This is an amateur, non-commercial story, which is not produced, approved of, or in any way sponsored by the holders of the trademarks/copyrights from which this work is derived, nor is it intended to infringe on the rights of these holders. And so it goes.
It was a sunny, perfect autumn morning in
“What took you so long?” she demanded as he walked up. “I called you over an hour ago!”
“Yeah, well, I was sleeping in for once…and I stopped at Café Diem on the way.” Carter held his coffee cup up as evidence.
“You know, I might have been willing to pour you one here,” Allison said as she led him inside. “I set the brewer last night to start at seven. It’s not like Nathan and I go through an entire pot in an hour’s time.” She frowned slightly. “Well, not me, anyway.” She opened the sliding door leading to the back yard. “Come on back.”
“So what exactly is going on?” Carter asked. “You said you found something…”
“Not something, Carter. Someone.”
“Morning, Carter,” Nathan Stark said with a slight wave. Unlike Allison, he was fully dressed in a soft denim shirt and jeans. He was standing by the side of the house, a stepladder beside him and an elderly man at his feet. “Great thing to wake up to, isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” Carter knelt down beside the body. “I’m assuming he’s dead?” It was a safe bet. The body was stiff as a board and the corpse’s face was completely wet with morning dew. At least his eyes were closed, Carter thought with a bit of relief. He absolutely hated finding dead people with their eyes staring at him.
It took a minute or two for recognition to hit. “Hey, isn’t
this the guy who keeps yelling about pornography during the town hall meetings?
The one who keeps calling me, demanding that I close down the ‘marital
relations and sexuality’ shelf at Eureka Books and Magazines and stop the teenagers
from sinning against God? The one who wanted bikinis banned at the town pool? The one who wanted me to arrest anyone holding hands or kissing on
“It is indeed,” Stark nodded, “and the irony is not lost on me.”
“Fine, you’ve made identification,” Allison snapped. “Would you please get that old pervert off my property?” She wrapped her arms around her chest and shuffled back away from the body.
“In a minute.” Carter rose to his feet. “From that description, I take it he had something to do with the stepladder?”
“It’s Ally’s,” Stark nodded. “I was trimming back some branches last night and forgot to put it away. If you look over behind the tool shed, you’ll find a motor scooter parked there. His motor scooter.”
“So tell me what happened.”
“Ally got up around seven,” Stark explained. “She was looking out the back porch, noticed that the ladder was up beside the house, and when we came out here we found our deceased friend. She called you while I made sure nothing got disturbed before you got here.”
“Carter…” Allison growled, “…will you get him the hell out of here? Today, if possible?”
Stark grinned at Carter. “Want her to call Henry?”
“Yeah, that would be good. Be sure and tell him he’s coroner on this trip.”
“Happy to contribute,” Allison said sarcastically before heading inside.
“Sorry about that,” Stark said, watching her go. “You know how it is; finding a dead peeping tom in your backyard can really ruin your day.”
“Yeah, I bet.” Carter’s eyes followed the ladder’s path of ascent. “Safe to assume he fell backwards.” His gaze continued up to the second story of the house. “That’s the master bathroom, isn’t it?” Stark nodded. “Okay, things make a bit more sense now, but…there’s no way he’d be able to peek in, even at the top step. He’s not tall enough. So what…?”
“I wondered the same thing, and then I found this over here,” Stark said. Carter followed him a few feet away and looked down. It looked for all intents and purposes like a telescopic rod, though the far end was slightly tilted down. A small cable was connected to a digital camcorder on the nearer end.
“Okay,” Carter admitted. “I don’t know whether to be impressed, horrified, or both.”
“I looked this thing over before you arrived,” Stark said. Carter’s gaze turned toward him. “I didn’t touch anything,” he added. “I’ve watched enough CSI to know better. This down here,” he motioned to the far end, “is the business end of a fiber optic camera. I’m guessing it runs down the length of the pole, ending here in a USB port…”
“…and from there it goes to the digital camera, and that way
he can see what he’s shooting.” Carter pulled a set of latex gloves from his
pocket and retrieved the camera. “Only in
“Yeah, and that’s what surprises me…” Just then Allison reappeared. “Henry’s on his way,” she announced, and then she noticed what Carter was doing. “Hey!” she yelled hotly. “It’s bad enough he was taking pictures of me in the shower, do you have to get an eyeful too?”
