Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 19

She looked back at Bender the Elder to see him shooting his cuffs in a practiced movement. He was regaining his control. He eased back his querulous voice, filling it again with authority, and hints of sarcasm. "I apologize, Agent Sherlock. It was not right of me to insult your name, no matter how-unusual."

Savich looked up now at Bender, whose jaw was still so tense Savich was surprised it didn't crack. Sherlock had pushed a major leaguer nearly to blows. He looked over at Caskie Royal, sprawled back in his chair, trying to appear relaxed and indifferent, but not quite managing it. Was he still not telling the whole truth? Had he also known why Blauvelt wanted to see him? Why Blauvelt was murdered?

Savich hit a final key on MAX's keyboard, read silently for a moment, then looked up at each of them impartially, shaking his head. "Maybe this is easy, so very easy."

"What's so easy?" Andrew Toms frowned, his pen tapping against the table in double time.

Savich said, "It's on the Internet, for all to see, right up front in articles in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times."

"What is, Agent?"

Savich closed MAX's lid, bringing all eyes to him. "Mr. Royal, I could be wrong, but from just the little bit I've read online, the stakes might be high enough."

Royal frowned, rearranged himself in his seat.

"The drug is called Culovort, and Schiffer Hartwin has been the sole manufacturer of the drug at Cartwright Labs, in Bartonville, Missouri, and in Madrid, Spain. Lately there's been a shortage of the drug, and the cause of the shortage came to light in March."

Bender said, "This drug has nothing to do with anything."

"So you know all about Culovort, do you?" Savich studied each of their faces. "This drug has been off patent for many years now, which means its yearly income doesn't add much to Schiffer Hartwin's bottom line. Still, there has been quite a stir on some of the medical blogs related to cancer and among colon cancer support groups. Enough to cause quite a stir in the organization, no doubt. Enough to interest Helmut Blauvelt?"

Toms said in his deep magic voice, "Agent Savich, there have been production problems at Cartwright Labs because of a planned expansion that didn't take into account the full impact on the worldwide supply.

"Schiffer Hartwin is working to remedy the problem and get the supply of Culovort back up to demand levels. There has never been, nor will there ever be, any hint of wrongdoing on their part."

Bender's face was flushed again, his eyes behind his cool glasses hot and hard.

Savich waved him off, never even looked at him, something he imagined would enrage the man, and addressed Royal. "I find it interesting, Mr. Royal, that production of the drug in Spain has also ceased."

There was a frozen silence until Royal burst out, "I can't-"

Both lawyers were on their feet now. "You are skirting perilously close to libel, Agent Savich. Mr. Royal has nothing to say."

Through it all, Caskie Royal sat quietly, head down. His hands, however, were clasped tightly in front of him on the table, his knuckles white, his attempt at playing the lazy lizard long forgotten.

Savich continued, never looking away from Royal. "It's past time for you to let us help you. Do you actually believe your lawyers here-both of whom are paid by Schiffer Hartwin-have your best interests at heart? Surely you can't be that naïve, you know who pays their freight."

Bender shouted, "That is quite enough, Agent! We are leaving! This inquisition has gone on long enough!"

Bender put his arm on Royal's sleeve, spoke low in his ear, trying to pull him up, but Royal didn't rise.

Savich said, "Come on, Mr. Royal, tell us the truth before Schiffer Hartwin hangs you out to dry, or sends another Mr. Fix-It over here to deal with you. I fear for you, I fear for your family as well. This may be your last chance to let us help you."

Toms and Bender were on either side of Royal now, Bender's voice booming out, "There is absolutely no reason for you to fear for your safety!" They actually pulled Royal out of his chair.

"It's your life, Mr. Royal," Sherlock said. "Not theirs. You'd be wise not to forget that. Whoever killed Mr. Blauvelt knows who you are and what you know, and what danger you may pose to him. You do realize that, don't you?"

Caskie Royal looked ready to lay it all out. His face was dead white, his mouth working, like that humongous whale that swallowed Jonah.

Royal tried to jerk away from his lawyers, but they wouldn't let him go. "Look, I can't believe this is happening, and all because Blauvelt got himself murdered and that damned woman broke into my office! I didn't realize, I didn't know that-"

At that moment the conference room door creaked open and a veritable man-god strode into the room, followed by a short plump woman with a heart-shaped face and very pretty dark hair-Agent Dolores Cliff.

Objectively the man really was quite beautiful, Sherlock thought, if one happened to like perfectly chiseled features, razor-sharp cheekbones, thick brown hair, and eyes greener than just-mowed summer grass. He looked to be in his mid-thirties, with a rangy, fit body covered with a well-tailored light blue suit. Arrogance seemed to pump off him in palpable waves. Agent Cliff looked besotted. Evidently the ride from JFK hadn't been long enough for her to get her fill.

"Sorry, Agents," Dolores Cliff said. "Agent Kesselring insisted we come in, wouldn't take no for an answer." If Sherlock had had her SIG out, she might have shot him, Agent Cliff as well for not keeping him out. They had been so close, but Caskie Royal had laid eyes on Kesselring and slipped his neck back into his leash.


So this was Agent Andreas Kesselring of German foreign intelligence, the BND, Savich thought, looking at the man, wishing he could kick him through the window. If not for Kesselring breaking the moment, Caskie Royal would have cracked, laid it all out. His lawyers knew it too. Both of them were looking at Kesselring as if he were the sheriff who'd ridden into town and shot the bad guys.

Kesselring looked at each of them dispassionately, gave a slight bow, then said in perfect English, "Agent Cliff and I have been listening from the hallway. You are Special Agent Dillon Savich of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are you not?"

Savich nodded. He wanted to take Kesselring down a notch for what he'd done, but Royal and his lawyers were still there.

Bender never loosened his grip on Royal's arm. "Agent Kesselring, we understand you are here to help solve Herr Blauvelt's murder. We have finished for today, and are leaving. Good day to you." Bender and Toms, Royal between them, hustled out the door in about two seconds.

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