Frank shut the front door of his multi-million dollar mansion behind him and hung up his coat on the hook in the hall. It'd been a hard day at the office. Being a CEO wasn't all golf and cruises, he had to make tough decisions, had to be the face of the company. The last few weeks he'd been receiving threats through the mail. Well, not threats, polite warnings, they claimed. They requested that he make sme changes to the way he did business, divert some funds here, drop some projects here and start new ones there or there would be consequences. Frank had ignored them and stepped up his private security. They'd tried to trace the letters but nothing had come of that. Whoever this punk was, he was smart. All he had was a name, a pseudonym. The Origamist.
Mentally disconnecting himself from work, he let out a sigh and walked down to hall to the work room. He was looking forwards to seeing his wife, Nadine. She was all and everything to him and no matter how bad day he had, Nadine always brought a ray of sunshine to his day. He could see her through the doorway at the end of the hall, making something in the work room. Nadine loved crafts, something they both shared and he watched her delicate hands folding the paper on the desk in front of her. Her blue eyes squinted in concentration behind her blonde hair, an expression of hers that always made him smile. He loved watching her think, impossibly it made her seem even more beautiful than normal.
As he approached, he felt suddenly that something was wrong, that something bad was going to happen. He stopped, confused, and called out to Nadine.
"Hey babe, I'm home! What are you working on there? Everything alright?"
She raised up her head and smiled back. "Hey honey. Sure everything is fine. I'm just working on this piece of origami you sent me, just one last fold."
Her hands moved over the paper, about the complete the last fold that would make the paper crane. Frank gasped. He hadn't sent her anything!
"Nadine don't!" He yelled, running down the hallway towards her. "Nadine!"
Nadine smiled confused at his outburst and completed the fold. There was a click.
Frank was blinded as the force of explosion hit him, he passed out.
"Sir, sir! Wake sir! Sir, are you alright?"
"Nadine, my god Nadine..." Frank mumured as he woke up. It had all been a dream. No, a nightmare made all the worse by the fact that it was the memory of something real. He clenched his fist and looked up at the flight attendent.
"I'm fine. How close are we now?"
"We are about to land now sir. Your private jet will land on your private airstrip in 5 minutes. A limo is waiting to take you to the labs. Is there anything i can get you."
Frank shook his head, then as the attendent walked off to resume his duties he thought better of it and called after him. "Actually, get me a scotch, make it a double."
The attendent turned and nodded, then fetch him his drink.
Moments later they were on the ground. Frank took his scotch with him into the limo and sat back while they took him to the labs. The limo phone rang and he picked it up.
"Mr Winchester. He razed the area as ordered, nothing could have survived. The Vietnamese government is demanding compensation for the destruction of several acres of forest and have had most of the company lines flooded by complaints by environmental activists. What do you want to do?"
"Do you really need me to deal with everything? What do I hire you for? Just get rid of them, pay them off or say it was a training exercise gone wrong. Just don't bother me with it again, this is what you PR people are meant to be for, damn it!" Frank said irritably before slamming the phone back down on it's cradle.
The limo reached the site of Winchester Enterprises Research Lab 1 and pulled into a long tunnel that opened up in the side of the building as they approached. It parked and his chaffeur opened the door for him.
A lab technician, walked up and greeted him, shaking Frank's hand.
"Welcome back to the Lab Frank, what d you have for us?"
Frank smiled back at his old friend James, gripping his hand firmly and leaning forwards to pat him on the back. "A whole lot of nothing but maybe you eggheads can make something of it huh?"
James grinned. He was a tall man with shaggy brown hair loosely tied back in a pony-tail, his green eyes sparkled and his grin showed a child like eagerness. He'd been a friend of Franks for long time, since high-school and even though he was working for him now, they'd never forgotten their friendship, if anything, it had only gotten stronger over the years. He'd been there for Frank when Nadine died, he'd been one of the few people in the company to stand up and support Frank when he decided he had to do something. They went back a long way.
"I'm sure we can do something, lets have a look."
Frank dipped into his shirt pocket and pulled out the bloodstained paper crane. "Watch it, it's sharp."
James pulled a pair of tweezers from his pocket and carefully plucked the crane from Franks hand, holding it up and looking at it carefully. "Blood, but you already know whose that is. We'll analyse the paper, see it's from one of the paper factories we've taken over, see if we can't trace the batch to source. Also check it for sweat, grease, anything else that might give us some clues. It might take a while."
"Thanks James." Frank said tiredly.
"I'm boring you again aren't I?" James laughed. "I know you were never interesting in the details, just the results."
He passed the crane to a waiting technician who scurried away to the analysis bay.
"No, I'm just tired James."
"Is it that obvious?"
James gave him a look. "Come with me, I've got some things to show you that might interest you and here, take two of these." James grinned, holding out a pair of small white pills.
Frank dry swallowed them and followed James down a hall. On the walls it stated in plain, blank letters: Weapons and Armor Research. He grinned, James always knew how to cheer him up.