Home of Sword and Soul
"That seems to conclude our business," he said. "It' been a pleasure working with you."
Cornelius's smiled faded. "I don't think we're quite done yet, Yuri."
The Environ rep forced a smile. "Is there something else?"
"I believe there is," Cornelius replied. "A matter of something on 'my' planet that doesn't belong to me."
"What are you talking about?" Yuri maintained a rigid smile.
"Don't make me do this," Cornelius warned.
Yuri seemed dumbfounded, but Cornelius knew better.
"Let's take another ride," he said.
The trio returned to the main ship.
"Wole," Yvonne said. "Take us to the other site."
Oyewole nodded then the ship sped off. Yuri pulled at his collar.
"I don't see what this is all about."
Cornelius didn't reply. They streaked over a long stretch of forest before coming across a mountain range. Oyewole weaved the ship through the narrow passages until another building appeared.
"Ever seen that place before," Cornelius asked Yuri.
"I can't say that I have," Yuri replied.
"I can say one thing about you. You stick to a lie until the end. It's an Environ monitoring station. It's got everything you need to keep close tabs on planet development. It also contains a big dose of Environ security tech just in case things don't go the way you planned."
"Cornelius, I had no idea..."
"Maybe you didn't, maybe you did. That doesn't matter. What matters is that this is my planet now and I want it gone."
"Just supposing this does belong to Environ. It would take years to dismantle and remove such a complex structure."
"Then I'll let you lease the land and tax your services until you can remove it," Cornelius said.
"You can't do that!"
"Yes I can. It's my planet now and you're trespassing. An incident like this would give the Blocs just the evidence they need to extend government control over your operations."
Yuri dropped his act. "They couldn't if they tried."
"You're correct, but they'll try. Environ doesn't need the distraction. You have worlds to build."
"So what do you propose?" Yuri asked.
"The deal I just offered."
"I'll contact my office," Yuri said. "You'll have an answer in the morning."
He stalked away to his cabin.
"Good work, Yvonne," Cornelius said. "Looks like we're not so broke after all."
Yvonne smiled. "I'll contact mamma and Tommy."
"Please do. That boy is probably pulling his hair out right about now."
Yvonne laughed. "Like father like son."
Cornelius smiled. Unfortunately true. But once he comes he'll change his mind. Too bad I won't be alive to see it."
Yvonne's smile faded. She walked away to carry out her duties.
Oyewole steered the ship away from the Environ facility.
Cornelius gazed at the pristine landscape, fighting a feeling of melancholy.
"Not much time left," he whispered. "None at all."