Book 1 of the Mars Corporation Series
By Stephen Brandon
Copyright 2017 Stephen Brandon
* * *
courtesy of NASA
* * *
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may
not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to
share this book with another person, please purchase an additional
copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not
purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please
return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy.
Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
* * *
book is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, incidents,
and dialogue are from the authors imagination or used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual events or other persons, living or dead, is
entirely coincidental. Real and fictional locations are used for
* * *
wife has put up with me for over forty seven years. Without her
support and love I don't know who, what, or where I would be, so I
thank her from the bottom of my heart, and I dedicate all my books to
* * *
Table of Contents (ToC)
Brandon and his other books.
* * *
Anderson returned from the meeting stunned. He realized that if he
pissed off his father one more time, he was gone. For three days he
avoided his Dad and then he was called in. Knowing what his father
wanted, he carried the briefing materials he'd picked up as he left
why have you been avoiding me. What the hell happened in Nevada, you
get drunk again and miss the meeting?”
Dad, I was to sober for the information I heard. That economist that
was scheduled, never showed. There was a guy in his place. He didn't
even have a suit on. Everyone else was overdressed.”
it you lazy ass, I never should have married your mother. What did he
down Dad and take one of your blood pressure pills, I've got over an
hours worth of briefing with documentation. If my mere presence still
upsets you afterwards, then I'll quit. You neglected mom and have
belittled me since she died. I''m at the point, my Harvard education
says screw you.”
you might have a pair after-all. Tell me what you heard, I watched
you when you got back and it looked like someone pole-axed ya.”
tell your secretary we don't want to be disturbed.”
son, I may need a piss break. Get started.”
Dad, like I said, the speaker didn't sound that educated, but the way
he wove the facts he presented was convincing. He described the
economy as a train, and ...”
son, you're the one this information affects. What do you want to
Dad, you're doing it again.”
are correct son. You have no anchor, mine is money. Forget about my
comments about you not having a pair. Forget about my comments about
all your previous girlfriends. Forget about everything I've said
since your mother died ten years ago. Think about your future, wife,
and maybe children. Now, how are you going to provide and safeguard
son, what is your first step?”
~ ~ ~
took the rest of her vacation and then returned to see her Dad.
anything interesting happen in Vegas?”
wouldn't believe it. You asked me to attend that symposium. You
ruined my vacation Daddy.”
baby, you can go back next month.”
I don't want to go back next month. The guy that was supposed to give
that economics talk wasn't there. His replacement was a redneck hick
that was only one step above a used car salesman. I think that
whoever put that briefing together wanted, almost everyone to
disbelieve it. However, it struck a chord, and I ruined the rest of
my vacation verifying the data. This won't affect you as much as it
will me, and my sisters. Book an hour or two in the secure briefing
room and I tell you.”
it that serious Jane?”
Dad, it is.”
~ ~ ~
all began when Johnston came back from that meeting in Nevada. The
economist that called for the meeting didn't show, there was another
speaker. Mr Iron was pissed when he first heard the presentation,
just like several of his VP's.
week later Johnston was fired. He vanished without a trace two days
~ ~ ~
Ellis returned from the economic strategy meeting in Nevada stunned.
She moped around for almost two weeks without mentioning the meetings
contents. Then she requested a meeting with Mr Global.
afternoon, he entered the briefing room with his son. She just knew
she'd loose her job. For two hours she presented the information from
the meeting in Nevada.
Global looked at his son and said, “She needs to go.”
right Dad. You know my new section has been working on a plan to try
to balance our books internationally. You've known the money problem
is getting worse. The others you've been in contact with about the
problem are just as clueless as we were. Should we fire her? Then
hire her under the table, or just transfer her over to the Air
what position do you want her to fill?”
think I'll create a number 3 position, after all Billings has some
transfer her and give her a ten percent raise.”
~ ~ ~
Alice Anderson returned from the meeting and found it hard to avoid
her boss, the owner. She remembered what she'd discovered the day
before she left, he was having affairs with two secretaries.
her boyfriend stormed out last night, she was ready to move on. She
typed up her resignation and put it under the copy of presentation.
As she walked into the office she turned to her assistant, the slut,
and told her that this was a private meeting. She'd already cleared
his schedule for two hours. “If the building catches fire, you just
walk out. I'll take care of the boss. If anyone gets past you, I'll
rip those fake tits off your scrawny chest. Am I understood?”
a scared look she answered, “Yes Miss Anderson.”
