Taking Stock

07 Aug YC124
Venal Prosperity Network Brokers’ Offices, 6NJ8-V VII - Moon 2 - Guristas Logistics Support Station

Tonz Akinio, Director of the Interstellar Commerce [InCom] Brokerage, sat silent and motionless in the reception area. Seated next to him was the only other occupant of the room, his executive assistant Terosh Suonsson, who was tapping his foot nervously. Tonz reached over and laid a hand on Terosh’s leg.

“Stop,” he said quietly. He reached into the messenger bag under Terosh’s chair and pulled out a magazine. “Here. Read this.”

Finally, the receptionist entered. “Mr. Kimojai will see you now.”

Tonz and Terosh stood. Terosh picked up his messenger bag, while Tonz buttoned his suit jacket and picked up his briefcase. “Thank you,” Tonz said as he strode confidently towards the ornate wood doors.

“Good morning, Mr. Kimojai,” Tonz said as he opened the doors and strode in. “I’m … .”

Terosh swore as he bumped into Tonz, who had suddenly stopped. An elderly Achuran sat stiffly behind a large ornate desk, flanked by two burly olive-skinned men who had bulges under their leather jackets.

“Mr. Kimojai?” Tonz asked. He pointed to the men. “What is the meaning of this? I thought this was a cordial meeting?”

“It is. But Mr. Kimojai is not in charge,” a thin, balding, bespectacled Civire said from behind the InCom representatives. “I am.”

Tonz spun, bewildered. “Who … who are you?”

“I’m Ebigekazu Isopala,” the Civire said nonchalantly. He pointed to the chairs in front of Mr. Kimojai’s desk. “I’m the boss now. Please, have a seat.”

Tonz and Terosh sat down shakily as Mr. Isopala walked over to stand behind Mr. Kimojai. Placing his hands on the older man’s shoulders, Ebigekazu leaned forward and said, “I believe you wished to discuss business with Mr. Kimojai?”

Tonz took a couple breaths as he carefully reset his “business face”. “Yes, indeed I do, Mr. Isopala,” he said in a calm, measured tone. “Over the years, InCom has had an extremely lucrative deal with Mr. Kimojai. We buy and sell scrip at excellent rates, while also providing a steady revenue of ISK on the side. Unfortunately, it seems that over the past months, the stream of scrip coming from Mr. Kimojai has dried up. My supervisors are extremely concerned.”

“Yes, yes,” Mr. Isopala mused. “Yes, there have been business disruptions. But rest assured, such disruptions will not be a major problem moving forward.”

“How?” Tonz steepled his fingers as he leaned forward. “My supervisors need solid assurances, Mr. Isopala.”

“That is none of your business, Tonz Akinio,” the Gurista replied sternly. “All you need to know is, we have revamped the structure of this organization. There will be no business failures going forward.”

Tonz nodded. “Very well. Then, on to the second point. Mr. Kimojai’s failure to provide his contractual obligation over the past months has severely damaged our operations. Incom demands restitution.”

Mr. Isopala snorted in laughter. “Restitution? Absolutely not,” he pronounced as he handed over a document. “Whatever deal you had with Mr. Kemiura is invalid. These are the terms for a contract with us.”

Tonz frowned as he read the document. “Are you kidding me? You’re doubling the price and restricting what we can trade?”

“Mr. Kemiura’s business practices were horrifically unsustainable. Trading in too many currencies and not charging enough,” Mr. Isopala contended. “Take it or leave it. But remember, if you walk away, there will be consequences.”

Tonz sighed and rose, prompting Terosh to do the same. “I’ll have to consult with my superiors. This is a severe change. Can we meet again next week?”

“Sure,” Mr. Isopala replied, remaining seated. The two InCom representatives nodded, and left.

“Set up a meeting with the Council. Immediately!” Tonz whispered harshly to his aide as the pair strode through the waiting room.

Meanwhile, in Mr. Kimura's office:

“He’s not going to bite,” one of the two muscled bodyguards warned.

“Then I don’t have to provide him with anything,” Mr. Isopala smirked. “Least of all protection.”

“You never intended on dealing with them, did you?” Mr. Kemiura demanded. “I was just a vehicle for you!”

“Yes, you were,” Mr. Isopala replied. “And you were the perfect vehicle. Your venture will wash my money, keep it away from the SCC. And it’ll give me a way to press the Duchy. Force them to make concessions and give me a foothold on their world.”

“And what about me?” The Achura demanded.

“You still owe me money,” Mr. Isopala snarled. He slammed both hands on the desk and nodded to his guards, who quickly closed the distance to Mr. Kemiura and pinned his arms by his sides.

“What?! What are you talking about! Let me go!” The Achuran protested furiously, twisting and turning in futile attempts to break the guards’ grip on his arms.

“You know what I’m talking about,” Mr. Isopala snarled. “And I’ll extract every last kredit from your bleeding husk of a body. Get him out of here!”

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