Carter bit his lip and hesitated. “Close…but not quite,” he finally said.
“What do you mean?” Allison demanded.
Carter switched the device on. Seconds later the neighborhood heard the booming voice of Nathan Stark:
“I'm singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love…”
“He wasn’t watching you, Allison,” Carter said, raising the camera so she could watch as well as listen. “He was recording Stark’s audition for ‘American Idol.’”
“Oh my god,” Allison said, rolling her eyes. Stark started to move as if to take the camera for himself, but Carter quickly pulled it away. “Sorry. Evidence.”
“Carter, if any of that shots ends up on YouTube,” Stark growled, “ I will personally see to it that you die a very slow and horrible death in Section Five…”
Carter glanced down and shook his head. “I never pegged you for a shower singer, Stark. Nice baritone, though.”
They took the body to the morgue at Global Dynamics for the post-mortem. Henry Deacon stepped back from the examination table. “Doctor Thomas Randolph Harris, based on my initial examination and scans, died from a myocardial infarction, most likely while he was…observing matters on the ladder.”
“Yeah, I guess whatever he was looking at gave him such a scare…” Carter said, his face utterly deadpan. Stark rolled his eyes derisively and glared at him but said nothing. “That’s why he was lying on the ground, face up.”
Henry nodded. “If you want, we can perform an autopsy to confirm that there was no foul play. Is there a next of kin we need to contact for permission?”
“No, Harris was a ‘confirmed bachelor’,” Stark replied. “And I think I’m beginning to understand why.”
“Hey, speak no ill of the dead,” Henry chuckled. “But I really don’t see any necessity in going further.” He removed his gloves and switched his scanning equipment off. Two interns stepped forward to haul the body away.
“So who was this guy?” Carter asked as they headed back to
Stark’s office. “Besides being
“Well, to be honest, Jack, Doctor Harris has quite the
history,” Henry replied. “He was a witness to much of the 20th
century’s scientific milestones. Studied at Princeton during the birth of
modern physics, assisted at the
“Harris was a protégé of Edward Teller,” Stark continued.
“He did a lot of research in developing the first bomb implosion method, but like
his mentor he got caught up in the whole hydrogen bomb enthusiasm. After the
war he followed Teller to Chicago and Berkeley, but they had a falling out over
the whole Oppenheimer security clearance dispute. Around that time the DOD
recruited him and brought him here to
“Well, I believe we can guess just why he was so eager to relocate here,” Henry noted; Stark nodded. Seeing Carter’s confusion, he elaborated: “You know how paranoid people were about Communism in the fifties, Jack. Homosexuality was just as taboo, and there were those who assumed that being gay also meant one was also pink, if not red...or susceptible to blackmail in exchange for classified information”
“And that was just here in the States,” Stark added. “What the British did to Alan Turing was unforgivable.” He nodded sadly to himself. “Yeah, it would make sense that after what happened to Oppenheimer, Harris would do anything to hide and avoid scrutiny, including moving to a top-secret town.”
“Wow,” Carter breathed. “Even so…that’s really something. All the stuff he must have seen during the war and after. Did he ever write a book about his experiences?”
“If he did, we’d have to kill you after you read it,” Stark said. “Most of it’s highly classified.”
“And speaking of which,” Allison said as she intercepted them, “I’ve got a job for you three. We’ve got to search Doctor Harris’s house for classified materials before we clear it out. Carter, this falls under your job description, but Nathan will have to go in with you as a senior ranking Global executive with appropriate clearance.”
“In other words, Carter, just open the door for me and don’t touch anything,” Stark said.
“After what I found today, I don’t think I’d want to.”
“And why am I included in this task?” Henry asked.
“To keep them from killing each other,” Allison replied with a smug grin.
The next morning, five cars
gathered in front of Harris’s split-level house on the corner of Gell and Mann. Carter and Deputy Jo Lupo
stepped out of their Jeeps; Henry jumped out of his all-purpose work truck.
