“One last theft, old friend,” said Artemis Fowl, age 14, as he turned from his computer. “Then I shall turn my gaze to more legal pursuits.”
“You’ve said that before,” Butler said doubtfully. “Many times.”
A flash of irritation crossed Artemis’ face. “I admit that I have said something similar in the past, Butler, but this time is different. When this is over, I shall have enough gold to maintain the family fortunes for years to come.”
He sighed in a rare moment of weakness. “With Father’s return, it has become more and more difficult to keep my activities hidden. I cannot get his words out of my head.”
‘But things are different now. I intend to seize the day. Be the hero that every father should be. And what about you, Arty? When the moment comes, will you take your chance to be a hero?’
Butler cleared his throat in the awkward silence. “So who are we robbing?”
Artemis turned back to the computer, relieved to have been interrupted from his disquieting thoughts. “The CEO of a computer software company. The company has branches all over the world, including Ireland. Experts estimate yearly profit at about fifty billion American dollars.”
“That’s quite a haul,” Butler commented.
Artemis smirked. “What we’re after is not gold, but information. Once we break past the encryptions, we will have access to the blueprints for all their latest projects. The patents alone would net the Fowl family billions. And I imagine that the competition would pay dearly to get their hands on any number of the company’s files. The net gain could potentially be as great as it would be if we had access to an entire year’s profits.”
“And what is the name of this unlucky CEO?” Butler asked.
Artemis double-clicked on a link. A picture came up of a tall young man dressed in an outrageous white trench-coat. Bright blue eyes stared directly at the camera from under slightly shaggy brown hair. His face was fixed in a permanent scowl.
“This is the man,” Artemis said, leaning backward slightly so that Butler could examine the picture.