Entry 6 – Opportunities
A shower and a somewhat fitful sleep later, I was standing in front of a wide and inconspicuous office building at the address I was given. The panel above the door had the word “Perihelion” etched into it along with a symbol of a portion of a large hemisphere with a smaller circle orbiting it. Ferguson was already waiting for me in the lobby with an air of impatience and self-confidence. She started walking towards me as soon as she noticed my presence, frowning all the way.
“Mister Thorpe. You’re... not late, but not early. In this business, it’s the early bird that gets the worm.”
A good start.
She calmed down a tiny bit, nodding to herself.
“Now then, we have a lot to do in the next few hours.”
She led me to her office and I followed, carefully ignoring the curious looks the Perihelion employees were occasionally giving me. The inside looked unusual – like a research and development facility rather than an office building, sterile white corridors and people wearing suits mingling with men and women in white coats who definitely looked like scientist. I couldn’t see anyone looking even remotely like a soldier with only a few bored-looking rent-a-cops patrolling the premises.
We reach the elevator that took us to the second floor where Norah Ferguson’s office was located. It was a massive room lined with marble and laden with exotic woods furniture. This was more like what I had been expecting but the sheer size of the place and the costs required to make it look this way truly impressed me. The building wasn’t tall so the view wasn’t as impressive as befitted the room, but Lake Michigan glittered outside in the morning sun. I could even see several sailboats passing by – a wonderful, relaxing sight well complemented by the quiet burbling of a small waterfall that formed a part of one of the stone-covered walls.
The lady made her way to her large, cluttered desk and started sifting through some papers. With nothing left to do for the time being, I continued observing the room. Something caught my attention – a series of strange symbols carved into some of the wall stones that looked older than the others. In fact, they looked positively ancient and I had the distinct feeling they were once a part of a museum collection. I decided to test my luck.
“What?” She responded absent-mindedly without even looking up from the work.
“The symbols on the wall.”
“No,” she scoffed, “not quite.”
And that was about the extent of conversation I got from her the whole morning. After a few minutes, we moved to an adjacent conference room where we went through what seemed like a mountain of documents. Halfway through I was already wondering how many forest acres fell to this contract alone. What was worse, I didn’t understand most of it anyway and I damn sure couldn’t afford a lawyer who would spend the better part of a year analyzing every single paragraph. In conclusion, it was like everything with corporations – if they want to screw you, they are going to do just that because the devil’s in the fine print. Ferguson provided some brief explanations and I pretended to understand them but in the end, she might have just told me “sign here” – and I would have done that.
When we finally finished, it was past noon already. At some point, some other lady brought in a pile of sandwiches and coffee, which I hungrily devoured while attempting to read. Ferguson barely touched anything and I admired her restraint; I was starving. As I finally placed the pen on the table and rubbed my eyes, she quickly assembled the paperwork into several neat stacks and was already waving at me to follow her.
Locking the meeting room behind her, she turned towards me with a sigh.
“Sorry if we got off on the wrong foot. I’m glad to have you on board and so is Mister Murdoch. We’re just not used to working with outsiders and Mister Murdoch is...”
She seemed to consider her words carefully.
“....very protective of his mission. You’ll find out soon enough. There’s a helicopter on the roof that’s going to take you to the airport. There, you’ll take the company jet to Arizona and meet the troops at our base. They’re already waiting for you. I know it's a lot to take in but... there isn't much time.”
Her fleeting exhausted smile was somewhat apologetic and definitely the prettiest thing I’ve seen since morning. On that high note, I shook her hand, said my goodbyes and headed towards the elevator again – and to the beginning of my adventure.