Gorman waited until the hatch had closed behind them and then he grabbed Burke by his jacket and slammed him around against the bulkhead.
“What the HELL was that?” he barked in English. “We agreed to tell them about synthetics in general—NOT to piss them the fuck off by telling them Bishop was one!”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Burke said quickly. “I just asked Bishop to confirm that synthetics are harmless—he’s the one who slipped up.” And he cocked his head to one side and grinned. “And watch the jacket, Marine; it cost more than you will make in three months.”
Gorman snarled and drew back his fist, while he held Burke off his feet with one hand.
“Lieutenant,” Hicks said. “You don’t want to do that. He’s not worth it—and if you hit him, he will frag your career.”
The Marine snarled and dropped Burke. “You knew exactly what Bishop was going to say. You gave him that leading line and just let himself walk right off the deep end, Burke. Doesn’t it bother you that he is now in their brig?”
Burke adjusted his jacket and shirt and shook his head. “He’s a piece of property—Company
Property—Gorman,” the young exec said with a smile. “They damage him in any way . . . well, Weyland-Yutani owns the local courts, and you better believe the ICC will side with us—especially if we give them cut. And a Hyperdine Model 341-B Synthetic Life Form with full Marine Support and Flight Programming is an amazingly
expensive piece of equipment. That is why we generally lease them.”
He looked at Ripley and Hicks and Gorman and he smiled. “Trust me, I know what I am doing.”
“And what if they just decide that anyone that is using what they call Cylons is a threat and just space all of us, Burke? Alter course and head away to avoid Earth?” Ripley asked. “Did you think of that?”
The company man laughed. “They are obsessed with Earth—did you see the face of their President? Their officers? That politician? They aren’t going to just turn around—they need to have their dreams come true. And I’m the man who is going to make that happen.”
“You are going to sneak more than fifty thousand people onto Earth? How?” asked Hicks.
“The ICC will allow immigration—if the UAA and Weyland-Yutani and few of our corporate allies such as Hyperdine push for it; purely for humanitarian reasons, of course. And I believe that after those problems that Argentina and Chile had the Company owns Tierra del Fuego in full.” Burke smiled. “We can evict the current population and settle them there if Earth is really what they want—of course, they will have to disarm and dismantle their ships. And that will give us
a chance to examine their FTL technology.”
“You are a real piece of work,” Ripley said as she shook her head. “How do you think they are going to react to disarming?”
“They might not like it,” answered Burke. “If they want to keep their ships and guns we’ve got other worlds. But if they want to land on Earth
and make a home,” he smiled. “Then they have to play by our rules.”
The hatch opened, Hudson staggered in as he struggled to hold Vasquez up.
“Oh, shit,” said Hicks. “Don’t tell me she found a fucking still!”
“They got a whole damned bar on this ship!” Hudson answered; his own nose a bit rosy. “We didn’t have to buy a round!”
Vasquez hiccupped, and looked up at Hicks and smiled. “I’s saying good-bye to Drake. And Apone. And Dietrich. And Frost. And Crowe. And Ferro. And Spunkmeyer. And Wiz-wiz-wiz-,” she stammered, looking for waste can.
“Wierzbowski,” said Hicks as he held one out.
“Him,” she agreed before she threw up.
Ripley stepped back and turned the ventilator on high, waving the air around her.
“Hey, where’s Bishop, man?” asked Hudson. “He saved our asses by crawling down that pipe.”
Hicks sighed and jerked a thumb at Burke. “Asshole got him thrown in the brig because he outed him as a synthetic.”
“Shit, man. That’s . . . wrong
,” he said as he sat back in his chair. “You don’t snitch on your buddies, man. You know what they do to toasters on this boat?”
Vasquez looked up from the waste can and wiped her mouth on Hudson’s shirt.
“HEY!” he yelled.
“He’s not one of our buddies, Hudson. He’s a corporate big-shot who just wants to get his and FUCK the rest of us. And as soon as this room quits spinning, I’m going to hit him. And then I’m going to break Bis-HICK-hop out from lockup.”
And then she fell forward on her face and passed out. “Lieutenant, you want to give me hand getting her in her bunk?” Hicks asked.