Authors note: This is an unedited sneak peek. Please excuse the errors and block formatting.
Chapter 6: Jacob and The Bilderberg Meeting
The Grove Hotel was only eighteen miles from London, yet isolated on 300 acres of Hertfordshire countryside. The hotel was once a mansion, the former home of the Earls of Clarendon. The exterior had been impeccably restored to its eighteenth century glory, and the inside updated to cater to the most discerning guest. Jacob stood in the ornate lobby, watching the hallway as a few attendees filtered out. Twenty minutes ago, it had been like a who’s who of power players. Kings, queens, princes, prime ministers, premiers, commissioners, CEOs, central bankers, ministers, chancellors, congressmen, senators, and cabinet members. Security was tight. It had taken Jacob nearly an hour to go through three checkpoints and two searches.
The attendees fell into one of three categories: old banking money, politicians bought by said old banking money, and up and comers. The up and comers were the wildcards, the people with the potential to upset the power structure. They were invited and shown the hierarchy, given the opportunity to benefit from the can’t lose system they’d created. There’d been rogue elites, against the status quo, but they’d never had enough power to effectively oppose the families that owned the world. These families could give away their money and their land and then, with a few taps on a keyboard, buy it back again. This year, there were three up-and-comers: Zhang Jun, the CEO of the Bank of China (North American Division), Corrinne Powers, the Democratic senator from Virginia, and probably the next President of the United States, and Truman Bradshaw, the CEO of Thorium Unlimited. Of the three, Truman Bradshaw posed the biggest threat to the existing power structure.
Jacob checked his watch again. 7:18. The last session of the Bilderberg Meeting finished at seven, but still no sign of his brothers or his father. He’d tried texting them, but no response. They were supposed to meet in the lobby at seven, but maybe he’d misunderstood. They were supposed to have dinner in the hotel, but maybe they’d gone to London. Or more likely they were networking with important people, too busy to bother returning his texts. Jacob felt like a puppy waiting for his owner. He continued to watch the hallway as attendees filtered out. Only the elite of the elite were invited. Jacob would’ve loved to have been a fly on the wall. He’d been invited to the hotel by his father, but Jacob’s status as CEO of a failing company, wasn’t prestigious enough to garner an invite to the meeting.
Jacob saw his father, Nathan, walking down the hallway with Randal Montgomery. Jacob smoothed his suit and straightened his tie. The Democratic congressman from South Carolina shook Nathan’s hand with a big grin, then walked past Jacob, as if he was invisible. Jacob approached his father.
“Father,” Jacob said, with his hand outstretched.
Nathan narrowed his dark eyes, looking down on his son. “Jacob.” They shook. Nathan was averaged-sized, but still taller than Jacob by two inches. He had big bushy eyebrows, thinning grayish-white hair, and a perpetually downturned mouth that rarely smiled in Jacob’s company.
“How did it go today?” Jacob asked.
Nathan nodded ruefully. “There’s much work to be done. Still many opponents to the world peace we’ve engineered.”
Laughing came from the hall. Jacob’s brothers, Mayer and Eric, appeared with Truman Bradshaw, all smiles, and dissipating laughter. Mayer and Eric wore dark suits, as did most attendees, but Truman wore a purple polo and khakis. This wasn’t surprising. Truman had a reputation for nonconformity. They said their goodbyes and shook hands. Truman exited the hotel and the brothers approached Jacob and Nathan. Mayer was tall, dark-haired, and handsome. Eric had an average build, with a small paunch and a squinty smile. Unfortunately, Jacob looked more like Eric.
“Jacob,” Mayer said, still grinning. “How was your flight?”
“Long,” Jacob replied, accepting a hug from his older brother.
“Didn’t you fly hypersonic?” Eric asked. “It’s only an hour and a half flight from New York to London.”
“I’m not rich like you.”
“Come on.” Eric knitted his brows. “You can’t tell me that the CEO of Freddie Mac can’t afford a hypersonic flight.”
