The Alan Turing
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The lift doors opened and everybody went their separate ways. "Fingers crossed that the engineers fixed the lift," said Mike.
"Now where were we?" said Ellie, thinking back to the theft of the quantum computer. "Niemand made sure that the quantum computer was there when we left the room."
"And then Niemand checked that the room was locked!" said Mike. "How could someone have stolen it?"
"I don't know. But I bet that governments, secret services, multinational companies - lots of people! - would pay handsomely for it!" said Ellie.
A voice boomed out over the tannoy. "Attention! Your attention please! There has been a theft from within the building. The police have been summoned and nobody will be permitted to leave until the authorities arrive. Please don't be alarmed, the day's events will continue as planned. Make your way to the main lecture theatre for the presentations."
As Mike and Ellie wandered over towards the lecture theatre, they noticed the twins, Darcie and Donna, in a corner talking to Professor Niemand. He was obviously agitated and his tangle of grey hair was shaking violently.
The tannoy burst into life again: "Will you please welcome our guest of honour, Lord Alastor Porterfield!" As Mike and Ellie entered the lecture theatre, they saw the tall, imperious man walk out onto the stage.
"Ladies and gentleman," he started, "as chairman of MaliOpus Industries, the world's greatest technological innovator: putting tomorrow's cloud in today's pockets, it gives me great pleasure to speak to you today. At MaliOpus we believe that graphene is our future. It's everybody's future. Welcome to the graphene revolution!"
As Lord Porterfield continued his hyperbole, something caught Mike's eye. "Ellie," he whispered, "can you see a red dot shining on Lord Porterfield?" "Yes," replied Ellie, "and it's moving towards his heart."
"We will do whatever it takes to innovate," Lord Porterfield went on, as he explained some of the technological marvels his company were developing. As he spoke, an elderly gentleman suddenly leapt from the audience and ran towards him. "Barquith!" exclaimed Ellie. Barquith reached the podium and pushed Lord Porterfield away just as a large `crack!' reverberated around the theatre. Barquith fell to the floor, a blood-red stain appearing on his back. "No!" cried Mike and Ellie as they rushed up onto the stage.
"Give him room!" shouted Ellie, as others started to crowd around. "I'm afraid it's too late," said Mike. As he looked down at their friend, he noticed an envelope in Barquith's breast pocket. Making sure that nobody saw him, he removed it. "Come on Ellie," he said, "there's nothing we can do here."
As they left the stage, Ellie glanced around the lecture theatre. High up in one corner, she caught a glint of light reflecting off something metallic. "Is that a gun? Who's up there?" she asked herself, but it was too dark for her to see the bob of grey hair as its owner left the deserted gallery.