New years eve, Times Square. Not where she wanted to be. As surreptitiously as she could the swiped her thumb across the phone screen and looked down with her eyes only while the Hostess, Gabrielle Somebody or other kept going on inanely talking to a few dozen audience die hards sitting at the National Geographic booth overlooking the Square and the giant ball which would be dropping soon.
Morgan Clark, known as MMC to her many fans, which she had to admit were not as many as when she had been a teen, sighed deeply. These numbers suck, she thought as her phone vibrated from an incoming text. It was Lewis, her manager, //These numbers suck!!!!///.
The video blogs from China had all done well and those had been raw barely produced. What on earth had prompted Nat Geo to debut the new series on freaking new years eve. These numbers could sink her gig with the cable channel. China had been expensive to begin with and they had gone over budget on top of that.
Morgan looked up from her phone and out at the crowd. All this was not what she had wanted. She wanted to make her mark yes, be the first to find something climb somewhere not be a floor show or a commodity. The world was too damn small now. All the mystery was gone there were no mountains left to be the first to climb. All the records that she could have made were done. Now all she could hope for was to find something no one else had thought of and frankly, she wasn’t that imaginative.
Morgan glanced up and over to Gabrielle, who was looking at her expectantly. “Sorry, the excitement from the crowd, overwhelming. You were saying?”
Gabby smiled at her then at the camera, “I was saying that now that the Great China Trek is over whats next on the list to conquer?”
Morgan smiled at the camera, good fucking question, was the thought but not what she said. “Well Gabby, China was grueling, we spent 7 months there making the show that Debuted tonight, and almost every day of that was a 16 – 18-hour day. Right now, we are just taking some time off to rest and recuperate.” She looked back at the host. “But don’t you worry we have some ideas on the board.”
Gabby leans over and rests a hand on Morgan’s leg, even though it was sisterly made Morgan uncomfortable. “Can you give us a little hint?”
Morgan looks at the camera, “Well I have been thinking about a possible trek to the South Pole. As you know the harsh weather and terrain has always been a huge factor in exploring the frozen continent and while aerial expeditions have been made overland exploration has fallen behind since to original historic journeys o the early 20th century. So That is a possibility.”
“Fuck,” the shows producer cursed, “that is not going to happen. Go to something else and get Morgen in here.”
A few minutes later Morgan was coming into the control room “Paul, I sear to god if that bitch gropes me again I will fucking deck her.”
“Back here Morgan,” Paul Davis motioned her to the back of the control room. A scowl on his face quieted her faux rage. “Morgan, how many times do we have to tell you Antarctica isn’t going to happen. The cost, getting permission, the risk…”
“Permission! For god’s sake Paul it doesn’t belong to anybody it belongs to everybody. We don’t need fucking permission.” It was an argument they had had before, more than once. The South Pole was the last frontier on the planet, the last place she could hopefully make her mark secure her immortality. And so far it has been an impossible goal.
Paul shook his head, “You know what I mean you can’t just park your ass on the beach and march inland. And I don’t know why I am explaining this again. You’re not going to Antarctica.”
“Maybe not but then again maybe I won’t go with Nat Geo.”
“Oh my god, don’t tell me you’re still talking with that crackpot. He’s a freaking loon Morgan.”
“She mentioned it on air?”
The man speaking to the empty room was talking in German, and talked with a quiet voice.
“Ja Kapitain, what are your instructions?” That voice came through a speaker and mad the person on the other end sound tiny.
The man in the empty room stroked his beard thoughtfully for a few seconds. “Don’t wait. Take her if you have the chance, if not, terminate her.”
“Ya Vol!” came over the speaker phone and he could almost imagine the snapping of the heels on the other end.
The argument went on for several minutes well after the show had gone back on air. It was an argument that they had had before, and as usual Nat Geo held all the cards, they paid the bills and she danced the tune.
Morgan needed some air, so she grabbed her coat and headed out of the mobile broadcaster booth where all the network and TV shows where showing their version of New Years Eve. Outside it was cold, not the coldest she had ever been but still bone chilling the noise was incredible there were so many people packed into the square that she had a hard time comprehending them all. She made her way down to the edge of the crow bundled up no one recognized her and even if she hadn’t of been clothed against the cold, she doubted any of the revelers would have anyway.
She made her way to a stand that was selling coffee and hot chocolate as she bought a chocolate for an outrageous price, she noticed a man standing at the end of the cart. What struck her as odd wasn’t that he was watching her, which he was, but that his cloths looked odd, out of place. He was wearing and Overcoat that was grey and a hat of all things. Not a winter hat like some of the crowd sported. But an honest to god fedora. Combined with the overcoat it just looked so odd and out of place. As she moved away back to the edge of the crowd the man followed her and kept up his watching of her and it wasn’t until she felt something small and hard poke into the small of her back that she realized he had been decoying her.
It wasn’t the first time she had had a gun stuck into her ribs but it was the first time it had happened in the states. The person with the gun pressed close against her back and a head wearing another hat came into her peripheral vision.
“Do not scream fraulien, do not try to run, do not do anything but cooperate with my instructions. I do not wish to hurt you, but I will at the first indication of noncompliance. Nod if you understand.” The voice was spoken loud enough to over come the crowd but still only be heard by herd. The man, she was sure of that, spoke perfect English with a slight German accent which would have given away his nationality even if he hadn’t of called her Fraulien. Her eyes searched around until they spotted a policeman, she had been in situations before but this she felt was different. Morgan nodded.
“Good, now I want you to follow the man over there, the one who was watching you, his name is Bob. Bob will go slowly. Again, do not try to be heroic this is not a film, I will shoot you if I have too.”
With a breath Morgan started after Bob who led her away from the crowd. Kidnapping these days rarely ended in death unless you were in far east country or some of the islands still plagued by religious strife. These guys knew her and were after money she was sure of it and so cooperation was the key at this point. As she followed Bob, the gunman stayed very close so much so that they looked like a couple huddle together against the cold. She figured that she could probably get away with disarming him with out getting shot but the crowd mad that a gamble and then she started noticing other men tracking along with them. All of them wearing the same coats and hats.
Who were these guys?
Bob stopped in front of a metal door which was beside a shop he waited for her to get close before opening the door she saw stairs going up to a second floor. Bob held the door for her and gunny. She could see no one else in the stairway this could be her chance as he stepped in she could spin and move to the side she could disarm and trip up gun boy and then dart upstairs she would have a chance. She tensed to do that and only registered Bobs hand coming up at the last moment before he sprayed something from the can in his hand and her world went black.