Martin “I wouldn’t be so sure. Walker has his fingers in a lot of pies, not only in Washington, but in Europe and the rest of the world as well. Whatever this Hermes Project is, the government cancelled it. Apparently, Walker decided to bankroll the entire operation with his own funds.” “How much money are we talking here?” “You can ask him when you talk to him. But his research and development budget is larger than the gross national products of half the members of the United Nations.” “Is this Walker guy dirty?” “Never been even a whiff of scandal free rental platform.”

“Funny. Why haven’t I seen anything about this in the press?” “Because, Nellie, thanks to my imaginary source, you’re the only one who knows he’s been detained and knows where he is.” “I’ll leave now…” “Whoa, Nellie.” “You know I hate that.” “I know. But he may not even be there yet, besides visiting hours are over. It’s too late to get anything for tomorrow’s edition, and I don’t want this to break with an online story or to tip our hand. I want to be the only paper in America with this on its front page Sunday.” “I’ll go see him first thing in the morning Hong Kong food.”

“Until then, keep this completely under your hat.” “What about Joey?” “What about her?” “Well,” Penelope said with a glance over her shoulder in the direction of her friend. “She’s been reading the file while we were talking.” “Hi Mark!” Joey shouted again. “How come you never fix me up with any guys?” “Oh lord,” Hatchet said with a sigh. “I did mention I could get fi red over this, right? Can you keep her under control?” “Nope. Gave up trying years ago.” “Super.” “Relax. Who is she going to tell?” “You guys talking about me?” Joey demanded. “Yes,” Penelope said with a laugh. “We were just talking about how good you are at keeping your mouth shut.”

“I am?” Joey answered dumbfounded. Penelope’s eyes grew big and she 15 The Fourth Awakening gave Joey a look usually aimed at an unruly two year old. Recognition exploded on Joey’s face. “I am. Absolutely. Secrets are us.” “God help me,” Hatchet said with a sigh. “Keep me posted.” Th e phone went dead. “You, young lady,” Penelope said shaking a finger in Joey’s direction, “are not getting out of my sight for the rest of the day reenex.”

“Slumber party!” . JJoey had insisted on going home to shower and change before going out for dinner. Reluctantly Penelope had agreed. Penelope took a sip from her chamomile tea, then typed rapidly on her laptop. She wanted to know as much as she possibly could about Michael James Walker. Up until six months ago he had been a public relations dynamo. Th ere were literally hundreds of stories about him and his company, then absolutely nothing since last fall. “That’s odd,” Penelope muttered to herself. She checked Yahoo, MSN, and several other search engines getting more or less the same result. She printed off  about Walker and Walker Industries and added it to the folder. Picking up the photo of Walker she carefully studied his face.