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A Very Corporate Affair 3(3)

By:D A Latham

"You handled them very well. I think they thought you'd be a pushover. The share option thing was a crock of shit."

I smiled, "I know. I wasn't born yesterday, besides, I'm really hoping Ivan comes back in one piece, and I don't think he'd thank me for selling off bits of his company on the cheap. Now, is there anything that needs my immediate attention?"

"Not really. Just be aware that the other directors will begin jostling for position, should the worst happen."

"Do any of the other directors have direct links to the KGB?" I fixed Ranenkiov with a hard stare. He shifted in his seat slightly.

"I do, my brother in law works for them. To my knowledge, nobody else has a direct link, but saying that, corruption is common in Russia, and there's a lot at stake here."

"Am I the only one who actually wants him back alive and in one piece?" My mind was reeling from the realisation that there was nobody around me that I could truly trust. "What all of you seem to be unaware of, is that there is a plan in place in the event of Ivan's death. He dies, most of you lose your jobs. It's in everyone's interests that he comes back." Yeah, tell that to the other backstabbers.#p#分页标题#e#

Ranenkiov's eyes narrowed. "Have you seen the plans?"

"My boss drew them up for him. As you know, Ivan is the ultimate control freak, and that will extend after his death. The other directors should be careful what they wish for."

"You have my full support," he reassured me, "it would be a good idea for me to speak to the others, more privately, and remind them that Ivan would have made provision for this scenario. It would be far easier all round if we all worked together for the good of the company." He stood to leave. "Call on me anytime, I'll assist in whichever way I can. I'll also contact my brother in law, and see if there's any new information."

I thanked him, and reminded him to call me day or night as soon as he knew anything. I surreptitiously switched off the voice recording on my phone. As soon as I was alone, I switched Ivan's computer on. I scrolled through his emails, and saw the point the day before when he had stopped opening them. I clicked through, using google translate to switch them from Russian to English. I forwarded a few that contained reports through to my work email, and, satisfied that there was nothing of major importance to deal with, I closed down the email screen.

I clicked through the hard drive, finding mainly contracts and company reports. I sent some to my email to read through that evening, and changed the computer password before closing it down.

Ivan's secretary came in to introduce herself. She was a rather plain, dumpy woman in her late thirties called Galina. She seemed pleasant enough, although rather suspicious of me sitting in Ivan's office. I had seen her rather briefly before, so at least she knew I wasn't an imposter. She was genuinely upset at the news that Ivan had been kidnapped, and I noted, was the first member of his staff to express a modicum of emotion at the news. She went off to make a coffee, and my phone rang. It was Darius.

"Hi Elle, I just spoke to the Russian foreign secretary, and the negotiator they have in place. I have some news."

"Go on," I replied, thinking he sounded quite upbeat.

"Well, Ivan has British citizenship from when he claimed asylum here, so the Russian authorities are prepared to treat this differently from a domestic incident."

"What does that mean?"

"It means they will allow us to conduct a covert operation on their soil. Plus, here's the biggie, they'll even give us every assistance, provided we keep quiet about it, and assist them with their PR. they don't want to be seen to be allowing us in, if you see what I mean."

"Of course. I understand they don't want everyone of note suddenly kidnapped, and it would be embarrassing to have to admit that the British had to come and sort it out."

"The SAS have just set off for the Ural area. We have a decent idea of where the group are being held. They will do a recce, and hopefully get them out quickly, with no loss of life."

"Do we have a timeframe?" I fervently hoped it would be sooner rather than later.

"They want to do this quickly. Most kidnap negotiations are long and drawn out, so they won't be expecting anything yet. Russian forces tend to be clumsy and noisy, so sneaky arsed SAS men should be in and out before they even know what's happened."

"How risky is this?" I needed to know.

"There's always some risk Elle, but he's surrounded by his own guards. They are paid to take a bullet for him." He paused, "This is a major coup, being allowed to conduct a military operation on Russian soil. Our men are the best in the world at this type of thing. That's all the reassurance I can give you at the moment. Keep your phone with you at all times, and I'll call you the moment I know anything."#p#分页标题#e#