art by Agata Maciagowska
by Michael Adam Robson
The black town car glided quietly through the midnight campus, past manicured lawns and empty parking lots, up to a cluster of tall, dark office buildings. The driver hopped out and opened Murdoch's door for him, letting in the cold night air. On the other side, Black let himself out and stretched.
A security guard opened the door to the dimly lit lobby and murmured news of their arrival into his lapel. Another stood by the elevator. "He's waiting for you upstairs, sir," the guard said, and he pushed the elevator button. Murdoch looked the man over while they waited. He wore a crisp black suit, black tie, and mirrored sunglasses, though it was the dead of night. Murdoch studied his reflection in the guard's silver lenses, tightening the Windsor knot in his own tie. The man stared ahead like a department store mannequin.
The elevator chimed and the doors slid open smoothly. They went in. Murdoch went to push the top button, but Black was quicker. Murdoch played with his tie again and looked at the floor as the doors slid shut and the elevator began its silent ascent.
"Having second thoughts, sir?" Black asked, his eyebrow raised.
Murdoch cleared his throat and dropped his tie. "Honestly, I'm not quite sure this is the best thing. Not just for us. For the company."
"Nonsense," Black said crisply. "All the other major players have agreed to a merger, how could we not? At this point, it's either a merger or a hostile takeover."