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The new millennium arrived with a bang. Boom time in the Australian technology markets, stocks were going through the roof. But at the Vehicle Design and Research Laboratory in Sydney all of the investor capital was spent and there was zilch to show for it. VDRL’s last intern, Julina Ganessa, had eloped with all the data, muttering about lack of openness in research, vowing to release everything into the public domain.

Pulling on the handlebars so the front wheel hopped the curb, he skidded to a halt, locked the bike to a street light and entered the Downtown Manhattan diner. This was nirvana, the streets of New York, Ed Gunderson’s destiny. His dream started in childhood, riding his bike as if he was the fastest paperboy in all of Austin Texas, zipping through gaps in backyard fences, slinging papers at mailboxes, visualizing a future as a cycle messenger. Now with a one-room apartment on Lower East Side he was ridin' high.

The bar room conversation, concerning Serbian terrorists and the assassination of some Austro-Hungarian, had become tiresome. England’s problems were at home: militant suffragettes planting bombs all over the place, from St Paul’s Cathedral to the Bank of England and only a couple of weeks ago under the coronation chair in Westminster Abbey; what a distressing state of affairs. Raising the pewter tankard to his lips, Neville Fifehead breathes in the piney perfume of hops. This malty ochre nectar will surely get the legs turning again.

Rewinding the CCTV recording, halting when he reaches the automatic motion trigger point, he reviews the footage one final time, running at half-speed, pausing to zoom in on the face.

“Just another ordinary Bradford citizen going to Friday prayers, way taller and thinner than the man we’re tracking. You were right to bring it to my attention; he’s wearing an identical Nike beanie. I don’t need to see any more, but keep scanning all mosques in Bradford and Leeds; the target is still in the country, he’ll stay within his community. If you notice anything else call me.”