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The Bull and the Genie
- Chapter 39 - Interlude, Business sharks and Blood in the Water
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Business Arrangements[]

Taurus Territorial Industries - Taurus, Taurian Concordat


The parties were still going on, although they'd end tomorrow, because Thomas Calderon had declared Sunday to be a day of reflection and mourning for the lost troops. But inside the boardroom of TTI, the mood was…

Sharks.

There were representatives from virtually every major military and civilian corporation in the Concordat.

"Gentlemen, in addition to the celebrations going on outside, the Protector and his heir have been in close negotiations with the Draconis Combine and Lyran Commonwealth."

"About what?"

"We lost the most part of a regiment, but between bagging a Warship and two of the most notorious pirates in the region, the Lyrans are very interested in continuing this program, and the Draconis Combine has also expressed interest." CEO Adam Harkness looked around at the rest. "The dirty little secret is no successor state can afford to deploy units to strike at pirates, so they pay them to go elsewhere and kill someone else… which works out… poorly. But a neutral party, one beholden to no lord, and one with everything to lose by playing games, could allow them to stop paying money to pirates and start dealing with pirate raids, which gives them time to devote more effort to the shiny chair on Terra."

"So how does this help us?" Judith MacLeod asked. "Our production lines are running full out. I've had to pour concrete on a new line for Wasps."

Harkness nodded. If there was one thing they'd learned, it had been the drive to heavy mechs needed to be reflected in an equal drive for more lighter mechs.

I wonder how the TAG integration is going?, He shrugged at the thought. He'd talk to her about that later. Nice thing about an economic boom, it was easier to help a competitor hen you both had more orders than you could fill.

But on the other hand, Judith was a little provincial. Now it was time to drop his bomb.

"Give me the far Periphery."

The screen pulled out, showing the borders of the Draconis Combine and Commonwealth. "We don't know what lies beyond, but there have been rumors of organized polities."

"Across the Inner Sphere from us."

"Yes, which is why it's so wonderful that Comstar lets us move C-Bills by HPG transmission." Harkness looked out at them. "If the rumors coming out of Government House are true, the Dracs are going to hold firm that they don't want permanent bases for any future anti-piracy operations in the Commonwealth or the Combine—too big a chance that someone would "arrange" an operation to suck us in. Comstar has pledged to provide HPG units for worlds that have an HQ on them, letting command stay in touch with our own people, which gives us close communication for commercial purposes."

"What commercial purposes?" Cassandra Wilson asked. The head of the Concordat's largest entertainment conglomerate gestured. "What is out there?"

"Having an Inner Sphere moment, Cassandra? They asked the same question of us. What is out there, at least for the near future, is the Oberon Confederation. It was a pirate kingdom, but my people agree—for most of the last few decades, their leaders have been, like us, interested in building up. But they don't have the money to expend, and Hendrik Grimm III has tried to stay neutral—and he's reading the writing on the wall. My ah, sources, indicate that he's just reached out offering to fully restrict any future piracy in return for further aid. But the problem is, right now the Lyrans aren't kindly inclined to anyone who ever got involved with pirates and since both Morgaine and Redjack were part of his military before they went independent…"

"You want us to aid them."

"To put our influence behind an uplift mission, and base our HQ on his capital, yes." Harkness put his hand on the projection. "Ten worlds, a population that we can pay a fraction of our costs here, and yet we can pay them vastly more than they currently receive. His kingdom has literally no indigenous industry for consumer goods. It's perfect for establishing a long-term commercial presence in that area of space. Not only that, since both the Kuritans and Lyrans seem to value the anti-piracy patrol agreement as it's being hammered out, we can offer them protection in the sense that nobody's going to wreck an agreement that they value. By establishing a neutral, safe trading partner, we will also be able to take advantage of all the trade the the Combine and Commonwealth officially don't have, via a neutral port."

"Fine, and after that?" Judith asked. "You don't plan for the short term."

"After that? The anti-piracy task force isn't just going to be sitting on its ass. I happen to know that they're including provisions for long-range scouting expeditions, which will find pirates, but also find inhabited worlds. There are legends of entire trade associations up here, hell maybe even Kerensky's people. And unlike the other parts of the near and mid periphery, it's almost completely untapped. Right now we have a surplus, and if the government is engaging in expeditionary operations, I say we join them!" He looked around the room. "There are limits to how much any given economy can absorb. Shipping goods all the way to the Lyrans has built in limits, especially if things go bad with the Davions. But establishing a stable relationship on the other side benefits—"

"It means that if anyone comes after us down here, now both the Lyrans AND Dracs will be pissed." Judith sighed. "This is Edward's idea, isn't it."

"Tell me no lies…" Harkness grinned. "..but if we're already moving the military, we'll need civil assets to support them anyway. So what do you think?"

It took a while, but before long, Harkness had his answer.

Edward's going to be happy.


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