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me. I enjoyed talking to you both. We'll probably see each other again later
in the afternoon." He turned and began talking to
Jack as they walked away.
Elizabeth moved closer to the table to talk in a lowered voice. "How are
things at
Storbannon? I've been meaning to call Charles but never seem to get a chance.
Is there anything
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0Time.txt new to report?"
"Not really," Murdoch answered. "We've just been running strictly according to
the schedule. The machine's running and piling up results, and none of us even
knows what any of them are yet. It's all exactly the way we agreed."
"Oh, I see." Elizabeth sounded slightly disappointed. She sat back in her seat
and turned her hands upward briefly to signal an end to that topic. After a
short pause she went on, "So...you've seen our main attraction here. Is there
anything else you'd particularly like to add to the list? If not we can go on
over to Math and Phys, and you can meet some more of the people."
"Sounds good," Lee said.
Elizabeth glanced inquiringly at Murdoch. Murdoch thought for a moment. "As a
matter of fact there is something else we could do," he said. "There's a
friend of ours who works here. I
was thinking maybe we could look in and say hi while we're around."
"I see no reason why not," Elizabeth replied. "Who is he?"
"It's a she. Do you remember that girl we told you about...the one we bumped
into in
Kingussie last Saturday? She asked us to drop in if we ever found ourselves up
this way. She works in the Medical Center here, or whatever it's called."
"The Medical Department," Elizabeth said. "Yes, we could go by that way; it's
practically next door. What did you say her name was?"
"Anne...something." Murdoch shot a questioning glance at Lee.
"Patterson," Lee supplied, in a tone that said Murdoch already knew damn well
what it was.
Elizabeth studied Murdoch's face for a second, and her eyes began twinkling in
a knowing kind of way.
"Ah yes," she said. "I think I know the girl you mean -- longish dark hair;
dresses well;
carries herself nicely?..."
"Yeah. That sounds about right," Murdoch agreed, nodding his head casually.
Too casually.
"She's very pretty," Elizabeth said. After a short pause she added, "And it
would be terribly impolite to come all this way and not even take the trouble
to say hello, wouldn't it."
"Terribly," Murdoch agreed solemnly. Lee raised his eyes toward the ceiling
and looked away with a sigh.
"Nothing personal, of course," Elizabeth said. She kept her face straight, but
there was just enough mockery in her voice to be detectable.
"Of course not," Murdoch told her.
He was beginning, he realized, to get into the English habit of voicing the
opposite of what he meant. It could be subtly more emphatic than making direct
statements, which would have sounded coarse by comparison, and it had the
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advantage that a person could never be taken to task on the record of what he
had actually said. Perhaps, he thought, that was why the British had never
needed a Fifth Amendment.
Murdoch and Lee entered a large room full of X-ray machines, a gamma camera, a
body scanner, and an assortment of electronics consoles, and saw Anne working
at a computer terminal through the half-open door of a small office off the
far side. They had left Elizabeth in another office next door, talking with a
Dr. Waring, who was the head of the facility's Medical
Department. Waring had told them where they would find Anne, and to go on
through for a few minutes. He had given Murdoch the impression of being the
kind of person who didn't really approve of social calls during business
hours, and Murdoch had taken "...a few minutes..." to mean just that. They
walked across to the office door and stopped, but Anne was facing away and too
intent on what she was doing to notice them.
"Excuse me," Murdoch said. "We're looking for a black-and-white kitten. You
haven't seen one around here by any chance, have you?" Anne turned in her
chair and looked up. The surprise on her face lasted for no more than a
fraction of a second. Then she smiled, swiveled the chair around to face them,
and stood up.
"Well! If it isn't the two cowboys from California. I wondered how long it
would be before you showed up here."
"You...what?" Murdoch looked at her uncertainly. She was doing it again
already.
"You said you worked on fusion in America, and that Dr. Muir was a friend of
your grandfather. It didn't need an Einstein to work out the rest." Anne
thought for a moment. "In fact it must have been Dr. Muir who got you in here.
Where is she -- in Dr. Waring's office?"
That took care of most of the obvious continuations that the conversation
might have followed.
"So...what do you do here?" Murdoch moved forward to look at the screen she
had been working at. It was packed with lines of computer instruction code.
Although Murdoch was primarily
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0Time.txt a mathematician, machine-language programming was not one of his
strengths; he was experienced in using high-level, almost English, languages
to formulate problems to be run on computers, but the figures on the screen
were used for manipulating processes down at the fundamental level of the
machine's registers.
Lee studied the screen with casual interest for a moment. "Real-time I/O
coding," he commented. "I didn't know doctors worried about what goes on
inside computers. I thought you only needed to know how to talk to them from
the outside."
"Oh, that was something I got hooked on when I was at university in London,"
Anne told them. "We were doing a lot of image processing at one point. I
became fascinated at the way in which the computers created pictures you could [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]