Nearby Stark extricated himself from his BMW and
Carter stared at Stark’s Armani suit and shook his head. “Come here directly from church?”
“As a matter of fact, yes, I did,” Stark replied. “Strange, though--I don’t recall seeing you there.”
Henry rolled his eyes and stepped between them. “I took the liberty of accessing the town records,” he said. Raising his holographic pointer, a three-story schematic of the house shimmered into view. “This is the most up-to-date version that I could put together. The main and second floors were renovated and repaired a few times, which you’d expect in a house that’s fifty years old. It would appear, however, that the good doctor had a great deal of work done in the basement over time.”
“That’s pretty par for the course
Henry nodded. “What’s interesting is that all of the basement windows were sealed up. Whatever he was doing down there, he didn’t want anyone looking in.”
“Good for him,” Stark retorted. “Pity he wasn’t as considerate to all of us. Let’s head on in.” Stark led the way to the front porch; three bundles of newspapers were bound and stacked exactly three feet to the left of the door, and on the other side, also exactly three feet from the door, were two gleaming empty milk bottles waiting to be picked up.
“Well, if nothing else he believed
Stark motioned for Carter to step forward. “You’ve got the keys, I believe. And remember—you’re here because you have to be, but Fargo and I are going to be doing the looking around. Anything we find that’s classified, we’ll tag with this” He held up a spool of yellow tape. “If you see this, you definitely don’t touch. Got that, Sheriff?”
“Yeah, yeah…” Carter slipped the key into the lock and turned; the door opened smoothly and the quintet stepped inside.
“Wow,” Jo whistled as she looked around. “This isn’t what I expected to see. I mean…I figured with him being an old guy, the place would be all dust and cobwebs. This is…immaculate!” She slid a finger along a stairway rail. “No dust at all.”
“Yeah, Harris was a little OCD.”
Stark looked around. “
“What?” Carter yelped as
“I’d rather be safe than sorry. You
wouldn’t believe how many of those
“Harris showed no evidence of radiation exposure,” Henry pointed out, “I’d assume that he wasn’t one of them.” He patted a faded couch, which failed to explode in puffs of dust clouds. “Jo’s right. This entire house is pristine. I need the number for his cleaning service.”
“I’d be willing to bet that he did all the cleaning himself,” Stark said. “I don’t think he let many people in here, if any.”
“There sure are a lot of bookcases,” Carter said as he walked around the living room. He peered into the dining room. “Wow. A LOT of bookcases.”
“The accumulation of over half a century of knowledge and research,” Henry said, nodding. He peered at a line of books. “I recognize a few of these, but I’d imagine the majority are collector’s items.”
“What’s going to happen to them?” Carter asked.
“Well, since there’s no next of kin, there’ll probably be an estate sale once we’re done and Global has cleared out the classified stuff,” Henry answered as he ran his gaze and finger down a row of books. “Mrs. Paulson and Mrs. MacPherson have a small business for that very purpose. You’ll be asked to supervise, of course.”
“Of course,” Carter sighed.
“Wear your Kevlar,” Stark advised, pulling a book out of a stack. “It gets cutthroat on occasion.”
Henry chuckled. “The ladies have a second sideline that comes in handy as well. Once everything’s gone, they’ll hire several strong backs from Tesla to come in and clean the place up so it’s ready for the next family.” Henry smiled slightly. “And believe me, those kids won’t leave until it meets the ladies’ standards.”
“Where will the money go?”
Henry shrugged. “General community fund, dispensed at the mayor’s discretion. It gives him something to do; the price he pays for being the figurehead of a company town.” He shook his head, amused. “Elections are coming up soon; I wonder who’ll run?”
“I don’t think I’ve even met the mayor, come to think of it,” Carter said, scratching his head.
“Well, I’d tell you if I could remember who it was, which should tell you something.” Henry selected a book from a dining room shelf and started to flip through the pages. “Incredible,” he muttered to himself. “Simply incredible…”
“Hmmm? Oh, right
“Carter,” Jo said quietly. “We’re losing them.”
“I take it this happens a lot?” he asked her.
