7 Suspects

4. The Rival

July 21, 2022 ROLFE Episode 4
4. The Rival
7 Suspects
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7 Suspects
4. The Rival
Jul 21, 2022 Episode 4

Martin Childress describes his troubled history with the victim, and proposes an unbelievable theory about the murder. Liz finds out about a spy.

Created by Jon Rolfe
Featuring Chelsea Krause, David Cook, Jill Sperling and Alex Eller.

Show Artwork by O2bri
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Show Notes Transcript

Martin Childress describes his troubled history with the victim, and proposes an unbelievable theory about the murder. Liz finds out about a spy.

Created by Jon Rolfe
Featuring Chelsea Krause, David Cook, Jill Sperling and Alex Eller.

Show Artwork by O2bri
Follow us on: 

News Anchor: Today marks five years since the murder of inventor and entrepreneur, Aiden Croft. Seen by many as the visionary pioneer, Mr. Croft was responsible for revolutionary innovations in the field of computer science and sustainable energy. Mr. Croft's body was discovered in his secluded estate in the Sierra, Nevada mountains shortly after midnight. The death was the result of a violent attack. Although several guests were staying at his house at the time of the murder, no arrests were made and no charges were ever filed. To date, a primary suspect has yet to be named.

Narrator: Episode four: The Rival.

Martin: Hello there. I understand you're working with Samantha on this terrible Croft business, helping her find some closure, I hope.

Liz: She's asked me to look into it, talk to a few of those involved. I promise I'll try to keep things short. I don't want to waste your time, Mr. Childress.

Martin: Please, call me Martin. How can I help?

Liz: Well, I heard you and Mr. Croft had known one another for a long time.

Martin: Ha. Yes, that's right. Since we were both undergrads at Harvard. We didn't exactly run in the same sort of crowd back then. Aiden's family had money. He was popular, outspoken. He had a reputation as a prankster, too. And he nearly got expelled for a few of his practical jokes. Those were different times, and we were all so naïve and horny, my God (laughs). Looking back, I remember more about the parties than the classes. But hey, that's college, right?

Liz: Uh, I guess. I had to work Saturday nights when I was in school. I missed out on the good parties.

Martin: People say you find yourself in college. I look back at what Aiden and I have accomplished, what we both achieved, and I'd say we found ourselves despite college.

Liz: I don't know how much you can talk about, but I actually read you and Croft had some legal brush ups. Your companies were competitors so it didn't sound like there was much love lost between either of you.

Martin: (laughs) I can't speak to particular details due to the settlements. You understand. But here's what I will say about some of the stories in the press. A lotta the legal wars the public hears about get blown outta proportion. It's really all business, you know? It doesn't get personal the way people think it does. Sometimes there' a lotta posturing. Considering our positions, it's necessary to put up a little bit of an act.

Liz: An act.

Martin: That's right. Just two Silicon Valley titans slugging it out.

Liz: But there were accusations.

Martin: As I said, statements were blown outta proportion. No matter what anyone says or thinks, I always respected Aiden Croft.

Liz: Sure. I get it. So he invited you to his house often?

Martin: No. No. The night he died was the first time. But I don't think he entertained many guests. He'd been living like a recluse. When I received the invitation, I thought it might be a good sign he was finally coming back into the light, finally starting to see his friends again.

Liz: And that's why you were there; as a friend.

Martin: Exactly. What are you getting at, Miss. Devereaux?

Liz: If you and Croft were on such friendly terms, why did you accuse him of stealing your ideas the night he died? Why did the police pull you in for questioning?

Martin: You didn't tell me you had the police report. Who gave that to you? Was it Samantha?

Liz: I spoke to Detective Hodges. He didn't seem to believe whatever you told him, but I'd still like to hear it.

Martin: Okay. Fine. You asked about the lawsuits. Aiden had insinuated my work benefited solely from Cipher's quantum computing technology. I took offense. Can you believe Aiden Croft, of all people, would say something like that? All he did was take credit for the work of real scientists. He was always taking what others give. I mean, look at how he treated Sam.

Liz: What do you mean?

Martin: Are you kidding? He used her for years, and all the while cheating with other women.

Liz: There were lots of affairs.

Martin: There was always some young model or actress. He didn't even try to hide it. Anyway, after he started his lies about me in the press, I sued. My pride was hurt, but I knew I couldn't win. Cipher had deeper pockets. There was a counter suit, and then to really put the boot to my neck, Aiden began poaching some of my best people right in the middle of my most important research. We were studying trans-dimensional mobility. Do you understand what that means?

Liz: I don't think that was part of my English major.

Martin: It's the movement of matter between two spaces using quantum particle manipulation.

Liz: Um-

Martin: Teleportation. I hate that word, but it's the easiest way to explain. The results from early tests were positive, but progress was slow. The company was going under. I struggled on as long as I could, but I knew we didn't have long. And then I found out Aiden was stealing from me.

Liz: Stealing how?

Martin: There was a call in the middle of the night. A man with a foreign accent; sounded British. He refused to identify himself, but he said he worked at Cipher and offered to provide me with details of Aiden's work.

Liz: There was someone spying on Croft.