Jenkins looked up and said, “Hump, so what is it Alice? Staking
your claim or just being a bitch like my wife.”
know, I know enough to bury you before your next foundation is
poured. Well that doesn't matter any more. Your secrets and sluts are
safe.” Setting his copy of the presentation on his desk she took a
seat and said, “The bottom page is my resignation with a fat
termination package. You can think about signing it later. Now the
information put out in Nevada was not by the economist that was
scheduled. The speaker was a guy that looked like he would be at home
selling refrigerators to Eskimos, but the information was sound. ...”
~ ~ ~
The Presentation or the
gentlemen. I know that most of you don't want to be here, but are
because my letters to your companies and corporations created just
enough interest that you were sent. None of you are at the top of the
food chain for your organizations. I'm not even at the top of the
food chain in my organization. He or She, is guarding their identity
to prevent unfortunate repercussions.
briefings to your supervisors and VP's will stir the pot, and then
you'll have to watch your back. I suggest that you arrange for
multiple levels of supervisors, reaching all the way to the top, be
present for your first briefing.
that I've covered the interesting information, let's look at the
train wreck headed our way.
if you have half your neurons firing you've seen many of the signs.
Apart they look like loose railroad spikes and cracked support
timbers. If you combine them, they begin to resemble a railroad
bridge that someone let go. Maintenance wasn't preformed. Structural
integrity is marginal. It'll support the train for now, but a penny
placed on the rail can cause enough of a bump to bring it down.
That's where we stand today with the economy.
off the gold standard forty years ago was one step in the chain.
Money without a physical object backing it is only good as long as
the population has trust in the government issuing it. Read the news
papers, and listen to the news on TV and the Internet. People are
loosing trust in the government. It can be seen in many areas. Barter
organizations are becoming more prevalent. Investors jump to sell at
the slightest hint of bad news.
the stock market. Look at the variance between the physical value of
a company and its stock price. Look at the gap in assumed value of
the products it produces, and their cost to the consumer. Inflation
can't account for it.
inflation, there is an organization that prints the money. It kowtows
to the government and has recklessly increased our money supply. That
is one of the problems with fiat money. If you want more, you just
print it and put it in circulation. That devalues the money
instantly. Inflation, at least has a reason the consumer can
understand. They don't like it unless their wages rise to compensate,
and that doesn't happen that often. As they fall further and further
behind in their bills and savings, they become less complacent.
“I'll pause here for a break so you can catch up on your notes and
write down any questions you'll want to ask at the end of this
presentation. Take ten, refreshments are on the sidebar.”
“Everyone settled in? We talked about money. Now lets talk about
“You guys, think of the suit, shirt, underwear you have on. Ladies,
think about the shoes, purse, blouse, skirt or pants you have. Where
were they manufactured? Who manufactured them? What was their wage
per hour or day? Who shipped them to your store and how much of a cut
did they take? How much markup was required for the store owner to
make a profit? And last, but not least, how did you pay for it? Cash,
credit, or barter?
one area. Now consider the food you eat either at home, at a friends,
or out in a restaurant.
about your trip here, travel by automobile, bus, train, or plane.
Your accommodations from your origin and back. The consumables you
use. And last, the value of your time. Either perceived by the value
of information you gather, actual by your compensation, or
back to your clothing. There are probably as many different
manufacturers labels on them as there are people sitting in front of
me. They were manufactured in half a dozen countries, or more. Those
made from natural fibers may have been grown in one country, shipped
to another country for turning into cloth, and maybe even shipped to
another country to be assembled. Trade is good, and labor cost
determine where they were assembled, unless the manufacturer has such
a quality or prestigious label they can choose their labor market,
and still make an profit. We'll not consider the clothing made from
man made materials.
a perfect world there would be not taxes or tariffs on goods
manufactured. Of course that would mean that labor cost would all
have to be basically the same. Never going to happen!
have to be manufactured locally, such as houses, business buildings,
and warehouses. Contractors bid on these projects. The workers expect
a certain wage per hour and this is figured into the bids. These
local workers plow their wages back into the local economy for things
they want and need. However, there is even a way around that.
Imported labor that will work for less. They only return a portion of
their wages back into the local economy, and take the rest back home.
take questions for fifteen minutes, then we'll break for lunch and
return at 1 PM.”
