Chief Executive Officer (Chap. 27)

Ms. Rhyse

I viewed the meeting held between
the Dalmar delegation and Mia Yuan,
(whom I had appointed as Hawking's
agent). Ms Yuan was monolingual.

This required translators, and made
what should have been a brief
interview quite lenghty.

Ms Yuan had not enough authority to change the wallpaper in the Board room.
The Dalmar delegation, of course, would not be aware. Not until the last
sentence, when she mentioned she would convey their concerns, would they
appreciate my contempt.

They may have been led to believe I or a powerful adjutant, who could order a
ship diverted, or remove the embargo, would meet with them.

Or perhaps, bloated with their egos, assumed Mr. Hawking, himself would speak with them.

Robert Hawking would not have liked the trend I was taking He never understood
business was politics. Had he not died in a manner easy to mask, Dalmar would
remain his darling, Sagir the domain of reviled savages

Of course, had one of the other Gye 's encountered me, instead of my Gye,
I would not have considered this project.

Although a simple mind might think it a labour of love, or humanistic outcry against condemning the entire population of a planet to penury, my shareholders would
find the profit margin eloquent.

My hand went for Gye's key, but it was no longer about my neck.
I had given it, as Gye had requested, to the Gye who asked for it.

Gye.

Gye

I look upon the still of him. It is really artfully worked live images. Each appears
a painting. If I were to stare at it for ten minutes, I would see it so very slowly
morph into the next image.

I suppose that image, my memories, keep him alive.

I break from my reverie, contact Head Office, request that after the Invictus
completes its assignment it was to proceed to Belledonna.
My timing is excellent.
The Invictus will be available shortly. I would need to prepare to confront its Captain

....No.
Not here.
Not in my home.
Our meeting would be in my yacht.
Not luncheon, as he had atrocious table manners, but tea.

Taking tea with him would stretch my control greatly, and of all things, control was primary.

My robots packed my bags while I prepared to attend the theatre with the
Robert Hawking Android. Firebird was not the only one who recognised the
value of robots which appear to be human.

What was amusing is that because Hawking built, but did not internally use
androids, no one imagined the gentleman beside me was not Robert Hawking.

Even before his death, Mr. Hawking had avoided tedious social engagements by
the usage of his android. It was well programmed. Every few months I would
activate it and 'we' would attend some function, so that the public would be
assured that Hawking Corporation was still being guided by his steady hand.

After the Evening...

As usual, I programmed 'Robert' with all pertinent information concerning the presentation, the author or composer, historical facts and figures. Anyone prying into our conversation would hear his voice, quite on topic.

Once home, I returned the android to it's closet, changed my clothing and a tin man drove me to my yacht, where I entered the boudoir and slept..

I woke, breakfasted, did necessary exercises to maintain the tightness of my body,
and although the Invictus in range, waited until the designated time to summon
Captain Paulwell.

The Captain

His hair was longer than I recall. And he was perhaps more imposing. We spent
the first ten minutes of our encounter trading amenities, then asked for his report..

I gave him a bonus, asked that he send his Security detachment to me when he
returned to his ship.

"You mean the Eugenics? The Sagirs?" he poked.

"Yes, Captain."

"They're Gyes, you know."

"Yes, Captain, I know they are all Gyes."

He rudely stared into my face. I would not give him the satisfaction of turning away.

"None of them are...Gye." he defines.

"Captain, emotions are wonderful things, but on occasion they should be kept contained."

It took him a few extra seconds to find his feet, salute and as he moved away:

"Captain..."

"Yes?"

"Hangar 12 is under the jurisdiction of the Sagirs. There is to be no surveillance.
Further, when a Sagir ship approaches, and sends the message:
"I am the Captain of my Soul,
" you are to open the hangar door, allow it to berth."

"Madame Rhyse!"

"Sir, you are the Captain of the ship, there are political ramifications which need
be handled in privacy. The Sagir ship will in no wise compromise the Invictus.
Do you understand? When you receive the code, the ship is allowed to liaison."

His skin was turning purple.

"Further, Sir, there might come a time when a member of the Sagir delegation
requests to be disboarded at a Space Station, a Port, or join another ship.
When he requests, he will say; "I am the Master of my Fate ," and you will do
as he has asked."

I thought he would explode.

He could speak if he desired, and I would find another Captain.
I think he realised that. He made a brittle salute, and left.

I went into my room to lie down.

My hand again searched for the Key I no longer owned.
I remembered Gye.
My Gye.
And cried softly, privately.
As such things are done.

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