[19th of December, 2740 AD; Waking Eagle Theater, Glora, Ahnlikohn]
Right outside the local theater, Sorin waited with the others for Ayanna and Law to arrive. By now, Kirk and Eva joined the group on their trip to the city as the seven of them continued to wait. The cold air did little to make the time go by faster as Sorin began to wonder what took Ayanna and Law to get to the theater. He wanted to see them as soon as possible so that he could meet with Jelka later. With the news of a potential delay, however, Sorin wondered if he would be able to meet with Jelka on time.
“Do you believe it’s necessary to meet with everyone?” Eva asked.
“I intend to wait for the others,” Rain said. “There’s much I’d like to discuss with Ayanna and I don’t want to wait until tomorrow to talk with her.”
Gavin leaned himself against the streetlight. “I think Eva’s wondering if there’s anything that the rest of us can do until then,” he said. “We’ve got some time before the summit officially begins, so it only makes sense to wonder what will happen next. Hey Sorin, you have something important that you need to attend to, don’t you?”
“I wasn’t going to bring it up,” Sorin said. “Nor did I expect anyone to ask, but I do have something important.”
“You were going to sneak off from us somehow?” Gavin asked. “Give me a break. I know you well enough that you lack any sort of subtlety about what your intentions are.”
“If you were going to go see him, you could have just told us,” Mina said.
“It doesn’t do a lot of good to keep people you trust in the dark, Sorin,” Kirk said. “But I can understand why you’d be hesitant.”
“It’s not that I don’t trust any of you,” Sorin said. “I promised him that I would do my best to keep things under wraps until the time was right.”
“Wouldn’t right now be the best time?” Gale asked. “With Isaac here, it would make sense to show whatever you and Johan have and make it known to the public.”
“That’s for him to decide,” Sorin replied. “I don’t even know what he has, but I know for a fact that he has something groundbreaking.”
“Suppose that that’s all we can hope for,” Eva said as she walked up to the edge of the sidewalk. “It’s so damn cold already…”
As Eva gazed over at the other side of the street, she noticed a recognizable pair standing by an empty building. Sorin noticed, too, as he saw both Ayanna and Law dressed up in their coats. He was about to wave over to them and greet them, but Eva proved to be faster.
“It’s about time you showed up,” Eva said. “Come here already!”
“Oh, is that you, Eva?” Law asked. “Well, can’t keep you guys waiting for too long, can we?”
“Please, I’m sure that they don’t mind,” Ayanna said.
They walked across the street and reunited with the group. Now it seemed that almost everyone was here, save for a couple of other people that had yet to arrive. Sorin felt ready to move, but was stopped once Law wrapped his arm around his shoulder.
“Hey! Don’t even think that I forgot, man,” Law said, “We’ve got that unfinished business that we need to take care of, after all.”
“I was just about to bring it up,” Sorin replied.
“So you were,” Law said. “Well, what are we waiting for? We can’t get moving until we actually move, you know.”
“You’re going now?” Mina asked.
“That’s what it looks like, Mina,” Gavin said. “Just as well… I was starting to get a little bored myself. Where are we headed, anyway?”
Sorin adjusted his shirt. “I’ll tell you guys along the way.”
“Promise me that you’ll stay safe,” Gale said.
“Of course I will,” Sorin replied. “If anything happens, I’ll let you know as soon as possible.”
“You want to get it over with already?” Gavin asked. “Just do what you’re going to do so we can get going.”
Without a second thought, Sorin and Gale shared a brief moment before he took his leave with Gavin and Law. He did not know how long it would take to meet with Johan, but Sorin knew that he wanted to find out everything possible before the next phase of the plan happened. It was important to learn, which was why it was important for Sorin to get a clear answer out of his friend before the day ended.
[19th of December, 2740 AD; Abandoned Manufacturing Complex, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Inner Boundary]
There was no doubt in Sorin’s mind: this had to be the place. It brought back several memories as he strolled inside the premises as Gavin and Law followed him. The first encounter he and Johan had with Jelka took place inside these walls, fighting against each other. Now they were all on the same side, Sorin thought as he approached the main building. Two members of Johan’s Moonlit Silence greeted him, but stopped Gavin and Law at the door.
“You can trust them,” Sorin said to the guards.
The two guards looked at each other and nodded and decided to let Gavin and Law go through. Once inside, the room was empty, save for a few counters, chairs, and laid out paperwork.
