General Hospital Fan Fiction Message Board
CSMC 40 F In My Country...
|Date:|| Thu, 09-Aug-2012 6:20:15 AM PDT |
|Where:||General Hospital Fan Fiction Message Board|
Twink is checking her emails when the email comes through from the Thai delegation. They want to meet and now would be fine even if it’s after 9 pm. Twink wrinkles up her face but sighs and then relaxes. “How do you feel about Thai food?”
“I thought we were having breakfast.” Maybe he’s getting used to the way these people live but Grant hadn’t been particularly surprised when the car waiting for them at the valet was the 190sl.
“The Thai delegation is getting worried about getting bumped tomorrow. They want to meet tonight.”
Grant looks at his watch in disbelief.
“Not unexpected. Business is done differently in tropical countries. Why would you want to hold a meeting when it’s 95 degrees and 100 percent humidity? Do business later and the temps are lower even if the humidity is about the same. I’ve got to do this. They contacted Narin. I would have made the room tomorrow even if it was at the airport before we flew out but maybe this is better.” Twink sighs. She gives Grant the directions provided by the Thai delegation.
“Now that I can hear myself think…” Grant looks over at Twink and laughs. “In my country- really?!”
Twink gives him a half grin and shrugs one shoulder. “That’s the way they always do in the dramas in my country… does that count? Sorry he just seemed so smug and I was ticked to start.”
“And that was Stefan Cassadine?”
“Yep. Impressive isn’t he?”
“What did he say to you when you were about to clock that guy.”
“Not to manhandle Faith’s date, he was enjoying it too much.”
“What?!” Grant glances over at Twink and then back to the road. “And the new guy? Your cousin looked a little… peeved.”
“If you were World Security Bureau you’d probably have this one memorized. They probably have books and case studies all dedicated to the Cassadine. They are a very old family… pre Russian Revolution. You know, the other revolution when the Soviets took over not the one where the Soviets got kicked out. The Cassadines basically ran for their lives to not end up like the rest of the Russian royal family and landed in Greece. They have a strong streak of brilliance that is nearly matched with the streak of totally insane megalomania. There were even a few generations that tried for total world domination which was when the WSB got involved back in the 70’s and 80’s. I don’t know how much money they pulled out of Russia but whatever it was they multiplied it when they got to Greece. They had power, cachet and fit right in with the movers and shakers in Europe.”
“Like the Karinens?” Grant asks.
Twink nods. “Uncle Georges was second generation money so there were probably more than a few that looked down their noses at him but he wasn’t interested in doing the playboy thing and buying the world. He took what his parents did and turned it up a notch. By the time he was in his thirties the shipping business had spread out into other things and he was just getting started. Even if he was new rich, he wasn’t someone who could be ignored. The Cassadines wouldn’t have been interested in Uncle Georges generation but two generations later? With my mother? That’s where the crazy came in again.
The Matriarch of the Cassadines got together with Great Uncle Georges and thought it would be a brilliant idea for the families to combine their wealth and power. And as soon as Great Uncle made his will that way… he had a fatal accident. Crazy. And then the matriarch came after my mother to get her to marry the heir—Nikolas Cassadine. She tried to kill my mother just to prove she was serious when Mother didn’t jump on the offer quickly enough. Daddy jumped in and put up a wall around Mother that Helena couldn’t penetrate. Nikolas Cassadine isn’t a bad guy. He didn’t have anything to do with his grandmother’s plot; he’s two generations away from Cassadine crazy. He married a woman … down to earth, American and had nothing to do with Helena.”
“And still not seeing why Faith would have been in a… snit.”
“I had to learn Greek, my sister did too. It’s part of being a Karinen and the family business. It’s part of the will coming down from Great Uncle Georges. The Cassadines are Russian—Baby speaks Russian, her mother Tasha does too. Stefan does. Nikolas does and now Faith does too even though she was just adopted into the family four years ago. Faith thought it was basically a requirement of being let in the family. And tonight she found out that the future head of the family, the Future Prince of the Cassadine doesn’t speak Russian. I get the feeling that she is going to let Aleksandr have it about this one. Faith and Stefan Cassadine have an interesting relationship, lots of respect, but Faith was basically raised by wolves until she was 14. She has no problem speaking her mind even to someone she respects like Stefan. She told Stefan tonight that she speaks Russian because of Baba not him. It’s basically a family revolt in progress.”
“A good thing we’re leaving tomorrow?”
