tagSci-Fi & FantasyOuroboros Ch. 03

Ouroboros Ch. 03

byspider6niner©

The Sorceress Gabrielle, Consul of the Eastern America territory, sat back in the armchair she occupied and thought about how she would answer Boros' question. What did she have in mind for the golden dragon whose existence had taken her for a surprise. She had a tentative plan, an original one. One where he could flourish. Something that would feed on his natural skills, that would help him grow. It had the possibility to help everyone.

"The basics of it are pretty simple, Boros." she told him. "There aren't any available territories to send you to where you wouldn't face the same issues you would in mine. Now, I'm not trying to be insulting, but you do need to go somewhere. Somewhere else. I've done what I could while you were in my territory, even before I knew who you were. You're just too powerful to be anonymous, As I'm sure you found out while you secreted yourself away in the back woods."

Boros agreed with her and nodded for her to continue.

Her plan had a certain amount of symmetry to it, knowing what kind of dragon he was. "My idea is that you set up a new territory." she told him reasonably.

Boros was confused. "I thought you said there weren't any available territories." Boros argued, when a thought occurred to him. "You aren't suggesting I take over the territory of another Consul are you?"

Gabrielle snorted at the notion. "Absolutely not. It's nothing against you Boros, I'm sure that you could win almost any challenge if you unleashed your full potential, but you would be a disaster as a leader right now. You know almost nothing about the cultures of the people you would be ruling, you have no idea about the politics involved either, also you know that you know almost nothing about yourself or your capabilities. No, Boros. That isn't what I'm suggesting."

"Alright, then what do you mean?"

"Nancy?" Gabrielle asked the eastern director of the Bureau of Preternatural Affairs. "Keeping in mind that Boros is your newly appointed liaison, say he was interested in purchasing a ship from the Sol System Alliance instead of you providing one for him. You would probably be able to negotiate a pretty hefty discount for him, wouldn't you?" The SSA or the Sol System Alliance was what NASA and the various worldwide space programs and militaries had morphed into after first contact was made with intelligent life from other galaxies. It was what had also fueled the Revelation, what passed for the governing body of the preternatural world letting the human government know they had been living side by side for millennia.

Nancy wasn't slow, in fact she was quite intelligent and quick on the uptake. "I'm sure we could work something out." She replied. "What did you have in mind?"

"Here's what I suggest." Gabriele began.

***

It was the next day, Gabrielle hadn't wanted to take any chances. Boros was riding in a taxi, heading to the shipyard where Nancy, Sam and Gabrielle's representative were supposed to meet him. The plan she'd laid out the night before still boggled his mind.

One step at a time.

The taxi pulled up at the gate, the closest he was allowed to get without authorization and Boros got out after handing the charge pad back to the driver, giving the middle aged driver a healthy, a very healthy tip.

"Um, sir? I think you made a mistake." the taxi driver called out to him when he checked it.

So many people would have just taken advantage. Boros admired his honesty. "Really? Let me check."

The driver handed him back the charge pad and Boros added another zero to the balance. "You're right, friend, sorry about that." and handed the pad back to the driver. "Thank you for being an honest person. I respect that. Do you have a card? You know, incase I'm in need of a taxi again here? I prefer to do business with people who are trustworthy."

The driver gawped at the readout on the charge pad then smiled beatifically at his fare. He extended his contact card to Boros with a shaky hand. "Anything you need sir, just call that number and ask for me." his eyes were shiny. "I'm your man."

"Thank you," Boros read the name on the card, "Gustavo. I'll remember that. Be well." Boros offered a goodbye and walked away. His sharp ears couldn't help but catch the sniffle that Gustavo made once he was alone in his taxi. It wasn't every day a taxi driver got a ten thousand credit tip. But Boros was happy to give it. He could feel the honesty and good will coming from Gustavo.

It was less than thirty yards to the gatehouse and gate from the curb, Boros strode confidently up to the two SSA soldiers on guard.

"It's a beautiful day, isn't it?" Boros asked the two men in their grey uniforms. "It's nice to be out from under the shadow of the buildings in the city and feel the sun on my face."

