Excerpt from Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception

By Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception

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Scant did not answer immediately, taking time to check all the screens. The video feed was from various micro-cameras that Opal had installed around the clinic before her incarceration. The spy cameras were actually genetically engineered organic material. So the pictures they sent were literally a live feed. The world's first living machines. Totally undetectable by bug sweepers.

'Night crew only,' he said at last. 'Nobody in this sector except Corporal Idiot over there.'

'What about the parking lot?'

'Clear.'

Merv held out his hand. 'Okay, brother. This is it. No turning back. Are we in? Do we want Opal Koboi back?'

Scant blew a lock of black hair from one round pixie eye.

'Yes, because if she comes back on her own, Opal will find a way to make us suffer,' he said, shaking his brother's hand. 'So yes, we're in.'

Merv took a remote control from his pocket. The device was tuned to a sonix receiver planted in the clinic's gable wall. This in turn was connected to a balloon of acid which lay gently on the clinic's main power cube in the parking lot junction box. A second balloon sat atop the back-up cube in the maintenance basement. As the clinic's janitors, it had been a simple matter for Merv and Scant to plant the acid balloons the previous evening. Of course the Argon Clinic was also connected to the main grid, but if the cubes did go down, there would be a two minute interval before the main power kicked in. There was no need for more elaborate arrangements, after all this was a medical facility not a prison.

Merv took a deep breath, flicked the safety cover and pressed the red button. The remote control emitted an infra red command activating two sonix charges. The charges sent out sound waves bursting the balloons, and the balloons dumped their acidic contents on the clinic's power cubes. Twenty seconds later the cubes were completely eaten away and the clinic was plunged into darkness. Merv and Scant quickly put on night vision goggles.
As soon as the power failed green strip lights began pulsing gently on the floor guiding the way to the exits. Merv and Scant moved quickly and purposefully. Scant steered the trolley, and Merv made straight for Corporal Kelp.

Grub was pulling the video glasses from over his eyes.

'Hey,' he said, disorientated by the sudden darkness. 'What's going on here?'

'Power failure,' said Merv, bumping into him with calculated clumsiness. 'Those lines are a nightmare, I've been telling Doctor Argon, but nobody wants to spend money on maintenance when there are fancy company cars to be bought.'

Merv was not waffling for the fun of it, he was waiting for the soluble pad of sedative he had pressed onto Grub's wrist to take effect.

'Tell me about it,' said Grub, suddenly blinking a lot more than he generally did. 'I've been lobbying for new lockers at Police Plaza. I'm really thirsty. Is anyone else thirsty?' Grub stiffened, frozen by the serum that was spreading through his system. The LEP officer would snap out of it in under two minutes, and be instantly alert. He would have no memory of his unconsciousness, and hopefully he would not notice the time lapse.

'Go,' said Scant tersely.

Merv was already gone. With practised ease, he punched Doctor Argon's code into Opal's door. He completed this action faster than Argon ever could, due to hours spent practising on a stolen pad in his apartment. Argon's code changed every week, but the Brill brothers made certain that they were cleaning outside the room when Argon was on his rounds. The pixies generally had the complete code by mid week.

Copyright 2005 by Eoin Colfer. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Penguin Group (UK). No part of this book maybe reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

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