~ ~ ~
have a good lunch? Are you all full and ready for a siesta?
bad, this afternoon we'll discuss possible ways to avoid the economic
train wreck we're headed toward.
first method I'll discuss is letting it happen. The populous will
riot when that happens. I know you've seen the results of a few riots
in a few cities. Think of it worldwide. Will your organization
physically survive? Odds are against it because without an organized
and effective government, rioters will loot and destroy anything they
can reach, like your factories and stores.
second method, is going back to using precious metals to back the
fiat currency. Unless the governments that printed the money can pull
immense amounts of paper money back from the economy without crashing
it, they're puffing in the wind. The result is instant devaluation by
50, 75, or even 90%. The citizens will demand hard currency, like
coins made out of precious metals. The governments will have to
confiscate precious metals to make those coins, causing more unrest.
they can announce the true value of the fiat currency and take steps
to try and control the rioting. In that case those lucky few that
have precious metals hidden away will profit. Everyone else will be
wiped out and then have to rely on the government for all their
needs, food, clothing, and shelter. Any person or organization trying
to repossess the physical goods of the consumer, such as electronics,
homes, business building, to name a few; will put their lives in
peril. A desperate person with no hope, will do anything to hold on
to what they have. Think about it. Repossessing a house now involves
the local sheriff to enforce the paperwork and eviction. What happens
when the sheriff and agent show up at the end of a block of homes
where every homeowner thinks they'll be next. Probably an instant
riot that'll spread as fast as the word gets out. It will not matter
that the mortgage company has its main office in another town or
state. Every bank and mortgage company will become the target of the
that you've seen a couple of possible outcomes, lets look at a way to
probably avoid the train wreck for a large number of people and
companies. Get yourselves a cup of refreshments and I'll continue in
the 70's some college students were given an assignment. They were to
figure out how to put a population into space using existing
technology. It was a short term assignment.
using existing technology, a large group of corporations could
invigorate the local economies of many areas. The first space station
would be expensive. Materials would all have to be lifted from Earth.
A suitable workforce would have to be recruited with a contract that
would stipulate they would never return to Earth. That means that
their immediate families would have to have a place on the space
station. Of course there would be casualties in its construction. The
contracts must also have a provision that their families would be
taken care of for the rest of their lives. Job and family security is
one thing that the every head of a family wants.
imported labor, these individuals will have to purchase necessities
from the station stores. Other items, which I'll call luxuries, they
can pay to have imported from Earth. I would suggest the use of a
hard precious metal currency to pay for these items. This would help
stabilize global economies for a period of time.
lets get to a second area. After the first space station is
completed, move it to an orbit around the moon. A portion of the
workforce could then build facilities on the moon for mining and
manufacturing. The second and subsequent space stations would be
mainly built from moon materials. High technology items would still
be imported from Earth until manufacturing reaches the needed
technical level. This would involve importing equipment and trained
personnel over a period of years. This process would have to be
monitored carefully so no indication would upset the Earths economy.
Farmers and farming equipment should also be imported and set up.
Farms will allow fresh food, and produce oxygen as a byproduct. Fish
can be imported as a source of protein until fish farms are built.
Other food animals, such as cows, pigs, and chickens will need their
own farm areas to supply their food. As you can see, this will not be
a quick process.
a little luck, precious metals will be found and mined on the moon.
Then the moon would be the cash cow to implement the plan without
completely draining the companies supporting this endeavor. By
shipping precious metals back to Earth, the fiat currency would then
be backed by the precious metal, and extend the time to the economic
train wreck. When the fact that a few hundred pounds of silver, gold,
and other rare metals are found on the moon, the recruitment process
for more workers, skilled and those that would need to be trained,
long as the governments and population of Earth see a group of
pioneers doing all the hard work and money flowing their way, they'll
support the plan even if they don't know the end point.
several space stations have been built, one plus a manufacturing
station should be sent to orbit Mars, or into an orbit between Mars
and the asteroid belt. The asteroid belt will become another source
of raw materials, and it does not have an expensive gravity well to
fight. Priority there should be manufacturing several more space,
farm, and manufacturing stations plus importing crews to work them. A
self supporting economy at the moon and outer locations is extremely
should ensure that when the economic train wreck happens on Earth,
and it will, your descendent's will be safe. Any questions?”
what do you get out of this plan of yours? You don't have any money
an easy answer. I want a safe place for my descendent's.”
what kind of government do you envision for the stations.”
easy question, each space, farm, and manufacturing station would be
company run. Trade agreements between the stations would be the
responsibility of the different companies. In a few hundred years
when the space population reaches millions, there may be a
reorganization depending the perception of how fair the company
governments are. As long as the general work force does not see an
elite upper-class of super rich loafers, I expect the companies
management teams will control the population peacefully for
centuries. Everyone is now fairly comfortable with supervisors and
managers running companies. They will need to create a way that
entrepreneur can thrive, because they will improve on any technology
all well and good as you explain it, however who will own the
resources and stations?”
slightly tougher question. There should be provisions for individuals
to purchase their own property. However that would probably mean that
they'd then have to pay for everything they consume. Another method
might be to pay each worker a wage in hard currency, and have them
pay for what they and their family consume. Not last, nor lease,
could be a credit system where the worker sees a living wage plus.
