Chapter 9 Tia's POV
None of us wanted to hang about so we called the limo and headed to the hotel. I put the divider up again. Vee had been asking me questions with her eyes but obviously felt it prudent to not do it aloud.
“I know you have questions. Let's just wait until we know we have privacy.” I said. Once the car was moving I had another idea. “I have an idea how to test the geas. Roni as a Royal family member I order you to reveal nothing about Andi to anyone.”
Of course, that caused the immediate question from Vee. “Who is Andi? What is she talking about?”
I just stared at Roni to see what she would say. She opened her mouth a few times but didn't say anything. Then she said “I really can't say. I mean I literally, really can't say. The geas seems to work.”
“Right, now that we have that sorted out. Tell us about Andi!” came from Vee.
I pulled my phone out. “Andi, please introduce yourself.”
“Hi everyone. I am your mostly friendly, electrical familiar, bonded to Tia. Tia can communicate with me mentally but still struggles to hear me properly. You are probably wondering what happened during the interview. Well, Tia asked me to check out Mrs Walters. I followed the money as they say and found your Aunt, Vee, was behind an attempt to make you look disreputable. Don't worry, she might struggle to do that again, almost all her money is on a circular trip. It will get back to her, but not until after you are twenty five, Vee.”
“Are you like an AI?” Katie asked.
“Who are you calling artificial, girlfriend? I can definitely agree on the Intelligence part.”
“So what can you do?” Vee asked.
“Whatever I need to. My job is to protect the princess. At the moment, I am mainly gathering data. I do have a question for you though. Roni pointed out that I must not reveal my presence as it would add to the danger Tia is in. What am I supposed to do about terrorists and their attack plans? None of them are likely to endanger Tia at the moment, but I don't want innocents to die needlessly.”
“Can't you leave untraceable anonymous tips?”
“Yes, but they need to be taken seriously and someone might twig as to where I am getting the information and then they will use other methods of communicating and that will make us more vulnerable.”
We were all quiet for a moment, thinking. “How much time do we have? When is the next attack due?” I asked.
“There is one due tomorrow, but the authorities already know about that one. The next unknown attack, is a train in Spain in three days time.”
“Shit, you are talking about terror attacks anywhere in the world.” Vee stated.
“Only those that have some communication with the internet. I am working on access to other telecommunications. Smart phones are pretty easy. I am struggling with burner phones. Any attacks that are entirely word of mouth, nowhere near an electronic device that is connected to the internet or spontaneous decision attacks, those I have no idea about.”
“How are you able to process that much data?” I asked. We were talking about so much information to go through, it didn't seem possible to work through it.
“I borrow function from a lot of computers. Just a little bit from so many. It all adds up.”
“Fuck.” Katie said what we were all thinking. Thank goodness she was on our side. “Is it only terrorist attacks that concern you?”
“No. They were an initial concern to make sure they were not going to happen near Tia. In going through the data I learned things I would rather not know.”
“Like what?” Roni asked.
“If I didn't want to know, are you sure you do?”
We paused to think that through. Ignorance is bliss, but it is also unforgivable if you can do something about it. I sighed. “I need to know.”
“What if I told you we haven't the resources to help and the authorities already mostly know about it?”
“Doesn't matter. If we know, maybe we can plan to help later, even if we can't help now.” Vee said. At least she was backing me up.
“Alright. Two words. Human trafficking.”
“The authorities already know about it?” Katie said shocked.
“It wouldn't be possible without the higher ups knowing and smoothing the way.” Andi replied, her sweet voice sorrowful.
“Shit.” Roni said, all the more shocking because it was the first time I heard her swear. “That is bigger than I know how to deal with. All of this is.”
“Only because you are thinking, like we are, that we might be able to put ourselves in a position to help.”
“There is more isn't there.” I asked Andi.
“Are you going to tell us?”
“No. You wouldn't sleep at night. Build up resources and I will let you know when you can do something about it.”
Maybe I was a coward, maybe we all were, but we didn't press her. It did give us determination to build as quickly as possible. And we had a three day deadline to deliver information to save lives.
