Chapter 31 by Mildred Sharma

It was time to settle things Charlotte said to herself. She had been in the shadows for too long and it was time to come out. The wheels of justice were moving too slowly and Ken was the grease that would see things along. 

She crossed her legs and watched Ken spin around Adi's apartment looking for proof of Adi's betrayal. She watched in amusement for a few minutes more, then spoke, "Sit, Ken. There’s no real need for more information, anyway I think that first we should clear the air; specifically the fact that his whereabouts have been unknown to you for much longer than you’ve been letting on.” she stared at him with an icy countenance that somehow made Ken want to melt into the floor. How could she know? he had been so careful in his attempts to conceal Adis absence. How was this all a part of her plan? 

As he pondered this thought to himself Charlotte continued, ignoring his apparent concern. She reached inside her Hermur alligator bag and pulled out photos of Adi bent over a desk with another man both looking engrossed in the papers and plans that had been laid out. “Anything familiar?” 

Ken stared down at the picture then stared at her. She continued, “That’s Adi with one of the main overseers of Cryptop. His name is Talal.”

Ken remained silent and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He did not like how this situation was unfolding and he felt beads of sweat form on his forehead. 

“How long did you think you could go without being found out Ken? How long were you planning on keeping it a secret that you lost not only Adi, but two other test subjects, Tara and Rob?” Charlotte’s icy eyes were fixated on Ken now, like a frog locking onto a fly. 

“It wasn’t my fault, Miss Yoss! He was not thinking clearly and I had no control over what he did, he just left!” Ken spat. “He called me on a secure line telling me that he was on our side! He’s trying to infiltrate Cryptop and steal secrets for us and bring Tara back!”

Charlotte continued, seemingly unconcerned by Kens protests, “Not only have you lost a key operative who has had access to our systems and secrets, you have also unwittingly given him cause to turn against us. You see, years ago I was the one who orchestrated Adi’s parents’ attempted murder via a car crash. Only I didn’t count on his father surviving. I also did not count on his father joining Cryptop and becoming my fiercest opposition”

Ken Starr’s dumbly at Charlotte, “F-father?! Adi never said anything about his father!” 

“Yes, that’s because he believed his parents dead!” Charlotte was on her feet pacing now, her icy resolve had melted giving way to trickles of anger turning into rivulets. Now he has discovered that Talal is in fact his long lost parent, the father he never had...all thanks to LifaLabs.”

Charlotte took another breath and felt her phone vibrate in her hand. She glanced at the screen and walked towards her bag then began pawing through it, “Luckily, I preemptively set up my own intelligence source in Cryptop so I could keep an eye on things. He was stubborn at the beginning, but," she smiled, "everyone has their price, everyone has their value. Yours just ran out.” She pulled out a small pistol and shot Ken in the chest at point blank range, splattering blood all over white couches.

As Ken lay in a rapidly expanding pool of blood, her phone was still vibrating incessantly in her hand matching the thump of adrenaline in her heart. "Hey you. Sorry, I was just wrapping up some loose ends. Are we still on track?."

Charlotte smiled at the response she received as she wiped blood off her heel and began her way out of Adi's apartment. "I know, I can't believe it. We're so close!"

Before she reached the apartment door, she took a deep breath to appreciate and revel in the moment. Finally. "I can't wait to see you. Love you too, Dorian. I'll call you when we reach Matana Towers."

About the author:
Mildred, 56, is a Finance expert living and working in Dubai. She loves to cook anything from Mexican to Thai, Indian to Italian, and hopes to run her own little restaurant high in the mountains someday.