“Yes, I think so. Course Faith is tight with Maeve. This fight with Aleksandr will probably continue in Chicago. I bet that Faith will call ahead to make sure that Yuri greets Aleksandr in Russian just to rub it in a little more.”
“How are you in Russian?”
Twink makes a rocking motion with her hand. The nonverbal for so-so. “Conversational, I guess, as long as I’m not reading it or trying to do something technical like a hospital or courtroom. I won’t starve, and I won’t get lost.”
“You’re a really handy woman to have around.” Grant admits. “I’ve got English, French and do alright in Spanish.”
“I’m surprised you don’t speak Farsi or would that be profiling?”
“Profiling. And yes, people who speak Farsi are considered first for openings.”
“So how is knowing me doing for your career?”
“It’s really a mixed bag… since it started with me running an op that had a gun to your head on national television.”
“International.” Twink corrects.
“Thanks for the reminder. I think we’re here. What is this place?”
“Karaoke, this way you can set up in private, soundproof rooms, get some business done and make your underlings make asses of themselves doing the macarena.” Twink takes the hand of the valet as they come to the door.
The other valet comes around to get the keys from Grant who takes a picture of the guy with his cell phone. “No offense but if there is a scratch on the car I’m going to hunt you down. It’s not my car and I believe in sharing the pain.”
Twink laughs. One of the underlings of the Thai party is waiting at the door. Twink bows. It’s not a deep bow; she knows she’s not being met by the brass. This is a powerplay but you might as well be polite. Things are fine until the underling tries to bar Grant from entering the private room. Grant looks around at the bodyguards who are lining both sides of the door. “He doesn’t speak Thai. He can still not know what is going on inside the room or I can leave now.”
“One minute.” The underling says in Thai and goes into the room. He returns quickly. He doesn’t have a happy look on his face but he waves both Twink and Grant into the room.
When Twink comes in she gives a real bow, like the kind that Grant had seen her give to her professor, this time with her palms pressed together at the middle of her chest as she greets the members of the delegation.
They hadn’t gotten home until about 2am. Twink had fallen asleep in the car and barely woken up when they got back to the pool house. Grant had half directed her sleeping standing up to the main floor bedroom. She’d fallen face down on the bed still dressed.
Her voice is muffled by the pillow. “Grant?”
“Alarm. Plant. Don’t forget.”
“I’ve got it.”
“Goodnight Twink.” Grant turns out the light and starts up the stairs but something makes him turn around and there at the door is a black shadow with eyes reflecting the light. “Gees. You know this is why they call you devil dog.” He goes over to the door and opens it. Gizmo follows Grant upstairs.
Twink did wake at 6am still dressed in the clothes she’d worn the night before. Getting up and going into the bathroom she looks in the mirror. She looks like what it is-- the morning after too late a night when you didn’t take your make up off. “I could scare small children.” Twink tells her reflection. Stripping out of her clothes she jumps into the shower. Even if she’d washed her hair the day before she’s going to have to do it again. There had been smoking at the thing with the Thai Delegation the night before which had shocked Grant who knew there were at least a half dozen rules being broken by Twink being there. Her hair would still be wet when they got to the plant it takes forever to dry.
Grant is coming down the hallway to wake her when she steps out of the bedroom dressed for the day. “I was just coming to get you.”
“I will be so glad to get on the plane. I’m going to sleep all the way to Chicago.” Twink tells him.
“Yeah, I’m there with you. It’s been a packed trip. I started the coffee.”
“Good. I need to eat something. I’m sure Mrs. Ramirez or Baba stocked the leftovers for us.” Twink pads to the kitchenette with the full size fridge in her Hello Kitty slippers.
Grant pulls up a seat on the breakfast bar. “So can I ask what last night was about?”
“Sure, but it would be more interesting I think for you to tell me what you think was happening.” Twink brings out a casserole from the fridge and pops it in the microwave and then pours a cup of coffee. She grabs a piece of paper and starts sketching the table from the night before. She puts a description of the people by physical appearance at each place setting. Grant hadn’t been standing inside the door but he’d been sitting closest to the door right next to the underling that had been waiting for them outside the club. “Okay, I was sitting here. You tell me what was going on.”
“This guy here was doing all the talking but he kept eyeballing this guy here.” Grant points to the person who had been across from Twink and to the person who’d been at the head of the table.
