The Kraken and The Dark Sea, chapter 19-20

Terrel proposes a deal with the Consortium. Jomney returns to Neuw Athilin

Chapter 19.


Sitting in the conference room of his father’s office, Terrel said to his brother, “Thanks for getting this for me, Barry.”

“Not a problem. Dad is rather annoyed at this bunch. They have been pushing more than a bit.”

“So, where are your boys?”
“Tim is at Camp Barleycorn with the rest of the cadets, working with marines. Jim is on the same ship with your boys.”

“How did that happen?”
“The navy has this program for prospective marines and navy called the adjuncts. Jim had some issues, we felt that a cruise with the navy would help and he wanted to go. The ship’s crew was rather surprised when he and his friend Jonny showed up with full weapons kits. Bill is aboard, as you set up that as part of the Beinan’s contractors and Rod is there as a petty officer and coxswain to handle small craft.”

Terrel laughed. “I hope that Dilligent survives.”

“They made it to Ishendell and then the major and the ship’s captain sent the boys up to the Flight Instructor and his friends.”

“That will fix them.”

“My boys have already been through the program. Bill, on the other hand, hasn’t. The captain didn’t send Rod but I think that he was detached and ended up there anyway.”

“Rod is a regular member of the crew. That makes sense.”

“Ok, since we have the boys out of the way, why don’t we discuss the matter at hand? This started when CRC realized what Bill was playing with, the solid state components, that is.”

“How did they find out about them? Bill hasn’t exactly been spreading those around. Most of the discussion was either in Ishendell or Desert Howl with some trips up here to talk with Aydiun Beinan.”

“Dad thinks that someone in Ishendell showed somebody from CRC the circuits they were using, probably friends showing each other things.”

“Not the Scourge suppressor plant?”
“That is another possibility, but Senator Burnett seemed to know a lot about the circuits that Bill sold to the navy.”
“So this started about eight moons ago and that was when CRC started to look into holding Bill and Finster’s patents up. They were trying to find a workaround and they were having issues because they didn’t have any components or the background to make any.”

“You would know more about that than I would, but there was some floundering around at CRC.”

“Then I was called up and took Gatherer to sea.”

“Yes. They sent those letters to you and probably couldn’t understand why you weren’t answering.”

“Millia forwarded them to me, unopened. They apparently made no effort to contact Bill at all.”

“I think that they thought that you would be more “reasonable.” Then you were apparently ignoring them and they felt that they had to use stronger means, so they had Burnett call the navy and Beinan’s in. Bill went up to the Plateau with Moonshine, who had been hired by the prince of Astia to dance at a thing he was holding.”
“Why was the prince talking to Moonshine?”
“He wanted a discreet contact with his brother, who is living with the Binorins at present.”

“Tolly. That makes sense.”

“The prince had also seen Bill in Strange Science, apparently. So he wanted to meet him anyway.”

“So Bill went up to the Plateau and the Senator annoyed him, came home and told my wife, who also became rather annoyed. The Burnetts should have watched their steps about that.”

“Where did Bill put his stuff?”

“He put everything in the vault on the island and locked the vault. I asked him to.”

“The vault that no one else can get into. What about the Harald crystal?”

“That is in the vault as well. I’m not sure why Harald asked to be put into the vault, but the crystal was put into the vault as well.”

“There’s dad, so we can go over the patent fight.”
“I will help with that.”
Caldin came in and said, “Are you set, Terrel.”
“We are just going through this, dad.”
“The idiots made a mistake. The Senator bullied Bill just a bit too hard. Bill even warned him that Bill knew about the connection and what CRC was doing. The Senator should not have been as aggressive as he was.”

“Millia wants to shut down all the Senator’s shady businesses if the Burnetts make any moves toward Bill or the family again. She has a pile of things already. The Burnetts probably don’t understand who my wife is off shore as they don’t have seafolk in the family. At least the Senator doesn’t. The old man is probably already annoyed.”

