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Chapter 17

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Chapter XVII

Crisis at Wolfrick Co

 

Inside the Wolfrick Co boardroom, was a scene of utter chaos. As Charlie witnessed the sight of the big wigs squabbling like little kids. She began to realise why Jack had quickly volunteered to go out into the open country to look for Nick, rather than do this. The news had come in from The Mayor not two hours ago. The company was to be immediately disbanded. All assets were to be handed over to the government for ‘safe keeping’ as Osmund had put it. To say the news hadn’t gone down well, would have been the understatement of the century, as every man and woman in this room was now out for blood. Both against Alan and his family. And whilst they had not all been declared undesirables yet, it was on everyone’s lips, so far almost five hundred people at the company had defected to The Mayor and more were following by the hour. Which is why she found herself here with these jackals, after having made her feelings on the leaders of the company very much well known.

“Where in the gods name is Mr Wolfrick!” Ivan Blane shouted at Charlie. She knew that he was only shouting at her because she was there in person. But still, the fact that Ivan was only getting angry at her because she was the only person in the room to get angry at, was not much comfort at all.

“I don’t know. The mist has been jamming our senses.” Charlie said, it was a half-truth, she really had no idea where Alan was, but she wanted to keep the fact that they were able to communicate off the grid for the time being.

“This is outrageous! The company is falling apart and it’s leader has abandoned ship!” Blane shouted, his face going a deeper shade of red as he spoke.

“He hasn’t abandoned anyone!” Charlie shouted, this wasn’t entirely true but that didn’t mean she was going to take shit from the likes of these men, whose only achievement was having been in the right place at the right time. She wondered to herself if the company had ever been in a situation like this before. Although, judging by the reactions of its big wigs, clearly that was not the case.

“We need someone proper at the head, not this lowly scientist!” Brett said, adding his own voice to the din, which did get Charlie’s attention.

“I’m sorry?” Charlie said looking over at Brett in confusion. “Maybe I was mishearing you, but did just refer to me as a lowly scientist?” She continued, trying her best to keep her anger under control. But silently to herself she was cursing this man in her mind.

“You heard me!” Brett said, seemingly failing to see what he had done that was so wrong.

“Get out.” Charlie said simply to the man.

“I beg your pardon woman.” Brett responded indignantly, as if he had never been spoken to like that before.

“I said get out!” Charlie bellowed. She had had enough, gone were the days where she had been fearful of these men, who sat up here in their ivory tower and took the credit and the rewards for the work that their underlings did for them. “All of you!” Charlie continued looking around at the rest of the room at large, which went down about as well as she had expected.

“You go too far!” Blane shouted. Although that was the kindest response that she got.

“I’ve not gone far enough! You people are the most self-serving gluttonous men I have ever seen in my life! Now in the name of Alan Wolfrick, head of this company. I order you to pack your bags and leave!” Charlie shouted before turning on her heal and walking out of the room, thankful that she would never have to deal with those men again.

 

As she walked down the stairs, people looked at her, it wasn’t surprising. It hadn’t taken a genius to figure out what had been said upstairs. Combine that with the fact that they had been shouting so loud that The Mayor could probably have heard them a mile away in the town hall. Some cheered, glad that someone had finally had the courage to stick it to the man. The rest however, remained silent, knowing that they were now out of a job.

She decided to walk past her old workstation, not for any particular reason, she after all, didn’t work there anymore. But just for old times sakes.

Arriving in the lab she found her old workstation, she looked down into the draw, realising that she had forgotten to properly clear it out when she left to take the job at the manor, having only enough time to make a quick clean-up of what she thought at the time were the most important items and left the rest. It still hadn’t been cleared out by the company however, given the fact that she was still technically on the books. And after a quick sort through, she was glad of that fact. Inside there was a small token of rubbish, she dumped most in the trash, but when she reached the bottom her heart skipped a beat.

A small picture off her aged about sixteen, at some kind of award ceremony, in truth she had forgotten what it was for. Standing next to her, looking half bored at the event, was her younger brother Ed.

She was brought out of her thoughts by the sound of someone behind her. She quickly pocketed the photo and turned to see the elderly Deryn Gibbs, his grey hair now almost white. Standing next to him, was Jimmy Grey, the young intern turned full scientist who had made not so subtle attempts to win over Charlie when they both worked in this building.

“What do you guys want?” Charlie asked, she wasn’t in the mood for a long conversation, so the sooner they began, the sooner they could leave. Whilst at the moment they were being allowed to leave, Charlie didn’t know how long that would last with The Mayor as riled as he was at the present moment.

