[6th of December, 2740 AD; Admorse Shipyard – Boarding Area, Admorse, Ameci – Gardner District]
The clear skies and morning breeze felt welcoming to Gale, who was ready to leave for Iiayikohn after her trip back to Ameci. Though she felt disappointed that she could not find anything out about her father regarding Foundation, Gale was happy that she was able to return regardless. It made her think that one day, she and Sorin would be able to travel the world once this was all over. For now, though, Gale at least made some headway with her blueprints and perhaps had a powerful ally in Fercewend.
“It was nice coming back here again,” Gale said. “I promise that it won’t be the last time, Ameci…”
She placed the bag she held by her feet as she stopped at the dock where the Ameci Atlas rested. Named for the legendary Ameci general himself, the Ameci Atlas was a ship that Gale could admire from both up close and afar. She knew that Kirk and Dia, both of whom had decided to accompany her, had admiration for the magnificent ship as well. Lowell Page also attended, but only to see the three off before he had to return to his job.
“Well, it’s almost time,” Lowell said. “You sure you’ve got everything you need, Gale?”
“I do,” Gale answered. “Thank you so much, Lowell.”
“Not a problem,” Lowell replied. “You ever need my help, don’t hesitate to give me a call. Hell, you can drop by anytime you want!”
“Well, you’d probably want to do it during the day,” Kirk said. “It would be a little rude to call him while he’s sleeping.”
“That’s a bit of a pain in the ass,” Lowell said, “But sometimes, you’ve got to answer an emergency call.”
“I guess it’s easy for you,” Dia said.
“Somebody has to do it,” Lowell replied. “I do hope you’ll find peace after this trip.”
“It was a spur of the moment idea,” Dia said. “I guess you could say that she inspired me to do it.”
“I had no idea that it was because of me,” Gale said, “But I’m glad to travel with you either way, Dia.”
“You see, you are making an impact on people’s lives,” Kirk said. “Even if it’s a few people or just one, you’ve become an inspiration.”
“Seeing you so passionate about your work, it reminded me of both Voitto and Johan,” Dia told Gale. “Both of them wanted to make a change in this world, and now it’s my turn to do the same.”
“Your turn?” Gale asked.
“Yes,” Dia replied. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go on board the ship. I’ll see you two on the deck.”
Dia then headed off towards the Ameci Atlas, leaving Gale with Kirk and Lowell. She was surprised by Dia’s sudden change in attitude, which was not to say that it was a bad thing, but Gale had only just met her a couple of days ago. Was it all because of what had happened at Kunigunde Industries? Gale was curious, but she decided not to ask about it until later.
“I couldn’t have done it without your help, Gale,” Kirk said to her. “Everything up to this point is going along well, don’t you agree?”
“Do you think this is okay?” Gale wondered. “I have no problem taking her to where she wants to go, but is it really okay?”
“Gale, she’s been with you for quite a bit,” Kirk said. “I didn’t ask you just because I wanted you to get to know her. She needed courage and you were just the person to show that to her.”
Gale shifted her eyes to the side. “I suppose if you have no problem, then I don’t,” she said. “This is all part of your plan, isn’t it?”
“Your plan?” Lowell asked. “Seems like you’re still feeling grief after what happened all those years ago, Kirk.”
“It always was a little strange,” Kirk replied. “Eva and I are connected now, but it was only because of the tragedy that brought us together.”
Gale knew what Kirk meant. “Sorin’s mother…”
“April died protecting him, but it was Rysol who suffered the most,” Kirk said. “All these years, I looked into why I was targeted, why they killed April, and who took Rysol, yet still, I feel as if I’m nowhere near close to the truth.”
“It wasn’t Lokke?” Gale asked. “I thought he was the one who kidnapped Rysol…”
“He had a role in it, but he was merely a lackey to a much greater power,” Kirk said. “Finding that out was frustrating, to say the least.”
“Oh, I see,” Gale said.
“But since you now know who supported the Neu Thekohnian Order, we’ve got a good idea who may have been behind Rysol’s abduction,” Kirk continued. “The tricky part is getting Isaac to admit his involvement, which you realized for yourself why that’s so difficult.”
“That’s right,” Gale said.
“He would never dare implicate himself around someone he doesn’t trust,” Kirk said. “That has been and will be the barrier we face moving forward.”
“What’s your idea, then?” Lowell asked. “Guy isn’t going to run his mouth unless it’s a controlled environment, and we all know how much Isaac likes being in control.”
“There has to be a clue with those who were directly involved with the Neu Thekohnian Order itself,” Kirk said. “There was that one woman… Sadly, I can’t seem to recall her name, but she was very much a part of the NTO. At least, for a moment or so.”
“I guess so,” Gale replied.
As Gale thought about it, the blare of the ship’s horn sounded off. Several people walked by as Kirk turned his head towards the Ameci Atlas.
“We’ll have plenty of time to think about it,” Kirk said. “Plus there’s plenty of time to consider our possibilities.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Gale said. “Anyway, I’ll see you, Lowell.”
Lowell waved his hand. “Of course,” he said. “Guess I gotta say the same to you, too, Kirk.”
Kirk nodded. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll be back soon enough.”
“You don’t have to make promises with me,” Lowell replied. “I already know you’re as diligent as they come. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be out having some drinks or something!”
“Let’s hope so,” Kirk said.
“Alright, fine,” Lowell said. “Just go already! I gotta get back to work and make sure my guys aren’t sitting on their asses.”
With their goodbyes exchanged, Gale and Kirk headed off for the Ameci Atlas. The past week had been eventful with Gale delivering her presentation, as well as the sudden news that President Hasker had fallen ill. All Gale could do now, though, was to head back and work towards helping everyone in their quest to take down Foundation.