Then they would be able to convince themselves that they are getting
a free education tailored to the individual child, there will be a
constant striving to improve themselves. As long as they see someone
getting ahead, the overall population will work hard and push their
children to improve themselves. Promotions to higher positions should
be written into each stations government rules, and these rules
should emphasize proficiency, not heritage. You might even write into
the rules, the ability for any person to change jobs and occupations
as time goes on. The child of a technician may want to become a
farmer, or miner, or any other occupation that contributes to the
welfare of the station, or another station. Young adults should be
encouraged to change stations to prevent inbreeding. Overly
adventurous children may be steered toward mining and exploration.
The child that takes apart the family toaster and his toys to see
what makes them tick, may be steered toward a technical education,
and from those the most promising challenged into the scientific
field. They will provide the inventions that will improve life.
know there are holes in my presentation, but I expect once your
companies figure out how to enlarge on my plan, your experts will
fill those in, and think of the items I've omitted. There is no quick
profit from my plan. The long term profit, well that depends upon
factors beyond anyones control.
for your time. Copies of this meeting will be available in the
morning. I'm not leaving until tomorrow afternoon. You may call upon
me for a private meeting. After that, you have my contact
information. As you can see it is simply Josh @
a good evening.”
~ * ~
few weeks later every attendee that emailed Josh received a reply, it
contained the contact information for the others. A suggested meeting
place was New Orleans in a week. They were requested to bring what
their company was willing to contribute, including their available
resources. The last line was the question, What does your company
wanted out of the collaboration?
of the five did quick research of the hotel and found it was close to
downtown, but it didn't rate but two stars. Typical mid-budget
tourist accommodations. Some immediately realized that its location
next to the quarter gave it almost perfect cover.
~ ~ ~
they checked in there was a message for them, an invitation to a
private restaurant. The five of them ate dinner at separate tables,
glancing around at the other customers.
sat at the bar watching. He knew that each was wondering.
planned, as each finished dessert, they were informed that coffee
would be served in the conference room. They were directed to the
followed the last one up the stairs. A man in a suit stood by the
third door. He directed each inside and handed them an information
packet. Josh looked down at his information packet and thought, I
could have gotten a better pictures to put on them, but …
Several recognized him instantly and started to rise. He waived them
down and continued to around the table to an empty seat.
evening all, and especially you Mr Johnston. When I received the
information that you'd been fired, and then you disappeared two days
later. Well, I jumped to the apparent conclusion the Mr. Iron had
dropped you into the forge and you were now part of some bridge
Jane, so sorry I ruined your vacation.
it is so good to see a hard worker such as yourself get promoted.
nice to see you this evening. Beware of Billing, he is sharp and will
stab you in the back to get ahead.
my operatives have heard some disparaging remarks at the beauty
parlor. Marry that beautiful young woman before she jumps ship. Just
between you and me, word is that your dad thinks she'll be good for
you. He is afraid you'll loose her like he lost your mom.
introductions, tonight we will briefly discuss what each of your
companies bring to the table and what you want. I am disappointed
that several of the others did not have the foresight to follow up on
slapped her hand on the table and growled, “Josh, you are an
underhanded ass. A used car salesman could take lessons from you. You
are a dead man. Sooner or later those spooks from the usual alphabet
agencies will catch up. Your presentation two years ago gave the
President a heart attack. The Fed put a bounty on your head. Have I
missed anything or anyone?”
Jane, the EU also has a bounty on me.”
don't count. I've checked. I want to see your plan now. I think that
everyone here will agree with me, you pulled the eagles tail
feathers, and pissed it off.”
looked embarrassed and commented, “I just love complements like
packet contains the outline for my plan, they will hunt you down if
they think you know the details that are in here are. I was a playboy
when younger. The names on the last page are my children, and other
worthy individuals. I will leave it in your capable hands. Please try
to include those individuals on that list when you move to a safe
location. And cover your tracks. Be safe and goodbye.” He then got
up and pulled his tie and jacket off. Putting on a bright touristy
shirt, he exited using the balcony door.
looked at Jane and started to say, “Was that --”
even say his name, EVER! I wasn't joking when I mentioned the
alphabet agencies. You never know what location is bugged. I'm sure
he included some code breaking words, or we'll get them soon. Until
then, I'm going to be a tourist, and then home.”
commented, “You forgot to mention the fact that if we scan the
packet into our computers, they will have it within days. I'm going
to hire a secretary that knows how to use an old fashion typewriter.
