KANSI kept throwing more punches at Tai VeShadd.
He knew he had really little time in getting justice for Beya. He’d got to strike when the iron was hot.
Now that the attention of the entire host nation was fixed on VeShadd as the golden boy of the ongoing World Cup, he’d got to bring down the football superstar right then.
Kansi had used up his cards within the first forty-eight hours of his investigation window.
But he’d started recording an encouraging progress with the ball he’d set rolling.
The journalist had got public support already.
Quitalians were already sympathetic towards the victim of the sexual assault case. And they hauled bitter words of criticism at the suspect, without regarding his celebrity status.
Kansi had been able to corner the football superstar into a tight spot from which the latter wouldn’t be able to dribble his way out.
All that was left was for VeShadd to yield to the pressure from the press as well as the public, and surrender himself to be investigated by the police.
Kansi waited for his efforts to yield fruit. There was nothing more he could do other than waiting.
But then, the journalist would now know of the might of the World Union.
The powerful conglomerate that’d got Tai VeShadd back from the start.
A young man in suit walked up in fast, brisk pace.
At a glance, it seemed the middle aged woman following behind was trying to catch up with his pace.
But no, Ms Karen Liu wasn’t trying to catch up with her personal assistance. It was rather the other way round.
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The World Union’s executive delegate for the ongoing World Cup walked alongside her personal assistant. While the latter walked ahead a few times to get to the doors first and open for the woman.
Ms Liu soon arrived at the conference room at the World Union’s station in Quitalia’s capital city Mailora.
Like a court of law awaiting the arrival of the judge, everyone at the conference room was already waiting for Karen Liu.
When the woman settled herself down, the entire room was quiet and still. It was like a courtroom silence just before the judge gives the verdict.
The nervousness that oozed from the silence of members of the meeting was itself loud enough that it thundered in the ears of the middle aged woman.
And Ms Liu, in an unlikely benevolence, decided to temper her anger.
‘If there’s going to be a storm, there’s a moment of stillness before the storm, after all,’ she said to herself.
‘The silence justifies the storm; my benevolence will justify my oncoming fury,’ she concluded.
Well, it was this mindset that the renowned iron woman always used to justify her austerity.
The middle aged woman broke the silence eventually.
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‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ she said in her characteristic deep toned voice, ‘what’s the situation?’
The words were calm and soothing to the ears. And anyone who was meeting Karen Liu for the first time would easily fall for the trick.
But never was it going to be the seven men and women seated at the meeting.
One of them spoke.
‘We’ve found the website that broke the news first,’ the young man began. ‘The agency’s name is the Megaphone.
‘We tried to lay hands on the identity of writer of the news article. But the news agency wasn’t cooperating. As much as we pestered and threatened them for it.
‘And we found that in thirty minutes after the first website published the article, the news appeared with similar keywords in exactly one thousand, two hundred and eighty-seven electronic sites that have a Quitalia based IP address.
‘Within that space, too, it was also captured on four hundred and fifty-three electronic sites with either foreign or unknown IP addresses.
‘The news was out too as speculative report on CNN and BBC. And it soon became impossible to contain.
‘By the second day, the local newspapers here in Quitalia had it too. And our threats didn’t matter anymore…’
Karen caught up with the young man.
‘Even a day old baby can do this briefing,’ she scoffed. ‘When I asked what’s the situation, I wasn’t asking you to give a flashback of past events.
‘And I wasn’t asking you to tell me your woes and failures in curbing the whole thing either, was I?’
‘“What’s the situation?” means: tell me what’s been done to curb the whole thing – simple!
‘Do I really have to spoon feed you that much, huh?
‘C’mon, tell me… do I have to lecture you on what to do in such a serious situation as this? Before you use your Harvard and Oxford brains?!’
A dead silence enveloped the entire conference room.
Karen heaved a sigh and her voice dropped as she resumed speaking.
‘I’ll assume you weren’t fast enough to get what I asked you at first. And now that I’ve explained what I mean, I’ll ask for the last time. So, what is the situation?’
This time, a young man sitting right opposite the first motioned to speak.
Karen permitted the second to take the floor.
The young man cleared his throat lightly and spoke. ‘We’re planning to give an emergency control, ma’am.’
Karen chuckled aloud. ‘Oh, that’s great! We’re still in the process of planning! So tell me what that great plan of yours is, sir?’
The young man stuttered as he spoke; fumbling nervously with a pen he’d just picked up.
‘Wi…With the pressure from the public… ye-yes… Looking at the ongoing pressure from both the public and the pressmen, ma’am… we plan to stop the press from getting through to VeShadd first…
‘And then we’ll have a meeting and strategise on how to manage the entire situation.’
Karen Liu reclined in her seat and swivelled it around.
‘Now we finally get to hear your plan,’ she said. ‘And how’s this great plan going? Is it complete already?’
The young man was confused about what to answer. He wasn’t sure if to say he hadn’t begun, or to just sit there staring at the desk with a defeated gaze.
Keeping Tai VeShadd safe was the most important thing the young man could think of.
He’d reasoned that if the sportsman, who was in the center of the whole controversy – if he didn’t give in to the pressures from both the public as well as the pressmen; then the news would stay as mere rumours, and die out in time.
But he didn’t know that the World Union didn’t want the news to even see the light of day.
And now that the matter had blown up beyond proportion, the World Union desperately needed it to be buried out of sight, without a trace.
And as soon as possible, in fact.
To the innocent young man, his own idea made a lot of sense when he was preparing for the meeting.
And he’d in fact put a lot of time and practice into presenting his special emergency plan.
But now that he’d stated it to Ms Liu, his special emergency plan just sounded so stupid to him.
He wondered if it’d been senseless from the very start, or it was Ms Liu that’d made it sound stupid with her manner of reaction.
Karen Liu didn’t need to hear anything anymore. She could pour out her rage already.
But Karen’s anger was more than she could express if she didn’t want to break things, or people.
She decided to go for a classy style of expressing her burning fury.
Karen was into Western movies since she her teens.
It was from her experience with the movies that she’d developed her classy style for venting her furious venom.
Karen had learned from villains in American movies that the most terrifying threats are not made by screaming one’s lungs out.
But by quietly whispering those threats into ears.
And whoever Karen Liu threatened in whispers always remembered her threat until doomsday.
Ms Liu leaned forward and whispered.
‘Then I’m going to give you guys ten minutes… just ten. You gonna draw out a plan that’ll bury this scandal.’
She clamped her hands together in earnest as she finished her words.
‘And I am sure… you are sure, and we all sure of what’ll happen if nothing sensible comes out after ten minutes!’
She stood up and walked out of the conference room as her personal assistant rushed ahead to lead the way.
As Karen walked out, she addressed her personal assistant.
‘I can’t bank on those dumb heads; I need some bigger news to cover up Tai VeShadd’s scandal. You, find out what news can beat that scandal about the boy. Hand it over to me asap!’
‘Yes, ma’am!’ the personal assistant replied with a firm voice.
Karen added a second instruction.
‘And give the situation some first aid treatment while we brainstorm on what to use to cover up the whole thing.’
‘All right, ma’am,’ the personal assistant replied.
He noted the instructions down, as the two walked through the hallway.
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