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Horace of the Horizon-Part 4
The Den of Dragons
“It isn't like Yoris to be so late” Dr. Mary Sycamore said as she pushed her black framed glasses into her roundish face. She knew she was barely containing the anxiety welling inside her.
“Yoris? Now who is Yoris?” growled Dr. Bright impatiently and leaning forward aggressively, his Midwestern American accent as dry as sawdust and as bitter as crab apples.
“I believe that is Doctor Ray’s actual given name, albeit one that he does not use professionally” replied Dr. Suty Apepi. His voice was deep, warm and soothing.
There were twelve people in the board room, of which Dr. Sycamore was the only one standing and the only other woman. They were the executive council of the directorship of the Rostau Foundation Institute of Research and Discovery, that is with the exception once again of Dr. Sycamore, who worked directly for Dr. Adam Ray.
It was very much Dr. Ray who they were waiting for with growing impatience and very much Dr. Ray who was the topic of discussion.
Dr. Teemu Lappinen waved his arm in an arc “Yes, but we are all of us busy individuals, and would be better served with his presence rather than being regaled with his personal trivia”
Dr. Sycamore cleared her throat and prepared to speak, to attempt to say whatever inane babble she could come up with to stall for time.
Instead it was Dr. Suty Apepi who spoke first, leaning forward slightly and placing his broad hands palm down on the table. “We are all both busy and accomplished but Dr. Ray is an esteemed peer and certainly a prestigious name at this institute. His family may no longer control this institute, but they did found it, and I think that deserves a certain degree of grace, do you not?”
Again the agitation level in the room subsided, the effect of his voice somewhere between a hot bath and a fine brandy.
“Of course we mean no disrespect,” Lappinen continued more serenely, “But these are important issues that require resolution. “
Dr. Annette Lau reached across the table and picked a glass of ice water from the tray that sat in the middle of it. She took a long sip and then placed the glass back down on the table in front of her.
“Without sounding harsh, I would suggest that ‘esteemed’ has become a less apt description of late” she said coolly.
In spite of herself, Dr. Sycamore shot an icy look at Dr. Lau which thankfully seemed to go unnoticed.
Suty Apepi leaned back in his chair and let out his breath in a long slow sigh. “Yes yes,” he said stroking his tall walking stick with his finger thoughtfully. He said nothing for several moments before finally leaning forward again and speaking. “I am afraid what you say is as true as it is disappointing, Annette. I just wish he hadn't gotten tangled up with that Graham Hancock character, it seems he was getting quite deeply immersed in his pseudo-science and fantasy, and I am at a loss at how he allowed himself to get roped in, as quite sadly it has imperiled an otherwise exemplary academic career, sad indeed.”
Dr. Sycamore felt her blood boil and felt she might explode but she knew if she lost her cool now that everything would spiral out of control and that in the end she did not truly have a voice.
Yet, with Dr. Ray nowhere to be seen and unable to defend himself was all not all lost already?
She bit her lip in frustration but kept her peace.
Dr. Darcy Okonjo let out a quick disparaging laugh “This Hancock is no academic, he muddies the waters” To which he added with firm exclamation “Even Robert Buval is actually an engineer”
Dr. Sycamore knew that this was all a game they were playing, but it enraged her all the same.
She knew that Hancock had made no claim of being an academic in any official capacity, and that he had developed a broad store of knowledge, often in areas where conventional thinkers would not permit themselves to look. While the disagreements between the two men could become heated she knew that Hancock had been a complete asset and that the two men had forged a bond of mutual respect.
Dr. Bright frowned as he nodded in agreement with Okonjo “This association is a serious matter, one that will destroy the reputation of this institute, and rather rapidly I might add”
“If the man can not even respect the council enough to be here right now, does that not say enough?” Dr. Marello spoke up
Dr Suty Apepi pulled a smart phone from his breast pocket and studied it for several seconds. A brief smile seemed to flash across his face.
He slid the device back into his breast pocket.
“The work we are all doing, indeed this very institute , all of our careers, our legacies are truly too important to allow to fall by the wayside, especially over one wayward and confused individual, even one who as been as brilliant in the past as Dr. Ray,” He put a soft but firm emphasis on ‘in the past’.
“Then what do we do then?” Asked Dr. Bright to a brief explosion of muttering from the group.
Dr Suty Apepi stood up. “With the support, acquiescence and blessing of the council, I could take control of the institute. I have the resources”
He scanned the group . “Do I have that support?”
The reply back was quick and anonymous. Many if not all in the group wished it was them who could say they were taking over, but none of them were a match for Suty and they knew it.
Dr Sycamore had had enough “Like hell you will!” she burst out and then immediately froze.
She watched Suty Apepi warily and fought the rage induced need to hyperventilate.
A look of anger flashed across his face as suty pointed his staff at her. “You, “ he said with bluntness “ Have no say in this matter. I suggest you reign in your emotions if you wish to hold on to your fragile semblance of an academic career,”
Dr. Sycamore nodded silently and then turned quickly to rush out of the board room.
Behind her she could hear soulless peals of laughter.
She was hurt, embarrassed, scared and humbled . What she was not was defeated.
As Dr. Mary Sycamore stormed down the hall a beaten and bloodied Yoris Adam Ray Jr. the famed Dr. Adam Ray was begging and fighting feebly for his life.
His head snapped back and the air filled with a mix of his blood and spittle as a kick cracked his right orbital bone. A punch to the gut left him winded and wincing, followed by a knee to the groin and then another kick.
He finally lost consciousness as his head was beat off the still hot hood of a Dodge Viper.
At the institute Dr. Suty Apepi strode past Dr. Sycamore and gave her arm a squeeze. “Everything for the best, Mary have faith” he said, his voice warm and soothing.
Mary felt her skin crawl with a thousand snakes.