Twink points to the guy at the head of the table. “He’s too important to do his own talking. So this guy does it for him. The only time he talked was when he felt his mouthpiece was going off script. If my mother would have been in the room then the headman would have been talking. They know that I have a soft spot for Thailand because I spent a lot of time there with my parents and because of Narin but I’m still the second daughter. Even if Narin would have been in the room, the second guy would have done the talking. Narin is a Thai national treasure but he is also a boxer-- someone who came from nothing—not a powerbroker. I love when my parents are in the room with guys like these. They know they have to deal with my mother. She is the Karinen Group but their instinct is to talk business with my father. When my sister and brother in law are in meeting like this—They talk to Mark not Karin. Karin’s fine with that. She’s used to it after the work that she and Mark did and the places where they worked. And Mark is one for asking a lot of questions and then saying—I’ll get back to you on that. Karin will follow him out like the dutiful bubble brained wife and then they hash it out and Mark gives the response.”
“So whoever they are talking to doesn’t realize that they are getting the Griffith version of what this headman and mouthpiece were doing.”
Twink shrugs and goes over to the microwave. She uses a dishtowel to pull out the casserole and then hands Grant a bowl and fork to dish his own. “Basically, although Karin does trust Mark’s opinion and Mark her’s. They don’t do things unilaterally... usually. And then it would be Karin driving Mark nuts. My mother won’t put up with it. She’ll go toe to toe with anyone trying to dismiss her. When she was younger, after Uncle Georges died; the Trustees to the group tried to tie my mother’s hands. She took the battle to the trustees and started calling them on their behavior at the least infraction after the first big blow up. They weren’t pushing her to marry like Uncle Georges wanted… they wanted her to stay single and on an allowance they doled out while running the show. Didn’t fly. And after Mother took the battle to them she had to keep them on their heels. She keeps them around to deal with the people who annoy her.”
“Who was the guy here? He looked like he was going to break into a flop sweat.”
“The US delegate. These guys were visiting from Thailand; this guy works here and is the local contact. He was the one freaking out on the smoking in the room and having a minor in a club where they were serving alcohol. You’ll notice he got trumped on everything. Thailand pulls the strings he just says to the US what they want him to say.”
“Winkler from State.” Grant draws an analogy.
“Pretty much.” Twink feels Gizmo eyeballing her and gets out another small dish and gives the dog a portion of the casserole. There didn’t seem to be anything in it that Lurch couldn’t have eaten. “But you see the way the way the table was set up… from the headman down to the guy they had standing outside the club waiting for us? This is pretty much the way the table will be set when we go to HSA.”
“It’s not that simple.”
“It is. It saves time if the back of your neck is already telling you who is in charge. The person with the power will be at the opposite end of the table from the screen. That foot of the table will be empty since nobody will want a crick in the neck. I want you to sit at the right side of the foot of the table.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Give my presentation.” Twink shrugs. “They’ll probably have me wait outside cooling my heels while they review your report and then call me. Don’t worry I won’t damage your career any more than I already have.”
Grant had come through big time. This had been worth the whole trip although it was like Disneyland she could have stayed days longer and still been happy but they’d had to leave to go to the LA office of Homeland Security. She’d taken Fancy’s spy pen with her so that she could take notes as doing the tour. They’d walked the cliffs and gone through every nearly public area in the complex and a few that were clearly off limits. Their tour guide had been a nuclear engineer trained by the Navy. So in addition to the tour, Twink had also gotten to hear stories about nuke powered submarines.
Grant had been able to see the lust in her heart. “No.”
“You’re no fun.” Twink had retorted but she said it with a smile as she put her hand through the arm of the guide and proceeded to efficiently pick his brain. As she had pointed out more than once during their short acquaintance, she is a structural engineer all about the building and a Nuke power plant definitely has some special building needs. Of course the undivided attention too had probably gotten Twink more information than had been agreed on with the tour.
Back in the car, Twink had hooked up the spy pen to her netbook and dumped all the information from the tour onto her netbook.
“I thought those things didn’t have any memory.”
“After you destroyed my laptop, I upgraded.” Twink tells him. “It’s not as easy to type on and I have to go voice sometimes and the computer never translates voice exactly.”
“Can it spell curse words in a dozen languages?”
“It can now.” Twink grins at him then gets serious. “Are you worried about this afternoon?”
“You think they are going to kill the messenger?”
“There is a reason why clichés become cliché. And frankly, I’m getting a feeling of deja-vu. I was just along for the ride with Martin Reeves, remember, and then ended up losing my temper on CSPAN.”
“It’s going to be ugly.” Grant agrees. “But at the same time Port of Los Angeles has been in charge of their security and this is giving ammunition to HSA to be more of a presence.”
“So they are actually going to be happy about the flaws.”
“Of course not.” Grant says aloud but he is nodding his head.
