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Chapter 254 - What Could Go Wrong[]

Thazi (Independent System)
26th December, 3046

"Please rethink your recent decisions. This is going to cause friction that neither of us want." Colonel Edwin Davion, Federated Commonwealth Ambassador/Emissary to Thazi, said

"Sorry, Edwin. This is going to happen no matter what. The only wiggle room will be on the final price that is negotiated. I am not going to operate at a loss. I am half tempted to pull Solar Metal off Wokha and bring them here to exploit our own resources better. The First Prince can bring his own people to mine Wokha, they just have to negotiate a reasonable royalty fee with my people. Remember, I own the mining rights on the surface of Wokha itself. That purchasing agent over there had been cutting the price steadily every 6 months and I have had enough of it." President David Mitchell replied, leaning back in his chair.

"This is going to get a reaction and it might not be what you want." Colonel Davion cautioned

"Then it means someone has taken notice and correct the problems before it gets worse. But either way, the current state of affairs is not going to continue. It is going to change. Go file your report and I am sure that you will be returning to tell me what the answer was in a few days. I am not going to budge on this." President Mitchell replied

"At least I can tell them that I tried to talk some sense into you." Colonel Davion said as he stood to leave.

"Yes, you did. So did half my staff, but my mind is made up and I will not be deterred." President Mitchell replied

31st December, 3046

Leopard CV (Underway in Space)

Leopard CV Class Fighter Carrier DropShip

When the Invader Jumpship materialized at the Nadir Jump Point and made its initial call, the OIC of the Olympus Recharge Station did not know what to do except start waking people up on the surface. A Monarch Passenger Liner Dropship detached and was escorted by two Leopard CV Fighter Carrier Dropships with a small local CAP flying escort as they began their journey towards Thazi just over two days away.

2nd January, 3047

President David Mitchell had all of Search and Recovery Inc turned out in parade as they watched the Monarch Dropship smoothly land on the long runway. The message simply said a high-level visitor, but Colonel Edwin Davion had identified the Dropship as the one that carried Archon Melissa Steiner-Davion between Tharkad and New Avalon. Once the Monarch was deemed cooled down enough, the main passenger ramp lowered, and everyone could clearly tell it was Archon was descending the lowered stairs.

"I told you this was going to get a reaction." Colonel Edwin Davion whispered to President David Mitchell standing beside him.

"I wanted a reaction. Though I did not expect one this quickly." President Mitchell replied in a whisper

"No sense delaying the royal flogging we are both about to receive. Shall we go meet the, Archon?" Colonel Davion asked

"Yes, I am not about to let Archon Melissa Steiner-Davion walk to me." President Mitchell replied as he strode towards the bottom of the long stairs.

Once he reached them, he bowed slightly and said "Archon Steiner, welcome to Thazi. I am President David Mitchell."

Archon Melissa Steiner-Davion flashed he well known smile as she replied "It is nice to finally meet you, Hanse told me so much about you. I just had to come out here and see everything for myself."

"Please, call me, David. Shall we get somewhere more comfortable to speak?" President Mitchell said

"As one head of state to another, call me Melissa. Titles can be exhausting during discussions." Archon Melissa Steiner Davion replied with her famous smile still beaming.

Twenty minutes later they were seated inside President Mitchells private conference room inside the restored SLDF base. Fresh drink and snacks were waiting for them, a small sampling of produce from Thazi but also had laid out a tray of freshly cooked Bison from Boulsi in various cuts but kept bite sized with small toothpicks stuck in each one.

"Your arrival was a surprise, Archon, I would have been better prepared for your arrival if I had been given a heads up." President Mitchell said

"Please, it is Melissa in here. Hanse wanted to come himself, but his absence would have been noticed. MMM, this beef is delicious. Local?" Melissa asked she enjoyed her meal

"Yes. Try the apples also, I find them addictive." President Mitchell said

"So tell me, how does it feel to be President of your new nation?" Melissa asked

"Overwhelming at times. There is so much to do, so much we need. Education is fairly poor overall, finding teachers in the numbers we need is difficult. Now I have hospitals and clinics that are critically short on doctors and nurses, another need to add to the list." Mitchell replied

"Is that why you are playing hard ball with the minerals on Wokha?" Melissa asked while watching for his reaction.

"Part of it, we need the money to hire all the people we need. But it was also getting to the point where we would be operating at a loss and that just will not do." President Mitchell said

"At a loss? The going rate for iron ore in the rest of space is 13 C-bill per ton, but since the remote location sort of limits both sides of this deal. You should have been paid the authorized 25 C-bills per ton." Melissa observed

"We have never gotten that, the most is 18 per ton and was 8 per ton 6 months ago and at the start of the month was a no purchase at all. I have just over 300,000 tons of iron ore sitting on Wokha, yet I had no buyer. Seems the folks over there cannot process the iron ore into steel fast enough. My steel factory is about to come online so I told them to bring it over here. We can process it and sell the steel back to the Fed Com. At a fair price that is." Mitchell said

Melissa rolled her eyes slightly "Corruption, I so hate when someone sticks their beak into the wrong pool. What are you considering a fair price for your steel, David?"

