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"So this guy was the spokesman for the People Of The Earth Foundation and then while attempting to bomb this refinery in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, he gets shot?”
“Close, but not exactly,” Ryan corrected the Shabak agent. “The late Professor Ender’s was the original mouthpiece for a much smaller environmental upstart. Lucas Pensworth 3rd, A.K.A. the “Climate Prophet”, the man who now runs the multi-billion-dollar P.O.T.E. foundation, replaced the unlucky professor.”
“So…the professor gets downshifted in rank and takes to traveling the world leading eco-terrorist groups?”
Ryan looked up at the pacing Israeli agent. The two had minutes earlier returned to his hotel room from a late dinner. He refused to talk business while they ate using the excuse that they had plenty of time ahead of them to worry about the tribulations of the world’s energy supplies.
“Have a seat and I will try to brief you on the complexities of this growing irritation that is slowly shutting down the world’s supply of oil.”
Shabak agent Netanya Kalb slowly turned a 360-degree circle from where she was standing. Everywhere she looked she saw piles of papers spread out. Manila folders, newspaper clippings and pages of notes filled the small hotel room.
“Where should I sit,” she asked using her hands to gesture at the stacks of clutter. “Does the bedroom resemble this room?”
“Is that an invitation?” Ryan joked. “I can check to make sure it’s clean.”
“Maybe some other time.” Netanya teased with a smile. Ryan watched the agent’s eyes. The smile on her face betrayed by the icy tone of her reply. Ryan quickly dropped the smart guy routine and grew serious.
“I don’t think the professor was here of his free will. Over the course of this investigation I have met the man several times, and unless I was reading him wrong, he was not the type to traipse across the globe blowing up pipelines and refineries.” He paused deep in thought. “No,” he said shaking his head to emphasize his convictions.
Netanya Kalb wondered from one stack of paper to another, lifting up single pages and newspaper clippings, briefly perusing them then moving on. “Are you always this fixated when you take on a case?” She paused to glance through another stack of papers. “You do know that they have this thing called a computer, right. A little portable machine that you can download all this…” she motioned around at the stacks of clutter, “all these documents.”
Ryan blushed as the Shabak agent stared at him, a couple of files in her hand. “Yeah…well, I guess I’m old fashioned,” he countered sheepishly, “besides computers crash or get hacked." Ryan produced a notebook from his inside coat pocket. "My system is more reliable.”
Netanya Kalb cleared a handful of files off a dinette chair and sat down. “So. Tell me what your gut is telling you. You said you don’t believe that Professor Enders was the type to participate in the spate of eco-terrorism that has plagued the energy industry.” Netanya drummed her fingers on the table surface. “Could the incidents not be random, a coincidental rash of flair-ups undertaken by entirely different environmental groups, each one acting separately, with one copycatting the other?”
Charles Ryan considered the question, thinking of how to prove to the fellow agent the reason for his view. “Come with me into the bedroom.” He lifted up from the couch pointing to the room at the back of the suite.
“Really!” Netanya’s voice dripped with annoyance.
“No…it’s, come on,” he urged and led the way to the back room turning on the lights as he entered. Netanya halted at the doorway and peered into the small hotel bedroom. The bed acted as a storyboard. A series of newspaper clippings were meticulously laid out. A string led from one article to the next, some crisscrossing and all leading upward to a single enlarged photo lying on the pillows. In the picture were three people. The late professor, a woman and the third person clad in a robe.
“You’re not one of those whackos who wear tinfoil hats and see conspiracies around every corner, are you?” Netanya ribbed. “Where do you sleep?”
“Where ever,” he explained walking close to the pillows and with his hand pointed to the pictures and articles to illustrate his thesis.
“Years ago all the smaller mom and pop protest groups began amalgamating under the one umbrella. What is now the People Of The Earth Foundation? Individually these groups had consistent funding and a scattering of followers while they occupied their time with nuisance shit like blocking roads or chaining themselves to equipment or oil leases.” He glanced at Netanya. “The acts of eco-terrorism were small or non-existent.”
Fast-forward a few of years and the protests had grown in both size and ferocity. Thousands of protestors were suddenly shutting down arteries into many cities and major transportation hubs, train shipments, and even airports, basically leaving governments no choice but to bargain with this mega movement.
Now we have organized sabotage occurring worldwide and whoever is running these ops is professional. Until now we have had no clues, no sightings, nothing.” Ryan was now standing close to the wall. His hand shot up and rested against the picture at the top of the pyramid, his fingers tapping the glossy photo.
