This chapter is provided as a preview. Anybody who wants to can access it for free at http://www.EastCoastGames.com . We ask that no copies, physical or electronic; be lent or given. Offering this portion of the novel is expressly prohibited.
All of the colonists except those traveling on the Manfred VII and the Colemans, who were also traveling by sea, had arrived around the 12th. The Lyles family was the first to arrive on the 12th. They started to set up a temporary encampment for the colonists. Each family got a fairly large tent. They set up the tents as needed. They also set up a tent for a kitchen. A portable toilet system was installed. Since Samuel was in charge of setting up the camp and the construction of the colony, he fell into a pseudo-leadership role.
The area was beautiful and hilly. The tents were in a forested area, but most
of the property was rocky and barren.
The toilet system was almost 1000 feet from the tents, causing frequent
complaints, especially from the women.
The kitchen was already stocked with food that would last months. Electricity was run into the camp, allowing
them to light the tents and power the kitchen.
It also helped Samuel with his work.
Everybody still used their satellite phones to make calls. All of them except the Stefano family had
satellite service from European companies, so they no longer had to worry about
CTF tracing or tracking them. The system
CTF used only allowed access to companies based in the
Samuel spared no time in getting to work. While he had the basic designs down, he wanted to do some surveying before the groundbreaking. He fully expected to be ready to break ground when the rest of the colonists arrived.
Samuel had access to one of the Hunts’ bank accounts and used it to get supplies and to hire workers. For the moment, he was only paying people to help survey the land. Many of the colonists wanted to help, but he told them to wait for Aaron and Sarah to arrive. The surveying was only a small part and training them to help would not pay off. However, he did ask Yuri and Oliver to help clear some land.
Samuel and some of the hired help were surveying the land when a black sedan arrived. Cleo saw the car pull in and walked over to see who it was. A man stepped out and said, “Gutenmorgen, ist mein Name Lukas Schultheiss-”
Cleo cut him off by saying, “Umm . . . do you speak English by any chance?”
“Ja . . . I mean yes. Sorry, my name is Lukas Schultheiss and I’m from the Schweizer Fiskus. May I speak to somebody who is in charge?”
Cleo said, “Well, you should probably talk to Samuel then. He’s kind of running things for the moment. Follow me.”
She led him past the tents to the area where Samuel was working. He was on a steep hill about two stories high, which she would have trouble climbing, so instead she called to him, “Samuel, this guy wants to talk to you.”
Samuel had been setting up a transit level with a laser plummet. He was standing precariously on the hill and almost fell when he turned to see who was calling. After he recovered, he slid down the hill to meet them.
When he got to the bottom, he brushed himself off and offered his hand, saying, “Hi, I'm Samuel. What can I help you with?”
“Yes, hi,” Lukas said shaking his hand in reply. “I'm Lukas Schultheiss from the Schweizer Fiskus.”
Samuel raised his eyebrows, “From the what?”
"Oh, I'm sorry! I think for English it would be Swiss
bank. No, Swiss treasure. Place holding national money, like your
Cleo offered, “Treasury?”
Lukas nodded, “Yes, danka!”
Samuel said, “What can we do for you?”
Lukas replied, “Well, this Midas machine has caused of much trouble. Many nations say we are making gold, but all the gold we have is in the reserves. Unfortunately, this puts us in a bad position. We are fine with you moving to our country and having your invention, but we need to know what you plan to do with it. Our country has not been backed by gold for many years, but still we have gold. That gold is now worthless for the price of gold has dropped lower than the price of steel. If we needed to sell any gold, we get bad thoughts about us. So we now have 15,000 tonnes of gold which sell we cannot.”
Samuel and Cleo were fully aware of the
CTF belief that the builders only made gold. They, however, did not know the information
had been leaked to the media, which was now making it the top story in the
Samuel replied, “I must say, I’m sorry to hear of your problem. I really can’t do much for the moment; I’ll need to call the person who’s really in charge. What is it you would like?”
“We like for you to patent the machine and become public or leave. We want to be neutral and want to be able to sell our gold. If you keep the information hidden, suspicion stays on us. We are sorry to put you in this place. We are happy for great inventions but need to protect ourselves.”
“Ah, let me make a call then,” replied Samuel.
Samuel walked to where Lukas was out of hearing range and called Aaron. In Atlantic Time, it was almost . Samuel dialed, and after a few rings Aaron’s voice came through sounding fully awake saying, “Hello?”
“Hello, Aaron. Did I wake you, Sir?”
“Is something wrong, Samuel?”
“Well . . . yes. A man from the Swiss treasury is here and says that the value of gold has dropped because the news is reporting we have a Midas machine.”
“What does he want?”
“He said we need to either go public with the invention or leave.”
Aaron paused, “That’s not acceptable. We’ve spent too much time and money there already . . . we have to stay. In addition, if we back down here we’ll have very few palatable options. We can’t release the information on how to build gold because even if we limited the machine, builder technology would soon be discovered. It’s too dangerous.”
“I agree. What if we pay them? They really seem more upset about their loss than the suspicions cast on them.”
“Actually, that’s a good idea. Tell him that if they will let us stay we will repay their generosity in enough platinum to make up for their loss. They’ll have to take us at our word that we’ll keep the technology to ourselves and that we won’t be funding anybody. If he accepts, tell him to be ready to pick up the platinum where you are when we arrive in about twenty days.”
“OK, hold on.” He walked back to where Cleo and Lukas were still standing. “We have a proposal. Tell us an amount in platinum we can give you to make up for your loss and if we promise to keep the invention and any gold made to ourselves that we can stay.”
“Platinum,” Lukas said and paused. “That would be 7,686 tonnes of platinum! If you can find 7,686 tonnes of platinum, you should stay.”
“We will have it here in twenty days if you agree here and now. Get it to us in writing by this afternoon and it’ll be a deal.”
Lukas hesitated about the ‘in writing’ part. That much platinum would put them ahead of all the nations that lost gold, but if they were lying or if the letter got out to the press they would look worse than they already did. The bottom line had to be that the money was worth the risk. “I accept,” he finally said. They shook hands. Then he said, “I must go to get this to you this afternoon.” Cleo led him back to his sedan.
Samuel said to Aaron, “Looks like a deal.”
Aaron replied, “Great, anything else? If not, I'm going back to bed!”
“Oh, you were sleeping. I'm sorry.”
“It's OK. You’re all set then?”
Samuel said, “Yes, bye.”
Samuel climbed back to where he was working as Aaron went back to sleep.
Copyright (C) 1998-2001 East Coast Games, Inc. and 2001 - 2006 Forest J. Handford