Adama exchanged a glance with Ripley as the delegation from Beowulf filed into the conference room. He noted that only three of the eleven wore military uniforms—the rest, as she predicted, wore expensive suits. He kept any expression from his face as he, Commanders Lorne and Jayne, Colonels Tigh, Thorean, and Foeswan, High Justice Lampkin, and the newly sworn in President and Vice-President of the Colonies stood.
He caught Lee’s eye and the President nodded—as did Tom Zarek. And Caprica as well, who was here representing the Cylons that had joined the Fleet. Adama scowled at her presence—but Lee had insisted. After all, this meeting would affect them just as it would the human refugees.
Lieutenant Gorman was the twenty-third man at the table, sitting between the two sides . . . and for such a junior officer he was remarkably composed. Which is too say, he looked nervous and out of place. Bishop, sitting at his side, on the other hand, was stoic and at ease.
Adama waited until the guests had all taken their place and he nodded at them.
“Welcome aboard Galactica
,” he said. “I am Admiral Adama—may I introduce you to the President of the Twelve Colonies, Lee Adama?”
Polite nods were exchanged—but the Admiral (and Lee and the rest) caught the slight smirks on the faces of most of the civilians. Just as Ripley had said, they automatically assumed nepotism was at play.
The uniformed woman nodded her head. “I am Admiral Hayes of the United America Alliance; this is Admiral Bao of the China-Asian Congress and Commodore Sir Edward Morton of the Three Worlds Empire,” she paused. “And this is Director James Sinclair of the Interstellar Commerce Commission.”
Adama smiled politely and nodded his head at each of them in turn—and just as Ripley had said they would, they had brought the ICC with them, he thought.
“Please, be seated,” Adama said and everyone sat. “Are these gentlemen and ladies representatives of your government?”
“No,” spoke one of the civilians. “We represent a number of corporate interests here in Beowulf—all major players in interstellar markets.”
“Such as Weyland-Yutani,” Adama growled. “We have already met an executive of that corporation.”
Several of the executives bristled, but one smiled broadly. “Yes . . . where is Carter Burke? He should be here for this meeting to . . . assist us in processing this event.”
“He is sleeping off an alcohol-fueled bender,” Adama answered in a sour voice. “We are quite . . . displeased with Mister Burke.”
“Oh?” asked the same executive—his face now set and emotionless.
“Yes. Are we not going to wait on diplomatic officers from your governments?” Adama asked.
The same executive just smiled. “Why don’t we get started—these officers will confirm that any arrangements made here today will be binding on the national governments.”
“I see,” Adama answered. “We had not planned to begin negotiations today—I was going to take you on a tour of my ships and give you a short briefing on the Cylon threat. Mister President—if the government is prepared to proceed, we can adjust our schedule.”
Lee waved one hand. “Certainly, Admiral,” and he leaned forward with a smile on his face. “We are seeking a home—a place where we may rebuild our civilization. We had hoped to avoid leading the Cylons to you, but we have been unable to slow their relentless pursuit. Before we discuss that, however, I would like to file, formally and on the record, a complaint about your Carter J. Burke.”
“A complaint, Mister President?” the Weyland-Yutani rep said with a slight smile. “I am certain that . . . given the difference in language and culture, any misstep by Mister Burke was unintentional.”
“One would hope so,” Lee answered. “But I am afraid that is not the case here. Mister Burke has been trying to divide this Fleet in the hopes of gaining exclusive access to our technology—we will not permit such an action.”
All of the CEOs smirked momentarily before their faces blanked. The Weyland-Yutani rep just smiled. “A misunderstanding, I am sure.”
“As the President says,” growled Adama, “we hope it was merely a junior executive pushing his authority too far. I mean, I doubt that he had the authorization to promise this Fleet that he would settle them on Earth.”
?” asked Sinclair—and the corporate execs got rather quiet.
“He assured me,” Tom Zarek said with a smile, “that his corporation could arrange for the ICC quarantine of Earth to be waived—and promised nothing less than the title to a place known as . . .,” Tom paused.