“Yeah,” she nodded, “I’ll bet you
anything that if I go upstairs ten minutes from now,
Carter sighed and rubbed the back
of his neck. “Okay. Why don’t you go upstairs and collar
Jo nodded and headed off while Carter wandered into the kitchen. For some odd reason he wasn’t surprised to find more bookshelves, all straining under the weight of books of every size. He opened the cabinet doors and peered inside; every dish was neatly put away, every drinking glass was equidistant from the others. The spices were arranged alphabetically. There were two sets of measuring spoons and cups, one in English measure, the other in Metric.
Carter opened the refrigerator just for the sheer hell of it and to feel like he was doing something. There were no surprises so far as he could see. He noted a half-full carton of two percent milk, about a third of a loaf of bread, eggs, butter, lean lunchmeat… He noticed an odd colored jam jar and picked it up. “Hey, Henry!” he called.
“You ever hear of something called ‘picnic acid’?”
Both Henry and Stark instantly appeared in the doorway. “Carter?” Stark said in a far too calm tone.
“Yeah?” He held out the jar as if to toss it to them.
“Don’t. Do. That.” Stark was almost shaking. “Jack…please set the jar…very slowly… and carefully…back into the refrigerator. Okay?”
The hairs on Carter’s neck were slowly rising. He obeyed Stark’s command, gently replacing the jar onto the refrigerator shelf and closing the door with tender care. The subsequent relief on Stark and Henry’s faces was plainly evident. “I take it that was something bad?” Carter asked.
“Jack, that was something called ‘picric acid’,” Henry said, wiping the sweat off his face. “It can be shock-sensitive, especially if it’s old or been stored improperly.”
“Something VERY bad, then?”
“Does the term ‘boom’ make things clearer? Carter, get everyone out of the house,” Stark ordered. “I’m calling the Global bomb squad to remove that and check the place over before we proceed. Damn it, I should have done that right away, what was I thinking?”
“What in the hell was Harris doing with stuff like that? In his refrigerator, of all places!” Carter declared as he and Henry hurried out the door; Jo and Fargo were already standing out by the cars.
“We’ll never know, Jack, and maybe that’s a good thing.”
Two hours later, the bomb squad roared away, the refrigerator secured and the house thoroughly scrutinized for any further ‘surprises’. Stark led the team back inside. “Carter, what part of ‘don’t touch’ did you not understand?”
“Nathan, it was a good thing he found that,” Henry jumped in. “It saved us a great deal of potential trouble.”
“Well…” Stark shrugged his
shoulders slightly. “All right, Carter. Touch if you have to, but for God’s
sake be careful. And if you find something you don’t understand…which is
probably quite a bit…call one of us. We’ll make a determination. I’ll head
“Jack, I wouldn’t take it personally,” Henry said after Stark had left.
“Yeah, but I’m not you. One more snide remark and his ‘special concert photos’ end up on the wall in Café Diem.” He looked around and sighed. “Okay, let’s get started.”
“I’ve got the bathroom,” Jo called. Two minutes later, though, she came back into the living room. “I’m done,” she said firmly to her boss.
“Yeah, you could say that.” She took a deep breath. “There’s a Pyrex beaker in the bathroom, along with a kitchen scale.”
“There’s also a very detailed notebook with dates and measurements written down.” Jo shivered slightly. “I’m going downstairs
“Harris…was quite a guy,” Carter finally said.
“Oh yes,” Henry nodded, trying to mask his grin.
A short while later, Jo hollered for Carter to join her in the basement. Harris had finished the whole thing, from the look of it. There appeared to be three main rooms, one with an open door and two that were decidedly not. “You’ve still got the keys, right?” she asked.
“Yeah. Let’s start with this one,” Carter said, nodding toward the closer of the two doors.
“Where’re Henry and Stark?” Jo asked as he fiddled with the lock.
“Oh, out drooling in the garage. Harris had a ton of vintage equipment out there, not to mention a ton of brand new cameras, camcorders and such for his ‘hobby’. Here we go…ah.” The room was pitch black; Carter slid his hand along the inside wall until he found a light switch.
They peered inside. “Looks like a darkroom,” Jo commented.