Martin: That's what he claimed, yes. I didn't believe him at first. I thought someone was playing games. But he said he could provide proof.

Liz: Well, did he?

Martin: Some. He sent some pages of memos and notes handwritten by Aiden himself. Whoever it was had exclusive access.

Liz: What did he want? Why was he contacting you?

Martin: He wanted to sell the information. What he'd given me so far was only a taste. Based on our correspondences, this person, whoever he was, held some kinda personal grudge against Aiden.

Liz: And did you pay him?

Martin: I didn't need to. The information he provided was vague, but it referenced several of the key researchers who had worked on my trans-dimensional project.

Liz: The ones he'd hired.

Martin: That's right. It was my own research. When the invite came to spend a weekend at Aiden's house, I thought it was so he could gloat, but I couldn't stay away. I wanted to confront him.

Liz: Did you speak to him at all that night?

Martin: No, but I intended to.

Liz: Tell me about the evening.

Martin: I spent most of the afternoon fuming, going over what I was gonna say to him. I became more agitated the longer the night went on. At dinner, Mr. Waters kept going on and on about the great work Aiden was doing. He was talking about him like he was some kinda saint, like he transcended to some special, enlightened place.

Liz: You got into an argument.

Martin: It made me furious. I told him what I really thought of Aiden. I told them all. Anyway, I stormed out. I was determined not to leave until Aiden answered for what he'd done. I found the lab and pounded on the door.

Liz: What did he say?

Martin: Nothing. Either he wasn't there or he was ignoring me.

Liz: So then what did you do?

Martin: I couldn't do anything. I just stood there. When the lights went out, I left and went back to my room.

Liz: Ah, right, a storm was causing outages.

Martin: Right. Well, I realized how stupid this was, me standing in the dark yelling at a closed door. Aiden was probably inside giggling to himself.

Liz: How long was the power off?

Martin: Until I got back to my room. A couple of minutes, maybe. It lasted longer than the other two.

Liz: Plenty of time for you to enter the lab while the camera was off.

Martin: If the door was unlocked, yes. But I didn't go in. Like I said, I went back to my room. I bumped into Mr. Adams on the way back. His drunken ass was stumbling around in the dark. Ask him. Listen, Miss. Devereaux, I went over all this with the detective. I'll tell you the same thing. This murder couldn't have happened without some kind of technological assistance.

Liz: You think the murderer used Croft's invention to kill him. Someone teleported into the lab, stabbed him, and disappeared. Seriously.

Martin: You're using that word again. The one I hate. I realize what all this sounds like. The police laughed in my face. To them, this technology sounds like science fiction. To me, it's my life's work. You've seen the report. No one walked through that door.

Liz: Well, if what you're saying is true, then it makes you the most likely suspect.

Martin: Or the anonymous caller.

Liz: Right, the British guy.

Martin: If he had access to Aiden's work, someone else at Cipher could've also been involved. Aiden was paranoid. Everyone knew that. But I wouldn't say it wasn't for good reason.

Liz: When was the last time you heard from this caller?

Martin: Right before Aiden's death. He got upset when I told him about the invite.

Liz: Upset how?

Martin: He started ranting about how Aiden was gonna get what was coming to him. I didn't disagree with the sentiment, but he sounded unstable.

Liz: Well, did you tell the police about these calls?

Martin: About corporate espionage? No, I don't think so.

Liz: Well, don't you think it's possible you might've been speaking with the killer?

Martin: Of course, but the police weren't interested in my ideas. And I had no interest in authorities digging around in this research.

Liz: How noble of you.

Martin: There's little profit in nobility, but I think I've been more than honest with you and plenty generous with my time. So if there are no other questions-

Liz: Well, if this technology, this trans-

Martin: Trans-dimensional mobility.

Liz: Yes, right. If this technology was so promising five years ago, then where is it now? Is your team still developing it?

Martin: I'm sorry, but I won't speak to that.

Liz: No.

Martin: No. I've shared what I can in the spirit of cooperation, but I'm afraid I'll have to refer you to our PR team for any further inquiries in our products. You can find their contact information on our website.

Liz: What are you working on now, Martin?

Martin: I'm afraid, Miss Devereaux, that our time is up. It's been so good chatting with you. Please give my regards to Samantha. I really do hope she finds her answer.

Liz: Mr. Childress, if you could just-

Martin: Goodbye, Miss. Devereaux.

Narrator: Seven Suspects is written, directed and produced by Jon Rolfe. Liz Devereaux is voiced by Chelsea Krause, Martin by David Cook. The news anchor was Jill Sperling, sound design and engineering by Randy Greer. The theme music is Cold String by Tiny Music.

Shows like this and other audio drama isn't possible without support from our fans. More than anything, we appreciate you listening. If you've been enjoying so far, please take the time to rate the show on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen. This goes a long way to helping us reach other listeners. If you have a theory about who did it, we'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at 7 Suspects. That's with the number seven. You can also email us at 7suspectspodcast@gmail.com. Remember, that's the number seven. Please be sure to tune in for our next episode, The Reporter. Until then, I'm Alex Eller. Thank you for listening, and goodnight.