The Society of Orion Book Six: The Moroccan Affair

SOC #6

 Published  9/3/15

Chapter One 

Timmy, the computer geek, burst through Colton Banyon’s office door at the corporate headquarters in Chicago. He hadn’t knocked. He carried an open laptop in his slim arms and paid more attention to the device than to where he is was going. He took several steps into the office before he noticed that there were several people gathered around Banyon’s large work area. They were all standing and looking at the oversized monitor on the desk top while talking. They didn’t look very happy. The discussion stopped and they now glared at him.

“Oops, I’m sorry Dude,” he uttered and stopped dead in his tracks. “But this is important man.”

Colton Banyon looked up from his computer screen and took off his reading glasses. At first he wanted to chide the exuberant young computer genius for barging into a meeting without knocking, but he knew Timmy would sulk and become moody. Banyon needed him to remain functional.

“What have you got?” Banyon asked flatly.

“Well, you wanted me to report anything important that I found about Ahmed Fasi immediately,” Timmy replied.

“Let’s hear it,” Banyon replied evenly and stood up straight while sighing. He wanted to hear what Timmy had to say, but he already had a lot on his plate. The sleeves on his white dress shirt were rolled up and his tie was askew. Banyon was beginning to feel his age, which was over sixty.

The geek knew that they had clearly been working intently on something before Timmy had suddenly barged in. It looked serious, but Timmy wanted to know what they were discussing.

Timmy quickly responded. “Fasi’s been quietly advertising all over the internet that he is looking to hire twenty armed mercenaries to go on an expedition. He gives the location as somewhere in the southern provinces of Morocco. I think he means in the disputed territories of Western Sahara.”

“When?” Banyon demanded.

“In five days,” Timmy responded.

“Does he say why he is going there?” Banyon asked with new interest.

“From what I can gather, he’s going there to find some old artifact. He says the mission is sanctioned by the King of Morocco and he will also have a platoon of thirty Moroccan soldiers with him for protection.”

“My god that would mean he will have at least fifty armed men with him!” Heather Vance the President of Dewy & Beatem exclaimed. “He’s up to something, I’m sure of it,” she remarked as she placed her hands on her attractive hips in annoyance.

Heather was dressed in a blue woman’s suit that was tight to her curvy body. It was accented by an open-necked white silk blouse. Her long auburn hair was pulled into a ponytail. She was beautiful, lethal and a member of Banyon’s unique team.

Banyon was pensive for a few seconds and then said, “Timmy, keep digging. I’ll catch up with you as soon as I finish this meeting, okay?”

“Oh,” he said reluctantly. “You need to talk to Carol Cole too. She told me she found something that you need to see,” Timmy added. “She wouldn’t tell me what it was.”

“Tell her I’ll be right there,” Banyon responded wearily and waved the geek out the door. Carol was working a special project for Banyon. The information could be good news, but would add more stress, something he didn’t need right now.

“You got it boss,” the barely out of his teens geek responded nervously and backed out of the room like there were zombies tracking him. He slammed the door.

***

“Let’s wrap this up,” Banyon said to the others in the room. “I have to make a report to the board of Forever Ours, LLC in a few hours,” he said as he scanned his Movado watch.

The people in the room were the management team for the law firm of Dewey & Beatem. Now that the Patel clan was back in town, Banyon had to update everybody on the condition of the firm, both financially and personnel wise. This would be the first meeting of the board since the Forever Ours, LLC had purchased the law firm three weeks earlier and there had been many changes.

Chase Sanborn, the newly appointed director of the Las Vegas office, stood next to Banyon. He was dressed in his usual cowboy brown suit and bolo tie. His tall and slender thirty-year old body was covered by a brown ten-gallon hat.

“We’ve completed all the personnel moves and have found places for all the people we couldn’t transfer,” he said. “The other offices are all closed now. We’ve managed to keep all the black ops. and people with special skills as well.”

“Good,” Banyon uttered. “Closing the four other offices will give us more flexibility and reduce the operating expenses dramatically in the future.”

Heather reported next. “We’ve lost two important clients in the transition. They represented five percent of our revenues. Overall though, we appear to be in a solid position with our clients.”

“As long as the President keeps giving us work, we’ll be fine” Banyon reminder them. “But we haven’t had any assignments from him in several months.”

“Which brings us to the financials,” the chief accountant, Beth Raynor interjected. “They are dismal.”

“How bad?” Banyon inquired.

“Very,” the accountant responded dramatically. “Since we have been taken over by the LLC, we have closed four offices and transferred over thirty people. Revenues have dropped substantially and the cost of taking so many people to Ecuador on your last little adventure was very expensive,” the account recounted. “In addition, you spent over one hundred thousand dollars in gifts to the mission down there.”

“I don’t need a lecture,” Banyon sarcastically replied. “Do we have enough operating money?”

“No,” Beth responded. “In two days we will be insolvent.”

Banyon was stunned by the revelation. After a few seconds of thought he asked. “How much money will we need to keep running for a month?”

“Three million dollars,” Beth replied. “That’s if we don’t pay the bonuses you have submitted recently.”

“How is our credit at the bank?” Banyon quickly asked Heather.

“We haven’t had time to establish any,” she answered in a worried tone.

The pressure of running a business was squarely on Banyon’s shoulders and he was feeling the heat. “Okay,” Colton Banyon said. “I’ll present this to the board this afternoon. I’ll let you know what we are going to do later today.”

