Chapter 37: Researching the Future

Stanley was walking along thinking about what to do next when Sherry yelled and waved and he stopped near the control tower and waved back. It was getting towards evening and classes for the day were over and he smiled wondering what her wish would be, since he had dinner with Charlotte once already, but he never ask her to do it again mainly because he was just too busy to think about it.

“Have a little time right now?” She asked as she hugged his arm and he just smiled wider and said he did.” Take me flying then!” She said and he laughed and said sure...and started walking towards the helicopter pad... but that wasn’t what she wanted, and she told him so immediately.

“Being a big time businessman now, are you too good to use your abilities any more? I want to fly with YOU, just like that time years ago during the winter.” She reminded him, and it was true he seldom used his skills now but he smiled and agreed, and he put his arm around her waist and they took off up into the sky. They stopped maybe 100 feet up and people all over the deck saw them and screamed and waved and Sherry waved right back and pretended to be swimming in the sky, and Stanley remembered how much she loved this, since her first ability was Fire she didn’t have this option.

“It makes you feel so free.” She commented as Stanley admitted it was nice, and he couldn’t remember why he didn’t do this anymore, and then just left that idea go for now.

He took her hand and zoomed back and forth from hundreds of feet up to barely clearing the tower and people inside looked shocked as they went by and security looked like they’d **** themselves worrying about what would happen if they fell. But that wasn’t even a possibility and Stanley knew it, and after a while they landed and Sherry gave him a kiss on the cheek and thanked him and ran away, waving as she went.

“Same time next week?” She asked and he laughed and agreed.

Now he went back inside and into his office but that smile wasn’t going to go away, and for some reason he felt better because of it, and as he sat down some of his friends appeared and they were smiling too and he asked them what was going on.

“We’re glad to see you’re back...” Cora hinted and he said he never left, but they disagreed.” You started getting so locked up in politics and business that you just weren’t yourself anymore. But now you seem happy again, and we can feel the difference. You remembered who you really are, and it makes all the difference in the world to us.” She explained and Stanley saw what they meant. Until today his abilities were on the back burner. He called and traveled and argued with people but never used his own skills. He relied on others for everything, and after a minute thinking that he apologized saying that if he ever did that again someone remind him, but they said it wasn’t their place...but perhaps...he had someone else that would remind him instead, and they all went away to let him think about that one.

It didn’t take a brain surgeon to see what they meant and he knew that they were probably right, but for now he’d wait and see, and he made sure to be more true to himself and worry less about what others thought of him from that day forwards.

A week later he was sitting reading an article about some new research going on. It seemed a common moss could be tweaked to digest certain chemicals that were responsible for pollution from many factories. Not only would it eat the stuff, it became stronger and grew bigger and spread out to gather and eat more. They were saying it might be a big thing to fight about 50 years...and Stanley liked the idea of Nature helping Humans again, and he called a meeting to explain what he saw.

“Plants always grow best where they find the chemicals they need.” Land remarked as Stan agreed he knew that much.

“Are there plants either full sized or microscopic that will eat the waste from some of these plants and save our oceans and rivers faster?” Stanley asked and after a little time to talk among themselves they agreed there might be. It wasn’t the plan they usually used, but they decided it was worth trying, and a new idea took shape. Dropping tiny bits of plants either mosses or microscopic creatures that ate chemicals right into areas where they were needed most. A sort of stocking project with everyone helping, and species of plants that never really existed there before appeared and with them less pollution overall, and even the researchers saw it happening and took samples of those for their future research.

“We’ve extended our reach on some plants and animals by hundreds of miles.” Land mentioned a week later as Stanley agreed all smiles. “It should help quite a bit, but it’ll take a little time to see how much.” He added as Stanley got a ring on his phone and he laughed and hung up saying they were doing good work keep it up and he left to go flying again.

“He seems better now..” Got mentioned and they all agreed.” Its about time he realizes that putting his own life on the ‘back burner’ as he says isn’t what he needs.” And though one or two looked sad they all agreed and went back to work while people laughed and cheered and waved to their friends, and Charlotte saw she was slipping further and further behind.

