Detective-Inspector White beeped his horn outside the house in the quiet residential cul-de-sac and returned to drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. It would be all right if he still smoked. He could pass no end of time by puffing on a cigarette. That was probably why so many coppers still smoked. There was nothing else to pass the time while conducting surveillance. All the new cadets coming fresh out of Henley didn't know what being a copper was all about until they'd spent seventy-two hours in front of a dealers house waiting for evidence. He didn't dare take up the habit again. It cancer didn't kill him it was a sure bet Beryl would.
“About bloody time.” He started the engine as the front door opened and Peters emerged, stamping his feet and turning up the collar of his sheepskin jacket.
“What's so important, sir?” Detective-sergeant Peters slid into the passenger seat. “It's a bit early for us to be up and about.”
“Somebody has to be.” White pulled out and executed a neat three-point turn. “Why not us?”
“Because I'd rather be in bed with my wife?” Peters leaned forward to turn the heater on. “Struth! It's brass monkeys in here.”
“There's a secondment to Sweden available if you'd like it.” White grinned. “If you think it's cold here...”
“I'm happy here, Sir, thank you.” Peters rubbed his palms together. “Where are we going then?”
“The college.” White flashed a warrant at him. “I want that super computer before anyone else gets it.”
“It won't be the only one in the world, sir.”
“Won't it? Why not?”
“Convergent evolution. Everything that can exist will find a way to exist. Come on, you don't think two lads with a head for computers could be the only ones to come up with a self aware computer, do you?”
“Because somebody, somewhere, thought of it last year.”