“Yeah, that would make sense,” Carter nodded, walking inside. Like every other room in the house, the place was in perfect order. A row of neatly labeled containers lined a shelf just above the basins. “Harris couldn’t risk taking his ‘prizes’ to a commercial developer, so he probably learned how to do it himself.”
“Are those chemicals dangerous?” Jo asked, nodding toward the shelf.
Carter shook his head. “Toxic, probably, but unlikely to explode. Make a note of it for Stark.” He walked over to a nearby table, where a neat stack of empty reels sat beside a small device. “Wow. He even had a Super-8 editor and splicer. I’m impressed.” Carter looked around. “But where are the finished reels?”
“Maybe he converted them to digital and disposed of them,” Jo suggested.
“I don’t know. This guy doesn’t
strike me as the type who’d get rid of anything that might incriminate him.
Let’s check the other two rooms. Where’s
“In that room—it’s an office,” Jo
said, pointing to the room with the open door. “He found a few filing cabinets
and decided to just tag them for the moment. Guy’s got a PC in there—it can’t
be more than a year old, state of the art. It’s got a T-1 line for Internet
access, and from what
“Okay.” Carter walked over to the closed door. It had no fewer than three locks keeping it shut. “That leaves this room, which from the look of it should be very interesting.”
“I tried to open it myself but no go.” The faint outline of her boot sole could be seen near the knob. Carter rolled his eyes and reached for the key ring. It took him a few minutes—there were a lot of keys on the ring—but at long last the final bolt slid back, allowing sheriff and deputy access. He flipped on the lights and blinked. “Wow.”
A forty-six inch plasma screen and accompanying speakers sat along the far wall. A leather couch faced the entertainment center. A set of cables snaked along the edge of the wall up to a server tower, which in turn was connected to a personal computer. Strangely enough, a man-sized safe sat against the other wall nearby. Carter and Jo paused for a minute or two, drinking the scene in.
Jo finally broke the silence. “The
computer’s a new model like the one in the office,” she commented, sitting down
and turning the unit on. “
Carter was tracking the cords’ path back to the entertainment center. “Hey, I thought you said he had a T-1 line for the Internet,” he called to Jo.
“Yeah. It was a blue cable. Why?”
“There aren’t any blue cables running along here, and there isn’t anything that snakes out of this room. So why have a computer that doesn’t allow you to…”
“Oh my God,” Jo gasped. “Carter…you’d better come over here right now.”
He hurried over; his jaw fell open upon seeing the screen. “That’s…Henry.”
“Yup. Didn’t know he was into nude yoga. Did you?”
“Holy cow,” Carter said, shaking his head. “The guy wasn’t just targeting Stark. What else is on here?”
“Let’s see.” Jo navigated over to
another folder. “This is…
Carter gulped. “That has got to be one of those fake pictures.”
“Talk about the Pride of Eureka,” she said softly. “If the women in this town had any idea…”
Carter glanced down at his drooling deputy. “Don’t you have something going on with Zane?”
“Let’s keep looking, okay?”
“Killjoy.” Subsequent searches revealed several other male citizens
“Keep looking. What are these things?” Carter pointed to a different set of icons.
“Those are video files. Let me see if I can…there.” The plasma screen flickered into life, and moments later Jo and Carter were treated to a scene very familiar to one of them. “Hey, isn’t that Beverly Barlow’s place?”
“Yeah, let’s see what…” One very naked Jack Carter came into full view as he stepped into the shower. “Aw, crap.”
“Yup. There’s that cute little birthmark.” Jo slapped Carter’s hand away from the mouse. “Okay, okay. Let me see what else he’s got in here…wait. Isn’t that Callister?”
“Looks like,” Carter nodded. “But…I thought he was an android…”
“An anatomically-correct android. I should know.” She watched Callister undress, a sad, thoughtful smile on her lips. “Boy that brings back…”
“Lupo, get off the chair. Now.” Stark’s voice was steady but it was impossible to ignore the cold fury behind it. Jo glanced up at Carter, who nodded slightly. Shrugging, she slid the chair back and ceded it to Stark.
