[3rd of December, 2740 AD; Admorse Shipyard – Lowell Page’s Office, Admorse, Ameci – Gardner District]
“Son of a bitch,” Lowell said. “You mean to tell me that the president is in critical condition? What the hell happened last night, general?”
Gale watched as Lowell spoke on the phone. He towered over his desk, grasping the receiver of the phone as he listened to Rohan speak. Hearing the sudden news coming in surprised Gale, but she had a terrible feeling in the back of her mind. Something was wrong, she thought.
“Poisoning?” Lowell asked. “That’s what you think, general? Well then, let me ask you this: who the hell could’ve pulled off this feat under such intense security?”
Yes, it was that same terrible feeling, Gale thought. A suspicion that reared itself out into the open as Lowell continued to listen. Only by listening could there be a chance to figure out what had happened over the past few hours.
Lowell sighed. “That’s a damn shame,” he said. “What about that summit you’ve been mentioning? Is that still going to happen?”
Gale was sure that this news would reach overseas soon enough. After all, the news traveled quickly once everyone found out that Alan Berry had been assassinated a few months ago. There were many questions, but the one that stood out in Gale’s mind was whether or not her father was directly involved in Hasker’s poisoning. There existed no doubt that he was involved, but proving it would be difficult. She knew that Isaac would not act without some way to cover his tracks. Not as long as Foundation and the fall of the Neu Thekohnian Order were still prominent in everyone’s minds.
“So that’s the deal, then,” Lowell said. “Guess the whole thing’s up in the air for now… Well, I’ll be sure to let her know that, general.”
Lowell thanked Rohan and said goodbye, hanging up the phone as he turned to Gale. She could only imagine what Lowell was going to say, but Gale was certain that it weighed on him.
“I’ve got good news and bad news,” Lowell said. “Well, maybe ‘good’ is a little bit too generous.”
“It’s fine, Mr. Page,” Gale replied. “I think I’ve got the general idea just from listening to you.”
“Well, then I guess you should know that the meeting’s been canceled,” Lowell said. “Can’t do much in the way of presenting new ideas when we’ve got a crisis on our hands.”
“I understand,” she said. “Is it really true? You know, the way that President Hasker was poisoned?”
Lowell shook his head and sat down in his seat. “I can’t say for certain,” he replied. “Looked to me like he was just fine the other day.”
“I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out for ourselves,” Gale said. “So what’s the ‘good’ news?”
“It’s a pain, but it looks like we may still be able to have our meeting yet,” Lowell answered. “Though I can’t really say I’m too excited about it, nor do I think you’ll be once I tell you.”
“You can tell me,” Gale replied. “I’m sure that it isn’t that bad.”
“Like I said, it’s a pain, but we can still meet with the investors, though if it does happen, then the whole meeting will be headed by your father,” Lowell said. “You’ve already said to me some bits and pieces about how you don’t really see eye-to-eye with him, so I’m telling this as a heads up.”
“That will be no problem for me,” Gale said without hesitation. “I’m not afraid of Isaac.”
Truth was, he still intimidated her, but she was not going to say that out loud. This would be the chance for Gale to confront her fears head on and perhaps even gain some sort of information that could end up being useful to taking down Foundation. Having this meeting would be the first step towards doing that, so Gale knew that she would have the chance to find something out for the sake of everybody else.
“Would you mind if I asked you something?” Gale asked.
Lowell scratched his ear. “I don’t see why not.”
“Do you have some sort of recording device? It would help me if I could record the meeting,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be right now but if you have anything that could be of use, that would be great to have.”
“I’ll see what I can find,” Lowell replied. “Those sorts of tools are pretty hard to find… Quite a kick in the ass money wise, too, if you’re looking for the highest quality.”
“Okay,” Gale said.
“I’ll let you know if I find anything,” Lowell said. “I can promise you that. Now that that’s settled, I guess you’re going to head out?”
Gale stood up. “Yes, I’ve got lunch with Kirk,” she said. “He said he wanted me to meet with Henry. It sounded important, so I don’t want to waste any time meeting him.”
“Gotcha,” Lowell replied. “Tell them that I said hello.”
“I’ll let them know,” Gale said. “Thank you.”
Gale left Lowell’s office and out of the shipyard as she went over to her car. Indeed, she had what could be considered an important lunch with Kirk and Henry, for more reasons than one.
Over at the Admorse Casino, there was a restaurant on the other side of the street. That had to be the place, Gale thought. She parked her car and got out as the quiet ambiance of the winter morning made Gale feel alone, even though she had no reason to feel since she was going to meet both Kirk and Henry. She had to wonder if Sorin felt the same way back in Rezar.
