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He sat in his office. The only light source came from the desk lamp that lit up the reports that were right in front of him. Each report was more mind-numbing then the one before it. As he read the tenth report on the usage of the company cars for personal business something inside of him snapped.
“I’m a goddamned nuclear scientist! I shouldn't be doing this shit! I should be doing science, not bureaucracy! Who cares if I use my car to run a small errand to pay a bill!”
Richard Cummings PhD pushed every file that was on his desk to the floor. He screamed until his throat hurt. Each breath burned in his chest. “We need a fresh start, we need to reset. We need an apocalypse!” He said to the empty office. He opened his personal laptop, making sure to turn off the office computer. He used his personal phone to set up an internet connection. He knew that internet usage was tracked. So he went around the company's connection.
He opened a Google Doc and started to formulate his plan. He would need to plan this carefully. One mistake, and he would be executed by the government for treason.
5 Years Later
Richard Cummings sat in his home office, it had been three years since he had left the company. They had discovered a part of his plan and fired him immediately. He had expected to have FBI agents at his door by the end of the day, but they never came. The Company had covered it up and never reported it. Richard laughed to himself. His wife left the year after that, and he was happy they had never had any kids.
He carefully handled the nuclear warhead he had gotten in an underground auction. It was from a Russian nuke that had gone missing about ten years ago. Richard was dismantling the warhead to get to the plutonium at its center. “I’m going to need at least five more of these. I don't know how I'm going to get that many. Maybe I can steal them from North Korea.” He laughed at his not so humorous joke.
There was a knock at his front door. He got up and walked upstairs out of the basement, to answer the door. It was a man and a woman in what Richard could only assume as off the rack suits. “Doctor Richard Cummings?” The woman asked before the door was even opened all the way.
“Yes. I'm Doctor Cummings.” He answered his curiosity piqued. “How can I help you….”
Both people held up badges. “I’m agent Glover, and he is Agent Handle. We have some questions for you about your former Company.” Shit, he thought to himself, I'll have be careful with these two.
“Yes, of course, come in.” Richard moved out of the way of the door, and motioned for them to enter. “Would you like some coffee, or water?” He knew he would have to give the facade that he was a gracious host. To make them feel comfortable, and to not want to take too close a look at him. Both agents said they would like some water. Richard quickly went and got it and then sat down across from them, making sure to close the basement door on his way back from the kitchen.
“So what kind of questions does the FBI have about my former employers?” They looked at each other before they started to ask the questions that were burning their way out of their mouths, like dragons fire.
“Dr. Cummings, do you know anything about a nuclear warhead that was up for auction a few weeks ago?” Fuck!
“No, I'm afraid I do not Agent Handle. I only consult with companies these days. I'm not actively engaged in research at this time.” Agent Glover was next to ask a question.
“Were you fired from your last job because you were caught trying to access the vault that had their unprocessed uranium?” Double fuck, Richard thought as he took a drink of water.
“That would be incorrect. I was let go because of downsizing, and The Company wanting to restructure to run on a smaller budget.” That was the line they said they wanted him to say should anyone come sniffing around.
“Doctor Cummings, that isn't what they told us.” Richard could see the fire in Agent Glover's eyes.
“Well… that is what they told me. I had full clearance and authority to access the vault. So that wouldn't be grounds for letting me go. So I honestly… couldn't tell you what their real reasons behind letting me go were. Now, what is it you're investigating?” He started to think that FBI agents could communicate telepathically, each time they looked at each other and didn't say anything.
“We aren’t at liberty to say, Doctor Cummings,” Agent Handle said as she started to stand up, and Agent Glover followed her lead. “Have a nice day Doctor Cummings. We will be in touch if there is anything else.” He walked the agents to the door and locked it as they walked to their car.
He quickly went back downstairs and into his makeshift lab. He looked at the warhead and knew he would have to accelerate his plan. He would only be able to kill one city. So he looked at the map of the United States and he decided that the best choice would be the obvious one: he decided Washington DC would be his target. He decided that inauguration of the president would be the perfect day, and he only had two years to make it happen.
1 Year Later
Richard looked at the map of Washington DC, and knew he would never get the bomb close enough–he would have to hide it in something that could get close enough for him to set it off. Richard had gotten an advanced copy of the itinerary of the inauguration, and saw that the Philadelphia Philharmonic Symphony would be there. It gave him an idea, he just needed to join the Symphony and boom, he was now close enough to do what he needed to do. Richard realized a small flaw in his plan. He didn’t play an instrument.
Richard got online and looked up the Philadelphia Philharmonic’s website and found they were holding open auditions. Which was odd because those kinds of places didn’t do that sort of thing. However, it was a PR stunt that they were doing to get some coverage in the news and to get people interested again. Richard booked a ticket to the city of brotherly love.
As he got off the plane, the airport was bustling with activity. Richard waited for his bags to magically appear on the conveyor belt. He saw his bags and quickly grabbed them, and then went outside, and got in one of the several taxi cabs waiting. Richard had booked a room at the Motel 8 that was close the to the concert hall. He had made sure to pay in cash, he didn’t want a paper trail.
The next day Richard rolled out of bed and looked out the window of his room. He was surprised to see about five police cars and several unmarked cars that he could only assume were also police cars. He could feel his heart starting to beat faster. Did they figure out his plan? Was this when they finally caught him? As he watched the scene play out in front of him. He started to breathe a sigh of relief as he watched them pull and man and a woman out of a room and put them in the car. Richard slowly pulled away from the window and started to get ready for his reason for being in the city of brotherly love.
Richard sat in the lobby of the concert hall. Waiting for his turn, he had been reading and studying everything he could find on conducting a symphony. He felt he had the basics down and could embellish as needed to help him stand out in the crowd. Which admittedly was smaller than he thought it would have been.
“Doctor Cummings! Doctor Richard Cummings?” He quickly stood up and followed the young man into the main concert hall. He took a deep breath and walked up to the conductor's position. He quickly looked at the sheet music, it was Beethoven’s 5th symphony, the most famous part of it of course. “Dr. Cummings, I’m Janice Rand, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Philharmonic. And before we get started, could you please tell us why you are going from being a scientist to a conductor of music?” Shit, he wasn’t prepared for an interview, he should have known there might be a small interview.
“Well, I wanted to do something different, something fun, something that didn’t have the weight of the world depending on my every word, or discovery.” It was silent for a moment and then the first cackles of laughter started to form.
“Very well, Dr. Cummings. Proceed.” Richard turned and then tapped the baton on the music stand to bring the players to their ready position.
He guided the players through the whole piece, as the last note started to fade out the observers started to applaud. Richard knew right then that he had done a good enough job to be offered a spot as the conductor.
“Doctor Cummings, you did a fantastic job. Let's go talk.” Janice motioned for him to follow her.