Money Money Money

In the not-so-distant future, an employee of one of the world's leading electronics firms learns a terrible truth- and finds himself the subject of a terrifying manhunt.

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1. Pre-Progammed

It was the height of the mobile phone industry. Huge companies like Apple, Samsung and Microsoft were raking in billions each year. Tablets, laptops and all kinds of gadgets could be found in every home. If you didn't own your own phone, you were weird.

Yet Derek Barnaby was such a person.

At 66, he was seen as a dinosaur amongst his younger colleagues, but his knowledge of the PC and laptop industry was huge. His career had started with Apple, then taken him to Microsoft, then back to Apple. Now he was an independent contractor, working on behalf of a number of major companies to make sure their IT departments were running smoothly. Although semi-retired, he was still working a 30-hour week most of the time.

He limped from one office desk to the next, with his little toolbox, and tweaked USB ports and fixed faulty hard drives and gave advice to younger technicians. And whenever he asked to use a landline phone, he always drew odd looks from the office workers and colleagues that he worked with.

"Just use your mobile." Was what a lot of them would say. When he mentioned that he didn't have one, they'd stare at him for a moment, as though he were stupid. Then they'd carry on with their own work.

He'd head home, to his little house on the outskirts of east London, to his wife, Angela, and they'd sit and chat about what they'd been doing all day. They'd eat dinner whilst sharing a bottle of wine. If the weather was nice they'd sit outside in their small garden and watch the stars. Sometimes Derek would read a book, or watch TV. It was a quiet life.

There was however, a lot more to it than met the eye.

When mobile phones had first appeared, Derek had been one of the folks in the background, helping to develop the technology. One evening, working late (as usual), he had been given the task of stripping down one of the 'bricks' (as the techies had called them) to find and fix a faulty transceiver. Whilst doing so, Derek had stumbled across something that he knew right away should not have been there.

Within the bits and pieces that made up the early mobile, there had been a small computer chip. It was fairly innocent- aside from the fact that it was glowing bright green.

Closer inspection (Derek took the chip and placed it under a microscope) showed it was far more than it seemed. The chip was in fact a series of small.... well, robots (Derek would later hear the term 'nanotechnology', which gave his strange find a name). They weren't moving, but they were giving off the glow- and there were thousands of the things.

This however, was not the bit that truly worried Derek. He had ran off to the main offices to get the attention of anyone else in the building, but the only other staff were the porters and cleaners. He'd gone back to the lab, and carefully stored the 'chip' for someone to look at the following  day.

When he'd returned the chip was gone. He'd never learned where it went or if anyone took it.

****

Max Wealth sat back in plush leather chair. His office was his shrine to technology. Every component of every device that he had ever worked on was on the glass shelves lit up by tiny lights on the display. Right now he held in his had a chip that he had worked on under the tightest security. This London office looked normal to the outside world, but underneath the building in the laboratories it was another story. The chip Max held in his hand had something special about it and the potential to change the world in ways that people couldn't even comprehend.

Max had been handed the folder on the nanotechnology and when he had asked his superior where this technology had been developed he had been told it was far beyond his security clearance. As one of the countries leading researchers Max had been brought in to help develop the chip. It would be put into devices to help gain control of a nation. Max had suggested the Mobile phone, everyone spend a good part of their day on them after all.

"How did you get out of this lab?" Asked Max as if the chip could answer him.

"How indeed!" The voice was deep and made Max sit up in the chair. This voice belonged to his boss and Max knew that he was not a happy man right now.

Calvin Stark was a man with power. He had been in the business world for many years and his grey hair and grey beard were well known to many all over the world. He was always wearing a crisp new suit as if it had just come from the designers studio, God knows he could afford to do just that if he so wished. He looked at Max who was so many years younger than him and he saw himself in his younger years. He was eager and keen to please and that meant that he could make mistakes. The problem he had was that a mistake has been made, One that could have exposed his secret to the world! He wanted to know how Max had let a chip leave the lab and find its way into the hands of  Derek Barnaby!

 

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