I suggest everyone do the same. I'll see you around for regular
business deals.” Then he got up and walked out.
looked at the three young women and stated, “I'll be at the bar
downstairs. If any of you want an escort around town tonight, stop
by. In the morning I head south.”
leaving tonight,” stated Jane, “anyone want a ride.”
room was empty five minutes later, even though it was booked for two
hours. The guard at the door stopped anyone from entering until nine
PM. Then he walked down the back stairs, out the back door, and off
~ ~ ~
days later David and Wanda were called into Mr Globals office. As
they sat he stated, “I just received a one page note that was
delivered by a courier. Any guess what it might contain?”
coughed and said, “If it is about Billings, I was warned that he is
Global commented, “Bill, she just confirmed my gut feeling about
him. Is he critical?”
Dad, but like you always said, Keep you friends close and your
enemies closer. I've had hints of his double dealing for weeks, and
have crafted the information he now is able to access. The spy you
know is easier to control than the spy you don't know.”
careful son, he may not be the only one.”
not all. I've let out a contract for a new building. I want the
contract to go to Value Construction. A certain person over there
knows the special details not listed in the contract.”
and how much is this going to cost the company.”
it isn't the cost that worries me. I've got to kick Wanda out of the
main building so she will have somewhere secure, to work. Everyone
has seen her spend hours on end in here with you. The only idea I can
come up with is you two, aha ... That will allow me to kick her out
of the office and banish her to the basement of the new building, yet
allow her free access to you and me. Wanda I'm sorry, but my plan
will ruin your reputation.”
a scowl Mr Global asked, “Wanda, want to be my girlfriend or is
there another term now? Hum-mm, as the bosses bimbo, you won't be
questioned if you take off on trips, or almost anything else you do.
How about necklaces or maybe a private jet, wait, I'll just have an
old friend fly you anywhere you want. Just watch my boys back.”
watch his back Sir, if you'll watch mine. Reputations are a dime a
dozen. A loose woman doesn't have to be careful who she's seen with.”
said, “Well, that went better than I thought.”
a sly look at them she commented, “I just thought of something,
I'll have more power than anyone except you two.”
~ ~ ~
year later the new building was completed. A week later Wanda sashed
into the office an hour late and David called her into his office.
Few employees noticed it, until she showed up at the new building,
and her office was listed in the subbasement. The next day his father
stormed into his office, and after a few loud words left. The company
limo was parked at the new building for over an hour before he
returned to his office.
of the regular secretaries was tasked to take some correspondence
over to Wanda several days later. When she walked into Wanda's new
office, she threw the paperwork on the desk and stormed out.
rumor mill went into high gear when the secretary described Wanda
office. It had a big screen TV, refrigerator, and wide couch, plus
thick wall hangings.
one knew of the two walk in vaults behind the plush wall hangings, or
the fact that neither vault contained anything electronic. Value made
sure that neither would even show up on any floor plan. The multiple
frequency Faraday cages built into the walls would defeat almost any
kind of electronic scan. All Wanda had to do was remember the
combination to the doors.
~ ~ ~
Trans Global airfield tower was surprised a week later when a private
jet requested landing instructions. The dispatchers called up David
for permission. His comment was, “Damn it. It's probably that bitch
from Cape Horn. Dad said let them have access. Tell them to park down
at the new building.”
woman that got off the jet looked like a movie star. Emerging later
with Wanda they chatted before boarding the private jet and
departing. The rumor mill went into high gear again, only this time
it was the flight crews and mechanics assigned to the new building,
spreading the rumors.
~ ~ ~
I've heard through the secretarial grape vine that you are now the
talking about me half way across the country?”
travels fast. Dad even told me not to associate with you in front of
several of the secretaries. I simply yelled at him that you were my
friend, and I'd see you whenever I wanted.”
right Jane. Since I can't act the part of a rich spoiled airhead, I
took the other end of the spectrum.”
a laugh, Jane commented, “Alice told me that Value got a contract
to build a new factory in Mexico, for Iron International. That may be
why William wants to meet us in El Paso.”
pilots need passports to fly to other countries? I guess I'll have to
ask David. I'm assuming Bill will get the small high priority cargo
and we'll get the heavy loads.”
guessed right Wanda.”
You are invited to the marriage between
Mr. Blue Anderson
Miss Lillian Smith
26th of June
at Blue Box Corporate Headquarters
invitation came as no surprise to Wanda. The interesting part was it
came to Bill, the boss. With only two weeks notice she questioned
Bill about what to get Blue and Lillian. He had a very simple
solution. That evening they left in his limo and spent the night at
his estate. In his wife's storage room he pulled a small wooden
grandfather gave me this when she consented to marry me. It is walnut
and teak. It has a secret compartment in the lid, and another in the
end walls just thick enough to hide several sheets of paper.”
