The buzz at Carstairs Defence was electric. Rumour and speculation had been rife for over 6 months that young Adam Rickard, the boy genius, had developed a new missile detector. Sure enough, the 17-year-old had kept himself behind the closed doors of his lab day and night.
Now Sir Damian Carstairs had called a meeting of the heads of research. That meant something big was going on as Sir Damian never left his country pile for the research centre unless it was important. Damian was more likely to be seen on the fairway with some high-level acquaintance or other if the truth be told.
Damian looked out at the Carstairs researchers gathered around him. Sat around the conference table were some of the top scientists in their field of defence warfare. ‘Ladies and gentleman’ he said, ‘thank you all for attending this meeting. As you know there has been some top-secret stuff going on in E-wing and shortly Rickard will be here to tell you about it.’
As if waiting for his words the door opened and everyone turned expecting to see the young scientist. Instead, Damian Carstairs’ personal assistant stood there, his face flustered to a shade if overripe cherry.
‘What is it, Filston? Is Rickard on his way?’
‘No, Sir, he’s dead!’
‘Dead, what do you mean? He can’t be dead!’
‘The poor lad is sprawled over his lab table with a bullet hole in his head, Sir, he is most definitely dead,’ said Filston. ‘Security has called in the authorities Sir.’
‘Yes, yes, of course.’ Damian turned to his team of researchers ‘I understand this is a shock to us all.’ The gathered people murmured about the boy’s youth and his amazing intelligence.
‘Indeed, he was an amazing young man. Today he was going to show you the result of his arduous work – a stealth module intelligence unit. My God, the prototype. Filston?’
‘What about the prototype? Where is it?’
‘I’ll check with security right away Sir’
A few minutes later Filston hung up the phone. ‘Sir, head of security has checked and there is nothing in that room other than Rickard’s body. The prototype has gone!’ he said. ‘They also have a report of a white vehicle leaving the main entrance early this morning, Sir.’
‘Did no one think to stop it?’
‘No Sir, it was your son, Sir’
Sir Damian Carstairs sunk into his chair, his eyes clouded and his face ashen.
©JG Farmer 2018