First Appearance: Masquerade (May 18, 2011)
Lakatos Pharmaceuticals is a major manufacturer and distributor of pharmaceutical products. It is also a client of GPF Software, which built an inventory system for their distribution arm. Dwayne and Trudy brokered the deal with the company, while Nick was the chief architect of the system. Roughly a year later, Nick and Trudy returned to Lakatos for a series of business meetings and a formal awards dinner, resulting in a frustrating—and deadly—chain of events that will likely shape GPF's future going forward.
To date, little is known about Lakatos aside from a few clues given during Nick and Trudy's adventure. The company was purportedly founded by Fedek Lakatos, a Hungarian who immigrated to the United States before the turn of the 20th century. Lakatos established a small apothecary shop which eventually grew to be a chain of stores throughout the region. Eventually, Lakatos branched out into manufacturing, mass producing pharmaceuticals and distributing them to other pharmacy chains. By the beginning of the 21st century, Lakatos Pharmaceuticals had become a major corporation and Fortune 500 company. Although technically smaller than some of its competitors like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Merck, its annual revenue still measured in the billions of U.S. dollars.
By the time of GPF Software's involvement, Lakatos was headed by one Eszter Lakatos, granddaughter of Fedek and current CEO. Her daughter, Adrienn Lakatos, served as vice president of world-wide distribution. However, when Trudy met Adrienn for the first time she could not help but be suspicious of her, as the younger woman kept "setting off all [her] old evil mastermind alarms". Trudy's instincts would eventually prove horribly correct.
After a week full of customer meetings, Nick and Trudy are invited to a large formal banquet as a means of thanking Lakatos' partners for their contributions during a highly profitable year. While at the banquet, the pair discover than many if not most of the companies represented are small businesses much like GPF. To Nikki Ronat, their table-mate and VP of sales for Lowry Chemicals, this seems overtly suspicious. "Why are they working with us when they could save money in volume with bigger players?" she asks. Before a reasonable dialog can begin, the banquet formally starts with a promise of a "special treat" for dessert.
Trudy then spies Adrienn slipping out of the banquet hall. The younger woman purposely makes eye contact, which Trudy interprets as a challenge to follow her. Nick and Trudy sneak out of the hall and through a series of service corridors and buildings until they become hopelessly lost. They eventually find their way to a gymnasium which has been converted to a makeshift refrigerated warehouse. Inside they discover hundreds if not thousands of crates packed in dry ice or liquid nitrogen, as well as a group of armed guards.
During this exploration, the pair make a series of observations and deductions. Trudy links Lakatos to her mother, Esther Matusevitch. Sharon, Trudy's sister, had tracked their mother to Diederich Pharmaceuticals, another moderately sized pharmaceutical conglomerate; that trail, however, went cold. Interestingly, both companies were also on a list Sharon compiled of companies with an unusually high percentage of female upper management, a hallmark of Matusevitch's criminal organizations. The names of the companies also drew suspicion; "Lakatos" is a common Hungarian surname that originally meant "locksmith", while "Diederich" is German with one possible interpretation of "skeleton key". Nick in turn recalls Moldfinger's warning to "beware the Colonel and the Key Master". Before they can act on this information, however, they are captured by a pair of guards.
They are taken to a "clearing" among the crates whey they find more guards and their apparent commander. They also discover that Nikki Ronat is within their custody as well. The "smoking man" contacts someone named "the Colonel" on the radio and asks what should be done with the trio. "The Colonel" instructs him to "induct them". Ronat is "inducted" first by being held down by several guards as the mysterious contents of a freezing cold canister are poured over her neck. Ronat reacts violently, throwing off her restrainers and running screaming into the darkness beyond. "The smoking man" orders his men to pursue, leaving Nick and Trudy with a solitary guard. The pair quickly distract him and knock him unconscious, giving them a chance to escape.
After sneaking back into the hotel to retrieve their belongings, Nick and Trudy attempt to escape, culminating in a rapid car chase down the winding road leading away from the resort. The pursuers fire upon the fleeing pair, wounding both. Nick loses control of the vehicle and crashes it into the parking lot of a nearby cafe. Now officially off the grounds and in public view, the pair are safe from immediate retribution and the pursuers are forced to break off.
Not long afterward, the Lakatos resort where these events take place mysteriously burns to the ground, leaving no trace of what occurred there. With both Nick and Trudy suffering from post-traumatic retrograde amnesia, the truth of what happened may never be fully known. While nothing has been revealed to the public (that we know of, anyway), we do know that the events are the topic of a federal investigation, the results of which have not yet been released.
Exactly how Esther Matusevitch and her lieutenant, "Anna", came to infiltrate Lakatos is currently unknown. It is unlikely that Matusevitch is actually related to the Lakatos family, so it is probable that the pair somehow impersonated the founder's descendants convincingly enough to work their way high into the corporation's chain of command. What is also unknown is how "the Colonel" is associated with the company, since his men appeared to have extensive access to the resort before it was destroyed.