The Atlantean Way

By J.-P. Janson De Couët

Humor / Fantasy

Prologue

November 25th 1996.

Press conference at Natla Technologies HQ, USA.

Natla Tech PR: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I hope that you didn't have too much trouble getting here through the storm. There are more seats over here to the right. If I could ask that flash photography could be kept to a minimum until afterwards? I'd like to introduce you to the Head of Security for Natla Technologies who will be taking questions in a minute, but firstly I shall now read a brief statement. In October of this year Jacqueline Natla, founder and CEO of Natla Technologies, went on a fact finding mission to one of our mines situated in the former Soviet Union. The mine, called the Golden Pyramid Mine, is situated here (points to map) on the Black Sea coast, in a disputed region next to Georgia called Abhazia, and produces manganese and various trace metals. At some time during the night of 15th October fighting broke out around the mine complex, presumably between the local sides in the civil war. Approximately two hours later an uncontrollable fire began somewhere in the mine which resulted in a large explosion. Part of the mountain side above the mine workings was destroyed and debris was thrown for several miles. Tremors were felt as far away as the coast of Turkey. At this time Jacqueline Natla is still missing although every effort is being made to establish her whereabouts. Obviously this is a time of great worry and distress for Ms. Natla's immediate family and for the employees of Natla Technologies, but we shall endeavour to continue as usual during this difficult time. Thank you. Are there any questions?

There followed several questions about the search and rescue efforts being made and about the Natla Technologies share price. Then;

Press: One of Ms. Natla's more altruistic activities was an interest in world archaeology, and yet over the past year there have been a number of unfortunate incidents. For example her Head of Archaeology, Dr. Pierre DuPont, was found dead in an archaeological site in Northern Cyprus. Reports suggest that he had been beaten to death using the stone hoof of an equestrian statue.

Head of Security: That is correct.

Press: And one of your own security personal, a Mr. Larson Conway, was recently shot to death at an

archaeological site in Peru.

Head of Security: That is correct.

Press: Would it be true to say that the level of security at Natla Technologies is not very high?

Head of Security: There are some very ruthless people out there, and Natla Tech is a worldwide organisation. It's impossible to stop all of the incidents all of the time.

Press: Is it true that Natla Tech had hired Lara Croft, well known international criminal, as part of your archaeology team?

Head of Security: We did hire Dr. Croft as part of our team. She was hired thanks to her experience working in hostile terrains and because she is a graduate of the Cambridge University Archaeology Department. Unfortunately we had to let her go after a valuable artefact went missing. As far as I know she is neither an "international criminal", as you describe her, nor has she anything to do with the incident at the Golden Pyramid Mine.

The press conference was then interrupted by the unscheduled appearance of Jacqueline Natla's twin ten-year-old sons, Nasatya and Dasra, who insisted on facing the press. A couple of questions were asked about how the boys were coping without their mother. Then;

Press: Your mother was known as rather an unusual woman. Is it true that she believed that she had been a Queen of Atlantis in a former life?

Das: My mother isn't dead.

Press: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to ...

Das: It's OK.

Nas: Yes, Mama Jackie thought that she was a Queen of Atlantis. Some people get hypnotised and think they're Cleopatra.

Press: What do you think about that?

Nas: If she's right, I guess that makes me a Prince of Atlantis. (General laughter.) I shall do what princes always do. Which is to look after my mother's things. With the advisors and with my brother.

Das: And Amanda.

Nas: Until Mama Jackie returns.

Das: And I'd like to say - it doesn't matter where Mama Jackie is queen of. She's always behaved like a queen and that's all that really matters ...

Natla Tech PR: No more questions.


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