A Tale of Fate and FormulabySPEN STERLING©
It's always amazing how little things can make all the difference. Mike was thinking just that as he was getting off the commuter flight in Charlotte. The only reason he was here was that Jim Long had to cancel his trip to Vegas for the National Business Realtors Convention. Jim's 16 year old son had been kind enough to get caught by the cops with a small bag of marijuana, so the day before Jim was headed out he had to give his ticket to Mike so he could deal with bail, lawyers, and an ass chewing his son wouldn't forget. So now, instead of watching a Law and Order marathon, he was on the way to the connecting flight to sunny Vegas for a long weekend.
Ironically, another passenger waiting just ahead of him had a similar story. Kathy was smiling to herself thinking about how her friend Laura had met a new man and made the decision that she had many things better to do than to go to the National Regional Banker's Convention. As a recent hire to the bank where she worked, she was way down the line for being sent, but no one else could change their plans on such short notice.
As fate would have it, a new ticket rep came up about the time the pair got to the front of the line, so they ended up together at the front of the line. Mike couldn't help but notice Kathy's long dark hair and her fit figure. Kathy didn't want to be caught looking, but she also noticed the nice smile and friendly eyes of her fellow customer. Mike thought briefly about starting up a conversation, but he was a bit of a social dork. Kathy was too shy to even give him a signal, so they left the desk and boarded the plane without speaking. As fate would have it, they were within a few rows of each other on the plane, so there were a few times when they shared a look and a smile. Mike planned out some scenarios for starting a conversation as they got off the plane if Vegas, but the situation was never quite right.
The situation was also never quite right when Mike saw her at the hotel desk, and then later in the hotel bar. She could sense that he was looking at her, and she remembered him from the airport, but she was too reserved to give him a look that said come talk to me. He was getting ready to talk to her in the bar, but he went up to change out of some boxer briefs he was trying out because they were uncomfortable When he got back, in fresh blue boxer shorts, she was gone. So it was actually the next day before Mike and Kathy ever spoke, once again due to a random convergence.
It was morning meeting time, and Kathy was looking for the NBRC convention room. Mike was looking for the NRBC convention room. As they were looking, they noticed each other and shared a moment, a nod and a smile, and that distraction was enough so that both of them didn't look closely at the sign, which was not for the NBRC or the NRBC, but was instead for the NBBC convention, which is where they both ended up. Since they were the only ones in the room, they sat down together at a table and struck up a conversation.
Unfortunately for both of them, they were not at a Realtor or a Banker meeting, they were at a NBBC meeting, which didn't stand for anything. NBBC was a front name for an East Asian Pharmaceutical Investor group, and they were planning to meet a pair of chemists who allegedly had a fix for a miracle drug they had a lot of money invested in. Actually they had kidnapped the children of the two chemists, and the meeting was set up so they would fill the ransom demand - the fix for the formula they were trying to steal from an American drug company.
So the East Asian Investor Group, which was actually something between a government entity and the mob, naturally expected that the couple sitting at the table chatting about the hotel pool and the weather were actually the chemists they were looking for. So when the three sinister looking East Asians sat down across from them, they figured they were talking to people who knew what was going on. They were, of course wrong.
"Do you have it?" said the leading sinister east asian in a thick, sinister east asian accent.
"Have what?" asked Mike, who was wondering if the three men were Realtors, investors or convention speakers.
The leader looked at him coldly for a moment, then nodded to an associate, who walked over behind Kathy and put a knife to her throat. "Do you have it?" he repeated.
Mike looked a little confused at first, then seemed to grasp what was going on. "Oh, this is one of those role playing things, where we try to deal with a pressure client in a negotiation," he smiled. "Very creative. Let's see now. Yes, I have it, but before I do I need you to do something for me."
The leader looked a bit perplexed at the response, given they were holding his children. He stepped away from the table and consulted with his two comrades. Mike took the opportunity to lean over to whisper to Kathy.
"Don't worry, they do this kind of thing all the time at these Realtor conventions," he said.
Kathy looked at him perplexed. "You mean a banker convention don't you?" she asked.
They were still staring at each other when the three men came back.
"Very well, if you wish to be difficult, we will take you somewhere where we can make you give us the formula," he said.
Before Mike had a chance to say what formula, one of the thugs had stuck a needle into his neck, and as he slowly lost consciousness his last image was of a sleeping Kathy. Man she was really cute, he thought.
He woke up first, about 12 hours later. Kathy was still passed out, her head on his chest, and her hair smelled delicious. His first thought was that somehow they had hooked up and he had spent the night together, but tragically he couldn't remember a thing. The room they were in was much nicer than his, she must've had to pay a lot extra. It had a huge king size bed and a jacuzzi tub. There were no windows, which he thought was weird. As he stirred to get up he could feel Kathy waking up too.
"Where are we?" she said.
"What do you mean, this is not your room?" asked Mike.
As they both tried to clear the fog in their heads, the leader of the sinister east asians walked in the door.
"I trust your accommodations are acceptable," he said in his thick, sinister East Asian way.
"What are you talking about?" Kathy said. "Where are we?"
"You are in an East Asian prison," he said. "Where you will stay until you give us the formula. We have released your children, but we will be holding you until you give us what we want."
Mike was still slow to the message. "We have children?" he asked Kathy.
The sinister East Asian was looking impatient. "If you are going to be difficult, we have arranged a way to make you talk, using your own invention," he said. "As you know, we have the basic compound, and we are one chemical away from creating the truth serum that your company has been working on. We will be pumping your air supply full of variations on the compound until we get it right. Unless, of course, you cooperate now."
"I think you have the wrong people," Mike said. He was beginning to think this was more than a convention exercise in team building.
"Very well," said the sinister East Asian. "As you know, the effect of the drug last for a full month. There are 60 different combinations. So it may take five years to find the formula. Let the experiments begin."
He turned and walked out, and shortly after Mike and Kathy noticed a mist coming out of the air vents. They had become lab rats in a sinister plot to steal a high tech truth serum.
"I think you have the wrong people," Mike yelled at the top of his lungs.
Which was correct, the East Asians did have the wrong people. They were also wrong about the drug. Back in the U.S., Jeff Smith, chemist extraordinaire, was talking to his wife Sue. Their kidnapped children had been suddenly returned to them, hours after they were supposed to meet in a hotel room with the kidnappers.
"Maybe they figured out that it wasn't really a truth serum we discovered at all," he said. "It showed promise for a while, but when we got the chemical balance just right, it turned into something different all together. Something I doubt they would be interested in."
Sue looked at him perplexed. "What does the drug do?" she asked.
Jeff turned to her and smiled. "Turns out that the basic formula we had, when combined with any other chemical, turns into the most intense sexual aphrodisiac known to man. Whoever takes that medicine will be fucking like rabbits, no matter what they add to the formula."