Michael Weyland smiled genially as the President of the Twelve Colonies (and CEO of Twelve Colonies Limited) shook his hand—but Lee did not mistake the expression on the man’s face for any altruistic motives.
“Shall we take our places, Mister Weyland?” he asked, gesturing towards the table where James Sinclair had taken his place to one side, and Tom Zarek stood waiting.
“Yes, that would be excellent,” Weyland answered and he waited until Lee had crossed over to his seat and then he joined Tom Zarek in sitting. “Your time has now elapsed, Mister President—I do hope that you gave considered weight to my words in our last session?”
“We have indeed,” replied Lee and he tilted his head slightly. “Before we begin, however, we would like to clarify a number of points—Director Sinclair has most graciously agreed to act as a neutral arbitrator in this manner.”
Weyland’s smile faded for a moment, and then became fixed. “While I have no objections to the presence of a representative of the Interstellar Commerce Commission—as a witness—I fail to see how he might arbitrate an agreement between two corporate interests. As the matter does not affect the security of Earth itself,” Weyland added with a nod to Sinclair.
The ICC Director did not respond, and Weyland turned his attention back to Lee, who answered him. “In fact, this matter does weigh quite heavily upon the safety and security of Earth, Mister Weyland. And being as both TCL and Weyland-Yutani are at risk here, I thought it might be best to ask Mister Sinclair if he would agree to serve as the arbiter between us.”
Michael Weyland cocked one eyebrow. “What risk are you speaking of in regards to Weyland-Yutani, Mister President?”
Now, James Sinclair leaned forward and placed his hands on the table. “Contact with the Twelve Colonies would not have happened without the actions of Carter J. Burke on behalf of Weyland-Yutani. By issuing the order to investigate this . . . derelict
vessel, now destroyed, on Acheron and failing to warn the colonists of the potential threat, he is directly responsible for the loss of those colonists.”
“Yes, Director Sinclair—Mister Burke, the now deceased, Mister Burke—was responsible,” snapped Weyland.
“He was—at that time,” added Lee with a slight smile on his face, “acting on behalf of Weyland-Yutani. His actions precipitated the chain of events that led to Colonel Caldwell being sent by Admiral Adama to investigate a distress call from the Marines aboard Sulaco. We did not unilaterally make contact, Mister Weyland, but rather were drawn into your space by the actions—however inadvertent—of Weyland-Yutani. And thus so were the Cylons.”
Michael snorted. “You admitted you were seeking Earth—you were trying to find us. The fault here—and the liability—lies completely at your feet.”
“Actually, Mister Weyland,” Sinclair said softly, “I have reviewed their course logs. The so-called ‘map’ that they were following would have taken them across our space briefly, but had the Colonials held to their planned course, they would have exited explored space without making contact. It is reasonable to presume that the Cylons would have continued to pursue them.”
“Supposition, Director,” Michael answered in a heated voice, and then he drew in a deep breath and relaxed. “Their charts could have been—not that I am saying they were—altered before you viewed them. Only the facts should be admitted as evidence.”
“I will decide what may and may not be entered as evidence in this arbitration, Mister Weyland,” Sinclair said bluntly. “And I do believe that it might be enough of a reason to reject your injunction—or at the least to inform the other member corporations of the ICC of your corporation’s role in this matter. Who, with your own previous example of digging up obscure regulations, Mister Weyland, will no doubt file their injunctions with the ICC against Weyland-Yutani.”
Lee shook his head as all the expression faded from Michael Weyland’s face. “We of the Twelve Colonies do not wish to see Earth fighting the Cylons alone—you are our long-lost cousins, Mister Weyland. Nor do we want to see your losses go unaddressed,” and Lee smiled. “To that end, I think we have a workable compromise which I would request that you consider. With all due weight, if I may be permitted to use your same words, Mister Weyland.”
Michael’s eyes narrowed and then he nodded. “What is your counter-offer, Mister President?”
“The Twelve Colonies are represented only in this handful of ships and refugees, Mister Weyland. Even if TCL had the desire to turn a profit from our FTL drives, we do not have the means of producing them. You however do.” Lee paused until Michael nodded.
“We will provide Weyland-Yutani with the complete schematics and what engineering advice we can offer and exclusive rights to produce these engines. Ranging in scale from capital ship FTLs to the ones mounted in our Raptors. The remainder of our technology we will retain full rights to license to whomever we choose—or to keep for ourselves. Further, we will pledge to the ICC that we will devote our military strength to defending Earth and her colonies from the Cylons in conjunction with your own armed forces—and share all information we have concerning the Cylons.”
Michael smiled slightly. “And in exchange, TCL—the Twelve Colonies—will gain . . . what?”
“Weyland-Yutani will provide us with the title to a star system containing a world that meets or exceeds the minimum parameters which we will set,” Lee said. “The ICC will rule on the matter and determine that TCL and the government of the Twelve Worlds is not liable for losses incurred during this war—including those incurred prior to this date. Weyland-Yutani will sign off on that promise of indemnity.”
“Your offer, while potentially profitable, is far less than what I was originally requesting,” Weyland said with a spread of his hands. He set them on the table and tapped his fingers. “Why should we agree?”
“Because, Mister Weyland, your corporation will be the only one producing the new engines required in every single military vessel for the duration of this war. Whether that vessel belongs to the UAA, TWE, CAC, FEU, PAA, PAC, or Soviet Pact. They will have to buy their drives from you.” Lee paused and he smiled again. “And when this war is over? Weyland-Yutani will be building drives hand-over-fist to refit the existing civilian and merchant ships. Of course, you will produce any drives for the Twelve Worlds at cost, but other than that little snag, your potential profit margin is virtually unlimited, Mister Weyland.”
“And if I say no?”
“Then regretfully, our Fleet will have to consider simply moving on without sharing our technology with you. Or aiding in the defense of Earth and your Colonies, Mister Weyland. My advisors tell me that the Cylons are liable to lose our trail as they become preoccupied with your worlds and your population—while I would regret such an action, if I am forced to choose between my people fleeing and ending up as indentured servants to Weyland-Yutani, I will choose the former.”
“And should that occur, Mister Weyland, the ICC will not be pleased whatsoever with the corporation and its leaders that caused such a risk to the homeworld of humanity,” James Sinclair enunciated slowly and clearly—and if his voice lacked the undertones of menace that Lee had expected, it was clear that Michael Bishop Weyland II heard them regardless. And the powerful CEO nodded in submission to the authority of the ICC Director. He then turned his gaze back upon Lee and Tom.
“Seeing that you have staked out this position as your starting point, Mister President,” Michael said as he unbuttoned his cuffs and rolled his shirt sleeves up to his elbows, “shall we begin our haggling over the details?”