'And?' Engel said as nonchalantly as he could.
Beaton smirked. 'Trace amounts of a cognitive enhancement drug called Pyrophlin.'
Engle frowned. 'What?'
'You've been taking smart drugs.'
'No I haven't.'
Beaton sat down in his chair. 'Then how, Mr Engel, do you explain your results?'
Engel stared into the soggy green eyes of his adversary and snarled back, 'I don't take drugs. My blood was made-'
'-As normal as anyone else's,' Beaton finished. He paused, then stood up again, resting the flat of his hand against the chair's back. 'You say, 'made'... are you a religious man, then?'
'Don't change the subject,' Engel growled. 'Somebody must have slipped me the drugs. And anyway, you stupid man, taking cognitive enhancement drugs wouldn't affect my I.Q. or general knowledge! They wouldn't be enough to explain my abilities, or they shouldn't at least, if you value the expertise and reputation of whoever you're sodding working for!'
Beaton's grin remained exactly where it was as the rest of his face sagged like a bloodhound's. Behind his back, his fists clenched. But he couldn't walk out, and he couldn't afford to punch Jack Engel into oblivion. He'd have to supress his anger, just for the moment.
Across the room from him, Jack Engel had already guessed Beaton's train of thought, but said nothing. He was concentrating on the door, wondering how many people were out there, listening. Then he started wondering how many people were further out there, wondering what was going on in here. Would these people keep their investigations private, or were the world's press queued outside the building?
No, they wouldn't be. Only two people had asked after him. One, the lovely Mrs Beaton with green fingers and yellow knickers, whom he was increasingly thinking about in this most unauspicious of circumstances; the other, a mysterious Frederic Lufus.
It was nice to have people thinking about him for a change.
Beaton knelt by the door and told whoever was outside to hold all calls and keep Mr Lufus entertained for a few hours.
'Tell me, Engel,' he said, turning back round, 'are you a religious man?'
Engel said nothing in reply.
'You talk of all the time you spend meditating in the mountains, and yet it is clear you have lived a very... unwholesome life. How many law-abiding bible-bashers find themselves trapped in burning houses or rushed off to ER full of garden utensils, after all?'
Engel chose to remain silent.
'I'll be honest,' Beaton continued,'I don't believe in any of it. I grew up with Catholic parents. I went to church every Sunday and was told about how fantastic Christ was. Now that religion suited me fine until I grew up and realised that actually, God isn't such a loving deity. When we pray for salvation or mercy, where is He now? And I realised He hasn't dealt us a very good deal.' He paused long enough to wipe a piece of lint from his grey scarf. 'Except for you.'
Engel looked the other way, bored of the conversation.
'To you, Mr Engel, he seems to have dealt a very good hand. Don't you think?'
Behind Jack Engel's chair, a rat scuttled into view. Beaton shouted and jumped onto the other chair, nearly toppling over in the process.