“We heard what you said to the people upstairs.” Jimmy said, he looked and sounded afraid to speak. As the last time he had tried to speak to Charlie, he had been pepper sprayed for his efforts. Something that he was determined not to happened to him again.

“And?” Charlie replied, hoping that they would eventually get to the point. She wanted to be out of the building as quickly as possible. As she didn’t want to be around when the men upstairs would finally grow a pair and retaliate for what she had done to them.

“Well, me, and young Jimmy here. We’re wondering what you were planning on doing next now that you have. Erm.” Deryn said tugging at his collar slightly before continuing. “Erm, now that you have disbanded the board.” The professor finished.

“I’m planning on going home.” Charlie replied curtly. She really didn’t have time for any of this.

“We wanna help.” Jimmy said, sounding more like a boy than a grown adult. In fact, if it wasn’t for his height. Charlie would have suspected that in that moment he was a child. But the lad was clearly not finished as he continued. “We’ve been picking up weird signals from the south. But we need help analysing them.” Jimmy finished, slightly too quickly.

“Send them to me at the manor then.” Charlie said walking past them and exiting the room before heading towards the entrance hall, and freedom.

 

Once outside she took in a breath of fresh air. It certainly felt good, to be once and for all free of those corrupt bastards who had ruined so many lives. However, there was a lingering doubt in her mind, whilst she was set, there were many others who had virtually nothing. Which meant that The Mayor’s actions had lost them their only source of security for the future.

“What future.” Charlie said, voicing a part of herself that she hated. “These people have no future; they just don’t know it yet.” That part of her said. she paused for a moment. Whatever Osmund’s actions had been, she had compounded them by dismissing the people who gave jobs to tens of thousands of people throughout the west. She saw Vernon waiting in the car at the front of the building. She looked back and saw the chaos that was starting to ensue inside the building. Both equally apart from her and the furthest that she could see due to this damned mist. “Fuck it.” Charlie said and walked back into Wolfrick Co.

 

Back inside the building, Charlie walked around silently as government officials were stripping the vaults bare, whilst employees looked on in slight disbelief at the direction that theirs lived had turned.

“Everyone. This has got to stop.” Charlie said nervously into the speaker and her voice echoed throughout the room, and although she didn’t know it, across every room in the building. As people started to look at her, she became even more nervous, she had never been a great speaker, particularly in front of large crowds. But she resolved herself to continue. “Erm hi. I don’t know whether you know me. But I’m the one that had the shouting match upstairs.” As people continued to listen, she looked up to see that the only people that weren’t, were the agents from Osmund who continued to loot the vaults. “This isn’t right. These people.” Charlie gestured at the group looting the vaults. “Are stealing your property. They may have Wolfrick written on the side of them, but they are still yours. You built them. They belong to you.” Charlie continued to a few murmurings in the crowd. The looks on the agents however were the ones she was watching, and they looked angrier than ever before. “So, go if you want. But if you stay. Then everything inside that vault, belongs to you.” Charlie finished.

“This is property of The Mayor!” One of the agents said.

“Shut the fuck up!” A number of voices replied, as a few advanced towards the vaults. Others chose to vacate building quickly, however.

“You can’t go anywhere. You’re being detained.” The agent said at the people leaving the building. He drew his gun and aimed at the retreating employees but mercifully chose not to fire it. He then turned his gun onto the approaching employees. “Stand back!” he shouted aiming his gun at them as he did so, before turning to his colleague. “Keep loading the goods. Hans.” The agent said, as a barrel-chested security guard walked forward to the head of the group.

“Hey man that’s our pro…” A security guard started putting his hand on his weapon, but before he could advance more than a few paces he was gunned down on the spot by one of the government officials.

Time seemed to stop for everyone in the entrance hall. Charlie looked over at the dead man bleeding out on the floor for a second. ‘Well, the first bullet’s been fired.’ She thought quickly and then ran for the door. As she did, more gunshots rang out as the people of Wolfrick Co charged at the government agents to attack them before being gunned down themselves. Charlie turned back when she reached the door, and saw that whilst many had fallen, the sheer amount of numbers was enough to overwhelm the agents who fell at their posts. She took one last look at the marble entrance hall that had once seemed so impressive, now turned to the first battleground of what these fools obviously thought as a revolution, and she exited the building.

As she ran to where she knew the car was, she rushed past Vernon who had exited the vehicle and was looking into the building.

“What in the gods name is happening in there?” Vernon stated as he walked a few paces forward, but Charlie called him back.

“Vernon, we need to leave now.” Charlie said, as Vernon returned to the car and drove off through the mist. She looked out of the window to see nothing but grey and wondered to herself what she had just started.

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