Author: Teri Eaton
Dr. Sais’s outer office was unreasonably warm, but that did little to lessen the cold knot in the pit of Eric’s stomach. You were only ever summoned to see the big boss when you invented something that would make the Corporation millions, or the opposite. Eric had only met the man once, at a fundraiser, but he knew Sais’s reputation. This was not a casual invitation. He tried not to trip over his own feet as the distracted secretary ushered him into the inner sanctum.
The older man positively defined distinguished, sitting behind his mahogany desk with his spectacles slipped half way down his nose as he scribbled notes in his calendar. Eric froze just inside the closed door, wary of interrupting. He could always come back at a more convenient time.
“Please sit, Mr. Neith.” Sais said, without looking up. Eric pulled himself together and ventured into the office and perched on the edge of the chair facing the dark wood alter.
“I have been reading your report.” Sais’s voice was deep and soothing but Eric had been warned not to fall into the ‘Grandfather trap’.
“Which report is that, sir?” he asked, knowing full well there was only one thing worthy of a trip to the top floor.
Sais looked at him over his glasses. Feigning innocence was not going to be a good tactic. The hefty file sat between them on the blotter. “A new moon? Over Venus? How can you explain that?”
“Well, it could be anything from the Death Star, to the Lost Moon of Poosh.” Eric joked nervously.
Sais slipped off his glasses and set them carefully in front of him. “Poosh?”
“Umm…” Oops. Lose the joking. “It’s a Dr. Who reference… the Daleks steal these planets out of time, and the one that starts it is the…. Never mind.”
“Mr. Neith…” Sais leaned forward, all business. “According to your report, you have been doing this research in your free time? With a personal telescope?”
“Mostly, sir. I did a thesis on the atmosphere on Venus. It is kind of a pet project to keep up with my research. But, I did confirm my analysis with the 2meter scopes. The images are all in the file.”
“Have you discussed this with anyone on your team?”
Sarah was technically not on his team, since she was technically on the Jet propulsion team. No sense getting her in hot water. “No sir. I submitted this to Dr. Amstead. I assume he read it and submitted it to you.”
“Your family, then? Do they know what you believe you have found?”
The cold knot in his stomach tightened a notch. This seemed like a trap. “Of course not sir. That would violate my non-disclosure.”
Sais seemed to relax. “Good, good.” He sat back in his chair and considered Eric over his templed fingers. “It is a shame really. You showed such promise. Well, I suppose you have proven that to be true, haven’t you?”
“Sir?” Eric was lost now. Good that he had not told anyone, but he had proven something?
“Well, it is all moot now.” Sais said. “I am really very sorry about all of this.”
“Sorry about what, sir?” Eric never saw the woman with the syringe, but later he would remember how cold it was as it broke his skin.