[6th of December, 2740 AD; Green Fir Hotel, Bel, Maeitakohn]
The lack of activity during the dead of the early morning did not stop Johan, who waited in his room for a specific phone call. He was certain that Sorin was going to call at any minute. By now, the secret had to be out. Everyone that was involved with Johan was sure to find out that he was still alive. Johan knew that he had no more reason to conceal himself, especially since Korbin knew full well the information.
However, that was all part of Johan’s plan. He knew that there was no way he would have been able to keep up his masquerade for too long, because Johan knew that everyone in Foundation would get suspicious. Isaac Kunigunde and all those that worked with him were bound to notice once Rodik Mahrk resigned from his position, depriving them of their immediate connection to Maeitakohn. Cutting off that limb would prove to be useful, but only at the expense of Johan making his presence known. Now he had made his move and the only option for Foundation was for them to react.
Johan fixated his eyes on the hotel room telephone again. He had to pass the time, somehow, before Sorin called. It had been a long time since the two had met in person, as the last time they did, Johan was still in disguise. Meeting up with Sorin would prove to be difficult as long as Korbin was still around. There had to be a way to deal with him, Johan thought. There had to be a way to take care of Korbin without the need to drop to his level. As Johan pondered this, the phone began to ring. Johan picked it up in an instant; this had to be the call from Sorin now.
“Hello,” Johan said. “Who is this?”
“Johan, it’s me,” Sorin said. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t call sooner. We… We got caught up in something earlier.”
“Tell me about it, buddy,” Johan replied.
Sorin began to explain what had transpired earlier in the night. Johan was correct as Sorin represented that confirmation of the suspicion that he had. The clock did not stop for either of them and Sorin’s account only served to make that claim stronger. For the next phase of their plan, Johan knew that he and Sorin, as well as Jelka and Rysol, needed time to set everything up.
“Listen to me, Sorin,” Johan said, “Since we both know that Korbin’s not going anywhere, staying out of sight is the best option until the summit.”
“So we’ll have to wait until that date,” Sorin replied.
“This next phase of our plan revolves on other people acting accordingly,” Johan said. “As long as the leaders are all in the same place, we already know that Isaac Kunigunde will be there. There, I will unveil my secret weapon… The secret weapon that will ultimately bring down Mr. Kunigunde.”
“You’re sure that your idea will work?” Sorin asked.
“I know it will,” Johan answered.
“They’ll be looking for you, though,” Sorin said. “There’s no way that the Ameci military won’t be looking for you. As far as their concerned, you’re just a traitor to them…”
Johan sighed. “It’s too late to be concerned,” he said. “Korbin has already killed me once. I’ve got no reason to fear him or the rest of the Ameci military, and neither should you.”
“He’s not the only one that we should be worried about,” Sorin said.
“Believe me, buddy, I’ve got plenty of reason to worry,” Johan said. “The fact that there are people like Isaac who can walk freely worries me, which is why I’m still working towards my goal. Nothing will stop me from doing that, not even death.”
“I know that,” Sorin said. “I know you well enough to know that that won’t be a problem…”
“Rain will be able to handle this summit she has planned,” Johan replied. “Despite whatever Isaac and Foundation may think, she isn’t the type to buckle underneath the pressure. You should know that, of all people.”
“I don’t doubt Rain, not for a second,” Sorin said, “But we still haven’t heard anything regarding Chancellor Harring. After what’s happened with the Ahnle family, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been any moves from them.”
“It surprises me as well,” Johan said. “I think it’s because they know that everyone is expecting them to do something about it, yet they also hold the most important card in that Ahnlikohn is where the summit’s taking place.”
“So they might wait until after the summit to do something about Harring, then?” Sorin asked.
“Plus, the news will be moving quickly,” Johan said. “Having this much turnover in these countries in such a short span of time will have a certain look that I’m sure the Ahnle family will want to avoid.”
“So we can’t do anything but wait,” Sorin said.
“It’s for the better,” Johan replied. “By the way, you mentioned that something happened to Jelka, right?”
Sorin did and went into detail about how Jelka was taken in. Johan could tell that Sorin did not sound certain about Jelka’s fate, though Johan knew that there was no way that they would be able to keep her in for long.
“They’ll likely release her tomorrow,” Johan said. “If what Rain said to you is true, she’ll be able to help her leave Iiayikohn.”
“You know well enough about hiding,” Sorin replied.
“Laying low in Glora may be the best option we can take,” Johan told him. “It may be a risk, but it’s the best option compared to the alternatives.”
“You don’t think a trip to Kikuisha is in order?” Sorin asked.
“Well, it’d be an easy option,” Johan said, “But keeping an eye on Glora is more important.”
“Guess I can’t disagree with you there,” Sorin replied.
“Hold out until it’s close to the summit,” Johan told him. “Rain’s going to gather everyone involved and we’ll be able to finally make our move. Patience is what we must need now.”
“Then I suppose that this conversation is over,” Sorin said. “It seems like that’s all we can talk about.”
“Don’t worry,” Johan said. “When we meet up in Glora, we’ll be sure to spend some time before the next phase of our plan goes into action.”
“I hope you’re right,” Sorin replied. “I should get some rest… I’ll see you when we meet in Glora, then.”
“Same to you, buddy,” Johan said.
With the conversation finished, Johan rested the receiver down on the phone’s base. He knew that his trust in Sorin was unbreakable and nothing would change that, yet Johan understood his friend’s lament over the fact that their meetings boiled down to one simple thing at this point: taking down Isaac Kunigunde and Foundation. That was one of the big reasons why Johan had to make sure that he had to succeed in his plan. He had to, not just for his sake, but for Sorin’s as well.
To be continued…