“That is a whole lot of speculation. Nothing you have told me answers my question. Why can’t these groups still be unattached, moving forward with their an agenda all their own? One separate faction blows up a pipeline and then the next ups the ante and torches a refinery. Coincidences happen all the time, why not now? What makes you so convinced that all of these small assemblies have now joined forces?”
“He’s why.” Ryan stabbed the robed figure in the picture. “From what I have learned from talking to individual and shall we say disgruntled protestors, the smaller factions were given little choice. Join with the P.O.T.E. or have the funding dry up and be, here’s the horror, declassified as a charity. The latter is the lifeline of all environmental groups. Oh, and did I mention the Professor worked for the foundation.
SA Charles Ryan left the bedroom stopping in front of a stack of files on the kitchen counter. He raised a handful of manila folders in the air. “When the seemingly random attacks started escalating I went looking for a different angle. At that time I wondered about the possibility of such an alignment of environmental foundations.”
“Here, have a look at these.” He handed the files to Netanya, walked to the room’s mini bar and removed two small bottles. “Drink?” he asked holding up the bottles.
“Oh. The good stuff, you certainly show a girl a good time, files and vodka.” She nodded and returned to reading. “What exactly am I looking for?”
“You will know when you see it,” Ryan said over his shoulder as he stood by the counter preparing the drinks.
Netanya flipped through the files, quickly at first and then she slowed down studying the pages closer. The first folder contained the lists of directors for a different number of charitable green foundations. Names highlighted in yellow appeared on every sheet she thumbed past. When she looked up SA Ryan was standing by her shoulder, her drink in his hand.
“I am going to guess that all these highlighted names are somehow connected?”
“I have tracked and backtracked most. Other names I had gotten second hands from some informants. I haven’t qualified all the names yet. Too busy flying around the world investigating acts of sabotage.” Stepping to the side he set his drink on a nearby table before lifting yet another file and passed it to Netanya. “Have a look at this file.”
Netanya thumbed the pages. “What are these?” She curiously glanced at hand written pages. Pages full of notes scrawled in pen and containing names of oil corporations. Names of companies on the list she had never heard of before.
“Someone has been busy buying out energy firms,” Ryan smiled over his glass. “And before you ask, no I don’t have any solid proof. All the corporations in that report purchased by ghost companies based outside the U.S, all the strings lead back to one offshore account.”
Ryan drained his glass. “The names of the businesses that were acquired seem to be exempt from the horrors of eco-terror. My tinfoil hat may be a little too tight but what are the odds that only select energy companies are suffering the wrath of environmentalists.”
“If this account is offshore…how did you get this information?”
Ryan shrugged. “I could tell you but…”
“This is serious shit!” Netanya exclaimed.
“Yeah. Tell me about it. If a company doesn’t want to sell, they get paid a visit. Quite the bargaining chip.”
“But to what end. Why would a foundation like the P.O.T.E. be interested in owning any oil producing industries?”
“Do you know who the biggest clean energy company in the world is these days? One guess. From what I can unravel this far, The People Of The Earth Foundation is making a vast fortune off their green energy sales, and they have the majority of the population blindly supporting them. You know, save the environment…ra…ra.”
“So you’re thinking, what…P.O.T.E. buys up and shutters energy companies that use fossil fuels and…okay, now I know you are certifiably crazy…” Netanya stared wide-eyed at Ryan.
“I told you that my hat is too tight. Yes. I think they are removing one type of energy from the market and replacing it with another.” The room fell silent.
“But, if you’re right, who is to stop them from controlling world markets.”
“It may be worse than that. I’ve got a few more folders for you to see.” Charles M. Ryan scooted across the room digging amongst the stacks spread throughout the hotel room. “What do you know about political contributors? A lot of elections have been held all over the globe recently.”
Netanya Kalb raised her head from the file she was reading and locked eyes with SA Ryan. “Have you spoken to anyone about your theories, like, maybe you’re boss for instance?”
Ryan shook his head. “Without substantial evidence, who is going to take the word of a conspiracy theorist over a powerful foundation of Earth saviors?”
“You do have a point,” the Shabak agent agreed. “You had better give me one of your spare tinfoil hats. I think you are going to need help.”
A new Canadian Author with too many ideas in his head. Surprising even himself with where his stories go.