Dazed and confused works for the writer… sigh
At supper Saturday night, a decision got made that we’re going to do another Tales Around the Supper Table, some of the same authors, some new ones too… Expected release in time for Christmas. A quick word of thanks to those who read it and reviewed it! Truly appreciated!!!
Now for a snippet of a short I’m working on for the next one… As always, comments and recommendations appreicated!
Danny, Daniella, Vic, and Adhit Gurung sat in the back corner of the mess and Danny asked, “What the hell am I going to do?”
Vic said, “Hide the money. Adhit knows a few, so do I. Never admit how much you have, or where it is.
Adhit asked, “Templars?”
“They would be good.”
“Feel free to use me as a reference. Lima six four Charlie.”
They were still discussing options four divs later, when Daniella finally said, “Enough! Danny, just do what Vic and Adhit are telling you.” She looked up as Estrella, the ship AI’s simulacrum, walked into the mess.
She breathed in her lovely contralto voice, “Captain, you are one stupid, pig-headed, idiotic…” She shook her head. “You have experts sitting here and you think you know more than they do. Shut up, go to bed with your wife, get a sleep cycle and then do what Vic and Mr. Gurung are telling you.”
Daniella chuckled as she looked at the expressions on the three men’s faces. “You tell ‘em Estrella!” She got up and shook her head. “I’m going to bed.” With that, she stalked out of the mess.
Vic leaned back and laughed. “I think we’re at an endpoint, anyway. And I have a commitment that I need to be functional for early in the morning.” He glanced at his wrist comp. “I might as well stay aboard again, since that will confuse the hell out of the people when I show up tomorrow without having come from a hotel.”
Danny cocked his head. “Why is that, Vic?”
“They watch me like a hawk. People monitor the cameras, hotels, hell, everything to keep track of me. They don’t like it when I disappear that makes them nervous.” He laughed again. “That’s why I have a couple of simulacrums that are programmed to show up in certain locations at certain times to show…continuity for the company. When I went out with you, I was vacationing at a secure location with my family. And my wife was pissed, because the simulacrum wasn’t great company.”
Adhit said, “I shall leave now.” He waved off Danny’s raised hand. “Grey Lady maintains an apartment here, among other places that is more than adequate. I will be back here at seven to take you to…where we need to go.” He got up and discarded his bulb in the recycle on his way out of the mess.
Danny threw up his hands in disgust. “Whatever. I’m not—”
Vic grinned. “I’d suggest you go make nice with your lovely wife. If you don’t, that could be very expensive!”
“Oh, shit. Yeah, I should. Sorry gents, I…realize I’m wrong.” He glanced up at Estrella. “Satisfied?”
Estrella dimpled nicely as she smiled. “Yes, Captain. Shoo.” She made motions with her hands and laughed at his expression as he dumped his bulb in the recycle as he left.
Danny looked around nervously. “Are you sure this is the right way?”
Adhit chuckled. “Of course. The people we are going to see don’t, shall we say, advertise what they do.” They turned down what appeared to be a maintenance corridor in the old section of Gany Station, dimly lit with a couple of bulbs flickering in the overhead. “Ah, they are expecting us!” Adhit picked up his pace. “Come, come.”
“Expecting us? Where the hell are we? I didn’t bring enough gun to be in this part of the station.” His hand went automatically to his pistol as one of the two lights blinked out and one behind them blinked on.
Adhit stopped, and Danny almost ran into him as he palmed a reader next to a coded hatch. There was a click, and the hatch slid silently open, revealing a darkened compartment. “Come quickly. Three steps straight in.” Adhit tugged at his arm, and it reminded Danny just how strong Ghorka really are as he took the three steps. The hatch slid closed behind them as the lighting in the compartment came up slowly and flickered.
A tinny voice came from the overhead. “Mr. Gurung, welcome back. Are you here on business?”
“I am. I have a potential customer for you. Captain Danny Ortega.”
“Enter.” A panel in the blank wall slid open, revealing a spacious office. They walked in and Danny goggled at the opulence. A beautiful blonde sat at a desk to his right, and she said, “Welcome back, Mr. Gurung. Mr. Hawkins will be with you in a moment. Would you like your usual refreshment? And Captain Ortega, would you like a black coffee?”
Danny nodded dumbly as Adhit said, “Yes, please.” he glanced at Danny. “For both of us.”
A door opened and a silver-haired, mustached man in a three piece suit stood there smiling. “Adhit, good to see you,” he said in English accent. He glanced at Danny. “And you, Captain Ortega. Please, come in.” He stepped back from the door and motioned graciously for them to enter.
Adhit gave Danny a gentle shove and propelled him through the door, then steered him to a chair in front of the desk. Danny reached out and touched it in wonder. “It’s…actual wood! How?” He rubbed the arm of the chair and mumbled, “Actual wood, and real…leather.” Looking up, he shook his head. “Amazing.”
