Chapter Thirty Nine
“Sir your nine o’clock meeting is here.”
Mr King usually liked hearing from his secretary. She had a sweet voice and it reminded him of girls he had dominated in his youth. Today however was not a day he liked hearing her voice. It had been one month since he had been saved from financial ruin and now his financial backer wanted to collect.
“Ok. Send him up,” said Mr King.
He’d heard nothing from his backer for a month. Beyond an initial meeting request, he didn’t know what to expect. All he could rely on was his history with the man and that didn’t bode well.
Tobias Zen stood in the lift as it ascended to the top floor. He knew Mr King was a showman like himself and what head of a large company wouldn’t want the top floor office? All the better to spy on your rivals, he thought.
He had planned this meeting for a long time and knew that Mr King would never meet with him under different circumstances. He had encouraged the board of directors to invest and he knew that his little ‘death stunt’ would cause the share price to fall and Mr King to panic. He had known Mr King for a long time and this was exactly the reaction he expected. It was all going to plan.
Their meeting started rather formally whilst the two men hid their true intentions. Discussions were had about the growth of Birmingham, the economy and Government policy. The conversation was dull and mundane but was merely a chance for the men to understand each other. The words were not important, instead they watched body language for tells and tried to determine what the other person wanted.
Tobias knew exactly what he wanted but he enjoyed watching Mr King sweat. He enjoyed toying with the man and was more than happy to wait before he unveiled his request.
For Mr King this proved frustrating and tore away at him like a young boy eager for it to get to Christmas day.
“Look Tobias, let’s cut the bullshit,” said Mr King as he slammed his hands on the table midway through a discussion about resuming trade with Europe.
“I know you are here for a specific request. Your invitation said all I had to do was listen to your request and then you would go,” Mr King knew that invitation well. He had read it over and over again every day since it arrived. “So tell me.”
Tobias waited for a second. “Ok,” he said. “But I’d rather show you,” he opened his briefcase to reveal a large map. On the map were the locations of every single one of Mr King’s telecommunications stations. Every receiver and distributor in the world was located in blue dots.
He was stunned. “How did you get this? I demand to know!” Mr King was shocked to find even stations he had never publicly declared were listed on the map.
“Please. This was child’s play. You aren’t the most secretive man. Although I especially like how you have receivers located near to every embassy in the world. It’s almost as if you wanted to spy on the Government. I’m fairly sure that is treason.”
“If it’s blackmail you want then….”
“Blackmail?” Tobias laughed. “We all know that I have had more than enough to blackmail you for over twenty years. The world never did find out who funded the Separationists experiments did they?”
Mr King looked at Tobias and wondered how much longer he would have to live under the shadow of his past. Tobias had held this information over him for so long. He had used it before to manipulate Mr King to fund his early experiments and to start TethTech and now he was using it again for another purpose.
“I refuse. Whatever you want, I refuse. You can’t manipulate me with that information forever,” said Mr King.
“Why not?” replied Tobias. “It’s as true today as it was back then. You funded the experiments that killed a billion people. Why can’t I hold that over you forever? It will never cease to be true.”
“It was an accident! No one expected the experiment to go that way.”
“You tried to play God! You tried to separate the Tethers that bind the world together. What did you expect to happen? If I hadn’t been there to clean up your mess. If I hadn’t made so many sacrifices that day then what? Every single human being on the planet would have died. Because of you. So yes, I do feel that you owe me, and I’m here to collect.”
Mr King knew Tobias would never forgive him. He had made a lot of enemies over the 20 Day Siege and it was something he couldn’t move past. “Fine. Turn the evidence in. Tell the Government that I funded the whole thing. Tell them that I’ve been spying on Government officials for years. Tell them everything. But I won’t be your slave for the rest of my life.”
“Are you sure?” asked Tobias. “If I do that then your company will fall. Everything your family has worked decades for will be destroyed and your company will go bankrupt.”
“It hasn’t been my company for a long time,” Mr King thought back to how the directors had bullied him into buying shares and how they treated him like their puppet. “The second I’m tarnished in the scandal the board will disown me and the company will continue under another puppet. We are too big to fail. We have a hand in all of the world’s telecommunications. Do you really think the Government will be prepared to lose that? I refuse.”
Tobias smiled. This was exactly the response he had expected. Exactly the response he had hoped for. “Very well. I hope you like prison and becoming a public hate figure. I will go public with this information. Not today, not even this week but one day when you aren’t expecting it I will reveal your secrets to the world and they will see you for what you really are. ”
“You know I could expose you too!”
“For what? Being a hero? Saving the world? You’ll only implicate yourself if you expose what really happened that day,” Tobias removed a small grey device from his pocket that emitted a high pitched screeching sound. “And just in case you were recording this conversation, I’ve just destroyed any listening devices. Have a good life Glenn.”
Glenn King ripped the tape recorder from under his desk. Sure enough the footage was gone. He tossed it to the floor and put his head in his hands. He had hoped Tobias was bluffing.
Tobias Zen strolled out of Mr King’s office knowing that he had got the right result. The blueprints were just showmanship. What he really wanted was for Glenn to panic and that is exactly what had happened.
He had never planned to have an alliance with Mr King. His real plan was about to begin. Tobias stepped into an elevator and retrieved a small nail sized object from his briefcase. He slipped the object onto the elevator control panel and watched as it whizzed into life.
“Sir,” a voice came through on the intercom to Mr King. “We have received word that Tobias Zen’s elevator has gotten stuck. We are sending engineers to the floor now.”
Mr King didn’t want Tobias to spend a second longer in his tower than he had to.
Tobias shared that wish but he had work to do. His elevator continued to descend whilst the nail sized device gave out a fake signal so it looked like he was stuck.
He quickly reached the twelfth floor; the mainframe room for Mr King’s telecommunications empire. A 9pm meeting was no coincidence. He knew security would be lighter at this time and that the engineer manning the mainframes would now be trying to fix a broken lift.
Tobias slipped inside and removed a USB stick from his pocket. He inserted it into one of the computers on the mainframe and downloaded two gigs of data onto the server. When Tobias was finished he walked back into the elevator and went back to the floor he had been ‘stuck’ on.
He had to wait fifteen minutes for the maintenance man to eventually free him. During that time he thought about how his little virus would change the world and how Mr King had already given him everything he needed. He would still expose the man but not quite yet.
“We are so sorry Mr Zen,” said the maintenance man.
“That’s quite alright,” replied Tobias. He took another elevator down to the ground floor with the maintenance man and left the building.
Tobias looked up into the sky at the satellite dishes that surrounded Mr King’s tower. “Soon you will work for me,” he said silently to them.