NaNoWriMo Word Count: 1,014
Not long after Miriam hung up the phone with Dagen, Ax returned to the office. She was condensing the contents from several filing boxes into one that would house information useful for building a database for Ax. Many people from around the world were actually a part of the man’s network but he had no idea that such a network existed in his own files of letters, clippings and shared research from one-time grad students who were now in influential positions. Miriam felt as if she had found a Yukon gold mine.
Ax walked into the room carrying two travel mugs, one as green as the Emerald City, the other blue like the depths of a sapphire. He had a big smile on his face that could mean the meeting went well, or that he was relieved it was over. “Got you some water over dried leaves,” he announced handing Miriam the blue mug. She noticed it had the logo of the logistics company Ax just met with.
“Thank you,” she said, taking the mug as she rose from kneeling at the semi-circle of filing boxes. It looked like a make-shift office alter. “Water over dried leaves sounds like autumn rain.”
“Can’t imagine that tea-stuff tastes any better that soggy maple leaves,” said Ax.
“You only say that because your addicted to coffee,” said Miriam.
Ax nodded with a big grin and said, “And a satisfying addiction it is.” He held up his green mug as if to offer cheers and took a swig of coffee. “We got it, Miriam. We got the communications equipment and the technical support. They want their techie to go to Baffin Island, too. In fact, we just got money to reconnoiter the trip.”
“Great news,” said Miriam. “But reconnoiter? Other than the term being one of many GRE words I never thought I’d use, what do you mean?” Last week when Ax and Miriam talked at French Meadow, she told him how she had graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Stout, with a degree in marketing. After several agency internships, Miriam moved to Texas to help establish a non-profit literacy program and learned by fire the ins and outs of marketing a new foundation. She returned to the Twin Cities after one of her mother Flo began to battle breast cancer and took a customer service job at the co-op to look for a marketing position. After only finding marketing jobs in medical devices or agency work, Miriam decided to get a masters at St. Thomas in Non-Profit Management. She was nearly completed with the 21-month program. To be able to help Ax set up a non-profit was not originally what he was going to ask her to help him with. He was interested in her marketing and agency experience. But Miriam convinced him that the best way to do what he had in mind was to set up an educational foundation that focused on climate change and its impact on the regions and people Ax knew from his days as an arctic explorer. He gave her the opportunity to put her GRE words and recent studies to good use.
“Before going on an expedition, we need to scout out the area, decide where we will start and end. Where to resupply along the way or decide to not resupply,” explained Ax. “The tech would come along to figure out what equipment we’d need to send updates and satellite messages that we could put out on social media. Like you told me, social media can be used to push out information and they agreed.”
“What’s in it for them,” asked Miriam, “Not to sound like a skeptic, but why would they offer so much support. They must want something in return.”
“They just launched a big eco-friendly campaign, at least that’s what the company president said. And they want their tagline attached to all our messages and educational materials,” said Ax.
“What’s the tagline?”
“It’s on your mug,” said Ax.
Miriam read, “Extreme communications solutions for a greener world.”
“The equipment will work, so they assure me, Some will be out-dated models put to good use and other devices will be new equipment that they want to test,” said Ax. “Also, they have a complete unit they can set up for Dagen to use.”
“Oh, that reminds me,” said Miriam, “Dagen called.”
“He get to Baffin okay? Is that piranha gone,” asked Ax, referring to Dagen’s agent.
“He made it to Iqaliut, but may be stuck there. Something about his plane taking off early to search for some missing hunters. Elijah isn’t missing, is he?”
“Not Elijah,” said Ax. “No better hunter to read the land and ice than Eijah. No, it’s probably some younger hunters on skidoos. They can go so much faster than dogs, but forget to pause and check out the ice conditions.”
“Well, I told Dagen to go to his house as planned.”
“Good, good. And the agent? She left,” asked Ax.
“Evidently not,” said Miriam.
“That’s bad,” said Ax. “I can’t imagine a woman like that on Baffin, though. Her make up would freeze off.”
“Ax, I wear make-up,” said Miriam with a frown.
“Not like her,” said Ax. “No, that woman has claws so deep into Dagen that if he tries to get away she’d rip Dagen’s arm off all the while looking like some glamor queen ready to claim her crown.”
“He’s a grown man,” said Miriam.
“Even a seasoned hunter can fall into an unsuspecting trap. Dagen didn’t know what caught him until he was signed, sealed and delivered to the History Channel,” said Ax.
“He’ll call back. He left the number for the airport pay phone, but said something about hiding. Must be from her,” said Miriam.
“Good boy, then. His survival instincts must be kicking in,” said Ax. “So tell me, anything useful in these old boxes.”
The mood lightened as Miriam said, “We found gold, Ax. I can build you an awesome data base and you can network among it.”
“Huh,” said Ax, “Not sure I’d call that gold, but I’ll trust your survey skills.”
“It’s going to work, Ax,” said Miriam.