obscure   and   not   currently   visible.   She   didn’t   have  to  say  any  more  than  Nico’s  name,  the  look  in  her  grey  eyes  was  enough.   Nico  let  go  of  the  man’s  arm  and  stood  away  from  him,  obediently.  Following  orders  

was  another  thing  that  Nico  was  good  at.    

 

Well,  in  a  manner  of  speaking.  What  mattered,   Nico  had  eventually  realised,  was  not  

the  order  itself  but  rather  the  person  giving  the  order.       There  were  orders   that  were  just   the  rules,  there  were  orders   that   were  just  some-­‐

one  throwing  their   weight  around,   making  you  do   something   just  because  they  could  and   then  there  were  the  orders  of  someone  in  authority   who  knew   what  they  were  doing.   The   orders  that  made  you  feel  like  an  integral  part  of  a  well-­‐planned  scheme.     The   woman,   Pasteur,   was   his   boss   at   Kerberos   Security,   but   more   importantly   to  

Nico,   she  was   someone  who   knew   what   she   was   doing   and   was   good   at   it.   Her   schemes   were  always  well  planned,  and  Nico  was  pleased  to  be  part  of  them.  And  more  than  that,  he   was  learning.     Hugh  spun  round.   “This  is  outrageous!”  he  slammed  a  hand  against  the  side  of  the  car,  ”Jessica,  call  the  

police.”   “Diane   Pasteur,   Kerberos   Security,”   Hugh   was   suddenly   brought   up   short.   The  

woman   looked   familiar,   had  he   met   her   before?   Hugh   didn’t   notice   things   like   expensive   haircuts  and   well   cut   suits  and  elegant   jewellery,   but   he  was  suddenly   aware  of  someone   from   what   he   thought   of   as   his   world.   Hugh   noticed   things   like   bums   and   breasts.   This   woman  didn’t  seem  to  have  any  of  the  latter  at  all  but  there  was  something  sleekly  muscled   about  her,  something  controlled  and  superior  that  made  him  squirm  a  little.  Hugh  had  been   educated  at  an  all  male  private  school.   The  woman  produced  a  business  card  with  an  imperceptible  [lick  of  her  [ingers.   He  

instinctively  took  it  and  immediately  knew  that  was  a  mistake.  He  had  entered  into  a  world  

of  etiquette  and  manners  now  and  wasn’t  going  to  be  able  to  shout  with  quite  as  much  con-­‐ viction.   “Of[icer   Wolf  works   for   me  and  I’m   sure  he   will   apologise,   but   there  is   a   potential  

terrorist   situation  and  so   his   reaction  to  your  physical  intervention  is   understandable.  We   have  only  public  safety  in  mind.”   It   was   said  quietly   and  [irmly   and  Hugh  heard  the  magical   words   ’terrorism’,   ’your  

physical  intervention’  and   ’public   safety’  quite  clearly.   The   woman   had   managed   to   evoke   fear,  assert  his  legal  culpability  and  appeal  to  his  public  spirit  all  in  one  speech.  He  couldn’t   think  of  anything  to  say.   “Please  feel  free  to  call   me  if  you  need  to   discuss  the  matter  further,”  she  nodded  at  

the  card  in  his  hand,  ”Of[icer  Wolf.”     And  they  were  gone.   Hugh  opened  the  driver’s  door  and  got  back  in  the  car.   “Hugh,  it’s  the  police,  can  you  describe  the  man?”  Jessica  was  on  the  phone.   “Oh  for  god’s  sake,  I’m  [ine!”  Jessica,  at  least,  he  could  shout  at.  

It  seemed  to  Adam  like  running  in  a  dream.   He  knew  he  was  desperate  to  get  some-­‐

where,   but   he   couldn’t   quite   remember   where  and   his   feet   didn’t   seem   at   all   sure   about   running  at  all.   They  kept  catching  and  stumbling   on  [lagstones,   and   the  terrible  silence   of   the  crash  was  still  ringing  in  his  ears.   The  alleyway  was  narrow   and  shadowed  and  cool  and  one  wall   was   covered  in  old  

Victorian   tiles   and  he   could  not   quite  help  wondering   how   cold   and  clean   they   must   feel,   even  on  a  summer’s  day,  and  how  good  it  would  be  to  lean  his  face  against  them.  

 

And  he  remembered  an   alleyway  in  winter,   with  snow   starting  to   fall,   and  him  and  

Lily  running  away   from  the  police,  a  ragged  line  of  protestors   following  them.   There  were   sirens   sounding  in  the   streets   around,   and  shouting   and  the   sound  of  police  boots   on   as-­‐ phalt,  but  he  had  found  this   gap  in  the  mayhem  -­‐  a  way  out  -­‐  and,   for  once,   was  in  charge.   Saving  Lily,  for  a  change.     He  staggered  against  the  wall,  his  hand  slipping  on  the  tiles  -­‐  they  were  cool  -­‐  and  he  

almost  fell.     And  something  twitched  at  the  movement  -­‐  something  high  up  on  the  wall  opposite,  

something  scaled  that  glinted  in  the  sunshine,   and  craned  round  a  serpentine  neck   to  look   at  him  with  a  single,  pitiless  eye.   A  CCTV  camera,  turning  on  its  arm  in  its  steady,  mindless  sweep.  As  it  turned  he  saw  

the  sticker  on  its  side:  a  logo  of  three  dogs’  heads  in  yellow.     There   was   a  door  set  into  the   tiles  -­‐  old,   with  peeling  black   paint   and  rusty  lock,   a  

memory   of   some   other  use,   some   older  passage.   He  threw   his   weight  against   it,   the  paint   split  on  the  hinges  and  it  snapped  open,  pitching  him  inside,  out  of  sight  of  the  inching  cam-­‐ era.  

Nico  was  waiting  to  be  reprimanded  about  the  BMW  driver  but  Pasteur  said  nothing.  

She  had  something  far  more  important  to  worry  about  and  he  was  suddenly  afraid  that  he   wouldn’t   be  part   of  it.   He  had  to   be.   This   was   his  chase,   he  had  spotted  them   in   the   [irst   place,  after  all.  Without  him,  none  of  this  would  be  happening.     tions.   Pasteur   had   a   Bluetooth   headset   on   and   was   having   two   simultaneous   conversa-­‐

“There  maybe  others.   I  want  two   man  teams  at  the  tube  stations.   A   radius  based  on  

running  speed  from  the  time  of  the   crash.   Start  analysing   all   our  cameras   in  the  area  and   start   looking   into   getting   footage   from   the   others.   You   two,”   she   nodded   at   Nico   and   the   other  guard,  ”start  searching  the  immediate  area,”  to  no  one  and  to  everyone,   she  said,  ”We   are  going  to  get  this  done  quickly  and  quietly.”     all.   Quickly  and  quietly.  Perhaps  she  was  saying  something  about  the  BMW  driver,  after  

 

The   snow  was  really  falling   now.   It  seemed  so   incongruous:  the   unworldly,  silent   deli-­

cacy  of  the  snow,  and  the  grim,  desperate  battle  that  was  happening  somewhere  in  the  streets   below.  The  windows  up  in  this  of>ice  were  so  thick  he  could  barely  hear  the  police  sirens.     The   building  was  weekend  empty,  the  security  guards  distracted  by  the  riot  out  in   the  

street,  and  no  one  had  noticed  he  and  Lily  sneaking  up  the  back  stairs.     Normally  Adam  would  still  have  been  worrying  about  getting  caught,  but  right  now  he  

had  other  things  to   think   about,   like  how  to  get   this  stapler   out   from  underneath   him  while   Lily  was  trying  to  take  his  shirt  off.   “There’s  a  fucking  riot  going  on  down  there.”   “So  I  thought  we   could   start  one   up  here,”   she   grinned  at  him,  pulling   at  a   button,  ”A  

fucking  riot.”   “You  hit  me.”   “Poor   baby.   Next   time   don’t  try  and  stop   me   hitting   security  guards,”   she   gave   up   on  

the  buttons  and  pulled  at  his  belt.  

“The   police   were   coming.   You   would   have   been   arrested.   Hang   on,   there’s   a   stapler  

digging  into  my  back.”   “Man   up,”  and   she  bent  and  bit  his  stomach,   a  light  nip  with  her  terrifying  little   teeth.  

He   tried  to   pull  away  and   the  stapler  crunched  out  a   mangled   staple  beneath  him.  ”And  how   did  you  know  that  anyway?  That  the  police  were  coming?”   “I  heard  the  sirens.”   “Bollocks   you   did,”   and   she   scored   round   an   exposed   nipple   with   her   >ingernails.   He  

snatched  at  her  hand   and   she   grabbed  his  arm,   suddenly  throwing   her   full   weight   on   top   of   him,  pinning  him  to  the  of>ice  desk,  her  face  right  there  in  his.   “Tell  Lily  the  truth.  Don’t  lie  to  me,  because  I  know  when  you  are  lying.  Lily  knows  eve-­

rything.  And  do  you  know  how  she   >inds  out?”  And  she   squirmed  against  him,  and  the   stapler   dug  into  his  back.     “I  saw  it.”   “Bollocks  again,  I  didn’t  see  anything.”   “No,  not  like  that,  I  saw...  I  see  things...  things  like  that...”   He  was  suddenly  aware  that  he  was  about  to  tell  her,  to  tell  Lily  what  he  had  never  told  

another  living  soul,  not  friends,  not  girlfriends,  not  even  his  parents.  It  was  true,  she  could  >ind   out  anything.  From  him,  anyway.   stand?   “What  have  you  taken  and  why  didn’t  you  share  any  of  it?”   “No,   Lily,   it’s  nothing   like   that,”   why  should   he   tell   her   anything?  Who   would   under-­

 

She  must  have  seen  something  in  his  face  because  she  lifted  her  weight  up  off  him  and  

dug  a  quick  hand  in  under  his  back,   fetching  out  the  stapler  and  throwing  it  on  the   >loor.  She   looked  at  him  appraisingly,  trying  to  >igure  out  just  how  serious  he  was  being.   “Tell  me,  then.  What  is  it  like?”   “It’s  like...   you  know  what  I  always  thought  it  was  like?  This  is  going  to  sound...  I  don’t  

know:  I  always  thought  it  was  like  gods.”   “Oh  fuck,  you  haven’t  started  talking  to  Jesus  have  you?”   “No.  No,  he’s  started   talking  to  me.  Only  not  Jesus,  I  said  gods,   not  god.   I  mean   like   the  

really  old  gods,  right,  like  the  Greeks  and  the  Romans.”   “The  guys  in  bed  sheets  on  the  statues.”   “Right,  yes,  yes,  think  about  the  statues,  think  about  all  those  buildings  down  there  -­  all  

the  old   ones,   just  covered  in  statues,  right?  Faces  above  the  door,  people  holding  up  windows,   whole  continents,  India,  all  elephants  and  that,  America  with  feathery  hats,  all  walking  across   the  front  of  a  building,  you  know  what  I  mean?”   “Like  some  guy  on  a  fountain,  pouring  it  out  of  a  jug  or  something?”   “Exactly  that,   because   that’s  what  they  thought,   right?  They  thought   that   every  little  

fountain  had  a  god,  every  stream  and  tree  and  fucking  street  corner.  Everything  was  alive  and   aware  and  talking  to  you.”   “Busy.”   “Yes,”  he  said,  ”Very  busy.  Indeed.”   “Wait,”  she  said,  ”This  is  what  you  see,  all  these  gods?  Like  angels  or  something?”   “I   wish   it  was,   I  wish   that   was  what   I  see,   because   then   I’d   just   be   another  religious  

nutcase,  right?  I  thought  I  was  maybe,  for  a  bit,  I  thought  I  was  just  going  mad  and,  you  know,  

that  was  ok,   because   at  least   there   was  a   rational,   well,  irrational   explanation.   But   I’m  very   much  afraid  that  it  isn’t.  I’m  afraid  that  what  I  see  is  real.”   “And  what  is  it?  What  do  you  see?”   “I  see  data.”  

There  was   something  digging  into   Adam’s   back  that  wasn’t  a  stapler.   He  didn’t  care,  

but   he  knew   he  was  supposed  to,   and  he  hauled  himself  back   up  out   of  unconsciousness,   back  into  a  world  where  there  wasn’t  a  Lily  anymore.     He  was  slumped  into   the  corner  of  a  grimy  light   well   just  the   other  side   of  the  bat-­‐

tered  old  door.   The  concrete  under  foot  was  strewn  with  cigarette  butts  and  used  condoms.   A   plucky   little  Styrofoam  cup  sailed  giddily   nowhere  in  a  scummy   puddle,   turning   in  aim-­‐ less  circles.       And  round  the  corner  of  the  door  something  came  stealing.   It  had  the  wrong  number   of  dimensions  -­‐  too   few,  a  [lat   drawing   somehow   alive   in  

the   real   world  -­‐   something   like   an   origami   of   darkness   that   unfolded   itself   into   the   grey   concrete  space,  a  shape  like  a  hand,  feeling  forwards  blindly.   There   was  another   door   opposite  him,   at   the  top  of  a  short   [light  of  steps,   this   one  

leading  into  the  of[ice-­‐building  behind.   With  any  luck  it  wouldn’t  be  locked.  Or  alarmed.  Or   guarded.   He  levered  himself  to   his   feet,   glad  to  be   away   from  the  thing  that  wasn’t  a   stapler,  

that  wouldn’t  be  taken  away  by  Lily,  and  hobbled  up  the  stairs  to  the  door.     His  luck  held.  

 

There  was  a   CCTV   camera  in  the  alleyway,   one  of  theirs,   and  Nico   Wolf  called  in  its  

number  to  central  control.  They  could  check  back,  see  if  anyone  had  been  this  way.     There   was   a   door   there,   too,   though,   and   open   just   a   crack.   Someone   might   have  

made  it,  perhaps,  before  the  camera  had  made  its  swing  down  the  length  of  the  alley,  if  they   had  timed  it  right,  had  a  little  bit  of  luck.     It  was  the  sort  of  thing  Nico  himself  might  have  tried.   He  pushed  the  door  open,   looked  inside.  A   narrow  little  concrete  space,  somewhere  

where   smokers   went,   a   door   to   the  of[ice   beyond.   That’d  be   locked.   Nothing   in   there,   no   sign  of  anyone.   He  looked  back  -­‐  he  still  didn’t  know  if  someone  had  got  out  of  the  Range  Rover,  but  

then  control  would  tell  him  if  he  was  on  a  wild  goose  chase.  Wouldn’t  they?   He  hated  these  secretive  little  alleyways,  didn’t   quite  understand  the  desire  to  pre-­‐

serve  these   dark  little  shards  of  the   past   in   between   the  modern   buildings.   Someone   had   told  him,  and  he  could  well  believe  it,  that  they  had  had  a  Great  Fire  that  had  burned  the  en-­‐ tire  city   and  that  afterwards   they  had  wanted  to   build  a  whole  new   modern  one,   but  that   the   building   owners   had   insisted   on   keeping   the   old   streets   just   the   way   they   were,   wouldn’t  stand  for  one  inch  of  progress  if  it  was  being  built  on  one  inch  of  their  land.     Sounded  about  right.   Sounded  like  the  English.   They  seemed  terri[ied  of  the  future,  

burying   away   from   it   into   mounds   of  antiques   and  tradition   like  maggots   from   the   light,   when  you   turned   over  the   dead  body   of  an   animal.   They   wrapped  themselves   up  in  their   cosy   nostalgia,   comforting   themselves   with   the   remains   of   their   empire,   while   fresh   em-­‐ pires  raged  past  them,  unnoticed.  

 

Not  all  of  them,  though,  he  had  to  admit  that.  You  only  had  to  look  around  you  to  see  

that.   These   skyscrapers,   pushing   up   like   saplings   in   a   forest   of   dead   trees,   these   were   monuments   to   the  ruthless   English,   people   like  Pasteur,   people  who   wore   the  accent  and   the  traditions  like  a  cloak  to  hide  the  hand  that  held  the  knife.     They   decorated   themselves   with  history,   with  chivalry   and  etiquette,   but   Nico   had  

learned  long  ago  to  never  trust  an  Englishman.   there.   He  turned  and  walked  back  towards  the  crash,  looking  for  a  man  he  wasn’t  sure  was  

Kenneth  Robinson  hated  being  stuck  in  traf[ic.  If  you  had  asked  him,  he  couldn’t  have  

provided  a   sensible  answer   to   why.   It   was   rare  that   there   was   anywhere   that   would  miss   Kenneth  Robinson  if  he  didn’t  get  there  on  time,  but  when  he  was  driving,   he  wanted  to  be   driving,  not  parked.  Kenneth  liked  to  have  a  purpose.   Like  today.  He  had  a  list;  he  had  made  Miriam  write  it  out,  had  made  the  children  in-­‐

clude  what  they   wanted.   Not  just  shopping,   things  they  had  to   do.  Lunch  was   on  there,   as   was  coffee.  And  cake,  that  was  Lucy’s,  his  daughter’s,  item;  coffee  and,  a  separate  item,  cake.   As  a  joke  he  was  going  to  make  them  do  the  two  things  separately,  because  they  were  sepa-­‐ rate  items.   Coffee  and  then  a  cake.  Separately.   It  was  a  Kenneth  Robinson  kind  of  joke,  but   his  family  would  talk  about  it  afterwards.  Perhaps  he  should  add  Appreciation  of  the  joke  to   the  list.   He  had  his  list  and  they  were  going  to  the  shopping  centre  (not  mall,   Kenneth  hated  

the  word  mall,  too  American)  to  tick  off  its  items.  Only  they  weren’t,  currently,  because  they   were  stuck  in  traf[ic.  

Kenneth  Robinson’s  purpose  was  being  thwarted.   “There’s   been  an  accident,”  Miriam  was  looking  out  of  her  window.   There  was  a  po-­‐

lice   car   there,   lights   still   [lashing,   and   [luorescent   tape,   and  men   in   high   visibility   jackets   and  a  big,  black  Range  Rover  smashed  into  a  bollard.     The  bollard  had  been  pulled  out  of  the  pavement  by  the  impact,  showing  its  concrete  

roots.  Yet  more  money  on  the  council  tax,  thought  Kenneth  Robinson.   “That’ll   be  why  there’s   traf[ic,”  said  Kenneth,   ”People  just  have   to   look,   don’t   they?”  

And  he  craned  past  Miriam  to  see.   “I  hope  no  one  was  hurt,”  said  Miriam.   “There’s  an  ambulance,  there,”  said  Lucy,  with  a  certain  ghoulish  relish.   “Ambulance,”  said  Keith,  the  youngest,  for  whom  emergency  vehicles  were  the  most  

important  things  in  the  world.   “What  a  shame,”  said  Miriam,  ”It’s  a  lovely  car.”   “That’s   the  trouble   with   those   big   four-­‐bys,”  said  Kenneth,   ”They   cause   more   acci-­‐

dents  than  other  cars.  The  drivers  get  complacent.  They’re  dangerous.”     He  was  dimly  aware  that  the  car  in  front  had  inched  forward  and  he  went  to  move  on  

himself  and  then,  looking  back  at  the  road,  slammed  on  the  brakes,  jerking  the  family  Rob-­‐ inson  as  one  forward  in  their  seats.     Deborah,  the  eldest,   tutted  audibly,  the  [irst  sound  he  had  heard  her  make  all  morn-­‐

ing.   Kenneth  caught  her  look   of  disgust  in  the  rear  view   mirror.   He  found  it  confusing  and   annoying  that  this  judgmental,   sulky  teenager  had  taken  his  little  Debbie  away  and  hidden   her  somewhere  behind  eye  make  up  and  headphones.  

A   woman  had  just   walked   out   straight  in  front   of  him,   right  between  the   cars.   Yes,  

they  were  all  stopped  in  traf[ic,  but  you  didn’t  just  walk  between  cars,  did  you?  There  were   pedestrian  crossings  for  that,  after  all.  Surely  one  of  the  policemen  would  say  something.     The  woman   raised   an  indifferent   hand   in  thanks   and  walked  up   to   one   of   the   po-­‐

licemen  and  greeted  him.  The  of[icer  nodded  his  head  at  her  in  deference.   “Do  you  think  she’s  a  policeman?”  asked  Lucy.   “Policewoman,”  said  Kenneth  and  followed  the  traf[ic  slowly  past  the  crash.  

Detective  Inspector  Eva  Lisiewicz  wasn’t  supposed  to  be  looking  at  this  Range  Rover  

-­‐  which  must  have  been  going  at  quite  a  speed  at   impact  to  pull   that  bollard  up  like  that   -­‐   she  was   supposed  to  be   in   a  meeting  about  policing  for   a   protest  march,   but   the  meeting   didn’t   need   her.   Mind  you,   neither   did   the   road  traf[ic   accident,   but   she   knew   which   was   likely  to  be  more  interesting.   like.”   “And  the  passenger?”   “There’s  no   passenger,  ma’am,”  and  he  bent  down  to  peer  into   the  passenger  seat  as   “Driver’s  a  fatality,”  said  the  of[icer  with  the  police  line  tape,  ”Died  in  the  crash,  looks  

if  to  reassure  himself.   “Not  any  more,”  said  Eva,  ”But  there  was,”  she  pointed  into  the  window,  ”Glass  in  the  

foot   well   but  not   on  the  seat,  blood  on  the   dashboard  here,   not  from   the  driver’s   injuries,   glass  crushed  underfoot  here  on  the  road,  bloody  handprint  on  the  bonnet  here.”  

 

The  passenger   had  survived  the   crash,   then  -­‐  probably   had  a  seat   belt  on  -­‐   had  got  

out   after  the   crash,   walked   round   the   front   of   the   car,   away   from   the   traf[ic,   up  onto   the   pavement.   “So  where  are  they  now,  then,  eh?”   The  of[icer  didn’t  seem  to  have  any  suggestions.  

 

Adam  opened  the  door  and  breathed.  The  roof  of  the  building  was  asphalt  and  clut-­‐

tered   with   air   conditioning,   window   cleaning   equipment,   aerials   and   dishes.   Around   it   crowded   the   blank   faces   of   the   city   skyscrapers,   but   sandwiched  in   between   them,   high   above,  the  summer  sky  was  an  endless,  perfect  blue.         He  closed  the  door  behind  him  and  crunched  across  the  roof  towards  the  edge.   And  then  he  stopped.   The  sky  above  wasn’t  perfect  anymore.    The  sun  had  gone.   Something  reared  down  from  the  tower  peaks  around  him.  Something  like  a  cloud  of  

pale  light,  spun  between  the  buildings,   bunching  itself  together.  A   hundred  hands,  reaching   and  grabbing,   pulling  itself  through  the  echoing  glass  canyons.  And  over  them  all  loomed  a   face,  no,  three  faces,  [lickering  through  monstrous  contortions.     Shadowing  out  the  sun  it  craned  in  between  the  walls  of  concrete  and  steel,  scanning  

the  streets  with  a  hundred  unblinking  eyes.  Right  over  his  head  it  bent,  and  for  a  brief  mo-­‐ ment  he  was  aware  of  it  as  a  hundred  thousand  different  shapes,   a  whirlwind  of  phantoms   that  eddied  through  the  city.     Down  it  bent  and,  opening  its  ghastly  mouths,  it  spoke  his  face.  

 

And  then,   just   as   suddenly   it   was   gone,   the   sun  re[lected  in  the   building  walls,   the  

sound  of  traf[ic   and  sirens   from  the   streets.   Birds   calling  somewhere   and  a  distant   jumbo   jet.  Another  summer  morning.     And  he  fell  to  his  knees  under  a  once  more  perfect  sky.  

 

Eva  walked  back  between  the  crawling  traf[ic  to   the  central  reservation,   and  walked  

along   it,   ignoring   the   stares   of   the   drivers,   thinking.   There:   scraping   and   the   remains   of   paint  on  the  low  concrete  barrier  -­‐  the  car  must  have  crossed  it  here  -­‐   already  going  at  a  fair   old  speed.     She  climbed  up  onto  the  barrier  herself.  Traf[ic  was  moving  faster  on  the  other  side.  

Nothing  there,  but,  ah  -­‐  the  black  marks  of  complaining  tyres  on  the  asphalt.  They  had  been   driving  -­‐   at  speed  -­‐  in  the  wrong  direction  down  this  side  of  the  road  -­‐  hence  the  crossing   over,  of  course.       Which  meant  they  must  have  come  from  down  there,  somewhere  -­‐  what  was  that?   She  sprinted  between  traf[ic   and  jogged  down  the  pavement.   It  was   the  opening  to  

an  underground  garage.   The   security   arm  that   had  barred  the   entrance   had  been   uncere-­‐ moniously  swatted  aside,   although  it  was   still  gamely   trying  to  raise  itself,  waving  its   bro-­‐ ken  end  in  the  air.     So  they  had  exited  this  car  park  at  speed,  turned  the  wrong  way  up  the  road,  against  

the  traf[ic,  jumped  the  central  reservation  to  get  onto  the  right  side  of  the  road,  lost  control   of  the  vehicle  -­‐  there  was  no  evidence  of  other  traf[ic  involved  so  it  was  probably  driver  er-­‐ ror  -­‐  and  crashed  into  the  bollard  on  the  far  side  of  the  road.  

A   man   was   trying   to   [ix   the   arm,   watched   by   a   security   guard.   The   guard   had   a  

golden  logo  on  the  breast  pocket  of  his  uniform.  Three  dogs’  heads.   Satis[ied  as  she  was  to  have  this  part  of  the  event  straight,  this  was  not  the  important  

or  interesting  part.  That  wasn’t  even  down  there  in  the  underground  parking.  It  was  some-­‐ where  further  back.  Or  up.  There  was  an  of[ice  building  above  the  car  park  and  Eva  was  try-­‐ ing  to  remember  who  had  of[ices  there.     The  dead   young   woman,   Eva  was   thinking,   had  not   been   expensively   dressed.   She  

had   had  piercings   -­‐   removed,   but  only  recently,   and  there  had  been  tattoos   visible  on  her   neck,  under  her  shirt  collar.  Eva  was  going  to  stick  her  neck  and  guess  that  the  Range  Rover   had  been  stolen.     It  was  not  a  good  car  for  a  getaway,  a  Range  Rover.  For  a  weekend  getaway  to  a  coun-­‐

try  cottage,  yes,  for  a  high-­‐speed  pursuit  getaway,  no.  And  Eva  was  becoming  sure  this  was  a   getaway.   An  unpremeditated  one,   a  panicked  one.   The  driver  had  not  been  wearing  a  seat   belt.       But  the  passenger  had.   She  looked   back   at   the  crash.   There   were  more  people   there.   People  in  dark   suits,  

suits  which  looked  like  they  might  have  little  yellow  logos  on  the  breast  pockets.  She  looked   back  at  the  underground  car  park.  Interesting  and  important.     She  turned  and  started  walking  back.  

 

He  was  looking  out  of  the  window  of  the   of>ice  at  the  snow  falling   on  the   city,  so  calm  

and  white  and  beautiful.  

 

Lily  was  lying  on  him,  her  chin   on  her  hands  on   his  chest.   Her  teeth  were  white  as  the  

snow  and  her  lips  were  red.   “So  what,”  she  was  saying,  ”You  can  see  people’s  bank  details?”   “No,  well,   yes,   but  it’s  not  really  like   that.  You   know,   like,   when  you   look  at   someone,  

you’re  not  just  seeing  them,  right,  I  mean  you’re  also  seeing  all  their  clothes  and  their  make  up   or   whatever,   and   there   are   all   these   other   things  like   their   body  language   or   their   accent   -­   things  you   might   not  realise   you’re   seeing,   but  that   are   them,   its  the   whole   thing,   right?   It’s   like   that  -­  I  see   the  whole  thing,  all  at  once,  all  the  data   that  someone   has  one  them,  or  that’s   sitting  on  a  computer,  I  see  it  all  at  once,  like  it’s  a  whole  other  thing.”   “What  does  it  look  like?”   “That   was  the   thing,   that   was   the   thing   that   made   me   think   I   was   going   mad.   The  

things   I   started   seeing.   I  mean   you   kind   of   see   the   truth   about  someone,   do   you   see,   all   the   things  they  hide  away  in  secret  are  right  out  there  for  me  to  see  and  it  doesn’t  look  pretty,  of-­ ten,  and  then  its  worse  these  days,  getting  worse  all  the  time.  There’s  so  much,  so  much  infor-­ mation,   just   everywhere,   and   everything’s   always   changing,   growing   worse,   more...   mon-­ strous.  I  thought...  I  thought  I  was  seeing  demons  at  one  point.”   “Wait,”   she  lifted   herself  up,  her  eyes  wide,  ”You  see   this  all  the  time?  I  thought  it  was  

like  visions  or  something.”   “All  the  time.”   “Oh  my  god,  Adam,”  she  looked  so  terri>ied  and  sorry  and  his  heart  lurched  in  his  chest.  

He  had  been  right  to  tell  her.  To  be  taken  seriously,  and  by  her.  However  ghastly  life  might  be,   sometimes  the  universe  was  too  wonderful  to  believe.  

“I  mean,   it’s  ok  now  for  example,  most  things  in  the  building  are  switched   off  -­  there’s  

nothing  really  screaming  at  me,  I  can  kind  of  ignore  the  background  these  days...”   “But...  what  do  you  see  when  you  look  at  me?”   “But  that’s  the  great  thing  about  you.”   “There  are  many  great  things  about  me,”  her  smile  made  his  chest  tight.   “No   Facebook  pro>ile,  no   email,   no   smart  phone.   When   I   look   at   you,   I   see   you.   And   I  

can’t  think  of  anything  I’d  rather  look  at.”     And  she  kissed  him.  

 

Adam  squinted  up  at  the  empty  sky.  His  mouth  was  dry  and  a  stone  had  made  a  per-­‐

fect  little  impression  of  itself  in  his  hand  where  he  had  been  lying  on  it.  He  had  to  keep  it   together,  stop  passing  out  like  this.     He   dug   into   his   pocket  and  pulled  out  a  battered   old  mobile  phone.   The  crash,   the  

passing  out,  seemed  to  have  stopped  the  visions  for  the  moment.  Perhaps  he  would  be  bet-­‐ ter  off  not  pulling  himself  together  after  all.     There  was  only  one  number  in  the  contacts  book  and  he  dialled  it.   “It’s  me.  There’s  been  an  accident.  Lily’s...  I  think  she’s  dead.  It’s  Plan  B,  ok?  Plan  B.”  

 

There  was  a  small  knot  of  the  dark  suited  security  guards  standing  next  to  the  crash  

scene  and,   just  behind  them,  a  woman  in  a  sharp  suit  and  extravagantly  restrained  haircut,   who  Eva  immediately  saw   from  the  body  language  was  their  boss.  The  woman  was  talking   on  the  mobile  phone.   “It  matches  a  phone  registered  in  the  building?  Then  trace  it,  of  course.”  

One  of  the  guards,   a  young  man  in  his   late  twenties   with  dark   hair,  was  standing  a  

little  apart  from  the  others  and  the  police  of[icer  they  were  talking  to.  Something  about  him   piqued  Eva’s  curiosity.   “And  he  said  ’Plan  B’?”  said  the  woman  in  the  suit.   “Detective  Inspector  Eva  Lisiewicz,”  she  held  out  a  hand  to   the  young  man,  ”I  take  it  

you  have  some  information  about  the  incident?”   “Diane   Pasteur,   Kerberos   Security,”  it  was  the  woman  in  the   suit,   putting   away  her  

mobile  phone  and  taking  hold  of  Eva’s   outstretched  hand,  ”I  take  it   you’re  in  charge  of  the   incident.”   “For  the  moment,”  Eva  found  that  the  woman  had  handed  her  a  business  card,  with  

the  logo  of  the  three  dogs’  heads  on  it,  ”The  vehicle  came  from  a  premises  you  provide  secu-­‐ rity  for?”   “From  our  own  building,  actually,  our  headquarters.”   “And  it  was  stolen?”   “It  was,”  at  least  Pasteur  had  the  decently  to  look   shamefaced  about  this  -­‐   a  car  sto-­‐

len  from  the  headquarters  of  a  security  [irm.  Not  very  secure.   “This  is  the  overview,”  Pasteur  continued,   ”This  morning   two   individuals  gained  ac-­‐

cess  to  our  headquarters  through  deception.”   “Deception?”   “They   claimed   to   be   software   developers,   pitching   a   new   electronic   surveillance  

product  to  us.”   “But  they  had  no  such  product,”  said  Eva.   “They  did,  actually,  and  rather  a  good  one,  in  fact,”  said  Pasteur,  ”Terrifyingly  good.”  

He  opened  the  door  and  everyone  in  the  entire  [loor  shouted  all  their  secrets,  banali-­‐

ties  and  corporate  con[idences  right  in  Adam’s  face.     It   was   an   open   plan   of[ice   [illed   with   desks   divided   by   low   partitions,   so   that   he  

could  see  across  all  of  them  to  the  lifts  at  the  other  end.         It  was  a  short  run,  maybe  a  minute  or  so,  nothing  to  it.     Just  the  ghosts.   The  room  was  full   of  them.   Phantoms  of  phone  calls,   email   trails,  text  messages,  all  

talking,   whispering,   shouting,   singing,   screaming.   A   room   teeming   with   the   ethereal   and   monstrous  data  invisible.   Once  upon  a  time  it  had  just  been  the  impression  of  something,  these  visions.  Shapes  

and  colours  and  sounds.  To  this  day  he  didn’t  know  whether  he  had  become  more  sensitive   to  them  or  whether  it  was  simply  that  the  world  was  more  [looded  with  signal.   Of  course   he  hadn’t  known   what   it   was   then.   Just   visions,   hallucinations.   And  with   them,   splitting  headaches  and  dazzled  eyes.   He  thought  he  was  just  ill.  He  knew,  for  instance,  that   people  with  migraines  often  saw  lights.   He  wondered  if  he  might  have  a  brain  tumour,   sy-­‐ naesthesia,  something.     It   was   only   gradually   that   he   became   afraid   he   was   losing   his   mind.   They   were  

changing  by  then,  the  visions,  taking  shape,  so  that  from  a  distance  he  began  to  see...  things.   Forms   loomed   in   the   sky,   forces   coiled   beneath  the   streets.   Like  something  from   a  story-­‐ book,  his  horizon  began  to  be  crowded  with  giants  and  titans.   He  hadn’t  told  anyone  else,   of  course,  he  was  far  too  frightened  of  what  it  might  all  

mean.   But  his  own  puzzlement  had  led  him  to   read,  to  research,  to   discover.  He  read  about  

ancient  religions,  magic,   the  practices  of  shamans.  Holy  men  taking  hallucinogens  to   speak   with  the  dead  and  wrestle  with  spirits.   Was  this  the  world  that  was  revealing  itself  to  him,   the  prehistoric,  forgotten  world  of  gods  and  monsters?     Perhaps  it  was  this  that  had  made  him  begin  to  scrutinise,  examine  the  visions  more  

closely.  And  he  started  to  see  that,   like  the  household  gods  of  Roman  belief,  every  building   had  its  ghost,  its  lares  and  penates,  every  street  was  watched  over  by  its  patient  guardians,   every  person  haunted.     That   had   been   the   moment   when   he   had   truly   feared   for   his   sanity.   Although  

whether  he  was  afraid  that  the  visions  came  because  he  was  mad,   or  would  make  him  mad   themselves,  he  was  never  entirely  sure.   It  was  that  discovery,  that  every  person  was  a  mon-­‐ ster,   that  the  world   was  peopled   by   demons.   That  had  almost   broken  him.   But   it  had  also   enlightened  him,  revealed  what  he  was  actually  seeing.     Who  knew  what  had  [inally  done  it,  his  own  sensitivity,  the  spread  of  mobile  phones,  

of  Internet  connectivity,  of  wi[i,  but  the  world  around  him  had  turned  itself  inside  out.  Sud-­‐ denly  everyone  was  horrifyingly  changed.  Everywhere  he  saw  terrors  and  metamorphoses.   Passers  by  would  sprout  horns,  tails,   wings.   A  tube  carriage  would  seethe  with  scaly,  feath-­‐ ery  monstrosities,  whole  buses  would  blaze  past,  packed  with  [laming  devils.     Ever   day  had  become  a  nightmare,   even  the  shortest   walk   a  trip  into   hell.   He  could  

no  longer  stand  the  city,   or  large  groups  of  people  or  even  to  talk  to   a  single  individual.   He   [led  human  society,  afraid,  uncomprehending.     But   slowly   he   started   to   see   how   these   transformations   were   somehow   separate  

from   the  subjects.   Concentrate   on  the   people,   his   head  throbbing,   his   eyes   watering  with   the  pain,  and  he  could  see  the  individual  beneath  the  vision.  

 

Look   further,  though,  and  it  became  worse,   for  each  person  was  not  just   one  but  a  

legion  of  monsters.  The  vision  changed,  each  mutation  becoming  a  separate  creature:  a  face,   a  voice,   a  ghost,  a  thousand  ghosts  and  monsters,   crowding   everyone,   drowning  them  out,   overpowering  them,  overpowering  him.     Look   further,   though,   look   further.   For   these   are   indeed   ghosts,   the   memories   of  

things,  the  remains.  These  endless  voices  are  the  echoes,  the  reverberations  of  speech  long   gone.   Of   conversations,   debates,   shouted   argument   and  whispered   desire,   of  spreadsheet   and  love  letter,  of  date  making,  date  breaking,  mate  meeting  and  long  loneliness.   For   [inally   he   began   to   understand.   Understand   that   these   weren’t   just   random,  

ghastly  hallucinations.  These  were  the  embodiment  of  something,  of  something  real.   Some-­‐ how  his  brain  was  taking  something  he  saw  and  in  trying  to  make  sense  of  it,  made  it  mon-­‐ strous.  Something  that  could  only  be  contained  in  shapes  of  ancient  and  mythical  terror.   Because   this   wasn’t   a  normal   thing.   What  he   saw   was   something   no   one   else   saw,  

something  that  [illed  the  world  invisibly,  that  drove  it,   gave  it  life,   unseen,  unheard,  unsus-­‐ pected.       What  he  saw  was  data.  And  data  was  everywhere.   Every   person   moved  through  a   sea   of   data,   spreading   out   great   ripples   with  every  

movement.  With  every  phone  call,  text  message,  email,  status  update.  Withdraw  money  and   the   banking   network   twitches,   upload   a   photograph   and   the   internet   watches,   cross   the   road  and  the  city  counts  you,  pass  by  a  camera  and  the  world  knows.     We  are  ghosted  by  data,  caught  in  a  hall  of  digital  mirrors,  multiplying  us  across  the  

ether.  Where  once  it  might  have  been  believed  that  photographs  stole  the  soul,  we  have  now  

made  electronic   spirits   for  ourselves,  capturing  them  in  magnetic  bottles   that  they  may  fa-­‐ miliar  us  and  de[ine  us  both.     And  this   was   what  Adam  saw.   He   saw  us   all.   Not  just  the  brave   face   we  put  on,  but  

the  us  we  hid,  the  online  selves,   all   the  people  we  might  be  and  pretend  to  be.   He  saw  the   overdraft  and  the   low   expectations,  the   anonymous  post  and  the   public  boast,   the  careful   lies   and  the  mistaken  truths.  And  he  saw   them  all  at  once,  in  one  monstrous,   twisted  form.   He  saw  us,  the  monstrous,  twisted  us.     So,   looking  out   from   the   doorway   at   the   busy   of[ice,   he   saw   it   crammed  with   de-­‐

mons.   Demons   dogged   by   ghosts.   Telephone   messages,   email   threads,   murmuring   and   chanting  down  the  grey-­‐carpeted  aisles,  while  [inancial  numbers  rang  in  their  tidy  cells  and   the  dreams  of  projects  writhed  in  the  hard  disks.     And  beyond,  out  at  the  edges,   where  the  building,   but  not  the  data,  ended  in  [loor  to  

ceiling  windows,  the  giants  strode.  Three  headed  titans  lurching  between  dwarfed  building,   all  of  them  singing  as  they  went.  Singing  and  watching.  Singing  his  face.     It  wasn’t  far  to  the  lifts,  just  a  short  trip  through  hell.   And  Adam  ran.  

“So,   I’m  not   clear,”   out   of   the  corner  of  her   eye   Eva  was  aware   that   the   ambulance  

crew  was  removing  the  body  from  the  Range  Rover  at  last,  ”What  exactly  was  the  deception   involved,  then?”   “One   of   our   guards   recognised  the   individuals,”  said  Pasteur   and   Eva   realised  that  

she  was  very  carefully  not  indicating  any  of  the  guards  present.   It  would  have  been  a  natu-­‐

ral  move.  Perhaps  the  guard  in  question  wasn’t  here.  The  young  one  with  the  dark  hair  and   the  intense  eyes  was  watching  the  ambulance  men.   “Kerberos   is  the   target  of  a  number   of   activist  groups,”  Pasteur   was   saying,   ”There  

have  been  numerous  terrorist  threats  in  the  last  few  months.”   Of  course.   Kerberos   wasn’t   just   corporate  security.   They   handled  all   kinds   of  busi-­‐

ness,  right  up  to  what  you  might  call  mercenaries.   Newspapers  even  claimed  they  were  the   de  facto  government  in  various  parts  of  the  Congo  and  Afghanistan.  There  had  been  a  lot  of   talk  of  their  violation  of  human  rights.  And  some  people  just  didn’t  like  security  [irms,  too.   But   Eva  knew   what  Pasteur   was   talking  about.   Six   months   ago,   just   before   Christ-­‐

mas,  there  had  been  an  anti-­‐capitalist  protest  at  the  Kerberos  headquarters.  It  had  been  un-­‐ announced  and   the  police  hadn’t  been  in  attendance.   The  protestors   had  clashed   directly   with  the  Kerberos  Security  staff  and  a  woman  had  been  severely  injured  in  the  [ighting.  Not   that  it  had  got  much  better  when  the  police  [inally  did  show  up.     The  protestors  had  claimed  the  woman  had  been  beaten  by  the  Kerberos  staff,   Ker-­‐

beros  claimed  she  had  been  injured  in  the  crush  of  the  mob.     The  evidence  was  with   Kerberos,   not   least   thanks  to   their  own  systems.   CCTV   had  

captured  everything  and  there  was  nothing  to  show  excessive  force  on  the  part  of  the  Ker-­‐ beros  staff.  Eva  had  watched  some  of  it  herself.   The   Internet,   however,   was   alive   with   conspiracy   theories,   it   always   was.   Activist  

chatter  was  heavy  around  the  [igure  of  the  young  woman,  now  in  a  coma  in  a  city  hospital.   Talk   of  evidence  and  revenge,   of  hidden  CCTV  footage  and  silenced  witnesses.   Graf[iti   was   appearing  everywhere:  a  sheep  on  a  drip,  in  a  tangle  of  barbed  wire  or  thorns,  bleeding  on  a   slab.  It  was  a  pun  on  the  young  woman’s  name.  

 

“Ella  Lamb,”  said  Eva  and  Pasteur  nodded.   Ella  Lamb.  So  that  was  what  this  was  about.  

 

Adam  came  out  of  the   main  doors   of  the  building   and   scanned  the  street.   Another  

stab  of  vision,  like  a  hot  wire  through  his  head.   There,   off  to  the  left,  lumbering  through  a  sea  of  ghosts  and  goblins,   a  dark  monster  

with  three  heads.  Dogs’  heads.       He  turned  right.   The  vision  faded  as  he  dodged  through  the  crowds,  but  they  were  coming  closer  and  

stronger  now.  Any  hope  he  might  have  had  that  the  crash  might  have  [ixed  things  somehow   was  fading.     He  could  still  feel  that  phone  burning  in  his  pocket,  for  instance.  The  [laring  spark  of  

network   connection  that   craned  in   over  his   head.   Could  they  trace  that?  Would  they   have   done  that  already?  Would  they  even  know  it  was  his?  

Pasteur’s  phone  buzzed  and  she  looked  down   at  it   and   smiled  to   herself.   The  dark  

haired  guard  was  watching  her  now,  trying  to  see  what  was  on  the  screen,  as  Eva  was.   “So   these   individuals,   our   fugitive,”   said  Eva,   ”Are  activists   campaigning   about   Ella  

Lamb?”   “We  believe   so,   our  guard  believes  he   recognised   them   from   the  Christmas   protest  

and  they   [led  when  challenged,”  Pasteur  was  thumbing  out   a  message   on  the   phone  while   she  spoke,  ”But  beyond  that  we  have  very  little  to  go  on.”   “No  names,  no  group  af[iliation?”  

