Fountain of Beauty

Unedited excerpt

They all wore dark glasses to not get unwanted attention as they made their way up from the parking basement of the skyscraper. Geodin pressed the fourth floor, meaning Seldon wouldn’t get the opportunity to see a cityscape. He much preferred the national park he’d looked at since coming to America, but he’d still have liked to have seen it.

He noticed that the elevator buttons had business names beside them, yet a few of the fifteen floors had blank tags. The fourth floor was one of them.

They exited the elevator finding three men in black suits, all looking grim and tough like you’d expect from security guards. Seldon didn’t find them the least bit threatening, but he didn’t like the fact that he noticed a gun bulge on one of them. The rest had to be armed, too.

The men stepped in their way and one held the elevator doors while Geodin showed them ID. With a curt nod and no pleasantries, the men motioned for them to follow. The floor seemed deserted as expected from the missing tag, and the open office they were led through looked like it was under construction and only taken into use at the announcement of their arrival. Or was it to be some sort of neutral ground?

The men opened a door to a sparsely decorated conference room, only holding a table for ten, chairs, and one cabinet. It was big enough to hold a lot more furniture, though. One security guard entered with them, while the man sitting at the end of the conference table got up to greet them. The balding middle-aged man had one of those diplomatic smiles plastered on his face, and Seldon had to suppress a sigh, hiding his trouble to do so behind taking off his glasses. Geodin did as well.

When the man forewent Geodin to shake Seldon’s hand, he had to suppress a growl. He folded his hands behind his back and stared at the man blankly, enjoying watching him fidget as his attention then had to go to Geodin.

“Oh, yes, purple,” the man finally said and held out his hand to Geodin. “Assistant Secretary Helmer of Homeland Security, Cubi Relation.”