“I am really sorry I worried you, but it wasn’t my fault,” Daniel said for the umpteenth time since returning to the ship. He was lucky I let him on board - he and his infamous bodyguard. “We were negotiating. They wouldn’t let me talk to anyone.”
I huffed and kept working on installing the gun turrets I purchased at the GTD weapon’s sale. Tim left yesterday after we found Daniel safe and sound being wined and dined by the Valarian Council. I got the impression he didn’t want to stick around for the fireworks he knew were bound to go off between Daniel and me.
“They disabled my team. I had no way to send you a message. Believe me, I wanted to.”
I continued to give Daniel the cold shoulder. I had already ranted and raved until I was hoarse. I never imagined they would not use force to get what they wanted. I guess that is the human mind for you. I just assumed torture and mayhem. The Valarians never had any intention of hurting him. In their eyes his talents needed to by nurtured, rewarded.
“Believe me, I wanted to contact you. Tell you I was all right.”
First they offered to put him to work with a very generous salary – more than generous, astronomical. He refused. Never liked working for anyone but himself, he told them.
Next, they literally promised him the moon (or planet as the case may be) in order to get him to forget/destroy his Nano Nav Program. They offered him his own planet. They thought that was pretty darn big and tempting. They didn’t want to be refused. However, he did refuse. He liked his current location.
“Did you want to find me bruised and bloody?”
I gave him the evil eye and a disgusted look. I picked up my ratchet and thought about making him bruised and bloody for worrying me half to death.
What he wanted from the Valarians was currency, enough to set him up for life and allow him to buy or invent the gadgets that his imagination could think up. Figures were thrown out and bantered back and forth over glasses of chilled Muldavian wine, savory Kackus cheese and aromatic Homdolt bread. The Valarians wanted assurances that he would not meddle in their navigational programs which were essential to their economic stability. Daniel wanted to be assured of a market for his future programs. The Valarians were more than willing to take first-right-of-refusal for anything he invented.
There were some small things to iron out – unlimited access to equipment for Daniel’s lab and a free-pass for transportation anywhere, anytime. The dude made out like a bandit and left the Valarians thinking they were getting off cheap. I was not going to let him off so easily.
Cassie was so glad to see him alive that she almost blew a circuit. Daniel immediately scrubbed her memory of the Nano program. Turns out he hadn’t even needed to threaten the Valarians with the NET release. They wanted him, his knowledge, his ability to think outside the box, in short - his brain.
Daniel squatted down beside the Maximum Jacket Driver and put his hand on mine as I worked to lever the gun into its mount. “Aren’t you glad I wasn’t hurt?”
I couldn’t pull my hand away I was balancing an 80lb gun. “Of course, I am. But, do you know what you put me through? I have a very vivid imagination and it went wild when you disappeared.” I finished placing the gun and shoved the lock pin in place. I leaned into him and he put his arm around my shoulders. “I was so worried.”
“I know and I’m sorry.” Daniel squeezed my shoulder. “But, I will make it up to you. How about I treat you to dinner at your place of choice and buy you the biggest box of Muldavian chocolates we can find?”
“You’re not getting off that cheap, but it’s a start.” I picked up my power jack to tighten the bolts on the gun.
“Get out of my way so I can get this done. I’m hungry.” I wonder if I could negotiate a monthly supply of Muldavian chocolates.