Part Seven – Chapter Haven’t-A-Clue – in which we get political
By morning, the scale of what had happened become known. Of the five battery arrays, three were drained beyond repair. The other two perhaps could be recharged but it would take years. Now, instead of having another two hundred years at the least, they now had less than fifty. And, the ultimate betrayal for everyone, the batteries had been sabotaged.
The President sat in her office, looking over the list of possible groups that could be responsible. “Torado Ports? You can’t be serious.”
“We are, Ms. President. We have been watching them for years now.”
“If you publish this list with that company’s name on it, you’ll cause another uproar. Don’t you watch the news?” She reached for her pen to mark the name off the list.
“That is perhaps the biggest reason. Some of us feel it is too convenient that Torado Ports just happen to have so many businesses that are off the grid.”
“It is called good business. We all knew it was a matter of time, we just didn’t think this would happen.” Her pen ran through the list, marking off many of the names. “This list may be published, with my corrections. The uncorrected list may be kept on hand for reference only. If this list, intact, reaches the press, I will know who is responsible. Now, gentlemen, if you will excuse me, I have a meeting to attend.” The President got up and left the small outer meeting room to go inside her office.
Mr. Wallan and his associates stood as she did, but waited before leaving. He was not happy at all with this outcome.
Zenith opted to walk to the lodging since the traffic was so insane. Her luggage, all but the case in her hand, would either be there waiting or would arrive later. She was wearing shoes and clothing appropriate for walking anyway so she took advantage of it.
Capitol City was the largest metropolis on the planet. Located where the First had landed, the government buildings were all built out of the material from the transport ships, making them the only metal buildings on the planet. The roads, made of other material from the ship, were glossy and the reflection tended to be more than annoying.
But Zenith wasn’t using the road, she walked along the sidewalk, taking her time and watching people go by. It was dusk by the time she arrived at the lodging, glad that the setting sun would stop the glare from the streets.
But sitting on a bench, looking very distraught, was Maratha. Zenith didn’t know what was wrong. She smiled though, as she thought up a plan. She jogged down the street to a small cafeteria she had seen.
“Greetings. I happen to have a leftover belara and hoped you could eat it for me.” She held out a cellulose bag that held a wonderfully smelling open-ended sandwich.
“Oh Zenith!” Maratha dropped all her bags and jumped up into Zenith’s arms.
“Greetings again then.” She hugged her back then joined her on the bench. “Here, I really do have a belara for you. Eat. Then you can tell me what is wrong.”
“It’s just so….”
“Eat I said.”
Later, after watching her eat then hearing the story, she patted Maratha on the hand. “Stay here, Mar, and I’ll go see what I can do.”
In the lobby she could see why Maratha had been so overwhelmed. She was overwhelmed herself! She looked around the room, trying to find just the right person to approach.
“Mr. Smych, so glad to see you. May I speak with you a moment?”
“By all means, Ms. Torado. How may I help you?”
“I have a friend, an ethologist, who is outside and is unable to come in. She has been out in the field for several years and is quite panicked about the large number of people.” Zenith grinned to herself, glad she had found the right person.
“An ethologist you say? There’s only two that was called, and only one a woman. Ms. Verdan? Oh, bless her! Now let me think.” Mr. Smych, a man who knew everyone, almost literally, tapped his chin as he thought. “I have it. I’ll be right back.” He went to the front desk and spoke with the manager, who, after just a moment of conversation, left in a hurry. “I told him that there had been no refreshment area made available for everyone and that I had heard complaints. This room will be cleared in just a few moments.” He grinned a big one, pleased with himself. “Now, I would love to meet this Ms. Verdan, if I may?”
“She is right outside. Follow me.” Zenith took him through the lobby and outside where Maratha still sat. “Mar, this is an old friend, Mr. Smych. Mr. Smych, this is Maratha Verdan, ethologist.”
“Nice to meet you young lady! Tell me, how are your Gobals?”
“They are doing fine, sir. And yes, one does get used to the smell eventually.”
“I guess you get asked that a lot. Now, what about Family Three? Last I read there seemed to be a problem with the little one.”
As the two of them chatted, Maratha’s face getting more animated as she forgot her fears and talked about her Gobals. Zenith kept an eye on the crowd inside. She saw most of them go toward the long hall, the manager waving them along. “Sir, the lobby is clearing now. Mar, we are going to take you right in, to the desk and get you checked in. Okay? Ready?”
“Oh! Yes, I suppose, um….”
“Here, take my arm, young lady, and I will escort you through. This arm, you see, isn’t real, it is a prosthetic. You can squeeze it as hard as you like and I won’t feel a thing!”
And with that, my dear invisible readers, I leave you. I’ll be home soon and I can’t wait to find out if you liked it or not. I do hope you kept in mind two simple words as you read the snips: ROUGH DRAFT.