Picture it and write: Requisition
Hi there! This is my offering for this weeks picture it and write on Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy!
It was nearly two hours into the working day before anyone noticed that Professor Clyde Williams had not shown at the base. Five hours had passed before someone had checked if he was ill at home. After that it only took fifteen seconds for word to get back to Colonel John Delancy, formerly of Military Intelligence, and for him to raise a shit-storm the likes of which many had never seen. The project was still going ahead, it was much too big to stop, but Williams was important and he had to be found, dead or alive.
Captain Samuel Jones opened the modest seeming door of Colonel Delancy’s office. For the look on his face, he might as well have been walking into the mouth of hell. “Please!” The Colonel said in sickly sweet tones, “Take a seat”
The poor young officer hadn’t a clue why he was there, Delancy had made sure that there had been no general leaks around the base, but the colonel’s reputation was enough to frighten the tar out of him. Delancy liked that just fine.
“So! Did you acquire an unusual shipment for one of the scientific staff in the last two months?” The captain looked confused for a moment and then the gears seemed to start turning in his head “Oh! Clyde! I mean Professor Williams! Yes! I requisitioned some special items for him!”
“You didn’t think there was anything unusual about the order, did you?” The captain had a confused look on his face “Uh! Sir! In what way?”
“Consider what else they needed. Wire, magnets, high-grade explosives. Did you think there was anything unusual about a request for half a million dollar’s worth of gem diamonds? Did it strike you as odd?”
The officer was struck by the question “But sir! Standing orders were to provide whatever the slide-rulers wanted. No questions! No matter what!”
Delancy coughed back a short laugh, classic misdirect. “So you did think there was a problem with the order? It did strike you as odd, didn’t it?”
Captain Jones looked like a school boy who had just been caught cheating “I did question Professor Williams. He started talking about Moh’s numbers and refractive indices. I just switched off, figured he knew it better than I did, and signed it off. Who knows what they need? Or what they can do with it?”
Delancy had to agree with the Captain there. It was too easy for the egg-heads to claim they needed anything and everything. Especially now that their work was high priority. It wasn’t like you can check a manual for what they needed and you certainly could call other experts, they worked for the other guys, this was a war!
After the obviously relieved captain was marched out of his office, Colonel Delancy sat back on his desk and thought a while. The captain just seemed to be over his head, thought Delancy, no real need to punish him, maybe just transfer him, to the front, get him out of his hair. There was going to need to be some changes too on how things were done at the base. More oversight would be necessary as well, maybe a scientific panel. But he would get back to that.
He opened a drawer on the side of his desk and took out the cloth bag inside. He opened it and spilled the contents onto the felt of his desk. There was the blazing sparkle from the pile of diamonds that scattered beneath him. Only about fifty thousand worth, most were missing.
The professor had a ‘companion’ in the local town. That was a safe word for prostitute. He would see her regularly. She seemed clean but you never could know. Delancy had tried to set him up with a friend of his from back in the ‘firm’ a honey trap who could be guaranteed to make him sing for her. Unfortunately the fucker stayed loyal, well not to the home side. It seems that she had gone missing too, how suspicious was that?
He had his men going through Williams’ office with a fine tooth comb. They had to bring on of his students along with them. Try and figure out if anything was missing. That was where they found the diamonds. It so far seemed like everything was there only what was in the professor’s head was missing, that was a serious security risk.
It was a risk that had to be contained. The thing is, he could be anywhere in the country, travelling with a fortune in untraceable diamonds and a possible enemy agent.
He had up to a twelve-hour head-start. The chase was on.