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international librarian of mystery

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Coffee with Artemis II: Aliens in the Archives

The problem with Artemis swearing me to secrecy on his little scheme is that I really can't tell you. What I can reveal is his discarded plans, which he's decided to drop due to being too complicated, too resource-intensive, or just nigh impossible.

1. The Kirkcaldies & Stains Big Heist.
This involved the stormwater drains, which Artemis had calculated ran close enough to the big old Wellington store for him to gain access to some random (probably imagined) utility tunnel which would get him into the store after hours. He figured ten minutes inside before the alarms went off would give him sufficient time to grab a couple of things his mum had shown a desire for. And maybe something for himself too.

2. The Big Bank Computer Scam.
Again with the stormwater drains. Apparently Artemis's mum is in pretty deep debt with the Bank. Having seen Fight Club recently, Artemis had decided that if he could somehow wipe clean the hard drives of the Bank which issued her card, that all her debt would somehow be erased as well. The plan was to get as close as possible to the bank via underground means, and then detonate some sort electromagnetic device that would wipe clean every hard drive within the vicinity. Actually, I quite liked this plan - my card was issued at the same bank.

3. Aliens in the Archives.
Somehow Artemis has got it into his head that alien remains are stored down in the vault of Archives NZ. This plan involved yet more tunneling, with the added bonus of probably having to find a means of cutting his way through some concrete and steel at the end. The theory was to find and steal the alien remains and sell the story to the media for some astronomical (ha ha) sum.

"What's with the tunnels, Artemis?" I had to ask. "Surely you could just walk up to Kirks and smash a window, or trigger your ECM bomb outside the bank on the street?"

Look at me: giving criminal tips to a nine-year old.

"Surveillance, Natalie. There are cameras everywhere, but not underground."
"Oh. Of course."
"Some criminal you'd be."
"I don't have any desire to be a criminal, Aretmis. Neither should you."
"Actually, I don't either. My mum finds it hard to get by with me and the twins. I thought I could help out."
"How about a job?"
"I already deliver circulars and mow lawns. It's not enough."
"I'm assuming from the way you talk that your father isn't on the scene to help out?"

I held my breath after I asked this question. He'd never mentioned his father, and it was pretty obvious it was just mum, Artemis and the twins at home, so I had no idea where Artemis Sr. might have got to. Dead? Done a runner?

"He's in prison," said Artemis. "The police think he murdered someone. He didn't. But he's still there, and will be for another five years at least."
"Ah, that's no good."
"But doesn't that show you that crime doesn't pay?"
"It does for some people. My father isn't a criminal. He was framed. Whoever committed the murder he got convicted for got away with it. With a lot of money too. It paid for him."
"Yes. "

Wow. Anyway, that was the gist of his main 'underground' schemes. He had a couple of variations and alternate plans that aren't really worth repeating, but it was obvious he'd spent a fair bit of time planning and researching just how he would go about achieving his schemes. And discovered, of course, that they were all far beyond the means of a nine-year-old boy. He had come to the obvious conclusion that he needed some grown-up help to help him achieve his aims. Thanks to some twist of fate, that someone had become me. Yay for me.

We discussed some of his new ideas, and I did my best to shoot down all the ones that involved any obvious illegal activities. I'll say this for the boy - he's not short of ideas. And he likes his information. In fact, it would seem my role is to be the information gatherer, with Artemis as my roaming field agent. The best, and most law-abiding scheme he had was...

...oh, that's right - I can't say. I can confidently say, however, that I will not be personally involved in any illegal activities, and nor will Artemis (if I can keep him in check). There may be some 'social engineering' going on here and there, but nothing that will deny anyone from anything they are rightfully entitled to.

Errr, yes. Perhaps more will be revealed as our plan proceeds. Or doesn't, as the case is more likely to be.

Until then, mum's the word.

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