“Do you wish to seek consul for this interview?”
“Am I being charged with a crime?”
“I don’t need a lawyer.”
Leslie Warden had returned. She was seated across from Adams and me at the big conference table in interview room 8. Apparently she had picked the lock on her ‘lev suite, hid near an exit door, and successfully escaped without detection as soon as the train pulled into Confederation Station. Somewhere between here and there she had combed the sand from her hair, showered, and changed into some fashionable business attire. Clearly, she still had some close connections in the city. Her demeanor suggested she was starting just another day at the office. No one could tell that only yesterday she was some sort of gun-wielding desperado holed up in a Ward’s’ Island beach cave for who knows what reason.
Adams continued, “We’ve asked you to meet with us to discuss interview warrant A75-35 concerning two missing prototypes of a compact low-yield fusion generator.” Adams slid the warrant across the table to Leslie.
Leslie silently glanced at it.
Adams pressed on, “Let’s begin. I’m Zachariah Adams, Head of Scientific Investigations.”
Zachariah? Now I knew.
Adams nodded towards me, “This is Special Investigator Edward Bryce.” Adams then glanced towards the man at the far end of the conference table, “The proceedings will be recorded by Constable Grant Williams.” Adams looked back to Leslie, ”Do you need anything before we begin?”
Without further ado, Adams launched into the heart of the problem, “Dr. Warden, on Wednesday, 27 March 19C6, two experimental prototypes of a compact low-yield fusion generator were determined to be missing during an audit of the government’s physics storage facilities. Before your resignation from federal employment in the Compact Fusion Research Laboratory on 13 February, you had access to that facility and those prototypes. Do you know what happened to them?”
“I didn’t steal them if that’s what you mean.”
Adams leveled his gaze on Leslie and kept on going in an equally level tone, “On Thursday, 19 July 19C6, while escorting Mr. Bryce to his home, Constable Robert McMillan, was killed in the line of duty by a single, prolonged shot from a directed energy weapon believed to have been constructed from the missing prototypes. We believe the killer thought Constable McMillan was me.”
Leslie gave Adams a shocked look.
Adams opened the manila folder in front of him and continued reading from some hand written notes, “During an investigation of the workshop facilities of Mr. Ronald Fairbanks at the PCC Leap Year Winter Invitational in February 19C7, Mr. Bryce found what appeared to be a fusion generator prototype installed in the motor of a streetcar drag racer. An attempt to remove it caused it to explode. No injuries resulted. Fragments were subsequently recovered by the incident investigation team and they appeared similar to materials used in the missing prototypes. Mr. Fairbanks confirmed that you were the person who sold and installed the device.”
Adams looked up at Leslie. No response.
Adams turned to a new page in his folder, “During an interview with the Birney brothers at their company headquarters, the brothers confirmed that they hired you to temporarily install a device for their prop trolley for the movie Builitt. You removed and took back the device once the movie was shot.” Adams gave her another glance.
“Yes, I did contract work for those two companies, but I didn’t steal any prototypes. And I certainly didn’t construct a weapon or help anyone else to do so!”
Adams turned another page and went on, “And a little over a week ago, there was an attempt made by two armed men – one of whom was the Constable McFarland who was involved in appending Constable McMillan’s killer - to disrupt a streetcar as a ruse whose end goal apparently was to assassinate Constable Bryce. The subsequent events lead to you being here today.” Adams paused. “If you would like to stop this interview to obtain consul, we can do so.”
“I don’t need a damn lawyer! ” shouted Leslie, and after a brief pause, in a calmer voice, “but I think I need your help.”
After a few seconds that seemed like an hour, Leslie asked Adams, “May I have some coffee?”
Adams looked down the table towards Constable Williams, “Make that coffees for everyone please.”
The next instalment can be found here.
The next instalment can be found here.