“Oh  we  have  thousands  of  names,  and  each  one  of  them  is  their  own  personal  af[ilia-­‐

tion,”  Pasteur  made   a   sour  face,   ”The   most  in[luential   group   is   something   that   calls   itself   ’The  404s’  or  just  identify  themselves  with  those  numbers.  404.   But  they  have  no  structure,   no   hierarchy,   no   rules   of   membership,   no   organisation.   We   watch  all   the  message   boards,   keyword  search,  trace  postings,  collate  and  analyse  everything.”     “Lots  of  information,  very  little  intelligence,”  said  Eva.  It  sounded  all  too  familiar.   The  Internet  meant  a  proliferation  of  channels.   On  the  one  hand  conversations  that  

had  once  been  in  private  were  now  held  in  public  chat  rooms,  on  the  other  hand  there  were   millions  of  chat  rooms   all  over  the  world  and  no  amount  of  automated  searching  and  com-­‐ puter  analysis  was  ever  going  to  equal  a  single  intelligent  police  of[icer  in  the  right  place  at   the  right  time.   “Groups  like  this  are  impossible  to  in[iltrate  in  any  normal  way,”  said  Pasteur,  putting  

her   phone  away,   ”They’re  practically  invented  to  obstruct  it.   All  we  can  hope  for   is   getting   lucky.”   “And  have  you?”  said  Eva,  ”Got  lucky?  Searching  for  the  fugitive?”   “We  will,  of  course,  cooperate  fully  and  share  everything  we  have  with  the  police  op-­‐

eration,”  said  Pasteur,  smiling.  

 

A   bus  came  shuddering  up  to   the  traf[ic   lights  like  a  beast  of  [ire,  a  leviathan  with  a  

belly   full   of   monsters.   The   lights   sang   to   it   as   it   waited,   chanting   out   their   countdown,   a   counterpoint  in  the  atonal  symphony  of  the  traf[ic  system.     There   was  a  bass  cacophony  to   the  song  that   Adam  followed  to  a  pit   of  dark   brim-­‐

stone.  The  Underground  network.   It  was  almost  quiet  down  there  -­‐   no   phone  network,  the  

earth  dampening  the  connections  that  ran  through  it,  just  the  occult  ticking  of  the  train  sys-­‐ tems.  And  three  headed  creatures  in  the  shadows.   It   was   lunchtime  and  the   streets   were  [illing  with   young   men  about   Adam’s   age   in  

cheap  business  suits  about  the  same  as  his.   He’d  been  lucky  so  far.  

They   bothered   Eva,   the   404s.   They   bothered   the   policeman,   Detective   Inspector  

Lisiewicz.   Not  just  the  criminal   activity,  not  just  the  anti-­‐social  lifestyles,   the  railing  against   authority.  All  that  was  normal.  It  was  the  fact  that  she  didn’t  know  what  it  was  about.     Anarchy   bothered  Eva.   Eva   believed  in  the   rule  of  law.   You  took  what   you   believed  

was  right  and  good  and  made  a  law  out   of  it.   Then  when  people  disobeyed  those  laws  you   punished   them   to   remind   them   what   those   laws   meant.   They   were   the   rules   that   made   what  you  believed  in  into   how  society  worked.   Eva  believed  that  so   much  that  she  had  be-­‐ come  a  policeman  to  make  sure  that   the  laws  worked  properly.   That  society  worked  prop-­‐ erly.     But  what  did  the  404s  believe  in?   They  didn’t  seem  to  believe  in  anything  except  nothing  at  all.  People  like  that  seemed  

to  Eva  to  be  complete  nihilists,  raging  against  society  without  trying  to  change  it,  just  trying   to  destroy.   It  meant  you  couldn’t  argue  with  them,  couldn’t  negotiate,  couldn’t  even  fathom  their  

thinking.  You  could  only  [ight  them,  which  just  con[irmed  their  beliefs.  Their  belief  that  eve-­‐ rything  you  stood  for  was  bad.   And  Eva  Lisiewicz  was  absolutely  adamant  she  wasn’t  bad.  

“You  have  security  footage  from  this  morning,”  it  wasn’t  even  a  question,  they  had  to  

have  it,  ”I’d  like  to  see  it.”  She  wanted  to  see  their  faces,  needed  to  try  and  understand  them.   Why  hadn’t  that  stupid  girl  been  wearing  a  seat  belt?   “Of  course,”  Pasteur  looked  pleased,   ”An  excellent  idea,   exactly  the  close  cooperation  

we’re  looking  for.  My   men  can  continue  to   liaise  with  the  of[icers  here,   we’ll  go   back  to   my   of[ices.”  

 

The  ticket  hall  of  the  tube  station  was  circular,  sitting  directly  under  a  road  junction.  

In  fact  this  had  been  a  road  junction  for  thousands  of  years  and  the  tube  station  was  a  hole   dug  out  of  history,  passages  under  the  city  and  through  time.     Right   now,   it  was   full   of  of[ice  workers,   all  taking  advantage  of  their  lunch  hours  to  

run  quick  errands,  hundreds  of  young  people  in  identical  suits  [lowing  through  the  labyrin-­‐ thine  tunnels.     Jim   Whelan   was   not   one   of   them.   A   twenty-­‐year   veteran   of   Kerberos   security,   a  

shock   of  greying  hair  above  a  battered  face,  he  let  the  crowds  part  round  him,   an  immove-­‐ able  object.   He  had  seen  Adam  duck  into  the  station,   lost  him  in  the  crowd,  but  there  were   only  limited  exits,  and  all  of  the  ones  above  ground  were  being  watched.     Another   guard   entered   the   ticket   hall   and   Whelan   motioned   to   him   to   stay   back,  

watch  the  hall  in  case  the  suspect  doubled  back.   He  checked  his  phone.  He  was  still  close  enough  to   the  surface  to  be  still  getting  the  

real  time  feed  from  control.  The  trace  on  the  suspect’s  phone  put  him  right  here,  in  the  sta-­‐ tion.  

 

As  experienced  a  guard  as  he  might,  Whelan  was  not  old  and  fond  enough,  like  some  

of  them   were,   to   think   he  was   above  the  technology.   Whatever   got   the  job  done,   that   was   good  enough  for  him.     Whelan  pushed  through  the  crowd  to  the  barrier  and  swiped  through.  He  was  going  

to  have  to  catch  up  with  him  before  he  boarded  a  train  if  he  was  going  to  have  any  hope  of   staying  with  him.     At   the   bottom   of  the   escalators   it  got   complicated  -­‐   two   lines   crossed  here:  north,  

south,  east,  west  -­‐  four  choices.     He   stepped   onto   a  platform,   scanned  the   waiting   passengers,   then   back   through   a  

tunnel  to  another.  A  train  was  pulling  in;  the  passengers  gathering  round  the  doors,  waiting   for  them  to  open.   There:   about  the  right  build,   right  hair  colour  and...  a  red  smudge  on  the   white   collar   of   his   shirt.   It  looked  like   blood.   He  was  getting  onto   the  train  two   carriages   down.     The  door  alarm  was  going  as  Whelan  squeezed  onto  the  train.  

Nico   was   just   about   to   follow   Pasteur   and   the   policewoman   when  Pasteur   turned  

back  to  him,  moving  in  close  so  that  that  detective  couldn’t  hear  her.     “Nico,  you  can  take  yourself  off  duty,  thank  you.”   He  said  nothing  for  a  moment,  taken  aback.   “Off  you  go.”   “But  you  need  people.  We  need  to  [ind  him.”  

“The  police  are  here  now,  Nico,”  she  was   careful  to  keep  her  tone  light  but   he  could  

see  she  meant  it,  ”Until  I  can  rely  on  you  to  think  with  your  head  and  not  your  [ists  then  you   are  to  consider  yourself  suspended,  understand?”   She  didn’t  even  wait  to   hear  an  answer;   she  just  turned  and  walked  back   to   the  po-­‐

licewoman.   If  he   was   off  duty,   he  could   just   follow  them   if  he  liked,   it  was   no   business   of   hers.     But  he  just  watched  them  go  and  then  turned  to  walk  across  the  road  to  the  car  park.  

Following  orders.  

 

The  original  parts  of  the  underground  network  were  built  as  cuttings,  not  as  tunnels,  

and  there  are  still  places,  on  the  older  lines,  where  you  suddenly  [ind  yourself  in  sunlight,  at   the  bottom  of  a  pit  between  high,  blank  buildings.   The  map  on  Whelan’s  phone  updated.  The  suspect  was   on  the  train.   He  pushed  his  

way  down  the  carriage  towards  the  windows  at  the  end  and  peered  through.  There  it  was,  a   white  collar  with  a  red  smudge.     Whelan  pulled  out  his  phone  again  and  thumbed  out  an  update  to  control.   “Have  suspect  in  sight.  Subway  heading  west.  Put  personnel  at  all  stations.”  

 

Hugh   was   locking   up   the   BMW   when   someone   started   a   motorcycle   right   behind  

him.  He  was  already  in  a  bad  mood  and  turned  and  glared  at  the  driver,  who  was  still  stand-­‐ ing  by  the  bike,  holding  his  helmet.   The  driver  stared  back  at  him,  an  even,  steady  stare  that  Hugh  didn’t  like,  half  a  chal-­‐

lenge  and  half  a  warning.  Jessica’s  heels  clacked  on  the  concrete.  

“Hugh,   come  on,   for  god’s   sake.”  They  were  both   in   a  foul   temper  now  and   had   al-­‐

ready  had  a  row  about  parking.  That  woman  never  shut  up.  Hugh  looked  at  the  motorbike.   All  on  your  own,   just  you  and  the  road.  His   surgeon  friends   called  motorbike  riders  organ   donors,  but  a  couple  of  them  rode  them  anyway.   They  were  a  menace  in  traf[ic,   though,  un-­‐ predictable,  dangerous.  Idiots.       He  turned  to  follow  Jessica.   Without  his  uniform,  in  his  leathers,  Hugh  had  completely  failed  to  recognise  Nico.  

2 The Offices
  The  lobby  for  Kerberos  Security  was  surprisingly  restrained.   Just  marble  tiles,  some  

nondescript  art  on  the  walls,  a  modernist  interpretation  of  a  three-­‐headed  dog  and  a  pair  of   escalators  up  to  the  reception  on  the  [irst  [loor.     Pasteur  swept  Eva  through  reception.  Her  presence  meant  none  of  the  tedious  sign-­‐

ing  in  and  issuing  of  passes.   “I’ll   send  you  the   Detective  Inspector’s   name,”  she  had  said  as   she   passed  security,  

”Send  a  pass  to  my  of[ice.”     Past  the  soft  seating  and  the  wooden  panelled  walls,  the  [lat  screen  TV  with  an  ani-­‐

mated  presentation  of  Kerberos  around  the  world  and  through  the  turnstiles  into  the  build-­‐ ing.   “You  don’t  mind  the  stairs,  do  you?”  Pasteur  didn’t  wait  for  an  answer,  ”It  gives  you  a  

better  feeling  for  a  place,  don’t  you  think?  And  it’s  good  exercise,  after  all.”  

 

Beyond  the  stairs  was  a  plate  glass  window  that  looked  out  onto  a  huge  central  well  

that  was  let  down  through  the  centre  of  the  building.  The  glass  wrapped  all  the  way  round,   so  that  Eva  could  see  straight  through  to  what  looked  like  a  canteen  on  the  far  side.   She  couldn’t   see  the  top  of  the  well,   but  she  supposed  it   was  glassed  in,   as   the  bot-­‐

tom   of   it   was   a  big   open  space   dotted  about  with  sofas  and  tables   and  what  looked  like  a   cafe.   “We’re   this   [loor   and   upwards,”   Pasteur   was   saying,   ”Down   there   is   public   space,  

shopping,   eating,   a  couple   of  galleries,   a  cinema,   which  we  also   use   for  concerts   and  per-­‐ formances.  We  like  to   see  ourselves  as  part  of  the  wider  community.  It’s   what  we  do,  after   all,  serve  the  community.”   Eva  remembered  now.  The  building  had  been  constructed  on  the  site  of  an  old  Victo-­‐

rian  music  hall   and  had  kept  the  name,   calling  itself  Arcadia  Hall.   It   had  probably  seemed   like  quite  the  publicity  coup  to   install  a  small  cinema  on  the  site,   as   Pasteur  had  said,  but   Eva  suspected  that  it  was  probably  the  extra  three  [loors   of  shops  that  extended  down  un-­‐ derground  that  was  what  it  was  really  about.  There  wasn’t  a  shopping  centre  like  it  nearby   and  she  would  lay  good  money  that  it  paid  for  the  of[ices  that  Kerberos  had  built  for  itself   above.     Up  on  the  second  level   the   [loor  to   ceiling   glass   stopped.   Here  there  were  meeting  

rooms,  open  plan  of[ices.   “I’m  on  the  top  [loor,  I’m  afraid,”  Pasteur  smiled,   ”In  what  we  call  the  Tower.  Just  say  

if  you’d  rather  take  the  lift.”  And  she  set  off  up  the  next  [light  of  stairs.  

 

The  underground  train  pulled  into  the  next  station  and  Whelan  sidestepped  towards  

the  door,  not  taking  his  eyes  of  the  red  smudge  in  the  next  carriage.       The  suspect  was  leaving  the  train.   He  followed  him  off,  keeping  sight  of  the  back  of  his  head  as  he  crossed  the  platform  

towards  the  exit.   The  suspect  stepped  onto  an  up  escalator  and  Whelan  glanced  up  at  the  summit.  The  famil-­‐ iar  yellow   logo  was   waiting   up  there,   too.  They  had  him  trapped  now.   There  was  nowhere   he  could  go.  

 

Nico  came  to   the  top  of  the  exit  ramp,  where  the  security  barrier  had  been  removed  

and  staff  were  just  waving  cars  through.     He   pulled   up,   dismounting   to   have   a   look   at   the   battered   barrier   that   had   been  

placed  by  the  side  of  the  entrance.  No  immobilisers,  no  solid  barrier,  it  was  sloppy,  even  in  a   car  park  for  public  use.   He  shook  his  head  and  looked  out  across  the  road  towards  the  crash  scene.  Still,  they  

hadn’t  gotten  very  far...   And  there,   standing  opposite   him   on   the  other  side  of  the   road  was  the   fugitive,   the  man   from  the  car  crash.     It  was   him,   Nico   was  sure  of  it.   He  started  for  his   bike  and  the  man  saw   him  move.  

Their  eyes  met  and  then  the  man  turned  and  ran.  

 

Pasteur  picked  up  a  tablet  from  her  desk  and  handed  it  to   Eva,   motioning  her  into  a  

chair.  On  the  screen  was  a  still  from  CCTV  footage.  Eva  could  see  Pasteur,   what  looked  like  

other  Kerberos  employees,   two  younger  individuals  in  suits  that  must   be  the  activists  and   the  security  guard  with  the  dark  hair.  So  it  had  been  him.   “Just  tap  the  screen  to  get  a   play   button,”  Pasteur’s  phone  vibrated  on  the  desktop,  

”One  moment.”       She  picked  up  the  phone  and  left  the  of[ice,  closing  the  glass  door  behind  her.   Eva  started  the  video.  She  could  see  now  that  the  activists  were  a  man  and  a  woman.  

The  security  guard,  who  might  have  been  just  passing  the  little  group,  was  pointing  at  them,   shouting  something.  They  protested,  the  guard  spoke  to  Pasteur,  the  body  language  altering,   becoming  more  hostile.   The  angle  changed.  Footage  from  another  camera.  They  must  have  a  lot  of  them.  Eva  

looked  up.  There  it  was  in  the  corner  of  the  room,  a  little  winking  light.  Angled,  she  noticed,   so  that  it  wouldn’t  see  any  screen  or  paper  Pasteur  might  be  working  on.  She’d  bet  that  Pas-­‐ teur  was  one  of  the  few  people  in  the  building  allowed  to  angle  her  desk  like  that.     The  female  activist,   the  one   who   had   died,   was  now  shouting  and  pointing   herself.  

The  male,  the  one  who  must  be  the  fugitive,  was  trying  to  drag  her  away.  She  was  a  handful,   that  one,  the  sort  of  person  who  would  steal  a  car  and  not  wear  a  seat  belt.  Stupid  child.     Who  was  she  shouting  at?   Eva  swiped  across  the  screen,  rewinding  it,  trying  to   match  up  the  angles.  The  secu-­‐

rity  guard  or  Pasteur,  or  someone  else?  The  guard  maybe?  He  was  the  one  pointing  at  them.   But  there  was  some  [ierce  and  de[inite  in  the  girl’s  face,   something  speci[ic  in  that   accusa-­‐ tory  [inger.   There   was   no   sound  on   the   video,   and   Eva   was   trying   to   make   out   the   lip   move-­‐

ments,   which  wasn’t  easy,   partly   because   the  video   was   low-­‐res   and  grainy  and  partly  be-­‐

cause  she  was  also  trying  to  listen  to  what  Pasteur  was  saying  on  the  phone,  out  in  the  cor-­‐ ridor.     The  glass  was  thick  and  the  door  was  closed,  but  then  Pasteur  was  quite  angry  about  

something.   “...not  him...  planted  the  phone...  could  be  anywhere...”   You.  Eva  was  pretty  sure  that  one  of  the  words  the  girl  was  shouting  was  ”You”.  

 

Nico   [lung   the  bike   out   into   the  traf[ic,   weaving  between  cars  to  catch  the   lights   at  

the  corner.  The  man  had  run  across  in  front  of  the  stationary  traf[ic  and  Nico   just  squealed   through  as  the  lights  changed  and  the  cars  started  moving.     sions.     Nico  jerked  round  a  cyclist,   squeezed  on  the  inside  of  a  taxi,   pulling   level  with  the   The  man  ran  full  tilt  through  the  pedestrians,  leaping  from  left  to  right  to  avoid  colli-­‐

fugitive  as  he  suddenly  disappeared  from  view  into  a  pedestrian  underpass.     Without  stopping  to  think,   Nico   turned  between  parked  cars  and  jolted  up  onto  the  

pavement,  gunning  straight  down  into  the  underpass  after  him.     A  woman  shrieked  and  jumped  for  the  wall,   her  shopping  bag  catching  his  shoulder  

as  he  rattled  down  the  steps,   faces   at  the  bottom  frozen  in  surprise.   No   sign  of  the  fugitive   there,  not  in  the  underpass.  No  time  to  think.     Directly   opposite   him  was   a  ramp  back   up  to   the  pavement,   not   steps,  and  he  sped  

up  it,   scattering  more  pedestrians  as   he  roared  up  onto  the  pavement.   He  skidded  round  a   bin  and  back  onto  the  road,  just  narrowly  missing  a  van.  

 

The  man  must  have  crossed  under  the  road.  Round  the  back  of  the  van,   just  in  front  

of  a  mini.  Up  onto  a  pedestrian  island.  No  traf[ic  coming  the  other  way,  the  next  set  of  lights   was  changing.  Had  he  doubled  back?  Nico  stood  up  in  the  seat,  scanning  the  pavements.     Then,   just   as   the   lights   went   green,   the   man  came  sprinting  out   of   the   underpass,  

across  the  lights  in  front  of  the  traf[ic  the  very  moment  it  started  moving.       Then  there  was  just  moving  cars  and  the  man  was  gone  beyond  them.   Nico  turned  the  bike  and,   without  daring  to   stop  and  think  about  it,  gunned  the  en-­‐

gine  and  raced  straight  into  the  traf[ic  in  front  of  him.  

The   only   people   who   didn’t   get   out   of   the   lifts   are   [loor   0   were   the   people   who  

worked  in  the  of[ices  above,   and  there  weren’t   very  many  of  them.  Deborah  had  stayed  in   the   lift   once   to   see   where   it   went   but   there   was   a   reception   desk   and   a   guard   and   you   needed  some  kind  of  swiper  card  to  get  through  the  doors  up  there.  They  were  glass  doors   though,  and  she’d  peeked  through  them.  It  had  looked  pretty  boring.     That  meant  though,  that   pretty  much  everyone  got  out   at  [loor   0.   It  was  stupid  be-­‐

cause  there  were   shops  on  -­‐1,   -­‐2  and  -­‐3,   but   everyone  rode  up  from   the  underground   car   park  straight  through  those  [loors  and  got  out  at  [loor  0.     Everyone   got   on  at   [loor  0,   too,   because   that  was  where   the  ticket   machines   were.  

You  had  to   pay  for  a  ticket  at  the  machine  and  then  you  had  ten  minutes  to  get  to  your  and   get  to  the  barrier  and  use  the  ticket  to  get  out  or  you  got  charged  more.   It  drove   her   Dad  mad,   that.   He  could  just   take   stuff   to   the  car  and  then  come   back  

and  get   a   ticket,   she’d   told  him   that   a   million   times,   but   he   insisted   on  getting   the   ticket  

[irst,   then  lugging  everything  down  in  the  lifts,   shouting  and  ranting  at  Mum  and  everyone   to  get  everything  in  the  car  before  their  ten  minutes  were  up.  Mad.  Stupid.   Anyway,  because  of  all  that,  [loor  0  was  just  full  of  people,   all  milling  around,   hitting  

each  other’s  legs  with  bags,  arguing  over  who  was  in  which  ticket  machine  queue.     So   it  was   the  perfect  place  to   lose   her   family.   You  just   had  to   get   far   enough  away  

quickly  enough  that  you  could  pretend  not  to  hear  Dad  when  he  shouted  at  you.   She  had  her  headphones  on,  but  there  wasn’t  any  music.  There  never  was.   Someone  

had   told  her   once  that  those  headphone  things   that   builders  wore  weren’t   headphones   at   all.   She  thought  they   were   all   listening   to   music,   but  they   weren’t,   those   things   were,   get   this,  ’ear  defenders’.  Her  headphones  were  her  defenders.   So   when   Kenneth   Robinson   shouted   at   his   daughter   Deborah,   as   she   faded   away  

through  the  crowd  and  into  the  shopping  centre,  she  heard  him,  she  just  didn’t  listen.  

 

There  was  a  moment  there  that  Adam  was  almost  happy.  His  legs  no  longer  hurting,  

the  visions   [lickering  to   dim  in  his   head,   high  on  the   exhilaration  of  losing   the  guy  on  the   motorcycle,  too  ragged  to  think  about  Lily,  lost  in  the  simple  act  of  moving,  breathing,  being.       Then  it  rose  back  up  at  him  like  a  wave,  the  City  in  all  its  terrible  [ire.   The  street  was  a  dismal  canyon  between  dark  walls  of  encrypted  data,  shadowy  and  

grim,   but  ahead  was   a   shrieking   main   road  where   buses   trundled  like   mobile  funfairs,   all   neon  and  clamour.     And  from  behind  came  the  sound  of  a  motorcycle.  Running  -­‐  it  was  all  he  could  do.  

It  was  always  Eva’s  favourite  phrase.  

“I’m   afraid  I   have   a   confession  to   make,   Detective   Inspector,”  Pasteur  slid   the  door  

closed  behind  her.  As  usual  in  this  situation,  Eva  was  already  pretty  sure  she  knew  what  the   confession  was  going  to  be,  but  she  waited  for  it  patiently,  nonetheless.     Eva  had  never  gone  [ishing  -­‐  the  thought  of  those  cold  mouths   and  colder  steel   was  

unsettling,  but  she   imagined  that  it  was   something  like  this  moment   that  attracted  people   to  it.  The  delicious  pause  before  the  delivery  on  anticipation.   “My  of[icers  have  been  trailing  an  individual  they  believed  was  the  fugitive  from  the  

vehicle.”  Believed.  Pasteur  didn’t  add  an  ’mistakenly’  to  that,  Eva  noticed.  In  Pasteur’s  world,   she  suspected,  belief  was  always  mistaken.  Only  knowledge  could  be  trusted.   “It   wasn’t   him,   of  course,”  Pasteur  spread  her  hands  in  half  contrition,   half  resigna-­‐

tion,  ”We  should  have  shared  our  intelligence  with  you  immediately,  I  know.”   “That  would  have  been...  intelligent,”  said  Eva.   “Pride,  I’m  afraid.  These  people  managed  to  escape  us,  after  all.  But  that  is  not  what  I  

wanted  to  confess.”     Eva  sat  up  a  little  higher  in  her  chair.   “It  isn’t?”   “These  people  may  have  stolen  something  from  us.”   “May  have?”   “Data,  you  see  -­‐   we  can’t  know  for  sure  until  we  recover  them,”  People.   Recover.  Pas-­‐

teur  liked  her  euphemisms.   “So  they  managed  to  elude  your  digital  security  as  well.”  

A   [licker   of  what   Eva   took   to   be   genuine   emotion   crossed  Pasteur’s   face.   She  sud-­‐

denly   realised  that   it   was   the  [irst  time  she  had  seen  the   woman   betray  anything  of  what   she  was  really  thinking.   “I  would  not  normally  disclose  corporate  secrets,”  Pasteur  managed  to  say  this  in  the  

manner  of  a  naughty  schoolgirl   sharing  a  con[idence.  Eva  suspected  that  this  was   the  clos-­‐ est  the  woman  got  to   personal  intimacy,   ”But  this  will  be  important  -­‐  vital  -­‐  to  your  investi-­‐ gation.   “These   people   gained  access   to   the   building   on   the   grounds   that   they   had   a   new  

software  package  to   pitch  to   us.   We   take   many   similar   pitches   from  many   similar   people.   Obviously  we  have  very   strict  security  protocols   for  this  process.  The   reason  these  people   managed   to   get   so   far   through  the   process  was   that  their  software  package  worked.   And   this  is  the  bit  that  is  important  to  both  of  us.   “Their   product   was   actually   both   hardware   and   software   -­‐   a   device   that   allowed  

wireless  monitoring  of  electronic  communications,  of  all  communications,  regardless  of  en-­‐ cryption,  storage,  medium,  transmission.  All  communications.”     Pasteur  paused  dramatically  and,  for  once,  Eva  felt  the  drama  was  apposite.   “They  claimed  that   the  device  currently  only   worked  over  short  distances,   with  di-­‐

rect  line  of  sight.  We  made  sure  to  test  this.  It  seemed  to  be  true.”   “But  you’re  worried,  aren’t  you?”  said  Eva,  ”After  all  he  escaped  you.  Maybe  he  knew  

you  were  tailing  him.  Maybe  he  saw  more  while  he  was  in  here.  More  than  your  tests  were   meant  to  show  him.  Maybe  you’re  right  to  be  worried.”  

“They  were  undoubtedly  looking  for  this  CCTV  footage  of  the  Lamb  incident  that  the  

404s  are  all   so   obsessed  with.   It  doesn’t  exist,   of  course.  But,  as   you  say,   there  remains  the   fact  that  they  may  well  have  compromised  our  systems.”   “You’re  a  security  [irm,”  said  Eva,  ”Secrets  are  all  you  have.”  

 

Nico  just  caught  a  glimpse  of  the  running  man  out  of  the  corner  of  his  eye  and  barely  

had  time  to  haul  the  bike  round,   tyres  [idgeting  against  the  road  surface,   and  point  it  down   the  side  road  after  him.     The  fugitive  turned  right  out  of  the  end  of  the  street  and  Nico   screamed  after  him,  

almost  straight  into  the  front  of  a  bus  coming  in  the  other  direction.   He  jammed  on  the  brakes,   pulling  against   the  momentum  of  the  turn,   trying  to   pull  

the  bike  round  as  the  bus  driver’s  shocked  face  got  closer  and  closer.   He   slid   round   the   driver’s   side,   just   as   the   man   [inally   regained   his   composure  

enough  to  start  swearing,  swinging  the  back   wheel   around  ready  to  squeal  down  the  white   lines,   only  to  [ind  himself  speeding  into  the  back  of  another  bus,   pulled  up  at  a  bus  stop  on   the  other  side  of  the  road.     The  entire  road  was  blocked  off  with  buses   and  somewhere  beyond  them  the  fugi-­‐

tive  was  running,  gaining  time.     He  had  no  time  to   think  about  it.   Nico   pulled  on  the  bike  again,   as  if  it   were  a  com-­‐

plaining,  resisting  animal,  forcing  back  round  the  second  bus  and  up  onto  the  pavement.     The  bus  queue,  all  jostling  to  get  squeeze  on  board,  hardly  noticed  him  in  time,  leap-­‐

ing   backwards   and   forwards   as   the   growled   through   them,   opening   up   onto   and   empty  

stretch  of  pavement   as  people  ahead  all  turned  and  froze  in  horror   at  the  sound  of  an  en-­‐ gine  behind  them.   And   there,   right   in   front   of   him,   the   fugitive   ran   across   the   pavement   and   disap-­‐

peared  down  yet  another  of  the  City’s  narrow  alleyways.     Nico  blew   past  the  shocked,   uncomprehending  pedestrians  and  squealed  round  the  

corner  into  the  alleyway.     It   was   dim   and   dank,   a   tiny   space   between   two   windowless   walls,   barely   wide  

enough  for  the  bike  to  [it  in.     At   the  far  end  was   a  small  [light  of  steps  and  a  door,  security  locked  with  a  keypad.  

The  fugitive  was  standing  by  the  door,  looking  at  Nico.     Nico  gunned  the  engine.  There  was  no  way  the  man  could  know  the  combination  for  

a  random  door  and  there  was  no  other  way  out  of  the  alley.  He  [inally  had  the  man  trapped.     The   man   turned,   tapped   a   number   into   the   keypad,   pulled   the   door   open   and  

stepped  inside,   giving  Nico  a  slight   smile  as   the  door   closed  behind  him,   leaving  the   alley-­‐ way  empty.   Now   that  the  man  had  gone,  Nico   could  see  that   the  door  was   stenciled  with  a  pri-­‐

vacy  warning  and  a  logo:  three  dogs’  heads.  Kerberos.  

“So,   we   have   an   unidenti[ied   fugitive   who   has   some   kind   of   gizmo   that   mean   he  

knows   exactly  what  we  might  be  doing  to   [ind  him,”  Eva  was  talking  to  give  herself  time  to   think.   It  meant  just  repeating  the  blatantly  obvious,  so   she  could  concentrate  on  what  she   was  thinking  about,  but  that  just  had  the  added  bene[it  of  making  people  assume  she  was  a   lot  less  perspicacious  than  she  actually  was.  

“In  fact,”  she  went  on,  ”The  only  background  we  have  on  him  is  that  he  may  well  be  a  

member  of  an  underground  anarchist  group  about  whom  we  know  nothing  and  can  [ind  out   even  less.  We  don’t  know  any  addresses,  any  history,  any  contacts.  We  don’t  even  know  if  he   has  any  of  them.”     Eva   had  been  hoping  that   she   would   eventually  bore  Pasteur   into   interrupting  her  

and  she  [inally  got  her  wish.   “There  is  evidence,”  Pasteur  said,  ”That  the  two  of  them  may  have  had  accomplices.”   “So  there  may  still  be  some  of  these  404s  in  the  area?”  Which  was  precisely  what  Eva  

had  been  thinking  about,  of  course.   From   what   she   had   overheard   through   the   glass   door,   Kerberos   must   have   been  

tracking   the   fugitive’s   mobile  phone.   Not   something   that   Pasteur   would  ever   admit   to,   of   course,   at  least  no  to  her,  given  that  it  was  somewhat  illegal.  As  would  be,  of  course,  listen-­‐ ing  into  any  calls  made  on  that  phone,  but  Eva  had  further  suspicions  about  that,  too.   What  was  it  Pasteur  had  been  saying  on  the  phone  when  they  had  [irst  met  -­‐   some-­‐

thing  about  a  phone  identi[ied  in  the  building...  ”Plan  B’?   Eva  was   willing  to   be  that  Kerberos  captured  data  on  any  devices  that  entered  their  

building,   and   monitoring   phone   use   would   be   second   nature   for   them.   So   let’s   say   they   identify  the  man’s  phone  while  he’s  in  here  with  his  magical  device,  then  they  spot  it  when   he  uses  it,   trying   to   contact  his   accomplices,  and  then  he  dumps  the  phone  on  some  poor,   unsuspecting  passer  by,  who  then  feels  the  rough  hand  of  Kerberos  Security  on  his  collar.   And  what  does   the  fugitive  tell  his   accomplices?   ’Plan  B’?  What  was  that?  Well,   that  

rather  depends  on  what  Plan  A  was,  doesn’t  it?   “We  can’t  know  for  certain,”  Pasteur  was  saying,  ”But  it  seems  more  than  likely.”  

“So   now   we   have   an   of[ice   building   full   of   unidenti[iable,   untraceable   cyber-­‐

anarchists?”   Pasteur’s  vibrated  across  the  glass  top  of  her  desk  again.   She  twisted  the  screen  to-­‐

wards  her,  away  from  Eva.   “Oh,  we  know  where  they  are,”  she  said,  with  a  slight  smile  that  chilled  Eva,  ”They’re  

standing  right  outside  our  reception.”   “A  protest?”  said  Eva,  ”There’s  nothing  I  know  of  scheduled.”   “I  don’t  think  these  people  work  to  schedules,”  said  Pasteur,  ”Shall  we  go  and  see?”  

Adam  stood  in   the  lift  with  his  eyes   squeezed  shut,   listening   to   an  electronic   voice  

calmly   announcing   the  [loors.  It  wasn’t   that  he  had  a  problem  with  lifts,   far   from  it,   it   was   what  was  going  to  happened  when  it  stopped.     The  metal   walls  blocked  out  at  least  some  of  the   signals,   but  he   could  still   feel   the  

building  around  him  boiling  with  information  as  he  was  pulled  up  through  its  core.     Most   people  had  got  off  at  the  ground  [loor,   taking  with  them   their  humdrum  may-­‐

hem,  their  cacophony  of  skewhiff  relationships  and  untidy  lives,  their  clusters  of  ghosts  and   familiars.  He  was  rising  now  into  a  very  different  kind  of  maelstrom.     All   around   him   global   voices   whispered,   a   Babel   of   languages   rendered  one  by   bi-­‐

nary.   Great   glaciers   of  data   slid  to   and   fro,   grinding  as  they   went,   the   solemn  chanting   of   endless  [igures,  the  sudden  spikes  of  urgent  news,  the  tenuous  [lutter  of  gossip  and  glib  as-­‐ sertion.   The  corporate  world  had  its  own  colours  in  Adam’s  eyes.   Blue  and  grey,   sober  and  

steel,  impassive  and  whetted,  like  an  edge  of  metal.  

 

“Floor  3,”  said  the  voice,  ”Please  stand  clear  of  the  doors.”   Adam  opened  his  eyes  and  stepped  out.   He  was  in  a  small  hallways  of  beige  stone,  two  banks  of  lifts  and  men’s  and  women’s  

lavatories.   At  either  end  were  glass  double  doors,   both  secured  by  scanners.   He  could  feel   the   anxious   pulsing   of   the   locks   like   a   beat,   see   the   security   card   numbers   they   eagerly   awaited  writhing  within.   The  hand  drier   in   the  women’s  lavatories   started.   Adam  looked   at   his   re[lection   in  

the  glass  door  and  straightened  his  tie,  patted  his  pockets.   The  door  to  the  women’s  lavatories  opened  as  he  was  feeling  frantically  in  his  inside  

pocket.  Patty  Hurd,  a  junior  account  manager  in  the  Far  East  section.   “Patty,”  he  said,  ”Thank  god,  left  my  pass  back  at  my  desk.  Don’t  suppose  you  could...”  

he  gestured  at  the  door.   She  couldn’t  remember  meeting  him,  of  course,  because  they  had  never  met,  but  the  

use  of  her  name  had  thrown  her.   She   was  trying  to   place  him,   [igure  out  where  she   knew   him  from.     He  knew  her  ,  though.  There  was  something  dark  and  green  about  her.  Liana  of  data  

wound   round   her,   dotted   with  pink,   [leshy,   hothouse   [lowers   that   puckered   like   mouths,   whispering  secrets.  Dripping  bloody  jewels  of  information.   One   of   Patty’s   clients   ran   mining   operations   in   Papua   and   been   having   problems  

with  local  activist  groups,  claiming  that  their  diggings  were  damaging  the  local  ecology.  Lo-­‐ cal  Kerberos  operatives  had  close  ties  to  the  Indonesian  intelligence  and  military  networks.   A   round  up  of  Papuan  separatists  had  also  included  a  number  of  ecological  activists.   They   wouldn’t  be  bothering  anyone  any  more.  

 

Adam   could   see  their  faces,   rendered  blurred  and  prehistoric   by   cheap  technology  

and  rudimentary  record  keeping,  halftone  portraits  from  local  press  obituaries.   “I   know   I   shouldn’t,”   he   said,   ”But   I’ve   got   a   presentation   to   Pasteur,   last   minute  

nerves,  you  know.”     He  smiled  ruefully  and  she  smiled  back,  pulling  out  her  pass  card  and  waving  it  over  

the  scanner.  Its  coiled  codes  sprang  loose  and  the  door  opened.  He  waved  Patty  through  and   followed  after.   Steve  Waller,  her  boss,  was  sending  her  email  he  really  shouldn’t  be  sending  through  

an  internal   mail   system,   not   if  he   wanted   to   keep  them   private.   But   then,   with  Kerberos,   there  were  no  private  systems.   away.   “OK,”  said  Patty,  ”I  will.”   She  didn’t  know  about  Malaysia  yet.  That  would  give  her  something  to  think  about  it.   “Say   hello   to   Steve   for   me,   wish  him   luck   with   Malaysia,”  said   Adam   as   he   turned  

 

Hugh  Devereux  stood  on  the  escalator,   staring  down  into  the  depths  of  the  shopping  

centre,  his  heart  metaphorically  as  well  as  literally  sinking.     They   were   out   in  force  today,   he   noticed,   the   fat   people,   milling   around,   bumping  

into  each  other.  Not  the  fresh,  cherubic  pink  [leshiness  of  his  cheerfully  wealthy  friends,  but   the  desultory,  abandoned  weight  of  bad  diets   and  unhappiness.  The  lumpen  proletariat,  he   thought  of  them  as.   You  only  had  to  look   at  them  to  realise  that  these  people  weren’t  capa-­‐ ble  of  looking  after  themselves.  

 

This  was  why  he  always  felt  shopping  was  somehow  demeaning,  being  locked  in  this  

place  with  people  like  this.   He  always  thought  of  the  stories   his  grandmother  would  tell   of   her   childhood,   the  butler   calling  in  orders  to  the   local  tradesmen,  the   little  green  delivery   van  puttering  up  to  the  rear  entrance  of  the  house.     That  was   civilised,   not   all   this   jostling  about   with  the  great  unwashed.  Suppose  it’s  

what  you  do  on  the  internet  these  days,  orders  and  deliveries,   but  that  didn’t  seem  any  bet-­‐ ter.  Place  your  order  and  then  suffer  three  months  of  ’we  tried  to  deliver’  cards  through  the   door  as  your  package  silted  down  through  the  benthic  depths  of  the  postal  service.     Anything  from  all  over  the  world,  though,  right  there  at  your  [ingertips.  And  here  he  

was  again,  doing  his  democratic  duty  by  inserting  liquidity  back  into  the  retail  sector.     But  then  he  preferred  it,  really,   being  able  to  see  and  handle  what  you  were  buying.  

Online   wasn’t   the   same,   and   you   just   didn’t   know   what   you   were   getting.   Anyone   could   claim  anything  online.   No   proof  anyone  was   who   they   said   they   were.   Whole  thing   was   a   mess.   Anyway,  Jessica  had  wanted  a  new   out[it.   Something   about   the  barbecue  with  Flick  

and  Jonners  tomorrow.  Quite  why,  he  didn’t  know,  she  had  plenty  of  things  to  wear  already.     Hugh   had   gone   out   with   Flick   for   a   little   while   at   University   and   Jessica   always  

seemed  to  make  a  fuss  whenever  they  were  visiting  them.  She  was  Felicity  really,  of  course,   but  everyone  called  her  Flick.   Hugh  and  Jessica  didn’t  have  nicknames,  he  suddenly  realised.  He  had  been  Poohead  

at  prep  school   for  a  little  while,   and  Devvers  on  the  cricket  pitch,  but  these  days  they  were   both   just   Hugh   and   Jessica,   while   Flick   and   Jonners   were   Flick   and   Jonners   to   everyone.   Who  decided  these  things,  he  wondered?  

 

The  shop  fronts  were  inching  into  view  beneath  them  and  he  suddenly  remembered  

the  tablet  computer  someone  from  Marketing  had  brought  with  them  into  a  meeting.  Eve-­‐ ryone  else   had  cooed  over   it,  exchanging  speci[ications  and  prognostications  about  the  fu-­‐ ture  of  consumer  IT.   Maybe  he’d  have  a  look  at  one,  he  could  do  with  a  little  gadget  to  cheer  himself  up.  

   

Nico  knew  well  enough  not  to  try  and  park  his  bike  back  in  the  Kerberos  car  park.     Pasteur  had  told  him  to   leave  and  he  knew  her  well  enough  to  know   that   if  she  got  

wind  of  him  being  anywhere   near   the  of[ices  again,   his  temporary  banishment  could  well   become  permanent.   He   had  rode  round,   trying   to   trace  the  outline   of   the  building  the   fugitive  had  [led  

into,  only  to  discover  that  it  appeared  to  be  Arcadia  Hall  itself,  Kerberos’  own  of[ices.     He   found  a   side   street   that   was   narrow   and  obscure   enough   to   avoid   any   kind   of  

parking  restrictions  at  all  and  left  the  bike  crammed  in  behind  a  dumpster.   He   was   sure,   now,   that   the   fugitive   had   broken   back   into   Kerberos.   But   why   and,  

come  to  that,  how?  Part  of  him  was  sure  that  it  wasn’t  possible,  and  equally  sure  that  even  if   someone  managed  it,  they  would  be  detected  almost  immediately.     But  then  the  fugitive  had  appeared  to  waltz  through  a  secured  door,  who  knew  what  

else  he  could  do?  And  who  was  in  a  better  place  to  [ind  out,  than  Nico?   Nico  Wolf  could  be  the  only  person  who  knew  that  a  dangerous  fugitive  was  loose  in  

the  Kerberos  building,  the  only  person  who  could  do  anything  about  it  -­‐   were  the  potential   rewards  worth  risking  Pasteur’s  wrath  by  entering  the  building  when  he  had  been  speci[i-­‐ cally  banned?  

   

He  turned  a  corner  to  the  front  of  the  building  and  walked  into  a  costume  party.   Or  a  circus,   or  a  [ilm  set,  or  something.  The  street  was  full  of  people  in  fancy  dress:  

Vikings,   Nazi   storm   troopers,   knights   in   armour,   all   milling   around,   greeting   each   other,   chatting,  incongruous  mobile  phones  ringing  and  beeping.     At   [irst   he   thought   it   must  be  some  kind  of  promotion  for  the   shopping   centre,  but  

then  he   realised   that   they   were   concentrating   not   on  the   big   class   doors   of  the   main  en-­‐ trance,  but  on  the  glass  atrium  to  the  side  that  led  into  the  Kerberos  of[ices  themselves.     Calming  queuing  up,   Roman  legionary  followed  cowboy  through  the  revolving  door,  

[iling   singly   past   two   bemused   security   guards   and   up   the   escalators   towards   the   lobby   above.   “T1000,  am  I  right?”  said  a  Mongol,  looking  at  Nico  in  his  motorcycle  leathers,  ”Not  a  

mass  murderer  strictly  speaking,  of  course.”   “Dude,  Skynet  nuked  us,”  said  a  man  who  looked  like  a  giant  red  woollen  pill,  with  a  

crackling  cellophane  rim   round  the   edge,   ”I   mean,   they   were  trying  to   destroy   the  whole   fucking  species,  man.”   “Not  the  T1000,  though,  right,”  said  the  Mongol,  ”He  didn’t  do  it  himself,  did  he?”   “Well,   neither  did  Genghis  Khan,   man,”  the  man  in  red  tapped  himself  on  the   chest  

with  a  hollow  noise  and  his  plastic  cilia  rippled,  ”Neither  did  a  single  Smallpox  bacillus,  but   it’s  representative,  know  what  I  mean?”     “Smallpox,  right,  nice,”  said  Genghis  Khan,  ”After  you.”   He  stood  aside  to  let  Nico  go  [irst  and,  taking  out  his  sunglasses  and  putting  them  on,  

Nico  stepped  into  the  revolving  door  and  followed  Mussolini  through  into  the  building.  

