Back and away from the still riled up crowd Charles M. Ryan kicked at the pavement casually glancing at the hooded figure work the media. Reaching for a cigarette he cupped his hands to shield the lighters flame. Quite the speech he admitted to himself. The robed Lucas certainly had a way with crowds and with the destroyed refinery in the background the scene couldn’t have played out better. Makes one wonder about the timing of both the refinery explosion and the sudden appearance of the media named climate prophet.
SA Ryan leaned against a car, his thoughts bouncing between the still raging industrial fire on one side and the crowd and cameras following the retreat of the robed figure on the other end, the acid in his stomach burning. On instincts alone Ryan had no doubts that the explosion wasn’t accidental, nor were several others that had plagued the energy industry lately. Of that, he would gladly bet on.
He ran through what he had discovered about Lucas and the global green conglomerate he fronted. In the last several years Lucas' popularity had grown immensely. The environmental foundation he led had, as far as Ryan could determine, now encompassed all the smaller environmental groups into one massive, well-funded organization. The scope and money now commanded by Lucas' People Of The Environment were unfathomable. The foundation had assets exceeding the G.D.P. of numerous smaller countries and was starting to bend countries governments to their will.
A very dangerous situation indeed, Charles thought. To his way of thinking, the countries Lucas’ foundation couldn’t control yet were subjected to a form of environmental terrorism like the refinery accident he was now investigating.
SA Ryan kept his assumptions to himself. Try as he might he had yet to uncover anything even remotely to a link between Lucas, his P.O.T.E. foundation, and the industrial accidents. But that wouldn’t stop his inquiries. His instincts had proven right more often than not.
‘You do realize that the authorities will start to make a connection between our foundation and the accidents that are now regularly occurring across the globe if they haven’t already.” Professor Ender sarcastically bated Lucas. “What good is this plan of yours if we all end up in prison?”
Lucas gazed up from behind the documents he had been reviewing. “What’s the matter, professor? I think you of all people would be ecstatic that the public opinion is swaying in our favor.” Lucas goaded, “Isn’t that why you joined the movement in the first place. All the money and fancy hotels along the way, the notoriety you’ve gained. Please don’t tell me that you are only in it for the money?” Lucas shot back. “I agree that the unfortunate problems plaguing the energy industry serve a purpose. We’ve talked about this before, and I am growing tired of repeating myself.” Lucas paused seeing the disapproval in the other man’s eyes. “Surely… you don’t think I have anything to do with these unlawful acts of sabotage?”
Ender silently studied Lucas’ face. “You do have to admit that the increase in eco-terrorism is is very fitting to your plan…and you do make a point of appearing at many of the mishaps always standing in front of the cameras reminding the world of the dangers of dirty energy.”
“The whole idea of our crusade is to convince the people who fool themselves into thinking that fossil fuels are safe and not causing harm to the earth, otherwise,” Lucas continued as if speaking to a child, his patience wearing thin. “We need to make them climb off the fence and take a stand. Those people need a shove in the right direction, and we are providing the shove.”
He leveled the pages he held in his hands on the table and meticulously set them flat on the desk before glancing back up at the professor. With a tired smile, he shrugged off Ender’s sarcasm. “Besides, I am confident that the sabotage, eco-terrorism, whatever they are calling it these days is the work of some overzealous protesters. A phase that will run its course, but it does manage to keep the world's eyes off of what we are trying to achieve.”
“Which is exactly what?” Ender questioned, “You have been very tight lipped about your ultimate plan, even with those of us who are your confidants. What exactly is our end goal.”
“All in good time my friend,” Lucas mollified. “When the time is right I guarantee that you will be one of the first to know. Now, why don't you fetch yourself a drink? I will be finished here in a minute. I have a couple of calls to make and tell you what. What say I spring for supper?” Lucas smiled again reassuring the professor. Dismissed, Ender turned to leave Lucas’ office. Lucas’ eyes remained on Ender's back as he retreated closing the office door.
Lucas spent the next few minutes staring at the wooden door. Decision time, he realized. The professor was nearing the end of his use and combined with his increasing pennant for drinking Lucas wondered how long before the Anthony Ender's love of talking would result in the wrong person finding out details of the operation. Even with the little the professor knew it certainly could do damage if he blabbed to the wrong people.
Chasing the thought from his head he resumed reading the report the professor had so rudely interrupted. A slight smile lifted the ends of his mouth. The report was from a subsidiary north of the border. An election was taking place in Canada. A candidate that he had agreed upon and backed with the foundation's money was starting to gain in the polls. The old Canadian Prime Minister was a stout denier of climate change and thus served none of Lucas’ wishes.
This new leader of the opposition's ideas aligned more closely with Lucas’ green initiatives and without a doubt would be easy to manipulate. The man was short in political experience but long in his self-serving nature. Lucas knew that once the man was elected, he would quickly fold to the loud outcry from the very vocal green movement in that country.
The millions the foundation was pouring into Canada to discredit the current government and bolster his candidate was now seeing positive returns. Canada had always been an easy country to manipulate. The scores of militant green coalitions in that country had proven this theory numerous times with their simple, law-breaking protests that had become the norm up north.
The country sat on the third largest oil reserves in the world and yet the environmental groups with the assistance of lawyers and special interest groups had all but paralyzed the oil industry rendering Canada’s energy sector useless. Lucas was aware that he still had to keep a close eye on the upcoming election but that country looked like it was well on it’s way to falling under his control.
Returning to the papers to his desk, Lucas rubbed his weary eyes. His plan was good. He could save the earth from the nightmares that haunted him and at the same time spare the lives of the billions of oblivious inhabitants. The task was daunting, but he was determined. Rather, he had no choice. The nightmares continued to fill his mind day and night, and he hoped by what he was doing to save the world would provide an escape from the tortured visions.
One last report to glance through he promised and picked up the paper from California. Another territory where he had the upper hand and actually, not just California but the whole west coast right up through Alaska. The people on the coast were more attuned to the problems affecting the environment, and he was certain that there would be no problem bringing them into the fold of his anti-fossil fuel future. Those states were already heavily invested in solar panels and wind power, pushing the boundaries on clean energy.
Funny, he thought, especially with the amount of oil the state of California produced, that they stood out as leaders in clean energy. He shrugged and set the report from the coast down. Things were slowly moving in his favor. Grabbing the reports off his desk he slid open a drawer in his desk and placed the papers inside then safely locked them away.
With elbows propped on his desk, he rested his chin on tented fingers, his thoughts returning to the professor. Now was as good as any to deal with that problem. Lucas mind trotted out options to deal with Professor Ender. Deciding on one that was appropriate for the man, he reached for the desk phone. One call and then he would take the man to dinner to thank him properly for his years of dedication.
A new Canadian Author with too many ideas in his head. Surprising even himself with where his stories go.