"What is your business here?" the shorter of the two inquired, uninterested in polite niceties.

Boros supplied the ident chip he received in his registration packet. "I am the liaison officer for the Bureau of Preternatural Affairs. I believe some of my associates are waiting inside."

The pugnacious SSA guard inserted Boros' ident chip into the reader he produced from the pouch on his waist. His eyes widened as he reviewed the credentials of the person standing in front of him. The rank was higher than standard for a senior liaison officer, the name was a little weird but not what startled him. The man was a preternatural, with a class rating of one Alpha one plus. He'd never heard of that last designation, but one Alpha one was as high as it got. Or so he thought. What really surprised him wasn't the fact that the man held the highest class rating of any preternatural he'd ever heard of, it was the fact that a preternatural held rank in the SSA. Now, that was unheard of.

"I'm sorry Commodore Ouroboros, I was informed that you would be coming by this morning. Yes, your party is waiting in the office. Welcome to Canaveral Shipyard." The guard was told that a ranking Ambassador would be arriving, it just pissed him off that the powers that be didn't tell him that the ambassador would be a preternatural.

"Thank you Corporal. Which way is the office?" Boros asked the now very helpful guard being careful not to show surprise at the rank that Nancy had evidently given him.

"Just follow the blue line on the deck, um, I mean ground. That will take you right to the office."

"Thank you." Boros told them and started walking between them when they both saluted. He nodded back to them but didn't salute. It wouldn't have felt right.

He followed the blue line on the pavement and it led him to a squat sprawling building, it wasn't a long walk but the heat was pretty intense and he wished he could have driven all the way up to the building in the air conditioned taxi.

The building he walked into was simply furnished and spartanly decorated. But, Nancy and Sam were there talking to another woman facing away from him. They saw him at once but the woman, when she noticed, saw the direction of their gazes and turned around.

Boros' heart stopped for a moment. If it wasn't love at first sight but it was definitely more than lust. She was absolutely perfect. Her red hair was a rich burgundy and flowed down the sides of her shoulders and down her back, stopping just before the swell of her butt. If anything, the fall of her hair, and it's stopping point, emphasized the firm roundness of her posterior. The loose fitting pant she wore couldn't hide the musculature beneath. When she turned, he could see one hemisphere flex as she pivoted. The face she turned to him was flawless, her eyebrows and lashes told him that her hair color was natural, unless she went to extraordinary extremes in the salon. She had dusky hued skin and almond shaped eyes testifying to her asian heritage. The contrast was extraordinary. Her full breasts were tight and firm, barely shifting as she spun around. But when she started walking toward him they bounced and jostled.

"You must be Boros." she stated in a voice like honey and absent of accent. "I am very pleased to make your acquaintance. Gabrielle has told me so much about you. My name is Shihong"

He was about to answer her when he felt something. He was feeling more and different energies than those that were in the room with him. Boros was on guard now. Looking around, Boros let his senses expand and take in the room and the surrounding areas. A lifetime of being almost constantly on guard had honed his senses into a keen thing. If there were any recording devices, they had been deactivated. The only listening device he sensed was very old fashioned.

Seeing Boros look around and assuming correctly the reason for it, Nancy informed him, "We have taken down all of the cameras and listening devices in the room. We can all speak freely."

"Actually, there are two people listening to us right now, through that wall." He pointed to where he sensed the interlopers and Sam took off through one of the interior doors. He came back several minutes later.

"They won't be bothering us again, and I got their names. The won't be doing any work like that in the near future once I report them."

"Don't." Boros asked. "They were only doing their jobs, probably. But I have their scent. If they transgress on us in the future, I'll know them."

The werewolf thought about it and had to agree, it was more strategically sound to do it that way.

Boros turned back to the stunning woman who seemed to be taking the events of the last couple of minutes instride. "It is a pleasure to meet you Shihong. I know Gabrielle had other obligations last night and today so she couldn't be here, are you who she said she'd send in her stead?"

Shihong smiled at him and answered, "Yes, I am here as my mistresses proxy. Shall we begin?"