 

There  was  a  soft  seating  area  with  international  newspapers  and  Adam  picked  one  

up,  hiding  behind  it  to  give  himself  space  to  think.     It  was  calming,  the  orderly  black  courses  of  print,  a  monochrome  pattern  of  uncom-­‐

plicated  information,   compared  to  the  great  chaos  around  him,   the  looming  faces,   the  end-­‐ less  susurration,  the  great  churning  multitude  of  data  that  [illed  the  of[ices.     It  seemed  insane,  now,   just  the  mere  idea  of  being  here  without  Lily  to   look  out  for  

him.   Trying   to   [ind   his   way   round   an   unfamiliar   place   with   such   clamour   about   him,   let   alone   the   fact   that   everywhere   his   own   face   stood   out,   his   own   ghost   paraded   past   him,   dragged  out  databases,  sent  out  in  emails,  traded  and  sold,  watched  for  by  a  thousand  hun-­‐ gry  eyes.   Those  eyes.   They  were   everywhere,  even  now  his   own  self  was  overlaid  by  at  least  

[ive  different  views,  CCTV  cameras  poised  at  every  angle.  But  there  was  more  than  just  eyes.   He  was  used  to  the  cameras  and,  more  often  than  not,  perfectly  aware  that  they  weren’t  on,   or  being  monitored  or  recording  anything.  But  not  here.     Here   there   was   something   else.   Something   behind   all   of   those   implacable   eyes,   a  

baleful  [lame  of  intelligence.     They   called  it  Argus.   A   system  that  coordinated  all  the  CCTV  in  the  building,   watch-­‐

ing  every  feed,  collating  it,  analysing  it.  Even  now  it  was  observing  him,  weighing  up  how  he   held  the  newspaper,   how   long   he  had  been  sitting   there,   his  posture   and  his   unconscious   habits.     It  was  judging  him,   he  realised,  measuring  him  on  some  scale  of  behaviour,  trying  to  

decide  whether   it   liked  him  or  not.   A   terrible,  cold  stare  of  glacial   assessment.   Was  he   ac-­‐ ceptable  to  the  machine?  

 

He  turned  the  page.  That  satis[ied  Argus.  He  was  evidently  reading  at  something  like  

the  average  speed.  The  [lawless  gaze  turned  elsewhere  in  the  building.     And  through  it  he  saw  it  too.   He  saw   the  crowd  of  mass  murderers  collecting  in  the  

lobby,  straining  and  pushing  against  a  thin  line  of  security  guards.  To  Argus  it  was  a  mess  of   threats,   potential  and  actuals,   the  costumes  making  it  harder  for  the  system  to  pick  out  in-­‐ dividuals  in  the  throng.     His  view  was  even  more  confused,   as  the  history   of  the   costumes   collided  with  the  

biographies   of  the   people   in  them   in  confusion.   General   Custer,   for  instance,   appeared  to   use  the  online  nick  Empty  V  and  in  between  slaughtering  indigenous  Americans  worked  as   a  sysadmin  in  a  college.     And  over  them  all   hung  their  common   history,   the   [lash  mob  summons   spread   out  

across   the   networks,   from   phone  to   web   to   IRC,   summoning   them   all   to   dress   as   famous   mass  killers  and  genocidal  maniacs  and  head  down  to   the  Kerberos  head  of[ice  to   apply  for   a  job.     There   were   other   calls   too,   faceless   voices,   whispering   amongst   them.   Blank,   fea-­‐

tureless   faces,   as   immediately   identi[iable   as   they   were   anonymous.   Details   has   been   leaked,  or  hacked,  or  both  -­‐  the  whereabouts  in  the  building   of  the  servers  that  ran  Argus,   collating  and  storing  the  CCTV  data.       If   the   much   rumoured   Ella   Lamb   footage   was   going   to   be   anywhere,   it   would   be  

there,  whispered  the  voices.  All  they  had  to  do  was  evade  security,  in  this,  the  head  of[ices  of   a  multinational  security  [irm.  

 

And   where   was   that   security   now?  Ah,   there.   Standing   behind   the  electronic   gates  

that  led  from  the  lobby  into  the  building  itself,  watching  the  mayhem  with  a  slight  smile  on   her  face:  Diane  Pasteur.   He   took  a  while  just  to   look   at  her,   [ive  different  views   from  [ive   different   cameras  

giving   him  a  cubist   view   point,   expanding  out   into   a   surrealist   nightmare   as  her   shadows   were  echoed  round  them   building,   re[lecting   out   into   the   endless   space  of   Kerberos’  net-­‐ works.     Diane  Pasteur,   her   history,   like   her   expression,   carefully   restrained,   occluded.   A   se-­‐

cret  woman  in  an  industry  of  secrets.  One  who  had  risen  undetected,  like  a  steel  grey  shark   through  dark  waters.   Her  suit  hand  made,  her  white  silk   shirt  unadorned,  her  stockings  perfectly  aligned,  

her  hair  short,  neat.  She  was  a  cipher,  and  unparseable  symbol  of  a  person.   The  only  stroke   of   individuality   was   that:   a   glint   of  silver   at   her  wrist,   a   simple   bracelet  in   the   form   of   a   chain  of  padlocks.  Someone’s  idea  of  joke,  perhaps.  Probably  not  hers.   Not  his,   either.  And  for  a  moment  all  he  could  see  was  what  he  had  glimpsed  when  

he  pulled  Lily’s   head  away  from   the  Range   Rover   steering  wheel.   It  wasn’t  even  an   image   anymore,  just  a  bottomless  sensation  of  falling,  a  lurch  of  the  heart.     Then  something  else  obtruded  into   his  vision.   A  police  record,   not  of  Pasteur,  but  of  

the  woman  with  her:  Detective  Inspector  Eva  Lisiewicz.   And  what  are  you  doing  swimming   with  the  sharks,  Detective  Inspector,  with  your  exemplary  record  and  apparently  high  moral   standards?   London  born   and  bred,   Polish  father,   West   Indian   mother,   worked  her   way   up  the  

hard  way,  by  being  bloody  good  and  putting  the  hours  in.  He  could  tell  just  from  her  stance  

that  no  matter  what   she  thought  of  the  jostling  maniacs  in  the  lobby,   there  was  plenty  she   didn’t  like  about  Kerberos,  either,  about  Pasteur.   Like  for  instance,  that.   Eva  wouldn’t  have  liked  that,  if  she  had  known  about  it.  Fire-­‐

arms   permit   for   Diane   Pasteur.   Handgun.   Building   security  had   it   registered,   too.   Held   in   Pasteur’s  own  of[ice,  rather  than  the  armoury.  Armoury?  They  had  an  armoury?     But  already  his  mind  was  two  [loors  up,  following  the  building  plan  and  [inding  him-­‐

self  stuck.  He  could  see  the  of[ice,  but  none  of  the  cameras  were  pointing  the  right  way.  The   room  itself  was  fragmentary,  only  partially  there.   Well,  he’d  just  have  to  go  and  see  for  himself,  wouldn’t  he?  

 

Adolf  Hitler  stumbled  against  the  Wicked  Witch  and  the  two   of  them  went  over  into  

a   Kerberos   security   guard,   who   took   a   step   backwards   and   the   thin   line   broke,   and   the   murderers  burst  through,  spilling  up  to  the  gates.   Eva   knew   without   needing   to   look   round  that   there  were  more  guards   coming  up  

behind  her,   but   still   she   couldn’t   quite  help  taking  a  step   backwards   from   the  crowd  now   thrusting  up  against  the  gates.   They   were   still   exuberant   at   the  success   of  their   prank,   enjoying   the  transgressive  

lark  of  being  dressed  as  someone  they  shouldn’t  in  a  place  where  they  shouldn’t  be,  laugh-­‐ ing  and  shouting.  What  was  that?  Saddam  Hussein  was  yelling  something  about  his  quali[i-­‐ cations  being  buried  in  the   desert,  Mao   offered  to  kill  someone  in  order  to   free  up  a  posi-­‐ tion.   Oh,  she  got  it,  they  were  pretending  to  apply  for  jobs.  Mass  murderers  come  to  apply  

for   jobs   at   an  international   security   [irm.   She   wasn’t  sure   if  this   was   about   Ella  Lamb  or  

Kerberos’  questionable  overseas  political  links,  or  both.  Probably  more  like  just  unfocussed   anger  [inding  something  it  was  acceptable  to  hate.     There  was  something  in  the   air,   certainly,   a  brittle  edge  to   that  laughter.   Something  

febrile,  something  teetering  on  the  edge  of  action.     Then  it  happened.   A   guard,   rushing  forward,  opened  one  of  the  security   gates   to  go  

through  and  the  crowd  surged  against  him.   He  fell  back   and  the  mass  murderers  followed,   lurching  though  the  gate  into  the  building  itself.     Guards  closed  in  immediately  and  there  was  a  scuf[ling  ruck  for  a  moment  and  then  

[ive  or  six  of  the  costumed  killers  broke  through,  shaking  off  clutching  hands.  A  woman  in  a   knitted  moustache,  a  man  in  motorcycle  leathers,  someone  in  a  long  blue  cloak,  and  others,   all  sprinting  away  down  a  corridor,  armour  clinking  and  feathered  hats  waving  as  they  dis-­‐ appeared,  guards  racing  after  them.     der.   “Don’t  worry,  Detective  Inspector,  we’re  quite  in  control.”   “I’m  sure  you  are,”  said  Eva,  ”It’s  them  I’m  worrying  about.”   “Argus  will  have  them.”   “Argos?  The  shop?”   “Let  me  show  you  something.”   Instinctively,   Eva   was  about  to   follow   them,   when  Pasteur  put  a  hand  on  her   shoul-­‐

 

Pasteur  steered  her  round  a  corner  and  through  a  door,  into  a  narrow  back  room  be-­‐

hind  the  main  reception  desk.   A  minor  security  station.  One  wall   was  covered  with  screens   and  a  guard  sat  in  front  of  them,  watching  a  feed  from  the  lobby.  

   

Pasteur  gestured  at  the  screens.   “Argus,”  she  said.   One  of  the  screens  was  a  multitude  of  angles  on  the  lobby,  but  there  was  something  

strange   about   it.   Laid  over   the   shots   of  pushing   and  shoving   mad   men,   were   letters   and   numbers   and   most   of   all   enigmatic   little   icons   all   in  varying   shades   of   red,   blinking   and   shifting  as  the  crowd  moved  back  and  forth.   But  it   was   the  other  screens   that  interested  Eva.   Instead  of  the  lobby,   they   showed  

the  costumed  activists,   running  through  the  building,   again  adorned  with  icons   and  labels.   What   caught   Eva’s   attention,   however,   was   that   the   views   were   changing.   Without   the   watching  guard  apparently  doing  anything,  angles  changed,   cameras  rotated  to  follow  fugi-­‐ tives,  the  viewpoints  followed  the  interlopers  wherever  they  went.   “That  is  Argus,”  said  Pasteur,  ”Still  very  much  in  beta  at  the  moment,   but  our  of[ices  

and  the  Arcadia  retail  environment  give  us  an  excellent  testing  ground.”   “A  CCTV  system?”  said  Eva,  knowing  that  she  was  only  encouraging  Pasteur.   “More  than  just  CCTV,”  said  Pasteur,  ”Argus  is  a  revolution  in  security  technology,  the  

moment  when  surveillance  becomes  an  active  force  in  harm  prevention.”     Eva  had  the  distinct  impression  that  she  was  hearing  a  sales  pitch  Pasteur  had  deliv-­‐

ered  before.   “A  posh  CCTV  system,”  Eva  said.   “As  you  can  see  Argus  aggregates  surveillance  from  the  entire  system,  analysing  it  in  

an   attempt   to   isolate   individuals,   this   allows   it   to   then   track   those   individuals   wherever   they  go  within  the  environment.”  

Impressive,   although  currently  only   happening  in  a  largely   uncluttered  of[ice  space  

rather  than  a  busy  street,  and  even  then  not  perfectly.  One  screen  suddenly  cut  to  a  corridor   elsewhere  in  the  building.  A  young  man  standing  outside...  was  that  Pasteur’s  of[ice?  Then  it   was  back  again,  Genghis  Khan  charging  up  a  [light  of  stairs.     Eva   had  only  seen  the  back   of  his  head,  but  there  was   something   about   that  young  

man,  something  vaguely  familiar,  but  Pasteur  was  still  talking.   “But  how  to  select  in  the  [irst  place  which  individuals  to  track?  Ulmer  here,”  Pasteur  

gestured  at  the  guard,  who  grunted  at  Eva,  ”Has  had  to  do  nothing  to  choose  these  individu-­‐ als.   In  fact   Argus  was  already  tracking  them  before   they   broke  through  the  gates.   Because   Argus  already  knew  they  were  a  threat.”   “I  think  anyone  dressed  as  an  SS  of[icer  is  probably  questionable,”  said  Eva.   “Actually,”  said  Pasteur,  ”The  fact  that   they   are  wearing  costumes  and,  in  effect,   dis-­‐

guises   is   more  signi[icant   than   you   realise.   The   system,   you  see,   is   capable  of  analysing   a   vast  array  of  conscious  and  unconscious  human  physical  cues  and  actions  to  create  an  over-­‐ all  threat  assessment  for  an  individual.  In  real  time.  Even  through  fancy  dress.”   “Body  language?”  said  Eva.   “Body  language,  physical  movement,  even  speech  patterns.  Argus  watches  us  all  and  

decides  for  itself  who  is  trouble.”  

Adam  sat  in  Pasteur’s  chair  and  stared  at  the  gun  in  his  hands.  Here,  of  all  places,  he  

was   out   of   Argus’   unceasing   gaze,   right   in  the   heart   of   Kerberos.   He   was   sitting   with   his   back  to  the  door,  facing  the  window,  a  view  into  the  well  in  the  centre  of  the  building,  all  the  

busy  [loors  cross-­‐sectioned  before  him  and  far,  far  below  the  busy  top  level  of  the  shopping   centre.     But   all   his   attention  was   on  the   gun.   Smith   and  Wesson  638  Bodyguard,   the  name  

came  to   him  before  he  was  aware  of  it,  and  with  it  speci[ications,   glowing  descriptions,  ex-­‐ periences,   recommendations   and   then,   too,   injury   reports,   crime   scene   photographs,   the   faces  and  names  of  the  dead  and  dying.     Yet  all   this   paled  into   insigni[icance   in  the  face   of  the  thing   itself.   Adam  had   never  

held  a  gun  before,  and  its  weight,  its  presence  took  him  by  surprise.  The  simple  fact  of  this   masterpiece  of  engineering,  heavy  and  blue  and  snug  in  his  hand.  A  tool  to  take  a  gesture,  a   thought,  and  make  it  deadly.  A  machine  for  killing.     What  amazed  him  was   how   familiar   it   was   and  how   strange.   How   idolised  the  gun  

was,   fetishised.   An  instrument   for   projecting   ones   own   will,   violently,   a   hard   little   [ist   of   self-­‐de[inition,  like  a  forged  soul.     He   would   have   chosen   a  dagger   for   Pasteur,   something   sleek   and   needle   sharp.   A  

misericord,  designed  for  slipping  through  the  joints  in  medieval   armour,   to   seek  out  unde-­‐ fended  chinks  and  ease  in  cold  death.  But  he  would  have  been  wrong,  he  saw  now.     The  gun  was  her,   alright.   Hard  and  contained  and  steel.   And  more  than   her,   it   was  

Kerberos,  too.   An  implement  for  a  world  that  talked  of  soldiers  as  assets   and  bombs  as  de-­‐ vices,  a  world  where  security  had  nothing  to  with  society  or  justice,  just  personal  safety  and   individual  freedom.  A  world  where  war  was  a  moneymaking  endeavour  and  pro[it  trumped   everything.     Take   coltan   (he   was   free   falling   now,   here   in   the   heart   of   the   system,   stories   and  

faces  sleeting  past  him  endlessly).  Columbite-­‐tantaline,  a  mineral  found  all  over  the  world  -­‐  

Australia,   a  lot  of  it.   From  it   was  extracted  tantalum,   in  great  demand  for  use  in  capacitors   in  modern  electronics.       Every   computer  in  this   building,   all   the  devices   he  could  feel  ranged  about  it,   from  

mobile  phones  to  server  farms,  all  of  them  owed  their  functioning  to  coltan.     Coltan  that  could  also  be  found  in  the  Congo.   But  of  course,  in  the  midst  of  the  con-­‐

[licts  in  Rwanda  and  the  Democratic  Republic   of  Congo,   mining  it   there   was   dif[icult.   And   public  outcry  about  the  role  mining  might  play  in  the  military  economics  of  the  area  made  it   even  harder.  Logistically  and  public  relations  wise  a  disaster.     But  Australia  has  [irst  world  labour  laws,  and  the  army  of  the  DRC  could  do  with  the  

money.  It  was  only  dif[icult,  not  impossible,  not  with  a  little  care,  a  good  legal  team  and  help   from  someone  like  Kerberos.     And  Kerberos  was  quite  willing  to  help,  for  the  right  money.  To  secure  hellish  mining  

diggings,   to   guard  illegal   smuggling   networks,   to  make  sure  the  whole  thing  stayed  out   of   the  view  of  international  watchdogs.       To   willingly  support  an  operation  that  only  brought  with  it  death  and  war  and  hor-­‐

ror.  All  for  a  mobile  phone.  And  good  old  pro[it.   “We  not   only  secure   out  clients  and  their   interests,  but  through  them,  all  our  inter-­‐

ests.  Our  interests  in  security,  in  democracy,  in  justice.  For  all  of  us,  for  the  whole  world.  The   interests  of  civilisation  itself.”     Pasteur  herself,  at  some  conference  somewhere  (yes,  he  could  see  the  date  stamp  on  

the  video,   yes  it  had  been  in  Switzerland).  That  was  her,  Pasteur  the  gun,  guaranteeing  the   safety   of   her   clients,   their   money   and   the   civilisation   they   wished   to   buy,   while   Lily,   his   wonderful  Lily,  was  slumped  over  the  wheel  of  a  Range  Rover,  under  the  pitiless  sun.  

 

He   looked   at   the   weapon   and  wondered.   Just   a   tool,   after   all,   the   plaything   of  the  

hand  that  held  it.  A  machine  for  killing.  

Nico  Wolf  couldn’t   understand  why   he  hadn’t   been  caught  yet.  He  also  couldn’t  un-­‐

derstand  where  the  hell  he  was  going  and  he  certainly  couldn’t  understand  what  he  was  do-­‐ ing.     He  was  following  Genghis,   in  the  hope  that  the  scourge  of  Asia  knew   where  he  was  

going,  but,  as  far  as  he  could  tell,  the  Khan  was  just  running  around  the  building  at  random.   Presumably  he  was  trying  to  throw  off  any  pursuers  but,  extraordinarily,  there  didn’t  

seem  to  be  any.  It  worried  Nico.   The   Argus   system   would   have   spotted   them   in   the   lobby   and   would   certainly   be  

tracking   them   now.  Kerberos   guards   would  know   precisely  where  they  were   and  be   more   than  capable  of  cutting  them  off  at  any  moment.  So  why  weren’t  they?   It  had  to   be  deliberate.  They  were  being  allowed  to  run  around  the  of[ices  for  a  rea-­‐

son,  but  what  that  reason  might  be,  he  couldn’t  imagine.       He   tried   to   think   what   he   might   do   in  usual   circumstances,   when   he   would   have  

been  one  of  the  guards   chasing   Genghis,   but   then  he  would  have  just  been  doing   what  he   normally  did:  follow  orders,  no  matter  how  strange  those  orders  might  seem.   And  what  was  he  doing  in  this  unusual  circumstances  at  all?  He  shouldn’t  even  be  in  

the  building,   certainly   not   out   of   uniform   and   de[initely   not   in   the   company   of   illegal   in-­‐ truders.  So  why  was  he?   He   hadn’t   even   thought   about   when  the   crowd   burst   through   the   guards   and   the  

gates,  he  had  just  followed  them,  caught  up  in  the  heady  rush  of  the  illicit.  That  had  always  

been  his  problem,  of  course,  the  reason  he  was  shouted  at  -­‐  just  acting  on  instinct,  jumping   in   out   of  his   depth   every   time.   As   Pasteur   had  said,   thinking   with   his   [ists   instead  of   his   head.   And  once  again  he’d  got  himself  into  trouble.  Serious  trouble,   this  time,  not  just  dis-­‐

obeying   an   order,   but   being   in   the   building   with   a   bunch  of   stupid   activists   in  kid’s   cos-­‐ tumes.   Right  now,  he  knew,  Argus  wasn’t  yet  complex  enough  to  identify  him  and  hopefully,  

with  the  sunglasses  on,   no  one  human   would  have  yet.   But   if  they   caught   him,   they’d  [ind   out  soon  enough.   And  then  what?  Dismissed  for  sure  -­‐   and  worse,  maybe.  What  if  they  thought  he  was  

one  of  them,   one   of  these   idiots.   Well,   wasn’t   he,   right   now,   running  around?  What  if  they   thought  he  was  some  kind  of  informant  sent  to  in[iltrate  Kerberos?  Some  kind  of  spy?   Nico  had  seen  things  happen  to   informants.  Had  caused  it  to  happen,  once  or  twice.  

Maybe   Kerberos   wouldn’t   go   to   those   lengths,   but   he   knew   for   sure   the   consequences   would  be  extreme  and  lasting.       If  they  caught  him.  If.   Nico  felt  the  thrill  go   through  him  again,  the  same  thrill  he  had  felt  leaping  through  

those  gates  right  in  the  face  of  Roukan,   a  guard  he  had  been  on  duty  with  just  a  few  hours   ago.  That  old  thrill  of  the  illegal,  the  daring,  the  deadly.     They  had  taken  a  stroll  through  the  of[ices,  him  and  Roukan,  rows  and  rows  of  desks  

full  of  people  working,  the  same  people,  the  same  work,  day  after  day  until  you  die.  Without   ever  knowing  you  were  alive.  

 

How  could  you  know  what  life  was  without  risking  it,  without  holding  it  in  your  own  

hands   and   weighing   it,   without   taking   that   chance   and   trusting   in   yourself   to   make   it   through?     He   had  often   wondered  why   people   turned   informant   when   they   knew   what   hap-­‐

pened  to   informants,  but  maybe  this  was  it.   This  danger  of  being  discovered,   the  lie  found   out,  the  disguise  torn  off.  Like  a  spy  on  a  mission,  a  cop  undercover.   Undercover.   Wasn’t   that   exactly   what   he   was?   He   remembered   Pasteur   talking   to  

that  cop,   about  how  dif[icult   it  was  to   get  people  into   these  organisations,   to   [ind  out  from   the  inside  what  was  going  on.   But  what  was  he  doing  right  now  other  than  getting  on  the  inside  and  [inding  out  the  

truth?   What   was   the   thing  she   had  said?   The   cop?  ’Information   but   no   intelligence’.   Well,   here  was  Nico  Wolf,  for  once,  using  his  head  and  gathering  intelligence.     Undercover  and  on  a  mission.  Better  [ind  out  what  was  going  on,  then.  

“I  assume  from  the  fact  that  you  haven’t  closed  in  on  them  yet,”  said  Eva,  ”That  you  

have  a  plan.”   There  was  a  slight  smile  on  Pasteur’s  face  that  told  Eva  she  was  right  before  she  even  

spoke  and  also  made  all  the  hairs  on  her  arms  stand  up  in  goosebumps.     “We  are  a  security  organisation,”  said  Pasteur,  ”All  we  have  is  plans.”   The  scenes  on  the  Argus  monitors  were  changing.  Where  the  404s  had  been  running  

down   brightly   lit   corridors,   surprising   of[ice   workers   and   breaking   up   impromptu   meet-­‐ ings,  they  were  now  entering  different  territory.  

 

They   had  been  heading   upwards,   staggering   up  [lights   of  stairs   into   less  populous,  

executive  parts  of  the  of[ices,   and  then  further,  up  onto   entirely  unpopulated  [loors,  where   the  automated  lights  [licked  on  at  their  approach  and  turned  themselves  off  when  they  had   passed,  casting  the  empty  meeting  rooms  back  into  shadowy  silence  again.   “They’re  going  somewhere  speci[ic,”  said  Eva,  ”And  you  know  where,  don’t  you?”  

”I  know,  because  I  told  them,”  said  Pasteur,  ”We  spoke  about  it  earlier,  the  dif[iculty  of  pene-­‐ trating  such  networks,   how   the  internet   allows  them   the  security   of  anonymity   and  struc-­‐ ture  less  organisation.   There  is  no  one  in  charge  and  even  if  there  were,   discovering  who  is   next   to  impossible.   So   why  try  and  discover  them?   Why   not  let  them  uncover  themselves?   Why  go  hunting  when  you  can  tempt  the  prey  to  come  to  you?”     Pasteur   leant   over   the   guard   at   the   controls   and   called   up   a   speci[ic   camera.   It  

showed  a   small   room  on  one  of  those  empty   [loors,   packed  full   of  what  looked  to  Eva  like   complicated  computer  equipment,   all   arranged  on   racks   and   strung  together   with   a   spa-­‐ ghetti  of  wires.   “A   goat,”     Eva   said,   ”Tiger  hunting.   You  tether   a  live  goat   up  to   attract  the   tiger  and  

then  when  it  attacks  the  goat,  you  kill  it.  That’s  your  goat,  isn’t  it?”     Not  an  idea  that  she  had  ever  liked.   Hunting  tigers  was   bad  enough  but  then  gratui-­‐

tously  throwing  in  the  death  of  a  goat,  too,  it  seem  carelessly  callous  in  a  way  that  made  her   feel  slightly  nauseous.   “Actually  a  technique  we  use  a  lot  in  cybersecurity,”  said  Pasteur,  ”We  create  what  we  

call  honeypot  servers,  full  of  what  looks  like  desirable  data  with  inadequate  security  around   it.   We   can   then   analyse   the   attacks   made   on  it   by   hackers,   understand   their   techniques,   sometimes  even  manage  to  track  them.  

“In  this  case,  as  soon  as  we  saw  this  ridiculous  little  costumed  demonstration  being  

planned,  we  leaked  information  online  that  all  this  was  the  server  housing  all  of  the  Arcadia   building  CCTV  video  [iles,  intimating  that  if  the  Ella  Lamb  footage  existed  it  would  be  found   there.”   “Hoping  that  the  more  daring  of  them  would  try  and  break  in  and  [ind  the  [iles.”   “Exactly.   This   way  we  get  an  idea  of  how   the  network  is  structured  and  to  take  into  

custody   some   of   the   ringleaders.   Those   servers   don’t   contain   anything   useful   at   all,   of   course,   in   fact,   they’re  some   of  our  honeypots,   although  we’ve   taken  them   of[line   for   the   moment,  in  the  interests  of  verisimilitude.”   “Oh  yes,”  said  Eva,  ”Verisimilitude.  That’s  very  important,  of  course.”  

 

The  instructions  on  the  Internet  worked  and  the  magazine  swung  out,  depositing  a  

single   round   into   his   hand.   Round,   magazine.   All   this   terminology   seemed   ridiculously   hokey  to  Adam,  like  something  you  only  heard  in  [ilms,  but  people  genuinely  seemed  to  use   it.     People  genuinely  seemed  to  use  guns.  He  held  the  bullet  in  his  hand  and  saw,  loaded  

into  it,  tightly  packed  in,  like  the  explosive  in  the  shell,  its  whole  existence.   He   saw   the   backwards   reel   of   armourer’s   records,   ammunition   company,   metal  

smelters,   mining  contractors,   all   along  strung  beacons  of  Kerberos,   ordering,  guarding,   su-­‐ pervising.   And  he  saw   forwards,   that  great,   [inal  forwards,  the  passage  through  countless  ma-­‐

terials,   paper  targets,   wood  chip  walls,  aluminium  car  shells,   [lesh.  So  much  [lesh,  mashing   together  meat  and  vessel  and  bone  in  it’s  crashing  trajectory.  

 

What  seemed  like  such  a  direct,  neat  machine,  but  its  purpose  was  a  biological  mess,  

his  vision  an  explosion  of  images   and  medical  detail,  such  a  small   thing  and  such  an  enor-­‐ mous  ending.   That’s   what  they   did,  these  machines,   these  corporations,   these  tools  for  mankind’s  

careless   ambition,   they   moved   forward   inexorably   and   felled   those   in   their   without   a   thought.     Did  she  believe  it,  Pasteur,   when  she  stood  there  and  claimed  that  she  did  what  she  

did  in  the  cause  of  civilisation?  He  thought  she  did.  She  was  suddenly  all  around  him,  a  time   lapse  of  security  pass  photographs,  a  slit  scan  of  elongated  video.   She  had  come  into  her  own  in  this  company,  working  her  way  up,  making  enemies  of  

people  that  didn’t  matter,  making  allies  of  people  who  did.  Never  friends,  not  her.  The  terri-­‐ ble  thing  was  that  she  was  not  ruthless,  they  were  everywhere,  the  favours  done,  the  graces   given.   She  had  a  cause,   he  could  see  it  burning  like  a   thread  of  [ire   through  her  life,   a  mis-­‐ sion  to  civilise  the  world  with  commerce,  with  guns,  with  money.   He   could   almost   hear  Lily’s   voice,   a  long  tirade  about   the  evils  of  capitalism,   about  

how   people   should   come  [irst,   not   pro[it,   about   equality   and   freedom.   A   voice   he   would   never  hear  again,  thanks  to  this  woman.     But   Pasteur   genuinely   believed   it,   he   could   see   that.   She   believed   that   capitalism  

represented   individual   freedom,   the   means   to   determine   your   own  destiny,   and   through   that  political  power,  justice  and  democracy.   There   were   doctors   in   the   Congo,   brought   in   under   Kerberos’  protection.   Doctors  

and  medicine  that  people  there  wouldn’t  have  been  able  to  afford  or  rely   on  before.   It   had   been  Pasteur’s  idea.  Some  kind  of  ’hearts  and  minds’  operation,   although  the  joke  in  the  of-­‐

[ice   was   about   the   workers   being   looked   after   long   enough   to   die  from  overwork,   rather   than  disease.     But   did   she   really   care   about   all   those   lives   that   fell   before   her   mission?   Was   she  

counting?  He  looked  at  the  bullet  in  his  hand.  Would  one  more  life  matter?       Lily  cared.   Still   thinking,   Adam   put   the  gun   in   his   pocket   and   stood  up   to   leave   the  room.   He  

looked  down  into  the   central   well  of  the  building,  down  at   all   the  people  milling  about   on   their  way  to  the  shopping  centre.     A  view  Pasteur  had  every  day.  People  like  ants,  dutifully  doing  their  commercial  duty  

and  buying  themselves  a  lifestyle.  An  idea  was  coming  to  him.     He  walked  to   the  door  and  discovered  he  was  still  holding  the  bullet.  He  clenched  it  

in  his  [ist,   a  solid  object,  warm  in  his  grasp,  devoid  of  any  meaning  but  its   own  weight  and   presence  and  he  walked  out  of  the  room.  

 

Nico  turned  a  corner  and  almost  ran  into  the  back  of  Genghis  Khan.  There  was  a  thin  

man  in  a  long  blue  old-­‐fashioned  coat  and  a  wispy  blond  goatee,   another  of  the  activists.  He   was  blocking  the  corridor  and  arguing  with  Genghis.   “I’ve  got  a  map,”  he  was  saying,  ”Did  you  bring  a  map?”   “It’s  the  wrong  way  round,  dude,”  said  Genghis.   “Dwarven  maps  always  have  East  at  the  top,”  said  the  thin  man.   “Dude,  tell  him,”  said  Genghis,  seeing  Nico,  ”It’s  straight  ahead.”   “What  is?”  said  Nico.  

“The  server  room,   dude,  the  video  archive,”  said  Genghis,   ”You  know,  what   we’re  all  

here  for?  What  this  is  all  about.”   “Who  are  you?”  said  the  thin  man.   “T1000,  Terminator,”  Genghis  said,  ”Right,  dude?”   “There’s   no   server   room   up   here,”  said   Nico.   There   wasn’t,   he   knew   there   wasn’t.  

This   [loor   was   completely   unoccupied.   All   top   three   [loors   were.   They   still   had   to   patrol   them,  though,  which  was  how  he  knew  there  was  nothing  up  here.   “Dude,”   said  Genghis,   ”Deep   Throat,   the   leak,   we   know,   right,   I   mean   that’s   we’re  

here,  right,  that’s  why  you’re  here.”     “No,”  said  the  thin  man,  ”Who  are  you?”   “Screw  that,”  said  a  voice,  ”Who  the  fuck  are  you  and  why  are  you  in  my  way?”   It   was   a   girl,   dressed  in  a   collarless   coat,   like   a  waiter,   with  a  knitted  black   mous-­‐

tache  attached  to  her  nose.  The  thin  man  drew  himself  up.   “General  Custer,”  he  said.   “Well,  Custard,”  she  said,  ”The  injuns  are  coming,  so  get  out  of  my  way.”   “Indians?”  said  Nico.   “Guards,  fuckwit”  said  the  girl,  who   swore  in  a  manner  that  suggested  she  didn’t  do  

it  often  but  felt  it  was  expected  of  her,  ”Just  saw  them.”   “Wait,”  said  Nico,  ”This  server  room,  where  did  you  hear  about  it?”   “No,”  said  Custer,  ”Who  are  you?”   “Online,  dude,”  said  Genghis,  ”Same  as  you.”   “It’s  a  trap,”  said  Nico.  

He   suddenly   understood   why   they   hadn’t   been   apprehended   yet.   Kerberos   must  

have   put   out   some   misinformation   about   this   mythical   server   room   to   lure   these   idiots   were  they  could  be  safely  contained.       “It’s  a  trap,”  he  said  again,  ”Who’s  in  charge?”   They  looked  at  him,  blankly.   “No,”  said  Custer,  ”Who  are  you?”   The  truth,   his   grandmother  used  to   tell   him,   never  hurt  anyone.   This,  he  knew,   was  

itself  untrue.   The   truth  frequently  hurt   people,   often  badly.   But   the   easiest   way   not   to   be   caught  out  in  a  lie  is  not  to  lie.  Too  much.   “My  name  is  Nico  Wolf,”  he  said,  ”I  am  a  Kerberos  employee  and  you  are  walking  into  

a  trap.”     He  pulled  out  his  security  pass  and  showed  it  to  them.   “There’s   no  server  room  up  here,”  he  said,  ”They  made  it  up  to  get  you  up  here.   You  

need  to  trust  me.”   “You  need  to  fuck  off,”  said  Custer.   “There’s  nothing  here!”  said  Nico.   “He’s  right,  dude,”  said  Genghis,  ”Look  at  it.  This  entire  [loor  is  unoccupied.”   “Injuns,  Custard,”  said  the  girl.   “Look,”  said  Nico,  ”I  am  getting   out  of  here  because   if  I  am  not  going  to   get   caught.  

You  want  to  come,  come.”     Not  the  lifts,  too   easy  for   them   to   control.  There  were   [ire  stairs   that  ran  the  entire  

height  of  the  building  and  they  should  be  open,   too,  even  on  this  [loor.  He  pushed  past  the   girl  and  started  running.  

him.  

“Come  with  me  if  you  want  to   live,”  said  Genghis  in  a   German  accent,  and  followed  

 

“We  have  a  problem,”  said  Eva,  pointing  at  one  of  the  screens.   On  the  other  screens  she  could  see  Kerberos  guards  arresting  a  Victorian  gentleman  

and  Emperor  Hirohito  of  Japan,  but  this  one  was  showing  four  people  running  down  a  [light   of  stairs:  a  man  in  motorcycle  leathers,   a  man  in  a  US  cavalry   out[it,   a  woman  in  a  woolen   moustache  and  what  looked  like  a  Viking.   The  stairs  were  uncarpeted,   the  walls  unpainted   concrete.       “Those  look  like  back  stairs  of  some  kind,”  she  said,  ”Fire  exit?”   “Fire  exit,”  said  Pasteur,  ”Right  the  way  down  the  building  into  Arcadia.”   Pasteur  gestured  to  Ulmer,  the  guard,  and  he  passed  her  a  radio.   “Who’s  on  duty  in  Arcadia?”  she  said.   Ulmer  consulted  a  tablet  computer.   “Randall,  Sirhaan,  Kenyon,  Lowell,  Lopez,”  he  said.   “This   is   Pasteur,”  she  said   into   the   radio,   ”Kenyon   and  Lowell   to   the  Arcadia   main  

exit,   Randall   and   Sirhaan  to   cover   the   mezzanine   [ire   doors.   Lopez   to   the   [loor   three   [ire   exit.”     She  took  the  tablet  from  Ulmer  and  scrutinised  it.   “Wait   there   for   back   up,”   she   said,   ”Whelan,   Roukan   and  Channing   to   rendezvous  

with  Lopez  in  Arcadia,  begin  securing  the  [ire  stairs  a  [loor  at  a  time.”   “My  shift  here  is  almost  up,”  said  Ulmer.  

“Find  your  relief  and  then  [ind...   Leikos,”  said  Pasteur,  ”Then  rendezvous  with  Whe-­‐

lan,  he’s  in  charge.”     She  hooked  the  radio  to   her  belt  and  hefted  the  tablet.  She  swiped  at  it  and  Eva  saw  

the  Argus  feed  appear  on  the  screen,  the  four  [igures  still  running  down  endless  stairs.   “Shall  we,”  said  Pasteur,  and  motioned  Eva  to  the  door.  

3 The Mall
  Nico   pushed  open   the  [ire   door   and  almost   ran  straight   into   someone.   The  mezza-­‐

nine  was  the  top  [loor  of  the  Arcadia  shopping  centre,  a  large  open  space  dotted  with  places   to   sit,   small   stalls,   a   cafe   in   one  corner.   It   was   [illed   with  people,   all   moving   in   a   bovine   Brownian  motion  from  the  lifts   to   the  car  park   towards  the  escalators  that   led   down  into   the  mall  itself.     “Are  you  crazy?”  said  the  girl  with  the  moustache,  ”There  are  guards  everywhere.”   “There  are  people  everywhere,”  said  Nico,  ”More  distractions  for  Argus.”   He   could  see,   between   the   bustling   people,   Kerberos   uniforms   moving,   heading   in  

the  same  direction   as  them,   towards  the   main  doors.   It  looked  like  Kenyon,   an  older   man,   one  time  a  body  builder,  now  slow  and  running  to  fat.  Nico  could  move  faster  than  him.   “Who’s  Argus?”  said  Genghis  Khan.   “New  security  system,”  said  General  Custer,  ”Reads  body  language.  Claim  it  can  iden-­‐

tify  criminals  before  they  do  anything.”   “Before  they’re  criminals,  you  mean,”  said  the  girl.   “It’ll  have  us  already,”  said  Nico,  ”They’ll  be  watching,  we  need  to  keep  moving.”  

General   Custer   pulled  out   a   mobile   phone.   He   was   already   moving   too   slowly   for  

Nico’s  liking,  puf[ing  and  panting  after  their  career  down  the  stairs.   “Come  on!”  said  Nico.   “Got   an  idea,”  said  Custer,   then,   not   looking   where   he   was  going,   ran  straight  into   a  

shopper,  her  plastic  bags  tangling  round  Custer’s  spidery  legs,  causing  him  to  stumble.     Genghis  Khan  caught  hold  of  him,   pulling  him   out  of  the  scattering  clothes  and  toi-­‐

letries.  They  staggered  together,  trying  to  hold  each  other  upright.     Kenyon   was   still   forcing   his   way   through   the   crowd,   but   there   was   someone   else  

now,   a   woman   called  Lowell.   She   was   there   already,   closing  one   of   the  big  doors,   cutting   down  the  number  of  possible  exits.   Nico  wheeled.   Behind  them  another  guard,  Randall  was  already  at  the  [ire  door  they  

had  just  come  through.   He  struggled  to  think.   They’d  be  sealing  off  exits,  then  checking  the   [ire  stairs,  moving  up  from  the  bottom.  At  least  they  were  out  of  that.   But  they’d  be  watching  Argus,  they’d  know  exactly  where  Nico  and  the  others  were.  

If  they  couldn’t    make  a   quick  exit,   they  had  to   disappear.   Down  below,   down  in   the  mall.   Stores  and  changing  rooms  and  the  cinema.  Places  to  hide.     Back  there,  back  to  the  escalators  and  then  down  into  the  depths.   “Follow  me,”  he  said,  and  ran.  

   

Adam  stepped  out  of  the  lift  and  walked  into  hell.     He   stopped  in  his   tracks,   caught   by  surprise   by  the   sheer   scale  and  chaos   of   it.   He  

was   standing  on  the   main  [loor   of   Arcadia   Hall,   in  the   centre   circle  of   a  many-­‐[loored   in-­‐ ferno.  The  whole  space  burned  with  data.  

 

In  front  of  him  escalators  marched  endlessly  into  depths  dark   with  monsters.  Shop-­‐

pers  milled  past,  each  of  them  crowded  by  ghosts:  smart  phones,  text  messages,  voice  mail  -­‐   their  faces  obscured  by  mysteries,  their  hidden  lives  paraded  before  his  face.     All   of   them   heading   below   into   the  constant  hungry   forge   of  commerce   -­‐   numbers  

hammering  back  and  forth,  the  endless  monotony  of  sizes,  colours,  stock  and  price  -­‐  an  end-­‐ less  drumming  in  his  head.     And  over  all  of  them   Argus   watched,   a  hundred  eyes   weighing  each  one,   analysing  

and  evaluating,  counting  each  head,  and  endless  and  inescapable  judgement.     He  turned,  trying  to  [ind  somewhere  to  hide,  somewhere  to  catch  his  breath,  [ind  the  

strength  to  deal  with  the  horror.  Then  he  saw  a  monster  he  recognised.   A  man  in  motorcycle  leathers  -­‐  the  man  who  had  been  chasing  him  -­‐  his  name  leap-­‐

ing,  unbidden,  into  Adam’s  mind:  Nico  Wolf.  And  the  man’s  face  was  there  too  -­‐   his  security   pass  photo,  logged  away  on  the  system.   The  long  dogfaces  of  Kerberos  were  everywhere,  casting  about  for  a  scent.  (Born  in  

Romania   but   German   by   ethnicity).   Adam   had  to   get   out   of   sight.   (There   are  seven   main   groups   of   ethnic   Germans   in   Romania).   Down   the  escalators.   THE   EYES   ARE   WATCHING.   Wolf  was  heading  for  the  escalators  too.  Hurry  up!  Hurry  up!  Don’t  make  yourself  conspicu-­‐ ous.   (As  a  boy  Nico   had  been  asked  by  his  teachers  to   spy  on  his  parents).   Be  a  good  shop-­‐ per.   DON’T  LET  THE  EYES  SEE  YOU.  He  was  right  there  behind.  Wait,  something  was  slow-­‐ ing  him  down.   Stay  calm.     (Currently   suspended  from   active   duty   pending   managerial   re-­‐ view).  Down  another  [loor,  get  as  deep  as  you  can.  AMBER  TARGET  -­‐   MAIN  LOBBY  -­‐   POSSI-­‐ BLE  THREAT.   Just   going   shopping.   (Personality   test   indicates   poor   risk   assessment   and   a   tendency  to  violence).  Just  shopping.  Just  shopping.  

 

There:   a   bench.   There  were   two   [loors   between   him  and  Nico  now.   Adam   dropped  

onto   the   bench  and  closed   his   eyes;   trying   to   burrow   down  into   the   darkness   behind   his   lids,  escape  all  the  terrible  light.       Something   was   bothering   Eva   Lisiewicz.   Actually   a   large   number   of   things   were   “Have  you  got  65p?”  said  a  voice,  ”I’ll  be  honest  with  you.  It’s  for  drink.”

bothering  her,  but  one  thing  in  particular  was  nagging  away  at  her.   ing?”   “It’s   able   to   tell   what  they’re  thinking   about   doing,”  said  Pasteur,   ”It  analyses   both   “Let  me  get   this  straight,”  she  said,   ”This  Argus   system  can  tell  what  people  are  do-­‐

conscious   and  unconscious  movement,   from   gross  physical   gestures  right   down  to   micro-­‐ expressions,  if  we  have  the  cameras  with  suf[icient  resolution  and  frame  rate.”     Pasteur  had  brought  them  out  to   a  soft  seating  area  along  one  side  of  a  corridor,  to  

stand   in   front   of   a   glass   wall   that   looked   down   into   the   main   concourse   of   the   Arcadia   shopping  mall  directly  below.   The  space   was   full   of  people,   thronging   in   peristaltic  gouts  from  the   elevator  bank  

and  drifting  in  from  the  main  street  doors.  At  least,  Eva  noticed,  one  of  the  Kerberos  guards   was  on  that  exit.  Hadn’t  Pasteur  ordered  two  of  them,  though?     Pasteur   held   her  tablet   up   directly   in   front   of   them,   revealing   a   screen   showing   a  

view   of  the  concourse,   but   from   a   different   angle.   A   nearby   camera,   Eva   assumed.   It   was   slightly  disorientating,  a  little  window  from  another  viewpoint.  

