Author's Note: This chapter explains the reason and the motivations behind Rhonda's kidnapping, and why is Scheck is playing a major role in this story.
Legal junk: I don't own Hey Arnold, but Nickelodeon does and Mr. Craig Bartlett created it. But this fic belongs to me. Clear? Good.
Chapter 3: What Actually Happened
"Mr. Scheck! Mr. Scheck! What are your plans to keep your company stay afloat?" one of the reporters in the crowd of media people yelled a question to Scheck as he hastily walked out from the courthouse to the waiting limousine at the end of the flight of stairs. Realizing that he couldn't get away that easily from those 'vultures' and it would be a good attempt to fix his public image, he stopped for a while to answer their questions.
"I assure you that despite the financial situation of the FTi Corporation, I will immediately call my board of directors to remedy this situation and I will do everything in my power not to make thousands of my employees go out of work." He said positively, and continued his way to the limo.
"Wait, Mr. Scheck!" another reporter interrupted him, "What kind of verdict would you expect the judge will give to you?"
He had a sudden urge to punch that person, but for the sake of his image, he had to cool down, and answered back calmly, "Like any other person, I'd like the judge to be fair, righteous and honest in delivering his verdict." He replied again, but yet another question halted him in his tracks.
"Do you have any comments at all regarding a certain monetary firm is trying to acquire your company?"
He was taken aback at that particular question since his financial advisors, board of directors and his legal team never told him that news before, and so the only reply he had to say was, "I have no further comments at this point." He intoned dully, and ignored all the questions those bunch of reporters bombarded him. He squeezed himself through the sea of people and finally managed to get into his limousine while being accompanied by his most trusted legal advisor. He slouched against the black leathered seat while stroking his forehead in an ill-attempt to heal his headache.
"Matt, to my house, please." He said to the chauffeur.
"Yes, sir." He replied, and he drove away from the courthouse.
"Things are looking pretty bleak for me, Tom…" he said depressively.
"You think, Al?" he replied back, as he opened up his suitcase, "don't forget you'll have to face the court again in the next two weeks against Big Bob's Beepers Inc." he reminded him as he read the papers on his hands.
"Oh, great… what does that buffoon wants now?"
"He filed an illegal takeover lawsuit against your company." he said, closing his suitcase.
He grumbled frustratingly, "Argh, it's like I'm being hit with a ton of bricks over and over again…"
"See, that'll happen if you didn't heed to any advises from your consultants. Why in blue blazes did you ignored us?! I've told you before, but you just wouldn't listen! Didn't I tell you that your mall project of yours simply won't work? You have to consider the people who live in that place, the logistics, our financial backups, and the manpower to build that mall! And why-the-heck didn't you tell me about that Government Document?!" he shouted angrily as he glared at him. A tense silence between them, and Tom continued again, "Don't let your revenge blind you from the law, Al…"
"Shut up…" he retorted back exasperatedly. "That place is my family's land, my land, and those morons took it from me and act like they own the place!"
"The Tomato War is the past, Al. It's history. Instead why don't you look at the broader opportunities of the present world? There are a lot of other places we can invest into."
"I won't let my pride go down the drains, Tom! You know me."
"It's pride that makes all the most powerful people in history go down, Al. Napoleon, Alexander—"
"Enough with the history lessons, Tom! I'm in no mood of hearing that crap!" he shouted back, and Tom instantly went silent. Scheck slumped back to his seat and spoke weakly at him, "When the reporters came crashing to me, one of them asked that some company wants to take over mine. Why am I not informed about this?"
"What?" Tom asked back disbelievingly. "Oh, crap… the news must've leaked to the media. I've already told our Public Relations Department not to reveal the news to the public!"
"Enough!" Scheck shouted back, "Just tell me which company wants to buy FTi." He demanded sternly.
Tom nodded nervously, and reopened his briefcase to reach for a document, "The company that wants to buy the FTi Corporation is called Lloyd's Monetary Firm and Associates—"
"Lloyd?" he asked with a harsh voice, "The same company who tried to lobby the City Hall to terminate my development plans?!"
"The very same." Tom replied back, "Apparently, one of the main reasons why they lobbied the bureaucrats in City Hall was actually a part of a request made by their CEO's daughter."
"What?!" he asked incredulously.
"Their CEO, Buckley Lloyd has a daughter who has lots of friends in that neighborhood you want to demolish, so I think that it must be a favor of some kind that his daughter made to her friends."
"This is ludicrous…" he said through his clenched teeth. "It's a sad day when a big shot CEO bows down to their kid's plea…"
"And, I don't know if you're ready to hear this or not but, Lloyd's legal advisors have already met my team some five days ago to discuss about the takeover."