“So this is their base of operations,” Law said. “I guess when you’re moving under the cover of darkness, this is what you’ll settle for. Right, bro?”
Gavin kept his hand trained on his pistol. “Keep your guard up,” he said. “There may have been a chance that we’ve been followed.”
“As wary as ever, aren’t you?” Law asked.
“Considering what we’ve been through already, it’s not impossible,” Gavin replied. “Remember, Johan’s the one with the cards in his hand. We’re waiting for him to play them.”
“Well, that’s not the only way to play, you know,” Johan said.
Sorin looked up at saw Johan walking out of the room by the right. Jelka followed by his side as both of them approached Sorin, Gavin, and Law. There was nobody else inside the building except for Johan and Jelka, though Johan, for some reason, was not wearing a shirt. At first, it threw Sorin off, but he managed to ignore it and focus on the conversation at hand.
“So, we’re all here,” Sorin said. “You’ve got your secret weapon, don’t you?”
“I do,” Johan replied.
“Does it involve running out there with your bare chest on display?” Law asked. “It’s cold enough to see my breath right now; how the hell are you so comfortable?”
Johan laughed. “If only I could, Law,” he said. “I’m drying out my shirt… As it turns out, moving all across the region makes for some strenuous activity.”
“I’m sure with her, there must be some ‘strenuous activity’ involved,” Law said. “Maybe I should ask Jelka myself…”
“Maybe you should stay on subject,” Gavin said as he slapped Law on the back of his head. “Good fucking grief, at least pretend to care about what’s being talked about, Lawrence!”
“It would do you some good, Mr. Power,” Jelka said. “Besides, it’s already crazy enough as it is to bring Sorin here. Had I known that you would bring the two brothers along, it would be a much different story.”
“We’re here now, aren’t we?” Gavin asked. “Better we hear it straight from the man himself.”
“I’m surprised you hold no ill will towards her, Gavin,” Sorin said.
“To say I don’t would be a lie,” Gavin replied, “But we’ve got bigger fish to deal with right now. Any problems I have with her is not something that I care much about.”
“So you say,” Jelka said. “I don’t blame you if you do not wish to forgive me for my actions. In fact, once this is over, I am more than willing to make it even if you so choose.”
“I’m not interested,” Gavin said.
“Guess that settles it,” Johan said. “Anyway, I assume you took the long path to get here, right?”
“We went exactly as I told him,” Sorin said while looking at Gavin. “I don’t think I saw anybody following us, but I can’t be too sure about that.”
“If anybody else was spotted, I would have known,” Jelka said. “I’m very familiar with this place, in case you’ve forgotten.”
“That she is,” Johan said.
“If anyone that I did not trust were to cross, I would have had a group surrounding the occupied area in an instant,” she continued. “That includes the Ameci military.”
“And I guess that you would have done the dirty work, too,” Law said. “You know, all that stuff your guy over there refuses to do himself.”
“Please, Law, I’m only one man,” Johan replied. “There’s only so much that I can really do during this time.”
“Yes, I’m very aware of that,” Gavin said. “You were the one who took down the president of Maeitakohn in less than a day, so I guess you really are just one man if that’s what you want us to believe.”
“As it stands, he resigned,” Johan said. “He confessed everything he knew and now he sits in a jail cell awaiting his fate. Isaac has already taken notice of what happened, which is why he wants to drive attention away from himself and Foundation during the summit.”
“And that’s why there are so many Ameci soldiers in Glora,” Law said. “It’s hard to ignore them when I can practically see them line every corner in the city. I don’t even know how you do it.”
“I haven’t stepped foot once into the city proper,” Johan answered. “If I did, they’d be sure to spot me the instant I set foot in the city limits. Jelka, on the other hand, isn’t as big a priority to them as you may think.”
“Why’s that?” Gavin asked.
Johan placed his hand on the counter. “Treason,” he said. “It’s one of the few crimes punishable by execution in Ameci. It’s a capital offense that’s been in place for over a hundred years, and they aren’t looking to change that any time soon. To Ameci, it’s serious business.”
“And you can’t go back,” Sorin said. “Not now, anyway, since they found out you were still alive.”
“It’s easy to imagine how one such as Isaac Kunigunde could use that law against someone he didn’t like,” Johan said. “He’s been climbing up the ranks of Ameci government slowly but surely, all so he could use that power to silence those who may oppose him.”