 

Again  the  view  on  the  screen  was  overlaid  with  little  icons.  In  the  centre  a  little  clus-­‐

ter   were  glowing   red,   below   them   the   man   in   the  motorcycle   jacket   and  the   Viking   were   pushing  their  way  through  the  crowds  towards  the  escalators.   “As   you   can   see,   this   allows   Argus   to   spot   threatening   or   unusual   behaviour,”   said  

Pasteur.   “So  the  computer  decides  what’s  normal,  does  it?”  said  Eva.   “Not  at  all.  We  are,  of  course,  very  sensitive  to  such  issues.  Think  of  Argus  as  a  [ilter,  a  

means   of   targeting   our   security   assets   in   an   intelligent   manner.   Exactly   what   we   were   speaking   about   before:   information   hand   in   hand   with  intelligence.   Argus   spots   potential   issue  but  it  is  our  trained  staff  who  deal  with  the  situation.  As  they  are  now.”     Pasteur  passed  Eva  the  tablet  and  took  out  her  radio.   “Whelan,  this  is  Pasteur,  they’re  out  of  the  [ire  stairs  and  into  the  general  population.  

Ensure  exits  are  secured  and  start  patrolling  the  concourses,  from  [loor  three  upwards.”     Eva  was  trying   the  screen  out,   watching  as   the  man  in  leather  jostled  his   way  on  to  

the  escalators.  Around  him  shoppers  stumbled  backwards,  remonstrated  with  him  and  his   friends,  their  own  icons  turned  a  shade  of  amber.   “The  key  is  that  Argus  is  a  preventative   rather  than  reactive   system.   It  allows   us  to  

spot  troublemakers  before  they  can  make  trouble,”  Pasteur  had  evidently  wound  up  a  good   many  presentations  with  these  words,  ”The  landscape  of  law  enforcement  and  civil  control   is  an  evolving  one  and  Argus  is  the  tool  to  take  us  into  the  future.”   “So   it   thinks   these   people   on   the   escalator   are   possible   troublemakers,”  said   Eva,  

pointing  them  out  on  the  screen.  

“Well,   obviously,  their  behaviour  is  differing  from   the  observed  norm,”  said  Pasteur,  

”So  the  system  had  [lagged  them  as  potential  threats  for  investigation.”   “In  my  line  of  work,”  said  Eva,  ”We  prefer  to  call  them  victims.”  

“Bastard!”   Glass  splintered   under   his  feet.   He   could   hear  Lily  shouting   and   knew  that   he   wasn’t  

going  to  be  able  to  leave  well  alone.  He  climbed  in  through  the  jagged  hole  in  the  window,  the   sleeve  of  his  jacket  snagging  on  a  razored  shard.   “You  fucking  bastard!”   The   guards  were   rushing  across  the   lobby  in   a  ragged  line.  Someone   had  torn   a   large  

metal  letter  ’K’  from  the   company  name   on   the  wall  and   was  trying  to   hit  a   guard  with  it.   It   might  almost  have  been  funny  but  for  the  fury  on  the  guard’s  face.  They  barrelled  into  the  pro-­ testors,   forcing   them  back   towards  the   broken   window,   slipping   and   skittering   on   the   frag-­ ments  on  the  marble  >loor.     One  of  the  guards  -­  a  young  man  with  dark  hair  -­  threw  someone  to  the  ground.  A  girl.  

A  sudden  shock  of  blonde  dreads  going  up  in  her  wake.  He  pulled  back  his  foot  to  kick  her.     Lily  lurched  towards  him.   “You  fucking  bastard,  leave  her  alone.”   Adam  couldn’t  help  himself  -­  he  grabbed  Lily,  pulling  her  back,  and  she  turned,  smack-­

ing   him   right   in   the   mouth.   The   blow   knocked   him   off   balance,   pushing   him  back   into   the   crowd  of  protestors  who  were  scrambling  through  the  broken  window  behind  him.  

As  Adam  fell,   the  guard  looked   up,  pointing   a   >inger  at  Lily  as  his  boot  came   back  for  

another  kick  at  the  girl  on  the  ground  in  front  of  him.  And  his  name  fell  into  Adam’s  head.  Nico   Wolf.  

“Just  65p,”  said  the  voice,  slurring  it  a  little,  ”I  swear  once  I’m  good  and  drunk  I’ll  go  

to  sleep  and  won’t  be  bothering  anyone  else.  I  swear.”     It  was  dark  where  Adam  was.  It  was  dark  and  quiet  and  Lily  was  there.  But  that  was  

the  past  and  he  had  work  to   do.  He  reluctantly  hauled  himself  up  on  the  bench  and  opened   his  eyes.     A   man   with  colourless,   wrinkled   skin,   high  pink   cheeks   and   watery  blue   eyes   was  

staring  into  his  face.  Despite  being  far  too  close,  he  was  evidently  still  having  trouble  focus-­‐ ing  on  Adam.   “It’s  made  by  monks,”  the  man  said  and  something  waved  in  the  periphery  of  Adam’s  

vision.  A  bottle  of  forti[ied  wine  on  the  end  of  an  erratic  arm.  An  empty  bottle.   “That’s   Christian   charity   if   you  like.   There’s   no   one   drinks   it   but   the   drunks,   you  

know,”  the  man  was  earnest,  desperate  to  share  his  ragged  insights,  ”Made  by  monks  for  the   drunks.   Does   the  Holy  Father  know,   does  he?  Did  he  tell  them,   you  go   make  a  wine  for  the   poor  drunk  men,  help  them  forget  their  sins?  It’s  a  funny  thing  for  a  monk  to  be  doing,  don’t   you  think?  Just  65p.”     Nico   Wolf.   The  man   who   had   started  it  all.   Who   had  kicked  Ella  Lamb  into  a  coma  

right  in  front  of  Adam  and  Lily.   Nico  Wolf  was  in  Arcadia,  and  with  404s,   as  well.  What  was   he  up   to?   An   agent   provocateur?   It   might   explain  his   suspension   from   duty   -­‐   the  perfect  

cover.   But  then  he  had  almost  no   history  with  the  404s,   not   that  Adam  could  see.   Perhaps   that  was  the   point.   Perhaps  he   was   trying   to   learn  more   about  them   -­‐   the  perfect   way  to   worm  himself  back  into  reinstatement.   It  was  dif[icult  to  tell  anything  about  Nico  Wolf.  He  was  a  black  shape  in  leather  and  

shades.   He  had  very   little   online   personality.   The  sort  of  person  who   didn’t   get  the   point,   Adam  thought,  not  the  sort  who  would  share  willingly  and  easily  with  millions  of  strangers.   Not  like  the  404s.   They  were  giants,   each  of  them  a  bright  and  shining  ogre,   armed  head  to   foot  with  secrets  and  knowledge  and  crowded  by  a  thousand  phantoms.     He  was  a  moment  of  relief,  this  rambling  old  drunk  -­‐  no  phone,  no  electronic  history,  

a  man  lost  to  the  modern  world,  a  man  Adam  could  [inally  look  in  the  face  and  not  see  too   much.     All  around  him,  meanwhile,   the  shopping  mall  thundered  with  the  noise  of  transac-­‐

tions.   Customers   trolled   past,   bleeding   bright   spurts   of   information:   credit   ratings,   pur-­‐ chases  histories,   wish  lists  and  blacklists,  wants   and  needs  and  cannot  haves.   And  over  all   of  them   Argus  watched,   the  thousand  unblinking  eyes,   counting   them,  sorting   them,  [iling   them  all   neatly   away   into   brands   and   sectors   and  personality   types,   an   endless,   monoto-­‐ nous  crunch  of  data.   have.   “That’s  monks,  isn’t  it?”  said  the  man,  ”An  abbey.  It’s   an  abbey,  that’s  monks.  Or  is  it   It   was   worse  than   he  had  imagined.   He   wasn’t   sure   he  could  do   it.   But   Lily   would  

abbots?  Or  monkeys!  Monkeys  making  wine  for  drunkys!”  

 

The   man   was   shouting   away   merrily   now,   and   already   confused   by   the   chaos   all  

around,  Adam  noticed  too  late  the  great,   white,   soft  creature  that   lumped  out  of  the  crowd   towards  them,  a  pair  of  brittle,  hard  eyes  in  its  pale  phantom  face.   “Why  don’t  you  shut  up  and  die,  you  dirty  old  fucker?”  it  said.  

Nico   came   pushing   his   way   down  the   escalator   to   the   [irst   [loor.   Down  among   the  

stores  and  cafes  there  were  plenty  of  blind  spots  in  Argus’  vision  -­‐  he  just  had  to  think,   try   to   remember.  Of  course,   if  they  were  already  being  tracked,   Pasteur  would  knew   precisely   where  they  had  gone  anyway,  even  if  she  couldn’t  see  them  in  there.  But  the  system  wasn’t   perfect,   he  knew  that  as   well  as  anyone,   they   were  still  working  bugs   out.   It  lost  people  all   the  time,  especially  down  in  the  mall  itself.     Meanwhile,   if   he   remembered   the   procedure   right,   the   guards   would   be   working  

their   way  up   from   the   bottom   towards   them,   clearing  the   [loors   as   they   went,   as   long   as   they  were  quick...     “What  are  you  doing?”   General  whatever  his  name  was  had  his  phone  in  his  hand  again  and  almost  seemed  

to   be  deliberately   walking  into  people,  leaving  a   wake   of  confused   and   annoyed  shoppers   behind  him.   “Bluesnar[ing,”  he  said.   “Not  possible,  dude,”  said  Genghis  Khan.   “For  you,”  said  the  General,  ”Got  an  idea.”   “We  don’t  have  time  for  games,”  said  Nico.   “What  else  is  it  worth  having  time  for?”  said  Genghis.  

“Argus   monitors   body   language,”  said  the   General,   ”We   can’t  escape     Argus,   so   we  

need  to  change  people’s  body  language.”   “Dance  dance  revolution,”  said  the  girl.   “No,  this,”  said  the  General.   Nico’s  phone  beeped  a  text  message  alert.   No,  wait,  it  was  the  guy  next  to  him.  Then  

another,   and   another.   A   cicada-­‐ing   of   phones   along   the   path   the   General   had   blundered   through  the  crowd.  Then  Nico’s  phone  itself  [inally  buzzed  in  his  pocket.   ”Oops,”  said  Genghis,  ”Never  leave  your  Bluetooth  open,  dude.”     All   around   him,   people   were   hunting   for   their   phones,   [ishing   them   out,   reading  

their  message.  He  looked  at  his  own.   “They  know  everything  about  you.  You  need  to  run.  Now,”  it  said.   They   know   everything.   But   how   could  they,   no   one  knew   what   he  had  done,   there  

was  no  [ilm,  no  witnesses.  He  looked  up  from  the  phone  and  saw  the  gloating  expression  on   the  General’s  face.  This  was  his  message,  he  knew.  Nico  would  have  to  act  now  if  he  was...     And   then   he   realised,   all   around   him,   people   were   suddenly   looking   about   them  

guiltily,  hurriedly  deleting  the  message,  stuf[ing  their  phones  out  of  sight.   “That’s  given  then  something  to  think  about,”  said  the  General.  

The  screen  in  Eva’s  hands  blossomed  into  a  [lurry  of  blinking  red  lights,  then  it  froze.  

It  tried  to   slide  in  another  view,  something  happening  on  another  [loor,   but  it  only   got  half   way  and  then  the  window,  and  the  video  in  it,  ground  to  a  halt.     The   tablet   buzzed   in   her   hands,   a   single,   sullen   little   tantrum   and   was   suddenly  

nothing  more  than  a  lump  of  glass  and  plastic.  

“Something’s  happening  on  the  [irst  [loor,”  said  Eva.   She  tried  shaking  it,  but  it  didn’t  

seem  to  help.  Pasteur  was  already  on  the  radio.   “Whelan,  Pasteur,  there’s  a  situation  on  concourse  one,  proceed  with  all  haste.”   Even   in  an   emergency,   Eva  noticed,   Pasteur   couldn’t   stop   being  the   sort   of  person  

who  said  ’proceed’  instead  of  ’go’.     “Restart  it,”  said  Pasteur,  ”The  power  button  is  there.”   Eva  fumbled  with  it,  trying  out  several  little  nubs  and  switches  round  the  edge  of  the  

thing   before   eventually   discovering   that   by   holding   one   of   them   down   she   could  at   least   make  the  screen  go   black.   This  had  a  horribly  familiar  feel  to   it.   Every  crisis  Eva  had  ever   experienced,   the   investigation   afterwards   had  always   included   a   question  about   why   the   technology  failed.  And  had  always  recommended  a  new  technology  as  a  solution.     It  was  like  a  canary  in  a  coal  mine.  The  moment  the  technology  started  misbehaving  

you  knew  that  things  were  about  to  get  seriously  unpredictable.   Don’t  be  a  stick  in  the  mud,  she  corrected  herself,  because  the  technology  wasn’t  fail-­‐

ing  simply  because  it  was   technology.  It  failed  because  the  planning  failed.   Because  some-­‐ where   along  the   line   someone  making   all   this,   Argus   and  these   computer   things,   had  de-­‐ cided  what  conditions  they  would  likely  have  to  work  under  and  what  situations  they  were   likely  to  have  to  deal  with,   never  once  thinking  that  ’likely’  was  the  very  least  of  their  prob-­‐ lems.   Sadly   ’unlikely’  was  exactly  when  they  were  going  to   need  good  plans  and  precisely  

when  they  wouldn’t  have  any.  Like  now,  for  instance.   “Pasteur,  Whelan,”  said  the  radio,  ”We  have  an  incident  down  here,  concourse  three.”   “Control,”  said  Pasteur,  ”Give  me  an  Argus  update.”  

“Control,”  said  the  radio  in  a  different  voice,  ”We  have  multiple  alerts  on  concourses  

one  and  three.”     This  was   beginning  to  sound  like  it  was  getting  out  of  hand.  Eva  was  starting  to  feel  

butter[lies  in  her  stomach,  like  she  was  waiting  for  something  to  happen.   “Excuse  me,”  said  Pasteur  and  she  snatched  the  tablet  from  Eva,  her  hands  unexpect-­‐

edly  cold  when  they  touched.  She  swiped  at  it  a  couple  of  times  and  then  grunted  in  disgust.   She  spoke  into  the  radio  again.   “Whelan,  Pasteur,   two   of  you  deal  with  the  issue  on  concourse  three,   the  rest  of  you  

head  up  to  one.  I’m  on  my  way  down.  Let’s  get  this  sorted  out,  please.”   She  didn’t  mean  ’please’,  Eva  thought,  she  meant  ’now’.  

 

Deborah   Robinson   -­‐   her   mother   called   her   Debs,   her   friends   called   her   Dee.   Her  

friends  called  her  a  lot  more  often  than  her  mother  -­‐  they  all  called  and  texted  each  other  an   incredible  amount,  even  when,  as  now,  they  were  all  together  in  the  Mall.     A   crowd  of  them   giggled  and  hooted  behind  Deborah.   It  was   virtually  impossible  to  

pick   out   the  real  people  from  the  ghosts   that  whirled  around  their   individual   phones.   Just   looking  at  the  whole,  garish  dance  gave  Adam  a  whole  new  kind  of  headache.   “Why  aren’t  useless  fuckers  like  you  just  shot?”  It  was  said  with  a  certain  amount  of  

vehement  bravado   -­‐   Deborah  was   an  angry   girl.   Give   her  a  few   years,   Adam   thought,   and   she’ll  be  [ighting  security  guards.     The  drunk  lurched  up  off  the  bench  at  the  teenagers,  swinging  his  empty  bottle.   “I’ve  got  as  much  right!”  he  shouted,   although  he  didn’t  seem  sure  as  to  what  he  had  

a  right  to.  

 

All   around   them,   the  unblinking  eyes   of  the  Mall   fastened  on  the   bench   and   Adam  

heard   the  muttering   go   up   in   the  walls.   Somewhere   a   three-­‐headed   monster   was   wading   through  the  crowds  towards  them.   The   drunk’s   bottle   clipped   the   fast   food  shake   Deborah   was   clutching   and  the   lip  

sprang  off.   “You  spilled  my  drink,   you  fucker!”  She   threw   the  huge  paper  cup  at  him,  spraying  

him   with  pink   gunk.   The  drunk   reeled  back   from   the  explosion   of   colour,   his   feet   slipped   and  he  went  down  in  a  welter  of  [lailing  limbs  and  spattering  shake.  His  bottle  went  ringing   away  over  the  tiles.   “He  tried  to  kick  me!  He  tried!  You  saw  him!  Fucker!”  Deborah  raised  her  foot  to  kick  

the  drunk  and  Adam  [inally  jumped  up  at  her,  holding  out  his  hands  to  stop  her.   “Hey!  Cut  that  out,  you  little  shit!”  His  hand  caught  her  shoulder  and  she  spun  at  him,  

lashing  out,  pushing  him  away.   “Get  off  me,  you  fucking  paedo!”   She  ran  at  him,  pushing  him  back  again,   but  before  he  could  do  anything,   something  

dark  and  heavy  rose  up  between  them.  Three  dogs’  heads,  snarling  and  snapping.  A  security   guard,   powering   in   to   grab   Deborah’s   arms,   pulling   her   away   from   both   Adam   and   the   drunk.     Adam  let  himself  stumble   backwards   from  the  scene  as  another   guard,   neatly   side-­‐

stepping   the  drunk,   who   was  still  sliding  around  in  the  increasingly  unpleasant  milkshake   on  the  ground,  joined  in  in  trying  to  restrain  the  raging  Deborah.     Neither  of  them  had  time  to   notice  him  stumble,  recover,  slip  backwards  among  the  

gathering  crowds  of  spectators  and  disappear  from  view.  

Adam’s   face  stung   from  where  Deborah’s   chipped   and   bitten  nails   had  caught  him,  

but  he  was  sure  she  would  have  done  plenty  worse  if  she  had  known  he  had  just  stolen  her   phone.  

 

If  they   were  following  procedure,   then  all   the   guards   should   still   be  on  the   lowest  

level,   securing  the  [ire   stairs.  Nico   would  have  been  following   procedure.   After  he  and  the   404s  had  escaped  the  of[ices  upstairs,   things  would  have  got  very  confused.  Procedure  was   a  good,  safe  thing  to  fall  back  on.   But  there  was  no  procedure  for  Nico  to  rely  on  now.   The  situation  had  become  what  

Pasteur  called  ’[luid’.  He  had  to  think.  With  his  head.   If  the  General’s  message  hadn’t  worked,  they  would  still  be  showing  up  on  Argus  and  

the  guards   would  be   heading   up  here  to   the  [irst  level.   If  the   trick   had  worked  then  they   might  just  have  enough  cover  to  get  down  to  second  level  before  the  guards  got  there  with-­‐ out  Argus  spotting  them.     There  was  no  time  to  wonder  about  it.  He  grabbed  Genghis  Khan  and  pointed  him  at  

the  escalator.   “Down,  now!”   “We’ve  got  cover,  dude,”  said  Genghis.  Why  did  they  always  have  to  argue?  It  was  all  

they  did.     “Guards  will  be  coming  up,”  said  Nico,  ”Down,  turn  left  at  the  bottom.”   The  General   still  staggering  about,   [iddling  with  his  phone.  Nico   grabbed  hold  of  an  

edge  of  the  cape,  easily  pulling  the  thin  man  after  him  through  the  crowd.   “What  are  you  doing?”  

 

“Saving  you,”  said  Nico.   “No,  that’s  what  I’m  doing,”  said  the  General,  ”What  are  you  doing?”   He  turned  to   look   for  the  girl  and  the  General  suddenly  jerked  out  of  his  grasp  and  

disappeared  backwards.   What?  It   was   Lowell,   one   the  guards   who   had   been  on  the  main  door  upstairs,   she  

must  have  come  down  the  escalator  after  them.  She  had  hold  of  the  General’s  cape,   pulling   him  sideways  off  his  feet  and  toppling  over  herself  as  the  General  grappled  at  her.   Hadn’t  she  been  with...?  He  turned  just  in  time  to  see  Kenyon  lurching  towards  him.  

Nico   sidestepped  neatly,   punching  him   sharply   on   the  side   of   the   head   as   he   passed  and   then  sweeping  a  leg  across  to  bring  him  to  the  [loor.   Nico  kicked  Kenyon  hard  in  the  stomach,  stamping  on  the  hand  that  tried  to  grapple  

his  heel  as  he  bent  and  snatched  at  something  attached  to  the  man’s  belt.  A  taser.   Where  was  Lowell?   The  General,   who   was  considerably  taller  than  Lowell,   but  with  

none  of  her  training,  was  [lailing  around  on  the  [loor  as  Lowell  pulled  herself  on  top  of  him,   trying  to  use  her  weight   to   pin  him   down.   She  must   have  sensed  Nico  step  up  behind  her   but  she  didn’t  look  round,  just  shouted:     “Kenyon,  tase  him  will  you?”   Nico  tased  her.  She  went  rigid  for  a  moment  and  then  seemed  to  leap  sideways  to  the  

ground,   her   boots   squeaking   on   the  polished  marble   as   her  legs   thrashed,   unable   to   gain   purchase.     Nico  pushed  her  [lat  with  one  hand,   trying   to   hold  her  still   while  he  took   her   taser  

from  her  belt,  then  he  turned  and  pulled  the  General  upright,  slipping  his  arm  round  him  to   keep  him  that  way.  

The   man   was   still   dazed,   reeling   away   from   Nico’s   grasp.   Precious   seconds   were  

leaking  away.  He  spun  the  man,  pulling  him  onto  the  escalator,  and  the  two  of  them  half  ran,   half  fell  down,  pushing  past  shoppers,  helter  skelter  to  the  bottom.  

 

Hugh  and   Jessica   were   just   coming   out   of  chintzy   interior   design  store   when  they  

heard  the   shouting  coming  from  down  the  other   end  of  the  concourse.   Hugh  immediately   steered  Jessica  away  from  the  noise  towards  the  escalators,   determined  to  put  as  much  dis-­‐ tance  between  him  and  whatever  was  going  on  as  was  possible.     The   place   was   de[initely   going   downhill.   Now   they   were   actually   [ighting   in   the  

aisles.  And  here  were  a  bunch  of  security  guards  actually  running  away  from  whatever  the   commotion  was.  Ridiculous.     He  looked  up  the  escalator.  Above  them  was  the  second  concourse  and  then,  directly  

ahead,  another  pair  of  escalators  leading  to  the  [irst,  beyond  that  a  faint  glimmer  of  natural   light  far  away,  [iltering  down  from  the  mezzanine  at  the  distant  top.       There  seemed  to   be  something  going  up  there,  too,   on  the  [irst  [loor.  More  lumpens  

milling  about,  bumping  into  each  other.  Jessica  suddenly  grabbed  his  sleeve.     “Isn’t  that  the  man?”   “What  man?  What  are  you  talking  about?”   “Up  there,  the  security  guard.”   He  followed  her  [inger.  A  [igure  in  motorcycle  leathers  pushing  his  way  down  the  es-­‐

calator,   dragging  after  him  a  man  in  what  looked  for  all  the  world  like  a  nineteenth  century   American  cavalry  uniform.  

“That’s  not  a  security  guard,   why  on  earth  do  you  think  he’s  a  security  guard.   They  

all  wear  blazers.”     Honestly,  didn’t  the  woman  have  eyes  in  her  head?   “No,  Hugh,  the  man  who  stood  on  the  car.  It’s  him,  I’m  sure.”   Was  it?  The  man  had  disappeared  now  into  the  crowd.   Hugh  found  he  couldn’t  actually  remember  what  the  man  who   had  stood  on  his   car  

bonnet  had  looked  like  and  he  really  wasn’t  sure  whether  that  was  the  man.     He  thought  vaguely  about  stopping  one  of  the  guards  on  the  escalator  and  tell  them  

and  that  was  when  he  realised.  The  man  had  been  a  security  from  the  shopping  centre.   He   had  known  he  recognised  the  logo  on  the  blazer  and  now  her  knew  from  where.  From  here.   Well   no   point  in  telling  anyone  here,   was   there?   They’d  all   just  close  ranks.   Still,   it  

decided  him,  they  were  never  coming  shopping  here  again.     “Hugh,”  said  Jessica,  ”Please  concentrate,  we  need  to  get  something  for  Eliza.”   Never  again.  After  today.  

Deborah’s  trouble  was  her  temper.   Her  teachers  called  it  anger  management  issues,  

because  they  liked  long  words.   When  she  was   a  toddler  and  used  to   have  hammering  tan-­‐ trums   that   turned   her   face   bright   red,   her   father   had  called   her   Deborah   Tomato,   which   usually  just  made  the  tantrum  worse.     Her  mother  had  once  called  it  a  ’red  mist’,  which  had  made  Deborah  think  of  the  mis-­‐

ter  her  mother  used  to  water  the  house  plants,  which  had  seemed  damp  and  feeble  and  en-­‐ tirely  wrong.  But  then  once,  on  holiday  in  Devon  -­‐   because  that  was  the  sort  of  stupid  place   her   father   took   them  on  holiday   -­‐   they  had  been  driving   on   some  moor   and   the  mist   had  

come  down  and  everybody  had  got  hysterical  because  you  couldn’t  see  more  than  a  couple   of  feet.  Fog,  not  mist,  but  it  was  the  same  thing,  and  it  was  exactly  right.   That  was  precisely  what  it  was,  like  she  couldn’t  see   properly  any  more,  like  every-­‐

thing  went   out  of  focus.   All   of  a   sudden  she  just  couldn’t  think   straight,   like  she  had  gone   dizzy,   everything   in   a   whirl.   Stuck   in   a   mist,   not   knowing   where   you   were,   not   knowing   where  you  were  going  or  what  you  were  doing,  not  recognising  anything.   Which  was   why,   raging   against  the  guards   holding  her,   screaming  incoherently,   lost  

in  her  mist,   Deborah  didn’t  notice  that  it  was   Matty  who  did  something  to   save  her.   Which   was  a  shame,  because  she  would  have  liked  that.     All   the   others   were   just   milling   around,   shouting   at   the   guards,   but   Matty   turned  

away,  and  ran  into  the  clothes  store  behind  him.  He  grabbed  an  armful  of  shirts  and  ran  out   of  the  store,  throwing  them  at  the  guards  so  that  they  opened  out,  a  [lock  of  [lapping  sleeves   reaching  for  them.       Behind  him  the  store  alarm  went  off,  a  piercing,  insistent  beeping.   “I’m  thieving  stuff!”  he  said,  ”Come  on!  Thief!  Steph,  grab  something!”   And   Stephanie   followed   him   as   he   dashed   across   the   concourse   into   a   greetings  

cards  shop,  sweeping  up  an  armful  of  plush  bright  pink  monkeys,  scattering  them  out  of  the   door,  bouncing  them  at  Deborah.  The  alarm  started  in  response  as  the  two  of  them  sprinted   back  out,  scattering  Get  Well  and  Good  Luck  cards  in  their  wake.     One  of  the  guards  stood  on  a  monkey  and  it  squeaked  beneath  his  feet.  He  was  cran-­‐

ing  around  to   see   what  was   happening.   The   other  was   trying   to   get  to  his  radio.   Deborah,   lost  in  her   fury,   was   dimly  aware  that  the  grip  on  her  was   weakening.  She  wrested  herself   out  of  their  grasp,  turning  on  them,  pink  monkeys  jumping  away  from  her.  

“Leave  me  alone!”  She  [lailed  at  them  and  then  Matty  caught  hold  of  her,  pulling  her  

away   as  another  store  alarm  went  off,  and  another,  as   Jordan  took   off  down  the  concourse   in  the  opposite  direction,  random  trainers  dropping  in  his  wake.     One   guard   took   off   after   Jordan,   shouting   into   his   radio,   as   the   other   grabbed   at  

Deborah  and  then  at  Stephanie  as  she  came  past  in  the  other  direction,  showering  him  with   Coke   from   a   shaken   can.   All   around   them,   staff   were   running   from   shops,   shouting   and   pointing,   passing   shoppers   was   standing   around,   getting   in   the   way,   not   understanding   what  was  happening.     Matty  pulled  Deborah,   still  raging,  after  him,  pushing  into  a  coffee  shop,  past  a  wait-­‐

ress   who   was   yelling   in   what   sounded   like   Polish   alternately   at   Steph   and   the   security   guard.  He  bundled  her  into  the  back,  yanking  open  the  disabled  lavatory  and  shoving  her  in.   “Lock  the  door,”  he  said,   shutting  it  behind  him  and,   in  a  frenzy  of  incoherent  panic,  

she  did.  

 

Somewhere  below  Nico   store  alarms  were  sounding.  The  shoppers  around  them  all  

stopped,   suddenly   nervous,   like   animals   on   the   veldt   suddenly   catching   the   scent   of   a   predator.  That  is  what  alarms  are  for,  of  course,  to  make  you  nervous.  They  are  a  warning.     Some  people  run  towards  them  and  some  run  away.   Of  the  people  who  run  towards  

them,   some   are   the  heroes,   the   ones   who   run  towards   trouble   in   order   to   do   something   about   it.   The  others  are   just  people  who   run  towards   trouble  just   for   the  hell   of  it,   to   see   what  is  happening.   It  was  Nico’s  job  to  run  towards  to  alarms,  but  he  was  also  one  of  the  latter  type.  One  

of  the  reasons  Nico   was  often  in  trouble  was  because  he  was  often  where  trouble  was.  This  

time  he  managed  to  restrain  himself  from  the  temptation  of  the  alarms  because  he  already   had  plenty  of  trouble  of  his  own  to  keep  him  interested.   “This  way,”  he  said,  ”We  have  to  keep  moving.”   Keeping  these  costumed  idiots   focussed  on  anything  was  proving  to  be   impossible.  

Whelan  had  once  used  the   phrase  ’herding   cats’  to   him   for  exactly   this   situation,   but   that   didn’t   sound  right   to   Nico.   Cats   were   predators,   independent,   self-­‐reliant.   This   was   more   like  herding   mice.   Frightened,  fast   moving   creatures,   easily  distracted   and   with  only  basic   notions  of  self-­‐preservation.   “What  is  your  problem?”  said  the  girl  with  the  moustache.   “You,”  said  Nico,  ”I  don’t  know  what  he  might  have  done  to  Argus,   but  there  are  still  

guards.”       He  pulled  the  General  up  towards  her,  as  a  kind  of  exhibit.   “Then  we  need  to  do  something  about  the  guards,  too,”  she  said.   “What  are  you  going  to  do,”  said  Nico,  ”Get  beaten  up  too?”   “I’ve  got  an  idea,”  she  said.   “No  time  for  ideas,”  said  Nico.   “Screw  you,”  she  said,  ”Mongo,  how  are  you  at  getting  security  tags  off?”   She  turned  away  from  him  and  pushed  into  a  camping  store  just  behind  them.   “Easy,”  said  Genghis  Khan  and  followed  her.   This  was   insane.   Sure,   if  what  the  General   had  done  had  actually  worked,  they  were  

capable   for   fooling   a   multi-­‐million   pound   state   of   the   art   surveillance   system,   but   they   couldn’t   control   themselves.   It  was   like  trying   to   deal   with  children.   Nico   had  never  liked   children  much,  not  even  when  he  was  one.  

 

He   thought   about  what   Pasteur   and  the   policewoman  had   said,   about  how   the  ad-­‐

vantages  the  404s  had  from  their  lack  of  structure,   their  anonymity.  But  that  was  also  their   weakness,  they  could  never  achieve  anything  concrete  because  no  one  was  in  charge.     You  needed  a  strong  vision  to  make  things  happen,  a  leader  to  plan,  to  make  it  work.  

Someone  like  Pasteur,  for  instance.  This  gang  of  children  and  fools  might  be  brilliant,  might   be  motivated,  but  they  were  directionless.   They  needed  someone  to   take  charge.   Someone   like  him.     Still  holding  onto  the  General,  Nico  went  after  the  girl,  only  to  collide  with  her  as  she  

came  back   out  of  the  store  again,   carrying  a  rucksack.  She  was   zipping  it  up  as  she  passed   him  and  he  caught  a  glimpse  of  something  electronic,   half  dismantled.   Bits  of  wire  and  ex-­‐ posed  circuit  boards.     She   brushed  past   and  sauntered   past   a   bench  under   a   ornamental   plant,   casually  

dropping  the   backpack  onto  the  end  of  it.  Then  she  turned,  pulling  off  her  moustache  and   came  up  next  to  a  passing  shopper.   “Excuse  me,”  she  said,  ”Is  that  your  bag?”   “No.”   “Only  it’s  been  there  for  a  while.  I’m  not  really  sure  what  to  do.  Do  you  think  I  should  

report  it?   Excuse   me,”  she  grabbed  hold  of   someone   else,   pulling   them  into   her   little  con-­‐ spiracy,   ”Do   you   know   whose   bag   that   is?   I   had   a   look   inside   and   there  were   wires   and   things.”   “Wires?”   “I  see,”  said  Genghis  Khan,  ”Clever,”  and  he  grabbed  hold  of  someone  too,  ”Excuse  me,  

do  you  know  who  to  report  unattended  luggage  to,  only  there’s  a  bag  there.”  

“Excuse  me,”  said  the  girl  to  someone  else,  ”Is  that  your  bag?”   “There’s   an   unattended   bag   there,”   Genghis   was   running   between   passing   people,  

”There’s  wires  in  it.  Is  that  yours?  It’s  unattended.”   Gradually   the   crowd   was   beginning   to   contract   around   them,   murmuring   to   each  

other,  casting  fearful  glances  at  the  lonely  rucksack.  An  unattended  bag,   they  were  security   threats,  weren’t  they?  You  were  supposed  to  report  them.  It  might  be  a  bomb.     The  girl  circled  back  towards  Nico,  clipping  her  moustache  back  on  as  she  did  so.   “Your  guards’ll  be  down  here  in  a  minute,”  she  said,  ”So  what’s  your  idea?”  

 

The  store  alarm  went   off  and  Kenneth  Robinson   jumped   guiltily  before  shooting   a  

suspicious  look  at  his  wife.  Somehow  she  always  managed  to  buy  something  that  set  off  the   alarms   in   every  store   they   went   into.   And   the  staff,   always   making  them   unpack   all   their   shopping  in  full  view  of  everyone  else.   But  this  time  it  wasn’t  Miriam’s  fault  for  once.  Someone  was  running  away  from  the  

shop,   leaving  a   bundle  of  clothes   lying  in  the  doorway.   Must   have  tried  to   steal   something   and  been  panicked  by  the  alarm.  Cowards,   you  see,  criminals  -­‐   it’s  what  he  always  said:  the   really  brave  thing  was  to  follow  the  rules.  That’s  what  he  told  Debbie.  No  one  said  it  was  go-­‐ ing  to  be  easy.     He  just  couldn’t  understand  why  she  just  didn’t  listen.   More  alarms   were  going  off  now,  all  the  way   down  the  concourse.   Must  be  a  whole  

gang  of  them,  working  as  a  team  -­‐  he  had  read  about  that  in  the  paper:  immigrants.   He  went  to  check  his  wallet  and  stopped.  He  had  read  about  that,  too,  teams  of  pick-­‐

pockets   -­‐  one  of  them   would  bump  into   you  and   then  you’d  check   your   wallet   and  that’s  

how  they’d  know  where  it  was.  Then  the  accomplice  would  steal  it,  you  see.  It  affronted  him   on  a  fundamental  level:  using  your  own  instinct  for  self-­‐preservation  against  you  like  that.       But  no  one  had  bumped  into  him.  His  wallet  was  safe.   Lucy  squirmed  past  him  before  he  was  aware  and  headed  for  the  front  of  the  store.  

He  caught  up  with  her  at  the  door  and  laid  a  hand  on  her  shoulder.     “Lucy,  come  along,  it’s  none  of  our  business.”   Together  they  leant  round  the  door  and  peered  down  the  concourse.  Security  guards  

were  running  towards  the  escalators  and  somewhere  below  them  someone  was  shouting.     Whole  teams  of  thieves:  organised  crime.  The  phrase  had  just  popped  into  his   head  

and  it  gave  him  a  little  horrorpilating  thrill.   Kenneth   Robinson  had   always  rather   liked  this   shopping   centre  because   it   had   al-­‐

ways  seemed  rather  exclusive  to   him,   just  a   little  out  of  the  way  and  with  the   cinema  and   everything.  But  gangs  of  shoplifters.  Well,  they  couldn’t  come  here  again,  could  they?     He  pulled  Lucy  back  into  the  shop.   “Lucy,  come  on.”  Best  not  to  get  involved  -­‐   let  the  guards  deal  with  it,   that  was  what  

they  were  paid  for,  after  all.     Still,  at  least  he  had  an  anecdote  for  later,  at  the  golf  club.  

Argus   saw   everything.   It   saw   the   sudden  blossoming   of   suspicious   behaviour   that  

followed  the  General’s  text  message,   it  saw  all  the  store  alarms  go   off  as  Deborah’s  friends   tried  to  save  her,  it  saw  the  man  in  black  leather  attacking  the  guards,  it  saw  people  panick-­‐ ing,  running.  And  because  it  saw  this,  Adam  saw  it  too.  

But   Adam  saw   more  than  Argus   ever  could.   It   couldn’t   know,   for  example,   that  the  

girl  leaving  the  rucksack  on  the  bench  was  really  called  Veronica  but  preferred  to  be  known   as  Empty  V.  Or  that  he  man  dressed  as  Genghis  Khan  running  around  spreading  the  bomb   scare,   threading   behind  him,   in  Argus’  eyes,   concentric   nervous   red  icons,   went  online  by   the  name  Buffalo  Over[low.   It  couldn’t  know  that  they,  like  General  Custer  -­‐  who  also   called  himself  Mr.  Hander-­‐

son  -­‐  were  404  activists  but  that   the  man  in  leather,   leading  them  into   the   camping  store,   wasn’t.   It  didn’t   even   know   that  he   was   a  Kerberos   employee,   Nico   Wolf,   which  is   why  he   knew   that   hiding   inside   a   display   of  tents   in  the   store,   they  would   be  completely   hidden   from  Argus’  view.     It  certainly  didn’t  know,  and  neither  did  anyone  other  than  Adam,  that  Wolf  was  also  

the  Kerberos  employee  responsible  for   assaulting  the  protester  Ella  Lamb  so  severely  that   she  had  been  in  a  coma  ever  since.   Of  course  Adam  had  no   more   idea  than  Kerberos  exactly   what  was   in  the  rucksack  

that  Empty  V  had  left  on  the  bench.  But  he  was  pretty  much  de[inite  that  it  wasn’t  a  bomb.   Veronica  was  an  angry  suburban  girl,  but  not  yet  the  bomb  making  sort.  Argus  had  very  dif-­‐ ferent   ideas.   It   was,   after   all,   built   to   be  paranoid.   It   had   very   de[ined   views   about   unat-­‐ tended  bags.   Argus  activated  all  kinds   of  alarms  that  stabbed  into  Adam’s  head.   The  whole  thing  

was   descending   into   chaos,   a  chaos  that   was   for  him  compounded  with  chaos.   All   around   him   store   alarms   sounded,   people   shouted   and   ran,   driving   the   all-­‐seeing   Argus   into   a   frenzy  of  alerts  and  responses.  And  beyond  the  whole  unceasing  mechanism  of  Arcadia  and   Kerberos  ground  on,  a  thunder  in  the  heights.  

He  rested  his  head  against  the  cool  glass  of  a  shop  front,  something  that  would  have  

given   Argus   yet   something   else   to   think   about,   if   he   wasn’t   standing   precisely   where   it   couldn’t  see  him.   There  was  another  place  where  Argus  couldn’t  see.  A  little  island  of  blindness,  out  of  

sight  of  the  prying  eyes.  The  cinema.  They’d  had  to  shut  the  CCTV  off  in  there  because  Argus   kept  getting  confused  by  the  [ilms  and  tagging  Johnny  Depp  as  a  security  threat.  At  least  it   would  be  nice  and  dark.  

After  a  while,   in  Eva’s  line  of  work,   you  saw   so   many  awful   things  that  you  stopped  

thinking  of  them  as  worst  case  scenarios  and  started  just  assuming  they  were  inevitable.     At  least  on  the  beat  you  got  to  give  out  directions  or  pose  for  tourist  photographs.  If  

all  you  saw  all  day  was  crime  scenes  and  interview  rooms,  civil  disturbance  and  drunk  and   disorderly,   assault   and   murder   and   rape,   well,   your   worldview   could   get   a   little   out   of   whack.     Down  below  the  mall  was  full  of  insistent   alarms.   Shoppers,   confused  and  nervous,  

were  crowding  up  the  escalators.   As  they  reached  the  top,   they   stalled,   milled,   even  as  the   escalator  cranked  more  upwards,  forcing  them  into  a  tight,  jostling,  stumbling  mass.     Eva  looked  at  it  and  saw  panic,  crush  injuries,  the  mangling  an  escalator  could  make  

of  a  trapped  foot,  and  worse:  the  alarms  down  below:  public  disorder,  terrorist  action,  mass   murder.   “Everyone  get  away  from  the  escalators!  Move  away  please!  You,   move  people  away,  

please.  Close  off  the  down  escalator.”  

Eva   didn’t  like  shouting;   she  believed  it   only  made  things   worse.  Years   ago  she   had  

spent   her   own  money   on  public   speaking   lessons   to   learn   the  projection  of  a  stage  actor   and  she  was  pleased  to   see  that  even  now  the  Kerberos   guard  she  was   addressing  instinc-­‐ tively  moved  to  do  as  she  said  before  he  thought  to  cast  an  enquiring  glance  at  Pasteur,  who   was   coming   up   behind   her.   Pasteur   must   have   assented,   as   he   followed   Eva’s   order   and   pushed  his  way  into  the  crowd  to  start  taking  charge.     As  he  did  so,  another  guard  came  rushing  past,  running  up  to  Pasteur.   “Two   of[icers  down,   same  assailants,   Lowell  and  Kenyon.  Lowell  was  tased  but  Ken-­‐

yon  was  beaten.  Kicked.  He’s  in  a  bad  way.”     thing.”   “At   least  two,   possibly   up  to   four,”  said  the   guard,   ”That’s   not   all,   there’s   a   suspect   Kicked.  That  reminded  Eva  of  something.   “How   many   assailants?”   Pasteur   handed   the   man  the   tablet   computer,   ”Reset   this  

package.  Could  be  a  device.”   “This  is  out  of  hand,”  said  Eva,  ”You  need  to  evacuate  the  building.  Now.”   “Agreed,”  Pasteur  spoke  to   her   radio,   ”This   is   Pasteur,  we  need  to  evacuate  and  lock  

down.  Sound  the  alarm.”     Eva  turned  to  the  guard,  who  was  wrestling  with  the  tablet.   “We  need  to  get  people  moving  away  from  the  escalators,”  she  said,  ”Get  everyone  up  

here  and  get  them  out,  then  we  can  worry  about...”     She  was  cut  off  by  a  sharp,  loud  tone  on  the  tannoy  and  a  faintly  robotic  female  voice.  

“The  building  is  now   closing.  Please  make  your  way  to  the  nearest   exit.   Do  not  take  

the  lifts.  Please  make  your  way  to  the  nearest  exit.   This  is  not  a  test.  Please  make  your  way   to  the  nearest  exit.  Follow  the  green  markers   to  the  nearest  exit.  The  building  is  now   clos-­‐ ing.”       The  tone  repeated  and  then  the  voice  started  again.   “Whelan,  do  as  she  says,”  said  Pasteur,  ”Clear  the  building.”   Suddenly  another  alarm  cut  in,  a  faster  beeping.  And  with  it  a  rattling  grinding  noise.  