"My advisor said it would cost the FedCom at least 180 C-bills per ton to ship it out here when all expenses were calculated. I would think 130 for cold rolled steel and 100 for hot rolled steel is a fair price. We are right next door after all, and the Fed Com is still saving money. I am told the factory should be able to produce 12-15,000 tons per day of each type of steel. Once we are fully staffed and the workers are trained. I also have a second steel mill that I have not even taken out of the shipping containers. It was meant for Wokha, but once the prices kept plummeting, I figured it was not worth the expense." Mitchell explained

"I will agree to those prices, and it will stay that way until the need is no longer there. Only because it seems you got screwed over for a few years. The Federated Commonwealth will also purchase anything else we need on Wokha for 8 C-bills over current market rates to make up for the losses you have incurred. And to keep you up to date, I will make sure that you receive a monthly fax detailing the current market prices so that you can verify the amounts. I prefer to keep our primary supplier of so much happy. Shipping the limited stuff, we do out here is already straining our transportation assets. When I leave here, I will be stopping by Wokha to handle this problem personally. Is there anything else?" Melissa asked

"That is more than I expected, I thank you, Highness.", Mitchell said

"Melissa, is that so difficult. Now I have a few questions for you." Melissa said

"Melissa then. Please, ask any question you like." Mitchell replied not realizing what was to come.

"Your recent adventure, what exactly did you find? Because Hanse and I suspect it is more than what was said." Melissa asked

President Mitchell tried not to be surprised but knew he was caught and thought quickly "Special armored suits. Better than even those we handed over on Inner End. I have 30 of them for the NAIS, we are keeping the others for our own use. A couple mining stations, which we will also be keeping, roughly 80,000 people and a functional Tracker Class Surveillance Warship. Though warship is by the barest of measurement."

"A warship, functional. You thought to keep that a secret? Hanse will see that as a severe threat to Wokha and I too am alarmed by this." Melissa commented

"It has a single Naval Laser and two Barracuda capital missile launchers with no missiles. Not much of a threat to anyone. Much less to your fleet next door, Melissa." Mitchell replied

"I want one of my officers to look at it, he will tell only me what he thinks of it. If it is no real threat, I will handle Hanse. Is that a deal, David?" Archon Melissa Steiner Davion said

"I will agree to that, Melissa." President Mitchell replied

"Good. Now what are you not telling me? Your not a very good liar and are giving off every indication that your holding back." Archon Melissa Steiner Davion asked

President Mitchell knew he had no choice but to come clean, her eyes seemed to pierce into his very soul. "Something I refuse to sell and will destroy if it is threatened in any way. It could very well be the very thing that lifts my nation out of poverty."

"You found another Memory Core didn't you?" Archon Melissa Steiner Davion asked as she leaned a little closer to hear every slight whisper he might make.

"A shipyard, but it has no ability to manufacture any sort of capital weapons. Very limited capability and only a 300,000 ton limit. Loaded in its databank were Star Lord & Tramp JumpShips and a Carrack Transport design lacking any capital weapons ability." President Mitchell said

"Hanse is going to have a fit. Any shipyard ability and I mean any at all is very valuable. I am sure you know this. But I can see why you were hesitant to reveal it. That you did, that speaks volumes about your integrity and honesty. Your living up to everything I have read and heard about you. You tell no one, and I mean no one about this shipyard. Not until I say you can. Is that clear David?" Archon Melissa Steiner Davion said

"I had not planned to even tell you, but lying as you observed is not something I do very well. So it is very clear, Melissa." President Mitchell replied

"Please tell me your not bringing back here and setting it up." Melissa said

"No, we are not bringing it back here to Thazi. That would not be smart with AFFC ships constantly entering the system." Mitchell replied

"Good, keep it that way. I will have to figure out how to smooth this over with Hanse. A way that he does not do anything rash. Not the easiest thing to do. This will take some thought. What are your exact plans for it?", Melissa said

"Ability to build and repair our own ships, maybe even sell a few. We could use the money." President Mitchell replied

"Okay, I can work with that information. You said it held the Carrack Transport in it's data bank, think it could repair ours?" Archon Melissa Steiner Davion asked

"Possibly, outside of the capital weapons anyway. I would be willing to work out some sort of deal to repair any you have, if we can." President Mitchell said

"I would have to get back to you on that, but it is another bullet to use against Hanse. If it could, that would pull three ships out of line waiting on work at Wokha." Archon Melissa Steiner Davion said

"I am willing to try really hard to work together if it keeps my people safe, but I will not sell nor surrender the shipyard. Nor be taken advantage of." Mitchell replied firmly

"I am not asking you to do any such thing. For now, this stays in this room. Until you hear from me. Now, I have a few days to tour your beautiful planet before we head back up to the Jumpship. From there, I head to Wokha to cut the beak off of someone who has been dipping into the wrong trough. Care to give me a tour, David?" Archon Melissa Steiner-Davion asked

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