SETH PADGETT – Doctor,, top in his field. In his mid-20’s, smart,
wise-ass, and very good at his craft. Has spent most of his time at
Rollins Hospital in Rhode Island.
Rollings Hospital, Rhode Island
Time was a factor. A race against an invisible menace was
robbing Adrian of his life.
Adrian Blakely’s fading health was not what it used to be.
He was a genetic conglomeration of various ailments, several of
which impacted his overall stamina and endurance. Adrian relied
on a medical breakthrough, where a recently developed arm brace
controlled his balance right down to the cubic inch. His body was
slowly being devoured by a rare genetic disorder that robbed Adrian
of precious time and mobility. The Europa Agenda was to be his
He was now on a mission from an old friend.
The president personally asked Adrian to bring together a
collection of qualified individuals from their respective fields in
order to spearhead the president’s imminent mission to Europa in
the wake of Yellowstone’s eruption.
Adrian’s slow, deliberate shuffle down the finely waxed corridor
brought back memories of his war days, where a nasty fight with his
superior had landed him a dishonorable discharge and a lengthy stay
inside a mental hospital.
Adrian’s expensive black shoes clacked against the pristine
tiles, as a steady line of doctors and nurses segued their way past
his crumbling appearance. Their eyes told the story. Adrian’s rapid
decline was completely noticeable.
His eyes followed the perfectly laid tiles that had a name
emblazoned into them: Rollins Hospital. It had been at least a
decade since Adrian walked this foyer. Ten years since he personally
laid the first stubborn brick, riveted the first steel beam, and cut the
ceremonial red ribbon with a slick silver pair of scissors.
34 Jason Gehlert
Using his abundant resources, Adrian Blakely built Rhode Island
a state of the art medical facility, equipped with the best doctors,
nurses, equipment, and tools. That was the primary reason why
Adrian stepped inside these walls once again.
He walked up to the receptionist desk and stared down at the
young woman sitting behind the marbled counter top.
“Can I help you?” Her voice was sweet and friendly.
“Dr. Seth Padgett, please.” Adrian cleared his throat.”I’m here
“He’s in surgery right now,” she responded with a saccharine
“I’m here on the business of the president of The United
States,” Adrian said in a firm tone.”You do know who the president
is?” He tapped his arm brace against the floor irritably, then scanned
over the woman’s name badge.”Got that, Karyn?”
The young woman obviously didn’t like Adrian’s tone and
definitely didn’t know who she was dealing with.”Listen, he’s busy
“I don’t have time for this grade school bullshit,” Adrian
grumbled. He forced his free hand over the counter and confiscated
“Excuse me,” Karyn chirped back with a startled glaze in her
eyes.”You can’t do that.”
“Oh, I beg to differ. I can do it. I own this hospital.” Adrian
swiped the intercom and, with a blazing voice, ordered Dr. Seth
Padgett to the lobby area at once.
A few passing patients gapped at Adrian with raised eyebrows.
“What’s everyone leering at?” Adrian barked. The crowd
murmured quietly and gave him a wide berth.
Seth Padgett walked down the slick corridor, sidestepping the
yellow caution floor signs, his white jacket flapping against his lengthy
legs. Reaching the cream colored doors, he shoved them open and
stepped into the main lobby, taking notice the back of a bristling
Adrian Blakely at the receptionist’s desk.
Europa: Rise of the Carnelians 35
Clearing his throat, Seth closed the distance between the two
men.”Adrian.” Seth wanted to smooth over this situation as quickly
as possible. He had a full schedule of surgeries lined up until the
“Seth,” he grumbled, turning around to face the medical
Seth leaned in close to his old friend.”Please keep your voice
down,” he said sternly.
“I only raised it to get your attention.” Adrian pivoted on the
arm brace and tugged on Seth’s white jacket .”Come walk with me
outside in the courtyard.”
Seth gave into the billionaire’s request with a shrug.”A quick
jaunt is all I have time for, Adrian.”
“You have unsurpassed intelligence for someone who only
recently passed the age requirement for drinking.” Adrian smirked.
“And you have the charming traits of a rattlesnake, for someone
who has only recently entered the octogenarian period of life,” Seth
Seth Padgett used sarcasm whenever possible. The young doctor
had relied heavily on the tactic while he plowed his way through the
field, earning top honors at every turn. His short blond hair, dense
blue eyes, and athletic build brought the ladies to an immediate
standstill. Seth always felt Adrian was jealous of his overwhelming
Seth cut right to the muscle of the conversation.”So, what’s with
the urgent visit, Adrian? You’ve never set a foot inside this building,
unless it was for your own personal agenda.”
“I’m here on presidential business.” Adrian reached into his vest
and withdrew a fattened Cuban cigar.
“No smoking.” Seth tapped him on the shoulder.”Can’t you read
the signs? Let alone be considerate for the patients and staff?”
“Outdoors? Can we take this conversation outdoors? My lungs
are aching for a crisp smoke.”
“It ruins your health, and inhibits your sex drive.”
36 Jason Gehlert
“Well, we don’t want that, now do we?” Adrian stuffed the cigar
back into his vest pocket and limped down the cobblestone.
“How’s the leg? It seems to be getting better.”
“Wondrous, ever since your operation.”
“I aim to please.” Seth was becoming one of the rising doctors
in the Northeast. His quiet demeanor and friendly candor had
earned him many friends and loyalists throughout his short career.
He had also kept his finger on the pulse of the country’s politics,
environmental and social issues. He knew Forsythe wasn’t there to
compliment his surgical skills. “So, what’s up?
“As you know, we have a certain situation that’s brewing out
west.” Adrian took notice of the sun-drenched yard.
“That whole Yellowstone mumbo jumbo?
“Yeah, that would be the situation I’m chatting about. You know,
I really like whoever designed this courtyard.”
“You did.” Seth was beginning to dislike Adrian’s flagrant
“Oh yeah.” Adrian cocked his head.”I did a great job.”
“Anyway, how can I help you?” Seth started to become agitated.
Adrian didn’t visit arbitrarily, only when he wanted something. Seth
had a knot in his stomach that was telling him this one was going to
be a hard one to swallow.
“President Forsythe wanted me to personally recruit you for a
“Did I stutter?”
“Me? The president wants me?” Seth tied his hands together in
an unpleasant pattern.
“I can’t delve into too much detail,” Adrian said.
“You can’t?” Seth looked puzzled.
“It’s a matter of national security. Are you in or out?”
Europa: Rise of the Carnelians 37
“What are we picking here? Flag football teams?” Seth shot
back.”Listen, Adrian, I really don’t have time for these games of
yours. Are you taking the proper medication for your leg?”
“I’m fine. But I need an answer, and fast. It’s cause for great
concern if my team isn’t picked by midnight tonight.”
“Picked for what?”
Instead of answering, Adrian pulled in a long breath and scanned
the courtyard, leaving Seth to fold his arms in disgust.
“Fine, don’t tell me.” Seth tried to figure out what was going
on behind those calculating eyes, but was stymied, as always. “Is it
Forsythe nodded once. “Would I ask you if it weren’t?”
Even though Seth’s first impulse was to tell him to go to hell,
he knew he wouldn’t. He ran a hand through his unkempt hair and
scowled at him.
The two men reached the end of the cobblestone walkway.
“Let me know Seth,” Adrian said, handing him the small
Seth flipped over the black card and read the golden letters.
“Yes. If interested, be there at 7 P.M tomorrow night.”
Seth watched as Adrian Blakely whirled around and left him to
ponder the curious offer.
Mankind's fight for survival begins
Europa: Rise of the Carnelians
7.4.09 from stonegarden.net publishers