They  turned  round.  There,  behind  them,   were  the  main  doors  that  led  out  to  the  street  be-­‐ yond.  And  now,  between  them  and  that  street,  were  descending  thick  metal  shutters,  stead-­‐ ily,  inexorably  shutting  away  the  daylight.   “Shut  that  off!”  Pasteur’s  shout  stirred  the  guard  into  action  as  she  turned  to   her  ra-­‐

dio,  ”Stop  the  emergency  gates!  Shut  them  off!”     The  radio   crackled  at   her  in  protest.   The  gates  continued  to   ratchet  down,   even   as  

the   guard   tried   to   hold   them   back.   The   crowd,   suddenly   realising   what   was   happening,   surged  forward.   “Keep   them   back!   Everyone   stay   away   from   the   gates!”   Eva   could   see   that   they  

weren’t   going   to   be   able   to   keep   them  open  and   the  thought   of   someone  trapped   under-­‐ neath  leapt  into  her  mind.     All  around  them  shutters  were  descending  over  the  glass  walls  that  looked  out  onto  

the  plaza  at  the  rear  of  the  building.  Above  them,  unreachable,  Eva  could  see  of[ice  workers,   silent  behind  the  thick  [loor  to  ceiling,  [iling  out  obediently  in  response  to  the  alarm.  

 

Gates  were  even  coming  down  over  the  entrance  to   the  restaurant  at  the  rear  of  the  

mezzanine,   startled   diners,   open   mouths   full   of   food,   watching   as   the   mall   disappeared   from  before  them.     Whelan   snatched   his   hands   away   as   the   shutters   [inally   slammed   into   place.   The  

lights  [lickered  and  then  cut  out,   and  in  the  momentary  darkness  there  was  a  general  inha-­‐ lation,  as  if  everyone  on  the  mezzanine  was  about  to  scream.   Then  they  [lickered  on  again,   though  fewer   of  them,   dimmer,   isolated.     The   alarms   just   as   suddenly   stopped   and  with   them   the   unheard  rush  of   the   air-­‐conditioning,   the   thousand   background   sounds   of   ma-­‐ chines  and  electric  life.  The  mall  was  darker,  smaller,  quieter.  Alone.   “Well,”  said  Eva,  ”I  take  it  that  wasn’t  supposed  to  happen.”   But  what  she  was  thinking  was:  Kicked.  That’s  what  happened  to  Ella  Lamb.  She  was  

kicked  unconscious.  

 

They  were  crouched  inside  a  four-­‐man  tent  in  the  middle  of  a  mock  campsite  in  the  

rear  of  the   camping   store.   Whoever  the   four   men  were  for   whom   this   tent   was   intended   they   were   either   very   small   or   very   intimate  or,   preferably,   both.   General   Custer,   thought   Nico,  needed  a  wash.   “What  the  fuck’s  going  on?”  said  the  girl.   “Security  alarm,”  said  Nico,  ”They  seal  off  the  building  so  they  can  secure  it.”   “And  then  you  sell  us  out,”  said  the  General.   “I  just  saved  you  from  the  guards,”  said  Nico.   “True,  I  saw  him,  dude,  he  saved  you,”  said  Genghis.   “Again,  you  have  no  idea  who  this  man  is,”  said  the  General.  

“I  have  no  idea  who  you  fucking  are,  General  Custard,”  said  the  girl,  ”we  have  no  idea  

who  any  of  us  is.”     “Mr.  Handerson,”  he  said  it  with  a  [lourish,  like  it  was  supposed  to  mean  something.   “Huh,  wow,”  said  Genghis,  ”Hence  the  bluesnar[ing.  Buffalo  Over[low.”   It  must  have  meant  something  to  the  others  because  Handerson  nodded.   “So   what,”   said   the   girl,   whose   moustache   was   starting   to   droop   a   little,   ”So   you  

know  some  name  off  a  message  board,  big  fucking  deal.”   “We’re  here,   aren’t  we?”  said  the   man  who   appeared  to   call  himself  Buffalo,   ”We’re  

running  away  from  guards,  I’m  dressed  as  Genghis   Khan,   you’re  dressed  as...   what  are  you   dressed  as?”   “Whatever,”  said  the  girl,  ”Empty  V.”   “You’re  a  girl,”  said  Buffalo,  as  if  he  hadn’t  realised  this  before.   “And  you’re  a  douche,”  she  said  and  [licked  him  her  middle  [inger.   “Hey,  just  saying,”  said  Buffalo,  ”That  bomb  scare  thing  was  pretty  smart,  though.”   “Distracting   the  security   system,”  said  the   girl,   ”He   hacks   the  machines,   I   hack   the  

minds.  ’Sides,  if  they  think  there’s  a  bomb  they  won’t  come  looking  for  us  here.”   “Dude,  absolutely,   and  bluesnar[ing   up  numbers  and  texting  them,”  said  Genghis,   ”I  

thought  they  closed  that  hole.”   “I  want  to  get  back  to  this  whole  sealing  off  the  building  bit,”  said  Handerson.   “Exactly,”  said  Buffalo,  ”They’re  totally  distracted  now,   right?  This   is   our  chance.  We  

go  for  the  server  again.”   “There  is  no  server,”  said  Nico,  ”I  told  you.”  

“No,   there’s   a   server,”  said  Buffalo,   ”Just  not  where   we  thought.   I   mean,   the  video’s  

got  to  be  stored  somewhere.”   “And  a  Kerberos  security  guard  ought  to  know  where,”  said  V.   “What  video?”  Nico  was  suddenly  nervous,  an  intimation  of  something,  ”What  is  this  

video  you  keep  talking  about?”   “The   video,   dude,”   said  Buffalo,   ”Ella   Lamb,   the   footage   of   the   attack,   dude,   that’s    

what  we’re  all  here  for,  right?”     “But  there  is  no  video,”  said  Nico.   There   was   no   video.   He  knew  this.   They  had   been  assured  many   times   by  Pasteur,  

just  as  she  had  assured  the  police,  the  press,  the  Parliamentary  enquiry,  there  was  no  video   evidence  of  Ella  Lamb  being  kicked  savagely  in  the  head  by  Nico   Wolf.   There  was  no  video.   Was  there?   “Don’t  lie  to  us,  you  fucker,”  said  V,  ”We  know  there’s  a  video,  Adam  and  Lily  saw  it.”   “No,   he  probably   doesn’t   know   anything,”  said  Handerson,  ”They  wouldn’t  tell  him.  

Just  a  functionary.  He’s  no  help  to  us.”     Something   beeped,   a   mobile   phone   getting   a   text   message.   All   eyes   turned   on  

Handerson.   “Dude,”  said  Buffalo,  ”You  actually  left  your  phone  on.   Same  phone  you  just  exposed  

to  every  single  open  bluetooth  connection  in  this  building.”   “Fuckwit,”  said  V,  more  succinctly.   “I  was   attacked,”  said   Handerson,   ”The   guard  attacked  me,   and   he   was   pulling   me  

about.”  

 

Affronted  and  embarrassed  he   had  suddenly   become  an  anxious   child,   whining   out  

excuses,  furious  at  being  caught  out,  morti[ied  at  his  own  anger.     “So,”  said  Buffalo,  ”What  does  it  say?”   “You’re  nicked,”  said  V.   Handerson  pulled  out  his  phone.   “There  is  no   Plan  B,”  said  Handerson.   He  held  the   screen  up  to   show   them,   ”It   says  

’There  is  no  Plan  B’.”     He  palmed  the  phone,  thumbing  the  power  button  in  a  deliberately  casual  manner  to  

switch  it  off.   “It’s  them,”  said  V,  a  sudden  edge  of  suppressed  excitement  in  her  voice,   ”It’s  got  to  

be  them.”   “Think  they’re  still  in  the  building?”  said  Buffalo.   “Must  be,”  said  V,  ”It’s  on,  it’s  all  still  on.”   “Think  it’s  another  stupid  trap,”  said  Handerson.  Nico  was  watching  him,  fascinated.  

As  the  others  spoke  he  was  nonchalantly,  one  handed,  removing  the  back  to   his  phone,   lev-­‐ ering  out  the  battery,  picking  out  the  SIM  card  with  delicate  little  movements.  His  long,  pale   [ingers  were  suddenly  deft,  quick,  and  Nico  recognised  the  movements  of  his  uncle,  gutting   a  rabbit  on  a  hunting  trip.  The  same  unthinking,  unhesitating  skill.  These  are  the  same  kind   of  people,  he  thought,  specialists,  but  from  a  world  his  uncle  couldn’t  possibly  imagine.  Like   aliens  or,  better,  the  goblins  his  uncle  had  used  to  tell  stories  about.   “Disinformation,”  said  Buffalo,  ”Like  the  server.”   “Oh  come  on,”  said  V,  ”Those  words?  That  was  her  joke,  Lilith’s  joke,  ’There  is  no  plan  

b’,  right?”  

“What  joke,”  said  Nico,  trying  to  fathom  the  goblin  language.   “It’s   the   supermarket   thing,   right?”  said  Buffalo,   ”There’s   no   plan   b,   only   someone  

online  said,   yes  there  is,  plan  b  is  we  burn  your  fucking  supermarket  down.  There  is  a  plan   b,  right?  We’re  plan  b.”   “Lilith   said   it,”   V   sounded   proprietorial,   evidently   wanting   to   give   this   Lilith   due  

credit,  ”It  was  Lilith’s  joke.”   “Back  to  the  point,”  said  Handerson,  ”Sealing  the  building.  No  where  we  can  go.”  And  

he  brought  down  his  phone,  like  a  hammer,  on  the  SIM  card,   smashing  one  on  the  other  as   bits  [lew  off.   man.”   “The  bomb  threat’ll  keep  them  away,”  said  V.   “Not   for   long,”  said  Handerson,   examining  his   handiwork   carefully,   [lexing   the  bat-­‐ “And   they   almost   certainly   know   where   we   are,”   said   Buffalo,   ”That’s   way   too   late,  

tered  SIM  card  back  and  forth  so  that  it  began  to  tear  in  two.   “So   to  summarise,”  said  Buffalo,  ”They  know  where  we  are,  they  can  watch  us  wher-­‐

ever  we  go  and  even  if  they  couldn’t,  there’s  nowhere  we  could  go  anyway.  Awesome.”     Nico  pulled  out  his  security  pass.   “This  pass  can  also  open  almost  any  door  in  the  building.  I  can  help  you.  I  can  help.”   “Why  would  you,”  said  V,  ”You  just  said  there  was  no  video.”   “If  there  is,”  said  Nico,  ”I  want  to  know.”  

“Absolutely  not,”  said  Hugh,   ”I’m  not  going  to  be  told  what  to   do  by  a  bunch  of  little  

Hitlers  in  cheap  uniforms.”  

 

Randall  sighed.   Was   it   only  six  months  she  had  been  with  Kerberos   Security?   It  felt  

longer.   It   was   people  like  Hugh  that   made  it  feel   longer.   People   like  Hugh  and   people  like   Pasteur.     She  could  already   tell   that  she   was  going  to  get  absolutely   nowhere   with  this   man.  

She  could  feel  Sirhaan  behind  her  tensing  up.   “Sir,  we  need  to  know  that  everyone  is  safe,”  she  said.   “We’re  quite  safe  here,   thank   you,”  said  Hugh,   ”A   good  deal   safer  than  we   would  be  

with  you  jumped  up  rentacops.”   “All  units  to  main  lobby,”  said  Randall’s  radio.  She  turned  it  down.   “You  heard  it,”  said  Hugh,  ”Run  along  now.”   “Listen,   mate,”  Sirhaan  tried  to   push  past   Randall   towards   Hugh.   Hugh  took   a   step  

back  into   the  shop,  but  kept  his  arm  on  the  doorframe,   still  blocking  the  entrance  with  his   body.   “You  lay  one  [inger  on  me,”  he  said,  ”And  I’ll  have  you  in  court  so  fast  it’ll  make  your  

head  spin.”     Randall  put  out  a  hand  to  ward  Sirhaan  back.  She  tried  a  different  tack.   “Sir,  we  need  to   make  sure  that  we  can  provide   you  with  food  and  water   until  help  

comes.”   “We’ve  got  quite  enough  food  and  water  here,”  Hugh  gestured  at  the  rear  of  the  shop,  

where  there  was  a  small  cafe,  ”So  you  can  do  what  you  like,  but  we’re  waiting  here  until  the   police  arrive.”   ”For  god’s  sake,”  said  Sirhaan,   turning  and  walking  away,   ”Randall,   come  on,   you  heard  the   radio,  they  need  us.”  

“They  need  you,”  said  Hugh,  ”Lord  knows  why.”   “Right,”  said  Randall,   ”Can   I   ask   you,   at   least,   to   make   sure   you  keep  the   door   se-­‐

cured,  sir?”   “We’re   quite   capable  of  looking  after   ourselves,”  said  Hugh,   ”Better   than   you   can,   I  

should  think.  Off  you  trot  then.”     Hugh  closed  the  door  on  the  security  guard  and  turned  to   survey  the  interior  of  the  

shop  with  a  smug   satisfaction.  He  felt  like  he  had  [inally  had  some  recompense  for  his  en-­‐ counter  with  the  guard  in  the  traf[ic  jam  this  morning.     That,   combined   with  the   regard   from   the   other   occupants   of   the   shop   -­‐   Jessica,   a  

husband  and  wife,  a  pair  of  men  he  assumed  were  homosexuals  and  two  women  friends   -­‐   was  starting  to  put  him  in  a  much  better  mood  than  he  had  been  in  all  day.     His  little  encampment,  his  little  fortress  in  all  this  ludicrous  mess.  What  mattered,  he  

thought,   was   that  you  took  charge  of  yourself,   looked  after  yourself  and  your   loved  ones   -­‐   and  the  people  who  depended  on  you  -­‐  let  the  others  go  hang.  It  was  all  you  could  do.  It  was   all  that  was  right  to  do.   “Anyone  know  how  to  work  the  coffee  thing?”  he  said,  ”I’m  dying  for  a  cup.”  

Kenneth  Robinson  had,  of  course,  had  a  cup  of  coffee  on  his  to  do   list,   but   it   wasn’t  

going  to  be  done,  now.   “Look,  I  can’t  just   give  stuff  away,  alright?”  According  to   his  tag,   the  boy’s  name  was  

Raul.  He  was  standing  slightly  away  from  the  back  of  the  coffee  shop  counter,  as  if  preparing   to  [lee.   The  coffee  shop  was  jammed  into   a  tiny  space  in  the  corner  of  the  main  mezzanine   and  there  was  nowhere  the  boy  could  run  to  even  if  he  had  had  a  chance  to.  

Kenneth   Robinson  was   rammed  right  up  against   the  counter,   so   that   it   was   cutting  

into   his   crotch,   other   people   [illing   the   store   and   forcing   him   right   up   against   it.   He   was   aware  of  Lucy’s  head  at  waist  height,  her  arm  round  his  leg.   “I’m  hungry,”  she  said.   Under   ordinary  circumstances   he  might  have  told  her   not  to  

whine  but  right  now  he  felt  like  whining  himself.   “I’m   not   asking  you  to   give   anything   away,”  he   said,   ”I   have   money,   look.   Here.”   He  

slapped  a  ten-­‐pound  note  down  on  the  counter.   “The  till’s  not  working,”  the  teenager  gestured  at  it  vaguely.   “I  don’t  care,”  Kenneth  was  uncomfortably  aware  that  his  voice  had  risen  in  pitch  to  a  

screech  and  probably  sounded  ridiculous.  He  tried  to  calm  himself.   “You  know  how  much  everything  is,  don’t  you?”   “The   till   knows.”  God  help   us,   thought   Kenneth  Robinson,   a   whole  generation  that  

only  knows  what  its  computers  know.   “The   prices   are  on  everything!”  Miriam  thrust   her  head  over   Kenneth’s   shoulder,   a  

snivelling  Keith  in  her  arms,  ”They’re  on  everything!”   “Miriam,  I’m  dealing  with  this,”  said  Kenneth.   “I  can’t  open  the  till,”  said  the  boy.   “You  don’t  have  to,”  said  Kenneth,  ”You  can  keep  the  change,   how  about  that,   a  tip?”  

Kenneth  Robinson  only  tipped  in  proper  restaurants  and  even  then  he  worked  out  a  precise   ten  percent  and  rounded  down  if  necessary.  People  were  paid  wages,  weren’t  they?   “Can’t  take  tips,”  said  the  boy,  ”Not  allowed.”   “Daddy,”  said  Lucy,  ”I’m  hungry.”  

“For  god’s  sake,”  said  Kenneth,  as  close  to  swearing  as  he  had  ever  been,  ”Just  sell  me  

a  sandwich.”     “Everyone  out!”  shouted  a  voice  from  behind  them.   Kenneth  craned  round.  A  security  guard  was  standing  in  the  doorway,  with  more  be-­‐

hind  him.   store.”   “We’re  closed,”  said  the  boy,  reaching  back  to  undo  his  striped  apron.   Kenneth  turned  and,  as  he  did  so,  Lucy’s  arm  shot  past  him  and  grabbed  a  chocolate   “Out,  come  on,  the  store  is  closing,”  the  guard  stood  to  one  side,  motioning.   “We  need  food,”  said  Miriam.   “Let   us   worry   about   that,”   said   the   guard,   ”Now,   everyone   out,   we’re   closing   the  

bar  from  a  display  on  the  counter.   “Hey,”  said  the  boy,  taken  by  surprise.  Lucy  clutched  the  bar  to  her  chest,  staring  him  

out.  He  looked  at  Kenneth,  expecting  something  to  be  done.  Kenneth  held  his  stare  and  then   reached  out  and  took   another  chocolate  bar  from  the  display.  Then  he  turned  and  followed   the  rest  of  the  crowd  out  of  the  cafe.  It  was  the  [irst  thing  Kenneth  Robinson  had  ever  stolen   from  a  shop.     They   [iled  out  of  the  cafe  and  across  the  mezzanine  to   an  area  of  seating  where  the  

guards   were   gathering   everyone,   passing,   on   their   way,   a   well-­‐dressed   woman   who   ap-­‐ peared  to  be  in  charge  and  a  woman  who  Kenneth  would  have  sworn  was  the  police  of[icer   he  had  almost  run  into  that  morning.    

 

The  barista  was  the  last  person  out  of  the  cafe  and  Whelan  took  the  key  from  him,  as  

Pasteur  entered,  followed  by  Eva  and  Lopez.     Pasteur  sat  down  at  a  table  and  put  the  tablet  down  in  front  of  her.   “Fetch  me  a  water,  would  you?”  She  said,  and  Lopez   turned  to  a  chiller  cabinet  next  

to  the  counter.   “We’ll  need  to  start  distributing  that,”  said  Eva.   “The  emergency  services  will  be  responding  already,”  said  Pasteur,  ”I  don’t  think   we  

need  to  worry  about  anything  like  that.”   “I  thought  that  the  whole  point  of  your  emergency  procedure  was  to  make  the  build-­‐

ing  as  secure  and  dif[icult  to  get  out  of  as  possible.”   “It  is,  evacuate  the  building  and  secure  it.”   “Hard  to  get  out  of  is  hard  to  get  into.”   “The   police,   of  course,   have  all   the  details  they   need  to   interface  with   our   systems  

and  access  the  building.”   “And  that’ll   be   alright  because  your  systems  are  working   completely   correctly   right  

now,  aren’t  they?”  said  Eva,  ”Argus  isn’t  working  anymore,  is  it?”  Pasteur  looked  up  from  the   tablet,  [inally  realising  what  Eva  was  driving  at.   “The  system  is  just  rebooting,”  said  Pasteur,  ”It’ll  be  back  online  soon.”   “And  I’m  sure  that’ll  happen  without  a  hitch,  too,”  said  Eva,  ”We  can’t  assume  that  the  

emergency   services   will   be  able   to   get   in   straight   away.   Eventually,   yes,   but   we   might   be   here   for   a   while   if   they’re   having   to   come   in   through  bombproof   doors.   They   are   bomb   proof,  I  take  it.”   “Absolutely,”  Pasteur  still  managed  to  sound  proud  of  the  fact.  

“So  we  need  to  work  out  food  and  water  rations  and  start  a  system  for  sharing  it  out.  

Those  people  out   there  are   going   to   start  getting  pretty  fed  up  in  a  little  bit  -­‐  you  need  to   keep  them  comfortable  if  you’re  going  to  keep  them  under  control.”     Pasteur  sighed,  it  was  evidently  not  something  she  wanted  to  have  to  think  about.   “Well,  perhaps,  Detective  Inspector,  since  you  already  have  some  input  on  this,  it  can  

be  an  action  point  for  you,”  she  said.  

 

At   [irst   Deborah   had   contented   herself   with   pulling   out   all   the   toilet   paper   and  

throwing  it  round  the  room.   There  was   plenty  of  room  to   do   it   in,   it   was   a  disabled  toilet.   Why  did  they  always  get  so  much  room  and  normal  people  like  her  had  to  sit  in  stupid  little   cramped  up  ones?  It  was  just  stupid.     Then  Matty  had  hammered  on  the  door  and  told  her  to  shut  up,  so  she  had,  and  sat  

down  on  the  toilet  seat  and  listened.   She  had  been  able  to  hear  the  shop  alarms  and  lots  of   shouting  and  she  hugged  herself  to  think  that  people  were  running  around  looking  for  her.   But   then   the   alarms   started   to   be   switched   off,   and   the   shouting   stopped.   And   then   it   started  getting  too   quiet,   and  she  began  to  worry  that  they  had  all  just  forgotten  about  her   and  gone  home,  locking  her  in,  all  on  her  own.     She  had  started  to  get  nervous.  She  got  up  and  whispered  at  the  door.   “Matty?”   There   was  no   answer.   She  could  feel   the  panic   caught   in  her  throat,  like   something  

she  hadn’t  swallowed  properly.  She  tried  again,  louder.   “Matty?”  

He  wouldn’t  leave  her  here,  would  he?  He  had  saved  her,  set  off  the  store  alarms,  dis-­‐

tract  the  guards,  all  that  to  get  her  in  here.  But  what  if  all  that  was  some  kind  of  joke?  What   if  he  had  just  been  making  fun  of  her?  What  if  they  were  all  somewhere,  right  now,  laughing   at   her,   Deborah   Tomato,   locked  in  the   disabled   toilet,   screaming   and  crying   like  a  special   needs?  She  could  hear  them  now,  telling  the  story.  Locked  in  the  disabled  toilet.   “Matty?”   She  couldn’t  even  hear  anyone  moving  outside.   She  couldn’t   hear  anything  but  her  

own  pulse,  tripping  in  her  ears.  This  was  the  opposite  of  the  red  mist.  A  spinning,  [luttering   fear   that   clutched   at   her   belly,   like   an   out   of   control   car,   the   lurch   of  vertigo   and   hectic   movement  and  imminent  disaster.     They  were  waiting  outside.   They  were  trying  to  be  quiet.  Waiting  outside  to  laugh  at  

her  when  she  came  out,  to  laugh  at  how  afraid  she  was  that  they  would  laugh  at  her.   Forgetting,  in  her  confusion,  Matty’s  insistence  on  her  locking  the  door,   she  grabbed  

at  the  handle,  only  to  [ind  it  mutely  resisting  her.  She  was  locked  in!  They  had  locked  her  in.   She  threw   all  her  weight   against  the  handle,   the  brushed  metal  digging  unnoticed  into  her   palm.     After  a  lifetime  of  being  slammed,   jammed  and  pulled  at,  the  lock  gave  away,   Debo-­‐

rah  plummeting  through  the  door  into  the  cafe  beyond,  falling  forwards  through  tables  and   chairs,  not  even  realising  that  they  were  all  unoccupied.     She  barely   registered  anything,   in  fact,   until  she  found  herself  standing   all   alone   in  

the  dim  emergency  lights  of  the  empty  mall,  the  diminishing,   circular  rattle  of  an  upending   cup  in  her  wake,  echoing  to  silence  in  the  dim  tiled  spaces  around  her.   Nowhere  is  so  unut-­‐ terably  lonely  as  a  crowded  space  suddenly  vacated,  a  place  made  for  people,  deserted.  

“Stay  right  where  you  are  and  place  your  hands  on  your  head,”  said  a  woman’s  voice.   Thank  god,  she  wasn’t  alone.  

 

If  the  emergency  drill  was  happening  according  to  plan,   then  the  guards   should  be  

just  [inishing  up  the  evacuation  of  the  building  and  be  preparing  to  secure  it.   Which   meant   that   Nico   and   the  404s  had   a   window   of   opportunity   before   anyone  

came   looking  for  them.   The   lifts   would   be  out   of   action   and  the   escalators   would  be   too   conspicuous,  but  those  weren’t  the  only  ways  up  to  the  of[ices.     Nico  knew  that   two   [ire  escape  stairwells  ran  down  through  the  entire  building  at  

either  end.   In  the   event   of  a   security   emergency  these   doors  were   supposed  to   lock  elec-­‐ tronically,  but  Nico  should  be  able  to  override  that  with  his  security  pass.   They  could  slip  up  the  stairs  into  the  Kerberos  Of[ices  before  anyone  thought  to  look  

for  them  there.  What  happened  then,  Nico  wasn’t  yet  sure  about.   It  was  a  matter  of  trust.   If  he   could  persuade  the  404s  to   trust   him,   then  surely  he  

would  have  earned  Pasteur’s  trust  once  more.   But  did  he  trust  her?  If  the  404s   were  right   and  she  did  indeed  have  CCTV  footage  of  him  attacking  Ella  Lamb,  then  what  did  that  mean   for  him?  She  hadn’t  told  the  police  -­‐  that  must  mean  he  could  trust  her.   She  hadn’t  told  the  police  -­‐  yet.  And  neither  had  she  told  him,  after  all.  What  did  that  

mean?   They   were   wrong   -­‐   they  had  to   be.   The  video   didn’t   exist.   But   then  that   might   not  

matter,  since  there  was  at  least  someone  who  knew  the  truth:  the  fugitive.  Nico  was  sure  of   it.   He   had  recognised   both  of  them,   the   girl   and  the   boy,   from   that  day   of  the  riot   and  he   knew   the  girl  had  recognised  him,   too.   The   girl   was   dead,   killed  in   that  car  crash,   but  the  

boy  was   somewhere  here,   somewhere  in  this   building   and  Nico  had  to   [ind  him  and  make   sure  he  didn’t   tell   anyone  else   what  he   knew.   And  is  the   boy  was  one  of  these  404s,   well,   then,  all  he  had  to  do  was  stick  with  them  and  the  boy  would  [ind  him.   So  maybe  he’d  just  wait  and  see  what  happened  -­‐  stick  with  the  404s,  [ind  out  about  

this  video,  deal  with  this  boy  and  see  what  happened.  Nico  wasn’t  a  great  one  for  planning   ahead  too  much  as  it  was.     Right   now   the  only  planning  he  was   doing   was   how   to   get  across   the  concourse  to  

the  [ire  exit  door  without  being  spotted  on  the  CCTV.  The  systems  would  all  still  be  running,   and  the  last  thing  they  needed  to  do  right  now  was  draw  attention  to  themselves.     He  looked  through  the  glass  door  of  the  bookshop  and  tried  to   remember  where  all  

the  cameras  were.  There  was  a  planter  in  the  middle  of  the  concourse  with  a  palm  in  it.   He   thought  that  if  he  stayed  to  the  right  of  that  and  then  curved  left  towards  the  door...   “Wait  here,”  he  said  and  opened  the  door,  scuttling  across  the  concourse  towards  the  

planters.   “What  the  fuck’s  up  with  him  -­‐  need  the  toilet?”  said  V.   “CCTV,”  said  Buffalo,  pointing  up  at  a  camera,  ”He’s  staying  out  of  sight.”   “If  the  systems  are  online,”  said  Handerson,  ”It’ll  register  him  using  his  pass.”  He  said  

it  with  the  resigned  air  of  someone  who  had  seen  disaster  coming  from  a  long  way  off.   “So,  he’s  a  guard,”  said  Buffalo.   “Off  duty,”  said  Handerson,  ”In  the  middle  of  a  security  lockdown.”   “Oh  shit,”  said  V.   Buffalo  opened  the  door,  ”Wolf!”  

Nico,   already   at   the   emergency   door,   turned   angrily   and   motioned  him   to   shut   up.   Nico   pulled  out  his  security  pass.     “Wait!”   Nico  swiped  his   pass  and,   with  a  low-­‐pitched  buzz,   the  LED  on  the  lock   showed  an  

angry  and  uncooperative  red.  

“Argus  has   them,”  said  Pasteur,   passing  the   tablet  to   Whelan.   He  looked  at  the   read  

out,  ”I  knew  it  would  restart  properly.”   that?”   “They  are  hackers,”  said  Pasteur,   ”They  were  probably  trying  to  by  pass  it.   We  need   “That’s  the  [ire  stairs  exit  on  sub  level  three,”  he  said,  ”How  could  they  have  activated  

to  contain  them,  locate  them  and  deal  with  them.”   “There’s  a  problem,”  said  Lopez,  ”There’s  a  group  on  sub  level  four  who  are  refusing  

to  do  what  they’re  told.  They  say  they’ll  only  talk  to  the  police.”   “Then   send  the   police,”   said   Pasteur,   ”Take   Detective  Inspector  Lisiewicz   with  you,  

but  ensure  that  she  is  not  involved  in  any  engagement  with  the  targets.”   “I’ll   take   a   team,”   said   Whelan,   getting   up,   ”Lopez,   stay   on  the   radio,   we’ll   need  to  

know  if  they  move.”   Whelan  left   the   cafe   and   walked   across   the   mezzanine   to   where   the   Detective   In-­‐

spector  was  standing,   surrounded  by   a  crowd  of  confused  and  scared  shoppers,   doing  her   best  to  calm  and  reassure  them.  It  didn’t  look  like  it  was  working  very  well.     Above  them  the  lightless  glass  walls  of  the  of[ices  were  at  once  forbidding  and  tanta-­‐

lising.  They  ought  to   be  a  promise  of  a  way  out  but  instead  they  were  an  impenetrable  bar-­‐

rier  cutting  everyone  off  from  any  hope  of  escape.  People  were  trying  very  hard  not  to  look   up.     A  small,  nervous  man  was  talking  to  Eva,  the  man  who  had  been  in  the  cafe  earlier.   “They  can’t  keep  us  here  without  food  and  water,  it  stands  to  rights,”  he  was  saying.   “And  they  won’t,”  said  Eva,   ”We’ll  be  distributing  food  soon,   but  you  have  to   under-­‐

stand,   this   is   a  very  serious  situation  and  we  need  to  do   everything  we  can  to  ensure  your   safety.”   tors.     “Debbie?”  he  said,  ”Debbie,  what’s  going  on?”   Eva  turned  to  look.  Two  Kerberos  guards  were  coming  up  the  escalators,  shepherd-­‐ But  the  man  wasn’t  listening,  he  was  staring  past  Eva  towards  the  head  of  the  escala-­‐

ing  between  them  a  young  teenager,  her  hair  a  black  veil  down  over  her  eyes,  her  shoulders   hunched  inward.     “What’s  going  on?”  The  man  turned  back  to  Eva,  ”What’s  she  done?”   “Do  you  know  this  girl?”  said  Whelan.   “That’s  my  daughter,”  said  the  man,  ”That’s  my  Debbie.”   A   woman   stood  up   and  started  blundering   through  the   seated   crowd  towards   the  

two  guards,  as  they  marched  the  girl  towards  the  shut  up  coffee  shop.   404s.”   “Debbie?  Debbie?”  there  was  an  edge  of  hysteria  to  her  voice,  ”What’s  going  on?”   “Mum?”  said  the  girl.   “What’s  going  on?”  Eva  turned  to  Whelan.   “She  attacked  two  of[icers,”  he  said,  ”There’s  evidence  that  she  might  be  linked  to  the  

“404s?”  said  the  man,  confused,  ”404  what?  Is  that  a  gang?”   “Let  her  go!  Let  her  go!”  the  woman  stumbled  over  a  padded  bench,  half  falling.   “Miriam!”  the  little  man  darted  away  towards  the  woman.  Eva  followed  him.   A  group  of  teenagers  had  got  to  their  feet  and  were  shouting  at  the  guards.  Eva  heard  

’Fuck’  and  ’Pig’  [loat  across  the  mezzanine.   “What’s   going   on?”  The   woman,   Miriam,   had  caught   up  with  the   guards   outside   of  

the  coffee  shop.  The  girl  peeked  out  from  beneath  her  hair.   “Mum?”   “Miriam,”  said  Eva,  coming  up  to  her,  ”Mrs...”   “Robinson,”  said  the  husband,  joining  them.   “Mrs.   Robinson,”  said  Eva,  ”Kerberos  of[icials  are  making  some  very  serious   accusa-­‐

tions  about  your  daughter.”   “Wankers,”  said  Debbie,  distinctly.   “Debbie!”  Mr.  Robinson  was  shocked.   “What  are  they  doing?”  Mrs.  Robinson  turned  to  Eva,  a  dreadful  appeal  in  her  eyes.   “We’re  going  to  need  to  talk  to  her,  to  [ind  out  what  happened,”  said  Eva.   “You’re  a  policewoman,  aren’t  you?”  said  Mr.  Robinson.   “A   police  detective,  yes,”  said  Eva,   ”You’ve  got  nothing  to   worry  about.   But  you  need  

to  let  us  do  our  job,  it’s  for  your  own  good.”   “Thank  you,”  said  Mr.   Robinson,  putting  a  hand  on  his  wife’s   arm,  turning  her  away  

as  the  guards  bundled  Debbie  into  the  coffee  shop.     Across  the  tiled  expanse,   two   Kerberos  guards  were  about  to  give  up  chasing  mock-­‐

ing  teenagers,  who  were  running  randomly  among  the  crowd,  jeering  at  them.  

“You  need  to  get  that  under  control,”  said  Eva  to  Whelan,  ”I’ll  talk  to  the  girl.”   “No  time,”  said  Whelan,  ”Argus  is  back  on  line.”   “The  404s?”   “We  think  so,  but  there  is  a  problem.  The  alert  is  very  close  to  a  bunch  of  people  who  

are  refusing  to  move  until  the  police  come.”     Eva  looked  at  the  door  of  the  coffee  shop  and  then  back   across  at  where  the  teenag-­‐

ers  were  gathering  again,  glowering  at  the  guards.   “We’ve  got  it  under  control  up  here,”  said  Whelan,  ”We  need  your  help  downstairs.”   “Well,”  said  Eva,  ”The  police  better  come,  then.”  

It  had  seemed  wrong  to  pass  through  a  cinema  lobby  without  picking  up  popcorn,  so  

Adam  made   sure  that  Argus  couldn’t  see  him   and  nipped  behind  the   deserted  concession   counter  and  made  himself  a   tub  of  mixed  salt   and   sweet.   It   was  a  pleasure  to   serve  it   out   properly,   alternate   scoops   of   each,   stirring  it   occasionally  to   make  sure   it  was  evenly   dis-­‐ tributed.   What  you  wanted  was   the  surprise,   the  not  knowing  whether  you  were  going  to   get  the  salt  or  the  sugar  as  you  sat  in  the  luminous  dark,  autonomically  raising  your  unseen   hand  to  your  mouth.   Which  is  precisely  what  he  did.  Slouched  in  the  back  row,  feet  up  on  the  seat  in  front,  

since   there  wasn’t   anyone   else   there   to   tut   at  him.   There   wasn’t   a  [ilm  playing,   either,   the   place  had  been  shut  down  and  cleared  out  the  moment  the  alarm  had  sounded.     That  didn’t  worry  him,  though.  He  had  plenty  to  watch.   It  was  quiet  in  Arcadia  now.   The  escalators  were  still,   the  concourses   suddenly  de-­‐

serted  under  the  strip  lights,  the  shops  empty.   Level  after  level   of  tiled  and  planted  silence.  

Somewhere  a  deactivated  fountain   dripped   disconsolately,   pennies   glinting   in  its   chlorin-­‐ ated  water.   A   coffee  pot  still   steamed,   cooling  to   undrinkability,  a  leaf  fell   from  a  dying  or-­‐ ange  tree  and  triggered  an  automatic  door  which  slid  open,  paused  for  no  one  to  go  through   and  then  closed  again  politely.     It   was   quiet   in  the   walls  now.   All   connection  to   the   city  beyond  had  been  cut.   The  

heating   had  gone   with  the   gas  supply,   the  only   water  remaining   was   what  was  left   in  the   pipes,  the  only  sound  was  the  generator  in  the  basement,  grinding  away  at  its  meagre  stock   of  fuel  to  keep  the  lights  [lickering.     It  was  quiet  in  the  air  now.   All   network   links  with  the   outside  world  had  been  cut.  

The  card  machines  were  of[line,  the  stock  monitoring  systems  confused,  the  tills  shut  down.   The  engine  of  commerce  was  idling,  dying.     The  mobile  networks,   too.  Too  many  people  had  used  phones  to  detonate  bombs  for  

that  to  be  left  in  place.  That  terrible  [ire  from  the  heavens,  arcing  down  among  us  was  gone.   That  great,  seething  ocean  of  the  Internet  gone  with  it.     Adam  was  [inally  alone.  Alone  but  for  the  limitless  eyes  of  Argus.   The  rest  of  the  se-­‐

curity   system   seemed   irrevocably  scrambled,   but   Argus   persevered,   watching,   evaluating,   judging.   He  saw  all  of  Arcadia  exploded  about  him  into  individual   slices,  like  something  seen  

through  the  compound  eyes  of  an  insect,   a  faceted  gem   of  fuzzily  glowing  video  feeds.  Out   here,   in   the   darkness   beyond  Argus’  vision,   it   hung   before   him   in  space,   a   self-­‐contained   world.  

 

At   the  top,   the  mezzanine  now   darkened  behind   security   doors,   a   whispering,   dim  

place  below   the  quiet  cathedral   depths   of  the  of[ices  above.   Then  below,   three   [loors,   laid   out  on  either  side  of  the  escalators,  dropping  down  beneath  street  level  into  shadow.       Without   the   crowds   it   looked   suddenly   arti[icial,   all   meaning   stripped   from   it.   It  

looked  like  a  level  design  for  a  video   game,  a  [ictional   environment  made  solely  for  play.  A   castle  dungeon,  perhaps,  a  labyrinth  for  monsters.  He  had  always  wondered  what  the  mon-­‐ sters  did  in  their  lairs,  while  they  waited  for  the  heavily  armed  heroes  to  arrive,  and  now  he   knew:  they  went  shopping.   But  perhaps  they  weren’t  the  monsters  in  this  particular  lair.  He  thought  suddenly  of  

a   comedy   sketch   he   had   seen   once,   an   architect   who   specialised   in   abattoirs   innocently   building  [lensing  knives  into  a  shopping  centre.  That’s  what  this  was:  a  building  as  machine,   lurking  in  its  dark   cave,   swallowing  in  the  passers   by  and  channeling  them  down  through   its   hygienic,   inviting   gut,   their   journey   already   carefully   predetermined   by   market   re-­‐ searchers   and   crowd   control   experts,   constantly   tempted,   spurred,   held,   like  vermin  in   a   humane  trap.     But  what  were  they  doing  now,  now  that  the  machine  had  stopped?   It’s  normal  functioning  curtailed,   the  machine’s  signals  were  becoming  alien,  incom-­‐

prehensible.  Stopped,   the  machine  was  suddenly  visible,  its  whirring  workings  stilled,  they   could  suddenly  be  seen.    The  people  inside  were  surprised,  confused,  bewildered.     All  around  them  were  promises.   The  promise  of  happiness  in  a  handbag,   the  prom-­‐

ise   of  the   easy   exoticism   of   a   pre-­‐prepared  pasta   dish,   the   promise  of  a  branded  lifestyle   bought   on   a   credit   card,   itself   little   more   than   just   the   promise   of  money.   Promises   that   were  now  empty,  meaningless.  

 

They   were   going  to   have   to   think   for   themselves   now,   unguided,   unbeguiled.   They  

were  on  their  own,  with  only  their  own  resources   to   rely  on,   only  their  own  instinct  to  go   on.  And  what  would  that  mean?  Aimless  milling  around  for  most  of  them,  it  seemed.       Up   on   the   mezzanine,   herded   now   by   Kerberos   employees   instead   of   advertise-­‐

ments,   the   people   gathered   in   a   uncomfortable   huddle,   fractious,   purposeless.   But   there   were  those  whose  instinct  led  to  action.     He   saw   Pasteur  locked  away   in  the  coffee  shop  with  Argus,   searching  for   him  with  

the  very  system  that  was   helping  him   hide.   He  saw   Debbie  Robinson,   being  marched  up  a   static  escalator,  up  to  the  mezzanine.     He  saw  Nico  try  to  open  the  [ire  exit  and  the  attempt  alerting  Pasteur.  He  saw  Whe-­‐

lan,  Eva  and  others  responding,  hurrying  to  the  scene.     He  turned  to   the  vision  of  the  mall  once  more.  The  cinema  had  an  exit  stairway  to  a  

door  on  the  next  [loor  up.  He  could  easily  get  to  the  second  level  unseen,  from  there  the  es-­‐ calators  to  the  [irst  level  were  directly  across  the  concourse,  and  at  the  top  of  them...     A  service  door,  leading  to  a  network  of  passageways  and  store  rooms  that  ran  behind  

the  shops,  including  a  set  of  stairs  leading  up  to  the  back  of  a  cafe  on  the  mezzanine.     A   service  door  that   you  needed   a  pass   card  to   open.   Even  from  here  he   could  read  

the  blazing  numbers   that  the  lock   held  proudly   in  its  electronic   heart,   waiting  to   welcome   the  unlocking  code  in  a  glorious  union.   It  wanted  to  be  opened.   It  wanted  the  card.   And  so   did  he.     There,   out  in  the  cinema  lobby,  in  a  drawer  under  a   till,  a  little  nest  of  them.  Bright  

knots   of  RFID   antenna,   wrapped  round  their   secret   souls   like  binding   arms.   Within  them   their  codes  brandished  on  encrypted  banners.  

He’d  still   have   to   cross   the  concourse  and   climb   the   escalator.   Eva   and   the   others  

were  coming  down  it  now,   if  they  left   it   unguarded  behind  them...  He  cocked  an  ear  to  Ar-­‐ gus.  The  [ilters  were  still  on.  It  was  still  looking  for  people  it  felt  were  wrong,  dangerous.  As   long  as  he  stayed  calm  it  wouldn’t  even  notice  him.  As  long  as  he  stayed  calm.  

“You  idiot,”  said  Handerson.   He  evidently  wanted  to  say  more,  but  was  angrier  than  

he  had  words  for.   Nico  was  almost  glad,  if  Handerson  had  said  any  more,  he  might  not  have   been  able  to  restrain  himself  from  hitting  the  man.   “There  weren’t  any  alarms,”  said  Buffalo.   “None  we  could  hear,”  said  Nico,  ”There  are  alarms,  though.”  He  should  have  realised  

that   the  doors   would  be   monitored,   of  course,   but   what   was   confusing   him   was   why   his   pass  hadn’t  worked.  Why  hadn’t  the  door  opened,  alarm  or  no  alarm?  Was  there  something   wrong  with  the  system?   “So  we’ve  got  to  get  out  of  here,  right?”  said  V.   “What  are  we  waiting  for?”  Buffalo  pulled  the  door  open.   “Wait,”  said  Nico,  ”The  cameras.”   “Oh,  now  we’re  being  careful,”  said  Handerson.   “It  is  no  good  going  anywhere,”  said  Nico,  ”If  they  know  where  we  are  going.”   “There  are  cameras  fucking  everywhere,”  said  V,  ”If  we’re  worrying  about  them  now  

then  we’re  never  going  to  go  anywhere.”   “You  can  do  it,”  said  Nico,  ”I  got  to  the  door  without  being  seen.”   “Fat  lot  of  good  that  did  you,”  said  Buffalo.   “How  do  you  know  you  weren’t  seen,  anyway?”  said  Handerson.  