"WHAT?!" Scheck exploded, "Who authorized the meeting? Why I am not informed about this?! I'm the CEO—"
"Former, CEO Al." he cut him off, "after your arrest, the board of directors has unanimously passed a motion that you've been relieved from your position as CEO." There was a pause and a silent. "You're no longer with the board of directors. I'm… really, really sorry, Al."
A disbelief stare was shot at Tom, and after a moment, Scheck said to him, "This is impossible… How could they do this me?" he pleaded for an answer, but Tom could only look at him back in sympathy. "That's my company! I inherited it from my father! And he inherited it from his! He worked it out from ground up! It's a bloodline company! How could they make such an abrupt decision regarding this without my supervision?!" he shouted furiously.
Tom sighed in frustration and replied, "I know you're going to be upset about this but they have to make this decision, Al. It's the welfare of the employees we're talking about here." He answered weakly as Scheck listened to his explanation in dismay. "But don't worry. Even though you're not holding any positions in FTi the company is still yours. You still have the biggest share in the company, but it will end soon if Lloyd manages to get his hands on it."
"How does such a backwatered, unknown company could have that much of assets to take over my company, anyway?" he asked again, having his face drown in his hands.
"Actually, Lloyd's company is in the top twenty list of this city's wealthiest local company. And what I heard from their lawyers is that they're contemplating whether they should trade in Wall Street this year since they think have enough assets to be listed on it. And amazingly, they even have some small branches in México and Canada." Tom answered, and Scheck was lost on words to say anything back, in shock and disbelief.
"Have they made any bids yet?" Scheck finally spoke, after a long pause.
"Just five percent from the whole amount."
"Five percent?" he said quizzically, "How come?"
"Apparently, there's a catch." He explained. "After the Tomato War, and after the United States annexed this land from the British, they passed a law stating that anyone who shows interest in land acquirement must pay the land owner some five percent of the total worth first, and only then he can buy the whole land in one week's time."
"What?" Scheck said, "That doesn't make any sense at all. What's that have to do with company takeovers?"
"They amended the law by replacing 'land' to 'conglomerate' in the early 1900's."
"Brilliant. Just brilliant." He scoffed. "Why was the law needed in the first place anyway?"
"Who knows? Maybe the farmers back then were too paranoid of their land being taken back by the British that they had to make that law so they could run a background check on the buyer. If they discovered that the buyer is a spy British, then they'll just reject the later payments and be happy with the five percent. Swindling, it's just that simple. Though, in this day and age, it's highly irrelevant, and the lawmakers of this city really want to abolish it."
Scheck sighed depressively, "Hmm… is there a way somehow to make him change his mind about taking over my company? Because you know well I'm not going out without a fight, and I'm surely won't give up my family business to some idiot who thinks he can walk into my place and steal this company from me."
"Well, if he failed to show us the money or didn't sign the contract, then he won't get the company, maybe ever. But I'm not recommending you to sabotage the finalization Al. It's very risqué. Think about your employees who left their families to work everyday, slaving in their small cubicles just to earn some cash for their family and keeping this company afloat. They're very valuable to us. I suggest that you just let Lloyd get a hold of your company, and after your release, I think I could persuade them to take you back and become one of the board of directors again."
"No." Scheck replied harshly. "It's my company, and I won't have anyone to take it from me. No one."
"Then what do you propose? It's the only way from my point of view."
"From your point. You said that this Buckley character has a daughter, didn't you?"
"Yeah, what about her?" Tom asked back.
Scheck smirked at him and said to his chauffeur, "Matt, please stop the vehicle." And after the limo stopped near a puddle of mud, Scheck got a hold of Tom by his shirt collar, opened the door up and threw him into mudpool. He then closed the door and the limo drove on. Covered in mud and was extremely displeased of him, Tom shouted to the car, "You're making a big mistake here Al! I know what you're thinking, and its madness! Madness I tell you!!"
A devilish looking grin was spreading across his face as he thought this sinister idea of trying to sabotage the payment. By kidnapping his daughter, Buckley would be too preoccupied of finding his daughter, thus making him unsuccessfully to sign the contract. And with the ransom money too, he wouldn't have enough money to pay the rest of the takeover bid. It was a foolproof plan, a perfect plan. Without hesitation, he grabbed his cellphone and contacted his friends in an underground momement to tell them about his plan.
How about it huh? I've always thought that Scheck is the ultimate evil in the Hey Arnold show, and this is one of the way I want to portray him how insane he is. Anyway, thanks for reading and please leave a review. And point to me mistakes and errror if you found one.