Offspring Ch. 027


"I am sorry to interrupt you in what you are doing, Tai-pan," I said when he came on the line. "This can't wait."

I explained to him what I had done.

"You didn't give them much room to move," was all he said.

"Correct. I am not negotiating, I'm laying down the law. It's about time they understood who is in charge of this project. We are in a very strong position. They'll kick and scream for a while, but eventually they'll come to heel."

"What if you are wrong and they cancel the deal?"

"If that happens you will fire me, apologise to the Oktonians for having appointed the wrong man and use a softer approach."

"I must say you've got balls, my boy. Let's play it your way. You have a free hand for now. Keep me informed."

Feng had been listening in on the conversation.

"The old coot loves what you are doing," he said after I hung up. "He likes it when his people tackle problems head on without looking for cover."

"I'm not asking for something unreasonable."

"He knows that. That's why he'll back you."

"Good. Now we have to think about filling the open positions for the expedition."

"I can get you the chemist, the meteorologist and the doctor. We don't have to go far, I can find them here in the spaceport. Which leaves the soldiers. What do you have in mind about them?"

"I think I'll leave that to your uncle. He would have some reliable, battle hardened veterans on his books for sure. Perhaps you could talk to him about that."

"Will do. Fancy a drink? I've had enough for today."

On the way out Talla handed me an envelope that had just arrived by courier. It contained a corporate credit card with my name and biometrics on it.

We told Talla she could go home and made for the bar. I stopped at reception to cancel my lessons for the day. While I was there I asked for my hotel bill.

"There is nothing to pay," said the girl. "The Chang corporation is taking care of all your expenses."

When I mentioned it to Feng over a beer he said: "The old man is like that. If you look after his interests he'll treat you very well and makes sure you want for nothing. I know you haven't asked him for money yet. My advice is don't. He'll see you right."

I had never worked for a boss where you didn't need to ask for money. As things stood I was doing very well. My expenses were taken care of, I had a corporate credit card and the Federation was paying me still. Together with what the Taipan was going to throw me from time to time and the income from my investments I was better off than I had ever been.

Feng excused himself saying it was time for his lesson. I stayed in the bar.

"That was the last of the data from the library," he said when he returned about an hour later. "I've already uploaded it downstairs. Tomorrow we'll have a first good look at what we've got."

In the excitement of the last few days I had completely forgotten about the library. I wondered what surprises were in store for us.

"I need to do some tidying up of the directories first. That'll take most of the morning. After lunch we can get into it. Let's call it quits for today. Big day tomorrow."

I agreed, charged the drinks to my room, had a quick bite to eat in the dining room and went upstairs.

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