"What do you say, Nancy? Want to get this party started?" Boros asked her. He had been a little reluctant when Gabrielle had told them of her idea the day before, but after thinking on it he had become increasingly excited.

"Absolutely, but before we call Rear Admiral Santos in we need to finalize a few things." she pulled her holo reader from the satchel she carried as well as an ident chip reader. "I updated your status like we talked about, but you still need to confirm it. There are some documents on here I want you to look over before you agree. It's Not exactly standard, you won't be just a liaison to the Bureau of Preternatural Affairs, you're also the liaison to the Preternatural Consuls. In order for that to work we had to give you a rank equal to any of the other liaisons, otherwise it all would have fallen apart the first time you refused to follow one of their orders. You will technically be an officer of the SSA but you also have the position of sub-Consul, the only difference is, you aren't tied to a territory, well, yet anyway. I also put a stipulation in your contract that you aren't tied to a term of service, so, if you want, you can quit your job as a liaison anytime. I hope you won't though. Finally I granted you full ambassadorial privileges. That means you can provision from any SSA run facility at cost. The provisioning has no restrictions, providing you are qualified to purchase the item."

"What does that mean?" Boros asked.

"There are certain items that are sanctioned and are not allowed to be sold to someone who does not have the proper clearance. Like large scale weapons and armoured transports." Nancy answered. "For the most part, what you are authorized for is indicative of your Naval rank.

"I'm sorry, but I am not familiar with that term. What is Naval rank?" Shihong asked. Boros didn't know either and he was glad that he didn't have to reveal his ignorance.

Nancy explained, "Naval rank is an officer who is in a command position on a ship. The higher your position, the higher your Naval rank. Boros is a Commodore that lets him have most of the arms and armor, and also lets him equid his ship with a great array of ship based weapons. But in Boros' case, as he also holds the position of an ambassador and he's also going to be spearheading a colonization mission only the most restricted weapons and equipment won't be available to him without special permissions." She handed the holoreader to Boros and he looked everything over.

"Okay." He agreed. "This was actually more than I expected and with less restrictions. What's the catch Nancy?"

"There isn't one. Knowing what I do about you, and not just our personal interactions, this is the best I can do. I know it's going to be a difficult road ahead, but hopefully this helps."

It really was more than Boros could have hoped for, especially when Gabrielle laid out her idea. It was a good one, and better than anything he'd even considered. He slipped his chip into the reader and finalized the agreement.

"Now that that's settled, do you have any questions before I bring in Rear Admiral Santos?

Boros looked inquiringly at Shihong. She shook her head in the negative and Boros didn't have any other questions just then. "Alright Nancy, let's get this show on the road."

Nancy pulled out her comm-device and let the Rear Admiral know they were ready. They were directed to a conference room, and as a troupe, they made their way there.

After they had all filed in, Rear Admiral Santos introduced himself. "Welcome to Canaveral Shipyard. Please be seated."

Everyone took a seat. Boros was pleased that Shihong moved quickly to take a seat next to him.

"So," Santos asked. "What can I do for you Director Bowen?"

"Actually, it's Boros who you can help." Nancy responded. "It is he that will require a ship. What do you have available?"

"What kind of ship are you interested in?" Admiral Santos asked.

"I'm actually going to be interested in more than one ship." Boros told the Admiral he had for some reason taken an almost instant dislike of. So he was going to give him the bare minimum of information he could get away with. "The first will have to be quite large and capable of transporting hundreds of people and huge amounts of supplies great distances."

Admiral Santos produced a device and tapped a few commands into it. The representation of a small corvette appeared above the table.

"Something bigger." Boros suggested. "That pretty much only has room for it's crew and a few passengers."

Next, Admiral Santos displayed a frigate.

"Larger please, that isn't much better than a corvette, it just has more cargo room." Boros told him. In truth, it actually would have accommodated the requirements he'd need for one of the other ships. It just wasn't going to do for his primary needs.

The next holo Santos showed them was of a destroyer.

Boros objected. "Admiral Santos. That is basically a converted bomber. What would I do with that?"