Stark sat down in front of the computer and within five minutes every single photograph or video of Callister Raynes had been utterly purged with extreme prejudice from the hard drive. As Stark stood back up, his eyes met Carter’s, almost daring him to challenge the action. Carter said nothing but nodded again; Stark’s anger seemed to dissipate with the action. “Consider the contents classified,” he finally said, wrapping the yellow tape around the tower.
“Since you’re here,” Carter finally said, nodding toward the safe, “There’s that. It’s locked. I don’t suppose you’ve got the combination?”
"No, afraid not. We may not need it, though." Stark walked further into the room and gave the safe a long, thoughtful look.
"June 15, 1918."
"Hmmm." Stark set to work on the tumbler, rolling through the digits with practiced ease. "No, that wasn’t it. I’m going to try some of the default settings.
"You're trying to crack the safe?" Carter asked incredulously.
"Doctor Stark went to Cal Tech,"
"It's not as difficult as you think, Carter, especially with these older safes," Stark replied, trying a new set of numbers. "A lot of people never change the combination from the factory settings, or they use familiar dates...bingo." The door made a deep 'click' and swung open at Stark's touch. "Figured as much."
"What was the combination?"
"07-16-45," Stark replied. Seeing Carter's questioning glance, he grinned. "Look it up, Carter. Now, let’s see what we’ve got in here. I don’t suppose either of you law enforcement types would have a spare set of gloves, would you?”
“Here,” Jo drawled, dangling a pair in front of him. “One size fits all. I imagine you don’t hear that too often, though, Doctor Stark?” He glared at the deputy as he snapped the gloves on; Carter experienced a sudden coughing fit and turned away.
Stark pulled out a yellowed
scrapbook, one amid several stacks within, and opened it carefully. “Henry,” he
said quietly. “You need to see this. He’s got pictures from
“Oppenheimer, Bethe, Bohr…” Henry shook his head. “It’s a ‘Who’s Who of Atomic Scientist Pioneers’. Unbelievable.”
“I know,” Stark nodded. “And this is just one scrapbook. Who knows what else he has in there?”
“Oboy.” Carter said, his voice a bit uneven. Stark and Henry looked up and reluctantly looked at what the Sheriff was holding. He had pulled a second scrapbook from the safe while they were looking at the first, and it was lying open in his arms. “Yeah, he was definitely quite the photographer, even then,”
Stark made the mistake of looking. “Oh my god,” he winced, glancing away far too late. “I’m scarred for life.”
Henry managed to keep looking. “That’s…Edward Teller,” he said in a slow voice. “Playing the piano…”
“…in the nude,” Stark groaned. “I’ll never get that image burned out of my brain for as long as I live.”
“Oh, that’s just one of many,” Carter noted. “Apparently Harris got real good at ‘candid camera’ in the showers….the men’s showers, to be specific.”
“I do not believe this,” Henry
said, shaking his head and unable to tear his gaze away.
“So that’s Oppenheimer,” she said with a nod. “Never would have recognized him with his clothes on.”
Henry glanced into the safe…and the stacks of scrapbooks sitting inside it. “Harris was present at most of the critical events in physics over a sixty-year period…”
“An eyewitness to history,” Carter declared.
“More like a god-damned peeping tom to history,” Stark growled, nonetheless closing the scrapbook with tender care.
“I take it this stuff’s classified?” Carter asked.
Stark said nothing, merely slapping the label on the safe in reply.
“Looks like you got a perfect day
for the memorial service,” Doctor Anne Young said to Allison several days later.
They were standing on the speaker’s stage, looking out at the crowd gathering
“Yeah, well, I figured he deserved it. He saw some incredible things in his lifetime.”
“Oh, that’s an understatement,”
Young chuckled. Jo had hosted a special ‘wine-and-cheese’ private viewing party
for the ladies of
Allison nodded. “You should have heard Nathan scream.” She smiled evilly. “I’m going to enjoy today far more than I should, Anne.”
Carter and his daughter were standing by the drop-off zone. Allison had provided transportation for the residents of the Senior Citizen’s facility who had known Doctor Harris and wanted to pay their last respects. “Sheriff!” Doris Stokes declared, bouncing up to greet them. “It’s so nice to see you and Zoe!”
