3 of 4 | Chapter 2

 

“I see that, as usual, you haven't been wasting any time, Sean. There have been some crazy changes happening incredibly quickly.” Natalie began her journalist's patter. Her voice was a mixture of charm and professionalism slightly colored by the purring resonance of a high-class prostitute. That was why she was so damn famous!

“Yes! Sometimes, I find it hard to follow myself too,” Steersman answered casually.

Natalie never dwelled on Sean Steersman's personality, still, she was always surprised to discover his contradictory nature, how easy going he was, and at the same time, he seemed distant. Why would a man live a somewhat whimsical and ascetic existence when he had built the coolest, most advanced and most creative city the world had ever known.

“Will we be able to go aboard the ship when the lakes have been completed?” asked Natalie, referring to the two massive lakes that had been excavated. The lake shores were just being covered with glistening white sand imported from somewhere in the Caribbean.

“Sure. We can plan our next meeting out on the water if it suits you,” he replied.

“Great, it'd suit us just fine,” Natalie answered enthusiastically. “Will the lakes be salt water or fresh water?”

“What would you like them to be?” Steersman countered.

“Fresh!” the reporter replied.

“Okay, deal. Fresh water it is,” said Steersman.

Natalie paused, a flicker of doubt on her face: freshwater lakes because she felt like it?

“Well Sean, shall we begin the interview?” she bit her lower lip and looked down at her questions.

“Of course.”

“OK, here we go!” the reporter sat up straight, looked at Frank to confirm he was ready to go, then adjusted her position, breathed in and focused on her subject.

“Mr. Steersman, the world is beginning to acknowledge your presence at all levels of influence,” she started slowly in a confident voice. “You have managed to convince almost all of the most significant research and development organizations in the field of science that it's worth them moving their activities into Excolopolis, and by convincing them to do so, you and your methods and goals have become a target for attack from many leading industrial entities and even more so from political circles. Considering this, how can you overcome these attacks and how can you explain this unprecedented gathering of global companies?”

“I've never tried to over-complicate my responses to any of the accusations leveled against me. I have no deleterious intentions, yet I also refuse to force people to my way of thinking or flaunt my methods under the noses of others. All I can do is repeat that my only goal is to assist in creating a more viable, a more sustainable world, without giving up human technology and innovation.”

“A more sustainable world … I see,” Natalie repeated. “Would you explain how Excolopolis will contribute to making our world … our environment more viable?”

“All that is currently happening here in Excolopolis is just the first step,” said Steersman. “By moving all research centers into one area, we have optimized their activities in two fields. Number one: the supply chains for the laboratories has improved, which is not by any means negligible from a logistical point of view, and number two: the harmful emissions that laboratories produce, hazardous wastes, management of by-products and so on are being undertaken with the new generation of neutralization processing technology that has only recently become available,” Steersman continued to outline further. “The surrounding environment of each laboratory has already undergone a significant measurable change. The global impact, however, is a slower process to measure, but soon, the first visible signs of improvement will be apparent … the process of change has already started.”

“I'm glad that you mentioned the neutralization plant as it is one of the aspects of Excolopolis that has mostly come under fire in professional circles. How does it work? Are by-products or waste materials put in at one end and at the other end we get clear air and water?”

Steersman replied in his cool monotone, “If we wish to simplify things then, indirectly, yes. Of course, it's far more complicated than that. The processing is done at a molecular level, in an accelerated environment.”

“Mr. Steersman, you're a businessman and the founder of the city, but you're not a scientist or engineer. Who have you entrusted with the construction of the plant, and which company developed the technology to make it possible? Can you tell us?”

“Well, I do have some understanding of the science behind the technology,” said Steersman, smiling. He still thought it would be too soon to give any of the long awaited details of specialized developments, as these had only been speculated about by media and industry alike. “I hope you realize that the technology and systems here are strictly under wraps. I really don't care if some interest groups find it intriguing. I think that, for too long, we have allowed our environment to be continuously polluted for the sake of a small majority with a financial interest in the keeping of the status quo!” Steersman leaned forward. “I really don't care who considers their own twisted idea to be the truth that must be protected at any cost. What matters to me are actions and what those actions result in!” Steersman paused, no longer quite so relaxed. A hard note had entered his voice. “If you like, we could say that I also have an idea or a concept that I wish to protect as well, and when opposite interests clash, it generally becomes clear, relatively quickly, whose motives are the strongest.”

There was a short silence.

“Wow!” Natalie broke the silence. “It seems that you are well prepared to do battle.”

“Only those who feel that it is their right to do anythingwithout thought for the consequences of their actionswill eventually reap that which they have sown,” said Steersman coldly.

“Could you be more specific?” Natalie asked, feeling shivers down her spine.

“Do you know what the worst thing that can happen to those who think they are untouchable, who feel that they stand above everything else?”

Natalie shook her head slightly.

Steersman continued softly. “When the ground slowly slips away from beneath them, and there is absolutely nothing they can do about itexcept stand and watch it happening.”

“But how …?” Natalie began to ask.

Steersman cut gently in, “Everything in its own place and time, Natalie.”

“Thank you, Mr. Steersman. It seems that this time we leave with more questions than we started with. It's something that we are becoming accustomed too …”

*

Natalie Garner's interviews always got high ratings. As usual, she had played it safe by being prepared with questions that would have guaranteed to increase the numbers, though this time, there was no need to ask them, really. She did not need any of the seedy tabloid questions that might have uncovered the dirt on Steersman's private life. In his case, the world could wonder in vain about the life of someone capable of slamming both multi-trillion dollar industries and the egos of the self-absorbed mega-billionairesof whom everyone had had enough long ago.

 

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CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 13 | ENERGY WAR
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH