I watched Moxie and Mother walk over to the elevators. I kept looking at Moxie until she got on and the doors closed. Damn, she looked hot as a redhead. I definitely needed to take her out on a date, and from there, who knows?
Shaking my head, I headed out the front door of the OA. I had gone there to see Dad, but he had been in a meeting, with orders not to be disturbed. I made an appointment with Cassandra the Bulldog (aka, his secretary) for later that afternoon. Wait, Moxie had gotten on the elevator, probably headed for Dad’s office, and she’d probably get in, too. The Bulldog probably told me Dad was busy just to annoy me. Pain in the butt secretary.
So, I decided to head to Hephaestus’ forge to start searching for answers regarding the sabotage that had taken place. My brother was out of town, trying to find replacements for the aluminum rollers. Charlie, his foreman, was in charge while he was away. I found him in the office, yelling at someone on the phone. He slammed it down and looked up. “What do you want?” he snapped.
“I’m Ares of Wares Security,” I said, “and Hephaestus’ brother.”
Charlie relaxed visibly. “Sorry, man, things have been a little tense around here,” he replied, standing up to shake hands across the desk. “I wish your brother was back already. Trying to keep this place running is driving me crazy.”
“Heph says the same thing,” I chuckled. “What can you tell me about the sabotage?”
“Sssshh, don’t say that too loud,” Charlie said. “Heph asked me to keep that on the down low. If any of the workers thought we were being…well, you know, they might walk out.”
I thought he was being rather paranoid, but agreed not to mention the “s” word. “Why don’t you show me the forge where the rollers were switched.”
Charlie grabbed his walkie talkie and keys off the desk. I followed him out into the main forge, where a brand-new golf car sat nearby. “It’s pretty cool to be able to drive this before the boss gets a hold of it,” he said as we climbed inside. “He goes through these things like they’re water. He totally destroyed the last one with his hammer.”
I could believe that. Hephaestus was never one who had much patience with any kind of transportation with wheels. When cars were first invented, he talked the Ford brothers into giving him a Model T, what the mortals called the Tin Lizzie. It lasted ten minutes in Heph’s hands. It might have lasted longer if he hadn’t smashed the pedals through the floor when he was trying to shift gears.
Charlie drove us to Number 7, parking near the door. Locating the right key, he unlocked the door and we walked inside. He flipped on the lights. “We haven’t been using this one much because of the rollers,” he said, leading me over to a smaller forge area. He pointed at the roller that was lying nearby. “This is what the rollers are supposed to look like.”
The roller in question looked silver, like aluminum, but the difference was that titanium was heavier, although not as heavy as steel. I nudged the roller with my knee, but it barely moved. “Where is the aluminum rollers?” I asked him.
He led me to an area to our right. A roller was sitting against the wall. Just by looking at it, I could tell that it was the same color as the first one, but when I pulled it backwards, it moved a little easier than the titanium one. “How could you guys not tell the difference between the two when you were installing them?”
Charlie shrugged. “I don’t think anyone really noticed. We had so many orders coming in from the OA that we had to get the forges up and running quickly to meet the demand. Heph couldn’t oversee all the work; neither could I. We trusted the men to do the job and to be able to tell the difference.”
“Obviously that didn’t work out too well.”
“Truthfully, I know for a fact that titanium rollers were put on here,” Charlie said a bit defensively. “I watched them be installed myself. They were done late one night; I volunteered to stay to make sure the job got done. But between the time they were installed to a couple of weeks ago, someone came in here and replaced them with the aluminum ones.”
“How many people does it take to install one of these things?”
“At least three.”
“So three men came in here and did the work when no one was watching. Do you have security cameras?”
“What about a security system?”
“Nope. Heph didn’t think it was necessary.”
“Well, obviously he was wrong,” I replied, pulling out my phone and typing some notes into my OA Note App. “I’m going to order cameras and security systems for every forge, and for the main building. It will take a couple of days to get the equipment together.”
“I don’t know if Heph is going to agree to that,” Charlie said skeptically.”
“I’m doing what is best for him and for the company,” I told him. “If anything happens to the forge, then we cannot work on the expansion plans Zeus has for Olympus. Do you really want to explain to him why things aren’t getting done?”
Charlie shook his head. “No way. That man scares me.”
“He has that effect on most people.” My phone rang, and I looked down at the screen. “Speak of the devil,” I said as I pushed the answer button. “I was just talking about you.”
“I need you at my office.”
“I have an appointment for this afternoon,” I informed him. “I’ll see you…”
“No,” he interrupted me, “I need you here now.”
“Is there a problem?”
“You could say that, but I’m not going to discuss this over the phone.” He hung up.
Putting the phone in my back pocket, I sighed. “I’ve got to go,” I said, shaking hands with Charlie again. “I’ll be back after I have all the equipment together. In the meantime, keep the doors locked to the forges you aren’t using. I’ll send a security team over here to patrol the area day and night to make sure nothing else happens.”
Charlie’s walkie talkie crackled. “Hey, Charlie, this is Bill over at Forge Twenty. We’ve got a problem.”
“Another bad roller.”
“Damn it!” Charlie snapped. “I’ll be right there.” He looked at me. “Someone doesn’t want Zeus’ plans to come to life. You’ve got to do something.”
“The question is…who?” I said as we left Number Seven. Who would be dumb enough to try and stop the Gods from coming back?