When Opal Koboi joined forces with Briar Cudgeon and his goblins, she realised that she needed a back-up plan. Their scheme to overthrow the LEP had been ingenious, but there was always a chance that something could go wrong. In the event that it did, Opal had no intention of spending the rest of her life in prison. The only way she could make a clean getaway was if everybody thought she was still locked up. So Opal had begun to make preparations.
The first was to set up the emergency fund for the Argon Clinic. This would ensure she was sent to the right place if she had to induce a cleansing coma. The second step was to get two of her most trusted personnel installed in the clinic, to help with her eventual escape. Then she began siphoning huge amounts of gold from her businesses. Opal did not wish to become an impoverished exile.
The final step was to donate some of her own DNA and green light the creation of a clone that would take her place in the padded cell. Cloning was completely illegal, and had been banned by fairy law for over five hundred years since the first experiments in Atlantis. It was by no means a perfect science. Doctors had never been able to create an exact fairy clone. The clones looked fine, but they were basically shells with only enough brain power to run the body's basic functions. They were missing the spark of true life. A fully grown clone resembled nothing more than the original person in a coma. Perfect.
Opal had had a greenhouse lab constructed far from Koboi industries, and had diverted enough funds to keep the project active for two years. The exact time it would take to grow a clone of herself to adulthood. Then when she wanted to escape from the Argon Clinic, a perfect replica of herself would be left in her place. The LEP would never know she was gone.
As things had turned out, she had been right to plan ahead. Briar had proved treacherous, and a small group of fairies and humans had ensured his betrayal led to her own downfall. Now Opal had a goal to bolster her willpower. She would maintain this coma for as long as it took, because there was a score to be settled. Foaly, Root, Holly Short and the human Artemis Fowl. They were the ones responsible for her defeat. Soon she would be free of this clinic, and then she would visit those who had caused her such despair, and give them a little despair of their own. Once her enemies were defeated she could proceed with the second phase of her plan; introducing the mud men to the People, in a way that could not be covered up by a few mind wipes. The secret life of fairies was almost at an end.
Opal Koboi's brain released a few happy endorphins. The thought of revenge always gave her a warm fuzzy feeling.
The Brill brothers watched Doctor Argon limp up the corridor.
'Moron,' muttered Merv, using his telescopic vacuum pole to chase some dust out of a corner.
'You said it,' agreed Scant. 'Old Jerry couldn't analyse a bowl of vole curry. No wonder his wife is leaving him. If he was any good as a shrink, he would've seen that coming.'
Merv collapsed the vacuum. 'How are we doing?'
Scant checked his moonometer. 'Ten past eight.'
'Good. How's Corporal Kelp?'
'Still watching the movie. This guy is perfect. We have to go tonight. The LEP could send someone smart for the next shift. And if we wait any longer the clone will grow another inch.'
'You're right. Let me check the spy cameras.'
Scant lifted the lid on what appeared to be a janitor's trolley, festooned as it was with mops, rags and sprays. Hidden beneath a tray of vacuum nozzles, was a colour monitor split into several screens.
'Well?' hissed Merv.
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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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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