Opening the chest, “See these wooden pins, they allow the end caps
to come off exposing the secret compartments. These other pins allow
the chest to be completely disassembled, except for the lid. The only
metal parts are the hasp and the mule shoe that fits through the
hasp. I'll have it polished up and wrapped.” Picking it up by the
wooden handles, he carried it up to the dining room.
you know I have to spend the night to keep up my reputation.”
been meaning to talk to you about that Mrs Ellis. I know you are a
widow. I also know you lost your husband in an airplane crash. Well,
I think you need to get a pilots license. With the amount of flying
you do, you need to be able to pilot anything you're in. Emergencies
do happen, occasionally.”
Bill, I'm supposed to be your aha girlfriend. Ha Ha.”
know Wanda, but you need a plausible plan to move from me to David. I
know you probably haven't noticed, but I have. David is following
your movements a lot more carefully that he should, and he bristles
slightly whenever the gossip turns to your shenanigans. My late wife
was much to young for me when we married, and he was born. He's only
a year older than you, so think about it.
first bedroom at the top of the stairs has clothing and other stuff
in it. The staff will have dinner ready in an hour.”
closet was full of sheer outfits. Downstairs she immediately noticed
the dining table was in front of a window. Stepping out on the
balcony, she could see the airfield over the stone wall surrounding
sunset was beautiful with the airfield and lake in the background.
Bill came out and put his arm arm around her waist and whispered in
her ear. Security just informed me that there are some extra people
mixing with the paparazzi.”
you know just how to sweep a woman off her feet. I'm hungry, is the
food ready?” With her head leaning on his shoulder they went
the end of the week a scandalous story was in the usual gossip rags,
located at the convenience store checkout lines.
next Monday David ordered Wanda to his office. He was waiving one of
the scandal sheets around and loudly berating her for binging shame
on his father, as he slammed the door. Dropping into his seat he
calmly asked. “Did you have fun last week?”
reply brought a big smile. “Now David, we had to pick out a wedding
gift for Blue. Has security identified the extra paparazzi yet?”
two different alphabet organizations. Now look properly chastised
when you run out of here.”
~ ~ ~
weekend Alice and Jane flew in. Unpacking their shopping bags they
handed Wanda paperwork. “We need to get this to William. He'll be
in Mexico City next week.
up the flight schedule Wanda replied, “Tell him Thursday.”
shook her head and commented, “Those pictures didn't do you
a grin Wanda replied, “Hell, I was just over for dinner. How was I
supposed to know the paparazzi were camped out, for candid shots.
Neither Bill or I expected the crowd that his security spotted.”
~ ~ ~
Blue and William were sitting in the airport lounge when she arrived.
Sashaying over to the bar Wanda ordered a drink and sat next to
William. As they turned to greet her she asked, “Blue, Bill and I
have a beautiful wedding gift you and Lillian. William, I brought a
new contract so we have to have dinner before I fly back.”
shit, you'll ruin my reputation next.”
worry about it, security said I needed to leave my gear in the pilots
lounge for at least thirty minutes so the alphabets can photograph
William asked, “Where is the information?”
got a half dozen memory chips in my bra. That's why we will visit
your office, for the contracts, and dinner to transfer the chips.
Ooh, paparazzi outside the window. Blue, straighten up!”
Back in the pilots lounge she changed out of her flight-suit and into
a business suit.
~ ~ ~
That evening, the waiter that looked a lot like Josh brought the
soup, set a stack of napkins on the table. When William moved the
napkins he felt lumps inside. Wanda simply took the top two and
placed them in her lap, and slid the lumps into the waistband of her
suit. In the ladies room she found that each computer memory stick
had a name on it.
~ ~ ~
In the hotel hall just outside her room she was grabbed and a rough
hand started running its hand up and down her body. Suddenly the hand
holding her fell away. As she turned she saw the smile on the face of
man holding the ends of what looked like a necktie, wrapped around
the neck of her mugger.
he will bother you no more. Adiós”
~ ~ ~
A month later Bill and Wanda flew in to the Box private airfield. The
wedding and reception was held in the main hanger. Bill pointed out
VIP's from a dozen or more aircraft companies and manufacturers. Then
with a scowl he started pointing out representative from several
government agencies that had their fingers in the shipping and
aircraft flight regulating agencies.
Several hours later Bill walked them up to Blue and his bride
Lillian. The older gentleman moved to intercept them. “Hello Bill.”
Dirk, I see you finally let your son pick a woman worthy of him.”
