“What?! I was attacked, Detective! He hit me, threatened me and forced me to try and open the door…” Rachel suddenly came up short; her face bright with realisation. “There!” she exclaimed. “Surely that proves it! Everyone on the team knows the alarms are set to go off if anyone tries to get into the lab once it’s been shut down. It’s a security measure to try and avoid sabotage; as you said – there is a lot riding on these experiments… Surely your research has told you that? I am the innocent party here!” Rachel was triumphant for a brief moment, but her elation faded as Detective Sergeant Mossman continued to stare at her from across the table. He let the silence stretch and grow brittle. When he finally did speak his voice was speculative, assessing:
“Perhaps you didn’t want to steal the research. Perhaps you simply wanted to draw attention to your work. As I understand it, it was attention seeking that got you into trouble before.”
“No, Sergeant, it wasn’t attention seeking – but yes, I do think that our results should be published. If they were out in the public realm there would be no scope for espionage of any sort. It would also open the field out – allow others to have a look at it and see if they can fix the last few gremlins. I mean don’t get me wrong, there aren’t many – we’re almost there – but there are still some issues that we’re struggling with and opening it up; creating a kind of intellectual crowd-sourcing experiment would help us to find the solution much faster. After all, speed is vital here.” Her eyes were shining now, fear forgotten as she climbed the heights of her favourite soapbox. He sneered again and she stopped talking to chew on the skin around her thumbnail.
“Why would we want to open up such a politically important piece of research? The country can’t afford to pay out all that money on something that will directly benefit us, and then just give it away to the world and its dog! I thought we had a team of the best scientific minds in the world already working on it?” His eyes raked hers then he smiled again, showing her his teeth. “But then if all you really want is a public discussion then this is a great way to start it. Or it would be if we hadn’t taken control. Believe me, Professor. I will be examining your motives closely enough, but for now what we need to do is make sure that this problem is properly contained. You might think you understand the importance of your research, Professor, but you have no idea what’s really at stake here.”
“Oh, get over yourself” Rachel spat at him. “Of course I know they aren’t going to allow the research out into the wild. I understand the rules and I am sticking to them. One way or another, this research needs to be done, and I’ll do whatever I have to to make sure I’m part of it. Did you ever think that you might make history one day, Detective? If I can pull this off, then one day I will. Even if no-one ever knows it was me, I will have changed the world!” He stood up, moving towards the door.
“I’m very glad to hear that, Professor, because I’ve been instructed to place not just yourself, but also your key team members and research into protective custody. You are about to become the esteemed guest of the British Military.”