21 October 1941
Dr. Emilio Lizardo, Deputy Director of the Prometheus Project, was astonished to find three policemen waiting in the living room of his apartment. He was even more astonished when he saw his wife Claretta in uniform as well. His first fleeting thought was that this was one of Claretta's peculiar erotic games, but this was far more extreme than anything they had ever done before.
"My flower," he said in wonderment, "what is going on?"
Claretta remained silent. One of the uniformed men stepped forward and said, "Dr. Emilio Lizardo, I am Renzo Chierchi, Chief of Police. I am here to arrest you for treason against the Italian Kingdom."
"Treason? What? Why?"
"You are charged with planning to sabotage the Prometheus Project," said Renzo.
Lizardo turned to his wife. "My love, tell him he is mistaken!"
Renzo said, "It was your wife who alerted us to your planned sabotage."
Lizardo looked pleadingly at his wife. "Claretta, how could you?"
At last Claretta Petacci Lizardo spoke. "I was simply doing my job, Doctor Lizardo," she said expressionlessly. " I am an agent of the Organization for the Surveillance and Repression of Antifascism. I was assigned to monitor the leadership of the Prometheus Project."
Renzo continued. "Agent Petacci reported your conversations with Director Fermi about preventing Il Duce from using your atomic reactor to build explosive devices. Now that work on the reactor is nearing completion, you and Fermi are being removed from control of the Project."
"What will become of us?" Lizardo mumbled.
"Professor Fermi and his family will be subject to house arrest," said Renzo. "You, Dr. Lizardo, will serve a life sentence in Regina Coeli Prison."
Once more Emilio Lizardo cried out, "Claretta, how could you?"
Now, for the first time, emotion entered her voice. "I did it for Il Duce," she said with chilling intensity. "I would do anything he asked of me. Anything."
Broken, Lizardo meekly followed the uniformed men out of his apartment.