“I gotcha games are not productive.” Twink tells Grant. “And how do we know it isn’t the same all over and LA just got the short straw?”
“Short straw or not… they are the premiere port on the west coast. They are an access point and a target… and why am I telling you this?! You already know.”
“Still I wish we would have done Boston or New York too to compare and contrast.”
“You still can. Those aren’t going to interfere with school. But it is probably not going to help the manager at the port.” Grant suggests. He pulls into the parking structure for HSA and is given direction as to which floor he can park by the security agent. The 190sl makes the rounds up the parking structure at speeds exceeding the posted limit… because it can. As soon as they find their space and park, both of them have to take a minute before walking over to the building. Twink’s hair is now well dried having been exposed to highway speeds in a convertible. Grant climbs out of the car and reaches behind the car seat for his jacket, he slides it on and grabs the tie out of his pocket. Twink is vicious with the brush in trying to tame her hair. Once she gets it under a bit of control, she quickly braids it and puts an elastic on the end. She pulls a compact mirror out of her purse and runs a finger under her eyes just to make sure that there is nothing flaking and then just puts on a bit of gloss and calls it good. It wasn’t like the lighting here was conducive to a total makeup repair job, or that she really cared. Grant comes around to the passenger side and reaches behind Twink’s seat to grab a pair of heels that are there. Twink had been wearing flats at the power plant. He opens Twink’s car door setting the heels outside the car and gives Twink a hand out of the car balancing her while she slides into the heels.
“We ready to do this?” Twink asks Grant. She reaches over and straightens his tie just a smidge.
Grant nods. “Let’s do it. We have a plane to catch later.” He takes her netbook and puts it in the satchel he’s carrying. Twink strings her purse across her body to keep her hands free. Grant has the satchel up on one shoulder and isn’t surprised when Twink falls in behind him and slightly to the left. In fact he has a bit of an epiphany when he realizes there is no one he’d rather have at his back.
Trust his neck she’d said and damn if she hadn’t been right. When he walked into the room there were two seats empty, both at the foot of the table and nearest to the door. When the introductions had been made, the director of the LA branch is at the head of the table and the other familiar face is the manager of the port who had given him and Twink the tour the day before and who is sitting across the table from him with an empty chair next to him. The guy is stoic with all the information coming at him almost like he’d known it was coming. Grant does his presentation and then goes out to get Twink who is sitting in the hallway. Twink comes into the room and declines the seat that Grant is holding for her. “Thanks. I actually think better on my feet.” She waves him to his seat and then glances around the conference room. Then she gives a significant look to Grant that is clearly an I told you so. She looks to the Port Manager and smiles kindly. “Hello Mr Walsh. I’m sure you have a lot of questions over the material I sent you last night.”
Grant straightens at that. The manager is stoic because he did know what was coming.
Twink looks down the table to the director of HSA-LA. “Thank you for your invitation, Director. I am Tatiana Quartermaine but you may know me as TSQ. Agent Ellis says that is the way that my previous papers have been distributed….”
The Director straightens in his chair. He’d just put TSQ together with the woman who’d testified in front of a Congressional committee and handed more than one senator their asses.
“… I am a student of Structural Engineering at MIT and specialize on the effects of extreme weather on buildings. I appreciate your invitation to come out and examine the Port of Los Angeles after the recent earthquake.” Twink doesn’t say anything about the terrorist threat. “Normally I do hurricanes but it was an interesting question.” Twink gives her netbook to the person closest to the projector and walks back to the foot of the table with a clicker in her hand that will advance the slides. Twink starts getting very specific and detailed in the change in the port floor since the earthquake as they’d determined using the sonar on the fishing trip and compares it to the last pass that was done a year ago. “Mr Walsh, you’ll see here and here that some of your bigger ships are going to be cutting it close and are within feet of running aground.” Twink points to the points in the harbor that had adjustments to the floor bottom. “Since the comparing graph is over a year old I don’t know if this is a result of the earthquake or just adjustments over time. Any good sailor is going to verify the channels and still have to hope that the captain coming out to berth the ship didn’t have a liquid lunch. I didn’t dive the port to get these measurements, just went fishing. Wonderful trip the boat limited out and within six hours I had a complete picture of the floor bottom.”
That cute comment has the Director straightening in his chair and looking at Grant who nods. Yep, anyone with fishing sonar could have done the same thing as Twink.
