Ghost Marina on the Mississippi

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Chapter 27 – Theory of a Cover-Up – Modern Day

The five men sat in the pub at a round table in the corner of the room, they all had their beverages of choice and Jason began to address the others.

“Here’s what I think and as incredible as it may sound, it is the only theory I can think of that explains everything,” Jason said.

“This sounds exciting,” Archie said.

“Shut up, Arch, let him talk,” Bill admonished him.

“I think my grandfather was carrying some plutonium on his boat,” Jason said then sat back to let that information sink in with the others.

“What? Plutonium?” Dexter said. “No!”

“Think about it. Chuck, there were two things you had said to us that brought me to this conclusion,” Jason said and looked at Chuck, “Clinch River, Knoxville, right?” Jason asked, and Chuck nodded his head in agreement, “and what is there that would have been critical to the war effort?” Jason asked. The four men just looked at each other mystified. Jason leaned forward and banged the tip of his finger on the table to accentuate his point, “Oak Ridge that’s what. Where they made plutonium for the Manhattan Project. Where they made plutonium for the bomb! And what was coming out from the front of the boat? Not oil, as you correctly told us, it was plutonium. It would have been black and could have easily been mistaken for oil.” His audience all shook their heads in disbelief.

“No, I need a bit more substance than that, that’s just pure coincidence,” Dexter said as he leaned back, arms folded across his chest.

“O.K., so try this for size. I did some research on our Captain Beardsley, he had been in the Special Operations Executive in England during the war until he got injured and was sent back stateside for recuperation. Ironically, for all we know he could have returned on the very ship my grandfather was assigned to. Beardsley had been taught to be a ruthless killer and he just happened to have been posted to Oak Ridge in April 1944. Is that another coincidence?” Jason explained, and then paused for comments, when none was forthcoming, he continued. “The deaths of all those people could only have been committed by someone who was a cold-blooded killer. The cover-up could only have been perpetrated by someone experienced in subterfuge and undercover work. Remember what Laarsen had said after Beardsley had produced the letter, what were his exact words? ‘Sherlock was like a doting puppy, even though he outranked the stranger’. Then there was the radio, didn’t Rusty say it was state-of-the-art and top secret in those days, only someone with Beardsley’s training would have been aware of technology like that. I suggest to you that he is the man that set this whole thing up and then he had the authority to carry out a cover-up when it all went tits up. Why was there a wall built all around the marina, a two feet thick concrete wall with a lead shield in the middle of it? I’m telling you, it all fits.” Jason said, now it was his turn to lean back to let the other men digest these facts. After a few moments during which an uncomfortable silence prevailed over the group, Dexter was once more the first to speak.

“The problem is, if what you say is true, where do we go from here? Who can we trust?”

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