“Monitor  duty,   three  times  a   week   for  three  years,”  said  Nico,   ”I  know   where  every  

one  of  those  cameras  is.”   “You  can  make  it  to  the  escalators  without  being  spotted?”  said  V,  ”Bullshit.”   “No  point  in  the  escalators,  anyway,”  said  Nico,  ”They’ll  be  watching  them.”   “Over  the  railings!”  said  Buffalo,  ”Rad,  man.”   “That’s  a  twenty  foot  fucking  drop,”  said  V,   ”A  broken  leg  is  contraindicated  in  a  run-­‐

ning  away  situation.”   Handerson  almost   didn’t  say  it,  because  he  didn’t  want  to  look  like  he  was  support-­‐

ing  Nico’s  plan,  but  he  couldn’t  resist  the  point  scoring.   “We’re  in  a  climbing  store,”  he  said.   It  turned  out  to  be  absolutely  no  help  whatsoever  that  Buffalo  was  a  keen  climber.  It  

just   meant   that   he   couldn’t   resist   showing   off   everything   he   knew   about   rope   types   and   dropping  the  phrase  ’urban  spelunking’  as  often  as  he  could.     Nico  cracked  the  store  door  an  inch.   Somewhere  in  the  quiet  of  the  mall   there  were  

voices   approaching,   coming   down   the   escalators,   almost   certainly   guards   responding   to   whatever  alarm  he  had  set  off  when  he  tried  to  open  the  door.     He   risked   sticking   his   head   out   to   look   for   cameras.   He   had   remembered  right,   it  

looked  like.   If  they   edged   out   of  the   door   and  kept   to   that  line   across   to   the  railing,   they   should  be  just  out  of  shot.   He  slid  round  the  door,   motioning  to  the  others  to   stay   where   they   were,  listening  

intently  to  the  guards  as  he  crept  to  the  railing  as  quietly  as  he  could.  The  voices  were  low-­‐ ered,  whispered  and  it  was  dif[icult  to  tell,  but  maybe  a  [loor  away,  possibly  just  on  the  way   down  from  the  mezzanine.  That  didn’t  give  Nico  and  the  other  much  time.  

 

He  was  starting  to  enjoy  this.  Much  as  he  might  like  being  the  man  in  a  uniform  for  a  

change,  he  missed  this,  the  illicit  thrill,  the  sharp  edge  of  danger.  This  must  be  the  appeal  of   spying,  the  best  of  both  worlds,   being  on  the  side  of  those  in  control,   but  still  the  delicious   risk  of  the  underhand,  the  criminal.     He  peered  over  the  railing.  There  was  a  kind  of  cafe  directly  below,   chairs  and  tables  

set  out   on  the  concourse.  He  tried  to   remember  what  the  view  of  it  was  through  the  CCTV,   but  it  was  hard  to  picture,   just   a  mass  of  furniture.   But   there  were  umbrellas   between  the   tables,  some  of  them  still  up,  even  though  there  was  no  one  to  sit  under  them.       There  might  be  just  enough  cover;  they  might  just  get  away  with  it.  They  might.   He  tied  the  rope   to   the  railing,   tugged  on  it   and  slung  it  over.   Then,  almost   holding  

his  breath,  he  stood  up,  throwing  a  leg  over  the  railing  and  then,  grabbing  hold  of  the  rope,   lowering  himself  over  the  side.   He   pulled   himself   back   up,   holding   himself   so   that   he   could   see   the   door   to   the  

climbing  shop.  He  caught  Buffalo’s  eye  and  nodded,  slightly.   Buffalo  edged  through  the  door  and  crab  walked  to  the  railing,   following  Nico’s  own  

path.   Buffalo   couldn’t   help  check  the  knot,   Nico   noticed,   but   there  was  no  time  to   say  any-­‐ thing.     Nico  let  himself  drop;  going  as  fast  as  he  dared  until  he  felt  his  feet  touch  the  edge  of  

an   umbrella.   He   stopped,   craning   around   to   try   and   spot   CCTV   cameras.   There   was   one,   pointing  in  under  the  umbrellas  at  the  cafe  door.  If  he  could  just  swing  himself  left  and  tuck   in  under  the  umbrella,  out  of  sight  of  that  other  camera...     His  feet  skidded  on  the  umbrella  and  then  he  dropped  again,  curving  himself  in,   just  

missing  a  chair  to  land  perfectly  concealed.    

 

He   stuck   his  head   out   and  nodded   to   Buffalo.   The   man   pulled  himself  up  over   the  

railings   and  started  to   drop.   His  experience  showed  and  he  came  down  swiftly  and  easily,   Nico  catching  his  legs  and  guiding  him  to  the  [loor.     Handerson  was   a   different   matter.  The  man  was   simply  ungainly,  angular.   He   came  

down   in   an   uncontrolled   rush,   juddering   the   umbrella   with   his   feet.   To   Nico   the   noise   sounded  deafening.   He  could  only   hope  that  the  approaching   guards  were  still   whispering   at  each  other  and  not  listening  too  hard.     He   grabbed   Handerson  as   he  swung   in   under   the   umbrella   and   pulled  him   to   the  

[loor.   Handerson  was  panting  with  the  effort  and  Nico   could  barely  hear  anything  over  the   noise.   He   motioned  to   the   man  to   get   under   the  table.   Handerson  just   stared   at   him,   un-­‐ comprehending  until  Buffalo  grabbed  his  head  and  forced  it  down,  pushing  him  away  out  of   sight.     He   could   make  out   the  voices   again.   Closer,   on  the  escalators   now,  perhaps.  Where  

was   V?   Nico   risked  another   look   round  the   edge   of  the  umbrella.   She   was   coming  slowly,   carefully   -­‐   too   carefully  -­‐  her  arms   obviously  shaking  from   the  effort  from   holding  herself   up.     Voices   were  on  the  [loor  above  now,  just  at  the  foot  of  the  escalators.  There  was   no  

time.   Why  was  she  taking  so   long?  And  then  V  slid  down  the  umbrella  in  a  sudden,   zipping   rush  and  he  reached  up  to  catch  her  just  in  time  to  stop  her  crashing  to  the  ground.     He  put  her  down  and  motioned  to   the  others,  tracing  out  a  path  between  the  tables  

that  would   keep  them   covered  from  the   cameras.   V   moved  away   but  Buffalo   grabbed   his   arm  and  shook  the  rope  at  him,  pointing  up  at  the  railing.  

 

Of  course:   it   was  plainly  visible  in  the  muted  mall  lighting,  a  rope  hanging  down  to  

the  [loor  below  -­‐  they  would  spot  it  immediately.     Without  stopping  to  think  he  hauled  himself  up,  scrambling  past  the  edge  of  the  um-­‐

brella  and  climbing  hand  over  hand  for  the  railing.  As  he  came  up  level  with  the  [loor  above   he  risked  a  glance  towards  the  escalators.  There  was  a  knot  of  guards  there,  maybe  seven  or   eight  of  them  in  total,  and  that  woman,  the  police  detective.   They  were  having  a  discussion   of  some  kind.     He  took  and  deep  breath  and  took   the  risk,  pulling  himself  up  to   stand  on  the  lip  of  

the  [loor  so  he  could  devote  both  hands  to  untying  the  rope.  The  voices  suddenly  raised,  be-­‐ coming  clearer,  the  unmistakable  sound  of  a  meeting  breaking  up,   heads  turning.  The  rope   came  free  in  his  hands  and  he  dropped,  catching  himself  on  the  edge  so  he  was  hanging  by   his  hands  over  the  drop  below.   He   couldn’t   drop   here;   he’d  knock   over   the   umbrella   -­‐   perhaps   six  inches   left.   He  

swung  himself  across,  listening  for  the  inevitable  footsteps.  Surely  they’d  hear  the  drop.   And  then  it  came,   his  stroke  of  luck,   a  two   way  radio  suddenly  bursting  into  hissing  

loud   volume  and   under  its   cover   he   fell,   hitting   the  ground  and   rolling  back   in  under  the   umbrella,  desperately  hoping  the  system  hadn’t  seen  him.     But  what   Nico   was  really   concentrating  on  in  that  moment   was   what  he  had  heard  

on  the  that  radio,  before  the  sound  had  been  snapped  off.     “The  generators,”  a  voice,  ”We  need  a  guard  on  the  generators.”   The  generators,  of  course.  

 

Eva  grabbed  the  radio  from  the  guard  and  snapped  the  volume  to  off.  

“Haven’t  you  got  earpieces?”  she  said,  ”Or  shall  we  just  make  an  announcement  over  

the  tannoy  so  they  know  where  we  are.”   “They   know   we’re   coming   anyway,”   said   Whelan,   ”We   want   them   to   know,   scared  

means  mistakes.”   “Scared  means  running  away,”  said  Eva.   “Where  to?”  said  Whelan,   ”Argus  will  pick   them  up  wherever  they  go,   anywhere   in  

the  building.”     “Oh,”  said  Eva,  ”Because  it’s  been  doing  such  a  great  job  of  that  so  far.”   Whelan  paused,  then  smiled.   “Believe  me,  Detective  Inspector,”  he  said,  ”This  is  our  beat,  ok?  We  know  what  we’re  

doing  here.  You  get  on.”     get.”     Whelan  turned  back.   “Orders,  Detective  Inspector,  Sirhaan  and  Randall  go  with  you.   I  know   you’ll  look  af-­‐ He  turned  away  from  her.   “Well,  you  don’t  have  to  send  anyone  with  me,”  said  Eva,  ”You  need  everyone  you  can  

ter  them.”     This   time  Eva   made  sure   she   was   the  one  that   turned  away,   starting  off  down  the  

static   escalator   to   the   bottom   [loor,   forcing   the  two   Kerberos   guards   to   follow   her,   one   of   them,  she  was  pleased  to  see,  jamming  his  radio  earpiece  into  his  ear  as  he  did  so.   “What  did  that  mean,”  she  said  to  him,  as  they  walked  down,  ”Guard  the  generators?  

What  generators?”   “For  the  lights,”  he  said,  looking  at  her  as  if  she  was  an  idiot,  ”Power,  you  know.”  

“We’re   cut   off  from   the  grid  now,   in  an  emergency”  said  the   female  guard,   the   one  

called  Randall,  ”Our  power  comes  from  internal  generators.  They’re  on  this  bottom  [loor,  at   the  far  end.”   “They’re  right,”  said  Eva,  ”We  need  a  guard  on  them  immediately.”   “It’s  secure,”  said  the  other  guard,  the  one  called  Sirhaan,  ”You  need  a  security  pass.”   “It’s  double  locked  under  an  emergency,”  said  Randall,  ”You  need  a  key.”   “When  are  you  people  going  to  realise,”  Eva  was  starting  to  lose  her  patience,  ”Your  

emergency  system  has  already  failed,  this  Argus  thing  is  barely  working  and  you  have  civil-­‐ ians  trapped  in  here  with  technologically  adept  terrorists.   This  is  not  going  and  is  going  to   continue  not  going  to  plan.”     Sirhaan  raised  a  sardonic  eyebrow.   “We,”  he  said,   with  a   pointed  emphasis,  ”Are  trained  for  this  kind  of  emergency.   It’s  

all  under  control,  Detective  Inspector.”  

 

Standing  in  the  shadows  just   inside  the  exit  door  of  the  cinema,  Adam  watched  Eva  

storm  away  down  the  escalator  and  Whelan  move  away  in  his  turn,  the  other  guards  follow-­‐ ing  him  off  down  the  concourse  towards  where  Nico  and  the  other  404s  had  been.   If  he  was  going  to  do  it,   he  was  going  to  have  to  do  it  now.  Open  this  door  and  walk  

across   the   concourse   to   the   escalators,   in  full   view   of   everyone,   if  they   happened  to   look   round.   And  he  couldn’t   run  or  hide  because  that  was  exactly  what   Argus  would  be  looking   for.  He  had  to  walk.  

 

He  reached  out  to  Argus  once  more,   looking  to  see  where  everyone  was.  Eva  and  the  

other  two   on  their  way  down  the  escalator,  Whelan  and  his  team  focussed  on  the  outdoors   store  Nico  had  been  hiding  in.       Deep  breath.  Just  an  ordinary  guy  in  an  ordinary  mall  doing  his  ordinary  shopping.   He  opened  the  shop  door  and  stepped  out.  

“Deborah   Robinson,”   Pasteur   was   standing   over   her,   holding   her   computer   tablet,  

”Where  is  your  phone?”   Debbie   shrugged.   She  was   at   once   furious  and  terri[ied,   and,   even  now,   the  knowl-­‐

edge  that  she  had  called  out  to  her  mother  as  ’Mum’  in  front  of  her  friends,  made  her  cringe   a  little  bit.   “Dunno.”   “A   phone  registered  to   you  sent   three   text   messages  to  three  unidenti[ied  numbers  

with  the  message  ’Plan  B’,  a  message  we  have  reason  to  believe  is  a  codeword  for  a  terrorist   group  that  calls  themselves  the  404s”   “What?”  Terrorists?  What  was  going  on?   “Immediately   after   the   message   was   made   two   Kerberos   of[icers   were   attacked  

while  responding  to  an  incident,  one  of  them  very  badly  injured  with  head  wounds.”   “I  didn’t!”  said  Debbie,   ”That  old  man  attacked  me  and  then  they   grabbed  me  and  I  

didn’t  hurt  anyone’s  head.”   “What  old  man?”  Pasteur  looked  up  from  the  tablet.   “Some  homeless,”  said  Debbie,  ”He  spilt   my  shake.”  She  offered  it  as  if  it  was  an  ex-­‐

planation.  

“I  think  I  know  him,”  said  Lopez  from  behind  Pasteur.  She  turned  round.   “I’ve  had  to  throw  him  out  a  couple  of  times,”  he  said,  ”Said  he  was  in  the  army.”   “So   he   could   hold   a   grudge   against   Kerberos,”   said   Pasteur,   ”Why   wouldn’t   Argus  

have  [lagged  him  when  he  entered?”     “As  long  as  he  was  relatively  sober  it  wouldn’t  have,”  said  Lopez,  ”But  it  could  now.”   He  reached  out  for  the  tablet  and  took  it  from  Pasteur.   “I’m  turning  off  the  [ilters,”  he  said,  ”Just  scanning  for  movement.  There’s  Whelan.”   “Can  I  go,  then?”  said  Debbie.   “No,”  said  Pasteur,  without  turning  round,  ”Is  there  anywhere  we  can  hold  her?”   “There  a  storage  room  below,   customer  lavatories,”  said  a  guard  called  Farkas,  who  

was  standing  at  the  door,  watching  the  crowd  outside.     The  walk  up  the  escalators  had  been  the  longest  of  Adam’s  life.  The  agony  of  keeping   “Find  somewhere  you  can  lock  and  see  to  it,”  said  Pasteur.   “There,”  said  Lopez,  ”Unit  33.  Movement  inside.  Pharmacy,  I  think.”

his  footsteps  silent  but  normal,  the  knowledge  that  behind  his  back  Eva  Lisiewicz  had  only   to  turn  round  to  see  him  quite  clearly  above  her.  The  view  down  to  his  right  of  all  the  backs   of  Whelan’s  guards.       He  had  never  felt   more  exposed  and  more  alone   in  this  bare,   dim,   empty  shopping  

mall.   It   was  like   a  post-­‐apocalyptic  landscape,   still  full   of  ghosts  and  monsters,  the  memo-­‐ ries   of  shopping   sleeping  in  the  tills,   the  dancing   network   of  the  radios,   the  ever-­‐watchful   eyes.  

 

And   then,   almost   at   the   top,   he   had   felt   those   eyes   blink   and   stir.   The   order   had  

changed,  the  [ilters  had  been  cleared:   look  for  anything  moving.   He  froze  in  his  tracks,   just   out  of  sight  of  Whelan  now,  thank  god,  but  still  perfectly  visible  from  the  bottom  of  the  esca-­‐ lator  -­‐  or  indeed  on  any  of  three  different  cameras,  if  anyone  cared  to  look.     They  were  in  motion,  though  and  he  listened  for  their  movements,  the  harsh  buzzing  

sweep  of  their  gaze.   Far   away   in  the  network   he  felt  the  focus  shift,   something  below   him   was  moving  and  the  eyes  were  trying  to   see  it.  But  his  attention  was  on  the  here  and  now.   He  could  feel  the  rhythm  now,  and  a  pattern  suddenly  revealed  itself  to  him.   There  it  was,   a  path  to   the  service  door.  He  could  just  do   it,   with  a  little   bit  of  luck.  

Well,  he  had  certainly  been  lucky  so  far.  Just  be  hopeful  he  hadn’t  used  it  all  up.   He  took  out   the  swipe  card.  He  it  came  again.     1...  2...  3...  And  he  stepped  off  the  escalator  and  walked  a  sharp,  zigzagging  line  across  

the  tiles,  the  gaze  sweeping  back   now  towards  him,  round  a  planter  with  a  dying  fruit  tree   in  it...  3...  2...  1...     And  the  lock  heard  the  RFID  chatter  of  the  card  and  dutifully  unlocked  itself,  and  as  

the  camera  honed  back  in  on  the  door  all  it  saw  was  it  closed  once  more  and  Argus  thought   no  more  of  it.  

Whelan’s  radio  buzzed  at  him  from  his  hip  and  he  stopped  where  he  was,  motioning  

the  others  to  stop  too.  He  was  pleased  to  notice  that  he  didn’t  need  to  -­‐  they  had  all  already   stopped,  spread  out  across  the  concourse.   “Whelan   receiving,   over.”   He   listened   intently   to   his   earpiece   and   then   motioned  

again.  Turn  around.  Other  direction.  

 

He   took   the  lead   once   more   while   the  others   waited   to   follow   him,   back,   stealthily  

along  the  concourse,  past  the  escalators  to  the  opposite  wing  of  the  mall.     Something  like  pleasure  stirred  in  Whelan.  A  thousand  hours  of  dull   plod  round  the  

claustrophobic   circles   of  the  mall,   a  thousands   directions   given,   a   thousand   teenagers   es-­‐ corted  off  the  premises,  a  thousand  still  and  alarmless  nights  and  now  this.  The  dim  emer-­‐ gency  lighting,  the  silence  of  the  mall,  the  quiet  movement  of  the  other  guards  around  him.   The  hunt.     Whelan  had  been  in  the  army  once,  a  long  time  ago,  and  private  security  had  seemed  

like  a  blessing  after  Derry,  monotonous,  reassuring,  reliable,  comfortably  boring.  But  he  had   forgotten  this,  this  moment  with  the  gamey  tang  of  violence  on  the  air,  the  knot  of  the  stom-­‐ ach,  the  salivaless  mouth,  the  shriveling  of  the  balls.   Up  ahead  was  a  sign,  now  unlit,  a  green  cross  and  he  thought,  with  a  grim,  satisfying  

irony:  ’At  least  there  will  be  bandages’.  

 

The  service  passage  was  lit   only  with  dim,   low  wattage   bulbs.   The  networks  in  the  

wall   were   powerless   and  quiet   and  Adam   was   surprised   to   [ind  that   Kerberos   trusted  its   staff  enough  not  to  install  CCTV  back  here.     All  of  which  meant  he  was  suddenly  having  to  feel  his  way  round  in  the  shadows  like  

a   normal   person.   He   tried   to   remember   the   plan   he   had  seen  earlier.   There   should   be   a   stairway  somewhere  round  the  corner.     He   groped  his   way   forward.   The   light  was   getting   a   little   clearer,   possibly.   Just   for  

once  being  within  the  CCTV  network  would  have  helped.  

It  would  especially  helped  him  see  the  people  coming  the  other  way  and  almost  cer-­‐

tainly   have   meant   he   wouldn’t   have   just   blundered   into   them   the   way   he   did:   the   guard   called  Farkas  escorting  Debbie  Robinson  to  the  foot  of  the  stairs.       Adam  froze  and  they  froze  too,  just  staring  at  him.   “Hey,”  said  Debbie,  ”Where’s  my  fucking  phone?”   And  with  that,  Farkas  tased  him.  

Eva   didn’t  know  what   made  her  stop  and  look  in  other   direction.   Probably  nothing  

more   than  the  fact   that   Sirhaan  turned   so   con[idently   left   at   the  bottom  of  the   escalators   and  she  was  so  annoyed  by  his  smugness  that  she  deliberately  stopped  and  looked  around.     Movement.  There,  away  at  the  end  of  the  right  hand  concourse,  beyond  some  kind  of  

cafe,  something  moving.  Correction:  someone,  of  course.   “Wait,”  she  grabbed  hold  of  Randall.   “What?”  said  Sirhaan  too   loudly,   and  she   shot   a  glare  at   him.   She  looked  back.   The  

movement  had  gone.  They  must  have  heard  him.     She  motioned  to  them  to  be  silent  and  moved  away  to  right.  Out  of  the  corner  of  her  

eye  she  saw  Randall  reinforce  the  motion  to  Sirhaan.  He  fell  in  behind  them,  reluctantly.     She  moved  across  the  concourse,  getting  up  against  the  shop  fronts,  trying  to  stay  as  

inconspicuous  as  possible.     About  half  way  down  most  of  the  [loor  on  this  side  of  the  concourse  was  covered  in  

chrome  tables  and  chairs  and  a  few  large  umbrellas,  completely  pointless  down  here  on  the   third  subterranean  level  of  an  wholly  roofed  over  of[ice  building.  

 

She  strained  in  the  dim  light,   trying  to   see  beyond  to   the  far  end  of  the   concourse.  

She  turned  to  Randall,  whispering.       “The  emergency  generator,  it’s  down  there,  isn’t  it?”   Randall  nodded.   She  had  been   right.   Whatever  Whelan   was  chasing  on  the  [loor   above   was   a  diver-­‐

sion.  The  404s  were  going  for  the  generator.     “Call  Whelan,  tell  him  to  get  down  here.”   Randall   pressed  her   earpiece   into   her   ear   with   one   [inger,   a   gesture,   Eva   thought,  

learnt  entirely  from  television.   “Randall  to  Whelan,  come  in  Whelan,  over.”  

 

Up  on  the  [loor  above,   Whelan  reached  down  and  turned  off  his  radio.  It  would  only  

be  that  police  of[icer  again.  He  understood  why  Pasteur  had  evidently  wanted  her  out  of  the   way.  They  needed  to   handle  this  situation  their  way.   These  404s  were  his   now.   Besides,  he   needed  to  concentrate.     The  automatic  doors  on  the  pharmacy  were  open  just  a  crack  but  were  automatic  no  

longer.   He  motioned  to   Channing  and   they   grabbed  a   door  each,   pulling  on  them   to   open   them  wider.     There  was  a  smell  inside  the  pharmacy,  something  medical,  acrid.  They  had  probably  

been  smashing  bottles.  No  doubt  looking  for  something  to  get  high  on.     The   store   was   divided  up   into   aisles,   all   leading   away   from   the   windows   into   the  

shadowy  rear  of  the  shop.    

 

He  motioned  to  Channing  and  Leikos  and  they   moved  away  down  the   length  of  the  

window,  moving  quickly  and  con[idently.     Blethyn  moved  ahead  of  him  down  an   aisle  towards  the   rear  of  the  store,   stepping  

carefully  into  the  dim  recesses.    

 

What  was  that  smell?   There   was   a   smell   of   cleaning   product   in   Adam’s   nose   and   he   couldn’t   [igure   out  

where   it   was  coming  from.  He  turned  his  head  to   get  away  from   it,   but  the  smell  followed   him.  It  was  him.  The  smell  was  on  him.  How  had  he  got  that  that  on  him?   It  must  have   come  from   when  he  was   lying   on  the  [loor.   On  the  [loor?   Why  had  he  

been   on  the   [loor?   The  tiles   had  been   cool   down  there,   cool   and   smooth   and  smelling   of   cleaning  product.  He’d  like  to  lie  down  again.     Why  had  he  been  lying  down?   “...name?”  Someone  was  speaking.  Why  were  they  interrupting  him  while  he  was  try-­‐

ing  to  [igure  out  all  this  important  stuff?   He   felt   sure   that   he   had   been   on   the   [loor   for   a   reason   and   that   they   probably  

shouldn’t  have  taken  him  off  the  [loor.  Yes  -­‐   the  lady  had  wanted  him  to  lie  down.  She  must   have  wanted  quite  badly  for  him  to  lie  down;  otherwise  she  wouldn’t  have  made  him  do   it.   With  a  taser.   “What...  name?”  said  the  voice  again.     Adam  didn’t  have  time  for  trivialities.  He  was  on  a  roll  here.  He  had  been  on  the  [loor  

because  the  lady  with  the  taser  had  used  it  to  make  him  lie  down.  But  he  didn’t  think  he  was   on  the  [loor  anymore.  This  felt  more  like  sitting  down.  

So   why   was   he   sitting   down   now.   And   wouldn’t   the   lady   with   the   taser   be   angry  

about  that?   “...ask  again...  your  name?”   That  was  a  lady’s  voice,  he  decided,  and  he  was  fairly  con[ident  that  that  was  also  an  

angry  tone.   Was  this  the  lady  with  the  taser,  was  she  telling  him  off  for  sitting  instead  of  ly-­‐ ing?  Perhaps  he  should  be  paying  attention  to  this  bit.     “...explain  something  to  you.”   De[initely  a  lady,  but  not  the  same  one.  So  possibly  not  angry  about  the  sitting  down,  

but  de[initely  still  angry.   The  face  suddenly  snapped  into  focus.  Pasteur.   The  name  surfaced   the  moment  the  face  did.  Diane  Pasteur.  That  much  he  knew,  beyond  that...     Beyond  that...   nothing.  No  ghosts,  no  burning  writ,  so  [ire  from  on  high.   Where   had  

all  the  noise  gone?  Where  were  all  the  voices  to  sing  to  him  Diane  Pasteur,   her  history  and   record,  all  the  re[lections  of  her?  Where  was  the  Internet?     Wait;  there  was  something,   bright   beacons  in  the   dark.   Radio.   And  something  else,  

something  he  realised  he  had  been  watching  for.   Something  watching  him.  A   hundred  eyes,   lidless  in  eternal,   sussurating  wakefulness.   And  through  them  a  cloistered,   sweating  world   opened  beneath  him.     A  crowd,  milling  and  murmuring  in  fear,   dark  [igures  moving  in  shadows  below  and  

himself,  the  back  of  his  own  head,  sitting  in  a  chair  in  a  coffee  shop.  And  standing  over  him,   Diane  Pasteur,  an  angry  woman  with  a  taser.  Another  one.   “This  is  a  taser,”  she  said,  ”A   Kerberos  product.   We  offer  both  consumer  and  profes-­‐

sional   grade  models.   This   is   a   professional   grade,   of   course,   but   our   in   house   technicians   have  made  certain  re[inements.  Here  at  Kerberos  we  like  to  think  of  ourselves  as  always  at  

the   bleeding   edge   of   the   security   industry,   from   high   technology   to   work   wear   to,   well,   tasers.   A   revolution  in  security   technology,   the  taser,   of  course,   giving  the  security  profes-­‐ sional  a  ranged  weapon  with  considerable  potential  stopping  power  but  one  which,  of  itself,   presents  little  risk  of  serious  injury  to  the  subject.  Very  much  unlike  that  gun  you  were  car-­‐ rying.  Of  course,  the  news  media  make  much  of  the  possible  unprofessional  use  of  the  tech-­‐ nology,  in  some  cases  uses  that  you  might  even  term  torture,  but,  of  course,  we  at  Kerberos   could  never  condone  such  a  use.”       She  smiled  at  him.  Adam  tried  to  smile  back  and  she  tased  him.   It  occurred  to  Adam  that  after  all  this  sneaking  around,  all  the  secrecy  and  suspense  

he  had  been  caught  up  in,  it  would  be  nice  to,  just  for  once,  let  it  all  out.  Have  a  good  scream.   So  he  did.  A  lovely,  loud  scream.  Or  several.  

Eva   maneuvered  her   way   between  tables   as   gingerly   as   she   could,   not   wanting   to  

give  away  her  position.  If  they  didn’t  already  know  precisely  where  she  was,  of  course.   Somewhere  behind  her  was  Randall,  taser  in  hand  -­‐   no  one  had  offered  Eva  one,  she  

noticed  -­‐   and  behind  her,  Sirhaan,  who  evidently  didn’t  think  it  was  worth  taking  out  his  ta-­‐ ser  yet.     Which  was  why  he  was  completely  unprepared  when  someone  hit  him  over  the  back  

of  the  head  with  a  chair.     Eva   turned  as   he   pitched   forward  into   a   table,   clattering  furniture   about   him,   and  

then  someone  grabbed  her  ankles  and,  before  she  knew  it,  she  was  down  on  the  tiles  among   the  table  legs.  

 

Blethyn  was  almost  at  the  end  of  the  aisle  when  something  dark  reared  up  in  front  of  

him.  A  [igure  of  shadow,  but  only  for  a  moment.   It  held  something  white  before  it  that  sud-­‐ denly   became   something   bright.   A   gush  of  [lame   roaring   out   at   Blethyn,   making  the   man   reel  backwards,  his  coat  catching  alight.       That  smell!  Ethanol!  Whelan  started  to  shout,  but  the  words  died  in  his  throat.   The  whole  aisle  was  alight;  dancing  blue  [lames  rushing  down  towards  him.  His  eye  

followed  it   as   it   grew   closer   and   he  realised   what   was   directly   in   front   of   him:   a   rack   of   aerosol  deodorants.     Channing  and  Leikos  had  turned  back  towards  him,  but  he  waved  frantically  at  them,  

even  as  he  turned  himself,   throwing  himself  back  out  of  the  sliding  doors  as   the  aerosols   ignited,  each  one  with  a  sharp,  echoing  explosion.

 

They  were  huddled  over  the  far  side  of  the  mezzanine  from  the  coffee  shop,  but  they  

could  still   hear  the  screams   quite  clearly.  The  whole  crowd  was  suddenly  silent  and  listen-­‐ ing,  trying  to  discover  what  was  going  on.   Miriam  clutched  at  Kenneth  Robinson’s  hand.   “Kenneth,  what  is  it?”   “Miriam,”  he  said,  disentangling  himself,  ”Don’t  go  worrying  yourself.”   “But...”  she  almost  swallowed  the  word,  ”Debbie.”   “Now,   come   along,   ”  he   said,   ”Use  your  head,   that’s   not   our   Debbie,   is   it?   That’s   a  

man’s  voice.”   “Kenneth,”  Miriam’s   voice  was   suddenly   determined,   ”They’re   got   Debbie   in   there,  

haven’t  they?”  

“The  police  of[icer  said,”  said  Kenneth,  but  he  couldn’t  quite  [inish.  The  policewoman  

had   gone   down  the   escalator,   hadn’t   she?   There   was   just  the   guards   now,   and   that   other   woman,  who  seemed  to  be  in  charge.   “Kenneth,”  Miriam  grabbed  hold  of  his  hand  again,  pulling  at  it  to  make  him  turn  and  

look  at  her,  ”Debbie.”   The  voice  screamed  again  and  he  felt  Lucy’s  hand  clutch  at  his  trouser  leg.   “Daddy,  what’s  that?”   There   was   a   guard  not   far   away,   standing   watching   a   loose   knot   of  teenagers  who  

were  grouped  by  the  head  of  the  escalators,   in  the  no   man’s   land  between  the  crowd  and   the  coffee  shop.     Every   so   often  one   of  them  would  make  a   feint  at   the   escalators  themselves   and  a  

guard  would  have  to  make  a  movement  as  if  the  cut  them  off.  Each  time  the  teenagers  got  a   little  closer  and  the   guards   were  growing   more   wary.   There  were   only   four  of  the   guards   and  it  was  dif[icult  for  them  to  watch  the  entire  crowd  at  the  same  time.     Kenneth   Robinson   picked  his   way   towards   the   guard,   other   people   watching   him,  

one  or  two  drifting  in  behind  him  as  he  went,  curious  to  see  what  he  was  doing  and,   per-­‐ haps  half  knowing,  curious  to  know  the  answer.   “Listen,”  he  said  and  then  he  cleared  his  throat  and  tried  it  again,  ”Listen,   what  is  all  

this?  What’s...  what’s  going  on?”   The  guard  looked  round,   taken   aback  at   the  sudden   appearance   at  a  little   group  of  

people  behind  him.   He  was   young,   foreign,  Kenneth  thought,   Chinese  or  Japanese  perhaps.   His  nametag   said   Roukan.   That   didn’t   sound  Chinese   or   Japanese   to   Kenneth.   Perhaps   he   was  from  somewhere  else.  You  never  knew  these  days;  there  were  so  many  places.  

one?”  

“Hey,”  he   said,   surprised,   and  then,   ”Hey,   can  you,   can  you  sit   down,   please,   every-­‐

“Listen,”  said  Kenneth  again,  ”What’s  going  on  in  there?”   “It’s  none  of  your...”  said  Roukan,  ”Just  sit  down,  please,  alright?  Everyone  sit  down.”   “Our,  listen,”  said  Kenneth,  ”Our  daughter’s  in  there,  they  took  our  daughter  in  there.  

I  want  to  know  what’s  going  on.”   “Just,  sit  down,”  said  Roukan,  fumbling  at  his  taser.   “Hey,  please,   can  you  sit  down,”  another  guard  had  made  his  way  over,   a  large  man  

with   a   scrubby   ginger   beard.   His   nametag   said   Ulmer   and   he   had   an   accent,   something   European.  Another  foreigner.   “I  demand  to   know,”   said   Kenneth,   ”I   demand  it.”  He  was   using   the  same  voice   he  

used  in  shops  when  electrical  goods  didn’t  work.  He  contemplated  asking  for  the  manager,   but   since   she   was   presumably   the   person   making   the   other   person   scream   like   that,   he   didn’t  think  he  would  just  yet.   “We   are  asking   you   to   sit   down,”  said   Ulmer,   pulling   himself   to   his   full   height  and  

towering  over  the  little  man,  making  it  quite  evident  that  he  wasn’t  asking  at  all,  he  was  tell-­‐ ing.   Kenneth  did  not  like  being  ordered  about.   People  always   assumed  that  just  because  

you  were  a  polite,  sensible,   normal  person  they  could  just  treat  you  like  a  doormat  and  or-­‐ der  you  around  and  tell  you  what  to  do.  You  had  just  as  much  rights  as  anyone  else.   In  fact,   in  Kenneth’s  opinion,  the  polite,  sensible  people  had  more  rights.   “Listen,”  he  said,  and  then  something  exploded.  And  then  several  somethings  more.  

From  somewhere  down  in  the  shopping  centre  below  them,  a  salvo  of  bangs.  

The  guards   all   jumped,   turning   towards   the   noise,   pulling  out   their   guns.   Kenneth  

didn’t   think   they   were   allowed   guns,   but   then   these   didn’t   look   like   normal   guns.   They   looked  like  a  toy  from  a  science  [iction  [ilm.   They  were  large  and,   he  thought,  plastic.   With   bright  yellow  stripes  on  them,  like  big  mechanical  wasps.       Roukan  turned  back  to  him.   “This  is  serious,”  he  said,  ”Sit  down.”   Kenneth  sat  down.  

 

There  was  something  exploding.   Sharp  reports  from  somewhere  above,   like  gun[ire,  

then,   almost   in   time,   metal   ringing   against   metal   somewhere  nearby,   someone   pounding   with  all  their  might.     Eva   tried   to   pull   herself   up   and  there   came   another   explosion,   of  stars   and  sharp  

pain  as  a  foot  connected  with  her  head.  Kicked  in  the  head.  That  seemed  to  be  happening  a   lot.  Whoever  had  grabbed  her  legs  was  trying  to   kick  her.  They  must   have  been  hiding  un-­‐ der  a  table.  It  made  for  an  awkward  position.     She  put  her  hands  out  and  the  foot  came  to  her.  She  gripped  and  hung  on  as  it  [lailed  

at  her,  letting  the  force  behind  it  push  her  away,  getting  her  clear  of  the  other  foot.     She  dug  her  own  heels  in,  pulling  on  the  leg,   dragging  her  assailant  out   from  under  

the  table  and  in  the  same  movement  pushed  herself  upright.     There   was   a   sharp   buzz   and   a   shout   and   Eva   looked   up   to   see   Randall   fall   out   of  

sight,  a  man  in  a  long  black  coat  standing  behind  her  with  a  taser  in  his  hand.     Behind  him  someone  was  beating  on  the  [loor  with  a  chair.   No,  she  realised,   not   on  

the  [loor.  On  Sirhaan.  

 

The  person  beneath  her  lashed  out  again  and,  distracted,   Eva  lost   her  grip,  the  per-­‐

son  wriggling  away  among  the  cafe  furniture,  chairs  juddering  and  scraping  in  their  wake.     The  man  in  the  coat  raised  the  taser  at  her,   but  before  he  could  do   anything  with  it  

she  grabbed  hold  of  a  chair,  pitching  it  at  him  so  it  caught  him  across  the  body  and  he  stum-­‐ bled  away  from  her.     But  still  it  came,  the   crackle  of  a  taser,   but   from  behind  her  now,  and  further   away.  

Eva  turned.   There,   at  the  far  end  of  the  concourse,  was   the  emergency  generator,  it’s  doubly  se-­‐

cure  metal  doors   beaten  open  with  a   cafe  chair  and  standing  in  front  of  it   was  the  man  in   motorcycle  leathers,  the  taser  in  his  hand  pointing  at  the  control  panel.     He  gave  it   another  shock   and  another,  then,   throwing  the  taser  aside,   picked  up  the  

chair  again.  

 

Down   in   the   street,   under   the   Christmas   lights,   in   the   delicate   falling   snow,   a   battle  

was  raging.     He   could   hear  the   police   radios,  even   from  up   here,   even  without  concentrating   on   it,  

he   was   aware   of   the   ebb   and   >low   of   scuf>les   and   clashes,   running   and   charging.   Roads   blocked   off,   vans  overturned,   news  reports  coming   live,   tweets  uploaded.   A  city  writhing   and   groaning  in  tumult.   Up   here   it   was   quiet,   dim   in   the   gentle   glow  of  snow   light.   Softly  lit,   Lily’s  face   hung  

over  his,  staring  at  him,  fascinated,  fascinating.   “It’s  like  knowing  some  kind  of  wizard,”  she  said.  

“Oh  great,  so  now  I’m  like  some  wizened  old  man.”   “No,  a  sexy  wizard,  like  Christopher  Lee.”   “Christopher  Lee  is  a  wizened  old  man,”  he  said.   “He’s  a  sexy  old  man.”   “Is  this  going  to  turn  into  a  compliment  at  any  point?”   “It   depends,”   she   said,   ”On   whether   you   do   anything   worth   complimenting   you   on,  

doesn’t   it?   What   you   can   do,   what   you   can   see,   you’re   right,   it’s   like   a   superpower,   it’s   like   magic.”   “I’m  magic?”   “And  with  great  power  comes  great  responsibility.”   “Wait,  so  am  I  Saruman  or  Spiderman  now?”   “You’re   a   massive,   massive   nerd,”   she   pinched  him  and  he   bared   his  teeth   at   her,  ”I’m  

serious,  Adam,  you  have  real  power,   a  real  power  to  do  things,  to  change  things.  To  work  real   magic.  If  you  wanted  to.”  

“...Plan  B,”  said  Pasteur,  and  Adam  reluctantly  opened  his  eyes.   “A  joke,”  he  said,  ”Plan  B  is  the  same  as  plan  A.”   “And  what,”  said  Pasteur,  sighing  a  little,  ”Is  plan  A?”   “Nothing  much,”  said  Adam,   ”Downfall   of  Western   Civilisation,   save  the   world,   shit  

like  that.”   “The   [irst   you  time  you  entered   the  building,”  said  Pasteur,   ”You  did  so   under  false  

pretences  in  an  attempt  at  a  cyber  attack  on  Kerberos.  The  second  time  you  broke  in,  carry-­‐

ing  this  gun,”  she  gestured  at  her  own  gun,  lying  on  a  table  behind  her,  ”Intending  a  physical,   terrorist  attack  on  Kerberos  employees.   “We  defend,  vigourously,   our   safety   record  with  our  tasers.   Our  testing  methodolo-­‐

gies   are   exhaustive,   and   exhausting,   our   research   is   peerless   and   innovative,   but,   having   said  all  that,  very  little  analysis  has  gone  into  what  prolonged  and  repeated  exposure  would   do   to   human   physiology.   The   brain,   for   example,   and   the   central   nervous   system,   what   would  repeated  electric  shocks  do  to  them?  Any  data,  of  course,  is  useful.”     She  raised  her  hand  again  and  Adam  [illed  his  lungs,  ready  to  start  screaming.  

Whelan  grabbed  a  rubbish  bin  and  threw   it   at  the  plate  glass  of  the  pharmacy  win-­‐

dow,   hearing  a  satisfying  crack  as  it  bounced  off.  Then  it  creaked  and  shattered,  Channing’s   boot  smashing  through  it  from  the  other  side.     Channing  followed,  Leikos  after  him,  dragging  a  still  burning  Blethyn  in  their  wake.   Whelan  grabbed   Blethyn,   half   hurling   him   along   the  concourse   towards   the   water  

feature  at  the  far  end,  the  [lames  from  Blethyn’s  clothes  scorching  his  hands.     And   as   he   threw   him   into   the   water,   jumping   in   after   to   smother   the   [lames,   the  

lights  went  out.  

The  taser  sparked  in  the  darkness,   lighting  Pasteur’s   face  with  a  [lickering,   animat-­‐

ing  [lare.  Behind  her  Lopez’  face  hung  ghostly  in  the  blue  glow  of  the  tablet  screen.   “What  is  it?”  she  said,  ”What’s  happening?”   “Plan  B,”  said  Adam.  

4 The Dark
  The   darkness   was   profound   and   shocking.   No   natural   light   reached  this   far   down  

into  the  mall  and  without  the  emergency  light  the  blackness  was  total.     Eva   froze.   She  could  barely  remember,   in   the  chaos   of   the  [ight,   what   the   arrange-­‐

ment  of  furniture  around  her  was.  She  was  bound  to  bump  into  something  if  she  moved.     There   was   shouting   in  the  darkness.   From   the  other  end   of   the  concourse,   maybe,  

where  those  people  were  supposed  to  be.  And  from  somewhere,  a  faint  glow,  and  a  smell  of   burning.  What  was  going  on?   Then  a  chair  scraped  away  to   her  left.   The  person  on  the  [loor.  She  leaped  out  in  the  

dark,  bouncing  off  a  table,   a  padded  coat  suddenly  appearing  under  her  hands.   She  held  on   as  the  [igure  thrashed  against  her.  A  girl,  she  suddenly  realised.  She  grabbed  an  arm,  forcing   it  up  behind  the  girl’s  back,  pushing  her  back  down  towards  the  [loor.     A  torch  snapped  on.   “Who...  who’s  there?”  It  was  Randall,  her  voice  shaking.   “DI  Lisiewicz,”  said  Eva,  ”You  alright?”   “I  think  so,”  said  Randall.   “Find  Sirhaan,”  said  Eva,  then,  to  the  girl  on  the  ground,   ”I’m  going  to   handcuff  you,  

then  I’ll  let  you  up,  understand?”   “Fuck  you,”  said  a  muf[led  voice.   “It’s  mutual,”  said  Eva,  [ishing  handcuffs  out  with  one  hand  and  snapping  them  onto  

the  girl.     Randall  came  back.  

“Sirhaan’s  unconscious,  I’ve  put  him  in  the  recovery  position.”   “Is  he  bleeding?”   “Not  that  I  can  tell.”   “Good,   we’ll   come  back   for  him,   though,”  Eva   stood  up,   pulling   the  girl  up  after  her    

”You  can  get  up  now.  Please  don’t  run  away,  I’m  sick  of  bumping  into  furniture.”     There  was   de[initely  a  glow   of  something  like  burning  coming  from  the  [loor  above.  

But  there  was  a  glow  closer  now,  at  the  far  end  of  the  concourse.  The  people  holed  up  in  the   shop  must  have  lit  a  [ire.   “Right,  then,”  said  Eva,  ”Let’s  get  these  people  out  of  here  before  they  burn  the  whole  

place  down.”  

 

Nico   came   up  the   escalator  cautiously,   dropping  into   a   crouch   as   soon  as   his   head  

was  level  with  the  [loor  above.  In  the  [lickering  glow  of  the  burning  pharmacy,  he  could  see   dark  shapes  moving,  people  in  uniforms.  Whelan  and  the  others,  probably.     Occasionally   something   in  the   pharmacy   would   pop   or  [lare   and  a   spatter   of   light  

would   dance   shadows   up   the   walls   and   across   the   ceiling.   Someone   was   shouting   com-­‐ mands.  Yes,  that  was  Whelan.     There  was  a  sound  behind  him,   someone  on  the  steps.  He  reached  up,  grabbed  hold  

of  the  handrail  and  hauled  himself  up  and  over,  dropping  down  behind  the  glass  sides  of  the   escalator.   Not  the  greatest  concealment  from  the  guards  down  at  the  pharmacy,   but  he  was   more  worried  about  who  was  coming  up  from  below.  