Chapter 38: Hard Feelings and Bad Judgment

The Rich Man’s Club had changed their opinion of Stanley considerably in the past few months. Master Rothkid was busy rebuilding his castle and some of his friends were helping him. But he admitted that going straight at Stanley, or using his Family against him, was now off the table entirely.

“He might be costing us some cash, but then we can turn that around and claim we are getting more environmentally aware.” One man said as many agreed. “ It makes us look better at a time when we need that boost.”

“It’s almost impossible to even approach him on his floating fortress .” Got mentioned as a story was told about someone hired to just test his security, and without warning they were found hanging in mid air thousands of feet up over the ocean and a warning got whispered into their ear, and they got dropped into the ocean right beside their boat and immediately turned and ran away, refusing to ever try again.

“It’s obvious that if he wanted us gone we’d be dead by now, so out of respect for that, I vote we just watch him and leave him and his family alone.” Got mentioned and a vote was taken and it passed. Stanley might have been a tiny thorn in their sides once, but now he was a powerful person on this world... more powerful than many before him... and even here that rang true.

But not everyone agreed, as Vincent Rothkid, son of the Master, heard about it later on and demanded that something be done.

“Its been settled, forget it and let it go.” His father said, but even he didn’t look happy saying it, and Vincent went away feeling he had... in the least... his fathers partial permission.If this person was in direct conflict with them and their kind he had to go, maybe if they did that back when he was just getting started then this wouldn’t be happening now.He quietly asked around and after being told he was nuts a few times his phone rang at 4 am one morning and a voice whispered, asking him what he needed.

“I need someone to disappear...” he admitted as he waited for the usual laughter.

“The person you want gone is damned near untouchable...several countries have put bounties on his head already...quietly... and no one has even come close. What can you offer that they cant?” He asked as Vincent offered a million dollars on the spot...and got laughed at for it. “There’s 5 times that much on him now, its obvious to me that you’re not really serious.” He heard and he screamed ‘5 million’, and waited.

“Your family lost a house... even you were there seeing what happened that day...if this person thinks you’re after his life then not only you but your entire family might disappear instead, are you willing to take that chance?” He got asked and he swore he would, and the line got silent and after a minute it said to have the cash ready immediately and if it wasn’t paid the second the job was over then his life was forfeit too, and the line went dead.

He felt a little scared but relieved. Some small time person wouldn’t know all this or charge such a high price, so he felt sure the job would get done, and he slid 5 million out of his fathers account into his own the next day, and waited on the good news.

But his new friend was watching Stanley all this time for his own reasons. Certain people around the world were angry with Stanley for his actions and his way of bringing things out into the light of day that needed kept secret. His name was mentioned a lot of places, and cash was on hold several times waiting on the good news. Almost 10 million dollars... just waiting... and every attempt had failed miserably and 2 people were now in prison for their attempt, and he wasn’t going to be one of those.

But he learned a lot from their attempts and so sneaking up on him from the sea or air was a waste, only a rare few people got on board that ship and their credentials were checked before they even got close. But big schools need a lot of things to keep going, and he really HAD been there once already, but decided that the time was not right and left a member of the food company that delivered the supplies to the ship... tons of food every month that couldn’t get there any other way. A large helicopter filled with food and supplies made a run to the base once a month and he now worked for them, and had made one trip out there to see it for himself, while making a delivery.

It was impressive for sure,and had some skilled security around too, but he knew he could do it and this time not just one bounty was available but enough to retire on in the country of his choice, and that had been decided months ago too.

Time came for the delivery and he sat back beside the pilot hearing all about how his kids were doing and nodding and smiling a lot to keep him happy. Then they landed and as he opened the cargo doors half a dozen peoples started unloading the ship, and he walked up to one guard and asked about using the bathroom saying ‘ its a long ride back and if I don’t get a break I’m going to **** myself on the way home’ and the man laughed and took him inside and pointed back the hall.

“Last door on the left and hurry it up.” he said as the man thanked him and ran that way, and around the corner, and he got faster and faster. School was out for the day and things were a lot quieter, and as he ran up a flight of stairs and towards the office at the top he passed only one person, a young women that didn’t seem to notice him at all.

