Chapter Twenty One




“You've been practicing, boss.” That was a private joke between the two of them; they were equal partners. Whoever won the golf game was called “boss” and whoever lost paid for lunch and drinks.
“Putting,” the CEO replied. “I've Been practicing putting, that's where I'm weak at this game. First time I ever beat you, Charles.”
“Well, I was a little off today. And you only beat me by one stroke,” the president said. “That was a great hole three, you eagled that one.”
“I got lucky on the initial drive. I usually put a ball or two in the water on that hole. Bartender, two beers. Guinness draft, please. Charles, you're paying for a change today! Oh, and bartender, a couple shots of your best Scotch, too.”
Charles laughed. “Well, that was the deal. Maybe we should try some zero G golf sometime.”
“Zero G? Damn, Charles, we're not twenty any more. That's a young man's sport. Besides, I hate space.”
“Really? You run a travel and shipping company and hate space?”
“No, I love making money in it, I just hate traveling in it. You did pretty good on the second hole or I'd have done even better against you. How are we doing on the sabotage front?”
“Come on, Dewey, we're just starting. You can't just solve a complex problem like that in a few days, and Johnson only got the assignment this morning. Did you finish that report Knolls wrote?”
“No, I got sidetracked by the book Doctor Winters wrote that Knolls mentioned in his report. Damn, we need to check cargo closer, that book was horrible. I'm sure glad the charity sent Doctor Winters, it would have certainly been catastrophic otherwise.
“Then I read the report she made to her charity. I'll finish Knolls' report when we get back from ‘lunch’.”
“How did you get Doctor Winters' report? She works for the charity, not for us,” the company president said.
The CEO smiled. “Don't be stupid, Charles. It's my daughter's charity and I'm one of its biggest contributors.”
“So, how much of Knolls' report have you read?”
“Past where he saved her life. It's a good thing he didn't go by the book, she would have died if he did! Speaking of books, Charles, you have a terrible taste in literature. Knolls couldn't write his way out of a paper bag and you enjoyed it? Damn, man. I thought it was terrible. Awful grammar, run-on sentences...”
Charles shrugged. “At least it wasn’t dry like all the other reports. We were sure lucky the charity sent Doctor Winters, Dewey.”
“Yes, we were, like I said.”
“Knolls was even luckier, and is probably glad he had her and the addicts, he'd have been a dead man, and probably Kelly as well. Nobody expected what happened.”
The CEO asked “Have you talked to Human Resources to see about training a replacement for Knolls?”
“Of course. I hate to replace him, especially with a greenie. Some of the maneuvers and weapons use he displayed in his second encounter with the pirates should go into our training manuals. In fact, some of the things he did when he wasn't following the book ought to be in the regulations and training manuals. Knolls is really sharp.”
“Yes, he was a damned good captain, but I haven't gotten that far in the report yet. The company will miss him.”
“Well, I intend to try and talk him out of retirement.”
“Good luck with that! I hear he wants to tend bar on Mars, maybe open his own bar. If you succeed you're the world's greatest salesman.”
The president said “I'm taking the afternoon off today, Dewey. I want to be refreshed and rested for the board meeting tomorrow afternoon. Do you want to shoot another nine?”
“Sorry, Charles, I can't. I should have gotten back earlier, I want to finish reading Knolls' report, and I have a meeting with Richardson from engineering. I'm that close to firing that dumb son of a bitch. That was a hell of a boner he pulled, and I'm sure glad you brought the matter to my attention.”
“Hell, if I hadn't we should have both been fired!” the president said, smiling, as if that was ever likely; between the two of them they owned sixty three percent of all company stock.
The CEO laughed. “Yeah,” he agreed, “we should have been! Look, Charles, enjoy the afternoon and I'll see you tomorrow morning when we talk to the department heads. Like I said, I have to get going, I have a lot on my plate today.”
“See you, Boss. Bartender, can I get another beer here?”


Chapter 20
Chapter 22

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