 

A   tall,  thin  [igure  with  a  heavy   backpack,   wheezing  with  the  effort  of  the  stairs.   Mr.  

Handerson.  He  was  lucky  that  the  [ire  in  the  chemists  was  making  so  much  noise;  it  covered   his  labouring  boots  on  the  metal  steps.     He  barely  seemed  to  be  aware  that  at  any  moment  one  of  the  guards  might  turn  and  

see  him.  He  just  stopped  at  the  head  of  the  escalator,  staring  open  mouthed  at  the  [ire.     Nico  reached  up  and  pulled  him  down  to  his  level.   “Get  down.”   “I  think  they  got  V,”  said  Handerson.   “And  shut  up,”  said  Nico.   A   knuckle   rapped   on   the   glass   by   Nico’s   knee.   He   looked   down.   Buffalo’s   head  

grinned  back  up  at  him,  keeping  itself  carefully  out  of  sight  from  the  guards.     Nico   motioned   at   him,   pointing   down   the   concourse,   back   towards   the   camping  

store  and  the  [ire  exit.  Buffalo  gave  him  a  thumbs  up.   “Follow  me,”  said  Nico   and  scurried  away  across   the  tiles,   without  waiting  to   see   if  

Handerson  followed  him.  Like  Nico  before  him,  Buffalo  climbed  up  over  the  side  of  the  esca-­‐ lator,  keeping  as  low  as  he  could,  and  hustled  after  them,  away  from  the  burning  shop.     They  passed  by  the  place  where  they  had  climbed  down  into  the  cafe  below  and  Buf-­‐

falo  leaned  forward.   “Hang  on  a  minute,”  and  he  ducked  left,  back  into  the  camping  store.   “What  are  you  doing?”  but  he  was  gone.  Then  Handerson  after  him.  What  now?  They  

had  no  discipline,   thought  Nico,  what  made  them  strong,  their  elusiveness,  their  lack  of  or-­‐ ganisation,  also  made  them  weak.  Even  a  guerrilla  army  needed  order.  This  lot  were  barely   even  terrorists.  Troublemakers  and  all  they  ever  made  was  trouble,  for  themselves  as  much  

as   anyone   else.   They  needed  someone  to   get   them  into   shape.   They   needed  someone  like   Nico.  He  followed  them  into  the  store.     Buffalo  was  creeping  between  the  shelves,  hissing  instructions  to  Handerson.   “Look   behind   the   counter,   that’s   where   they’ll   keep   the   knives,   and   I   need   [ire-­‐

lighters.”   “What  the  fuck  are  you  talking  about,”  said  Handerson.  Too  loud,  Nico  thought.   “Weapons,   dude,”  said  Buffalo,   ”We  just  got   our  arses  kicked   by   a   couple   of  rent-­‐a-­‐

cops.  We  need  weapons.”   “You  play  too  many  games,”  said  Handerson.   “You  don’t  play  enough,  specially  LARPing,”  said  Buffalo.   “It’s  a  good  idea,”  said  Nico,  ”Weapons  are  a  good  idea.  You  help  him,  I’ll  [ind  knives.”   Nico   didn’t  trust   Handerson  to   look   for  a  useful   knife.  He  was  the  sort   of  man  who  

would  choose   one  with  a   compass,   a   corkscrew  and  [ive  shitty  blades  instead  of  one  good   one.   “We’ve  got  fucking  tasers,”  said  Handerson,  waving  his.   “Propane,”  said  Buffalo,   holding  up  a  bottle   of  camping  stove  fuel,  ”Hear  that,  that’s  

the  sound  of  aerosols  blowing  up  in  the  chemists  down  there.  I  [igure,  why  not  go  one  bet-­‐ ter?”   “We   have   only   three  shots   left   in  all   with  these   tasers,”  said   Nico,   ”Weapons   are   a  

good  idea.”     There  was  a  display  of  knives  behind  the  till,  one  of  them  a  clasp  knife,  like  his  father  

had   bought   him   to   take  hunting.   He  waited  for   another   distant   explosion   from   the   phar-­‐ macy   and   broke   the   glass   on   the   display,   taking   the   knife   out.   He   held   it   for   a   moment,  

thinking  about  the  silence  of  a  forest,  trying  to  distinguish  the  shapes  of  deer  in  the  dappled   sunlight,  waiting  to  [ind  the  shot.  The  steam  that  rose  from  the  bodies  as  you  gutted  them,   bright  and  wet  in  the  pale  morning  sun.   “Hey,  pass  me  a  knife,  dude,   I’ve  got  an  idea,”  Buffalo  was  standing  the  other  side  of  

the  counter   with  a  walker’s   stick.   Nico   passed   him   a  knife  and  Buffalo   produced  a   roll   of   masking  tape,  proceeding  to  lash  the  knife,  open,  to  the  end  of  the  stick.  He  took  the  stick  by   it’s   handle  and   whisked  it  through  the   air   a  couple  of  times,   the  knife   edge   shining  in  the   dim  orange  glow  of  the  far  away  [ire.   “Check  it  out,”  he  said,  ”A  sword.”   “Idiot,”  said  Handerson  coming  up  with  a  couple  more  propane  tanks.   “Come  on,   dude,”  said  Buffalo,   ”Tell   me  you  don’t  want  a  sword.  Look  me  in  the  eye  

and  tell  me  you  don’t  want  a  sword.”   “I  don’t  want  a  sword,”  said  Handerson.   “Be  careful  with  that  thing,”  said  Nico.  And  don’t  try  and  use  it,  he  wanted  to  say.   “Don’t  worry,  man,”  said  Buffalo,  ”Fencing  lessons.”   “So,”  said  Handerson,   squaring  up  a  little,   as  if  he   was  readying  himself  for   a   [ight,  

”We’re  going  to  go  back  and  get  V,  right?”   “No,”  said  Nico.   “Fuck  you,”  said  Handerson,  ”Buffalo,  we’re  going  right?”   “To   do   what?   To   get   the   shit   kicked  out  of  you  again?”  said  Nico,   ”We   have   a   plan.  

Plan  B.  We’re  [inishing  the  plan.”   “You  just  switched  the  power  off,”  said  Handerson.   “Yes,”  said  Nico,  ”So  now  the  [ire  doors  are  open.  We  go  upstairs.”  

“Dude,”  said  Buffalo,  ”No  power,  no  computers,  no  computers,  no  video.”   Nico  realised  what  they  were  talking  about.  It  hadn’t  even  crossed  his  mind.  You  got  

so  used  to  electricity  just  being  there  on  tap  that  even  when  he’d  switched  off  by  smashing   the  generator  up  he’d  somehow  assumed  the  computers  would  still  work.  Idiot.     He  thought  of  Pasteur  with  her  computer  in  her   hand,  the   secrets  he  needed  to  de-­‐

stroy  clutched  to  her  chest.  Wait  a  minute...   “Portable,”  he   said,   ”The   computers   they   use   are   portable,   like   books.   They   aren’t  

plugged  in.”   “Laptops,”  said  Buffalo.   “Tablets,”  said  Handerson,  ”But  the  video  [iles  will  be  on  a  server.”   “Not  if  they’re  hiding  it,”  said  Buffalo,  getting  excited,   ”Last  place  you’d  put  it.  Could  

be  on  a  desktop,  thumb  drive.  We  could  still  [ind  it.”   “They’ve  got  V,”  said  Handerson.   “But  they  don’t  have  us,”  said  Nico,  ”Yet.  Let’s  keep  it  that  way.”   “Let’s   do   it,   dude,”   said   Buffalo   and   judging  by   the   look   on  Handerson’s   face,   that  

made  him  want  to  hit  Buffalo  as  hard  as  Nico  did.     Instead  they  let  him  lead  them  out  of  the  store  and  down  the  concourse  towards  the  

[ire  door.  

 

Miriam   had   started   screaming   them   moment   the   lights   had   gone   out.   Even   in   the  

darkness   Kenneth   could   recognise   her   voice,   although   he   had   never   actually   heard   her   scream  before.  

 

He   stood   up   immediately,   blundering   towards   the   sound,   straining   to   make   out  

where  he  was  going  as  his  eyes  slowly  adjusted  to  the  gloom.     All  around  him  people  were  shouting  and  screaming.  The  sound  of  panicked  people  

trying  to  organise  and  scaring  themselves  in  the  process.     He  bumped  up  against  someone.  Someone  tall.   “Get  back!”  said  a  voice  -­‐  he  thought  it  might  have  been  the  tall  security  guard  -­‐  and  a  

hand  pushed  him  roughly  backwards  so  that  he  stumbled  against  someone  else.     “Careful,”  said  another  voice,  ”Are  you  alright?”   The  lights   of  mobile   phones   were  coming  on,   patches   of  glow   in   the  black,   dancing  

like  creatures  out  of  a  fairy  tale.  Someone  had  a  torch  and  it  waved  over  the  ceiling  and  the   startled  faces  around  it.     Then  there   came   an  exultant,   hysterical   crowing,   a   tumult   of   baying   and   scuf[ling  

and  a  voice.   “Ulmer!  Ulmer!”   “Get  out  of  the  way!  Get  the  fuck  out  of  the  way!”  someone  large  was  forcing  his  way  

through   the   shadowy   crowd,   pushing   people   into   each   other.   There   was,   somewhere   to-­‐ wards   the   escalators,   a   mocking,   cruel   laughter.   Young   voices,   the   sound  of  something  vi-­‐ cious  let  off  the  leash.  Kenneth  shivered  a  little.  It  was  the  sound  of  the  playground,  a  sound   he  had  always  dreaded.   Then  a   child   started  crying   and  he   recognised   it   immediately   as   Keith.   He   pushed  

through  the  crowd  to  the  sound,  and  something  grabbed  hold  of  his  leg.  Lucy.  How  she  had   found   him   in   the   milling,   confused,   indistinguishable   mass,   he’d   never   know.   And   there   were  Miriam  and  Keith.  

He  [lung  his  arms  around  them  and  in  doing  so  realised  he  hadn’t  done  anything  like  

that  since  Christmas  when  her  had  been  tipsy  on  ginger  wine.   “Report!  Ulmer!   Woolsey!”  the  voice  cut  through  the  chaos,   not  shouting,  just   pene-­‐

trating,  unmissable.     A   square  of  light  was   advancing  towards   them  across  the   mezzanine,   a   tablet  com-­‐

puter,   held  out   before   someone,   its   screen   acting,   inadequately,   as   a   torch.   Pasteur,   Lopez   and  Farkas  following  in  her  wake.       Woolsey,  one  of  the  guards,  shouldered  his  way  through  the  crowd.   “Roukan’s  down,”  he  said,  ”Someone  attacked  him  in  the  dark.”   As   if  in  response,   shouting  went  up,   further  away  and  below,  somewhere   down  the  

escalators.  

The  can  that  bounced  off  Whelan’s   head   was   empty  so   that  it   was   more  the   shock  

than  anything  else  that  made  him  stumble  back  down  the  stairs  into  Leikos.   He   must  have  been  still   silhouetted  by   the  glow  of  the   [ires  below,   that’s   how   they  

had   seen  him,   these   howling,   chaotic   shapes   rushing   down  out   of   the   darkness   towards   him.  He  glimpsed  the  white  of  faces  in  the  gloom,  wide  eyes  and  hooting  mouths.     “Wankers!”   He  fumbled  for  his  taser  as  more  cans  rained  round  them,  but  the  buzzing  darts  just  

clinked  against  the  glass  of  the  escalator  sides.   “Move  it!”  said  Leikos  behind  him,  ”We’ve  got  to  keep  moving!”  

 

Whelan  stumbled  forward  as  another  [igure  lurched  at  him,  making  grunting  noises,  

then  it   wheeled   away,   disappearing   downwards   into   the   darkness,   laughing   wildly.   Kids,   just  kids,  running  completely  fucking  amok.     Leikos   and   Channing   laboured   up   after   him,   carrying   Blethyn   between   them,   the  

man  moaning  as  they  stumbled  on.     Above   he   could   hear   Pasteur   giving   orders,   the   crowd   complaining,   the   sound   of  

high,  nervous  voices,  the  edge  of  hysteria.   “Whelan,”  she  somehow  knew  he  was  there,  even  without  turning  round,  ”I  want  this  

crowd  under  control.”   “They  set  [ire  to  a  chemists,”  he  said,  ”Blethyn’s    injured.”   “Roukan  as  well,”  she  said,  ”Get  them  into  the  coffee  shop.  Farkas,  you’ve  got  [irst  aid  

training.  Meanwhile,   I  want   every   one  of  these  people  searched  for   weapons,   prioritise  by   potential  threat.  Eighteen  to  thirty  year  olds  [irst,  particularly  males,  understand?”     “Right,”  said  Whelan,  turning  to  Woolsey,  ”Got  a  spare  taser  cartridge?”   “Follow  me,”  said  Pasteur  to  Leikos,  ”Farkas,  bring  Roukan.”   Using  her  tablet  as  a  torch  once  more,  she  guided  them  across  the  mezzanine  to  the  

coffee  shop.     The  cafe  was  empty.  Adam  had  gone.  

“What’s  going  on  out  there?  Who  are  you?”   The  man  was  wearing  a  pink  striped  shirt  under  a  collared  blue  jumper.  He  had  the  

untouched  pink  complexion  and  con[ident  manner  of  the  wealthy  classes.   The  kind  of  per-­‐ son  who  liked  to  think  of  the  police  as  just  another  servant.  Eva  got  a  grip  on  herself.  Noth-­‐

ing   was   going   to   be   helped  by   her   getting   irrationally   angry   just   because   she   didn’t   like   someone’s  background.   She  didn’t  like  his  haircut  either.   “Police,”  she  said,  ”Detective  Inspector  Lisiewicz.”   It  was  the  kind  of  shop  that  Eva  usually  detested,   a  place  that  had  no   distinguishing  

identity,  and  sold  nothing  of  any  practical  use.   Novelty  gifts,  the  novelty  of  which  had  worn   off  before  you  even  got  them  out  of  the  packaging,  cards  you  wouldn’t  want  to  send  to  any-­‐ one  you  might  like  enough  to  send  a  card  to,  last  minute  gifts  for  last  minute  acquaintances.   Of[ice  jokes  and  hal[hearted  celebrations.     This   one,   in   a   desperate   attempt   to   increase   footfall,   she   assumed,   was   half   con-­‐

verted   into   a  little   cafe.   Of  course,   the   gleaming   coffee  machine   had  stopped  working   the   moment  they  had  switched  to   emergency  power,   as  Hugh  had  discovered  when  he  tried  to   make  himself  a  Latte,  but  for  all  that  Eva  found  herself  curiously  relieved  to  see  it.     She  ought,  she  thought,  to  feel  angry,  looking  at  these  people  lounging  on  deck  chairs  

and  cushions   decorated  with   diamante   and  [lecks   of  mirror.   Sipping  their  fruit   smoothies   taken  from  the  cafe  fridge,  all  by  the  warm  light  of  a  set  of  garden  torches,   while  out  on  the   concourse  Sirhaan  was  lying  on  the  tiles,  waiting  for  them  to  come  back  to  him.     But   instead   she   felt   genuinely   happy   to   see   these   people.   Normal   people,   dealing  

with  an  insane  situation  in  a  normal  way.  Good  for  them.  Even  if  they  were  going  to  turn  out   to  be  irritating  idiots.   “The  police  are  here,   everybody,”  said  the  man,  and  then  turned  back   to   Eva,   ”Hugh  

Devereux,  everyone  here’s  ok.”  

“What  was  that  noise?”  said  a  woman  standing  behind  him,  wearing  a  too  short  skirt  

and  an  ostentatiously  restrained  necklace,  ”It  sounded  like  an  explosion.”   “I  told  you,   Jessica,”  said  Hugh,   without   turning  round,   ”They  probably  blew   up  the  

generator.”   chair.”     “I  knew  it,”  said  Hugh,  ”It’s  a  terrorist  attack,  isn’t  it?”   He  seemed  to  be  having  trouble  looking  Eva  in  the  eye.  His  gaze  kept  slipping  down   “They   blew   up   a   chemists,”  said  Eva,   ”They   just   smashed   up   the   generator   with   a  

to  her  chest.   “It   is,”  she   said,   ”Which   is   why   we   need   you   all   to   come   with   us,   we   need   you  all  

where  we  can  keep  you  safe.”   “They’re  blowing  things  up,”  said  Jessica,  ”We’re  quite  safe  in  here,  aren’t  we  Hugh?”   “No   you’re   not,”  said  Eva,   ”There’s   an  injured  guard  just   outside,   right  on  this  con-­‐

course.  The  [loor  above  is  already  on  [ire.  Here  is  exactly  where  you’re  not  safe  right  now.”   “But  the  police  are  here?”  said  Jessica.   “I’m  the  police,”  said  Eva.   “You’re  the  only  police,”  said  Hugh,  ”Aren’t  you?”   “Which  is  why  you’re  going  to  be  safe  with  me,”  said  Eva.   “Where  are  the  police?”  said  Hugh,  ”Are  they  on  their  way?”   “They  are  here,”  said  Eva,  ”And  I  am  not  asking  you  to  come  with  me,  I  am  telling  you,  

understand?”     She  [ixed  his  gaze,  daring  him  to  contradict  her,  and  was  slightly  revolted  to  see  that  

he  smiled  to  himself  in  a  way  that  made  her  feel  distinctly  grubby.  

“Bring  some  of  those  lamps  with  you,”  she  said,  ”And  one  of  those  deck  chairs.  We’re  

going  to  need  it  to  use  a  stretcher,  and  let’s  try  and  make  sure  we  only  need  one,  shall  we?”  

 

With  the  power   gone  Adam  had  nothing  to   guide  him  through  the  pitch-­‐black   serv-­‐

ice  tunnels  but  the  bare  concrete  surface  of  the  walls.   It  ought  to   have  been  the  darkness  that  confused  and  misled  him,  but  it  was  the  loss  

of   the   data   that   he   felt   most   keenly.   Everyday   he   thought   that   that   ever-­‐present   roiling   chaos   was   going  to   overwhelm   him,   every   waking   hour  that   inescapable  tinnitus   of  other   people’s   triviality  hounded  him,  every  moment   was  lit   by   the  ghastly  [lash  of  data  and  the   vision  of  monsters  and  yet  he  missed  it.  He  missed  the  insight  and  the  revelation,  he  missed   the  great  width  and  depth  of  the  electronic  world,  he  missed  the  knowledge.     Above   him   on   the   mezzanine   he   could   still   feel   the   lonely   chirruping   of   mobile  

phones,  but  without  the  network  they  were  just  bewildered  [ire[lies,  sparks  of  isolated  data   in  the  great  night  that  surrounded  him.  The  radios  were  still  reaching  out  to  each  other,  but   their  power  was  failing  now,  the  signal  dimming,  receding.     He   tried  to  remember  the   map  of  the  tunnels,   tried   to   remember  the   route  he   had  

taken  to  get  in  and  he  could  already  feel  it  growing  insubstantial  in  his  head,  a  ghost  incon-­‐ gruously  fading  in  the  dark.   Leikos.   The   name   popped   out   at   him,   coming   down   towards   him   through   the  

shadow.  A  mobile  phone  mumbling  its  contact  list  to  itself,  keening  for  the  lost  network,  his   radio  stretching  a  tenuous  link  out  to  the  others.  He  looked  back  and  could  suddenly  see  the   tunnel  lit  in  the  growing  light  of  an  approaching  torch.  Light!  Light  that  he  didn’t  want  to  be   around  to  see.  

 

But  there  it  was  -­‐  he  had  almost  passed  it  -­‐  a  turning  to  the  left.  Down  it  to  the  door,  

now  completely  unlocked  with  the  power  out.  But  he  heard  the  footsteps  behind  quicken  at   the  sound  of  the  door  opening.    He  slammed  it  behind  him  and  dashed  across  the  concourse   to  the  escalator,  starting  down  at  a  run  as  he  heard  the  door  open  behind  him.   Ahead   of   him,   down   in   the   depths,   was   the   dim   light   of   [ire,   and   movement   too,  

shadows,  shapes  in  the  darkness.  He  almost  paused,  but  he  could  feel  Leikos’  phone  on  the   escalator   behind,   charging   down   towards   him.   He   ran,   stumbling   on   the   steps   -­‐   no,   he   couldn’t   afford  to   fall   now,   he  caught  himself,  slipped  down  the  last   few   to   the  concourse   below.     Away  to   his   right,   a  shop  was  burning  and,   it   seemed  to  him,  [igures  danced  with  a  

hideous   glee  in  the  [irelight,   shadows  racing  up  and  down  the  walls.   He  turned  away  from   them,  slipping  on  the  marble  tiles  as  Leikos  barrelled  down  the  steps  towards  him.     Then  a  [igure  rose  up  from  the  shadows  beside  the  escalator,  something  hulking  and  

dark  that  turned  into  something  hissing  and  glinting  in  the  [lickering  light.  It  caught  Leikos   mid  step,  right  across  the  face,  pitching  him  over  backwards  on  the  escalator  with  a  single,   inarticulate  yelp.   The  [igure  wheeled  unsteadily  and  grabbed  Adam’s  arm  pulling  him  after  it  into  the  

shadows   away   from   the   [ire.   He   found   himself   stumbling   along   in   a   funk   of   unwashed   clothes  and  stale  booze  that  he  recognised  from  somewhere.  The  old  drunk,  the  one  Debbie   had  attacked  when  Adam  had  stolen  her  phone,  it  was  him.   “Down  here,”  said  the  man,  ”The  kids  are  down  that  way.”  Adam  could  already  hear  

voices  behind  them,  calling  out.  

“You’re  the  one,   aren’t   you?”  the  man  suddenly   stopped,   catching  hold  of  Adam  and  

whisking  him  round  so  that  the  receding  [irelight  was  on  his  face,   ”Yeah,  you’re  him.  Stood   up  for  me,  yeah,  come  on,  we’ll  be  ok  in  here.”     He   pushed   open  the   door  to   a   shop   and  hustled   Adam   through,   into   what  looking  

like  a  camping  and  outdoors  suppliers.   “They   took   some   of  the   good   stuff,   but   there’s   plenty   left,   propane   and   that,”   the  

man,  Adam  realised,  was  hold  a  metal  broom  handle,  like  a  staff.  It  now  had  a  sizeable  dent   in  it  about  the  shape  of  Leikos’  head.   “It  was  you,”  said  Adam,  ”You  blew  up  the  shop.”   “They  wouldn’t  let  us  have  guns,  you  see,  made  you  think  about  what  you  could  do  if  

you  didn’t  have  a  gun.  I  had  a  lot  of  ideas,”  the  man  was  hunting  down  the  shelves,  picking   up  objects  and  turning  them  over  before  putting  them  back,  ”Yugoslavia,  only  it’s  not  called   that  anymore.”   “You  were  in  the  former...  were  you  a  peacekeeper  or  something?”   “None  to  keep.   Mass  graves  and  massacres  and  mass...  And  they  tell  me  not  to  drink.  

Like  this  is  any  better,”  he  gestured  wildly  at  the  rest  of  the  shop,  staggering  backwards  into   a  shelves  and  making  a  display  of  thermos  [lasks  judder  against  each  other.   “Worse  than  a  drug,  isn’t  it?  Trying  to   [ill  up  your  world  with  stuff  you  buy,  trying  to  

[ill  up  the  hours.  Fill  up  the  glass,  that’s  what  I  say,  [ill  up  the  glass,  toast  those  lovely  monks,   eh?”   “Or,”  said  Adam,  ”You  could  do  something  about  it.”   “What  can  you  do?  You  can’t  win.  Got  no  guns  -­‐  they’ve  got  the  guns,  haven’t  they,  the  

weapons.”  

“Maybe  you  can’t  win  on  your  own...”   “Need   an   army,”   said  the   man,   leaning   back   against   a   shelf,   ”See   the   army   has   to  

make  you,   they   have   to   break   you,   you  know,   uniform,   drill,   yes   sir,   no   sir,   they  make   you   into   a  soldier,   but   those   fuckers,”   he  gestured  out   at   the  wider   world,   ”Those  fuckers   are   born.   They’re   born   to   it   with   their   homemade   uniforms   and   their   homemade   rules   and   their  homemade  little  fucking...  soldiers  are  made,  policemen  are  born.”   “But  we  have  an  army,”  said  Adam,  ”We  are  an  army.”   “You  in  the  army?”  the  man  focussed  on  him.   “An  army,”  said  Adam,  ”I  hope  so.”   “Then  you  know  your  duty,”  said  the  man  decisively,  nodding  to  himself.   “Did  you  see  where  they  went?  The  people  who  were  in  here?”   “Door   at   the   end.   There’s   stairs   all   the   way   up,   all   the   way   to   the  top.   Had   a   little  

wander   myself,   seen   the   sights,   seen   the   world,   seen   it   try   and  kill   itself.   Thank   god   for   those  monks.”   “I’ve  got  to  go  after  them,”  said  Adam.   “You’ve  got  to  look  out  for  your  friends,”  said  the  man,  ”That’s  your  duty.  Mates.”   “You  look  after  yourself,”  said  Adam,  ”Alright?”   “Look   after   other   people,”   said   the   man,   with   an   inebriated   sincerity,   ”And   they’ll  

look  after  you.”  

 

Croquet   mallets.   Hugh   had   found   a   set   in   the   store   and   had  removed   the   mallets  

from  it,   handing   ceremoniously  them   out  to   the  men   in  their  little   group.   One   of  the  men   had  demurred  and  his  wife  had  taken  it  instead,   hefting  it  appreciatively  and  then  twirling  

it,  like  a  cheerleader  with  a  baton.  Hugh  had  looked  a  little  taken  aback  at  this  but  had  said   nothing.     Eva  hadn’t  bothered  to  stop  them,   hell,  it  might  even  prove  useful.  All  they  had,   oth-­‐

erwise,  were  the  two  tasers,  each  of  them  with  only  a  couple  of  charges  left.  Who  was  she  to   stand  in  the  way  of  a  little  positive  community  action?     When  they   reached  Randall,   who   was  keeping  her  taser  trained  on  the  girl  and  her  

torch  on  Sirhaan,  they  discovered  that  Sirhaan  had  regained  consciousness.     The  girl   took   one   look   at   Hugh  and  his   little   posse   with  their   croquet   mallets  and  

laughed.   “Jesus,  it’s  the  militant  wing  of  the  conservative  party,”  she  said.   “You  know   what?”  said  Hugh,   his   eyes  lighting   up,   ”It   absolutely  is.   And  we’re   sick  

and  tired  of  jumped  up  little...”   here.”   teur.   “This  is  Detective  Inspector  Lisiewicz,  I  have  a  group  with  me,  we’re  heading  back  to   “I’m  a  nurse,”  said  a  man  with  a  goatee,  pushing  past  her,  ”Let  me  have  a  look.”   As  he  bent  down  to  examine  Sirhaan,  Eva  took  Randall’s  radio  and  tried  to  raise  Pas-­‐ “I  voted  Labour,”  said  one  of  the  women.   “You,  you’re  under  arrest,  so  you  can  shut  up,”  said  Eva,   ”Randall,   give  me  some  light  

you  now.”       Nothing,  just  a  hiss  of  static.   “Do  you  receive  me?”   More  static,  then  a  voice  suddenly  cut  in.  

“Fire  door  on  level  2  is  open.  Suspects  may  be  trying  to   escape  the  building  through  

the  [ire  escapes.  Repeat.”     But  then  it  cut  off  and  didn’t  repeat.   “Well,”  said  Eva,  ”Maybe  that’ll  mean  we  can  at  least  get  upstairs  safely.”   His   bruising   was   extensive   but   Sirhaan   appeared   to   have   nothing   broken   and   in-­‐

sisted  that  he  could  walk.   “Good   man,”   said   Hugh,   visibly   restraining   himself   from   slapping   Sirhaan   on   the  

back,  he  turned  to  the  girl,  ”It’ll  take  more  than  a  punk  like  you  to  stop  a  man  like  that.”   girl.     “Wasn’t  it  your  lot  that  did  that?”  said  Hugh.   “There’s  no  evidence  either  way,”  said  Eva,  ”Can  we  just  get  on  up  this  escalator?”   She  tried  to  hustle  them  forward,  up  the  steps.   “There  is  evidence,”  said  the  girl,  ”Why  the  fuck  do  you  think  they’re  going  up  the  [ire   “Maybe  we  should  have  kicked  him  into   a  coma  like  they  did  to  Ella  Lamb,”  said  the  

escape?  They’re  going  to  [ind  the  evidence  and  we’re  going  to  show  everyone.”   “You’re  not  going  to  do  anything,”  said  Hugh.   “The  police  have  examined  all  the  video,”  said  Randall.   “Like   they’d  show  the   police!”  said  the  girl,   ”One  of  them,   one   of  their   own  fucking  

guards  is  helping  us,  he  knows  what  they’re  like!”   “That’s  not  true,”  said  Randall,  ”It  can’t  be.”   “A  Kerberos  guard?”  Eva  thought  about  the  [igure  in  the  leather  jacket  Argus  had  tar-­‐

geted  and  the  shape  of  his  shoulders,  ”Dark  hair,  tall,  late  twenties?”     The  girl  suddenly  became  suspicious;  Eva  must  have  hit  the  mark.  

“He’s  doing  the  right  thing,  he  wants  to  know  the  truth  -­‐  don’t  you?”   “Yes,”  said  Eva,   ”I   do.”  She  thought   about  the   Kerberos  guard  who   had  been  kicked  

unconscious   and  about  the  way  the  stupid  dead  girl  had  pointed  at  the  guard  on  the  CCTV   footage.   That  point  and  the  mouth  shouting  ’You’.   Yes,   she  very   much  wanted  to   know   the   truth.     Something  moved  in  the  corner  of  her  eye  and  she  ducked  instinctively  as  a  burning  

chunk  of  wood  sailed  over  her  head.  She  looked  up  at  the  top  of  the  escalator.     Dark   [igures,   silhouetted   against   the   uncertain   light   of   the   [ire,   [litted   past   in   the  

shadows,   two   more  glowing  missiles   arcing  down  the  escalators   towards   them  out  of  the   darkness.   “Everyone  move!”  Eva  pulled  at   the  two  people  carrying  Sirhaan,  trying  to  manoeu-­‐

vre  them  out  of  the  way.     “Follow  me!”  Hugh  lifted  up  his  croquet  mallet,  brandishing  it,  ”Come  on!”   And  with  that  he  raced  up  the  escalator,  screaming  at  the  top  of  his  voice  and  waving  

his  mallet,  two  of  the  others  drawn  in  his  wake.  Eva  started  forward,  shouting  after  them.     “Come  back!  Don’t  be  so  stupid!  We  have  to  stick  together!”   But   Hugh  ignored  her,   charging   up  the  steps,   half  laughing   with  the   thrill   of  it,   the  

shadowy  [igures  above  suddenly  scattering  before  him.   “Hugh!”  said  Jessica,  moving  after  him.   “Come  on,  then,  quickly!”  Eva  pulled  at   the  others,  hustling  them  onto  the  escalator,  

”Get  up  there  and  get   straight  across  the   concourse,   straight  up  the  next  escalator,   under-­‐ stand,  just  keep  moving,”  

 

She   dragged   the   girl   after   her,   Randall   bringing   up   the   rear,   as   they   slipped   and  

stumbled  up  the  metal  steps.     Up  on  the  second  [loor  the  [lames  cast  racing  shadows  about  them,  shouts  and  yelps  

echoed   off  the   walls   and  [igures   lurched  and   spun  in  the   darkness.   The  woman   with  the   croquet  mallet  appeared  out  of  the  shadows  and  got  in  behind  the  couple  carrying  Sirhaan,   hurrying  them  along.     “Devereux,”  said  Eva,  ”Get  back  here,  we’ve  got  to  keep  moving.  Devereux!”   She  was  almost  at  the  next   escalator  when  Hugh  appeared,   breathless,   dragging  the  

other  man  with  him.   “That  showed  them,  little  thugs,”  he  was  positively  beaming  with  pride.   “Fucking  wankers,”  came  a  shout  from  below.   “They’re  just  fucking  kids,”  said  the  girl,  as   Eva  pulled  her  up  the  stairs,  ”He  just  at-­‐

tacked  a  bunch  of  kids  with  a  fucking  hammer,  isn’t  that  child  abuse?”   “It’s  a  croquet  mallet,”  said  Hugh,  ”Appropriate,  really.”   “Those  kids,”  said  Eva,  ”Were  just  throwing  burning  rubbish  at  you.  Keep  moving.”   “Are   you  surprised?”  said  the  girl,   ”When  they’re  being  chased  around  by   Tory   boy  

and  his  fucking  cricket  hammer?”   “Croquet  mallet,  you  ignorant  little  prole,”  said  Hugh.   “Hey,”  said  Eva,  ”None  of  that.”   “Prole,”  said  the  girl,  ”That  just  about  sums  it  up.  Look  at  this   fucking  place,   I  mean,  

look   at   it.   Everywhere,   everything   just   telling   you,   you   don’t   have   any   money,   and   then   you’re  worthless,  just  worthless.  No  wonder  they  just  want  burn  it  all  down  and  smash  it  all   up.  God  knows  I  do.”  

“Mindless  vandalism,”  said  Hugh.   “Oh  no,”  said  the  girl,   ”Mindful,  very  fucking  mindful   vandalism.  Oh,  and  by  the  way,  

being  a  punk  is  a  good  thing.  Just  so  you  know.”   “Quiet,”  said  Eva.  There  were  noises  coming  from  above  them  now,  too,  raised  voices  

and  running  feet  and  the  sound  of  [ighting.   “Oh  great,”  she  said,  ”What  fresh  hell  is  this?”   It  was  Keith’s  screams  that  had  [inally  done  it.   There   had   been   some   message   on   the   radio   and   the   woman   Pasteur   had   gone  

through  some  emergency  exit,   taking  two   of  the  guards   with  her,   leaving  just   four   of  them   behind   to   deal   with  the   crowd.   This   included   was   the   big   one   who   had   pushed   Kenneth   when  the  lights  went  out  and  a  couple  of  new  ones  that  he  hadn’t  seen  before,  one  of  them   covered   in   what   looked   like   soot.   There   seemed   to   be   some   kind  of   [ire   down   stairs,   al-­‐ though  no  one  seemed  to  be  doing  anything  about  it.     The  guards  had  tried  to  get  everyone  standing  up,  to   try  and  usher  them  into  differ-­‐

ent  groups,  but  the  crowd  was  upset  and  fractious,  arguing  back  and  refusing  to  cooperate.   The  guards  themselves,  already  nervous  and  frayed  began  to  lose  their  tempers.  One  

of  them  had  made  to  snatch  Keith  from  Miriam’s  arms,  insisting  that  he  had  to  go  with  Ken-­‐ neth,  to  keep  the  men  together,  and  Keith  had  started  screaming.   “Leave  him  alone,”  Kenneth  had  marched  up  to  the  guard.   “Get  back  over  there,”  the  guard,  who  Kenneth  thought  was  called  Woolsey,  jabbed  a  

[inger  at  him.     Kenneth  had  always  been  told  it  was  rude  to  point.  It  certainly  felt  rude  now.  He  grit-­‐

ted  his  teeth  and  swatted  the  [inger  aside.  

 

“Leave  my  son  alone,”  said  Kenneth,  advancing  on  the  guard.   “Kenneth,”  said  Miriam,  half  nervous,  half  in  wonder.   “Yeah,  leave  the  kid  alone,”  said  another  man,  appearing  at  Kenneth’s  shoulder.   Woolsey  brought  up  his  taser  and  levelled  it  at  Kenneth.   “Get  back,  now.”   “Oh  give  me  that  stupid  thing,”  said  Kenneth,  exactly  as  he  would  to  Lucy  with  a  toy,  

and  he  just  reached  out   and  took   hold  of  the   gun.   Woolsey   tried  to   pull  it   away,   but   Ken-­‐ neth’s  grip  was  [irm.   “Give  it  back,”  Woolsey  tried  to   loosen  Kenneth’s  grip,   but   Kenneth  grabbed  hold  of  

Woolsey’s   free  hand  and   the  two   of  them   tussled   for   a   moment   in  a   kind  of  vertical   arm   wrestle.  Then  Miriam  stepped  forward  and  slapped  Woolsey  across  the  face.     “Leave  my  husband  alone!”   Woolsey  reeled  back  and  then  a  number  of  hands  were  clutching  at  him,  pulling  him  

backwards,  away  from  Kenneth,   and  all  of  a  sudden  Kenneth  found  himself  standing  there,   with  the  ridiculous  plastic  gun  in  his  hand,  surrounded  by  a  group  of  other  men.   “Put  that  down!”  It  was  the  big  guard,  the  one  called  Ulmer.  He  was  pointing  his  taser  

at  Kenneth,  ”Put  it  down  now!”   Ulmer  was  a  good  foot  taller  than  Kenneth  and  a  good  deal  broader,  too.  A  large  man  

with  a  big  black  and  yellow  gun,  towering  over  Kenneth.  Kenneth  found  that  his  hands  were   shaking   from  the   rage  and   adrenaline.   He  went   to   say   something   and  discovered  that   his   mouth  wouldn’t  work.   “No,”  was  all  he  could  manage.  

The  was  a  snap  and  buzz,  like  that  electric  wasp  the  man  held  had  just   stung  some-­‐

one  and   Ulmer’s   mouth   opened   in  surprise.   Kenneth  realised  that  Ulmer’s   weapon  hadn’t   [ired.  He  looked  down.  Neither  had  his.   “Oh,   fuck   it,”  said  a   voice  and  there  was  another   crackle  and  Ulmer   dropped  to   his  

knees,  revealing  behind  him  the  policewoman,  holding  a  taser  of  her  own.   “Put  the  weapon  down,”  said  another  voice,   the  guard  who  had  been  in  the  [ire,   his  

own  taser  now  pointing  at  the  policewoman.   “Seriously?”  she  said,  completely  unfazed  by  this,  ”You’re  going  to   tase  a  police  of[i-­‐

cer?  Randall,  take  that  away  from  him.”     She  was  evidently  talking  to  a  female  guard  who  was  standing  behind  her.  The  guard  

dithered,  not  sure  what  to  do.   “Randall,”   said   the   policewoman,   ”Your   job   is   to   protect   people.   Do   any   of   these  

guards  look  like  they’re  doing  that?  Mr.  Devereux,  give  her  a  hand.”     A  man  carrying  a  croquet  mallet  stepped  forward  and  the  guard  turned  his  taser  to-­‐

wards  him.     “Just  try  it,”  said  the  man,  ”And  then  I’ll  introduce  you  to  my  lawyer.”   The  guard  lowered  his  taser.   “Thank  you,  Mr.  Devereux,  Mr.  Robinson,”  said  the  policewoman.   “Now,”  said  Kenneth,  ”Can  I  see  my  Debbie?”   “Yes,”  said  Eva,  ”I  think  that  would  be  a  very  good  idea  indeed.”  

 

Pasteur  followed  Lopez  out  of  the  [ire  door  and  into  the  second  [loor  of  the  of[ices.  It  

was  dark  and  silent  up  here,  with  only  dim  light  [iltering  in  from  the  windows  at  the  front  of   the  building.     Whelan  turned  as  she  stepped  out  and  nodded  to  her.   “Where  now?”   “They’ll  be  heading  for  my  of[ices,”  she  said.   “How  do  you  know?”  said  Lopez.   “I  know,”  was  all  she  would  say.  Whelan  shrugged.   “We’ll  go  down  past  the  meeting  room,”  he  said,  ”There’s  too  many  hiding  places  out  

in  the  open  plan.”   “Agreed,”  said  Pasteur.   “Just  watch  out  for  traps.”  Whelan  felt  that  familiar  nausea  in  his  stomach,  that  nerv-­‐

ousness  of  danger.  It  was  that  old  thrill  again,  that  knowledge  that  you  genuinely  could  not   expect  what  was  about  to  happen,  all  you  could  do  was  react  well.  This  was  the  real  test,  the   test  not   of  your  planning  and  tactics   but  of  how  you  acted  under  [ire.   Could  you  keep  your   nerve,  could  you  respond?   His  skin  seemed  to  have  become  super  sensitive,  as  if  he  could  feel  the  exhalations  of  

Pasteur  and  Lopez  as  they  followed  him.  What  he  wouldn’t  have  given  for  the  Argus  system   now.   Technology  like  that  was  like  having  some  kind  of  superpower  or  something.   Terrible   thing  to  lose.     It  was  a  short  corridor  that  led  past  a  meeting  room  towards  the  head  of  the  stairs.  

The  wall  to  his  left  was  [loor  to  ceiling  glass,  half  frosted,  looking  into  the  room  beyond.  

He  craned  up  and  peered  into   the  room,  over  the  frosting.  Light  [iltered  in  from  the  

central  well   beyond.   He  couldn’t  see  anything  unusual   inside.   Table,  chairs,  conference  call   spider  in  the  centre.     He   moved   cautiously   down   the   corridor,   painfully   aware   of   how   visible   his   form  

would  be  through  the  glass  wall,   and  how  he  was   approaching  the  open  door  of  the  room.   The  huge  table  could  have  easily  hidden  anyone,   anything  from  view,  something  that  could   be  waiting  for  him  to  pass  in  front  of  that  open  door.     He  paused.  Which  probably  saved  his   life,   as   did  the  architectural  glass  wall,   which  

did  a  very   good  job  of  containing  the  explosion.  That   and  the  conference  table,   which  was   [lipped  up  by  the  explosives  hidden  under  it  and  hurled  at  the  glass,  which  crazed  with  the   blast  and  then  shattered  under  the  impact,  showering  Whelan  with  sparkling  crumbs  as  the   table  fell  through  on  top  of  him.   Pasteur  reeled  back  into  Lopez,  who  then  jerked  under  her  as  Buffalo  appeared  from  

the  shadows  and  tased  him  twice  in  quick  succession.  Lopez’  spasming  arms  threw  Pasteur   to   one  side  and  she  just  caught  a   glimpse  of  Buffalo  as  he  turned  and  disappeared  among   the  desks  of  the  open  plan  of[ices  behind  them.   Whelan  pulled  himself  out  from  under  the  table  in  time  to   see  Pasteur  standing  in  a  

classic  [iring  range  position,  trying  to  draw  a  bead  on  their  assailant  with  Lopez’  taser.     The  passageway   was  [illing  with  smoke  and  debris.  Shredded  meeting  minutes   spi-­‐

ralled  around  him.   “Which  way?”   “Open  plan,”  she  replied,  ”Go  round.”  

 

The  whole  of  his  left  side  was  hurting,   and  his  ears  were  ringing  from  the  explosion.  

Whelan  paused  in  the  corridor  by  the  stairs,  trying  to  catch  his  breath.     Ahead  of  him  was  a  wide  expanse  of  open  plan  of[ices,  ranks  of  desks  punctuated  by  

islands  of  soft  seating  -­‐   little  impromptu  meeting  rooms  made  of  high  backed  sofas.  And  be-­‐ yond  them  windows  and,  unbelievably,  a  soft,  summer  evening,  the  sun  setting  over  the  city.   A  rose  sky  and  gold  gilding  the  rooftops.  And  from  somewhere  below  the  [lashing  lights   of   the  emergency  services.  He  could  just  about  make  out  sirens  through  the  soundproo[ing.     It   was   still   light   out,   incredible.   Of   all   the  insanity   of  the  day  that   somehow   struck  

Whelan  as  the  most  incredible  thing  he  seen  yet.     He  was  still  staring  at  it  when  Buffalo  attacked  him  with  his  sword.  

