solid evidence you have for this Black Glove character is just thatâsome black glove that Dr. Wendell found. Good heavens! A lost glove doesnât signify anything more than that someone is absentminded! If popular clichÃ©s are correct, that should cover virtually my entire staff!â
From the corner of her eye Wendy caught a glimpse of Brody, rocking on his heels and grinning smugly. Spotting the look on her face, Ray grabbed her arm to hold her down. It was a smart move. Given another moment, the volatile Wonderchild might well have launched herself at Brody.
The grinning sergeant seemed oblivious to his near brush with catastrophe. The look on Bridget McGroryâs face, however, told Ray that the secretary was well aware of what had nearly happened.
That didnât surprise him. He had been watching McGrory for some time now, since he had first noticed some suspicious actions on her part during one of their early visits to Dr. Hwa. Something about her struck him as being not quite right. One thing he had learned for certain: She rarely missed even the most subtle nuances of whatever was going on around her.
She certainly wouldnât have missed Wendyâs reaction to Brody. It would take someone as dense as the sergeant himself to remain unaware of that!
A sudden drop in the tone of Dr. Hwaâs voice caught Rayâs wandering attention. He braced himself. When an angry adult suddenly got this reasonable, it usually meant big trouble.
âI hate to do this,â said Dr. Hwa softly. âBut until further notice I am banning you from all use of the islandâs equipment. Dune buggies, scuba gear, powerboatsâthey are all off limits until you can convince me you have developed some respect for their capacitiesâ and their dangers.â
Roger glanced at the others, then stepped forward. âSir, if you would justââ
Dr. Hwa cut him off. âMy decision is final.â His voice was soft, but laced with steel. âWe have too much at stake here for this to go on. Your foolish antics have been a constant source of distraction to the scientific work this facility was set up to accomplish. Indeed, they have reached a point where they jeopardize the entire project. If one of you should be injured, or worse yet killed, it would disrupt everything.â
He smiled that warm, ingratiating smile that made it so hard to be angry with himâthe same smile that had helped him persuade and cajole Project Alpha into existence to begin with.
âThat may sound harsh and unfeeling, as if I care only about the project, and not whether you hurt yourselves. That is not true. I do care, very deeply. Unfortunately, you donât seem to care yourselves! So I am explaining my decision in terms you may understand more easily: When you endanger your lives, you endanger my project.â
Suddenly his voice was filled with ice. âAnd that is something no one is allowed to do.â He turned back to his desk. âThis interview is concluded. You may leave now.â
âBut Dr. Hwa!â cried several voices.
âYou heard the man,â said Brody, smug as a playground bully who has somehow managed to get the teacher to take his side. âChitchatâs done, so move out! That means you, missy!â he added, grabbing Wendyâwho had been dragging her feetâby the scruff of her neck.
âLet go of me, you big ape!â cried the Wonderchild. At the same time she stomped down with her full weight on Brodyâs instep.
The security chief howled with pain and let go of her neck to grab his wounded foot.
Dr. Hwa sighed heavily.
Moving quickly, Wendy left the room on her own steam.
Roger paused at the door and looked back. âYouâre going to regret this, Dr. Hwa,â he said quietly. âYouâre making a big mistake.â
Dr. Hwa said nothing. His eyes were as hard as cobalt steel.
âSo now what do we do?â asked Ray as the