“I can afford a lot of things, that doesn’t make it prudent to buy them,” Jacob replied.
“Touché, brother.” Eric hugged Jacob.
The Roth men settled around a square table in the hotel restaurant. Aptly named, The Glasshouse, the restaurant boasted floor-to-ceiling glass along the length of the building. Despite the darkness outside, tasteful lighting illuminated a nice view of the kitchen garden and formal pools. A spattering of Bilderberg attendees were also in the restaurant, but parties were seated discreetly and everyone kept to themselves adhering to the unspoken rule: what happens in the Bilderberg Meetings stays in the Bilderberg Meetings.
A robotic waitress rolled to their table. The bottom half of the robot was a tapered block, covered with a dark dress, four wheels underneath. The top half looked like a female torso, with arms, and a human-sized head. The titanium and aluminum frame was covered in silicone, with wavy dark hair to her shoulders. She didn’t look perfectly human, nor was she meant for that purpose. She was made to replace servers but her model was only used in high-end restaurants. Most restaurants used a boxy waist-high robot that looked more like a small van than a human being. Customers had to remove their food from the tray atop the robot.
The waitress took their orders, sending the message automatically to the robotic cooks, then she moved on to another table.
The Roth men spent most of the meal talking about Mayer’s and Eric’s family. Wives, children, and vacations. To the unaware, the Roth brothers looked like three successful middle-aged men out to dinner with their father.
During dessert, Mayer asked, “How are David and Ethan?”
“They’re good,” Jacob replied, glancing up from his crème brulee. “Lindsey’s doing well too.”
Nathan grunted at the mention of Lindsey.
“How old is Lindsey now?” Mayer asked, trying to recover from his faux pas.
“Sixteen,” Jacob replied.
“She wasn’t at the last family reunion, was she?” Eric asked.
Jacob set his fork down with a clang, staring through his circular glasses. “She couldn’t make it.”
Eric nodded as if he were just figuring something out. “She was with her father, right?”
Jacob clenched his jaw, unresponsive.
“I don’t know how you do it? I certainly couldn’t.”
“Raise another man’s child.”
Nathan blew out a ragged breath, the old man no longer eating, as if the idea of Jacob raising another man’s child made him sick.
Mayer scowled at his youngest sibling. “That’s uncalled for.”
Eric showed his palms. “I was actually complimenting Jacob. He’s a bigger man than me.”
“How’s Rebecca doing?” Mayer asked, trying to change the subject.
“She’s great,” Jacob said. “Has her hands full with the boys, but she loves being a mother.”
“Not much to it these days,” Eric said. “Abigail lets the nanny bot do all the domestic chores. She still has plenty of time to be a great wife, mother, and pursue her passions. She’s actually writing a romance novel.”
“Is she better than the robot writers?”
Eric chuckled. “Touché again brother.”
“I actually read a robot written thriller on the plane ride over,” Mayer said. “It was a little formulaic, but it wasn’t bad.”
After dessert and bourbon, the restaurant was empty except for the Roths. Jacob hoped with the relative privacy and the relaxed inhibitions he could complete his mission.
Jacob cleared his throat. “Freddie Mac could be a good investment.”
“Not yet,” Eric said, grinning.
“The stock price is reasonable since the last downturn. If I can turn it around, it’ll be—”
Nathan set his bourbon on the table. “No. We’re not buying American companies at the moment.”
“Since when?” Jacob asked.
“The socialist agenda of the New World Order is bearing fruit,” Eric said.
“Really?” Jacob narrowed his eyes in disbelief. “I know some democratic socialists were elected in the mid-terms, but the US is still a capitalist country.”
“Not for long according to the trends,” Mayer said. “Based on the demographics, death rates, and the trending preferences, we think the US will be a socialist country before 2060.”
“We’ve done quite well under socialist regimes,” Jacob said.