“Tierra del Fuego, wasn’t it, Mister Vice-President?” asked Lee with a smile.
“Thank you, Mister President,” Tom smiled back. “That was it, Director Sinclair. In fact, he promised the entire
Fleet a new home on Earth if we wanted it—but only in exchange for exclusive rights to all of our technology for Weyland-Yutani.”
breaches ICC quarantine protocols,” Sinclair growled, casting at glance down the table at the Weyland exec.
“That wasn’t the first time he said he could . . . circumvent
the ICC,” Admiral Adama added with a smile. “From the reports I have read on the . . . incident
on Acheron, Mister Burke attempted to convey two specimens of the alien species encountered there back to one of my ships for shipment to Earth.”
A deathly silence fell over the table, and the blood drained from the Weyland exec’s face.
Ripley sat forward. “I was there, Director Sinclair,” she said, “along with Lieutenant Gorman and Bishop and the single survivor of the colony and the four Marines from Sulaco
who managed to escape with their lives. When we protested and told him that he would never get those specimens through ICC quarantine, he brushed aside our concerns and said there were ways. And since they were worth millions to the Bio-Weapons Division, he ordered us to load them. We didn’t. He was rather upset over the entire matter.”
Sinclair glared at the Weyland exec, who swallowed. “None of this was sanctioned by the company, Director—it was one junior
executive exceeding the boundaries of his authority.”
“This matter will
,” Sinclair said, turning his attention back to the Colonials. “Settlement on Earth is out of the question.”
“We understand,” Lee said with a smile. “And we are open to trading some of our technology with you in exchange for a world to call our own,” and his voice hardened as he looked at the corporate execs. “But we are not na´ve, nor are we innocent children to be taken advantage of. Accordingly, to protect our own interests, we have formed our own corporation—Twelve Colonies Limited—with one voting share held by each and every member of this Fleet. Twelve Colonies Limited owns outright all technology possessed by this Fleet, and only the board of Twelve Colonies Limited, of which I as President am the chief executive officer thereof, may negotiate for any licenses to our intellectual properties.”
“Well, I am certain that this is all quite legal in your home civilization, Mister Adama,” said one of the execs, “our
laws only recognize corporations properly filed with the ICC.”
“That was a fact which Madame Ripley and Bishop brought to my attention,” said High Justice Lampkin. “I have prepared the documents required under your laws, and since you are present here and now, Director Sinclair, as the direct representative of the Interstellar Commerce Commission, I would like to file these documents with you . . . to ensure that Twelve Colonies Limited has all of the rights and responsibilities entitled under the law,” the lawyer smiled and he slid a thick document across the table.
James Sinclair returned that smile and he tapped his fingers on the document. “There is a . . . significant
filing fee, you realize.”
Lampkin nodded. “We understand that it has been delayed in the past—although the ICC will be owed interest on any delay. We would be willing to offer to the ICC a royalty on all technology licenses until the fee—and a reasonable rate of interest—is paid in full.”
“I will have my staff look over this document,” Sinclair said, “but as of now, I officially confirm receipt of your filing. Should there be no errors within the document that would cause it to be voided, we will consider Twelve Colonies Limited a registered corporation under the auspices of the ICC Board.”
And the blood drained from the face of every corporate exec in the room. In contrast, the three Terran military officers were fighting to keep smiles off their own faces.
“Now, until my staff determines whether or not this document is indeed legal and in the proper format, I believe that we should suspend further negotiations,” Sinclair stood. “For myself, I would love to take that tour you spoke of, Admiral Adama.”
“Mister President?” the elder Adama asked of the younger.
“By all means, Admiral. But I do believe that Lieutenant Gorman and Madame Ripley also have a document—a report on the events that occurred on Acheron; with copies for Admiral Hayes and Director Sinclair both.”
Sinclair’s eyes twinkled as he was handed two more bound reports, and he passed a copy down to Jenna Hayes. “And Mister Burke’s report?” he asked.
“He hasn’t assembled one, Director,” Ripley said sweetly.
“Ah,” replied Sinclair. “Shall we begin the tour, Admiral?”
“After you, Director,” Adama answered.