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The Strings That Control the System

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Gail has a list.

It's well-hidden, because Jim has taught her that much. It's not in her safe, or even her house or computer. It's written on the back pages of her childhood diary, packed deep away in a storage unit not even he can open.

It's kept in chronological order, with dates and details of every sin he's ever committed. His cover-up of her embezzlement. His framing of Jack Walters. Putting Pete Gracen into the Senate. Shipping Jeremy Batewell to China. Assassinating Arthur MacLean and Joanne Meltzer. Hundreds of them, enough to fill three pages.

She knows it's risky, but it's also necessary. You don't get anywhere in this world without first protecting yourself, and that list is her leverage if (and in all likelihood, when) she outlives her usefulness to Jim Profit.

Oh, she was as much a project as Joanne, she knows that. She was quiet and unassuming and didn't ask too many questions. And he's taken that weak, scared little girl and rebuilt her in his image. Made her first his protege and accomplice - showed her how ruthless he was and how ruthless she was going to have to become - and steered her all the way up the ladder into the new President of Acquisitions, his second-in-command.

Chaz is CEO in name only. Pete has left for the Hill and Charles Senior divided his controlling interest in G&G between Chaz and Jim. Jim is Chief Operating Officer, the real power in G&G, and he has great plans for the company.

Gail has plans, too. She isn't going to be his weak little yes-woman any longer. She sees potential for expansion - into the oil companies of the Middle East and the tin industry of Mexico and the auto industry in Korea. She sees the cracks in the foundation of G&G, the over-reliance on foreign technology and the tendency to trust too much in the middlemen of the cartels.

Jim's taught her well, but this is something she has to do for herself. Either her work comes to fruition, he realizes her value, and she never needs the list . . . or an email goes out to every U.S. Representative, Senator, and government agency with the details of all of G&G's dirty laundry. It's only a matter of time.

Gail Koner isn't weak. Not anymore.