We were a sombre group that left the limo and went to our suite to find the pile of 'want help for a favor'. We had about half an hour before we needed to leave for the studio. The headsets and all our clothing had arrived and were already in our suite. Rather than sort through our clothes we decided to dig into the pile and look for two candidates for tomorrows boat trip. The sorting was relatively easy, they needed to be able to be here by tomorrow morning and we weren't looking for a combination of factors, just what deal they were offering.
Money wise the best offer was easy to determine. There was a family in New York who had a transgendered son. They were old money, but were still earning significantly. They offered a lump sum of one million dollars and ten percent of the money that the son would earn for as long as he lived. The catch was that it was for results. If it worked we would get paid, if it didn't, we wouldn't. Ten percent of what he would be earning was almost a million a year anyway and that would be indefinitely.
We all agreed to that and Roni made the phone call. He needed to be here by tomorrow morning so time was of the essence. The second one we decided on was a bit more nebulous. A billionaire's wife was a quadriplegic after a horse riding accident. It was less than a year since it had happened. The reward was not stated other than vaguely. It was almost discarded because if the transformation was successful, the wife would likely become a lesbian and the husband probably would not appreciate that.
Still Vee said she had a gut feeling that meant she wanted to help this woman and of course, it was close to Katie's heart, she would never say no. We got Roni to phone him and make it clear what the consequences would be if successful. Bless his heart, he didn't care. I think he showed true love, that he was prepared to give her up, if it would make her happy. He would be there with some help. She was in a wheelchair, but she needed a lot more help than Katie did.
With that done and organised we headed off to the studio for our meeting. The studio meeting was pretty boring but it did showcase Roni's talents. They wanted access to everything and we wanted some privacy, the ability to review their footage and cut what we didn't like from it. They were trying to use money to get what they wanted. We didn't really care about the money they were offering since we were only doing it to help with our security. This meant Roni eventually won every argument. They didn't take it easily or well, but pretended to be happy with our agreement. Roni sent it straight off to our lawyers to check over. We were using VDR entertainment lawyers for a small fee. The lawyers had to have a chance to go over the contract and then we needed to sign it before we would have anyone following us, so the good news was, no cameras on our boat trip tomorrow.
That sorted, we went back to our hotel room to get ready for our restaurant trip. We picked up some suitcases en route since we would be travelling to London tomorrow evening, there was no point in putting our new clothing away, it might as well be packed. I let Vee choose what she wanted me to wear from the outfits chosen for me by Helga. Roni helped me with my makeup because Vee was running behind in her preparations.
I was thinking about disseminating the information that Andi was collecting on the terrorists. We needed to find someone who had global contacts, or who had access to someone with global contacts.
“I had a thought that may be a bit out there, so I need you to tear it apart for me.”
We were back in the limo with the divider up and as private as we were going to get. They all looked at me expectantly. “We want to give this information on terrorists that Andi has gathered, but make it look like someone else provided it. Preferably, without giving away Andi's existence. I was wondering about Senator Blainey's wife.”
“The supposed psychic?”
“Yes. I heard about her, even in England. She is a bit of a joke, but what if Andi provided her with good information?”
“How would Andi give it to her without giving herself away?”
“I could just get the printer to print it off, with no evidence that it came from the computer, she would think it a paranormal event.” Andi supplied from my phone.
“How would she convince anyone to believe her?”
“I could give other bits to gain trust and help her prove to others that she is onto something. I could probably make the lights flicker at the same time. The whole process will take time though.”
“But you could start that and give a few anonymous tips to tide us over until she is believed.” I said.
“So the world thinks she really is psychic. Aren't the terrorists going to target her?” Vee asked.
“Even if they did, she has protection as the Senator's wife and Andi would tell them of any threat.” I said. “The Senator should be able to make sure the information gets where it needs to.”
“That sounds like a plan. Let's go with that, unless someone comes up with something better.”
We arrived at the restaurant in better spirits. Hopefully, we had just made the world a safer place.
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