Owner-Occupier
Henry T. Smith
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As he slowed to a stop at the gates to the estate, Sandoz told himself for the umpteenth time how well Caswell Hraldy had done for himself from a modest start; but winning forty-nine million pounds in the Euromillions lottery had had a lot to do with Caswell's success. Getting his hands on all that money had allowed him to indulge his passions, but Caswell Hraldy had also managed to stay in touch with his roots.
   The uniformed security guard wiped his barcode reader gun up and down the security pass, which Sandoz offered to him. The guard had been working at the estate for five years; he was one of 'Caswell's Originals', who had been recruited while Caswell had been setting up his new life as one of the mega-rich.
   The guard knew Sandoz but he still had to follow protocol and swipe the pass, which had been delivered by special messenger the night before. Excluding uninvited guests was so much easier for the guards if they could quote rules at unscheduled visitors and tell them that it was more than the guard's job was worth to admit them without a pass.
   Sandoz rolled forward five yards after the first gate opened. That gate closed behind him before the inner gate of the vehicle-lock rolled to the left. Released, Sandoz advanced into a long curve, which shielded the house from the road. As he tooled along at the prescribed 20 k.p.h., he knew that, in moments, he would be confronted by the magnificence of Hraldy's much refurbished mansion.
   Caswell Hraldy had always been interested in the exotic, largely due to the influence of his father. Caswell had been the first at his school to discover dinosaurs; at the comparatively early age of six. Most of his male primary school classmates had taken a high level of expertise to their respective secondary schools. Most of them had acquired interests to replace dinosaurs by the time they left school and moved on to other areas of life.
   Hraldy had continued to research terrible lizards until he had acquired free access to the Internet and the opportunity to delve into a vast treasure house of data on alien lifeforms. Winning a rollover jackpot of £49,802,092 on the Euromillions lottery had changed everything by opening up endless possibilities.
   Boson Sandoz had long suspected that there was something odd about his friend Caswell. Their friendship had endured from primary school through grammar school, separate universities and careers at separate companies in the same area. They had consumed vast amounts of alcohol together over sixteen years of illegal and legal drinking and attended many essential social occasions either together or as the male halves of two couples.
   Their circle of friends had acquired and shed members, in modest numbers, over the years. Sandoz and Hraldy had been the only constants. Neither had been tempted into matrimony and neither had felt an urge to preserve their genes for the benefit of the human race. Both had chosen to live life to suit themselves.
   A lack of ties had left them able to dash off to rock concerts, parties, etc. quite freely, unlike their married friends, and they had been at liberty to make large and rapid changes to their circumstances after Hraldy had awarded sums of £500,000 to his half-dozen most regular companions. The married men had done boring things like paying off their mortgage and buying a second car for the wife. Hraldy and Sandoz had been much more inventive.
   It was only from watching American cop shows on television that Sandoz had come to suspect that Hraldy had well-concealed Multiple Personality Disorder. It was winning a vast amount of ready money on a lottery which had enabled the two people within the head of Caswell Hraldy to take turns to occupy the body. Caswell and his alter ego Allen, a name which could look like Alien to the careless reader, had very similar personalities.
   Both retained an interest in dinosaurs and both were collectors in their own way. It was Caswell who had the really impressive collection of fossils, which was on display at the mansion, while Allen pretended to collect fossils as a cover for his real obsession. Access to vast amounts of money had allowed Allen to turn his beliefs into reality.
   Allen was certain that visitors from other planets were on the Earth, roaming freely, observing the human race and directing its development according to a secret and not entirely benevolent agenda.
   Sandoz had assumed that his friend had been larking about, the first time Caswell had mentioned his secret project. Both had been well refreshed at the time and Sandoz had gone along with the game 'for the sake of argument'. He had just about come to terms with the fact that Caswell and Allen inhabited the same body in alternation when Allen had asked him to keep their conversation about aliens a close secret.
   Sandoz had turned himself into a highly talented computer graphics expert after graduating from university with a degree in modern languages, building on an early passion for creating websites. When Allen had shown him some documents, which he had acquired from contact with various 'secret' websites, Sandoz had seen a business opportunity. Some of the documents were very fancy, some looked like bad copies of low-resolution faxes. Some research of his own had helped Sandoz to help his good friend Alan find the 'proofs' which he sought.
   Many people have made the obvious point that the world's politicians, and their hangers-on, could hardly do more to worsen the lot of humanity if they were representatives of a hostile alien culture. The actions of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell and their satellites proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. But Allen wanted proof positive that malevolent alien infiltrators are lording it over Britain as part of his justification for a significant next step.
   It was in pursuit of this 'proof' that Sandoz had come up with the concept of DNA Deviation Analysis. The basic idea was quite simple; aliens infiltrators would have to be able to test as human in medical or even forensic tests. But being aliens, their DNA would contain differences from the normal human patterns. DNADA was Sandoz's solution to the problem of detecting aliens who had been placed in positions of authority in human society.
   Allen understood that obtaining tissue samples from leaders in the political world, and their close associates, was an expensive business. So was the testing procedure. But, despite a great deal of dedicated spending, Caswell Hraldy's prize was currently worth a great deal more than the original fifty million pounds. It had been invested wisely and well, and the capital generated more growth than Caswell/Allen felt inclined to spend.
   Sandoz had been careful to position himself as an intermediary in the DNA-testing transactions. If Allen ever found out that DNADA was not a field known to medical science, he would be likely to assume that Sandoz had been taken in by fraudsters because Allen had encouraged him to find his evidence of the presence of aliens on the Earth.
   Alternatively, Allen might assume that knowledge of the existence of DNADA was restricted and denied as a matter of policy by governments which routinely lie to the people whom they were supposed to guide and protect.
   Boson Sandoz had been careful not to be greedy. He had spent time and effort on creating his DNADA profiles of leading politicians, and he had based his beautifully created documents on genuine DNA-testing results. He had found that even presidents become available for a brief chat with a generous donor to their political party, and that a hearty handshake is an excellent source of the subjects DNA-loaded epithelial cells.
   There could be no doubt that his DNA profiles applied to the politician named on the DNADA report. Allen could confirm this, should he choose to do so, with an independent test. It was only when one reached the Deviation Analysis section that the creativity began.
   As he parked his car in his usual spot beside the mansion's massive stone wall, watched by one of the ever-vigilant security cameras, Boson Sandoz wondered who would be in residence at the Hraldy mansion. He and Allen had established a range of cue comments, which they could use to communicate questions and intentions in the company of others. Sandoz suspected that some of the cues could trigger a shift in dominance and bring Allen to the fore when Caswell had greeted him.
   As ever, this visit would be a trip into the unknown. Both Caswell and Allen used cash for buying fossils. They could also move money around the world unobtrusively to counter official attempts to make out that people with large amounts of cash can be assumed to be involved in criminal acts or terrorism. As he walked along the covered walkway to a side door, Sandoz knew that he would be going home either with a lot of cash (or richer electronically) or unrewarded.
   Allen's Alienist needed the right Hraldy to be there if he was to sell the documents in his briefcase. But he was a patient man. He was in business for the long run, not for a quick buck. If Allen Hraldy proved to be unobtainable, he would enjoy his visit with Caswell and come back at a later date. He knew that proof positive that the next leader of the Labour party lacked proper human credentials, like most of his predecessors, was something which Allen, when he put in an appearance, would be eager to buy. ■

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Created for Romiley Literary Circle by HTSP Web Division, 10 SK6 4EG, Romiley, G.B.
The original story Henry T. Smith, 2009. This version HTS, 2010