This time he waited until she had closed the door behind her before turning his attention to Rachel. He smiled in what was possibly meant to be a reassuring way. She stiffened in response.
“Now, where were we?” he asked in a cold, professional voice.
“WE weren’t really anywhere…” she stopped to check his ID “Detective Sergeant Mossman. You, on the other hand, were just interrupting.” The tremor in her voice had not gone, but was now smothered in irritation. She sat back and narrowed her eyes. “So what’s so special about a Detective Sergeant then? Who are you to suddenly be taking over this interview?” He smiled at her and ignored the question.
“Why don’t we start with your work, Professor Greenly? I believe you’re trying to genetically engineer organisms that can scrub the nuclear waste out of the atmosphere above Greenland? As I understand it, you’re going to build a stock of bacterium that can absorb the mess from any future explosions.” He lent forward, smiling at her obvious shock and his tone turned conspiratorial. “You didn’t honestly think that no-one was aware of what you are doing in there did you? This is important stuff! After all, if we develop the ability to clean up properly, the possibility of simply firing nuclear waste up into space to get rid of it becomes very real.” He paused to lean back in his chair, steepling his fingers and pursing his lips thoughtfully.
“It’s a shame that your solution is impractical on a larger scale or we could forget about the space programme altogether; but you know your research is valuable all the same. Both to us and to plenty of others around the world. It’s no secret that the long term storage facilities we currently use are failing and we need a more permanent solution. If the UK could clear up its own historical waste we would no longer need to be held to ransom by the likes of Sweden and Nepal. We wouldn’t need to dump the stuff under their damn mountains.” He grinned at Rachel who was sitting perfectly still, staring at him in slack-jawed astonishment. “And China wouldn’t have an excuse to blow us to kingdom come if we could prove that we can tidy up our own mess.”
“That’s enough!” Snapped Rachel, “Clearly you know more than you should and I promise; I am really impressed. But how, exactly, am I supposed to be sure that you are who you say you are? You shouldn’t have access to that kind of intelligence – apart from a few key personnel on the actual job itself no-one should. Even the majority of people on my research team only know enough to meet the demands of their specific roles!” She narrowed her eyes at him speculatively. “There should be no way that an outsider could know all that, police or not.”
“I wondered when you would drop the deer in the headlights act.” He smiled sweetly at her and kept talking over her attempts to interrupt. “But you’re right; I am not with the police; not exactly at any rate. My department’s more concerned with matters of national security than domestic criminality, and I know what I know because it’s my job. Something this big needs to be watched and you would be extremely naïve to think otherwise.” He leant forward again, the smile gone. “Especially since one of the chief scientists in charge of the project seems to think that she knows better than the Government about what should, or should not, be in the public realm. Given that you have already been disciplined over a potential security leak, and you only kept your damn job because you are possibly the best in the world; I think it is perfectly reasonable for us to be asking why it was you that was attacked, Professor Greenly. Don’t you?”