Black: Day 01 - Chapter 17
Los Angeles, California
Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 - 09:40 AM
Kevin received a call from the higher-ups in the agency for some urgent information, and as he hangs up the call, he gives Mona the heads up.
"Hey, Mona, you should know something."
Mona is busy scanning the police roadblocks set to search for Adam, but listens to what Kevin has to say with the other ear.
"Division called. They're sending a provisional replacement for Adam."
"Well, they sure didn't waste any time, did they?"
Mona doesn't seem to be too interested, but Kevin's tone is a lot more serious.
"Mona, it's Larry Green."
That name stops Mona in her tracks for a second or two.
"Didn't he work under you when you were still at Division, and...?"
"Yeah. Yeah. He did. When's he coming?"
"Division said he'd be here any minute now. Around 9:50."
Mona's day just went from bad to worse, even though she doesn't say it out loud. But it's all over her face.
Adam is navigating his way through the LA morning traffic as Mona once again gives him a call.
"Hey, Adam, it's me."
"Nothing good. Division's sending in a replacement for you to take charge."
"Who is it?"
The day has been a series of unfortunate events for Adam, and this was strike number one thousand.
"Son of a bitch. Well, we'll deal with that when we have to. Are you okay?"
"Well, I'm not gonna lie and tell you I'm totally okay, Adam."
"Can you hang in there? Mona, I need you."
Their partnership is strictly business. And Mona respects Adam's family enough to keep it that way. But they did once share more than just business - so of course hearing Adam say he needs her is something that causes that involuntary heat wave through her chest. It always will, it's not something you consciously turn off and move on from.
"Yea. Yea, I can hang in there."
"Thank you. Have you heard back from Susan? Has she called?"
"No, nothing yet."
"Let me know if you hear from her. I'm going to pay a visit to Mr. Novak."
By any and all accounts an innocent, standard, regular businessman in his 50s, Tom Novak, is packing things up before he leaves and asks his secretary for any urgent messages he may have received during his meeting.
"Any messages while I was away, Stacy?"
"Uhh, some friend of yours from business school called. Said he wanted to meet up with you, but I told him you were going to leave town as soon as you were done with your meeting."
"A friend of mine from business school? Did he tell you his name?"
"No, he just hung up."
"Right. He's probably just someone trying to sell me something. If he calls back, make sure not to give him my cell number, okay, hah?"
"Yeah, I wasn't going to."
Tom goes back to making his last-minute preparations. He does go through the people he spent time with in business school that could possibly potentially be wanting to contact him today, and he can't come up with anyone.
So he simply dismisses the thought.
Larry Green enters the building. He exchanges words with Gregory, who was in the hall to mee him, about how things have been going and running.
As they go through things, the whole mood of the entire office goes down as they notice Larry coming in. Not that the higher-ups in ATC are that favoured by the staff ever anyway, but Larry Green, in particular, carries with him a reputation of being hard to deal with.
Larry then walks up to Mona, and as Mona stands up, they exchange the world's most awkward handshake before Larry begins to bark orders.
"Would you gather everyone around?"
Mona walks to the center of the main hall to give an announcement.
"Everybody, can I have your attention for just a moment. Adam Black has been relieved of his duties. And, on a provisional basis, Larry Green has been named as his replacement. He will assume all of Adam's duties as Director of ATC."
Larry himself then continues.
"As all of you here know, there was an attempt made on Senator Bruce Miller's life around 7am. Senator Miller was able to survive the attack, but what some of you may not know yet is that Adam Black has been implicated in this morning's events. The extent of Mr. Black's involvement remains unclear, but, he has escaped custody and is officially considered a fugitive. So, currently, all of you here have two objectives: one, ensuring the safety of Senator Bruce Miller, and two, finding Adam Black. I know some of you here have been up for more than 24 hours. That's too bad. From here on, if anyone here as much as yawns until Adam Black has been found. If anybody has a problem with that, now is a good time to resign. Those of you who wish to resume working here, get back to work. Specific assignments will be confirmed, or revised, within the hour. Thank you."
Larry then gets back to Mona privately, in a condescending tone, masked as a friendly remark.
"I know this is awkward, but I hope that you can make it through today. You're a pro, after all. I'll talk to you later."
Larry leaves into one of the offices and leaves Mona standing there with a look of disgust on her face.
Adam parks his car in the parking lot, and rushes into the massive multi-story building, asking people around him for advice.
"Excuse me, what floor is Novak Enterprises on?"
"14, I think."
Adam then calls for an elevator and makes his way up.
At floor 14, he steps out of the elevator, just passing by Tom Novak who was lost in the sea of people moving in and out of the floor, so he asks around.
"Excuse me, I need to talk to Mr. Tom Novak, please."
"I believe Mr. Novak just left."
The person points to one of the elevators that Mr. Novak stepped into, and just as Adam runs to the door, it closes.
"Son of a bitch."
Adam then rushes to the stairs and begins to go down. He comes across a fire alarm, and quickly breaks the glass to initiate it.
The fire alarm stops all the elevators in the building on their tracks, buying Adam some additional time.
He then hops down the stairs, all the way down to the parking lot.
He notices a chauffeur waiting alongside a long, luxurious limousine, and walks towards him.
"Excuse me, are you Mr. Novak's driver?"
"Yeah, that's right."
Adam shows him his ATC badge.
*"I'm a federal agent. Where are you going?"
"To the airport."
"On what business?"
"Look, I'm just his driver. Is there a problem?"
"Come here for a second."
Adam takes the chauffeur around the corner.
Larry has asked Mona to step into his office, and Mona has reluctantly agreed.
"You, uhh, wanted to see me?"
Larry is extremely straightforward and gets to the point.
"Yes, I did. Where's Adam?"
Mona puts on her best innocent face.
"I have no idea. I haven't talked to him since this morning."
"Since he escaped custody with a hostage?"
"Mona, I'm not sure if I believe you."
Larry leans slightly forward on his desk and changes his tone from serious to persuasive.
"If you help me find him, Mona, I'll do what I can to make sure nothing heavy falls on you."
"I told you I don't know."
"I know about you and Adam. I know the two of you don't exactly keep secrets."
Mona hates it when her dirty laundry is aired in the office.
"Not that my personal life is any of your business, or the business of anyone else here, but Adam doesn't trust anybody. For your information."
"What is it about him, Mona?"
"You're a career woman. The most goal-oriented, hard-working, brilliant woman I know. Why are you so willing to throw it all away to protect Adam Black?"
"I'm not protecting anybody."
"For your sake, Mona, I hope so. Because if you refuse to help with the investigation, and I find out that you had information about Adam that you were holding back, not only will you lose your job, I'll make sure you'll be facing jail time for obstructing the investigation of an attempted assassination of a Presidential candidate. Ask yourself this: is Adam Black really worth going to jail for? You're dismissed."
Speechless and dumbfounded, Mona steps out of the office, feeling conflicted.
Tom Novak's limousine leaves the parking garage.
Tom is preoccupied at the back of the limo with his phone for several blocks as the limo makes its way through the planned route towards the airport.
Not noticing Adam driving the limousine, putting on a pair of sunglasses and heading into the traffic.