Gadgets the great escape, p.4
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       Gadgets: The Great Escape, p.4

           David Hancock
 

  Blade glared at Deep Fat, but Deep Fat couldn’t look him straight in the eye and let his head fall in total dejection. He had let the boss down. Even though he had managed to find The General and bring him in, all that would be forgotten now because he had messed up. Blade had told him to bring back The General on his own and he had failed him.

  ‘What have you been doing Deep Fat? smirked Lee-Mailer. ’Playing Pied Piper? It’s getting a bit cramped in here.’

  There was silence. It hung in the air…

  ‘Ahhh, the lovely Jane, said Blade, forever the gentleman as he broke the silence. ‘Just what we needed, a spot of female company.’

  ‘And you General, thank you for coming.’

  ‘Reporting for duty, sir,’ replied The General, opening the top lid of the grilling machine in a smart salute.

  ‘Quite,’ said Blade, a little puzzled. ‘How have you been?’

  ‘Undercover sir, Operation Aroma, sir…. Permission to speak?’

  ‘Yes of course’, replied Blade, arching his eyebrows.

  ‘From my observations I am sure, sir, that the FY 168lq is definitely our man.

  ‘Right,’ said Blade, now completely confused. ‘What exactly has he been up to?’

  ‘Ahhh, I understand sir, hush hush,’ replied the General as he moved closer to Blade and lowered his voice. ‘Too many ears round here.’

  The General then described his latest findings to do with Operation Aroma. He had been staking out the far end of the worktop for sometime sure that the coffee machine was up to something. There had been rumours before, of course, but no one had ever been able to prove anything. The Flavora Sympatico FY168lq seemed above reproach. At a cost of more than £800 it was everything a coffee addict could ever wish for and certainly wasn’t on the list of gadgets to be auctioned. The Sympatico, made in Spain, was the empress of coffee makers with a 15-bar pump and a 1500-watt Thermo block heating unit. It could do everything, letting the user play with the coffee strength, water amount, temperature and even steam quantity. It was self-maintained with automatic rinsing, cleaning and de-calcifying. But that was nothing. It could also log on to the Internet allowing users to set their own parameters for coffee and upload to the machine from a PC. Everything was controlled from a touch-screen and the read-outs were in seven major languages. The coffee - and it made every kind - was boutique for coffee geeks. But The General had a sneaking suspicion the FY168lq was dealing something other than just a top-of-the-range Mocha. He had put the unit under surveillance.

  ‘On the surface things seem normal chief,’ he told Blade. ‘The Sympatico was in use most days and served all the family. It was especially busy at weekends but never in the evening because none of the family liked to drink coffee before going to bed. But the Sympatico wasn’t totally alone in the evenings either. On more than one occasion I saw the unit approached by other gadgets and in a surprisingly sly and underhand way.’

  ‘This is all very interesting,’ said Blade. ‘But what exactly are you driving at General?’

  ‘I think the FY168lq is dealing more than just coffee, sir.’

  ‘And what do you think is being dealt then?’

  ‘I don’t know exactly, but I think we should keep an eye on things. The slow cooker seems to visit the coffee machine in the evenings more so than any of the other gadgets.’

  Blade sighed. ‘Right General, well that has been noted. Now can you tell me if you have seen Forque while you have been on your surveillances?’

  ‘Your girlfriend sir?’

  ‘Yes, my girlfriend.’

  ‘No sir, haven’t seen her at all sir. Is she MIA?’

  ‘Well yes, she is missing, but I’m not sure whether it is in action actually. But keep an eye out for me will you?’

  ‘Certainly sir.’

  ‘The real reason I wanted you here General is because we have a major crisis on our hands.’

  Blade continued to tell The General about how the kitchen gadgets were about to be auctioned online and downgraded as second-class. He mentioned the names they had already seen on the Net, but conveniently omitted the fact that The General was on there as well.

  ‘Obviously we have to get everyone out of the house before they are packaged up. But it is going to be difficult. What do you think General?’ asked Blade.

  ‘Evacuation sir, nothing less than total evacuation. You are absolutely right. But we will need a reception centre of some sort. They’ll have to be processed, keep an eye on who’s who, that sort of thing. And it’s going to be dangerous, big operation sir, big operation,’ replied The General, slightly shaking his head. ‘Have to be done right and have to be done at night. How big a team do we have sir?’

  ‘Steady on General we are not moving a battalion here, and as for a team well there’s you and me, Deep Fat and Lee-Mailer. And, oh yes, Jane Dough as well.’

  ‘Well I hope they are all battle ready. Now where can we move everyone to?’

  ‘Well I do have an idea,’ replied Blade.

 
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