Twink changes slides. This is the list of ships that would be coming into the port. It is reported in the business section of the local newspaper and also on the Port’s website. Twink had created links behind the slides and clicks on one and starts describing a ship that is coming to LA within the next couple of days with a full tank of Alaskan refined oil. “I was kind of surprised when I saw this ship. I didn’t think they still allowed single hulls on oil tankers after what happened with the Exxon Valdez; they were actually phased out in 2026. I looked it up. Of course when I was looking up the history of this ship I didn’t see where the refit was done. So it might be a double hull with the work being done… illegally or it might be a single hull. Either way whoever is running this ship isn’t keeping his records up to date. Seems a little… sketchy. This ship will need to come in at high tide. A supertanker wouldn’t even try to get to port fully loaded but this one is a local hauler just Alaska to here…
“How many gallons?” The man to the right of the director interrupts to ask.
“In a supertanker? Over 2 million. In this ship probably about 250,000 gallons. At low tide the draft of the ship will come within four feet of the port floor. At the lowest tides in port history it would run aground and depending on the speed would rip the bottom of the ship apart. The good news is that the ocean floor would stop most of the oil from getting out. Of course if someone placed charges here, here and here and then remote detonated the charges when the ship was right here… you would not only block the use of the port but also create a natural disaster what would have a lot of people’s faces on the cover of newspapers for a long time. Any questions? Should I go on to the next scenario?” Twink looks around. “There is a currently a cruise ship at port. It will be leaving for Mexico in two days. This cruise ship is 14 stories tall. It also has a draft that will bring it within feet of the port floor. This one would be easy. Wouldn’t even have to dive just go snorkeling. Position charges here, here and here. Again if you went with the remote detonation at the shallowest point it would cripple the port….
The person at the right hand of the director snorts as he interrupts. “How likely would it be…”
Tit for tat. Twink interrupts him before he can finish the question. “…To get the explosives?” Twink puts up a slide. “This is the explosives shack at a construction site 15 miles outside of Los Angeles. It’s really rather handy if you were going for the tanker option because it would be easier to put on the explosives while the ship was at sea and this would be a good point. This is the list of supplies needed to make a remote detonator with a 2 mile radius. All the supplies are available at either Radio Shack or on the internet. Mr Ellis didn’t know about this one. It was a little something I did while we were out fishing.” Twink calls up another slide. “This is the interesting point of the port. While I was out fishing I put out a crab pot here and put a buoy that only goes up five feet rather that to the surface. The Norwegian Star should have left it’s berth about twenty minutes ago wouldn’t you say, Mr Walsh?”
The manager of the port looks down at his watch and then nods.
Twink waits until a light starts blinking. “And that is the ship hitting my buoy as it goes out the channel.” Twink looks at the director of the HSA-LA office. “The cruise ship scenario could be averted with the security… sensitivity that Agent Ellis suggested in his report. The Tanker? That is the Coast Guard. “The channel that is the core of Engineers. Me being able to take a picture like this…” Twink puts up a picture of herself standing right next to the explosives shack head tilted to the side and throwing a peace sign. “That’s ATF. Anyone starts playing the blame game, I’m sure that there is plenty to go around. And while you’ve been sitting here listening to my scenarios, Mr. Walsh has been texting the Coast Guard so that the single hulled tanker is diverted from The Port and to the stations off the coast in deeper water. How is that working for you, Mr Walsh?” Twink doesn’t look away from the director.
“They’re dispatching a cutter now to verify the ship’s paperwork.” Mr Walsh tells the young woman.
Twink nods. “My Aunt has a saying by George Santayana hanging on the wall of her office. It’s the reason why my cousin is planning on becoming an historian rather than an artist. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Agent Ellis thinks that I’m the only one who could figure out something like this.” Twink shakes her head. “Even at MIT they made us take a history class-- At Dawn We Slept by Gordon Prange. The Japanese were surprised at how easy it was to surveil Pearl Harbor considering there was war on in Europe already in its second year. They thought sure that someone would question the person on the hill who was documenting daily for weeks which ships were berthed where and how often they went out. That there were no submarine nets on the port even when they knew that the Japanese had mini subs. And they were very surprised that all of the Pacific fleet was there in one place.” With each point Twink is rapping on the screen, tapping on the ships, tapping on the high spot in the shipping channel and then with a quick process rapping on the Navy ships, the shipping fleet and then the passenger fleet. LA is very busy- it’s a basket with a lot of eggs in it.
Grant realizes as he watches the faces around the table that Twink has… flipped the table. What was once the head of the table is now the foot and she has everyone’s attention.
Edits by Claire and errors by me. Hope everyone is having a sound Thursday. Deb
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