Author’s note: A little story I wrote a while back. Not my best, but it was fun to write. See if you can spot all my references.
“Alright Mr. Adder, why don’t we start from the beginning?”
“You mean the accident?”
“Was it an accident?”
“Of course. You think I wanted to turn?”
I dropped my clipboard and it rattled to the ground. Thankfully I was standing on the other side of the glass, so they didn’t hear. Gideon would have kicked me out. What a jerk. I bent down and picked up the clipboard, reshuffling the papers. The Project Sionis pamphlet stuck out. I pushed it back in, lining up its edges carefully with the rest of the files. I turned my attention back to the window and peered out at the little room. It was dark except for the one overhanging light that sat above the metal table, shining down on the two of them brightly. Gideon’s back was to me, but I could tell he was giving one of his smug little smirks. Colten sat across from him, his pretty face frowning.
Gideon leaned back in his chair. “Mr. Adder, I don’t jump to conclusions.” Yeah, right. “That’s why we’re here. To get your statement. So we can figure this all out. Cooperate, and everything will be just fine.” Liar. He is such a liar. Poor Colten doesn’t have any hope, not after all that happened.
Colten rolled his shoulders, slowly stretching his neck from one side to the other. He placed his hands upon the table. The light reflected against the metal encircling and tying his wrists together. I could see the long chain travelling all the way down to his ankles and spreading out to hook onto one of the table’s legs. They rattled slightly with his movement.
Colten took a deep breath. “I was taking care of some business for my father. It wasn’t supposed to take long. I should have been in and out of there in a couple of hours. But I got bogged down. For a place that makes its money through science and technology, the record storage could sure use a little updating.
“Anyways, I was just finishing off the last of my paperwork when my father called. There was something else he wanted me to take care off, seeing as how I was still there and he didn’t know when he’d be back. I’m sure you’re aware, Mr. Briggs, that Adder Industries has many ongoing projects happening at the same time. Sometimes, we have to drop a few here and there, when the project isn’t progressing as fast as we would like or it becomes, shall we say, less worthwhile. My father told me to inform the scientist in charge that we no longer required his work.”
“And what project was this?” asked Gideon, jotting down some notes.
I felt my skin prickling at the mention of its name. So much power wasted, I mused, just think what could have been done. I leaned forward, staring eagerly at Colten, looking for a slip in his face, a tell that he knew I was watching him, but I only saw my own face reflecting back.
“Why did your father ask you to terminate the project, instead of doing so himself?”
“I told you, he was busy. Besides, he’s preparing me for when I eventually take over the company. Or he was.” Colten sighed.
“So what happened next?” prompted Gideon.
“I went down to the lab.”
A wide grin spread before me.
♣ ♣ ♣
He stepped into the room and looked around him. It was late enough that all the assistants had already left. Only one man remained, hunched over a microscope. Colten stepped forward and cleared his throat. The man looked up and waved when he saw Colten.
“Evening, Mr. Adder.” He brushed his hands on his lab coat, before holding one out and eagerly shaking Colten’s.
“Evening, Harold. How’s everything?”
“Oh, wonderful, wonderful! I think we’re really making headway now. We’ve started live experiments, and the results we’re seeing are outstanding. Bad weather will be a thing of the past, just you wait!” Harold rubbed his hands together excitedly.
Colten fidgeted with his watch. He ran his fingers through his hair, breathing out. “That’s the problem, Harold – we can’t afford to wait any longer. I’m afraid we’re going to have to pull the plug on Sionis.”
The scientist’s face fell. “I don’t understand. No, things are going so well. We had a bit of a slow start, sure, but if you’d just look at the results we’re getting now, surely you’ll reconsider.”
“Sionis has been costing us too much money, and there won’t be enough gain from its outcomes if it ever does go all the way. We’ll never manage a profit like this, and we can’t take that risk right now.”
“What are you talking about, not enough gain? If this works, we’ll be able to solve the world’s food crisis – more than that, we could fix all of our climate issues!”
“If it works, Harold, and that’s a big if. I’m sorry, but it’s over.” Colten began to turn away. Harold looked around desperately. He grabbed Colten’s arm.
“No, wait, please, just let me show you what we’ve done. We’re so close, so close! Just let me show you, and I know you’ll reconsider!”
“It’s not up to me Harold. You’ll have to take it up with my father.” Colten tried to shake him off, but Harold gripped tighter. He began to pull him towards the freezers.
“No, see, see what we’ve achieved! It’s incredible, you must! All I need is a little more time, and I promise it will be worth it. We will revolutionize the world!” Harold hurriedly opened the freezer door and pulled out a tube of bright blue liquid. He held it up to the light, grinning wildly at it. “With this serum, we will soon be able to control the weather. We could bring the sun or make it rain. We’ll be able to cleanse the air! There just needs to be a few more experiments, to find the right formula. So far whatever we’ve tried has been just a little off.” He pointed to the line of tubes still sitting in the freezer, each a slightly different shade of blue. “But this one has been our closest yet!” He once more held up the tube in his hands. He ran to a nearby table and attached a syringe. He turned to the large glass box that was sitting on the table.
“Harold, stop. It’s no use.” Colten took a step closer to the scientist, who instinctively held the tube to his chest.
“No, no, no!” he begged. “Just let me inject it into the control area, and you’ll see!”
Colten held out his hand. “I can’t let you do that. Put the serum down.” He moved closer.
“No! Wait!” Harold and Colten moved at the same time. Harold thrust the syringe towards the box and Colten threw his arm out. Suddenly Colten collapsed to the floor, seizing and jerking, the needle sticking deep into his arm.