FatLand: The Early Days – 29

“Well, what else could happen to him?”

“Usually Stark’s approach isn’t through force. It’s subtler.”

“You think he might try to buy Bill?”

“That’s one possibility.”

“What are the others?”

“Variations. Might try to offer him some kind of partnership. Or a couple of houses.”

“What if Bill doesn’t accept?”

“Ah.”

“And that means?”

Bellea put down her fork. “We’ve never seen it, mind you,” she said.  “It’s always been a rumor.  But we’ve had some evidence that it exists.”

“Stark’s house in the mountains?”

“More than just a house,” Francis said. “It’s an underground fortress, according to the rumors.”

“He might try to hold Bill there?”

“That is very possible. Especially if he kidnapped him or had him kidnapped.”

“Oh God. How do I tell this to Charla? And what can we do about it?”

“Police won’t help,” Bellea said. “You need private people.”

“To do what? Save Bill?”

“At least to find out if he’s there.”

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