“I can call him later,” she reminded herself. “He’s doing well back there. I know that, so I don’t need to worry.”
Gale wrapped the scarf around her neck and began walking towards the restaurant. Once she got closer, she saw the two men that were waiting for her standing outside the entrance.
“Hey, Gale! We’re right here!”
Kirk called out to her, waving his arm in the air while Henry cracked a smile. Gale rushed over to them and greeted them both.
“I can see you, Kirk,” Gale said. “It’s nice to meet you again.”
“And I can say the same to you,” Kirk replied. “So how did everything go with Lowell? I imagine he’s still the same as ever.”
“Well, he told me to say hi to you and Henry,” Gale said, “But really, he’s holding up well. I can’t exactly say the same for the meeting, however…”
“The meeting?” Kirk asked.
“We can talk about it inside,” Henry said. “It’s too cold to talk outside. At least let us get something before we can talk about what happened.”
Al three of them went inside, trading the frigid temperatures of the outside for the warm embrace of the restaurant’s interior. Henry led Gale and Kirk to an empty table as they did not need to wait to be seated. Henry took a seat across from Kirk while Gale sat on the side between them. After waiting for a few minutes, the three were greeted by a server, who took their orders and went off towards the kitchen.
“This place is pretty new,” Henry said, “But I’ve heard good things. I’m even friends with the manager here.”
“So you’re trying to gain support through here, are you,” Kirk said. “Guess that it can’t be helped…”
“So Henry, have you already heard about what happened?” Gale asked. “You know… about him?”
Kirk looked to Gale. “Him?”
“Being a part of this process means hearing the major news firsthand,” Henry replied.”So yes, I have indeed heard about it. Let’s try not to get too loud about it; only a select amount of people know right now and we want to avoid any potential crisis that might arise.”
Henry then informed Kirk about what happened with President Piere Hasker. Kirk nodded along and listened, closing his eyes as he took a breath. With an exhale, Kirk opened his eyes and laid his hand on the table.
“Well, it didn’t take them long, did it?” Kirk asked. “Looks like the sand has already begun to drain from the top, it seems.”
Henry rubbed his chin. “Do you suspect him?”
“There’s no doubt about it,” Kirk said, “Only one person stands to gain a tremendous amount from an incapacitated Hasker.”
“We already know what he’s capable of,” Gale said. “After all, he was involved with the Neu Thekohnian Order…”
“Yet as it stands, there’s no way to prove it,” Henry replied. “Short of Isaac confessing, there’s no way he could be taken down. Not without something to tie him to that group.”
“And I might be meeting with him, too,” Gale replied. “Well, at least I won’t have to meet him by myself.”
Kirk leaned back in his chair. “I wonder, Gale, if there would be a way for you to do me a favor.”
“What is it?” Gale asked.
“There’s someone that I want you to meet,” Kirk said. “I think that it would be great for both of us if you met them before you went to this meeting.”
“Interesting,” Gale said. “Who is it?”
“I’ve been speaking to them for a while,” Kirk replied. “You should know her, too, Henry.”
“I should?” Henry asked.
“Yes, and I know that she’s been dealing with quite a bit recently,” Kirk said. “I can’t blame her; she lost her only son, after all.”
Henry raised his eyebrows. “You don’t mean Dia, do you?”
“Indeed I do,” Kirk said. “It took a few conversations, but it seems like she’s willing to help out in any way she can.”
“Surely you’re not suggesting she’s fighting for the cause,” Henry said. “I can’t think that she’d throw down in any chance.”
“Oh, I don’t mean that,” Kirk replied. “She and I have a common goal, ergo I decided to help her out.”
“That’s all, then?” Henry asked. “Well, I guess I have no problem with that if that’s the case.”
“I’m glad you understand,” Kirk said. “So, Gale, would you be willing to meet with Dia?”
“I don’t see why not,” Gale said.
“Then it’s settled,” Kirk said. “You don’t mind going right after lunch, do you now?”
“You want to do it today?” Gale asked.
“It would be a good idea to have everyone aligned as soon as possible,” Kirk replied. “After all, I’ve got a plan.”
Henry chuckled. “Anything you say, Mr. Wilk,” he said. “I kid; this should be a good idea for all of us.”
Gale had to agree, at least. She trusted Kirk’s judgement and thus trusted Dia as well. As for what this meeting would mean for her, though, Gale had no clue about what to think of it. But what really loomed in the distance for her was meeting with her father later on. Her relationship with Isaac, if it could be called as such, was not one Gale like to speak about, though she had to remain strong and not let her fears get the best of her. That was all Gale had to do in order for her to make progress towards her goal.
To be continued…
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