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The Federated Suns Reborn
Chapter 11

A Friendly Dinner[]

Davion Palace
Grand Avalon Mountain Range, New Avalon
New Avalon Combat Region, Coreward Combat Theater (Markessan Operation's Area)
Crucis March, Federated Suns
3rd July 3062

The CEO of Achernar Battlemechs, Paul LeBeau walked into the small private dining area within the palace and only years of the board room intrigues that had elevated him to the top of one of the FedSun's most prestigious firms kept the surprise from showing on his face. Instead decades of experience had him flash his customary warm smile at his host and the other guest, who he had not been made aware would be in attendance, as he bowed deeply. "Your Highness, First Prince Victor I was honored by your invitation... And Duchess Marik it is an unexpected pleasure to see you here tonight."

As he rose from the bow Paul wasn't surprised to see amusement on Victor Davion's face, yet he was surprised at the intelligence and awareness of his shock glittering in the eyes of Isis Marik. None of the reports he had seen on the wayward scion of House Marik had suggested she was anything other than a pretty decoration which her father had handed out to Sun-Tzu Liao to cement their pact, and which had then been discarded by the Chancellor when she no longer suited his needs. Interesting. He would have to have words with the Vice President in charge of maintaining their dossiers of the various VIPs.

Victor chuckled ruefully and extended his hand for a handshake. "Mr. LeBeau, perhaps you'd do me the small favor of at least for this evening of not referring to myself and Lady Isis by our full titles... Duke Victor and Lady Isis should do for now... It will make the conversation a great deal less stilted. As for Lady Isis's presence, it was her suggestion actually that I meet with you over dinner rather than in a more formal setting with aides, generals and other hangers on!"

The CEO bowed his head again in the direction of the smiling Marik. "In that case, please call me Paul in return and if you will permit me Your Highness... I mean Duke Victor, I would extend my thanks to Lady Isis for the suggestion. A dinner invitation to the Palace is a much sought after social coup. I will be the envy of every CEO and Noble on New Avalon due to her suggestion!"

Both nobles and the CEO chuckled at the truth in the jest. It was after all a fair comment. As they made small talk for a few minutes a liveried servant arrived to inform them that the dinner was now ready.

As the meal progressed Paul LeBeau found himself more and more talking with Isis Marik about the various products and aspects of his company while his own Prince seemed to be more entranced with his meal. At first Paul found himself almost irritated by this but he soon realized that the First Prince was not ignoring him nor indeed was he so taken with the admittedly fine food as to be ignoring his guests. No, the First Prince was allowing the Lady Marik to steer the conversation exactly where he wanted it to go. Strangely as the discussion progressed he found himself discussing less and less about the military products of Achernar Battlemechs and more the civilian side. Particularly industrial mechs. Interesting. It was however clear that although Isis was obviously working on a prearranged script, her interest in the various way's that Achernar's products could better the lives of the common people was genuine. Again, interesting.

Victor finally entered the conversation as the last of the desert plates were lifted, speaking as he nodded his thanks to the servant removing his plate. "I have to say I have found your conversation with Lady Isis incredibly interesting, Paul. While I of course know the fine military products of your company I had no idea as to the extensive nature of the civilian products you provide!"

While LeBeau found it hard to believe the claim of ignorance from his Prince he smiled and nodded back. "Oh yes, Duke Victor... In fact according to the latest report across my desk the military and defense related sales only account for roughly 24% of our revenue stream..."

"Fascinating... And you know it makes me think. As you are no doubt aware I've been looking into supporting expansions of the military-industrial complex within the Federated Suns... Investing in our Outback region... And I doubt you'll be surprised that Achernar Battlemech's has featured prominently within those plans." Victor flashed a professional smile at the CEO who returned it with one equally bland. "Now however I'm thinking of expanding the role I had in mind for Achernar..."

"Expanding in what way, Duke Victor?" It hadn't escaped Paul's notice that as Victor had entered the battle as it were, his proxy had withdrawn to sit smiling and sipping her wine.

"Well initially I had thought a small Battlemech manufacturing center, perhaps on Filtvelt or a similar world, producing Enforcers and Dervishes... But now I have a much larger, grander idea. What would you say, merely provisionally on further discussions of course, to a proposal for a large scale industrial complex producing a large number of your AgroMech and Dig Lord Industrialmechs? Perhaps even expanding to include licensed designs from the Lyran Alliance?" Victor held his empty glass up with a nod to the server who refilled it.

Paul sat back and pretended to consider the suggestion, although he had of course seen it coming nearly half an hour ago and had been running the numbers through his head even as he had dueled verbally with Lady Isis. "An interesting suggestion... A very interesting concept indeed. One that could bring not only large scale profits for my company, but also huge economic benefits to the Outback I would say... Provided it was done correctly and properly financed."

"Of course." Victor agreed.

"And your original proposal? For a new plant to expand Enforcer and Dervish production? Would that be cancelled or...?" The CEO probed.

"Oh most definitely not. Instead I would see the BattleMech production facility as an annex to the industrial mech facility. Indeed it might even cut some costs and so lead to further expansions in not only numbers but products..." Victor met his subject's eyes and left unsaid was the mention of Achernar's newest subsidiary Albion Advanced Technologies and Products, which was providing the AFFS with a very large percentage of it's battle armor designs. Such things clearly couldn't be discussed in front of Lady Marik.

"My Lord Prince... I think, as you say on a provisional basis and subject to proper discussions by the relevant government and company officials, that I can promise you that the board of directors and indeed the stockholders would look upon such a proposed expansion... Most favorably." The CEO's smile was matched by that of the First Prince's, while Isis Marik smiled warmly at them both and joined in Victor's toast to the success of this new project.

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