Chapter Thirty Six - Madame Rhyse
I had Jeeves construct
four more chairs as the
table normally held two.
With Wagner playing,
a foresty moodie
scenting the air, I was
ready to entertain
They entered single file.
I nodded to each, and each one put his hand on his heart, bowed his head to me;
gestures of extreme respect.
"Welcome," I say, using no name, "I hope you will enjoy my hospitality."
One spoke; "We are honoured to be here, Madame. Rhyse."
Jeeves rode up with non-alcoholic wine and they accepted the crystal with approval;
"To absent friends," I say;
"To absent brothers," they respond, and we drank.
My eyes danced over them, all these Gyes . One seemed the most like him, but of course I was being fanciful.
"If I may mention," one said, "Gye was most descriptive about your home on Belladonna."
I was unsure if he meant 'My' Gye, or one of the others I had entertained over the years.
"I think dinner is ready, shall we seat?" I reply.
They sat, discussed the meal, the music, and of course, the trade.
"We desire to purchase ships similar to Invictus."
"There is only one Invictus. Others are almost as effective. We would be willing to sell such ships for one hundred million each, and lease you the Invictus for five hundred, but would remit three hundred to you, if it remains in good working order when returned."
"One hundred million is a great deal." said one.
"Yes, it is." I reply.
I let the silence hold a moment, then reached the point of the interview;
"Consider time." I verbally underlined the word. "Depreciation would effect the purchase price, seventy million might be an appropriate price for the other ships and the Invictus might be leased for the same amount...."
"Ms Rhyse, you appear to have a timetable," the most astute perceived.
"Yes, we do." I reply.
His eyes met mine as if reading fine print, and I could 'hear' him thinking;
"...You will inform us when...."
"We shall disseminate your words," said another.
I asked if they wanted more coffee, they declined, took their leave.
The interlude had not been as disruptive as I expected.
Again, I was able to confirm that he, that 'my' Gye was truly gone.
Though they think themselves interchangeable, and live with a 'hive' mentality,
they were not, or perhaps, he was not an absolute 'clone'.
The man I knew, my Gye Tomaka, was gone.
Yes, clones they are and will be, with the same artifically induced memories
and attitudes, but there had been something different in 'my' Gye, that was
not in others.
It granted me closure. A sense of Peace. A true death without possibility of resurrection.
I moved to my boudoir, undressed, went into a relaxing bath with a glass of white
wine and reflected on what was being said about me, about Hawking's relationship
with Sagir It was quite useful for them to misdirect themselves.
Business can only flourish when losses are a small fraction on a balance sheet, when Insurance premiums are unfelt.
When sending a ship from one planet to another is almost uninsurable, trade is not profitable.
During this 'Sagir' period in Hawking trade, profits were astronomical. A Milelong
could set out with near certainty it would arrive.
Insurance unnecessary when the Invictus handled security, when a Sagir stood
behind the weapons array.
For too long Dalmar had controlled space and by that control forced
Sagir into piracy. If Dalmar had not been so arrogant and complete in
their hatred of Sagir, it would not have been necessary for Hawking
Corporation to 'interfere'.
Having been forced to 'interfere' we now held the ascendant. The Dalmar
economy was descending rapidly; Hawking rivals were paying more for
Insurance than cargo.
I chuckled when I recalled a meeting with Captain Paulwell;
"You think your company is powerful
enough to topple the Dalmar Empire?"
Of course it was.