GILLIAN "JILL” SHEA - Brilliant geologist/scientist, tough and
strict, Irish with red hair, in her early 30’s.
New York City
Thousands of resident New Yorkers stood below the gigantic
screen, watching their president well into his lengthy State of The
Union address. Their eyes were cemented to his presence on the
screen. Watching. Waiting. They hung on to every word, clinging to
each like a newborn to a blanket.
Gillian Shea, a fiery thirty-year-old Irish geologist, stood cramped
inside the gathering crowd. A swift wind blew her short red hair and
danced just below her ears. Her fingers adjusted small wire framed
glasses that rested slightly above an inadequate nose. Her desire to
purchase contacts had become a faded reality once she found out
how irregular her corneas had become. Clutched over her shoulder,
a sturdy black knapsack that harbored her vitals: laptop, journals,
and plenty of vitamin water, along with some health bars for hunger
Gillian unconsciously measured the landscape around her,
mentally contemplating the layers of limestone and shale under her
feet . Even New York had its hidden dangers. Knowing she was the
best geologist in the country, if not the world, didn’t help her shake
this annoying habit. Nor did her frequent visits to the Oval Office
that had her fellow colleagues drooling in envy. She smiled at the
thought and focused on Forsythe’s haggard face. The president had
always welcomed her into his good graces, ever since Yellowstone
had begun her slow ascent to imminent eruption. Annihilation made
The graying clouds hovered over the infamous Times Square,
ready to burst with snowflakes. Gillian adjusted her hat, pulling it
taut over her ears.
"Do you believe this jackoff?” A man coarsely nudged into
Gillian’s personal space.
“Excuse me?” She threw him a dirty look and pounded the cold
out of her shoulders to increase the distance between them.
“This guy blows smoke. Yellowstone’s ready to blow? C’mon.
Blow me, that’s what I say.” The abrasive man extended his middle
finger high above his head and waved in the direction of the television
“This is serious, buddy,” Gillian scrunched her face at the man’s
intense alcoholic laden breath.”When she erupts, there will be
nothing left on this planet.”
“When you erupt,” he snorted back. His pupils widened and he
gave her a perverse grin.”Is that an invitation?”
Gillian cocked a small fist and chucked it directly into the
man’s belly, sending him spiraling towards the hard, cold pavement.
His body lay strewn over the chipped white crosswalk, as several
members of the crowd scrambled over him, not caring one iota if
they stepped on him.
“Now, that’s grit,” said a man on the other side of the sprawled
Gillian sized him up in one glance and squared her shoulders.”You
want some, too?” she snapped. She looked directly into his shifty,
black eyes, waiting for him to be like the other abrasive man. But
his cane deterred her for a moment, as a feeling of empathy swept
over her, reminding her of her college years when a drunk driver had
left her unable to walk for several months. The man closed the gap
between them, and Gillian noticed his aging good looks, black hair,
and definitive limp. It was him, it had to be.
“No.” The man waved his hands in a meager defense.”I come
“Peace? What exactly do you want from me?” Gillian noticed
the crowd expanding around them.
“I am in need of your assistance with a very urgent matter.” His
words were short and efficient.
Gillian and Adrian were caught in between a steady wave of
people, as they pushed and prodded their way through. It started to
make normal conversation quite difficult.
A scattering of snow danced through the cold air, sticking to
Gillian’s glasses. “I didn’t catch your name,” she said.
“My name is Adrian Blakely, and the president sent me.”
“That’s the dumbest come on line ever,” Gillian replied as she
wiped off the snow, and peeked at the president’s address. She
continued to search her mind for information on Adrian.
“Seriously.” Adrian leaned on his brace.”The fate of the world
hangs in the balance.”
“Where do you get these lines? I hope you kept the receipt.”
Gillian began to head north through the suffocating crowd.
She heard Adrian’s muffled voice behind her as several people
filled the void between them..”Gillian Shea!” he hollered above the
How did he know her name? She turned her head out of
a curiosity and caught a glimpse of several people brushing past
Adrian, knocking him off balance and sending him to ground. The
crowd trampled over the helpless man, stepping on his metal brace.
Not one stopped with a helpful hand.
Shit, I can’t leave him on the ground. Gillian coached herself to
go back and help Adrian.
“Here,” she said, extending her hand.
“Thank you.” Adrian took hold and pulled himself up, resting
again on the battered brace.
“How did you know my name?”
“President Forsythe sent me to find you.”
Gillian was bewildered at the answer.”Out here in Times
“I was actually headed to your offices, but happened to stumble
on you in the streets instead.” Adrian looked up at the screen.”If he’s
right, we don’t have enough time.”
“Please take my card.” Adrian handed her a small black and gold
“Blakely Aeronautics? That name sounds familiar. Have you
ever spoken at Tulane University?
“Yeah, several years ago. Why, where you there?”
“Yes. I was a student at the time and found your talents very
“Be there tonight around 7 PM.” He tapped the card, and Gillian
tightened her grip on it, whistling it out of his fingers aggressively.
She didn’t know why.
“I don’t understand,” she said.
“Your talents are needed for this special mission of the
Gillian didn’t know whether or not believe him. Adrian’s eyes
looked stern and sympathetic at the same time. She scowled at
him.”Talents?” Gillian wasn’t sure where Adrian was going with this.
She started to understand Adrian’s sly nature.
“You are one of the leading world-renowned geologists,
correct?” Adrian asked with a raise of his eyebrow.
“Yes, I am.” Gillian placed the card into her jacket pocket.
“Well then, you are just the person I need. Just the person the
president needs for this important task.”
“I’ll bite,” Gillian replied as she stared Adrian down.”Don’t fuck
with me. I land a nasty uppercut.”
“Oh, I know. I saw you lay that guy out before.” Adrian turned
around and began his slow exit from the crowd.
“Okay then. 7:00.”
Gillian’s lower lip grew into a giddy smile. Her mind got the best
of her. A special mission from the president.
Then it hit her. Of course, Adrian Blakely, billionaire. The
richest man in the world. Gillian remembered full well his standing
in American society. His wealth and crude monopolistic practices
earned Adrian a coveted place inside the president’s close circle,
and one of Adrian’s side projects supported geological science. A
true love of Gillian’s. Was that why the president had tagged her? If
anyone could sponsor such a task, it would be Adrian Blakely.
A gust of wind stirred, twirling the snow around the gigantic
television screen. A collection of snowflakes floated across President
Forsythe’s face as he wrapped up his State of the Union address.