A Contract Too Good

((Hammond Administration Building, Jericho's Landing, Dragoon))

A few minutes passed as the correct processes were done before the secretary nodded to Emerson. "Go ahead in," she said. With a thanks, he strode to the elevator. Several floors passed by as the city was shown beyond the transparent aluminum of the lift. It was certainly a sight that was almost alien to Holiday. The admin building, this one, and a few others were here after the first month or so, but the rest had been prefab.

"Damn, we have come long way," he said to no one but himself. "So have you, Zeke. Don't fuck this up or you will never gorram live it down."

The lift opened and he turned. The man himself sat in his office, rising to greet him. With a tug of his jacket, he stepped into the lion's den.

"Captain Holiday! It's a pleasure to meet you." He gestured for Holiday to take a seat in front of his desk. "I hope you're doing well. Can I get you anything? Perhaps something to drink? I've got a five-year-old bottle of Acheron Brandy I've been eager to try..."

Damn, a boss with a taste of liquor and a willingness to share? Emerson was already starting to like Sebastian Hammond. He took the seat offered, saying, "Well, no better time than today, I always say! Or would say if I had a saying."

Shut up, Zeke, he thought to himself, realizing he was blathering. The bottle made the tell-tale noise of a bottle freshly cracked open and in went the brown deliciousness. Only after the bottle was set down and the boss grabbed his did Emerson grab his glass. The brown liquor certainly smelled of strong alcohol.

The boss did not immediately drink, instead grabbing a datapad.

"I was impressed with your work this morning. I'm sure you know that many of the freighters that come in don't much care about meeting our deadlines. And your record certainly speaks for itself."

Not really knowing what to say, Emerson hid any reply by downing the fingers he had. It went down like water, as always, but the bitter aftertaste was a tad on the too strong side. As he sat it down, he finally had words in his head even as he had fire in his belly.

"Well, it is always a double-edged knife when ya deal with freighters," he said. "Almost always there is a bit of cleanup when they make, or rather if they make, system. I just don't like having the table overfilled, is all."

Of course, he was hoping that all that work would be paid off. But now he was having that inkling of doubt that it was not as squeaky clean as he thought. The boss nodded and continued.

"You were already a seasoned pilot before coming to Jericho. And your service since the colony's inception has been rather remarkable. You were the pilot who flew the rescue craft during the colony's first encounter with the dragons, helped defend the colony from a raiding party of wildcat slavers - a feat I heard was the reason the group quickly unraveled, very impressive. And since then you've been ferrying various things to the colony in a timely manner." Sebastian put the datapad down. "Suffice it to say, not the sort of work a man of your caliber should be doing."

He sipped at the brandy finally. Holiday watched as the discomfort played across his face and he had to force himself to not chuckle. For as much pull bosses had, they were only human. However, what he said had Emerson curious and slightly on the defensive. He chose freight for a reason. "And what work is my caliber?" he carefully asked.

"I'd like to give you a job, Captain Holiday. You see, I'm somewhat of a pilot myself. However, my license was revoked after a... small mishap. So I need someone I can trust to ferry me to our various operations on Jericho. A job that, given the cavalcade of curious creatures that call this planet home, I feel you are uniquely qualified for. You would get a significant pay raise, of course, as well as an upgraded company package with various benefits including advanced medical and vehicle coverage. You see, my pilots are well taken care of." He opened up the contract file on his datapad and slid it over to Holiday. "Feel free to look over the contract. It's fairly simple. This is a unique position that only I am offering. And you won't find a better offer. Not even Citra Corp. provides this sort of thing to their workers." Then he smiled. "Feel free to take your time..."

It was the smile that made Emerson bristle with caution. Too many times had he seen that smile and heard those words from people with far too much power. He reached for the pad, looking over it himself. His eyes damn near popped out of his head. What he had said was there at the first glance. Holiday heard the little devil saying to agree to this lucrative deal, the angel advising a thorough study first. After a moment of silence, he chose the angel.

"I will give this a look over," he replied. "Thank you, sir." Feeling the meeting was ending from how the man looked, he rose while stuffing the pad into his jacket. He looked down at the brandy. "You said it was five years? Perhaps hold onto that for another year," he recommended. "And you should hear from me soon, Mister...?"

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