William Doonan

I write books and stories.

MedicineLand: Chapter Eight

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Tom Kerwin, chief operating officer and vice-chairman of Sentec Dynamics, was sitting at the head of the conference table when Hammermill returned.  Adam had already left, as had the lawyers.

“Close the door,” Kerwin said.

Hammermill did and took a seat.

“Tell me that Adam LaPorte is going to be OK.  He’s not going to start mouthing off is he?”

“He will be fine.  He’s already starting work.”

“So he had no reaction when you explained the work to him?”

“He was nervous; we didn’t tell him too much during the contact.  We wanted to get him on board first.”

“And you’re pretty sure he’ll stay on board?” Kerwin asked.  “This one was your call, Brice.  I liked Dr. Segura better.  I felt I could trust him.”

Hammermill smiled.  “I know you did, but Dr. Segura crashed his hang glider into a power line and caught on fire and then died.  So it became necessary to find someone else.”

“Don’t patronize me, Brice.”

“Adam LaPorte will get over any misgivings he has about his new project,” Hammermill said confidently.  “I’ve shared the results of my investigation with you.”

“Let’s share them again.”


Kerwin pressed a button on the console, and a screen across the room flickered on.  Luther Kessler, Sentec’s president appeared on screen.

Hammermill stood.  “Hello sir,” he said.  “How is Geneva?”

Kessler frowned.

“He doesn’t like small talk,” Kerwin reminded him.

Hammermill nodded.

“So tell us again why Adam LaPorte is not going to be a problem.”

“My people identified him over two years ago,” Hammermill began.  “He was back from Antwerp, where he had done excellent work for one of the major fragrance and flavoring houses.  But according to our contacts, he left over salary disputes.  He’s slightly difficult to work with, and he felt he wasn’t being appreciated.  So he came home and took a job working as chief chemist at a superlab near Seattle run by a Vancouver-based Laotian syndicate called SUBA.”

“Methamphetamines?” Kerwin asked.

Hammermill nodded again.  “We were prepared to make a contact but the lab got shut down.”

“Police shut it down?”

“Drug Enforcement Agency,” said Hammermill. “There ws a firefight.  Sixteen SUBA soldiers were killed along with three federal officers.  LaPorte escaped through a security tunnel with the rest of the senior staff, but it took almost a month to relocate the lab and get it running again.  By that time, LaPorte wanted out.  Said his nerves were frayed.  He flew to  to Aruba, ate most of the lobster available on the island, and SUBA put out a contract.”

“Why Aruba?”

“It’s more or less a safe haven for people in that sort of business.  So he went to Aruba and paid some Colombian hardballs to negotiate a settlement so that the gangs wouldn’t kill him.  SUBA said they’d take him off their target list for two million and a year of service or a million and two years.  We weren’t able to determine what LaPorte paid, but probably about half a million with a five percent fee to the Colombians.”

“So he’s not going to get religious on us,” Kerwin concluded.

Kessler waved and the screen went black.

“I guess this means the boss approves,” Hammermill said.

“How did you finally make contact then?”

“We went in friendly.  Told him what we knew and offered to pay him well.  Company car and full dental.”

“I don’t have to worry about this then, right?” Kerwin asked.


“Good.  I have enough trouble already keeping this goddamn movie star governor happy.”


Written by williamdoonan

November 9, 2012 at 1:10 am

Posted in Fiction, MedicineLand

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