Pasteur’s   of[ice   was   as   spotless   as   it   always  was.   Tidier,   in   fact,   as   the  tablet   com-­‐

puter  that  always  sat  on  her  desk  was  gone.   “So  what  now,  brains?”  said  Mr.  Handerson.   “You  said  it   was   here.   We  look   for  it,”  said   Nico.   He  turned  to   the  desk   and  started  

opening  drawers.   For  the  [irst  time  he  realised  that   there  were  no   personal  effects   on  Pas-­‐ teur’s  desk,  no  executive  toys,  no  photographs,  not  even  a  post-­‐it.   “I   said   it   was   in   the   building,”   said   Mr.   Handerson,   looking   around   at   the   of[ice,  

”There’s  barely  a  personality  in  this  room,  let  alone  somewhere  to  hide  something.”   “You  want  to  [ind  it.”   “Look,   this   is   a   senior   of[icer   in   a   security   corporation   trying   to   hide   crucial   evi-­‐

dence,   she’s  not  just  going  to  leave  it  lying  around  her  of[ice,  I  mean  it  could  be  searched  at   any  time,”  Mr.  Handerson  was  looking  at  a  piece  of  anonymous  corporate  art  on  the  wall,  his  

voice  trailing  into   thinking  out  loud,   ”But  she  wouldn’t  trust  the  corporate  servers,   or  ma-­‐ chines,   they  could  be  searched  too.   But  she’d  want  to   keep  it  close  to   her,   where  she  could   keep  an  eye...”     He  suddenly  turned  and  stepped  out  of  the  room.   “So   if  they  might  search  the  of[ice,   why  not  keep  it  outside  the  of[ice?”  and  he  pulled  

something  down  from  high  above  the  door.  A  USB  thumb  drive.   “See?”   Nico  sat  up  in  Pasteur’s  chair,  staring  at  the  drive  in  Handerson’s  [ingers.  He  realised  

he  was  holding  his  breath  and  made  an  effort  to  exhale  evenly,  calmly.  Was  it  true?  Had  Pas-­‐ teur  really  been  keeping  the  CCTV  footage  of  him  and  Ella  Lamb?   “So...”  Mr.   Handerson  twisted  his   backpack   off  and   unzipped   it   in  a   practiced,   [luid  

movement,  lifting  out  a  chunky  looking  laptop.   He  slid  it  onto  the  desk  and  popped  it  open,   thumbing  the  power  key.     Nico  got  up  and  started  to  move  round  the  desk.   “Hold   it,”  said  Handerson,   ”Stay   there.   Logging   on.”  He  didn’t   seem   to   do   anything,  

though,  just  paused  for  a  moment  and  then  nodded  at  the  screen.   “OK.”   Nico  moved  round  behind  him.   It  didn’t  look  like  any  computer  screen  that  Nico   had  

ever  seen;  it  was  just  black  with  a  blinking  cursor  at  the  top.     Mr.  Handerson  jammed  in  the  thumb  drive  and  started  typing  something.   “Yep,  there's  a  media  [ile  on  here.”  

Boom.  There  was  the  sound  of  an  explosion  somewhere  nearby  and  Nico   turned  in-­‐

voluntarily  to  look  back  out  of  the  door.  Through  the  glass  outside  and  across  the  gap  of  the   building’s  central  well,  he  could  see  the  glow  of  [ire  lighting  up  a  meeting  room.   “Buffalo,”  he  said.   “Jesus   Christ,”   said   Mr.   Handerson.   Nico   turned   back.   Video   was   playing   on   the  

screen.  Grainy  colour,  no  sound.   “This  is   it,”  said  Mr.  Handerson,   ”This  is   the  fucking  it.  That’s  Ella  Lamb,  and  that’s...  

Jesus,  that’s  you.”   Nico   thought   about   hunting   with  his   father,   how   they   used  to   bleed  the   carcasses  

out,  and  he  reached  down  with  the  knife  and  cut  Mr.  Handerson’s  throat.  

“I  dunno,”  said  Debbie,  ”He  was  just  some  bloke.”   “Debbie,  please,”  said  Kenneth  Robinson,  ”We  need  to  help  the  Detective  Inspector.”   They   were   sitting   in   the   cafe,   Eva,   the   Robinsons,   Randall,   Hugh,   who   Eva   now  

couldn’t   get   rid  of,   the   female   404,   who   apparently   called   herself   V.   The   nurse   who   had   looked  after  Sirhaan  was  now  helping  Farkas  with  the  other  two  injured  guards.  Jessica  was   organising  the  distribution  of  drinks   and  food  from  the  cafe  chiller  cabinet.   A   little  knot   of   people  were   already   in   the  cafe  kitchen,   seeing  what   they  could  make  from   what  ingredi-­‐ ents  were  there.   Hugh.   “404s,”  said  V,  ”You  wouldn’t  get  it.”   “Debbie,”  said  Eva,  ”This  is  important,  the  man  could  be  in  serious  danger.”   “I  thought   he  was   one   of   these   terrorists,   what   do   you  call   them,   the   Fours?”   said  

“He  is  though,  isn’t  he?”  said  Eva,  ”This  was  his  idea,  wasn’t  it,  him  and  the  girl  in  the  

car  crash.”   “Lilith,”  said  V,  ”It’s  fucking...”  she  paused,   swallowing,  ”Yeah,   it  was  their  idea.  Adam  

said  he  knew  they  were  hiding  the  video,  that  he  knew  where  to  [ind  it,  they  put  the  call  out   for  back  up,  said  they  were  going  to  [ind  it.”   “So  he’s  gone  to  look  for  it,”  said  Eva,  ”Only  he’s  not  the  only  one.  The  guard  you  met,  

who   was   helping  you?  He’s   not  helping   you.   Actually   quite   the   opposite,   I  think.   In  fact,   I   think  he’s  the  one  attacked  Ella  Lamb,  attacked  Kenyon  over  there  and  if  your  friend  Adam   [inds   the  video  he’s  going  to  attack  him  too.   I  think  he’s  just   about  ready  to   do  anything  to   stop  anyone  [inding  that  video.”     They   all   sat   up   suddenly.   There   was   noise   from   somewhere   above,   the  breathless  

concussion  of  an  explosion  and  then  the  shattering  of  glass  and  screaming  from  the  mezza-­‐ nine.     Eva   jumped  from  the  table  and  rushed  outside,   followed  by  the  others.  High  above,  

on  the  second  [loor  of  the  of[ices,  a  room  was  on  [ire.  The  window  had  blown  out,  scattering   smashed  glass  down  on  the  crowd  below.   “Is   everyone  alright?”   said  Eva,   ”Everyone   back  down  this  end.   Where’s   the  nurse?  

Check  everyone’s  ok.”     She  turned  to  people  behind  her.   “I  can’t  wait  for  the  rest  of  the  police  to  get  in  here,  I’m  going  up  there.  Randall,   you  

need  to  take  charge  down  here.”   “No,”  said  Randall,  ”I’m  coming  with  you.”   “So  am  I,”  said  Hugh,  ”Wouldn’t  miss  it  for  the  world.”  

“I  rather  think,”  said  Kenneth,  ”That  we’re  all  coming.”  

 

The  hunting   knife  [lashed  red  and  blue   and  gold  in   the  light   coming  from   the  win-­‐

dows   as  slashed  down  at   him  again.   Whelan  threw  up  an  arm  and  white  woollen  padding   [loated  up  in  its  wake  where  it  had  torn  his  jacket  open.   Buffalo’s  face  was  full  of  a  terrible,  concentrated  glee,  the  face  of  a  small  child  gently,  

insistently   dismembering   a   beetle.   The   makeshift   sword   spun  in   his   hands,   the   blade   re-­‐ versing  direction,   cutting  upwards  now,  and  Whelan  stumbled  backwards,  dropping  his  ta-­‐ ser  and  grabbing  an  of[ice  chair,  spinning  it  in  front  of  him,  towards  Buffalo.     Buffalo   swung  the   stick  round,   pushing  the   chair  to  one  side,   spinning  the  blade   in  

the  blaze  of  the  setting  sun.     There   was   a  whole  row   of  chairs  and  Whelan  sent  them  all   spinning,   one  after  an-­‐

other,  colliding  and  clashing  in  the  narrow  space  between  two  long  desks.     He  darted  to   one  side,  trying  to   see  where  he  had  dropped  the  taser,   his  leg  almost  

giving  out   beneath  him,  but  Buffalo  jumped  clear  of  the  chairs,   up  onto  the  desk,  the  lami-­‐ nate  surface  sagging  and  juddering  under  his  weight  as  he  leaped  towards  Whelan.   Whelan   grabbed   what   he   could:   a   phone,   the   handset   whirling   out   on   the   coiled  

cord,   snapping   at   Buffalo’s   head.   The   sword   swished   up   again,   severing   the   cord   neatly,   sending   the   handset   clattering   off   across   the   desks.   And   the   knife   spun   above   Buffalo’s   head,   glinting,   and  down  once  more,   and  Whelan  tripped,   falling,   his   head  contacting  with   the  edge  of  the  desk,  a  metallic  taste  of  blood  in  his  mouth,  his  tongue  smarting  between  his   teeth.  

Buffalo   stood  over  Whelan  and  raised  the   sword,   point  downwards  and  Pasteur  ta-­‐

sed  him  in  the  back,  three  times  in  quick  succession.   He  roared,  his  body  arcing,   vibrating.   The  sword  dropped,  the  knifepoint  burying  in  the  carpet  by  Whelan’s  head.     Then  Buffalo   hit   the   [loor   himself,   convulsed  in  pain.   Pasteur   looked  down   at   him  

and  Whelan.   “Come  on,”  she  said,  ”Let’s  go.”  

 

High  up  in  the  building  Adam  stood  in  a  window  and  looked  down  into   the  well  be-­‐

low.   There  were  [ires  burning  all  through  the  building.   Below  him  he  could  see  [lames   still   licking  up  out  of  the  broken  glass  of  the  meeting  room  while,  higher  up  on  the  other  side  of   the  well,  someone  had  now  lit  a  small  [ire  in  one  of  the  of[ices.     Further  down,  in  the  mezzanine,   garden  [lares  had  been  lit,  and  people  were  gather-­‐

ing  in  small  groups,  sharing  out  food,  making  it   look  as  if  some  medieval  encampment   had   sprung  up  amid  twenty  [irst  century  ruins.  Some  lost  and  primitive  people,   scraping  an  ex-­‐ istence  in  the  remains  of  a  forgotten  civilisation,   while  in  depths  beneath,   hell  smouldered,   the  [lickering  light  of  the  still  burning  chemists  [iltering  up  the  escalators.     Lily  had  once  told  him  the  theory  that  without  electricity  western  civilisation  would  

be  back  in  the  Bronze  Age  in  three  months.  Looking  down  below  him  he  was  inclined  to  the   think  that  that  estimate  was  wildly  over  optimistic.   Lily.  She  would  have  truly  loved  this.  Not  for  the  destruction  and  the  chaos,  she  liked  

to  make  that  impression,   but  that  wasn’t  her.   No,  what  she’d  like  were  those  little  knots   of   people  down  there,  sharing  what  they  had,  looking  after  each  other  in  all  the  madness.  

 

He  needed  her,  her  optimism,  her  [ire.  He  needed  to  hang  on  to  that  bit  of  her  that  he  

kept  within,  that  voice.     Suddenly  those  groups  of  people  were  on  their  feet,  as  one.  There  was  a  low  rumble,  

a  growling  explosion.  Smoke  billowed  across  the  mezzanine  from  the  direction  of  the  main   security  gates.  Then  light,  blazing  through  the  smoke,  the  beams  of  bright  searchlights.  And   in  the  light,  casting  great  [laring  shadows,  dark  [igures,  bulky  with  armour  and  weapons.     The  police  had  arrived.  Time  was  running  out.  

The   of[ice   stank,   the   hot,   cloying   smell   of   blood   mixed   with   charred   plastic   and  

chemical  smoke.  Lopez  gagged  and  stepped  back  outside.  Pasteur’s  eyes  began  to  water.     There  was  a  body  on  the  [loor.  She  half  recognised  the  [igure  from  the  Argus  feeds.  A  

thin  man  in  a  blue  uniform  with  little  silver  piercings  in  his  face  and  long,  wispy  blonde  hair.   Someone  had  cut  his  throat  and  the  blood  was  soaking  into  the  harsh  grey  carpet,  turning  it   dark  and  spongy.  His  pale  skin  was  almost  glowing  blue  in  the  gloom.   A   laptop  was   on  Pasteur’s   desk,   but   someone   had  built   a  little  [ire  on  the  keyboard  

and  the  whole  thing  was  a  lump  of  molten  plastic.     What  on  earth  had  happened  here?  Some  argument  between  the  terrorists,  perhaps? There  was  a  rumbling,  tearing  noise  somewhere  below   them  and  then  Whelan’s  ra-­‐

dio  sparked  into  life.   “Mezzanine.  Back  up  needed,  repeat,  back  up  needed  in  mezzanine.”   “Go,”  Pasteur  said  to  Whelan,  ”You  and  Lopez,  go.”   Whelan  really  didn’t  want  to  stay  in  this  room  any  longer,  but  he  still  didn’t  like  leav-­‐

ing  Pasteur  up  here  alone.  

 

“I  need  to  check  nothing  else  is  damaged,”  she  said,  ”You  two  go.”   Lopez  had  already  gone,  not  even  thinking  to  worry  about  Pasteur  -­‐  why  would  you?  

And  Whelan  limped  after  him  into  the  darkness.     Pasteur  reached  under   her   jacket   and  pulled  out   the  gun  she  had  taken  away   from  

Adam.   She   poked  the   muzzle   at   the   gooey   mess   that   was   the   laptop   keyboard.   Part   of  it   might  once  have  been  a  USB  thumb  drive.  She  scraped  the  gun  on  the  edge  of  the  table,  try-­‐ ing  to  disengage  a  strand  of  cooling  plastic,  then  she  looked  at  it,  puzzled.     She   stepped   over   the   body   on   the   [loor,   avoiding   the   spreading   bloodstain   on   the  

carpet  and  pulled  out  her  desk   drawer.  So  it  was  her  gun.  She  looked  at  it  for  a  moment  in   the  dim  light  [iltering  in  through  the  window  and  then  pulled  out  her  radio.   “How  long  have  you  been  using  the  radios  to  misdirect  us?”  she  said,  ”The  [ire  escape  

was  you,  wasn’t  it?”     The  radio  buzzed  at  her.   “A  while,”  said  a  voice,  ”The  generators,  for  instance.”   “Clever,”  she  said,  ”I’m  impressed  by  your  ingenuity  and  improvisation,  certainly,  but  

I  can’t  see  being  clever  getting  you  results  so  far.”   “Are  you  sure?”   “Let’s  review:  two   of  your  fellow  terrorists  are  in  custody  and  one  is  dead  on  my  of-­‐

[ice  [loor.   Either  you  have  had  a  falling  out   between  you  or  someone  is  now   after  you,   too.   Someone  else,  I  should  say,  to  add  to  all  my  staff,  the  police  who  have  just  entered  the  build-­‐ ing,  and  me.  Was  it  you,  just  out  of  interest?”   “No,”  said  the  voice,   ”And  I’m  sorry  about  it.   His  name  was  Derek,   but  he  liked  to  be  

called  Mr.  Handerson.  It’s  a  complicated  nerd  joke,   half  South  Park,  half  Matrix.  No?  He  was  

something  of  a  complicated  nerd  himself.   Had  a   lot  to   say   about  Ella  Lamb  and  late   stage   capitalism.”     Pasteur  reached  out  with  the  gun  towards  the  melted  plastic  once  more  but  stopped  

shy  of  touching  it  again.   said.   “I  think  we  can  take  that  as  read,  don’t  you?”  said  the  voice,  ”Besides,  I  know  where  it   “I  suppose  a  further  denial  of  the  existence  of  the  Ella  Lamb  video  is  redundant,”  she  

is,   the  details  of  the  server  were  leaked  online,   I’m  on  my  way  there  now,  how’s  that  for  a   result?”         Crouched  in  the  darkness  on  the  [ire  escape  stairs,  Eva  looked  at  Randall,  the  both  of  

them  bent  over  the  radio,  others  crowded  in  around  them  to  listen.   “The  honeypot  server,”  she  said,  ”Where  is  it?”   “The  what?”  said  Randall.   “Pasteur  created  a   trap  for  the   404s,   put  out  word  online  that  the   Ella   Lamb  video  

was  hidden  on  a  server  somewhere  in  this  building.   I  saw   it  on  Argus,   a  room  full  of  com-­‐ puter  equipment,  what  looked  like  an  empty  [loor.”   “Don’t  know  anything  about  that,”  said  Randall,  ”But  the  top  three  [loors  of  the  build-­‐

ing  are  unoccupied.”   “So  that’s  where  this  guy  will  be  going?”  said  Hugh,  ”Looking  for  this  video  you  were  

talking  about,  the  girl  being  attacked?”   “But  that  doesn’t  exist,  does  it?”  said  Kenneth.   “I  thought  she  said  the  guard  did  attack  the  girl?”  said  Hugh.  

“Whether  he  did  or  not  and  whether  the  video  exists  or  not,”  said  Eva,  ”He  is  about  to  

walk  straight  into   Pasteur’s  trap  and  she  is  going  to   be  right  there  waiting  for  him  when  he   does.  And  I  think  I’d  like  to  be  waiting  there,  too.  How  many  [loors  up?”     “Three,”  said  Randall.   “Hope  you’re  all  in  good  shape,”  said  Eva,  ”Follow  me.”   Putting  the  radio   away   she  jogged  up  the  last  few   stairs   to   the  top  of  the  [light  and  

turned  the  corner  to  start  on  the  next  set  of  steps.   Which  was  when  Whelan  stepped  from   the  darkness  above  and  shot  her  right  in  the  chest  with  his  taser.         Down   on   the   mezzanine   the   police   where   edging   into   the   building,   moving   cau-­‐

tiously  in  the  shadows,  their  stabbing  torches  [lashing  up  across  the  blindly  re[lecting  of[ice   windows  above,  casting  [lickering  search  lights  into  the  dark  corridors  behind.     Dazzle   painted   by   moving   shadows,   Pasteur   picked   her   way   down   a   corridor   to-­‐

wards   a   [light   of   stairs,   watching   for   signs   of   movement   ahead.   She   thumbed   the   radio   again.   well.”   “Are   you  sure?”  said   the   voice.   She   held  the   radio   away   from   her   ear,   listening   in-­‐ “You  understand  technology,”  she  said,  ”But  I  don’t  think  you  understand  people  very  

tently.  Noises  and  voices  [iltered  up  from  below,  but  she  was  listening  for  something  else.   “When  you  [ind  this  video,”  she  said,  ”What  will  that  prove?”   “That  Ella  Lamb  was  kicked  into  a  coma  by  Kerberos  employee  Nico  Wolf.”  

“So  you  think  it  was  Wolf,”  she  stopped  for  a  moment  at  a  glass  door,  looking  through  

her   own  re[lection  into   the   darkness   beyond,   ”But   if  you  know  that,   why   haven’t   you  told   anyone?”     She  bent  down  and  pulled  off  her  shoes,  placing  them  neatly  by  the  side  of  the  door.   “Proof,”  said  the  voice,  ”Your  word  against  mine?  I  need  proof.”   “So   you  [ind   your   proof,”   she   said,   opening   the   door   and  stepping   through   into   a  

large  empty  space  beyond,  ”What  good  does  that  do?  Oh,   Nico  Wolf  would  be  punished,  I’d   make   sure   of   that,   just   as   I’d   make   sure   that   Kerberos   itself   remained   completely   un-­‐ touched.”   that.”     To   her   right  a  wall   of   glass   curved  round  the   central  void   of   the  building,   the   only   “Yes,”  said  the  voice,  ”I  think  you  would,  wouldn’t  you?  Just  throw  someone  away  like  

furniture  being  a  lonely  sofa   and  a  dying  pot   plant.  She  padded  across   the  bare  space  to   a   set  of  double  doors  leading  to  the  central  bank  of  lifts.   “Do  you  know  the  distinction  between  hard  and  soft  assets?”  said  Pasteur,  ”There  are  

different  kinds  of  weapon  and  not  all  of  them  are  armaments.  A  man  might  be  a  weapon,  or   information.   What  matters   is  knowing  how,   and  when,   to  use   your  weapons   and   how  and   when  to  dispose  of  them.  But  it’s  no  good  having  weapons  if  you  aren’t  willing  to  use  them,   to  do  what  is  necessary.”     With  the  electricity  out,  the  doors  were  unlocked  and  she  pushed  one  open  just  far  

enough  and  slid  through  the  gap.   “You  were  willing,  I  think,”  she  said,  ”You  stole  my  gun,   after   all.  You  were  going  to  

kill  me.”  

 

She  stopped  in  the  darkness  by  the  lifts,  waiting  for  an  answer.  Little  light  [iltered  in  

here  from  outside.  It  was  still,  enclosed.   “You’ll  notice,”  said  the  voice,  ”That  I  didn’t.”   “I  didn’t  let  you,”  she  said,  ”But  that’s  my  point,  you  chose  your  weapons,  technology,  

psychological  tricks,   the  gun,   I   just  chose  better  ones,   that  doesn’t  change  the  fact  that   we   are  the  people  who  act.   I  may  be  the  better  player,  but  we  are  the  people  who  use,   not  the   people  who  are  used.”       She  opened  the  door  opposite  the  one  she  had  entered  through  and  stood,  listening.   There,  the  crackled  echo  of  her  own  voice,  heard  through  a  radio.  Ahead  was  a  small  

cubicle   made  of  two   high  backed  sofas   facing   each  other.   She   turned  her   radio   down   to   a   whisper.     “Are  you  comparing  me  to  you?”  said  the  voice.   She   crossed   the   space   between   her   and   the   sofa   in   three   silent   strides,   passing  

straight   past   them,   glancing   between  them   as   she   did   so.   There   on   the   cushions   was   an   abandoned  radio,  red  LED  glowing  to  itself.  She  dropped  into  a  crouch,  below  the  line  of  the   computer  monitors  beyond  the  sofas,  scurrying  along  the  banks  of  desks.   “I  admire  you,”  said  Pasteur,  stepping  through,   ”Your  ingenuity,  your   determination.  

After   all   this,   in   the   midst   of  all   this,   you’re  still   thinking,   still   committed.   It’s   admirable.   You’re  willing  to  do  what  needs  to  be  done.”     She  turned  a  corner  and  came  up  to   the  foot  of  a  [light  of  stairs,   leading  up  into  the  

darkness  above.     “Just  as  long  as  you  understand  that  I  am  too,”  she  said.    

 

Eva   pitched   straight   back   into   Randall,   sending   the   woman   staggering   back   down  

the   stairs   behind   her,   trying   to   keep   herself   from   going   over   and   stop   the   quivering   Eva   from  going  straight  down  the  [light  below.   “Get   back!”  Whelan   didn’t   move,   standing   his   ground,   blocking   the   landing,   ”All   of  

you,  back  downstairs.”   “Get  out  of  the  way,”  said  Kenneth.  It  was  all  he  could  think  of,  ”Get  out  of  the  way.”   “Get   out   of   my   way,”   said   Hugh,   pushing   past   him,   hefting   his   croquet   mallet.   He  

stepped   up   onto   the   landing   and   Whelan   didn’t   even   [linch,   shooting   him   with   the   taser   immediately.   Hugh’s  feet  spasmed  out  from   underneath  him  and  the  mallet  clattered  to   the  [loor  

as  he  juddered  up  against  the  wall.   Hugh’s  arms  windmilled  out  and  Kenneth  was  forced  to   duck   and   sidestep,   but   the   crowd   behind  him   and   Randall   struggling   under   Eva   left   him   nowhere   to  go  and  he  quite  unexpectedly   found  himself  on  the  landing  right  next  to  Whe-­‐ lan,  the  mallet  skidding  under  his  feet.     All  of  a   sudden  it  was  tight   and  panicked  in  the  con[ined  space.   Half  on  instinct  he  

bent  and  picked  up  the  croquet   mallet,   pushing  at  Whelan  with  it  as   Whelan  tried  to   level   his   taser  at   him.   He  did  it  again,   with  a  more   determined  shove   and  Whelan  tried  to   grab   hold  of  it,  pulling  at  it  with  his  free  hand.     Kenneth   pulled   back,   but   Whelan   twisted   it   and   Kenneth   lost   his   grip.   It   banged  

against  the  wall  and  then  his  knuckles  as  Whelan  pulled  back  his  other  hand  and  smashed   him  in  the  face  with  the  taser.   Kenneth  felt  the  dull,  metallic  pain  across  the  bridge  of  his  nose.  His  hands  came  up  

instinctively,   [lailing  at  Whelan,  slapping  his  face  with  his  open  palms.  Whelan  brought  the  

mallet  handle  back  at  Kenneth,   half  a  blow,  half  a  throw,   the  wood  making  a  hollow  sound   against  his  skull.  Spots  danced  before  Kenneth’s  eyes.  He  grabbed  hold  of  Whelan’s  collar,  as   much  to  try  and  keep  himself  up.     Then  Whelan  had  hold  of  his  shoulder,  pulling  him  down.   Whelan  seemed  to  crunch  

in  on  himself  and  suddenly  Kenneth  was   sick,   in  pain,  breathless.   It  took  him  a  moment  to   realise  Whelan  had  just  punched  him  in  the  stomach.   Kenneth’s  legs  went  beneath  him,  but  Whelan  still  had  hold  of  him,   pushing  his  face  

against  the  wall  as  he  went  down,  the  concrete  grinding  against  his  teeth,  the  taste  of  it  sour   and  salty  with  blood.   But   he  didn’t   hit   the  ground.   There   were  other   hands   on   him   now,   pulling  him   up,  

away,   holding  him,  folding  him  in,  as  the  crowd  pushed  on  past  him  and  Hugh,  [illing  up  the   landing.     Whelan,   took  a  step  backwards,  trying  to   bring  the  taser  to   bear,   and  found  himself  

forced  against  the  bottom  step  of  the  stairs  behind.  His  balance  teetered  and  then  they  were   on  him.  His  hand  was  seized,  still  wrapped  round  the  taser.  He  struck  out,  but  that  arm  was   grabbed.   The   weight  of  the   crowd  forced  him  backwards  and   he  was   down,   the   edge   of  a   step  sharp  against  the  back  of  his  head.     It  was  the  weight  of  the  people,  though,  that  was  what  [inally  drove  the  breath  from  

his  lungs,  the  [ight  out  of  him,  the  weight  of  all  those  people  just  sitting  on  him,  holding  him   down  against  the  stairs.         Pasteur   climbed  quietly   up   the   [irst   [light   of   stairs   and   stopped,   craning   round  to  

look  up  at  the  [loors  above  her,  searching  for  movement.  All  was  still.  

“We’re  more  alike  than  you  think,”  she  said,   climbing  up  the  next  [light   to   the  [loor  

above,   ”What  else  is  this   all  about  -­‐  the  one  thing  that  we  both  agree  on:  people  need  pro-­‐ tecting.”   “From  you,”  said  the  voice.   “Really?  Then  how  come  it’s  you  that  they’re  hunting?”  she  said.   “Are  you  sure?”  said  the  voice.   “As   I   said,”   said   Pasteur,   ”You   understand   technology,   but   you   do   not   understand  

people.”     She  started  up  the  next  [light  of  stairs,   moving   as  fast   as  she  dared  now,   her   stock-­‐

inged  feet  slipping  on  the  stone  steps.   “You  say   ’people’   exactly   the   same   way   you  say   ’technology’,”   said   the   voice,   ”Like  

they  were  just  more  machines.”   “Look  around  you,”  said  Pasteur,  not  wasting  the  time  to   look   herself,   ”Look   at  this  

building.   This   building  is   a   machine.   From  the   shopping   arcade   right   up  to   my  of[ice,   the   whole  building  engineered  to  control  people,  move  them  around,  drive  them  forward,  keep   them  working,   keep  them   buying.   And   it   works,   you   know   why?   Because  people   are   ma-­‐ chines.   They   are   little   machines,   predictable,   dependable,   controllable.   Not   because   we   make  them  like  that,   because  they   want   to   be.   People  want  to  be  told  what  to   do  and  they   need  people  to  tell  them.  People  like  us.   “It’s   what  you’re  trying  to   do,  isn’t   it,   after   all?   Persuade  them,   command  them.   All  

that’s  different  between  us  is  that  they  do  what  I  tell  them.”     “As  I  said,”  said  the  voice,  ”Are  you  sure?”    

“You’re  lucky  I’m  not  a  vindictive  person,”  said  Eva,  ”Because  now  I  know  what  these  

bloody  things  feel  like,  I’m  not  going  to  shoot  you  with  it.  Handcuff  him  will  you.”     She   was   interested   to   see   that   neither   Whelan   nor   Randall   objected   to   her   order.  

Whelan  seemed   to   have   given   up   entirely,   while  Randall   seemed  quite  happy   to   handcuff   her  old  boss.   “Right,”  she  said,   turning  to   the  others,  ”Mr.  Devereux,  I  want  you  stay  here  with  Mr.  

Robinson  and  Whelan  here,  wait  for  the  police.”   “No,”  Kenneth’s  voice  was  muf[led  where  he  was  holding  a  handkerchief  against   his  

mouth,  ”I’m  coming.”   fast.”     “Kenneth,”  said  Kenneth,  ”It’s  Kenneth.  And  I’m  coming.”   That  appeared  to  be  all  he  could  say,   but  it  was  all   he  had  to  say,  too.   Eva  looked  at   “Mr.   Robinson,”   said   Eva,   ”It’s   dangerous,   you’re   injured,   we   need   to   get   up  there  

him,  a  small  man  with  bloodstains  on  his  polo  shirt,  his  face  raw  where  it  had  been  dragged   along  the  wall,  the  face  of  a  thousand  muggings  and  assaults.   “Right  then,”  she  said,  ”I  want   everyone  to  understand,   I  can’t  stop  you  coming  and  

frankly,   I’d   be  glad   of  the  company,   but   it’s   going   to   be  dangerous,   you’ve   seen   that.   Wait   here  for  the  police  if  you  want  to,  but  I’m  going,  and  I’m  going  now.”       “Then  get  a  bloody  move  on,”  said  Hugh.     “What  part  of  this  afternoon  did  you  miss?”  said  the  voice.   Pasteur   came  up   to   the   top   of   a   [light   of  stairs   and   turned   right,   going   round   the  

stairs  and  out  into  an  open  of[ice  space  beyond.  

Here  the  desks  were  empty  of  of[ice  equipment,  there  were  no  amusing  holiday  pho-­‐

tographs  and  personalised  mugs,  a  space  as  yet  unoccupied,  furniture  moved  in  for  workers   who  didn’t  exist  yet.  Pasteur  moved  silently  between  them,  a  soft  shadow  in  the  dimness.   “The  part  where  you  saved  the  world,”  she  said.   “That’s  because  you  weren’t  looking,”  said  the  voice.   “All   I’ve   seen   is   you   causing   trouble,”   she   said,   slipping   out   of   the   light   back   into  

shadow,  ”Getting  people  hurt,  in  trouble,  killed.  You  have  the  will,   you  have  your  wonderful   technology,   but  you’re  dangerous,  you’re  a  mess,  you  and  your   friends,   and  you’re  a  threat   to  everyone  in  this  building,  a  threat  that  has  to  be  contained.”     She  opened  a  door  onto   the  [ire  exit  stairs  and  stood,   listening,   for  a  moment.  Then  

she  started  up.   “I’m  a  threat?”  said  the  voice,  ”What  about   the  person  who  imprisoned  children,   at-­‐

tacked  a  homeless  man,  held  shoppers  under  guard,  and,  might  I  point  out,  tortured  a  man?   That  person  sounds  like  a  threat.    A  threat  that  I  and  my  wonderful  technology  intend  to  do   something  about.”     Pasteur  came  up  to   the  top  of  the  stairs  and  reached  down,   switching  the  radio   off  

and  laying   it   on  the   [loor  behind  her.   She  took   her   gun   in   her  right   hand  and  opened  the   door  ahead  of  her.     Beyond  was  an  empty  expanse  of  hardwearing,  neutral   of[ice  carpet,   it  s  man  made  

[ibres  shimmering  in  the  [lashing  lights  of  the  emergency  services  outside.  Across  the  other   side  of  the  bare  space  was  a  cupboard  in  a  wall.  The  door  to  the  cupboard  was  open,  reveal-­‐ ing  the  pulsing  lights  of  threads  of  LEDs,  a  cascade  of  red  and  green  [lashes  that  illuminated  

a  young  man  in  a  cheap  suit  standing  in  front  of  it.  The  same  young  man  she  had  tortured   with  the  taser  in  the  cafe.     “When  I  said  contained,”  she  said,  ”I  meant  killed,  of  course.”   The  young  man  looked  round.   “Kill  me?  I  [igured  that,”  he  said,  ”Are  you  sure  you  want  to  go  on  the  record  with  that  

statement?”   “I  want  you  to  understand  the  stakes,”  she  said,  ”Your  technology  is  remarkable.  And  

your   knowledge   and   resources   are   remarkable   too.   But   we   can   always   reverse   engineer   technology,  if  we  have  to.”   “You  don’t  understand  technology   or   people,”  said  the  young  man,   ”At   least,  in  par-­‐

ticular,  this  technology  and  this  person.  One  way  or  the  other,  you  won’t  ever  have  the  tech-­‐ nology.”     “Oh  well,”  said  Pasteur,  ”So  be  it.  What  can  be  invented  once,  after  all.”   And  she  raised  her  hand  and  pulled  the  trigger.  And  -­‐  click  -­‐  nothing  happened.     “What  today  has  shown,  most  of  all,”  said  Adam,  ”Is  that  planning  tends  to  be  a  seri-­‐

ous  weakness  for  you.”   He  raised  his  hand  and  threw   something  at   her   and,   to   her  credit,   she  didn’t  [linch.  

Whatever  it  was  glittered  as  it  passed  through  the  air,  re[lecting.  It  landed  at  her  feet.  A  bul-­‐ let.  A  bullet,  no  doubt,  that  had  been  in  the  gun.  She  looked  at  the  other  chambers.   Still  full.   Never  mind.   “You  have,   at  least,”  she  said,   ”Given  me   the  chance  to  thank   you  for   all   the  lessons  

today  has  taught  me.  We  are  always  learning.”  

 

And  she  pulled  back  on  the  trigger  once  more,  the  hammer  raising,  the  magazine  ad-­‐

vancing.   “Put  down  the  gun,”  said  Eva.   Pasteur  turned.  Eva  was  standing  in  front  of  the  [loor  to  ceiling  windows,  silhouetted  

against  the  sunset  behind,  as  more  shadowy  [igures  collected  around  her.  Glimpses  of  detail   were  visible  in  the  unpredictable,  [lickering  light:  the  taser  in  Eva’s  hand,   the  head  of  a  cro-­‐ quet  mallet,  the  crazed  plastic  of  someone’s  shattered  glasses.   “I  have  caught  this  individual,”  said  Pasteur,  ”In  the  act  of  illegal  entry  and  attempted  

theft  and  am  apprehending  him.”   “We  don’t  need  the  gun  to  do  that,”  said  Eva,  ”Put  it  on  the  [loor,  please  and  step  away  

from  it.”     Pasteur  looked  at  the  crowd  of  people  gathering  around  Eva  and    eased  back  on  the  

trigger,  bending  and  placing  the  gun  on  the  [loor  at  her  feet.   “Now   kick   it   towards   me,   please,”   said   Eva,   and  Pasteur   did   so,   ”You’re  now   in   my  

custody,  until  my  colleagues  arrive,  understand?”   “What  do  you  think   of  your  little  machines  now?”  said  a  voice  in  the  crowd.   Pasteur  

looked  at  them.   They  must  have  heard  her  conversation  with  the   young  man  on  the  radio.   They  must  have  heard  everything.   “That  goes  for  you,  too,”  said  Eva  to  the  young  man,  ”So  don’t  you  do  anything  either.”  

“Oh,   don’t   worry,”  said   Adam,   ”I   don’t   need  to   do   anything.   I   found   and  copied  the  

Ella  Lamb  video  to  You  Tube  this  morning.  Half  a  million  hits  and  climbing.”     Pasteur  turned  back  to  look  at  him.  He  was  looking  directly  at  her.  He  was  smiling.  

 

The  door  to   the  [ire  exit  stairs   that  Pasteur  had  come  through  opened  again   and  a  

policeman   stepped   through  in   full   riot   gear,   stab   proof   jacket   on,   protective   visor   down,   submachine  gun  in  his  hands.  All  eyes  turned  to  him.   “Detective  Inspector  Lisiewicz,”  said  Eva,  ”These  two  are  under  arrest.”   There   was   something   wrong.   The   man’s   trousers.   They   weren’t  the  right   trousers.  

Nor  were  the  boots.  The  set  of  those  shoulders.     “Get  down,  all  of  you,  get  down  now!”   The  crowd  all   scattered  as  Pasteur  spun  round,   turning  back   towards   her  gun,  and  

Nico  Wolf  raised  the  police  machine  gun  and  suddenly  the  room  was  full  of  the  [lat  percus-­‐ sion  of  shooting,  the  [lash  of  the  muzzle  lighting  him  up  in  stark  [ire.     And   Pasteur   carried   on   spinning,   twisted   up   by   the   impact   of   the   rounds,   as   Eva  

dived  towards  her,  snatching  at  the  pistol  on  the  [loor.     Adam  seemed  frozen  to  the  spot  as  a  bullet  thumped  into  the  computer  behind  him,  

peppering  him  with  shards  of  plastic.  Eva  brought  the  gun  up  as  Pasteur  hit  the  [loor  beside   her.   Breathe  and   squeeze.   Helmet   and  bullet   proof  jacket.   Breathe  and   squeeze.   And  Eva   Lisiewicz  shot  Nico  Wolf  in  the  knee.     He  went  down  immediately,  the  muzzle  [lash  lighting  up  the  ceiling  as  he  lost  control  

of  the  gun,  bullets  thudding  into  the  tiles.     And  Eva  [ired  again,   hitting  the  jacket  with  enough  force  to   knock  him  [lat.  The  gun  

stopped   [iring   and   she   was   on   top   of   him,   forcing   her   own   knee   into   his,   so   that   he   screamed  in  pain.  She  rolled  him  over  onto  his  face,  ripping  off  his  helmet  and  clamping  the   pistol  into  the  base  of  his  skull.  

“It’s   over,  it’s  over!   Someone   secure  that  weapon!   Don’t   touch  the  body.   Find  some-­‐

thing  to  secure  him   with,”  she   said   and   then  leaned  in  close   to   Nico’s   ear,   ”Trying  kicking   someone  to  death  with  no  knee  cap,  you  nasty  fucker.”      

5 The World
  Outside   the  sun   had   set   and   the  evening   was   cool   and  grey   blue.   The   moon   hung  

over  the   rooftops,   pure   and   white   and   untouchable.   Eva  could  see  a   single   star   above  the   street  lighting.  Venus  probably.  Or  a  communications  satellite.   “You  uploaded  the  Ella  Lamb  video  this   morning?”  she  said  to  Adam.  He  was  sitting  

in  the  open  door  of  an  ambulance  with  the  obligatory  blanket  and  cup  of  tea  while  an  EMT   cleaned  up  the  cuts  on  his  face  from  the  exploding  server  that  Nico  Wolf  had  shot  up.   “When  I...”  he  stopped  and  swallowed  and  she  wasn’t   sure  whether   it   was   the  anti-­‐

septic  or  something  else,  ”When  Lily  and  I  were  in  there.”     “So  all  the  rest  of  that  was  all  for  nothing?  Pasteur,  your  friend  Anderson?”   “Lily,”  he  said,  ”Was  that  for  nothing?”   “The  driver  in  Range  Rover?”   “The  driver,”  he  said,  ”Yep,  that  was  her.  She  was  the  driver.”   “”So,  what,  it  was  revenge?  Was  that  it?”   “Look,”  he  said,  nodding  back  over  her  shoulder.   She  turned.   There,  amongst  the  emergency  vehicles  and  scurrying  of[icials,   Deborah  

Robinson   was   holding   her   little   brother   in   her   arms,   while   Hugh   Devereux,   still   trium-­‐ phantly  clutching  his  croquet  mallet,  clapped  her  father  on  the  back  as  he  explained  to  a  po-­‐

lice  of[icer  what  Kenneth  had  done.  Miriam  came  up  behind  them,  Lucy  in  her  wake,   carry-­‐ ing  cups  of  tea  for  everyone.   “I  wanted  to   kill  Pasteur,”  he  said,   ”And  then  I  thought  I   would  teach  her   a  lesson.   I  

wanted  her  to  live  to  learn  it.  Wolf,  though,  I  don’t  think  is  going  to  learn  anything.”   “He  will  get  the  justice  he  deserves,”  said  Eva,  thinking  of  Nico’s  sullen  face  as  he  had  

been  half  carried  into  the  police  van.   “Will   he?”  said  Adam,   looking   right   into   her   eyes,   ”I   hope  I’ve  shown   some   people  

something  important  at  least.”     She  tried  to  read  his  expression  and  his  eyes  [licked  back  to  the  scene  behind  her.   “Wait,”  she   said,   ”Wait   a   minute.   You  taught  her   a  lesson?   You   did  that,   didn’t   you?  

You  did  all  of  that.   Argus,  locking  everyone  in,  cutting  off  the  power,  using  the  radios.  It  was   you,  you  and  this  technology  Pasteur  was  so  obsessed  with.”   “What  technology,”  said  Adam,  ”You  searched  me  yourself.  What  technology?”   “Oh,  neither  of  you  may  know  people  very  well,  but  I  do,  which  is  how  I’ve  known  all  

along  that  whatever  you  showed  Pasteur  this  morning  was  a  sham,  a  distraction,”  she  said,   ”But   there  is  something,   alright,   I  know  that.   I  wondered  if  it  might   be  outside  help,   your   404s   or   even,   god  knows,   a  rival   company,   but  none   of  that   help  arrived  and  anyway,  this   was  personal,  this  was  about  you  and  your  friend  Lily.  This  was  about  you.”     Adam,  his  face  now  a  patchwork  of  sticking  plaster,  was  looking  at  her  quietly,  letting  

her  [igure  it  out  for  herself.   “You  don’t  even  have  a  mobile  phone,”  she  said,  ”Who  doesn’t  have  a  mobile  phone?  

Even   your   404   friends   had   them.   No   phone,   no   bankcards,   no   credit   check   records,   no   criminal   record.   Oh  my  word,”    it  came  not   out  of  reasoning  or  deduction  but  as   a  sudden  

burst   of  insight   that   made   everything   click   into   focus,   the   only   possible  explanation,   ”It’s   you,  isn’t  it?  You  don’t  have  technology  because  you  don’t  need  it.  I  don’t  understand  how  or   why,  but  it’s  you,  you’ve  got  some  power,  some  ability,  some...  It’s  you.”     He  was  smiling  at  her.   “Eva  Lisiewicz,”  he  said,  ”Born  1979,  Queen  Charlotte’s  and  Chelsea  Hospital  to  Irene  

Tobias,   of   St   Kitts,   and  Mandek   Lisiewicz,   Polish,   unmarried.   Police   cadet   in   1995,   CID   in   2001,   Detective  Inspector   2009.   When  I   look   at   you...”  he   paused,   sizing   her  up,   ”I  see   ar-­‐ mour,  but  glowing.  Something  [ierce  in  a  righteous  cause.”   “How  do  you  know  all  that?”   “Sadly,  it’s  not  just  me”  he  said,  ”We  are  bleeding,  all   of  us,  information,  a  lifetime  of  

data  in  endless  drops  and  it  can  drain  us  and  drown  us  or  it  can  set  us  free.  People  like  Pas-­‐ teur  might  have  whole  new  ways  of  controlling  us,   imprisoning  us,   but  we  have  whole  new   ways  to  [ight  them,”  he  gestured  up  at  the  CCTV  cameras  across  the  front  of  the  building  be-­‐ hind  them,  ”They  may  be  watching  us,  but  they  forget  that  we  are  also  watching  them.   ish.”   “You  sound  like  you  think  you  can  do  something  about  this.”   “Haven’t  I  already?”  He  nodded  over  her  shoulder  once  more,   ”Lily  said  it  was  like  I   “Incidentally,  Mandek,  your  father’s  name,  I’ve  just  noticed,  it  means  ’warrior’  in  Pol-­‐

was  a  wizard,  a  superhero.  She  had  plans  for  me.”     “Plans?”   “Like   this,   like   today,”   he   said  and   suddenly   he   looked   tired   and   worn   out,   a   thin  

young  man  in  a  shabby  and  torn  suit.  Then  he  brightened  and  looked  up  at  her  with  a  smile,   ”Like  saving  the  world.”  

“Saving  the  world,”  said  Eva,  and  she  looked  up  at  the  faceless,  shining  glass  walls  of  

the  Kerberos  building  behind  them,  blinking  back  the  chaos  of  [lashing  blue  and  red  lights   in  the  street,  monolithic,   featureless,   ”Saving  the  world...   yes,  maybe  we   ought   to  look  into   that.”  

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