"We are a good company..." came the crackled voice from the radio speaker. "With good people, opening opportunities for you!....Sauron Industries: 'Eye on the World!'"
Elrond switched it off in the midst of cheesy music that followed the droning voice of the ad. He didn't like it one bit... It reminded him of something half-forgotten.
He got out of his little red Buick and waited.
Around twenty minutes later,a sleek black car pulled into the lot next to his. Elrond had taken a seat on a nearby park bench. The morning air was cool, dew still raw on the city grass. With a smirk, Elrond crossed his legs as the driver of the black vehicle approached. "You're late." He accused, but the tone was playful.
Haldir frowned, something he was becoming more and more accustomed to doing. "I am still not used to driving that thing..." He indicated the exquisite machine with a careless wave of his hand.
"Well, you'll need that car soon... In the... days to come." He studied Haldir for a moment. "I don't suppose you know anything about this mission, do you?"
He let out a cynical sort of laugh. "This mission? No, never about any that I've ever been put on. I don't even know really who it is I work for." He put his fists on his hips and looked down at Elrdon expectantly. "Am I finally about to get some answers?"
"I guess you're entitled to some, yes." The older elf pulled the dark glasses from his face and gave Haldir a pitying look before speaking. "As you know, the believed-to-be dead Mr. Baggins had been receiving threats, both electronically and by post."
Haldir nodded silently.
"Now, ShirePark is a laboratory set up by the late Bilbo Baggins, and is intended for the betterment of civilization and environmental studies. It is the old Baggins fortune that had kept the laboratories afloat in years that have been rough economically." Here, Elrond stopped and motioned towards a brick pathway that led off into the park. "Shall we?" At Haldir's nod, he stood and they began to walk.
"A new strain of corn, among other food, particularly strains of vegetables, was developed there. This corn would bear harvest twice a year, and can grow in some of the harshest of climates. Naturally, it was greatly lauded." He stopped and turned to Haldir, his voice grown extremely stern. "This one innovation could hold the key to solving world hunger. The tests are still being carried out, but already this single product alone has brought incredible wealth and amounts of offers to ShirePark laboratories. The formulas for this, and all other experiments, are kept top-secret."
All of this was being soaked into Haldir's brain. His face remained expressionless.
"As you can imagine," Elrond continued, "many corporations would love to get their greedy human hands on this company... The thing is, ShirePark also funds ELF, the Environmental- and Life-protection Foundation..."
"We are a part of ShirePark?!" Haldir sounded incredulous.
"It is confidential information, but you should know, I think..." He trailed off thoughtfully. They walked a little more ways before Elrond began again. "We cannot let this company fall into any other's hands besides those of Baggins' nephew and only heir... Young Mr. Frodo. He's the only one that I feel will allow us to continue on the way we have been doing." Elrond smiled faintly.
"Well..." Haldir sighed. "I know now... Much of what I did not know before. Everything makes more sense with that knowledge."
Elrond turned his head and laughed. "You have no idea!"
---------------- ---------------- ----------------
Use your browser's Back button to return when you are finished reading.