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by George W. J. Laidlaw
Description: Michael Cavandish's Ph.D. thesis about the shortcomings of stealth aircraft wins him more than just his Ph.D. at a very young age. When an F117 stealth bomber is shot down by a third world country he is also awarded the rank of Major in the armed forces and conscripted into service to find an answer to this problem. He soon finds terrorists literally in his own back yard preparing to destroy the eastern seaboard.
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon eBooks, 2004 DDP
eBookwise Release Date: November 2004
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [285 KB]
Reading time: 194-272 min.
Years before, when Michael Cavandish was a youth, the thought of someone programming his future would have raised a skeptical laugh. He had only met his uncle once or twice, and it left him with an impression of a businessman that was too busy to look after his nephews. Now in death, his Uncle Darbish was doing just that!
A well-dressed man in a dark herringbone suit, closed up his file with a final flourish.
"That, ladies and gentlemen is the final will of Arthur Darbish!"
There was a silence in the small gathering. Four men and two women looked startled and then an angry question was raised from a mousy looking woman sitting beside a retired looking man.
"Is that all? There must be more!"
The lawyer looked at her as if she were a disagreeable insect. "I can assure you Mrs. Cavandish, that you have heard the last instructions I received from my client, Mr. Darbish."
His reply only antagonized the woman. "George, something is wrong! It can't be like that. George, don't just sit there looking stupid, do something! Tell them who we are!"
Her further outburst had no good effect, especially on the man sitting beside her.
"What can I do about it my dear. Mr. Smitters has read us the will of our uncle and I do not think we have any influence on its terms."
"Well, it isn't right. He has left us with nothing! That isn't fair."
"Madame, my late client has left you a great deal. Haven't you heard that he has left the entire estate to your sons! Madame, Mr. Darbish was a very astute businessman who found it was not necessary and not required to assume the social graces and say those little niceties. He was very successful. Your son, Arthur, who I believe was named after Mr. Darbish, will inherit his half when he reaches the age of 27 and when your younger son, Michael reaches the same age, then he too will inherit his share."
"Yes we know that!" the anger and frustration in her voice showed that she disliked this lawyer. "Yes, Arthur was named after Mr. Darbish, but it's unfair to make Arthur go to Harvard business school. He may not like that vocation."
"That is quite true Mrs. Cavandish." The lawyer paused and looked around the small room and then continued, "But if he doesn't fulfill the terms of the will, then I am afraid that he will not benefit from it."
"That is preposterous! We will sue you and your will. Not only have you tried to force my elder son into a school where he has never expressed any interest, but you have said that Michael, my youngest, must go to Cal Tech and take a degree in engineering. I have never heard of such terms."
George Cavandish tried to reduce the tension in the room. "Mr. Smitters, we appreciate that you are only doing what my uncle wanted. The offer to pay for our sons' university education, if they go where my late uncle wanted, is understood. It's a very generous offer. I think my wife is upset because we are Darbish's only living relatives and naturally we thought that the estate would be handled differently."
"As I said before, this is entirely out of my hands. Mr. Darbish has already established that the executor is Rupert Wallin. He will look after the estate and all of Mr. Darbish's business dealings until Arthur comes of age. It may appear to be a long time, but if Arthur goes to Harvard next year the time will go by quickly. By the time he gets his first degree and works in business for a couple of years, he'll be in the perfect position to take on the responsibility of the CEO of Darbish Enterprises."
George Cavandish nodded his head in agreement. He wanted the best for his sons and this was better than he could ever have accomplished.
"As I said Mrs. Cavandish, my client was an astute business man. He took great pains to investigate your sons. He thought that if they followed his advice and direction they could make a name for themselves."
The woman suddenly burst into tears and balled up a handkerchief that her husband thrust into her hand and gave out a wail. "Mr. Darbish was a hateful little man. Now he's trying to ruin us!" The assuring pat on the shoulder from her husband did nothing to ally her frustrations.
"Madame I do not wish to be cruel. But Mr. Darbish despised people that failed to live up to his high standards. He set high standards for your sons because he once expressed in my hearing that their parents and especially their mother was a colossal failure and provided no benefit to mankind. Good day to you!"
Mrs. Cavandish was so surprised by Smitter's statement that she failed to say a word. She stood here with bulging eyes and took short breaths as if to control some sort of a fit.
George Cavandish took his wife carefully by the shoulders. "Helen my dear, I think it would be best if we went home. There is nothing we can do here."
She appeared not to have heard him but allowed herself to be manipulated through the door and into their nine-year old, rusting-out car.
Arthur, to his mother's surprise, was enthusiastic about the opportunity of going to Harvard. He also knew that without the financial backing of his late great uncle there was no way in this world that he could have afforded to pay the high tuition fees.
"Mom that's great. I'm not so sure about the business line but it's worth a try. Old man Darbish was an odd duck. He virtually ignored Michael and me when we spent the summer there when I was thirteen. But I never disliked him. And Michael is to go to Cal-Tech when he's finished high school? He might want to go right now. High school is such a waste of his time. Why don't you let him take the entrance exams? I'm sure he will pass them with flying colors. He's always working on an engine, or redesigning this or that, to go into engineering is just right down his line. He'll be thrilled."
The dye was cast. Arthur Cavandish wrote the Harvard entrance exams and passed with honors. He looked forward to this new opportunity and found that business was something he found was like opening not only a new book, but it was a book written in a different language. He delved into it and found to everyone's surprise and most of all his own, that it was exactly what he wanted to do.
Michael wasn't sure if Cal-Tech was where he wanted to go. But it did have some outstanding areas of engineering, both applied and theoretical, as well as computer and aviation engineering. It didn't take him long to follow up on his brother's success. Grade Eleven and the rest of his high school he completed in six months with the permission of the high school principal. When he wrote the entrance exams for Cal-Tech he ignored the age box. The results placed him in the top 5% and he received an invitation to visit Cal-Tech and start his classes in the summer.
If the admissions' chairman, Charles Troop, was surprised to see a 16-year old hand in his entrance documents, he covered it up well.
"Michael Cavandish, I understand that you will be staying in residence? That's a good idea. Many of our first year students find the change from high school to university difficult. I hope that you are not one of them."
"Thank you sir. I don't think you have to worry about that. Can you tell me where I can find Dean Nesbit? I have an appointment with him. It seems that he is working in energy impulse echoing. It's a different type of radar, and I thought I'd ask him some questions about that if I may?"
Charles Troop smiled and told his new student where the Dean's office was. He watched the small young man gather up his books and start to cross the quadrangle to the engineering buildings. He reached for Michael Cavandish's school records and then sighed. On paper this boy, because he certainly wasn't a man yet, was what every school principal dreamed about. He excelled in everything he took his hands too. Then he remembered the sly smile that crept across Michael Cavandish's face when he talked about the difficulty in going from high school to university. No, Michael Cavandish wouldn't have any trouble. In four years he'd be 20 and in three to four years after that he'd have his Ph.D. That was something he knew was worth betting on if such a bet could be placed. He'd make an effort and keep his eye on this boy. It was plain that Michael Cavandish was special.
Copyright © 2004 George W.J. Laidlaw