The silver-haired man took a seat behind the desk and said, “I’m Arthur Hawkins. I understand you are interested in our product.” The blonde sashayed in, a tray in hand. Setting it on the desk in front of them, she smiled and left, closing the door.
Adhit picked up and cup on the left, took a sip, and sighed. “I miss real Earl Grey.”
Hawkins picked up his cup and smiled. “I’ll make sure you have a tin before you leave. Feel free Captain, the coffee is yours.” Danny picked up the remaining cup and took a cautious sip, then nodded as Hawkins continued. Suddenly all business. He slid a pad of paper across the desk to Adhit as he asked, “Is there a reference?”
Adhit nodded as he wrote L64C on the pad and pushed it back across the desk. Hawkins nodded. “That is an acceptable reference.”
Danny snapped, “He damn well—”
Hawkins cut him off abruptly. “No names. We never use other customers’ names, ever! Do you understand, Captain?”
Suddenly bewildered, Danny nodded.
“Answer yes or no, please.”
“Yes, I understand. I’m sorr—”
Hawkins looked at Adhit. “Are you representing the captain?”
“Very well.” He sipped his tea, looking at Danny as if measuring him and Danny couldn’t help but wonder if he was passing muster. Hawkins finally said, “Captain, you want a private bank to handle the one hundred four billion credits they awarded you yesterday. Is that correct?”
Danny almost spit out his coffee and said, “It was… one hundred thirty billion credits, but yes, I want a private investment. Very private. I understand that is your specialty.”
Hawkins shrugged. “We are one of the better ones. And it will only be one hundred four billion credits. GalPat will take ten percent as a tax, and GalLaw will take ten percent as a recovery fee.
Danny sputtered, “They what? They get ten percent for…taking a damn check?”
Adhit laughed at his expression. “We didn’t discuss this last night, but yes, they do.”
Shaking his head, he asked, “How long…have you been in business?”
Hawkins quirked a smile. “Continuously for fifteen hundred thirty-eight years this year.”
Barking a laugh, Danny glanced at Adhit. “Really?”
“Yes, our oldest continuous account is…one thousand three years old. Now in the twentieth generation of that particular family.”
“So, what are you going to do for me, and how much is it going to cost me?”
Hawkins smiled. “First and foremost, we will protect your assets and yourselves. No links will be made to you, no data miners or hackers can get to your assets here or anywhere else. We will invest your money in various locations, and we see an average growth of three to five percent per year. We will provide funds to you as needed via various means as required to support whatever lifestyle you choose. If, worst case, you are kidnapped and held for ransom, we will pay it and rescue you, your wife, or your child or children. Our recovery rate is ninety-nine point six percent on personnel and ninety-seven point three percent on funds.”
He took a sip of his tea and continued, “We charge one quarter of one percent of the principal per year. There are a number of specifics we will go over once you agree to go forward. Any questions?”
Danny leaned back in his chair and rubbed his lips. “Um, lots. But ninety-nine point six percent?”
“Of two hundred fifty principals taken, two hundred forty-nine have been recovered over the life of the company. The one loss was a principal that died of a heart attack in the hands of the kidnappers, but they were found and…were no longer a problem, shall we say.”
Danny scrubbed his face and looked at Adhit. “Am I doing the right thing?”
Acerbically, Adhit said, “Your lawyer I am, your father I am not. This is your decision.”
“Can I get my wife—”
Hawkins shook his head. “Not yet. You need to decide whether you want us to service your account.”
“Ah screw it. Vi…everybody thinks I should, including my damned AI. Yes, I want you to manage my account.”
“Very well. Now, let us look at what you currently have.” Hawkins pulled up a virtual keyboard and screen that was double sided. “This is your GalBank operating account for the DSRV Ghost you own, correct?”
Danny blinked. “Uh, yes, but how?”
“You need to maintain at least two point five million credits to stay out of trouble. We will…monitor your ongoing expenses and ensure that it does not dip below an acceptable level.”
“How can you possibly do that?”
Hawkins smiled and continued, “And this is your rathole account at the General Credit Union under Jerome Ortega?”
Danny sighed and nodded. “Yes, that one. You will not answer me, will you?”
Hawkins laughed. “No, privacy goes both ways.”
Three divs later, a wrung out Danny and a smiling Adhit left Hawkin’s office. “Remember, Ingram will be on the ship at eighteen as a GalPat inspector to inspect the food storage and prep areas. He is an obnoxious little shit for a reason. He will make sure that no one is around when he does the scans and other things for your wife. Please, please, prepare her. She is a redhead, and by the way, looks like your twin sister.”
Danny sighed. “We’re not related! I don’t know why people seem to think…”
Adhit and Hawkins both laughed and Adhit said, “The resemblance is striking, and the attitudes are…similar, to put it mildly. It just so happens you married your doppelganger.”
(C) 2021 JL Curtis All Rights Reserved