Rear Admiral Santos was getting a little frustrated. "If you would like a custom built ship, that will take credits and time." he said shortly. "I only have a few more class types available but they are much more costly, and don't forget, you will still need to pay for outfitting and any modifications you want."

Boros wasn't a fan of the man even moments after meeting him, his attitude now just made him want to shake the douche bag. "What's the largest ship you have for sale?"

"Well, I have a carrier, three different types of cruisers, two battleship and six battlecruisers available, but I'm sure they are far out of your price range." Admiral Santos told him obnoxiously.

Nancy intervened then, "I thought I made myself clear to you yesterday." she told the man. "This man here holds rank in both the SSA and the preternatural government and will be the first to be able to spearhead a level of cooperation between our two governments previously unheard of. What he requires, as I told you, will very likely be a balance weighing matters only he truly understands."

"Yes Director, I understand. But his rank is not sufficient to retain the weaponry on the larger ships. Without their weaponry those ships run the risk of being overrun and captured. That is a risk the SSA will never approve of. The potential that a ship of the line fall into unfriendly hands must be a factor here."

Nancy shook her head. "I think that you're abilities and mental acumen fall far short of your position here Santos."

While the Director and the Admiral were talking, Boros had been reviewing the several ships available on the console. "I think this is what I'm looking for." he transferred the profile of the Star Cruiser to the main holo-viewer. "With the addition of a couple of support craft, maybe a corvette, a gunship for sure, and two or three transports this ship will suit my needs. I will need to have some modifications done to it sure, but it is worth taking a lookat."

"You have to be kidding me." Admiral Santos exclaimed. "What could you possibly need that large a ship for?"

"That, Admiral, is my business. How much?" Boros asked.

"What?"

"How much for the Star Cruiser?" Boros asked again.

Santos reviewed his holopad. "One bilion four hundred million credits."

"That's ridiculous!" Nancy burst out. "What are you trying to pull here? Ouroboros is a Liaison Officer besides being a Commodore, the protocol for ship purchases by ambassadors is set at cost minus depreciation. Further, if the ship has been decommissioned or is no longer in service then he qualifies for an additional fortyfive percent discount."

"That is absurd." Admiral Santos argued.

"No, Admiral, it isn't. The SSA is still making a small profit because the labour to breakdown that ship plus the cost of reforging, recycling, and disposing of all the leftover waste is only slightly less expensive than the cost of building another ship of the same type. The only reason we do it is because the mineral resources required are finite. There are reasons for protocols like the one that let's ambassadors purchase ships like this. One of the biggest ones being that if we didn't let them buy at a fair discount then the government would be obliged to provide the ships for them not to mention outfitting, staffing, and provisioning. Liaising only takes up so much time, you understand, and an ambassador only makes a salary equal to their commission. How do you think they pay for the cost of upkeep, feeding their staff, providing uniforms and gear, or any of a thousand other things that they are required to pay for out of their pocket?." she drove the point home, "Could you on your Rear Admirals salary, which is vastly greater than a Captains or a Commodores, afford to provision, outfit, and pay even a staff of three?"

Rear Admiral Santos looked at her helplessly, his face was becoming red. "No, Director." the thought made him I'll. He would be in debt after the first month.

"Then how do you think they do it?" she asked him relentlessly. The Admiral shook his head and shrugged. "They become businessmen who in turn provide goods and services to the SSA at a lower price than the open market."

Nancy shook her head again in disgust. She would definitely be having a talk with the man's superiors about his position here. "Let's go and see this ship that Ambassador Boros picked out."

Rear Admiral Santos scurried out of the room to get them a transport and to order the Star Cruiser powered up. "You handled that very nicely." Boros complemented Nancy. "But you weren't explaining all of that just for his benefit, were you?" he asked her shrewdly.

"Was I that obvious?" Nancy asked. "I figured, since the topic came up I could answer questions you would have asked once we were alone. Although having to explain some of the finer parts of his job to that imbecile was a little satisfying. I'm definitely going to speak to someone about him. I think at least and audit is in order."

"Not at all. And thank you. I do have to agree with you on the lack of competence the Admiral displayed." Boros offered.

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