Requiem for the Undead
Requiem for the Undead
“I won’t deliver a statement—per say.” Wall Soft’s acting CEO was at an outdoor podium, facing a throng of reporters. “I’ll just take questions.”
“What happened today on the Sound?” Though he hadn’t been pointed at, a senior wire representative took the honor.
“Bob Wall’s yacht,” Collin took a deep breath while thinking of a true but incomplete response: a full accounting could throw the nation into turmoil, “was attacked by a squad of armed fanatics: two major explosions breached the hull and the severely damaged ship sunk.”
“Was Sheik bin Omani involved?” The loudest of five voices asked.
“Ghazi was front and center. News coverage has followed the dealings of Wall Soft and Omani, but the key word here is ‘followed’ as in lagging behind the up-to-the-minute action.” The executive sipped his water. I’ll bet that line won’t be quoted. “You were aware of the sheik purchasing control of Wall Soft, but the situation drastically changed: an independent third party then bought out Omani Holdings. Ghazi became deranged: he quickly obtained some mercenaries, weapons and explosives.”
“How many casualties, and who are they,” an eager reporter jumped to the fore and tied four queries into one, “and did Wall live: or did Ghazi?’
“The Sheik and his soldiers stormed the ship: they were engaged by an internationally based private security contractor and a similar number of armed guards. All have been confirmed as killed, or missing and presumed dead. None have been positively identified as yet.” The asshole paused: nor are they ever likely to be. “Bob and the Squid’s crew prudently evaded the gunplay and they abandoned the ship to be rescued safely.”
“Was anyone else onboard,” the same journalist squirted in two more, “and were they noteworthy persons?”
“Isn’t this story juicy enough on true facts?” Collin’s mocking tone hid how pleased he was with the inane question. Now I can nip worse ones off in the bud. “I’ve heard that Vice-President Lon Clark passed away today, but I can assure you that he didn’t die within the Squid’s hull.” He met his demise in the water beside and Agent Wilkins’ next assignment will be in minding the American Embassy staff in the Maldives Archipelago. “I have it on reliable authority that Jimmy Hoffa was not there either.”
“Tell us about the new owner?” A correspondent noticed an omission. “The combined worth of those two major corporations is staggering.”
“At this juncture, I’m not at liberty to divulge anything on that issue. Obviously, she will face decisions between visibility and privacy but you must respect that the due consideration, will take some time.”
“The sinking of Bob Wall’s boat seems to be poignantly comparable,” though not stated as a question, the comment was stated loudly in the front, “to the failing fortunes and floundering public image of his corporation.”
“That’s a nifty analogy but entirely untrue.” The executive wanted to segue into that and he leaped on the remark. “You’re doubtlessly referring to the embarrassing glitch that occurred due to a code conflict in the name we assigned. Instead of Handshake Lite, the popular program will revert to its original title. Wall Soft verifiably owns legitimate rights to Low-Key. The remedy patch is now ready for full, and free distribution.”
“Will you tell us about yourself?” A youngish woman took the floor. “Has Collin Hersker overstepped Bob Wall and/or Ghazi bin Omani?”
Bob sustained some minor injuries but after his convalescence,” and drug rehab, “he’ll be back at the Wall Soft reins. Similarly, the executive team at Omani Holdings will be retained and a suitable replacement for Ghazi may be found within the ranks there. Both heads will report to me as the CEO of the combined Wall Soft and bin Omani entities.”
“Gay pride!” An uninvited attendee shouted and raised a jubilant fist. “You rock-em girl—for all of us!”
Collin the asshole just smiled, but tacked up a mental note to phone his Mom and Dad—ASAP. Better still, I’ll bring Oksana home to meet them.
“You’re hurting me!” Amy Cush frantically pried at Stryker’s fingers: they were gripped just above her knee—as tightly as a mastiff’s jaws.
“My Squid is gone!” Despite her screaming and pleading, Bernard’s cruel hand remained tightly clenched. Her leg would have five bruises of a deep mauve, each with a scarlet frown from a fingernail. On his other side, livid scion clawed through the plush fabric of the chesterfield’s arm.
‘Ah’, he recalled his talk with the now dead politician, held on the deck of the destroyed yacht, ‘but never all’. It was in reference to situations he could influence to his gain. Still, there are always ‘many’ as well.
On the television, a flamboyant man was dancing an animated salsa, with an upraised fist and Bernard finally relaxed his grip.
“It only hurts,” he offered the closest he would to an apology, “until the pain ebbs away.” Stryker slapped the thigh he had so torturously squeezed.
“This dramatically unforeseen culmination in Seattle,” the powerful magnate gamely grinned, while Amy hobbled away to tend her wounds, “is a final confirmation that I once again have some worthy enemies.”
“He sustained numerous life-threatening wounds and is now in a deep coma.” The doctor’s gaze alternated uncomfortably between his clipboard and the patient. “We’ve done all we can but haven’t any prognosis.” The more truthful statement would’ve been that the medical professional didn’t have a clue what was keeping him alive because he really should be dead. “You should brace for the probability that he may be gone.”
“You’re wrong.” Without looking at him, Jacqueline waved her hand to dismiss him. “He made me a promise, and he won’t break it.”
“I wanted to—.“ The physician balked at leaving but found his arm taken by a strong hand from behind.
“We’ll summon you if needed.” John firmly escorted the specialist out.
“I need to ask if we should continue life support.” The doctor protested but it was to a closing door. “It’s not even remotely possible that he could awaken without massive brain damage.”
“If he is gone, it’s to a really good place.” John Stryker Antenenko put a supportive arm around his sister’s back. “I’ve been there and back.”
“So has Tariq—once,” she leaned into her sibling, “and I have too.”
“Sis, you and I should discuss our goals. With my current hegemony over the political structure and with your domination of a financial empire, we could have a major impact.” Shiva’s Messenger paused. “You’re not even listening to me. Are you? We can discuss it later.”
“Where are you now?” Jacqueline didn’t notice her brother leaving: she took the limp hand in hers. Can you hear my spirit speaking to yours? “Is Loki dwelling within to advise you and keep you entertained?”
[I handed Tariq over—but when I left, he hadn’t yet passed beyond.]
I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. The girl started at the surprise intrusion.
[Call me a mental apparition of your grief then.]
“I sure pray you do come back,” Jacqueline Stryker Antenenko traced a loving finger gently on his temple, “because I’m not able give up hope.”