SOB, I don't know why he invited you, and you brought your floozy.”
let me introduce you to Mrs Wanda Ellis.”
His attitude change as he recognized the name. “She's the one.”
and a perfect cover for her shenanigans, and travel.”
mentioned the name, but I never connected it to the stories in those
Blue walked his bride around his father and said, “Bill, Wanda,
this beautiful young lady is my blushing bride Lillian.”
Wanda stepped forward and gave her a hug and whispered in her ear,
“I'm glad he finally married you. I've been worried for years that
he was going to loose you.”
With a shocked look on her face she stepped back and looked at Blue
and his father. “Who is she?”
whispered, “She is my contact at Trans-Global and Bills mistress.
Lowering his voice Dirk replied, “Don't let the scandal sheets tint
your judgment. She plays an integral part in the plan.”
Lillian then took Wanda's hand and said, “Excuse us old men, we
need to freshen up.”
In the ladies room Lillian turned on Wanda. “Your supposed
reputation precedes you. If Jane hadn't vouched for you, I'd have
floored you the second you looked at Blue.”
With a laugh, Wanda said, “You're more of a spitfire than Blue
said. As soon as Blue gives me the OK, we can be close confidants.
However, you must continue to play the jealous bride in public.”
that mean we can't go shopping together?”
no, that means that when I'm around Blue you must hover until you can
assume that I am no threat to your marriage. Girls time out is
been in love with Blue since high school. It tore me up, when he
dated those other women. Finally he again noticed me three years
ago. In his eyes, I was a mere friend until then.”
understand, I had a hole in my heart. I was only married three months
when I lost my husband. Now freshen up. We have to go back, and you
have to hover and look jealous.”
Everyone notice that they were enjoying themselves until Wanda gave
Blue a hug. Then Lillian was constantly maneuvering between them.
Dirk took Wanda's arm and practically dragged her over to the bar.
“Don't you dare come between Blue and the only woman he ever dated,
that I approved of!”
had a talk. If you see her act as real, then the others will be
convinced too. Now scowl as I go talk to William. I'm sure you've
heard of him, he setup everything across the lake from Ciudad del
Carmen. Both our companies haul a lot of cargo for him.”
guy, I thought he was another government type.”
he works for Iron International. You really need to talk to him
can't. My son says the alphabets are watching me to closely.”
you can. After all this is a wedding celebration, and you have to
talk to everyone, at least for a minute or two, as cover for real
~ ~ ~
While talking to William, he mentioned that she needed to tell Jane
that everything was ready for her company to make its move on NASA.
That other space company was moving past its startup phase.
Wanda nodded and giggled and said, “See Dirk, that wasn't so bad,”
as she steered him toward Mr Jones of Space Technologies.
so nice to see you. This is Dirk, the father of the son that finally
to meet you Sir.”
Wanda then said, “I heard that there is another space orientated
company starting up. You might want to start collaborating with Cape
Horn Aeronautics so you can get in on the ground floor with the new
company, Space or Bust. It was such a shame the politics played you
out of the other companies contracts.”
Fredrick looked at Dirk and said, “Aren't you and Wanda's boss
yes, I get the small fast deliveries, and he carries the heavy loads.
If Blue and Wanda hadn't known each other for so long, we'd be at
each other with knives out.”
That's sharp, I won't mention it. It would be like teasing a wounded
yourself Fred, we'll talk soon.”
Wand steered him toward a stuffy looking guy. “Now Dirk, this guy
has more influence at NASA than the actual administrator. Get and
stay on his good side, and you'll avoid many problems with the new
afternoon Mr Berg.”
I know you young lady?”
Sir, but I've heard of you. This is the grooms father, Mr Dirk
Anderson, the president of Blue Box Delivery.”
to meet you Mr Anderson. I was surprised when I received the
invitation, I don't know but a few people here, and I've never met
you or you son. For some reason, my secretary practically insisted
that I attend.”
would you please get us a couple of brandy's.
Berg, don't think I'm trying use you for influence, but I wanted to
meet a mover like yourself away from the distractions of the office.
Now, I would hope that you enjoy yourself, and if you need anything,
just have someone get me or Wanda. I see she has cleared a couple of
chairs. Shall we go and have a drink.”
As soon as they were seated, Wanda disappeared. Moments later she
brought Blue and Lillian over and introduced them.
Mr Berg instantly realized that she was introducing them like he was
royalty, and they were minor royalty. He studied them for a minute
and wished them a long and happy marriage. “Is your boy involved in
that new company Space or Bust?”
doesn't know it yet Sir, but I'm putting him in charge. Space will be
a young mans game, but they'll still need guidance from men like us.”
see you play a good game.”
