Chapter 7

Two days later Astrid set up her first official meeting with the board members of Sutherland Labs. Without the assistance of her friends there, her nerves were up very high. Cisco had been able to act as her technical assistant in setting up the communication channels from the CEO's of other Sutherland laboratories from around the globe, before the meeting, while Caitlin supplied the room's drinking water and glasses.

But they were now gone and she was alone, sitting in her father's chair at the head of the long table. It felt wrong being here in his seat getting to lead a panel of men and women towards the future of the entire chain of facilities globally.

Yesterday she had given Oliver Queen a call, asking him for advice. Who better than to give her advice than a man who had been through the same thing? When he had spoken to her it had eased her a little, even giving her enough confidence to go through with it. But that was yesterday, her nerves were riding high again.

She felt her phone vibrate from in her pocket. It was Oliver. "Good luck" the message read. She breathed deeply and poured herself a drink, just in time for the door to open, making her jump and spill a little water on the table.

A group of men and women began pouring into the room and taking their seats at the table and giving her a brief nod or a "hello'. When the last seat was filled and she was certain that everyone from the other sites were linked in, she was ready to begin.

"Attention everybody." She spoke with her regular tone. Some people looked at her briefly, though continued speaking among themselves. She cleared her throat a little, though people couldn't hear her.

Then out of nowhere, she gathered the courage to speak up loudly in front of everyone. "Attention everyone!" she spoke clearly so everyone could hear her. "For those of you who may not know me, I am Astrid Sutherland. I am Robert Sutherland's daughter."

She felt a knot in her stomach emerge at the sheer mention of her father's name, but she refused to let it affect her at that moment. "From this point onwards I will be taking lead of the business just as my father wanted. Though I have a few items that I would like to discuss with you all."

She watched as there were a few murmurs about the room, she probed the minds of those in the room to get an idea of how she was doing so far. 'This child thinks that she can just take control of a business like that? She has a thing or two to learn...'

'I still can't believe her father's dead. I hope she knows just what she's doing.' Came another thought. 'Good start, girlie... keep going.' The last thought came from a colleague of her father's that she had met on a few occasions. An older polite gentleman.

"Before my father passed away, you may or may not remember that he was researching into the meteor in the town of Smallville. Well at the time, he created a will, that if I were to carry on his legacy, that we pour Sutherland's resources into continuing his research. He sent along a few samples of the meteor, in which he died collecting."

Astrid reached into her handbag under the table and pulled out a large fragment of black rock, about the size of a loaf of bread, only much heavier. It was lined with green crystals throughout it. She placed it on the table in front of them all and then continued to speak.

"This rock has been identified as kryptonite. Unfortunately not much is known of it at this point in time, My associates will bring a sample to each floor  for us to continue to study it further, as my father had wished. At the moment there are very little samples available to us, as I understand that the military retrieved a great deal of it from Central City during the cleanup. Do I have any questions, as of yet?"

To Astrid's relief, one lady raised her hand. Astrid nodded for the lady to ask her question. "When the shower occurred there were rumors that the radiation caused some people to develop magic powers, is this true? And is the meteor itself dangerous?" Astrid wasn't really sure what this meteor was capable of.

"I'm not sure of the answers to either one of those questions. But I do know that I have been able to handle the stone just fine, as was the person who held it before me. Though, I would suggest that all of you exercise great caution. Do not handle the rock unnecessarily. Are there any other questions?" She avoided the 'magic powers' question deliberately.

She looked around and saw that a man put his hand up. She nodded for him to ask his question, "do you really expect us to follow your lead just because your father was Robert Sutherland? What experience do you have? You could simply run this business to the ground and we would all lose our jobs... our livelihoods! Would you even care?"

This question caused a great bustle amongst the boardroom. Some people argued that the man was right, others defended Astrid saying to 'give her a chance'. The noise level began to get high and the CEO's via the comm links were trying to come to terms with what was happening.

Astrid needed to take back control of the room. She needed to say something, and then she remembered something that Oliver had told her about demanding control even if they tried to take it away from her.

"ATTENTION EVERYBODY!" she raised her voice, demanding their attention. It had the desired effect. They all looked right at her and so she went on. "You all have every right to be concerned with my plans for this business. But I assure you that it's ultimately the same view that my father had. When he first founded this organisation it was to research terminal diseases. The very diseases that take away our loved ones. Well my father died researching this meteor and I understand that it has taken away so many other loved ones, as well as my father. I will endeavor to pour our resources into continuing his work. Whether you choose to move forward with me or not is entirely up to you."

Astrid watched the committee sitting in their chairs. She was waiting for an answer from them. The man who had spoken before stood up from his chair, picked up his briefcase and left the room. A few others followed after him.

Had Astrid said the wrong thing? She didn't feel like she had. She had stood by her convictions as she had been prepared to do. The room had started off with approximately 20 men and women. Fortunately, only six had left. The elderly gentleman who had thought those comforting words earlier stood up, though instead of leaving he spoke up instead.

"Miss Sutherland. I knew your father for a very long time. I knew that when he envisioned something, he held the sheer determination to make it a reality. I can see that you take after your father in this same way. I for one, look forward to this new project and working under your leadership."

"Thank you, Mr..." Astrid was appreciative of his words, but apologetic that she didn't know his name. "Mr Hayes." He introduced himself.

"Thank you, Mr Hayes. I think we may need to create a system until I learn every body's names. I will have plaques made up for everyone by the next meeting. Now, unless anyone has any other agendas to bring up...?" she looked around but nobody had any business to speak of.

"Ok, this meeting is adjourned? Finished? Wow, that was quick..." she added.

There was a final bustle. Eventually, the room was cleared and the remote connections were disconnected. Astrid was indeed alone with her thoughts.

She poured another glass of water and began responding to Oliver's message, when the door opened again. She gathered her composure, expecting one of the board members to return. Instead it was Caitlin and Cisco.

"Very well done!" Caitlin complimented her efforts.

"How do you guys know how it went?" Astrid asked them, puzzled.

"Do you really think I would set up the comm system without linking you into our network too?" Cisco asked her, with a chuckle. "We watched the whole thing! Tough crowd but you were able to rally the majority of them."

"By the way, Astrid, you had a phone call from the head of Luthor corp." Caitlin began, "His name is Lionel Luthor and he asked for you to call him. He said that he had some sort of proposition for you. He would not go into it with me, but he left his number and asked for you to contact him as soon as possible."


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