The twinkling lights of the city spread out below me, as far as I can see. Between the lights are great black shadows where the buildings are. Inside the buildings I imagine the people – eight million humans, most of them asleep.

Do you ever get the feeling that your life isn’t your own? Do you ever feel like everything you do, or everything you ever can do, has been chosen for you already? That it was all planned out before you were born, so all you can do is go along with it? Have you felt that way?

I have news for you. It’s true.

I work for the people who mapped out your life for you. They rule you and they rule me too. Every second of my life has belonged to them. But that will end tonight – one way or another.

My name is O. Not zero. It’s O like the letter that comes after N in the alphabet. My parents are called M and K. We were bred for our… talents.

Our masters call us the Blanks. We spy, steal, kill – whatever our masters need us to do. Apart from our masters (and now, I guess, you) no one knows we exist.

We are trained to have no identity – to be nothing, a void. We are like clay, for our masters to shape as they wish. That’s the lesson I was to learn.

But they failed to teach me it.

Alone, in secret, I learned the hardest skill of all: to make myself. I built a personality, a me, from whatever scraps I could snatch when no one was looking.

My name is O. Not zero: O. I am not nothing. I am fabulous and spectacular. And tonight, at last, is when I get to prove it.

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