“How did you two meet?”
“His name came up during my analyst team’s search for an expert in the field of obstetrics.” Chris Devereux was even keeled in his delivery. There was no longer the weight of navigating protocols and politics upon his shoulders. This was a free man. “I didn’t know we would become so close. I suppose I didn’t realize how distant I was from everyone until we met.”
“How close did you become with Dr. Riley?”
“In the short time that I knew him, hmmm, that’s a tough question. I will say he had a terrific impact on my life. On who I am, and what I believe. I owe him everything.”
“I understand that you were friends, but how do you justify that statement, ‘owe him everything’.” The questioner adjusted his glasses as he and his associate typed Christopher’s responses into their e-hubs. The room was cold, and clinical. The wall to Chris’s right was a one-way mirror, and Chris found himself wondering if there was anyone observing from the other side that had dealings with him in the past. As an Analyst in Charge for the Atlanta Accountability Office, he had often flown up to the Hill to debrief with members of Homeland Security often.
Chris leaned in and spoke plainly, “I was blind, but now I see.” He rubbed the stubble on his chin, such a contrast to the classic Oxford refinement that had been so axiomatic for 16 years. He had lost weight since going off the grid. Less drinking, less sedentary. He looked good, a fit frame, square jaw line, and engaging brown eyes that had seen through lies for an entire career.
“With him gone, why did you come back to D.C.? Was it for,” the interviewer’s finger swiped through files, “Cassandra? Cassandra Hale?”
“Yes. Last time I talked to Cassie, I told her I would find her, and explain to her why I left and went off grid.”
“Well Christopher, that is precisely what we would like to know. You realize disseminating that report, how you wrote it, how you went to the news. You personally caused the deaths of thousands of Americans. You are looking dead in the face of treason charges. Do you understand that?”
“I understand that that is Homeland Security’s perspective. Yes.”
“So you deny causing the deaths of thousands of people?”
“Is this office blaming me for the actions of thousands of people who are free to act as they wish?”
“For inciting riots, smart guy.” The associate next to the guy-with-glasses finally spoke up, and was sternly announcing his presence.
“I do not mind sharing the details of our case, sirs. And if it is the choice of this office to lay the blame for this country’s reaction to the truth at my feet, then so be it. But whether it came from me, or from the failure of Platinum Labs to deliver a cure in the previous weeks, you know that this country was already set to rip itself apart. But I understand this office needs a scapegoat. I find it strange that I am it, but what are you going to do, right?”
The stern associate interjected again, “Do not accuse this office of drumming up some strawman to burn at the stake for the sake of quelling the masses! You know very well the parameters of your position as Analyst in Charge, and you broke the law!”
Glasses-guy stepped on his associate’s sentence with his own calmer brand of accusation, “Chris, Chris. At this time, we are charged with ascertaining the facts. It isn’t about guilt or innocence yet. Yes, I’m sure there will be a trial, and I am sure you knew what laws were being broken at the time you chose to break them. Clearly you felt justified in doing so. We will get to that.” He adjusted his glasses again, letting the tension wind down a bit from his partner’s aggression. “You have been nothing but cooperative, and we have no reason to believe you will stop being so. Let’s just start with the initial work order matrix. You were commissioned by Congressman Dumas from Tennessee to conduct an analysis of Platinum Labs, is that correct?”
Chris looked at bad-cop, and then at Glasses, wondering if they had planned their approach in the hall before entering. “May I have a coffee? I imagine we will be here awhile. We might as well make ourselves comfortable.”
Glasses leaned back and to the left, and spoke to the mirror, “Can we please get a coffee in here for Mr. Devereux. Terry? Coffee?” Bad-cop nodded. “Just make it three coffees please. Thank you.”
“Yes, it was the Congressman from Tennessee that initiated the request. But it wasn’t Platinum. It was a branch of Platinum, the RIGHT Project. It was Alex Dumas’ opinion, one which I ended up agreeing with, that several people from within the government had hooked their wagons to the inevitable fiscal success of Platinum through this new project. He was pursuing his own political options to weed out corruption surrounding the project, but our specific task was more refined in nature. It was to investigate the chances of the RIGHT project to save the human race.”
“And for the record,” said Glasses, “state what the RIGHT Project is, please.”
“RIGHT stands for Recovery Initiative for the Genome of Humanity Team.”