New York City, NY – USA
“I’m telling you; they have to have technology that they absolutely need to provide to the world!” Johann Pecora spoke to the assembled men and women in a sub-assembly for the Advancement of the Human Race. While it was a very auspicious sounding name, it held a group of individuals who focused on the advancement of a select group of companies. Their members.
“This group, this TQB Enterprises must have even more technologies if they can move shipping containers to the moon!” Johann continued.
The room held sixteen people. This room was in the basement of the Waldorf-Astoria. They used it whenever they needed to step away from the United Nations and meet off site. It wouldn’t be odd for any of them to have a meeting here.
Sixteen nations were represented in the group. These representatives were connected to some of the most powerful, or most influential nations in the world. None of these people personally had power, but the interests of their countries which they did represent were behind the scenes movers and shakers.
“And how,” Ms. Stephanie Lee asked, “Do you intend to encourage them to supply what technologies they have?”
Johann considered the question, “What leverage do we hold?” Johann asked. “It isn’t like this is the first time we have come up against an entity which wasn’t already a member.”
“That,” Eugene Guarran said, “Might be true. However, we have never tried to go against this group.”
Johann waved that away, “So what? We represent the combined might of twenty-two percent of the gross national product of the sixteen top countries in the world and those others we represent.” He took a breath but Eugene cut him off.
“Did you do the research on TQB?” He asked, “Just curious.”
Johann shrugged, “I’ll admit I did not. I’ve had issues settling down three congressmen and one highly upset senator this weekend. I know that part of our ability to stay relevant in the short term for two of our requested projects is going to be dependent on our ability to, um, acquire access to this technology.” He finished lamely.
Anna Elisabeth Hauser interjected, “I will provide some information, and only this much.” All heads turned to the representative of the most secretive member of the group. “Because it will be on pain of death if I am ever found out to have spoken this truth. Is this understood?”
The light skinned lady with the long blond hair looked into each eye to make sure she got a head nod. She didn’t expect any of them to listen to her, but she had to try. In her country, there were whispers about a shadowy group in the highest areas of power. She had a glimpse of the elusive leader of TQB Enterprises and hadn’t been able to shake the feeling she had seen the lady before.
At three o’clock in the morning, she had bolted up in bed and hurried to put on a housecoat. She made a special, secure request to confirm the facts of an incident which had happened years before in her country.
Anna Elisabeth had sought information on a bank heist. Not one that was successful, but one where the criminals had been captured but nobody knew how that had happened. The bank videotapes had mysteriously been erased. Yet, no one had ever been brought up on charges for failing to supply the police with the evidence.
She had seen a picture of a woman leaving with a hat over her face. It was the jawline that she remembered. Poised, it was confident, it was determined.
Her name had been on the list of those interviewed.
There could only be one answer to this question, and it scared Anna Elisabeth beyond reason. She had discounted these rumors ever since she had heard them back in her country. She had risen to this level of responsibility because she didn’t scare easily. Oh, she knew the power and strength of respect for those more influential than her, and those more desperate. But that was all aspects of the great game.
Now, this caused her blood to feel like it was turning to ice. It had taken her eighteen years to get into this position, and she was about to throw it away in a futile gesture to warn fifteen others who she had worked with secretly. This conversation was going to be debated about for either weeks and months or years. If the former, then these idiots were going to ignore her. If the latter, then they will have learned enough to use caution.
Because with some entities, a bigger stick isn’t the answer.
With all eyes on her, she started what she considered her farewell speech.
“There is a group known in our country for over a thousand years, a group that never addressed. It has been stated that those in power will kill those underneath them if necessary to keep this secret.”
Now she had all of their attention. When you are known for your secrets, it doesn’t take much to keep attention when you admit you are spilling one.
“While I have never heard of such a killing myself, I would not be surprised if it had happened in centuries past. This group has much influence and holds much wealth across many countries and in many lands throughout the world. Individually, they each hold controlling interests in many of the economies in both our nation and many of yours.”
“Surely you spin a great tale.” Johann interrupted, “If there were still such a secret society we would know about it!”
Anna Elisabeth just stared at Johann. Not only because he was an arrogant prick, but he was rude besides. Johann felt the power of those he represented spoke to his own authority, and he never understood he was a figurehead. Anna Elisabeth always recognized that and sought to be the best she could be.
She had been able to piece together what had happened at that bank this morning and knew that the rumors, the stories, the whispers were true.
“Sorry,” he finally mumbled.
“I cannot tell you much, but I can inform you that if you choose to do something drastic, then expect severe in response. This group makes the Israelis’ eye-for-an-eye attitude seem plebian.” She looked around the table, “I share this because if TQB Enterprises is in an alliance with these people, then your directors are not safe. Your people are not safe, and I dare say your countries are not safe.”
At this Johann and two others around the table chuckled.
Well, that was the best she could do and still keep her head. “As is my right, rarely employed by my country, I ask for a table vote on whether you intend to acquire TQB Enterprise technology through whatever means necessary?”
“Whatever means,” Stephanie said, “Doesn’t always mean force, Anna.”
Anna turned to Stephanie Lee and smiled, “You will not receive the technology any other way from this group. I require a vote right now whether the group will approve using force to acquire this technology.”
In her country, Ms. Lee would be open to being more circumspect to the question. But she had learned in this group, her countries long history was little understood and even less appreciated. She raised her hand while staring at Anna, “All the way to force.”
Fourteen other hands rose up around her. Anna Elisabeth shrugged and moved her chair back. “Then I wish you the best of luck on your peaceful negotiations.” She picked up her notebook and tablet and pushed her chair back under the table.
“Can you give us any other hints?” Johann asked. She looked over to his face holding a smirk as if she was the little girl at school running from a scary story.
Fuck them all, she thought. She turned her head towards the group as she started for the door, “Yes. Don’t screw with the Arch-Angel.”
She opened the door and stepped through. They could hear the click-clack of her steps on the stone floors as she walked away.