A response to the Economist's March 27th-April 2nd article, "Taking the challenge, Pepsi gets a makeover".
Indra Kendall and Donald Bradham watched the stock numbers on the Bloomberg 3-D display as the green line indicating FrazzleCo stock price dived towards the red plane at the bottom of the display representing the stock price where Amsterdam Consulting, and everything else these days, would acquire FrazzleCo. The line's trajectory trended down.
"We have less than fifteen minutes. Are you ready to initiate Plan C?" asked Indra.
"Is it really necessary?" Donald's voice cracked and Indra wondered if he was afraid. Caleb and Herman had both been successful in implementing Plans A and B. At least if success was measured in the extra twenty years FrazzleCo had managed to survive.
"Yes." Indra slid aside the gold hued curtains at the edge of the conference room to reveal a shadow-filled room with a metal box and wires leading to a control panel.
"Even if Amsterdam Consulting's takeover bid succeeds, we should have some time after it ends to initiate our plan."
"No, Amsterdam's security forces will descend the minute the stock swap is triggered. We must begin. You remember your tasks?"
Donald grumbled, but Indra was relieved to see that he climbed into the machine's compartment. "Yes. I'll introduce the lawsuits against the computer industry companies and the entertainment companies for encouraging sedentary lifestyles that lead to weight gain." She dialed the year 2010 and flipped the initiation switch.
The shockwave tumbled Indra to the floor. This hadn't happened when they sent Caleb back to plant false research showing that smoking caused cancer, or Herman to infiltrate Coca-Cola and introduce new Coke. As her eyes adjusted, Indra realized that it was more an implosion then an explosion. The time machine had disappeared.
The Bloomberg display was also gone, just a room with the mahogany executive table and leather chairs around it. Indra wondered whether Donald had been successful.
She walked out of the conference room and the cubicles surrounding the area were empty, a few papers scattered across the desks. There were no flatscreen monitors or telephones. Donald must've failed. It looked like FrazzleCo had gone out of business and some chopshop had come in and taken everything worth selling. The tables and papers might not have been valuable, but the leather chairs would have been worth something.
Indra needed to leave the building to find out what had happened. Potted plants lined the hallway turning the place into a veritable jungle. Someone must water the plants or they would dry into brittle dead things. She passed Caleb's legal office. That was wrong, she must've passed the elevators. Indra retraced her steps to discover the open area with large palms and a flowering cactus covered the area where the elevators had been. Someone had gutted the building. Why would you remodel the place and remove the elevators on a forty-story building? Perhaps, that was why they hadn't been able to find any new tenants after FrazzleCo had gone out of business.
Instead of dust-covered concrete stairs, Indra descended down carpeted stairs with brass faux candle fixtures hanging on the walls. The stairs were wider than she remembered and other workers passed her as she wheezed down the stairs. They paused as they descended past her to say, "Good evening Ms. Kendall."
On the ground floor, a man opened the door for Indra. She looked out at the street and saw hundreds of bikes blurring past the doorway where there should have been cars. She turned to the doorman, and asked, "What happened to FrazzleCo?"
"You must be joking Ms. Kendall." Even the doorman knew her.
"What about the stock market --"
"Are you okay Ms. Kendall? There hasn't been a stock market since China annexed the Americas."
Indra wondered where Plan C had gone wrong.