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Professor Schmaltzenberger's Equation - Chapter 9

Posted by StarMountainKid , 09 October 2012 · 453 views

“Do you know Otto is dead?” Professor Schmaltzenberger said to Dr. Reinhold on the phone.
“Dead?” Dr. Reinhold replied in surprise. “How and when did this happen?”
“Last night,” the Professor said. “The police were just here. He was shot. Who could have done such a thing?”
“I don’t know, Professor,” Dr. Reinhold replied. “This is a terrible tragedy. I’m very sorry. Do the police have any leads?”
“I don’t think so,” the Professor said. “They asked me a lot of questions, but of course I couldn’t help them. They said it wasn’t a robbery because Otto had money when he was found. They think it was murder.”
“Murder?” Dr. Reinhold was silent for a moment. He hadn’t thought to make it look like robbery.
“The police will probably be visiting you soon, Doctor,” the Professor added. “They asked me about his acquaintances, and I gave them your name, since Otto and you were involved in this equation business.”
“Not exactly a business, Professor.”
“I know. That reminds me, what is the situation with the time equation?”
“It’s still being peer reviewed. A revolutionary concept like yours takes time to be analyzed, Professor. You can understand that.”
“Yes, of course,” the Professor agreed. “But, now with Otto gone, it might be best for me to handle this personally. I’m going to have to take responsibility for my own affairs now. Perhaps you can give me more information on the status of the review. To what Journal did you send it?”
Dr. Reinhold was silent for a moment again. “I think it best if we meet, Professor, and discuss it personally. Can I come to your home in a day or two?”
“I suppose that would be alright,” the Professor said. “I’ll need a day anyway to arrange for the funeral and all that. I have no idea if Otto had any relatives. He never said anything about his family.”
“Yes, of course,” Dr. Reinhold agreed. “If you need any help please let me know. How about if I call on you day after tomorrow? Say in the evening?”
“That would be alright, the sooner the better. I may need your help in some other matters as well, if you don’t mind. It’s going to be difficult for me without Otto. I depended on him so much.”
“I understand, Professor. Day after tomorrow, then. You have my condolences on your loss. I’ll be there around eight o’clock, if that is convenient.”
“Alright. See you then.”
“Yes. Take care of yourself, Professor. Goodbye.”

Professor Schmaltzenberger hung up the phone. He began to wonder if Otto’s death had anything to do with his time equation and Dr. Reinhold. It may have been foolish to allow such an important concept to fall into an outsider’s hands, but Otto seemed to trust Dr. Reinhold, and he had trusted Otto’s judgment.

But Otto murdered just after the equation had been released to Dr. Reinhold.  The two events may have no connection, but the Professor couldn’t get the idea out of his mind. And what about the sudden return of his memory? His mind had cleared considerably in the last few days, the days the Professor had discovered Otto had been frequently out of the house for unknown reasons. That was very unlike Otto. Plus, Otto had seemed distracted lately, even to the point of neglecting his usual duties. The Professor had had to prepare his own meals for the last week, he remembered.

Now this meeting with Dr. Reinhold. He supposed, without Otto, naturally he would have to deal directly with Reinhold, but somehow the prospect made him nervous. Being alone in the house with a stranger, the Professor wondered if he was yet up to the occasion. He finally decided that, since he had not choice, he would just have to be careful.

Dr. Reinhold was not too worried about a visit from the police. He felt sure he could not be associated with Otto’s death. His main concern now was Professor Schmaltzenberger. He would have to be careful in this next step of elimination. But, he did have a plan. Just one more unfortunate accident. His meeting with Mr. Freemont was on Friday. By then all the profits from the time machine toy would be his alone. He leaned back in his chair and dreamed of untold wealth. It was a very pleasant dream, indeed.

Just then there was a knock on his door. Dr. Reinhold roused himself and walked slowly to answer it. It was the police. Two detectives. He led them to the living room.
“You are Dr. William Reinhold?” one of the detectives asked.
“Yes,” the Doctor answered.
“This is just a routine inquiry, you understand, the detective began. You are acquainted with a Otto Klausenfeld?”
“Yes I am. He’s a colleague of mine, a representative of Professor Schmaltzenberger.”
“When was the last time you saw Mr. Klausenfeld?”
“Well, I think it was sometime last week,” Dr. Reinhold offered. “We spoke on the phone.”
“I see. And you haven’t spoken to or met with  him since then?”
“No, “ Dr. Reinhold answered. “What is this about, if I may ask?”
“Otto Klausenfeld has met an untimely death, Doctor. He was murdered, in fact.”
“Murdered?” Dr. Reinhold exclaimed in surprise. “Who would want to murder Otto?”
“That’s what we’re trying to find out, Doctor,” the detective said. “What was your relationship with him?”
“Professor Schmaltzenberger wanted me to look over a scientific paper he had written, and Otto was the intermediary between the Professor and me.”
“I see.” The detective was writing in a little book by now. “How well did you know Mr. klausenfeld?” the detective asked.
“I didn’t know him at all until he contacted me on the Professor’s behalf,” Dr. Reinhold answered. “Does the Professor know of this unfortunate event?”
“We’ll ask the questions, if you don’t mind, Doctor,” the detective stated matter-of-factly. “Where were you last night?”
“Last night? I was here at home, of course.”
“Of course. Do you have any conformation of this?”
“No. I was working in my study up until about ten o’clock, then I went to bed.”
“I see.” The detectives glanced at teach other.  “Well, that will be all for now, Dr. Reinhold. Thank you for your cooperation. We’ll be in touch with you if we have any further questions.”

Dr. Reinhold showed the two detectives out, and returned to his living room. “Well,” he said to himself, “that went smoothly. Just routine. I must be careful, though. Two acquaintance’s deaths within a matter of days may rouse suspicion. Perhaps I should put off the Professor’s accident for a while. No, it must be done now. I must have all this messy business cleared up before my meeting with Mr. Freemont. Then I’ll have a free hand in the negotiations.”

Dr. Reinhold closed his eyes and stroked his forehead. “I must remain calm and rational,” he told himself. “With no regrets.” But nonetheless, the weight of the act of committing two murders was having an effect on Dr. Reinhold’s mind. He slept uneasily that night, and woke the next morning trying to recall a fading dream he was not sure he wanted to remember.

..ok, i'm officially interested in this..
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Oct 10 2012 02:49 AM
Thanks unit. I'm wondering how it's going to turn out myself.
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