the outcome of the review of Franklin Motors will not affect this scene, as it deals with the Ardent-Bogliq rivalry
March 4, 1947
Clarence placed the business section of the Cincinnati Enquirer carefully next to the ash tray on Jack Chancellor’s desk, as he had done hundreds of times before. Smoke gently wafted from the lit cigarette resting over the lip of the tray.
“It’s good news, sir,” Clarence beamed.
“Does this come as a surprise to you?” Jack’s gravelly voice retorted.
“N-no, sir,” Clarence replied.
The CEO of Ardent ignored the blatant lie of his sniveling yes-man. Clarence was good for cutting red tape, but didn’t have the imagination or bravado to be anything more than a paper pusher.
“Get me John Case,” Jack grunted. “We took the first round from these Bogliq upstarts. I want to make sure they don’t have any ideas about coming back.”
“Yes sir.” The administrator soothed as he slithered out of the office.
Jack spent a good ten minutes thoroughly reading and rereading the headline article, Ardent Gives Solid Performance in European Showdown, pausing every thirty seconds to take a drag from his cigarette. Once he finished the article, he lit a new cigarette, rose to his feet, and walked to the window. His office afforded a commanding view of the grounds that hosted Ardent’s premier factory. Workers hustled to and fro, and a brand new Midnight convertible rolled off of the factory floor, making the short drive to the holding lot.
Three knocks rapped on his door.
“Come in,” he called.
John Case, Ardent’s senior engineer, walked through the door and made his way to a seat on the other side of the desk. Jack Chancellor took a drag of his cigarette. He narrowed his eyes and took stock of the gray-haired, withered chief engineer, a man in his early sixties. What he was about to ask was likely going to be the man’s final project. With Case being so old, and the talent of Stanton Glass on display with the release of the Midnight a little over a year prior, a sign that the changing of the guard was only a matter of time.
Still, Jack Chancellor knew that the man had more to give, and now was the time to give it.
“John. A fine start with the Starlight. Is the modernization project on track?”
“Yes, Mr. Chancellor,” Case replied.
“Good. Good. Ardent is in good position right now. We’re primed to strike for the top spot. We just need a little edge. Do you hear me, John?”
The engineer arched his brows. “'Have I done something wrong, Mr. Chancellor?”
Jack took another drag, then waved his hand dismissively, a thin wisp of smoke trailing through the air as he did so. “Not at all. Giving you a new project.”
“But, the Starlight,” Case protested.
Jack cut him off. “Your skill and talent are wasted on bringing an existing model up to snuff. Take it as a lesson, and build me something else. Something to bury these Moldovan upstarts that think they can take Europe from us. Something…”
“Sleek?” Case finished.
“And strong,” Jack added. “We’ve got some new ideas floating around in the power department. Desmond Wainwright can help you with that, I’ll make sure you’re privy to his latest projects.” He moved to his desk and scribbled his signature on a quick note, then handed it to John.
“How long do I have?”
The engineer took a hard swallow. “That’s not very long.”
Jack jabbed his cigarette into the tray, extinguishing it. “So what are you waiting for?”