THE GREAT WHITE RED ALERT
“Are you worried?” The woman looked at Alena. Her eyes had all the warmth of a glacier.
They were in the communication center, surrounded by speakers, screens, dials, and buttons. A crewman wearing headphones was monitoring radio signals. Another was watching satellite images.
Like a spider in the center of its web, Poison Flower sat in the middle of it all, in a comfortable chair she could raise, tilt, and turn with the push of a button.
Alena was seated nearby. “Should I be worried?”
“You were a bit of a problem. Not so much now,” said Poison Flower. “We have your Zulu friend aboard.”
Alena couldn’t hide her gasp of surprise.
“That’s right. Mr. Bheka was far too trusting. He wanted to help a poor, lost little Chinese lady.” She smiled sweetly. “I’m told you gave my men some trouble. But here you are.” She seemed very pleased with herself.
“Haven’t you forgotten something?” Alena said.
“Your darling brother and your little dog?” She gave a sinister laugh. “Whatever will they do? They cannot catch us. And we’ll know the moment your ship leaves the harbor.”
“I meant the Foundation,” Alena said.
Poison Flower looked hard at the girl. “The S.O.S. Foundation?” She turned to one of the crewmen. “Carl. Can you amplify that for us?”
The man turned a dial and Alena heard the familiar voice of the Foundation’s Chief Security Officer. “We’re trying to find the owners to open negotiations with them, Tyler. But it may be awhile before—”
Then she heard Tyler’s voice: “But time might be running out. Isn’t there something more we can do?”
Alena felt a small knot of fear in her stomach. If they had the power to spy on the Foundation’s communications with Tyler, then Alena knew she was in real danger.
“That’s enough.” The voices stopped. “Now are you worried?” Poison Flower said.
Alena put on a brave face. “Not in the least.”
“You should be. Now off you go.” She signaled one of the crewmen who took Alena to a nearby cabin and locked her in.
She had never felt more alone.