“No doubt about that. We’re simply trying to avoid the inevitable crash during the final transition. We’ll buy important land and companies when the time is right.”
“When there’s blood in the streets,” Eric said with a crooked grin.
“Have we been selling US securities?”
Eric nodded. He would know. He was the head of Roth Holdings North America. “Slowly. We’d rather not cause a panic.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I’m telling you now.”
Jacob rubbed his temples. “Then I’m going down with the ship.”
“The Chinese are still buying,” Mayer said. “They might be interested in an equity position. Eric could get you a meeting with Zhang Jun.”
Jacob turned to Eric.
“I suppose I could,” Eric said.
Jacob nodded. “Thank you.”
“Arranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” Nathan said.
“I’d rather help you at Roth Eurozone or I’d take a position at the World Bank or the BIS.” The BIS was the Bank of International Settlements in Switzerland.
Nathan shook his head. “No.”
“I’d be willing to work for Mayer in Hong Kong,” Jacob said.
“No. You’re right where we need you to be.”
“I’ll be out of job soon.”
Nathan shook his head again. “Stop being so melodramatic. The US government won’t let a GSE fail. There’s too much at stake. They’ll nationalize the company.”
GSE stood for Government Sponsored Enterprise. Freddie Mac was a GSE, receiving federal subsidies and loans in return for partial ownership and adherence to regulations to maintain their preferred status.
“They’ll give us a bailout or subsidies, but they can’t outright nationalize,” Jacob said.
“Semantics. Bailouts are de facto nationalizations, you know that. We create the money and the US government doles it out. The US government will own Freddie Mac, but we own the US government. If all goes well, you’ll likely find yourself as the treasury secretary. And you’ll be in the perfect position to make sure the one world currency survives the transition.”
“What makes you think I’d want to be treasury secretary? I make fifteen times what the treasury secretary does. You’re making these plans that include me and my family without even telling me.”
“We weren’t sure of the direction of the US, but after what we saw today, we are now,” Mayer said. “We didn’t want to alarm you until we knew for sure.”
Jacob stared at his father. “What makes you think I want to be front and center of this shit storm?”
“You’re welcome to do as you wish, but I don’t have to give you a job in this company or at any of the major banks,” Nathan said.
Jacob opened his mouth to speak, but shut it instead.
Nathan leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table, glaring at Jacob. “If you ever want to take over Roth Eurozone, I suggest you pay your dues. We’ve done very well in communist and socialist countries, but the timing has to be right. We have to be out of the US markets before the downturn, and we have to do this without triggering a crash or a major spike in precious metals. Then we have to be in position to buy strategic businesses, land, and resources at the bottom. This often requires cooperation with the government as markets are illiquid in these situations. Ideally, the socialist government survives the transition, but whatever government arises from the ashes, whether it be free market capitalist, or communist or anything in between, it uses our money and only our money. To ensure our business interests are protected, we need people in key positions of power within the US government.”
“This isn’t 1930. Americans aren’t self-sufficient anymore. Half of them would be undernourished without UBI.” Jacob looked around to make sure nobody was listening. “If this happens, millions, no tens of millions of people will die, and nearly everybody will be impoverished.”
Eric and Mayer had the decency to look down, uncomfortable or ashamed of profiting from pain.
Nathan was unabashed. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s coming whether we like it or not. We can either profit from it or watch as someone else does.”
“What am I supposed to do in the meantime?” Jacob asked.
“You need to meet with Naomi Sutton,” Nathan said.
“The socialist congresswoman?”
“Given the data we’ve recently obtained, we think there’s an outside chance she might win the presidency. If so, she might be the perfect candidate to further our interests and bring this destiny to fruition, quickly.”
“Why me? You have a whole division of lobbyists at Roth North America.”
“She hasn’t been amenable to our advances. You’re the head of a
Government Sponsored Enterprise that finances low-income housing. She’s a
socialist that thinks housing is a human right.”