Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Reminder: this piece is a sequel to last week's piece, Zento the Mercenary.

Zento strolled down a granite sidewalk.   Sparkling white skyscrapers loomed to one side.  Hovercrafts zoomed by on the other, their path made straight due to running magnets in the street.  Zento’s objectives overshadowed the sights.
He pulled a small piece of embroidered parchment from the inside pocket of his grey blazer.  It read: 427 32nd Street.  Zento stalled to check the sign on the next building.  The wall shined brightly, undoubtedly coated in Lumin-Wax, a recent fad.  A large bronze plate was fused above the doorway.  The building was identified as “Medi-Core Corporate Headquarters”, with an address matching that on his slip.  Zento grinned.
The room he entered into was vast and, truthfully, somewhat intimidating.  Zento loved it.  He made his way to the end of a line of people, the front of which was a granite desk managed by a dark-haired woman in a black dress.  Zento ran his backstory through his head one last time.  His name was Geori Henderon.  He was the assistant to the CEO of the largest producer of medical machines on Karont, Medical Tech Inc.  Sent by Medi-Core’s strongest rival, Joen Haridy Medical, Zento was to get some key information by sitting in on a meeting scheduled for today.
The line diminished quickly, leaving Zento face-to-face with the receptionist.  “I’m here to attend a meeting on behalf of Medical Tech, Inc.,” he told her.
“I’ll need to scan some identification, sir,” she replied.
“Yes, of course.”  Zento reached into his back pocket and presented the forged I.D.  “My boss, the CEO, couldn’t attend.  I’m his assistant.”
The receptionist took the card from Zento and ran it in front of a scanner, wired to the computer to pull up the database of authorized personnel.  “Thank you, Mister Henderon,” she said, handing him the card.  “The meeting is in the Conference Room on the sixteenth floor.”
Zento found an empty elevator and entered.  He struck one of the lower panels on the back wall, stunning the security scanner that to him was common knowledge.  The elevator ascended slowly, picking up a few suited men on its way.  A computer voice came out of nowhere, and stated, “floor number sixteen.”
Zento stepped out onto smooth marble.  He scanned the room plaques on the lustrous white walls as the door shut behind him.  One of them, his destination engraved within, pointed down a hallway to his left.  Zento took it casually.
Several doors down was the room he seeked.  Inside sat eight men in similar garb to himself.  They smiled up at him.  “Samile Totoro,” one said before shaking Zento’s hand.  “I’m guessing that you’re sitting in for Mister Brirri of Medical Tech?”
“Nice to meet you, sir, and yes, I’m the assistant CEO, Geori Henderon.”
The men in the room nodded simultaneously.  One of them stood up with a small metal device in his hand.  With the push of a button the machine expanded to the size of his chest.  “Medi-Core third-quarter planning,” he said into a hole at the top of the expanded screen.  A bulleted list laden with statistics popped up. 
Zento’s mind blurred at all of the percentage signs.  He pulled out a notebook and scrawled as the man spoke.  The numbers didn’t matter much to him, but he didn’t want to lose an employer with a bad report, they were hard to come by.
After the list was taken care of and several slideshows run, the man shrunk his computer down and asked for questions.  “Sir,” Zento said, “can you please repeat that part about raising the price of scans for newer hospitals?”
“Certainly.  Our data has shown that eighty-seven percent of new hospitals are built in areas where one or more already exist within ten square kilometers.  The average insurance coverage in hospitals less than one year old is twenty percent better than in older hospitals.  Also, Medi-Core has recently upgraded their…” the man cut short.
Zento looked up from his pad and cursed.
“I thought you looked too young to be Geori Henderon.  We need security!” bellowed Samile.
Zento bolted to the door as a zooming erupted outside.  Two hovering robots flew in from his left and two more straight ahead.  He reached up his blazer and pulled out a palm-sized laser pointer.  At least it looked like a laser pointer.  Zento drew back a switch on its top, coinciding with a buzz.  The security bots closed in as the buzz morphed into a roar.  White light blasted out in a narrow stream knocking Zento back and slicing through the bots in front of him with a flip of his wrist.  He pivoted on the floor, blackening both a section of the wall and the mid-sections of the other two robots.
Zento whipped his head in both directions and disabled his laser.  A glass wall reflected light in a pool several meters from his feet.  He ran into the light while turning on the hidden bug behind his ear.  “I need my transport moved up against the glass, stat.”  A few seconds was the full duration of his pause before leaping into a free fall.

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