Sir, now if you'll pardon me, I see a friend I must speak to.”
Berg analyzed the setup of the chairs. Three
plush chairs in an arc separated by tables, with him centered in the
fanciest. A pathway was created by three chairs facing outward on
each side. To someone glancing at it, it had no pattern, but to
someone approaching, they had to walk the path to get close to him.
He spotted Wanda headed in his direction practically dragging a young
Paul Berg, this is Miss Alice Anderson. She works for Mr Jenkins,
owner of Value Construction,”
Looking at her, he got the impression she curtsied, even though she
didn't bend a knee.
Wanda continued, “she is an excellent researcher and fountain of
little know information.”
Putting his hand on his chin he asked, “Alice, what would happen if
I tried to hire you away from Mr Jenkins?”
have to inform him and let him deal with the situation.”
see, and I like your attitude. My secretary may call you in the
future. Enjoy yourself.”
you Sir.” as she took two steps back, turned and walked away.
why did you introduce her?”
she has contacts and information you may wish to access in the
see, are there more?”
Sir, a few if you please.”
and I need a snack.”
As Wanda backed away she snapped her fingers and a waiter was at his
Paul was munching on his sandwich he thought, Someone knows
my secretary. Now that I think about it, I've see that Wanda woman
somewhere. Someone wants me to see their players. Now to figure out
their end game.
is power they say. Blue's dad set up the company, and a week after
they came back from their honeymoon, Blue moved into his new office.
Jane and Wanda he outlined his thoughts. “Because the other company
had an almost two year lead, he decided to use existing hardware for
his launch vehicles.
were put out to Huntsville, and other companies making spacecraft and
equipment for NASA. His lawyer went to NASA to arrange for launch
facilities and support.
three man Apollo capsules were purchased for emergency reentry. The
space shuttle manufacturers were contracted to build two with the
option of one every other year. New heat-shield technology was
incorporated to replace the tiles.
the boosters were brought into orbit and secured so they could be
disassembled later after any remaining fuel was pumped into a storage
few of the heavy lifter rockets were modified so steel beams were
secured around the outside. Instead of separating, the second stage
fuel was pumped straight to the first stage engines. Due to the
modification and untested design, these were computer controlled and
were met in orbit by shuttles to bring them to the station location.
oxygen tanks from the boosters were attached to the growing frame,
corridors and airlocks installed. After a dozen had been modified and
mounted, the living quarters were set up. Six wings of solar cells
were assembled for power. One crew brought up dirt and plants. The
organic waste that had been collecting in bags, was finally ready to
be recycled into fertilizer. A cubic yard of soil was part of every
load after that.
years of loads to the station, and it was beginning to look like
something out of the science books. The biggest problem they had, was
the seals between the rotating and non-rotating sections. The
companies started renting space on the station to universities and
other non-government organizations interested in research.
five years the original five started allowing other companies to buy
in. All together ninety-two companies made up the Space or Bust
corporation. A small relay station was assembled, and the main
station moved from Earth orbit to Moon orbit. Within a year an
underground settlement was established and mining started. At first
it was slow going until minerals were found. The first small gold
strike really got the ball rolling. Other high value minerals flowing
to Earth paid for all the equipment and previous cost several times
new station built in moon orbit included all the refinements made by
personnel working on the first station. All the new inventions were
included, but had tried and true technology as their backups. The new
station was named Mars Corporation 1, after the new corporation.
soon as a hundred mining spacecraft were manufactured and attached,
it powered up its rockets and left Earth orbit headed to Mars orbit.
mined in the asteroid belt would be shipped to the Earth and moon, to
pay all expenses.
~ ~ ~
original five convinced the others that Mars was a peach that just
needed to ripen. The geologist had a plan. Moving Deimos to 130,000
miles altitude and stabilizing its orbit would be the first step. The
mining spacecraft would retrieve asteroids from the belt and bring
them to Mars. After mining out the usable ores and minerals, the
tailings would be placed on Deimos. Eventually enough would be
accumulated that their natural gravity would hold them together
compressing everything. Even before the new Deimos reaches goal of
1.2% the mass Mars, its gravity should cause enough tidal effects to
cause the core of Mars to become molten and rotate. This would create
a magnetic field around Mars. Mars would then be protected from the
solar wind like Earth, and building an atmosphere could commence.
Then full colonization.
mining could start within a decade. In 500 hundred years enough
progress would be made to start colonization.
# x #
deep secret, the next generation of the original five leaders held,
was that long before then they would have complete control of Mars
and the asteroid belt. That would give them the monopoly on the
mineral resources that Earth needed to prosper.