Dylan Freeman had already arrived in New York City. He stood just under the Empire State Building. His phone rang and he quickly answered it. "Yeah?"
"Is he on his way?" asked a voice.
"Of course he is. I told him to avoid the toll roads and highways and give him the directions personally. He'll be here in about five hours. Small price to pay for this to off without a hitch," Dylan said.
"So at about 11 P.M., Landsman arrives in Times Square and at 11:07 P.M. it's all over and our secret is safe. Right?"
"Right," Dylan's lips curled into a smile. "And Landsman will be blamed for everything."
Brenda Landsman was in a dark room. She knew she was tied to a chair and a gag had been placed in her mouth. She was breathing heavily listening for any sound of someone in the room with her. Suddenly a door opened and someone walked in closed it again. She heard the footsteps walk across the concrete floor and a hand pulled a chain. A hanging light illuminated the dank room.
"Mrs. Landsman," the man said. The man was of Arab descent and gently removed the gag from her mouth. The man went behind her and untied her arms from the back of the chair. "I am sorry about the archaic way we're holding you here. But don't worry, we will make it up to you, I promise."
"Where are my kids?" Brenda said.
"They are fine, Mrs. Landsman. You will be reunited with them shortly," the man clasped his hands in front of him and sighed deeply. "Where is your husband going?"
"What are you talking about?" Brenda asked.
"Your husband went back to the courthouse while we were following you. The courthouse, among another building, are now gone. We know your husband wasn't involved in either act so we need to know where he is going."
"I don't know. He said he was going back to work and told me to take the kids out of the city," Brenda began crying.
"We need to find him, Mrs. Landsman. His life is in grave danger," the man sighed.
A massive round mahogany table was centered in the middle of a huge conference room. Suddenly a huge steel door slid open and in walked six people all in suits and ties except for the one woman who walked in.
They all sat down around the table and heaved a collective sigh. "So what do we do?"
"It all depends on where Landsman is right now. He's our tipping point. He's perfect for everything we need to do to set things right. We need to get to him before they do," a man said.
"We don't know where he is. The Empire Coalition sent him away from Philadelphia. That was over an hour ago so he could be anywhere by now," said another.
"Not true. He could anywhere within an hour radius of Philadelphia," joked one of the other people. "We have agents searching every road out of Philadelphia, which isn't easy because the city is under lockdown until Landsman is captured."
"What do we do when we get him?"
"We protect him. And we pray that he'll be perfect to make everything right again."
The Empire Coalition also went by the Round Earth Society. It was stationed in New York City and the main focus of it's goal was to reveal to the world that the Earth was flat and begin a civil war. The war has already been planned that left the United States in ruins and a new superpower standing tall among the losers. Dylan Freeman was the second-in-command of the EC and picked out Landsman himself to be the one to bring down the country.
The exact opposite of the Coalition was the Ptolemy Group. Ptolemy worked hard to shine light on the Earth and slowly reveal that the Earth but they worked to keep everything as calm as possible during the transition.
The Ptolemy Group was headed by Harold Kimner, the former governor of Ohio, who left office to found the Ptolemy Group. He found five other people who strongly believe in his idea and a whole host of people around the world who believe it in concept. They were 170,000 strong but that was only a drop in the bucket to the other six billion people in the world.
"Mr. Kimner," the lone woman in the group walked briskly up to the aging man.
"Yes, Jamie?" Kimner acknowledged but kept walking.
"One of our men found him," Jamie said, causing Kimner to stop where he stood.
"Really? You're sure?" Kimner was in a near panic.
"Our guy has been following him for over an hour. He's sure."
"Get all the information you can. We need Landsman...so does the world!" Kimner turned and quickly continued walking. Jamie turned and quickly got a cell phone up to her ear.
Brenda Landsman was reunited with her children who sitting, safe, in a small kitchen area.
"Oh, thank God!" she sobbed as she hugged them.
"I told you they were taken care of, Mrs. Landsman," the man reassured. "I do apologize for all the mystery and secrecy. We are kind of new to this but I assure you that we mean you know harm. Your husband is in danger and we need to know where he is."
"I told you I don't know. If he's not at the courthouse or at home then I don't know where he is," Brenda continued sobbing.
"Bring the cell phone. Mrs. Landsman, do you know your husband's cell phone number?"
"Y-yes, of course," she replied.
The man handed her a cell phone. "Could you please call him and ask him where he is?" Brenda took the phone from the man.
"Tell me who you are first!" she screamed. "Why am I doing this? Why are all these people after my husband?"
The man sighed. "Fair enough. Quickly, we are a private faction under the orders of the Ptolemy Group. The Ptolemy Group is a society of people who know that the Earth is flat."
"But the Earth is round," Brenda said.
"Is what they want you to believe," the man said. "I am Devon Jalali and my associates are Raymond Grummett and Adolph Huxley. Now, please, Mrs. Landsman, call your husband."
Brenda hesitated for a couple seconds but then began dialing.
Landsman's phone rang and he pulled it out of it's case that was hooked onto the visor. He looked at the screen and didn't recognize the number. He got worried then looked in his rear view mirror. The same van was following him. He hesitated for a few seconds and then the ringing stopped.
"He didn't answer," Brenda said quietly as she lowered the phone from her ear.
"He didn't recognize the number. Send a text message--anything to get him to acknowledge it's you!" Devon said.
Brenda began going through the menu and got to the text message section. She began typing then sent the message to Landsman. Landsman kept driving but grabbed his cell phone when the message came through. He read it: "Answer your phone. It's an emergency. Brenda."
Landsman was skeptical and reluctantly called the number that sent the message. The phone clicked on the other end and Brenda answered. "Matthew?"
"Brenda? What's going on? Where are you calling from?"
"I...I don't know..." she began crying again. "Where are you?"
"On some road in New Jersey. I'm heading to New York. Did you make it to Carmel?"
"No. We were pulled over and now we're..."
Devon grabbed the phone from Brenda. "Don't worry Mr. Landsman, your wife and children are perfectly safe. I am Devon Jalali and I must warn you that you are in grave danger!"
"Tell me something I don't know! This man tells me I'm in danger and that the world is flat and there's a van following me. I don't even care about any of this!"
"A van following you? I wonder if it's ours or theirs," Devon wondered out loud.
"Theirs? Whose theirs?" Landsman shrieked.
"The Empire Coalition. They want to start a war because of the Earth being flat," Devon explained.
"Dylan didn't mention anything like that," Landsman said.
"Dylan? Dylan Freeman?"
"He's against us Mr. Landsman. I am a member of the Ptolemy Group. I don't know what Freeman told you but we're the good guys! Where are you heading?"
"New York City. Dylan told me to meet him at the Empire State Building," Landsman explained.
Devon pulled away from the phone and spoke to Grummett and Huxley, "Get some people in New York around the Empire State Building. Landsman, do you know why you are going to Empire State?"
"No. Just to meet up with Dylan. I don't really know why I'm going to New York," Landsman tried to chuckle.
"Okay. Continue to go to New York and meet up with Freeman. We'll try to figure out what's going on around here," Devon said.
"Okay. Put Brenda back on," Landsman said.
"Hi, Matt," Brenda said.
"Are you okay? They aren't hurting you are they?"
"No, everything is fine. I miss you."
"I miss you, too. I love you, Brenda," Landsman said and kissed through the phone.
"I love you, too."
Brenda's voice squawked through the speaker on the massive computer. "Well, I guess we proceed as planned," said Freeman.
"It's not compromised?"
"No," Freeman began and starting walking off, "make sure the people get the tickets under the correct names. I'll get Landsman to Times Square."
To Be Continued...