“Well, we’re glad you could make it for the service,” Carter said. “And I want you to know, Zoe would like nothing more than to give you a helping hand with your residents.” He gave his startled daughter a slight shove forward.
“I would?” Zoe said, turning to glare at her father.
“That hickey on your neck says you would.”
Allison had arranged for a display
of Harris’ photographs—the unclassified ones fit for public consumption—along
each side of the audience area. Henry was studying the
Henry nodded. “Doctor Harris
touched a number of lives here.” He winced. “Let me rephrase that. By the way,
is there some…news…I haven’t heard?” he asked, motioning first at
“Yes,” Jo said just as quickly. At
that moment a furious-looking Zane Donovan marched up to the small group.
“Could I have a word with you, Josefina?” he demanded, almost reaching to grasp
her arm but abruptly thinking better of it. She rolled her eyes and nodded,
following him away while keeping her eyes on
“Problem?” Henry asked, amused.
“And this is a problem, how?”
“Nothing. I just suggested that after this thing we go over to my place for a sandwich afterwards,” she replied. “See you later, Henry.”
“Not a problem, Henry,” she replied, her smile growing a bit on the feral side. “My name’s Theresa McDaniel, I’m thirty-two, single, and I hear that, like me, you’re into yoga…”
“So how did you get the DOD to pay for this?” Dr. Young asked.
Allison smiled, pulled out her PDA, and pressed a few buttons. “These helped.”
“Doctor Harris was a man of great determination and many skills,” Allison said sagely. “Also a horrible peeper, but today we don’t speak ill of the dead.”
After a brief introduction, Nathan Stark took a deep breath and headed for the podium. “You are going to pay dearly for this,” he muttered to Allison as she ceded the floor to him.
“Promises, promises,” she replied with a smug grin.
Stark gazed out at the gathering and wished very hard for a sudden thunderstorm or nuclear disaster. When nothing came of it, he sighed and cleared his throat. “Doctor Thomas Randolph Harris was a man who saw much more than we could ever imagine,” he began.
Carter barely restrained a snicker. Nearby, Zoe was not as successful as she clearly heard Irwin Thatcher mutter to his beloved Eugenia, “He was a goddamned peeping tom was what he was.”
Stark continued: “We marvel at how quickly technology evolves, in twenty, thirty years. Doctor Harris not only saw that incredible evolution over his ninety-odd years, he embraced it. His house was a veritable museum of the history of our past century, not only in the photos and movies he left behind, some of which can be seen here, but also in the equipment that he used to record these notable events.”
“Such as Nathan performing ‘Singing in the Rain’ in the shower,” Allison whispered to a giggling Anne Young.
“Doctor Harris had no family to speak of, but these mementoes he leaves behind, these valuable pieces of history, are in my mind a tremendous legacy not only to the men and women in
Jo Lupo hoped she hadn’t left the flash drive in her computer; between the wine and the lateness of the hour when the party had finally broken up last night, things were a bit fuzzy. Oh well, she’d just have to make sure the boys were…distracted…until she could make sure. The thought made her smile grow even wider.
Fargo and Zane, sitting on either side of her, shivered slightly though neither could explain why.
“In conclusion, then, we salute Doctor Harris not only for his considerable achievements in science, but also for his…unique perspective on the events of people whose lives he recorded in film and photo over the many years. Thank you.” Stark bowed slightly, then strode off the podium in record time.
“Well done,” Allison said, smiling brightly.
“I hope he’s burning in hell,” Stark replied. “Is that it?”
Allison nodded. “Carter’s going up to close things out.”
Jack Carter looked out at the audience and cleared his throat. “Thank you all for coming,” he said into the microphone. “I’m sure that Doctor Harris would have appreciated it. So this concludes the memorial service, and as one final gesture I’d like to play one of Doctor Harris’ favorite songs to see you out…”
Nathan Stark paled slightly. “No…”
“I know this because it was playing at the time of his unfortunate accident…”
Allison tried to block Stark’s path to the platform. “I’m going to kill him, Ally!”
“Thanks again.” On Carter’s cue, the PA system began to blare:
“I'm singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love…”