He was within sight now and as he opened the door silently he saw the man sitting with his back towards him and he pulled out his gun and smiled...and got tossed into the room like so much garbage.

“Here he is boss..” The guard said panting a little .” this ones fast... good thing I was a sprinter in college.” he said laughing and took the gun away, as Stanley swiveled his chair to see him and smiled.

“You really shouldn’t have talked to the Rothkid Family, they have decided to leave me alone out here...a wise choice for sure...but you took the job anyways, even after being here before and giving up..why?” Stan asked and the man was surprised they knew all about him and even that he had made this trip once before...just as he had expected.

“I didn’t try and kill you because I know its not possible.” The man said standing tall, as Stanley asked why he was carrying a gun then... and the man laughed.” Its not loaded.” he said seriously, and they checked, and it was true.

“I want out of this profession and having lots of cash is the only way to do it. There’s a10 million dollar bounty on your head, but if I give you all the information I have, names... dates... everything... thats got to be worth something, yes?” he offered and Stan just smiled and agreed, and security sat him down and asked him some really serious questions and the answers only made what they already knew rock solid.

“Why pay him for information we already have?” Cora asked as Stanley reminded her that having friends in the right places was important, and that someone with his skills would hear things they might never know and she huffed and said it wasn’t possible, but Stan just laughed and the man got paid a decent reward for his work, and an agreement that he would call anytime something was happening, and he’d be paid rewards for all that info too, and the deal as done and a former hit man now worked for the school and retired into the Mediterranean on a nice big boat that needed a little fixing up, docked by a warm, sunny island.

A day later and Stanley flew in...quite literally..and dropped to the ground beside a rather surprised Master Rothkid who was watching over the reconstruction of his castle. He waved his security away and Stanley walked up and handed him a note and waited and the man read it and looked sick, and offered his most gracious apologies for this.

“He should be in prison right owe me.” Stanley said seriously, and with a gush of wind he was gone, and Master Rothkid called his son and gave him more kinds of Hell than he even knew existed, and he cut him off from the family fortune until he learned to follow orders.

Chapter 39: Friends in High Places

The Rothkid Family slowly started coming around. Their factories got improved and they were seen talking about pollution and how sad the planet was getting. One by one factories got better filters, and new factories had the very best available, and it didn’t take long to prove that being clean didnt mean less profits, as even the government of a few countries applauded their new way of thinking.

And to keep up some of their rich friends got into the act too, and slowly what was a culture of secrecy and greed became one of openness and transparency.

The world was improving, and the Spirits knew it well. In another century things would be close to the way it had been in the past, not completely, but much better than now. Stanley was very happy to hear it and he and Sherry were seen together much more often too, as his mother cheered to see it.And when he wasn’t watching the salvage crew got another boat...a 175 foot freighter... and Water told the man in charge to add that to the fleet too, and he was thrilled.

Stanley’s worth was well over a Billion himself since boats and ships had been getting sent to port for some time now, and his Corporation was listed on the Stock Market and was doing quite well too.

People who thought they knew such things called and asked his advise about many things, and often he laughed to say he had no idea what they were talking about and hung up.

But he had made his point, and every major Corporation on the planet slowed their pollution to a crawl, and then acted like it was their idea from the start. Even the UN called to thank him and on the proper day at the proper time, Stanley Hemming, Master of Spirits, got the Nobel Prize in Environmentalism, and he said that he was more than thrilled that the people of the world were trying to repair the damage they had done, and he was happy to be a part of it. And his comments rung around the world and he became famous even in places and with people that had no idea what he had been doing until now.

“I still don’t get it...” Stanley said softly, as Sherry rolled over and gave him a big kiss.

“Don’t worry about it, just do your best.” She added softly and he agreed, and he and her got married 6 months later and she made sure his name kept going for another generation. And as his children grew, they too saw Spirits and talked to them and treated them like their father did...and the Spirits of the World saw that maybe Mankind was ready after all...and they started planning on a true merging at sometime in the make the civilization called Humans and the Spirit World into one shared existence, and the World itself would be a better place for it... into Infinity.