Richard Lyle Mills
An azure sky accentuated the emerald fairways of the Sunnyvale Golf and Country Club. Normally, the late autumn warmth would have filled the fairways with golfers, but the grounds were locked up tighter than a sardine can to accommodate the very private meeting of forty wealthy individuals from across North America. The usual caterers, staff and security of the Golf and Country Club had been replaced for this occasion by personnel, attired in black, from environs outside the local boundaries. The word had filtered back to the community that these new arrivals projected a mean-spirited, disinviting presence, an intimidating bearing, they were told, that would chill the bravest heart among Sunnyvale’s citizenry.
At the entrance to the golf and country club Richard Lyle Mills, Sunnyvale’s only resident billionaire, greeted each invited guest as their limousines drew up. White haired and handsome by any standard, his tall, athletic frame exuded youthful energy for a sixty-five-year-old man. After short salutations with each arrival, the participant was escorted by one of his staff to a long table in the foyer to acquire their name tag. At that location smartphones, iPads, cameras, and other recording gear were confiscated. When the final guest arrived, the metal boxes which contained the electronic devices were locked and taken away.
Richard glanced at his watch as he stepped out into the open air. He watched while the last of the male limousine drivers was patted down and relieved of his cellphone before being directed to a waiting bus. The bus would take them to a building at the far end of the property where they would be fed and wait until the meeting ended. He smiled to himself. Good food, pretty girls, a well stocked bar and sports on a large screen T.V. should keep them happily occupied. Audio technicians had located white-noise-emitting devices around the main building to foil eavesdropping on the gathering by the press and other unwelcome individuals. Once he entered the building and conference room, all doors were to be sealed. He had allotted no more than twenty minutes for the preliminary social once everyone had arrived, and half that time had already passed.
When Richard took to the stage and peered out onto the all-white participants from the podium, it was with great satisfaction. The clout ...