An Unwelcome Helper
Alan sits at the head of the table, bored out of his mind, but still trying to pay attention and deeply regretting his promise to Vernon to take a more active role in his company. It was then that a small noise from the doors roused Alan from his dozing and brought him back to the present.
“Hem, hem.” A light female voice said from the doorway, as the group of board-members look over at the sound. They see a short plump woman, looking around the room with a look under her nose as if she’d smelled some dog shit. “I hope I’m not interrupting this very important meeting.” The woman looks around the room at the stunned faces. “My name is Harper Godfrey.” She said with a false smile on her face, but before anyone could react to this information she continued. “I have been sent here at the request of the Mayor himself.” Harper said. This was news to Alan at least. He couldn’t remember a time when the government had interfered directly in his company’s business. “He is very concerned with what your company has been doing.” Harper said tutting slightly in the group’s direction. “Millions spent on secret departments; weapons being sold to those savages in the western deserts.” Harper said before tut tutting again. “This will not do. No, no.” Harper finished showing her teeth with the latest smile. As one of the board members spoke up.
“We found the person responsible for those illegal sales.” The man said indignantly. “And more importantly, this is a private company. Thus, we can have as many secret departments as we like.” The man finished. The smile had disappeared from Harpers face, showing the ugly woman for what she really looked like.
“May I have the pleasure of your name sir?” Harper said through gritted teeth, trying to put the smile back on her face, but failing spectacularly.
“No.” Alan said speaking up at last. “And none of the problems you have presented to us are of concern to Osmond.” Harper looked horrified at this businessman using her Mayors first name with any form of respect.
“Ah, Mr Wolfrick is it?” Harper said. Alan simply nodded and Harper continued. “I am afraid it is the Mayor’s business to know exactly what is happening.” Harper smiled once again. “Now then I will leave and get on with my inspections. It shouldn’t take too long.” Harper bowed to the group before strutting through the door from whence she had come. Once Alan was shore, she was out of earshot he turned to Vernon who had been standing as still as a statue throughout the entire conversation.
“Since when has the Mayor taken an interest in this company?” Alan asked.
“Never sir. This is the first time he has ever personally seen fit to intervene with your company.” Vernon said looking worried. A second member of the board spoke up.
“Shall we have security see her of the property Mr Wolfrick?” The man said. Whilst Alan thought that it would definitely work. It would only likely anger the Mayor and force him to take more drastic measures.
“What and have the Mayor arrest us all on some trumped-up charge. No. We have no choice but to let that woman remain.” Alan said looking slightly deflated that he couldn’t just have the cow thrown out. He turned back to the board. “This meeting is now adjourned. We reconvene at 0600 hours tomorrow.” The members of the board all got up and left the room silently leaving Alan and Vernon alone. Alan gets up and limps over towards the window and looks out at the city in front and below him, as Vernon walks up behind him.
“You look troubled sir.” Vernon said. Not that he could blame him, he was nervous himself at this new addition to the company. “I think I know why that woman is here.”
“Yeah, I know. The Mayor is very unhappy that I took his prize right from under him last year.” Alan said. He wasn’t stupid. He had known that his little gamble was likely to get retaliation from the Mayor.
“Indeed sir. And now the mayor is looking for a way to get it back.” Vernon said before leaving Alan to continue gazing out of the window. "The only thing I can suggest sir, is to weather it out. Osmund will get bored of his little game sooner or later, he always does." Vernon finished. He knew that it was most likely a fool’s hope, but if Vernon had a cred for every time The Mayor had gotten bored and abandoned a project, he would have enough to buy out half the city.
"Any news of Codsworth?" Alan asked, he had heard that the commander had retaken Prostead Bridge a month ago, but nothing since then, which was odd, as they had been the first to know about the strategic town's recapture.
"No sir, rumour has it that he is garrisoning the town for the time being until he has more forces, he took to many losses in his taking of the bridge." Vernon said. "Or there might be some other reason for the information blackout. It wouldn't be the first time that news from the front failed to make it back home." Vernon finished, thinking back to the time when Alan had lost his leg, and how it didn't appear in any news story until a month after the event.
"Well, I'm sure that he has a good reason for keeping us in the dark. The gods alone know how many spies Boris could have in Osmund's employ, or spies of the greater enemy." Alan said, remembering Buckley and how he had managed to worm his way into The Mayor's good graces so much that he had put him in charge of the mission into the Badlands. He checked his watch quickly before leaving the window and exit the boardroom followed closely by Vernon.
By the time Alan returned to the Manor it was almost midday, he had intended to remain at the company until dark, but due to the unwelcome new advisor, he had decided to return to the manor to plan in peace, as Harper had insisted setting up shop in his office. However, despite this when he walked through the doors to the entrance hall, he found Dave lying fully clothed on one of the sofas asleep, something that the eleven-year-old seemed to be doing a lot of these days, as if he wasn't getting any sleep at night.
"David." Alan said sharply and the boy woke up with a start, looking around the room.
"What. I'm awake." Dave said groggily, although you wouldn't have known it, deep shadows were ringed under his green eyes and his skin was very pale, as if the boy hadn't seen sunlight in weeks.
"Vernon, would you mind taking my son, back to his room and then meet me in the lab." Alan said, smiling slightly, whilst he didn't know what his second son was up to, it was almost charming to see the way he thought he was hiding it.
"Certainly sir." Vernon said before walking up the stairs behind Dave, not failing to notice the dirt that the lad was trapsing across the floor. Alan to noticed it and saw that the sofa that Dave had fallen asleep on was also covered in mud and leaves. He was about to raise the issue when one of Dmitri's Bots came up to him.
"They are ready for you commander Wolfrick." The Bot said, which did make Alan grimace, he wasn't a commander and even during his time in the army he had never got close to that rank, but he decided not to make a fuss. He gestured at the Bot to lead on and the two walked out of the entrance hall and down towards the lab.