 

Chapter Two

After they finished the meeting, Heather and Banyon swung by the office that Loni and the Patel clan shared as their work area. While none of them actually were employed at the law firm, they had all demanded a presence there since they were part owners. The corner office was next to Banyon’s area and had a small balcony, separated by floor to ceiling glass doors that over-hung the huge reception area of Dewey & Beatem. It was just like the one Banyon had in his office.

“Loni we need to go see Timmy and Carol right now,” Banyon announced as they came through the door. It had been closed until he opened it. He and Heather suddenly stopped in their tracks and stood in confusion. Something wasn’t right.

Loni Chen was Colton Banyon’s companion, lover and protector. While she was a petite Asian woman who was younger than Banyon, she was also an accomplished fighter and he considered her the best thing to ever come into his life. She always made things interesting.

Today he knew she was dressed in a tight green Vera Wang dress with matching pearls and green high heels. She was devastatingly beautiful, but jealous of any woman that looked at Colton Banyon.

Banyon was confused because was she was nowhere to be seen in the big room. Banyon was sure she had been in the room a few minutes ago, but the door to the balcony was now open and Loni was not there. Her green high heel shoes lay in a heap on the floor by the desk. Banyon and Heather stared at each other.

Suddenly they heard “Go.” The sound came from below at the reception stand.

In a few seconds, two well-dressed petite women appeared out of thin air. They landed with one leg on the edge of the balcony while hiking up their dresses. Then pushed off and vaulted the three and half foot railing exposing lots of leg. They raced inside the office. Both women had smiles on their faces as they crashed into Banyon.

“I win,” Mandy the receptionist cheered and jumped up and down. Mandy Randall was a new member of the Forever Ours team. She was very young, only twenty-two years old and was built very much like Loni except with blond hair. Both women were also highly impulsive. Mandy was a world-class athlete and the teams fastest runner. Loni and Mandy didn’t always get along. It was because of Colton Banyon.

Mandy was dressed in a pink colored print sun dress that almost reached the floor. She had been growing her hair and it now reached her shoulders. To Colton Banyon she looked like she was fifteen years old.

“Colt,” Loni said in a breathless singsong voice. “Mandy has showed me how she is able to leap up onto the balcony. She uses a springboard. Isn’t that cool? I can leap up to my office anytime I want.”

“Heather, you need to learn how to do it too,” Mandy gushed to her friend.

“No thanks,” Heather replied sarcastically. “I don’t want to show Colt my panties today like the two of you just did.”

“Or maybe the reason is that you don’t have any on,” Mandy shot back.

“Stop,” Banyon yelled. “We need to find out what Timmy and Carol have discovered before our board meeting. We only have two hours. Let’s go.”

“Oh goodie,” Mandy squealed.

“No,” Heather roared. “Mandy, you are not going. I want you back at reception until the board meeting,” the red-faced Heather said sternly. “And use the stairs.”

***

The Colton Banyon and the two women made their way through the building and down the stairs to the large basement. Heather used her company ID card to open the security door. They entered the computer technology area where Timmy and his small army of Mongolian researchers worked. The six young women had been rescued by Banyon’s team on a previous adventure and now worked for Dewey & Beatem as programmers and researchers.

When they entered the door they found the usually quiet area was abuzz with chatter. The women were talking a mile a minute like a gaggle of geese in their native language. The dialect was so foreign that Loni, who could speak Chinese, couldn’t understand them.

As the trio walked to the back where Timmy had his office, the Mongolian women all stared at Banyon, some pointed. He could see the concern on their faces. Oh no, Banyon thought. Timmy has told them that we are in financial trouble.

Timmy was the world’s best hacker and had helped Banyon solve several mysteries over the years. But he had several major flaws and those drawbacks were the reason that Timmy wasn’t a full member of Banyon’s team.

One flaw was that, if not told specifically to keep a secret, he was the company’s leading gossip. Banyon also knew that rumors could fly around the office at the speed of sound. He was sure that everyone knew about the company’s plight and Timmy was responsible.

When Banyon and his two companions reached Timmy’s glass enclosed office, the door was closed. They could see Timmy sitting behind his high-tech desk with seven monitors spread out around him. Across from him Carol Cole sat with a laptop computer perched on her legs. She was gesturing wildly with her hands.

Carol and her brother Kenny Cole were fringe members of the team. They knew about the Orion weapons and that they were supernaturally powerful and needed to be collected, but didn’t know Colton Banyon’s secrets. Banyon had hired them as contract employees while he was in Ecuador to help find all the Orion weapons there. So far, they had been loyal, resourceful and had proven trustworthy.

Carol and Timmy were kindred spirits. They were both computer geeks and were attracted to each other. Since coming back from Ecuador, Carol and Kenny had moved into Timmy’s apartment. He had two bedrooms and Kenny didn’t sleep with his sister.

When Timmy noticed Banyon and the two women outside his office, he waved them inside. Banyon opened the door and let the women parade in first. They then stood side by side with their arms crossed menacingly and faced Timmy. He could see that they were angry.

“I didn’t do it,” he suddenly screamed.

“Didn’t do what?” Heather asked in an acidy voice as she tilted her head.

“I didn’t tell anyone about the company’s financial troubles,” the geek responded. His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down on his skinny neck as he shook his head back and forth.

“He didn’t do it,” Carol quickly offered.

“Then how do you know that the company is having problems,” Banyon asked logically.

“I got a blind email just a few minutes ago,” the geek replied. “Everybody in the company got the same message.”

“Let me see it would you?” Banyon asked.

Timmy quickly pulled up the message. “I can tell you who it came from,” he announced.

“Okay,” Loni said. “Where did it come from Timmy?”

“The ferret,” Timmy replied.