With almost no forensic evidence, Agent One would have to try and discover the identity of the thieves another way. It was almost impossible to imagine that someone could have found out about the research by accident, so one of the scientists of security guards had to have been involved.
Agent One decided to start with the scientists. There were three names on the list of scientists with clearance to work on the smart bullet project. Agent One decided to start with the one who lived nearest: Dr Nathaniel Adams.
As he drove up to the block of flats where the scientist lived, he knew instantly that he had come to the right place. There were fire engines and police cars outside in the street, and an ambulance (empty).
Flashing his security pass again, Agent One took the stairs two at a time, until he came to the apartment door – it was blackened with soot, and there was still smoke wafting from inside. Carefully picking his way through the burned debris, Agent One picked up a discarded tea towel from the table and covered his face with it – there was still a lot of smoke, and not much air.
The apartment had been truly destroyed. Someone had tried to cover up evidence here. Was it the scientist trying to cover his own tracks, or had the thieves come and done this?
In the corner of the room was a filing cabinet – the drawers were opened, and the fire had consumed most of the papers inside. Agent One pulled on his detective gloves and carefully sifted though the singed files. Almost nothing was readable – there was just one small piece of paper on which he could make out some writing. He placed it gently in an evidence bag, and took it to the window so he could see it better.
The paper was badly damaged by the fire, but it was clearly a bank statement. Most of the numbers looked normal: there were amounts for grocery shopping, and some purchases online, and the scientist’s monthly salary, but there was one figure that stood out: a transfer credit of £250,000 made the previous month.
That had to be the pay-off, Agent One deduced. Looking even more carefully, he looked for the identity code for the transfer – this would tell him where the money had come from, and it had to be the thieves!
So, it was a defense company that had paid Dr Adams for the information on the smart bullet – and had presumably also hired the thief with the tiny shoe print to steal it. It was time to pay Camrich PLC a visit.
…to be continued in Chapter Four