The elevator stopped on floor 23. Megan Pace was escorted by Mischa Bakunin out the elevator, down a hall, and into the office of Anton Werner Mittelwerk, CEO of the Apollo Candy Company and Megan’s kidnapper. Mittelwerk was behind his desk.

“Welcome, Ms. Pace,” Mittelwerk happily greeted, “it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Please have a seat. May I get you something to drink?”

Megan sat on a leather chair across from Mittelwerk, as Bakunin stood by.

“I can’t believe this,” she began, “you’re the one behind the kidnapping of me and my cousin and the extortion of my Father in regard to my late Uncle Charlie! Now, you’re offering me something to drink like it’s a house warming party?! What is it you want from me? What in the hell has all this been about?!”

“I guess you are owed an explanation," Mittelwerk replied, "so I shall give you one!”

“Oh, please do!” Megan sarcastically replied.

“This world is in trouble,” he began, “it will not survive unless drastic measures are taken. My Father started to take that drastic measure but, unfortunately, he failed before his untimely death. So that task has now fallen to me.

In order for the world to survive, 30 per cent of its population must be eliminated. I have overseen the development of a series of formulations developed by our good friend, Ms. Oldham, that can cause mass suicide within selected populations. This plan was called “Project Sumo”.

Sumo called for the injection of suicidal psychotropic drugs into snack candy and soft drinks, within selected geographic regions to reach the 30 percentile goal. What better way to distribute those drugs than by using a major candy company manufacturing center?”

“I don’t know what you’re even talking about,” Megan replied, “what does all this have to do with me or Char?!”

“I will get to that in a minute,” Mittelwerk answered, “everything was on schedule until my wife was critically injured in a traffic accident. She was basically dead but for the medical machines that kept her body functioning!

Now, my Father had acquired a type of virus from an unknown source. He planned to release this virus, unless the United Nations paid him a handsome sum. This virus was deemed extremely dangerous, however, one very strange side effect was it could “bring back the dead”! So, I tried it on my wife!”

Mittelwerk was silent for a moment.

“Well, did it work?” Megan asked, breaking the silence.

Mittelwerk nodded sadly.

“In a way, yes,” he softly replied, “she was “back from the dead” but it wasn’t really her.”

“What do you mean?” Megan asked.

“Its hard to explain,” Mittelwerk continued, “but I continued to try and find a way to really bring back my wife! Then, I was told by my sister upon her death bed, that there was a possible cure! An antidote for the virus that I had used to try and save my wife, Elke!

It had seemed my Father either acquired that antidote or had developed it. For some reason he never told me about it, but apparently he not only planned to extort the world by threatening to release the original virus but to also demand ransom for the antidote, when he did release it!

Problem was, the formula and all the samples of the antidote had been kept in storage at a place called the VIK Institute. That Institute was destroyed by fire over twenty years ago, along with the formula and all the known samples.

At least that’s what we thought. Seemed my sister had been given a small sample of the antidote that she had kept in a vial on a chain. My Father apparently had given it to her as a safeguard against the virus, if ever he did release it!”

“Again, what does this all have to do with me or my cousin,” Megan impatiently interrupted, “I thought all you wanted was my Uncle Charlie’s tapes and my Dad’s signature signing over all the rights to Drive Shaft?!”

“Drive Shaft?!” Mittelwerk laughed, “I could care less about that idiotic has been rock band! No, it seemed my late stupid sister, years ago, met and fell in love with your father. In some fit of stoned out love, she gave him the vial. She said he put it in a safe at some recording studio, along with some of your Uncle’s tapes but she couldn’t remember what studio or where.

I located your father and gave him some bogus story about how interest in Drive Shaft is on the way up and there was a demand for any recordings your Uncle may have made. I made him a generous offer for all the rights to Drive Shaft and your Uncle’s tapes and for him to tell me where those recordings were stored. Of course, it was the vial with the antidote that I was after!

But your idiot Father’s ego was so fragile, he couldn’t stand that his deceased brother might become bigger in death than he ever was in life. So he refused my “offers”. He even went so far as to have himself committed to an insane asylum just so I couldn’t get to him!”

“He said those “offers” were more like threats!” Megan noted.

“Offers! Threats!” Mittelwerk replied, “either way, I needed that antidote. I had to let your Father know I was serious! So I kidnapped your cousin. Charlene was easy to get to since she was taking a class at the University and her instructor was easily bribed!”

“Her instructor worked for you?” Megan asked.

“For awhile!” Mittelwerk chuckled, “after I finally found out where the vial was, I decide to kidnap you as well, just to increase my leverage until I made sure the vial was real!”

“Was it?” Megan asked.

“Yes,” Mittelwerk replied.

“Well, this is all a very long and semi-interesting story,” Megan said, “but where do we go from here? What do you want from me now?”

“Its very simple,” Mittelwerk smiled, “I am going to take you to my wife. I want you to inject her with the antidote. If you do that, I will release you and your cousin, immediately!”

“Why don’t you give her the injection yourself?” Megan suspiciously asked.

Mittelwerk frowned.

“The condition she is in,” Mittelwerk continued to explain, “she tends to become very angry with me. But with a stranger, such as yourself, she may be more receptive to taking the antidote.”

“You’re not telling me all the truth are you?” Megan wearily asked.

Mittelwerk remained silent.

“Forget it,” Megan answered, “do it yourself!”

“Well, if I have to find someone else to do this, then so be it,” Mittelwerk replied, “Bakunin! Go down to the lab and kill Ms. Collins!”

Bakunin turned to leave.

“How do I know you're not bluffing? That Char is even here?” Megan replied.

“You can identify her dead body after Bakunin kills her!” Mittelwerk answered, “then if you still won’t do it, I’ll kill you!”

Megan looked into Mittelwerk’s cold eyes. She knew he wasn’t lying about killing.

“Okay,” Megan tiredly replied, “I’ll play your game! Where’s the antidote?”

Bakunin stopped.

“Excellent decision, Ms. Pace!” Mittelwerk replied, “and I do think you will enjoy meeting my wife and I know she will be more than thrilled to meet you!”

Next: Chap. Thirty-Nine “Zapped”

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