3 of 3 | Chapter 3

 

“Sean, I'll double whatever Chrysler's offered you! If you wish, I'll have the entire amount on your table in cash by first thing tomorrow morning,” Solberg shouted over the roar of helicopter rotors.

“I can do better than that,” said Steersman, brushing off the offer nonchalantly.

A look of irritation passed over Daniel Solberg's face and it quickly became obvious that he was trying as hard as he could to suppress it.

He managed to calm down somewhat by the time they reached Steersman's office, where they bumped into Karen.

“This is my deputy, Karen Colella,” said Steersman, introducing her.

“Deputy, huh? Good evening. Perhaps you also took part in the development of the DCG?” he asked bluntly.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Solberg. Mr. Steersman is your man with the DCG. Would you like anything to drink? I'm just making some Yirgacheffe coffee. Straight from Ethiopia,” Karen fended off his question adroitly.

“No, thank you,” he said and turned back to Steersman.

Karen smiled. She exactly knew how disturbing polite questions that were out of context could be. These sorts of people came here for big business, not coffee and apple pie. Without exception, it was clear that they had all came here to grab a strategic advantage over their competitors, which always tended to bring out the hardest survival tactics. At times like this, it was so obvious why these people lead multinational corporations. If needed, they were entirely willing to cut the throats of their enemies, their friends, even that of their own grandmother should it be advantageous to do so.

“Daniel, sit down, relax,” said Steersman, leaning back on the sofa. “I will not sell the plans to anyone. Only we will be manufacturing the new drive!” Steersman told him straight, as the DCG technology could never be given to a single player because, from that point onwards, that would be mutating the global economy to an unacceptable degree! Steersman did not wish for that to happen.

When Steersman said ‘we’, he was referring to the anonymous production unit at the industrial site where nothing was working, as yet. Of course, somebody should have guessed that such a huge territory was going to be more than a simple waste disposal facility.

“Don't mess around, Sean. I'm offering you enough money to build yourself another one of these towns,” Solberg argued.

“Look, Daniel. It's not about money.”

“Oh God, don't even start with your ‘money does not matter’ speeches!” Solberg cut him off. “You built this town with money! What can you do without it, huh?” he asked rhetorically.

“Listen, I have no intention of ruining the car industry. What I am capable of delivering will create exactly the same market competition we have now. The only difference is that it will be coming from a different source,” explained Steersman.

“No intention of ruining it?! Have you lost your marbles?!” Solberg jumped up. “What the hell do you think the suppliers, oil companies, all of them, are saying about your little magic ball? Shall I spell it out for you?” He was really beginning to boil. “Tyre production! Hm? No need for them, is there? No contact with the ground, no tread, no tires,” he sputtered. “no need for brakes either, no engine, nothing! Will we need fuel? No, we fucking won't!” Solberg was beginning to lose control.

“We won't need any of those things.” Steersman smiled. “That's the whole point: to produce an environmentally neutral car, at a lower cost. As you well know, the luxury is in the interior anyway. The customers will be satisfied, trust me.”

“If it wasn't you sitting there, I'd be thinking you had no idea what are you're doing!” Solberg gave voice to his doubts. “Millions and million of people are going to lose their jobs. Do you really think they are going to be so pleased?!”

“We'll give them jobs. They might be different jobs, but there'll be plenty to do.” Steersman continued to smile.

“I seriously doubt it. You're a fucking fanatic!” Solberg sat glaring at him. “What a hell are you up to?” He asked, pointedly.

“What I have always done: just stirring the water up a bit. The balance of powers is very one sided at the moment, very insular, and it's not healthy.”

“Fuck you! Of course, you get the biggest slice of the cake,” fumed Solberg.

“No … not just me. You will too. As a matter of fact, the whole world will.”

There was a moment of silence as invisible thoughts passed between the two men.

“What can you supply us with?” Said Solberg abruptly, breaking the silence.

“At the moment we have two different energy modules to experiment with. I can give your engineers enough prototypes that they'll have what they need to develop the use of the new drive technology. They'll receive detailed documentation on operation: how each module can be directed, controlled, adjusted, and so on,” Steersman listed. “If you are quick enough, you could be the one to launch the first ever hover vehicle onto the market.”

Solberg smiled, plainly beginning to feel excited. “This little invention of yours … I haven't been so excited for a long time.”

“Well, that makes two of us,” admitted Steersman.

“I hope you know what you are doing. I have the sneaking suspicion that there are quite a few people out there who would love to have you terminated, right now.”

“Precisely.” Steersman nodded. “I have thought about that. That's why I employ guards. They are taking care of it.”

Daniel Solberg looked around the room pointedly and then said somewhat ironically, “Yeah, I bet you feel real safe … where are they?”

Steersman laughed. “If I told you, then I'd have to have you terminated. That would be unpleasant, for all of us.”

“Then forget it,” laughed Solberg. “All right! I'm in.” He slapped knee. “Sean, you're a bastard. We'll wait for the prototypes to be delivered then, as soon as possible, if you don't mind.” The BMW CEO stood up, somewhat mollified, and moved across to shake Steersman's hand.

“They are already there,” said Steersman, as he stood up.

Daniel Solberg paused, trying to hide his surprise, then turned and walked speechlessly from the office.

When he had gone, Karen peeped into Steersman's room.

“Sean, do you need anything?”

“Yes, please. Get hold of the security manager and ask for a status report and, tell them I intend to extend their contract. Ask them to go to the next alert level within the next thirty days.”

Karen nodded, secretly relieved. “OK, consider it done.”

It was the third time that Steersman had extended their security contract. The company was now providing a small personal army. They'll have to put all of their resources here. They going to be spitting blood. Karen was beginning to worry, worry about pretty much everything. She had never before worked in such a charged atmosphere, but along with the tension came intensity and excitement. She wouldn't miss it for anything.

She wanted to be part of the change, the revolution. She wanted to witness from within, and actually, she was starting to think that Sean Steersman could pull it off.

The security manager could only be reached through a secured phone line that connected after a 64 character code was keyed in, a procedure that could take up to a minute, then a voice check came up, followed by a password check. After that, she could speak to the man himself. Karen passed on Steersman's requests and received a terse, “Copy that, Madam.”

Then the connection cut off.

“Okay, then.” Karen rolled her eyes. “Nice talk.” The super-secret James Bond shit seemed funny, but it also made her skin crawl, somehow.

 

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CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY

CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
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