Mike let himself into the office and sat as the professor finished talking on the comms. “and then I want a full team ready for action. Dust off will be with little warning and we must be in place.” There was a pause, the comm was set to specific so Mike could not hear the other end. “No, I will find the funding but it is not totally settled. Just keep the receipts.” Another pause. “No I will not believe that they were needed for local cultural norm evaluations, see strippers . . . sorry ‘exotic dancers’ on your own isk.” He sighed. “Look keep the receipts and trust that provisions will be made. I will contact you again before the end of the day but I want people moving NOW.” The professors hand flashed out as he killed the connection.
“You called?” Mike asked grinning as he took a seat.
The professor ran his hands through the thinning patch of hair and nodded. “I know I have already asked a lot of you, but we have found a new dig site, one we did not know about before.”
“So you want another dummy mining operation to cover it?” Mike asked, bringing out his own comm and contacting Dotlan for the latest maps and stats.
“Yes, but there is more than just a cover. We think this dig might be a bit of a fire starter.”
“Yes, it is following the early days of New Eden and might make some religious people uncomfortable. Enough so that they have already started to block my usual access to funding channels, making this difficult to even get off of the ground. Worse, if they let some of their more radical people catch wind of our research there might be . . .” he made a moue “violence.”
Mike gasped and put his hand to his chest. “Oh noes, violent peoples you say?”
“Jape if you will. This will be ground combat. We will have academics at a dig who are not quite sure what caliber of bullets a laser rifle uses.”
Mike chuckled, not sure how to answer that one. “My mine will be guarded. Perhaps a little more heavily than usual. If the guard perimeter happens to contain the dig as well then that is just a side benefit. Don’t worry about security, I will take care of that, now tell me about the funding, what sort of isk are we talking about?”
“You know how it goes, it always depends on what we find and the nature of the dig. Could be a hundred thousand on the short end up to as much as three million isk if the dig goes long or we need specialized equipment. That is assuming we can bunk with your mining operation and use their support services. But with the pressure being put on the school most of the departmental funds seem to have suddenly been ‘earmarked’ and I am now making cold calls to some of our benefactors of the past. Sadly, most of them have businesses and find that crossing the wrong people might have a detrimental effect on their bottom line.” He shook his head. “I was hoping for one of the other philanthropic organizations but haven’t had much luck yet.”
Looking at him for a long moment Mike reflected about how far from his former life he had come. Once a hundred thousand isk would have seemed so far above his economic strata so as to be part of the stars themselves. Now it was what he could make hauling in the iteron in an hour or two. The entire operation could be funded by a days work, mine and all. “OK, IF I can get you the funding I have one condition; you don’t hide where it came from. I don’t want it shouted from the rooftops but if there is pressure being brought to bear I want it all to hit me, that sound fair?”
“You can afford?” Sputtered the professor.
“You know the numbers, in all the billions of people in New Eden some less than half a million have the genetic mix to be capsuleers. I am not rich but my services do command a price. I can afford this. Now I will arrange to be on the ground when things are being set up to coordinate the mine, the security, and the dig. Once things are running I will stand back and let the professionals do their thing.” Mike was tapping on his comm as he spoke. “Do you have an account I can transfer the funds to, somewhere that the powers that be cannot ‘earmark’?”
The professor was still stunned and shook himself for a moment and spoke slowly. “You would have to put conditions onto the donation, to make sure that it is properly allocated. This is not a simple bank transfer.”
“Oh.” Mike lowered the comm. “Well then have your people set up the appropriate paper work . . . we’ll make it for . . . hmm . . . four million. That way the unsuspected will be covered. So have the coordinates set for where the mine goes and we will get this show on the road.”
I will be away from Eve and missing it dearly for a bit more than a week
I will try to check the blog, now and again, but once I am planetside connections to comms become tenuous, at best.