“But you’re not going to let that happen,” Gavin said. “The secret weapon Sorin mentioned is the trick up your sleeve; it’s the irrefutable proof that will bring down Isaac Kunigunde once and for all.”
Johan lifted his hand up from the counter. “I’m going to come forth with it during the summit tomorrow,” he said. “Each and every letter between him and the Neu Thekohnian Order will be read aloud for all to hear.”
“For all to hear?” Law asked. “You’re going to hold a press conference? Am I missing something here, Johan?”
“I’m sure you’re aware of it already, but there will be public talks that will be broadcast on the radio,” Johan said. “Well, as it so happens, there are several unused frequencies that we can use.”
“It’s a risk, but it may be the best chance we’ve got,” Gavin said. “Of course, I know little about operating radios and crap like that, so I assume you have a way of doing that?”
“Leave that stuff to me,” Johan said. “I work best when no one is watching me, after all.”
Gavin sighed. “More like when you have everything under control.”
“Guess we settled that,” Johan said. “So, buddy, there’s just one thing that I need you to do for me.”
“What’s that?” Sorin asked.
“We need to deal with Korbin and his men somehow,” Johan replied. “I’m beyond certain that he’s up to something. Something bad.”
“And you want me to deal with him,” Sorin said. “I don’t really want to fight with him, especially not during this time.”
“I don’t need you to fight him either, nor do I want you to,” Johan said. “We just need to distract him, that’s all. We just have to throw him off so I can execute our plan without a problem.”
“A distraction is a good idea,” Law said, “But how are we going to do that? You have a plan for that, too?”
Johan managed a smile. “There’s no reason why I can’t come up with one,” he said. “This plan was just for Sorin; either way, though, I guess it doesn’t hurt to have you two on the case.”
“You know full well that we work as a team,” Gavin said.
“Team or not, the plan is what we must stick to,” Johan replied. “Whether or not you are able to keep is all on you.”
“I don’t think I appreciate what you’re saying to me,” Gavin replied. “If you’re looking to succeed in your plan, then you can’t go wrong with having strength in numbers!”
“You may be right about that, but isn’t it also true that we shouldn’t draw too much attention to ourselves?” Johan asked. “Especially when you’re going around waving that gun of yours.”
“Try me, asshole,” Gavin said. “I’ll be sure to knock your ass flat if you try to come at me.”
“Gavin, Johan, please, let’s just try not having a fight here,” Sorin said. “It’s the last thing we want right now.”
“I don’t know that, Sorin,” Law said. “It really seems like my bro has a point here for once.”
“As long as we are able to make Isaac Kunigunde’s intentions known, I truly don’t care what you two do,” Jelka said. “If we’re to bring down everyone inside Foundation down, then we must go for the head.”
“Right, as it has been said before,” Johan said. “We can’t afford to keep going after those at the bottom of the ladder. We’ve done a lot of chasing, but now it’s time for us to head Isaac off before he makes his next move.”
“It makes sense,” Gavin said. “Very well, if your part of the plan involves you reading off some letters, then where does that leave the rest of us?”
Law tapped the side of his head. “Weren’t you listening, bro? We’re the ones that are going to make sure this guy can read the secret letters over the airwaves without any interference.”
“Right,” Gavin replied, “And that involves making sure that Korbin Mars and his rowdy bunch of assholes don’t find you.”
“I don’t care how you do it,” Johan said. “I just know that you will do it.”
“Isn’t that how you’ve always operated, though?” Law asked. “Relying on other people to do the stuff you won’t do, subtly directing others towards your end result… Even when you pretended to bite the dust, you were working all of us, even Sorin.”
Johan turned and began to walk away. “Why would I answer that?”
Law chuckled. “I guess I was right,” he said. “Well, if that’s how you want to play, then I suppose I can play by your rules.”
By that time, however, Johan already left the room. There was no goodbye from him, just the sudden, abrupt end of a conversation that Sorin did not expect. Things were getting serious. Sorin sighed and looked over to Jelka, who appeared to be just as surprised as he was.
“Unless you have something else to add, I will see you tomorrow,” she said. “Remember: we must bring all of these truths to light.”
With that, Jelka left. Nothing else was said as Sorin left the building with Gavin and Law in tow. All it made for was a silent car trip back to the city as the three men pondered on what they had to do to make sure that Korbin and his men would not cause a commotion in the coming days.
To be continued…