The isolation continues but a second ‘immortal’ has been added and we are seeing that they are beginning to get along. The psychology of isolation is ameliorated if shared. Would a society of humans slowly divide? Not go to war but just going different ways? Would they or even could they relate to each other on a normal basis?
I asked the chaplain how he thought a person who could ignore death would still manage to have faith. He spoke at some length about those who truly have faith not fearing death nor even seeing it as an ending. I then asked whether an immortal, by escaping that transition to the afterlife would lose their own faith as it was no longer needed. His answer was too quick and too trite. It was then that I knew he was already considering these issues and might even be in contact with higher ups in the church. They supply a good part of my research funding and, until now, I had not given it a second thought.
Mike stood stunned. This was supposed to be a straight forward thing, hire the troops, take them down to the planet, get the scientists out and back in time for a late dinner. Now their CO was ‘declining’ the mission . . . why?
“Very well, but you understand I cannot promise the next offering will be . . .” The mousy little agent was nodding as though she had thought this would happen all along.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up.” Mike raised his hands. “We haven’t even had a chance to discuss price or bonuses . . . I know this is a high hazard mission but . . . ”
“I relayed the remuneration terms to the Commander as a part of setting up the meeting, They are being paid the going rate for L2 missions as they have not yet worked enough for me to merit higher pay.” She was prim and proper and very close to finding out how much this meant to the podder.
“Madam.” He took a breath, calming himself. “I am familiar with the methods you use to calculate pay scale normally. This, however is not normal. I, mon petit chou, am not a corporation and I don’t follow those rules of renumeration. You will get your cut, never fear but I think I will modify your offer, some.” The pilot turned from the agent as if she no longer existed. “Now, let’s talk business.”
The commander looked to his men, some of whom seemed to be batting at flies before he looked back to Mike and nodded. “Right, this was the offer we received, given the severity of the conditions stacked against us I do not see that it is an acceptable risk for me and my people.”
Mike smiled. “Your people is it? Not your assets, not your company, but your people? Then we can do business. You want to take care of your people and so I know you will understand that I want to take care or mine. Now if I know her ladyship she gave you a made up number like 20 scientists to be delivered . . . as though they were interchangeable parts. Achieve that and you got a flat fee, yes?”
“Those were the conditions.”
“Well then, let us change up the rules, some. First you tell me the stumbling points then I make a new offer. We go from there, yes?” Mike smiled and gestured for them to go closer to the rest of the men.
“Air support.” Arrow spoke as they approached. “They have a big ship up there and there is no defence against ‘DFA'”
“Death from above. If we do too good against them they can pull back and drop a world of pain on us. We don’t fight when winning means we still lose.”
“Good, what else?” The pilot did not seem phased by the first objection.
“Biolock.” Breakers turn. “We got to babysit you down there and if something goes wrong both our paycheck and any chance of success in the mission goes with you.”
“Not true, but a valid concern. Anyting else?”
“That not enough for you?”
“Nah, I seen worse, been in worse places. I gonna make a call or two, we gonna make life interestin for the DFA, he not have a chance in hell o hittin the planet, let alone any target on it. As for me, I been down down on the dirt afore. I know how ta hold up my end o the bargain but I put a payment with the agent afore we go. You git paid either way. Now, bout the pay. I gots 34 scientists down dere, we git them to evac unit and they git shot free o the site and then we gits em at our leisure, we ride out wif dem and or leisure be right quick. I don’t want 10, I don’t want 20, I wants all o dem out.” Mike looked around at the unit and nodded. “and all o youse. So what she be offerin?”
“L2 mission?” Boooks shrugged. “One mill clean plus considerations. We cover all incidentals and ammo and rebirthin.”
Mike nodded and touched the floor in front of him with his boot. “Here it be, den. Each on o those folks you set in front o me alive . . . right here, you gits 200k. Now I ain’t the best wif math but I see dat as . . ”
“6.8 Million.” Books finished the sentence. “Who are these people you want back that bad?”
“Students, scientists, I invited them down to do an archaeological dig. They my responsibility . . . and I takes that sort o ting serious.” Mike paused and tapped the comm. “Full amount is on deposite with lil Miss Sunshine, here. Now hard though dat bunker be we are on a bit o a clock.” Mike looked to the commander. “Iffen you still decline I juss ask you recommend somebody else, one o yer competition cause I needs dis done . . .now. Whatcha say?”
Walkins looked at the pilot for a long moment and then met the eyes of the team leaders. ^Well? No DFA, and isk is prepaid . . . ^
Arrow adjust a shoulder strap and looked to the left, Breaker scratched his ear and Books put his own comm back in his pocket.
Walkins sighed. “Captain . . . we understand about responsibility. When we hit the ground you follow orders like you was the lowest recruit. Your run when we say run and hide when the time comes. You’re the employer here, but we hit the ground you are a valuable package and you will act accordingly.”
Mike nodded. “We have a deal then, oui?”
“We do. Drop in one hour. Can your friends be here in time?”
“I expect so. I meet you at your drop ship in 45 minutes.”
Will we be able to haggle for services? The video shows a podder screwing over a fire team, will we be actually able to support?
How will we get along? I asked this a long time ago
You have to look back a ways to find who Issah was, I made him up. There is a lot of stuff out there, canon and approved. Someday I might read it. Till then, I make stuff up.
fly it like you won it