Ready! Fire! Aim!
Ready! Fire! Aim!
Helena Wells sat in her corner office, high above the maddening noise of the traffic clogging Times Square. She enjoyed watching the crowds racing up and down the avenues and the large neon signs that flashed headlines, stock prices, and advertisements. When choosing the location for her headquarters, she didn't want the more upscale addresses on Park Avenue because they lacked pulse.
She had spent a lifetime in the quiet and now that she had been released and paid her dues to the government, she was free to go about her life in any fashion she saw fit. The money from her stories had amassed quite a sum and within a few years, Helena had invested wisely to increase that amount. So much so, that she was able to oversee the divisions of her company and concentrate on what she loved – or so she thought.
The first year, she immersed herself in the biotechnology end of Wells Corp. Within a short period of time, top team members quit. New workers were hired by the Human Resources department, only to have them quit within a few months. Finally, the project manager put it to his boss bluntly – 'if you stay, we will never get these projects done.' He convinced her that her involvement was actually a hindrance because even the smartest team members were intimidated by her brilliance. It was a plausible explanation – she was brilliant indeed, but it wasn't her brain power that made them quit. She lacked the people skills it took to work with others.
In reality, Helena Wells did not play well with others. She simply found it impossible to be part of a team.
Helena conceded and threw herself into her personal projects. She was a one- woman force in bringing Nikola Tesla's work to an exhibit at New York's Hall of Science. It took months of fund raising and convincing people that Tesla was worthy of his own exhibition and when it was finally done, it was a huge success. It also left Helena with nothing on her calendar. For her personal staff, this usually meant trouble. This time it came in the form of a sexual harassment complaint from one of her top managers. He had accompanied her to many of the fundraisers. A tall, good looking man in his early 30's, Walter Sykes had enjoyed Helena's company. When her interest in him diminished, and it always did, he took umbrage with the fact that he had been used.
"You were enjoyable while it lasted," Helena admitted to him and then curtly dismissed him.
He threatened to bring her empire down from the inside, but Helena laughed him off. Now he was pressing charges of sexual harassment – a messy business indeed. It was the worst kind of complaint that the director of Human Resources, Irene Frederic - liked to handle. It was hard enough when it was between managers and a worker in the department, but when it involved the CEO – that made it the worst case possible. There'd be no keeping it out of the press.
They needed their lawyers to act swiftly, but there was only one problem. Helena had fired the entire staff of attorneys a few weeks ago.
"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," she quoted from Shakespeare, and Mrs. Frederic feared her suggestion of reading all the works of the Bard to keep her boss busy was perhaps a mistake. In reality, Helena had a very good reason for terminating them. They had strongly opposed her decision to give shares of the company to the staff. Strongly oppose was not something Helena took to kindly. So out they went.
In scrambling to find someone to head up counsel, Mrs. Frederic came across a resume of a woman, who was pre-med, then pre law, then a history major. She graduated summa cum laude and went onto law school. She had gained entrance into several of the top schools, but chose to go to a less prestigious one closer to her home in Colorado. Her resume should never have gotten past the first round, but there was something about it that struck Irene. By all accounts, the resume would have been regarded as too light too handle the intensity of a well-known firm like Wells Corp, but she decided to interview the woman anyway. It wasn't until she met the candidate did she know for sure, this was the woman who could manage just fine. She had hired attorneys who had graduated at the top of their classes from the best schools and look where that had gotten her. No, this time – she hired the best candidate for the toughest part of the job – handling the CEO. Irene had hoped to give her new chief counsel more time to get her feet wet, but there was no time like the present to test her out.
"I want Jacobs to pull whatever he can on Sykes," Helena said, her boredom evident by her body language. She was slouched in her chair and was playing with the large model of Newton's Cradle on her desk. The clack of the steel balls was getting on Irene's nerves only slightly less than her boss' nonchalant attitude was. She put her hand on the last ball and stopped it. Not all energy is deserving of being released, she thought.
"Ms. Wells, you fired Jacobs a few weeks ago," Irene said almost annoyed that her boss had forgotten. If she had overlooked this – then surely she would forget the trouble Irene went through in replacing him.
"Oh so I did," Helena said. "He was a bloody fool," she said.
"Yes, a twenty year member of the New York bar, recipient of many awards, but foolish enough to tell you no," Irene said.
Helena raised her head, steely eyes locked on the head of her Human Resource Department.
"It is within my rights to fire anyone, is that not true?" the Brit asked and her question was supposed to be delivered as a pointed expression. Irene had worked long enough in the business world to know when she was being threatened. And she had worked long enough for Helena Wells to know these were idle threats. For some reason, Helena tolerated Irene even when she stepped over the boundary.
"Your new counsel will be here at two o'clock to go over what we need to do," Irene said.
"New counsel? Who the bloody hell hired new counsel?" Helena asked sternly.
"I did," Irene answered.
"And why wasn't I consulted?" Helena yelled. She liked a hand in almost every aspect of her company.
"Oh but you were," the older woman informed her.
"Irene, I do not remember being asked to interview a new lawyer or surely I would have made the time," the CEO protested.
"Remember the night after the Tesla opening? You were with Walter and left the party very late? So late in fact, that the next day when I called you at the Penthouse to remind you that we had a candidate coming in you told me to never 'bloody' disturb you again with such nonsense?" Irene said gently refreshing her boss' memory.
Helena frowned trying to recall such a call. "Yes?" she said.
"Yes, well while you were busy giving Mr. Sykes his exit interview between the sheets, I hired a new lawyer. And not a moment too soon I'd say," Irene added.
Now Helena was frustrated. "I will not work with him if I do not like him. I won't - I tell you."
"Actually, I think you will like her. She's not like the others –rather down to earth and solid," Irene said.
"I will not work with her then, if I do not like her," Helena confirmed.
"Yes of course," Irene said half listening. "Just be ready at two o'clock to hear what she has to say about all of this."
Helena didn't care for the orders Irene was handing out, but she knew better than to dismiss her.
"What is the name of the woman I will fire if I do not like her?" Helena asked.
"Myka Bering," Irene called back.
"Myka? What kind of a name is that?" Helena called out as she played with the steel balls attached to string, banging them loudly to annoy her employee.
"The kind that will help you get out of the mess you've made I hope," Mrs. Frederic said as she closed the door.