2 of 4 | Chapter 2

 

Karen stood up and walked out of his office, through the grand emptiness. As she strolled across the hall she noticed some interesting details that had escaped her attention till now. They had not really seemed to be of much significance: the round forms at the farthest corners, the ones she had thought were surreal office decorations. However, after today's events, they made her suspicious. She had seen them on other buildings as well, but from a distance, she was not able to estimate whether or not they were more or less the same.

She kept on walking, the picture in her mind became clearer even though there were still many blurry little details obscuring the truth.

He might be as well a sort of … “scientist?” Karen finished her thought aloud. It must be easier for him to introduce himself as an influential businessman rather than an inventor with no established credentials.

Karen was now certain that she had to get to the bottom of it.

 

Interview

Natalie Garner found herself racing upwards in an express elevator that looked like a shining crystal. She stared at the vast open space inside the tower with an almost childlike awe. Altogether there were fifty floors, though each of them was the height of an aircraft hangar. On these levels, the administration work needed for the city's development and infrastructure was taken care of. Each floor had a unique architectural signature, the interiors designed to mirror an aspect of the outside world; streets and parks with fountains, grocery stores, snack bars, cafeterias and restaurants that all operated as an office, a canteen, a bar or a lodge would operate.

After about thirty seconds, a pleasant female voice broke the silence, disrupting her amazement as the elevator reached the top floor.

Natalie stepped out of the elevator with her cameraman who was permitted to assist her for the interviews. From a distance, they could see the empire of Karen Colella leading directly into the hall connecting to Sean Steersman's. Natalie liked Karen, a real rarity in her life. She could not really put her finger why she felt that way as there were not many women whose company she actively sought, or enjoyed. She often tried to rebel against her own personality, but soon realized that this endeavor was self-destructive. So, in the end, she gave up trying to be someone else and accepted herself for who she was.

“Hi, Karen. Hope I'm not too early,” she said as she approached.

“Hi, Karen,” muttered the cameraman too who, in spite of his shyness, always manage to relate his opinions with a quiet ironic humor that often caused friction between him and Natalie.

Karen was already smiling when Natalie arrived. She was a true phenomenon! The reporter had established her own unique working style, and her personal habits were suited to a journalist's lifestyle as well. Karen could not stop herself from analyzing the correlations between them. It can't be purely coincidence that they are both here in Excolopolis. There must be a reason. She did not believe in chance. As far she knew, Natalie Garner had got her big break in the same way she had: Steersman simply walked up to her and offered her the job. He wanted her, and he got her with the kind of proposal that no rational, career centered human being could resist.

Although there were many who coldly focused on building their careers, something was different in both Karen's and Natalie's cases. Throughout her life, Karen had sometimes felt that she did not fit in and it was not a good feeling. During her career, she had never accepted solutions that could only be realized at the expense of others. Neither had she accepted solutions with irreversible consequences for the environment. There had been more than a few cases when she had had to fight hard with higher powers to prove that what they were planning was going to seriously contribute to the planet's ultimate destruction. Her reasoning was only successful at those times when (at the price of many sleepless nights) she was able to offer the board of directors an alternative model with the same or better financial gain. Karen wove her ideas with a huge force of personality that eventually helped her achieve her goals. As it later became evident that her ideas worked, Karen Colella was accorded more and more respect across the professional world. Not many had the kudos and respect to be able to tell their bosses to piss off if the need arose. She was listened to, and they all knew they had a good deal in her.

“Hi, Natalie. Hi, Frank. You're just on time. Come with me!” she greeted them as they reached her.

Karen stepped up to the iris scanner, the door swept open and the three stepped across the threshold of the two worlds.

“You know what to do. As usual, the camera has to be placed in the permitted position only. Filming will start at Mr. Steersman's signal, and all other communication devices must be switched off,” Karen listed the rules, methodical as always.

Both visitors nodded in reply, though they barely heard a word; their thoughts wandered wide and far, with both journalist and cameraman struggling to follow them.

The sound of their steps on the granite floor was lost in the vast space, possibly trapped by the breathtaking structural tapestries that coated the walls. Soft and monotonous, an alien buzz added to the sense of timelessness.

Steersman was waiting for them in one corner of the hall, surrounded by a sofa complex that had been created by an imaginative designer. This colossus of industrial art spread out, conquering most of the available space. Their host sat in his usual place holding a tiny gadget that, from time to time, shot a ray of pale lilac light from between his fingers.

Steersman did not rise. He watched as they approached with a frugal smile. As they drew nearer he greeted them serenely, “Natalie, Frank, please do sit.” He waved his hand invitingly showing them to their places.

Natalie and Frank seated themselves. As usual, the choreography of the interview not having changed since the very first meeting. The reporter sat opposite Steersman about three steps from him; the cameraman quietly working next to her, preparing the camera equipment for the interview which would last for exactly fifteen minutes.

“Thank you, Sean, for allowing us some of your valuable time today,” said Natalie with a smile. Frank mumbled a barely audible greeting to Steersman while he set up the equipment.

“It's my pleasure.”

 

*************************************************************************************************************

Previous pages Go to next pages

*************************************************************************************************************

 

 

comments powered by Disqus

CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 13 | ENERGY WAR
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH