Thursday, 15 September 2016

Work in Progress

July 9th 2007 – 2:10pm

Offices of Walrus Inc, Tileyard Road, N7. Interview with Edward Ellis, proprietor and manager of Walrus Inc. Audio transcript

Containment Agent Lightfoot: Eddie.

Edward Ellis: Yara! What brings you here...? And with a friend.

CAL: Colleague, this is Detective Inspector Baptiste.

EE: I promise I'll have my tax return done soon. It's all above board here. I...

CAL: We're here on another matter, two things actually.


CAL: DI Baptiste is seconded to an investigation of mine. Besides... self-employed tax returns are supposed to be done by January...

EE: That's good [smiles audibly].

CAL: If you please...?

DI Baptiste: Do you know of or anything about two armed robberies that took place last week in Hackney...

EE: Please, honestly, this is a respectable, licensed establishment. I wouldn't do anything that...

DIB: If you've heard anything about them at all, July second and seventh...?

EE: What would I know...?

DIB: I don't know, this looks like a bit of a no-questions-asked establishment. Perhaps...

CAL: [Interrupts] The picture...

DIB: Of course [hands EE a photograph]. This picture; do you recognise the device held by the gentleman at all?

EE: [Pause] Hard to say from that. This picture, yeah, it's from the robbery?

CAL: A still from a video recording. It was used, we think, to remotely unlock a safe.

EE: But...?

CAL: It's not a jamming device. We think it might be a calculator of some kind. [EE laughs softly] Well, it can't be a jammer because.

EE: Because it only took out the safe, every other device was left unharmed.

DIB: That's what we thought.

EE: It's not impossible to do direct electronic jamming but it's difficult and [looks at photo again] whatever this fella's got, it's not going to do that. [Pause] There's more, I take it...?
CAL: There is...

EE: I mean, this is almost borderline; why is the DoM taking an interest in bank robbery?

DIB: None of the events caught on camera actually happened in real life.

EE: Ah! Well, if I may say so, I think that's what you need to be getting on with there [hands back picture to CAL].

DIB: But the events were real. They happened. The financial losses occurring actually occurred and we want to know how. This device unlocked a fully protected safe in less than thirty seconds. How many combinations can you get from an electronic lock.

EE: Well, you should know, that depends on the lock but, technically speaking, it's infinite.

DIB: What about ten figures, how many variations on that?

EE: That's easy, ten to the power of nine, or one billion... That's if you just use numbers. If you throw in letter or symbols it goes up much higher.

CAL: This safe had a twenty-three digit combination.

EE: And there's that number again.

CAL: Indeed... But what kind of computing power would that take to solve in half a minute...? A rough guess...?

EE: You'd have to, I don't know, borrow Google's cloud farm in Ireland.

CAL: Could you do that?

EE: Could a bank robber do that? [Laughs] Don't be daft!

CAL: You have to ask daft questions sometimes. Facts are...

EE: [Finishing sentence] Surrounded by errors, I know.

CAL: What about quantum computing?

EE: A legend... mostly, especially around here. If someone's cracked quantum computing they've kept it to themselves. I mean, if you did build a quantum computer why would you use it to rob a bank. How much was taken...?

CAL: I get your point.

EE: What about Chemical Luck?

DIB: What's that?

EE: Chemical Luck, I've heard about it. Your lot have been testing strains of it up in Stanmore [CAL shrugs]. It's a quantum action molecule. It affects probabilities at a sub-atomic level, sort of slows the world down, develops a spread of simultaneous possibilities. You can be Schrodinger's Bank Robber, if you had a bit of Chemical Luck in you. It'd give you the time and the means to test twenty three to the power of twenty two combinations.

CAL: I see. Thank you for your time, Eddie. We best be pushing on.

EE: Not a problem. [Pause] What was the other thing?

CAL: Oh yes. I have a scrying ball that's playing up, getting really poor reception.

EE: They're never that reliable, I must say but... I've got a lot on this week. Bring it in first thing next Monday and I can have a look at it for you.

CAL: Cheers. Come on, let's go.


There is no such think as Chemical Luck. It was developed as part of a misinformation campaign after details relating to late-stage research into quantum computing was leaked from the Department of Metaphysics Research Wing in Stanmore.

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