“CAUTION: REMOVE ALL ARTICLES FROM YOUR PERSON” says a sign on a doorway. The door opens, and the three men step into a red-painted corridor.
In a conference room, Stone opens a small metal box, containing a red key and a silver key. The red key has a chain attached to it.
“Keep this with you at all times,” says Stone to Hall, as he places the chain around Hall’s neck.
“What’s it for?” asks Hall, looking at the key.
“You’re the odd man,” says Stone, “The key man, quite literally.” Stone holds up the silver key. “This other key,” says Stone, “and Wildfire itself depend on your key.”
Stone walks over to a metal pillar and dials a combination on the knob jutting from the side of the pillar. a rectangular section of the pillar slides out. Stone inserts the silver key in the rectangle and turns the key. A green rectangle at the top of the pillar lights up.
“Wildfire’s equipped with a nuclear device for self-destruct,” says Stone. “In an emergency, it’s activated automatically. I’ve just inserted the key in the main station that arms the mechanism. The device is ready for detonation.”
“When?” asks Hall.
“Never, we hope,” replies Dutton, “It only goes off if there’s-“