“Why don’t we get lunch before your meeting this afternoon? You can catch me up on the politics in the south.”

Calak looked at the Consortium members and said, “I was finally able to arrange a meeting with Terrel Wavechaser.”

Stan Spinner looked at him and said, “Where?”
“Congressman Wavechaser’s office here in Chatsrey.”

“So how do we handle this? Are the patents still being held up?”
“They were approved yesterday.”

“So a boy has us all by the throats?” Ben Steelmaker asked.

“More or less,” Calak admitted. “There wasn’t much we could do to contest the approval since we could not demonstrate that we knew anything about the technology and the boy has working examples. If course the components aren’t the immediate problem.”

“Has Finster’s admitted that they are working with the boy? Dael Haldar asked.

“They are saying that they can’t tell us about that because of a preexisting nondisclosure agreement and they can’t manufacture tools as they have an agreement with Wavechaser and we need Wavechaser’s approval to purchase the furnace.”

“So, in order to even start on developing the technology on our own, we have to pay Wavechaser.”

“That is the size of it. Unfortunately it’s even worse. Let me get some of my people in and they can explain.”

Calak tripped the intercom and said, “Send them in.”
Two men came in and Calak said, “This is Jon Axeforger and Galor Ironsmith from my engineering department. Galor discovered the solid state components and then the other problem. Galor, since you had your brother look into young Mr. Wavechaser, why don’t you tell us what you discovered.”
“Ok, Mr. Leatherbeater. I asked my brother to go to the South Howl Upper School science faire as that was where the furnace for making crystals that Bill Wavechaser had made had first appeared. I really hadn’t expected him to do anything for the faire and at first glance, my brother didn’t realize what he was seeing. He was looking at the surfboards that another boy had made because he makes his living on the beach surfing and what not. In any case, he was impressed by the surfboards and didn’t really pay attention to the radio receiver that was there as well. Bill Wavechaser was making what appeared to be signs from glass fiber boards that he made. My brother went off making surfboards with Mr. Wavechaser’s partner and didn’t send me the pictures until he had them developed for his magazine. I had him send the negatives and had this picture of the receiver enlarged.”

Galor put the enlargement on an easel. He took out a pointer and said, “Here is an enlargement of the receiver. If you look closely, you can see that the receiver does not have a chassis in the traditional sense and that the components are sitting on one of those fiber boards.”

“What are the advantages of that?” Ben asked. “So the boy built a radio receiver?”
“We think that the method could reduce the cost of manufacturing a radio receiver by fifty to sixty percent,” Axeforger said. “Furthermore, the method could be done by an upper school student. I hate to think what could be done if a real engineering department played with the method.”
“The pool was formed to keep one of us from doing something like that independently.”
“Beinan’s isn’t a member of the pool,” Calak reminded the table.

“Please tell us that the boy hasn’t gotten a patent approved for this already,” Stan said bitterly. “That would be very bad news.”

“Filed and approved,” Axeforger said. “We didn’t even notice the filing until the approval was done.”

“Has anyone actually seen the receiver work?” Stan asked.
“We may see that today,” Calak said. “I am taking Jon and Galor with me when we meet with Wavechaser.”

“We could hang tough. Refuse to deal.”

“Then Wavechaser makes receiver sets and we don’t, at least not for very long. Beinan’s and Umevan get transmitters and the military work and we are out of business.”

“We could push,” Ben said. “Tell stores not to buy the sets and so forth.”

“We could do that, until somebody sees the business and grabs it. I want to knock out just how much we are willing to pay per receiver set to keep Wavechaser off our backs. I don’t see any way out of a deal at this point.”

Bladloc looked at the pair in front of him and wanted to laugh. The two obvious solicitors were as far from what people imagined the people that handled the Great Captain’s business were like as he could imagine. He looked at the card and said, “You left your Ravathyra pirate coats at home. Does the Great Captain know that you are out of uniform?”
The one on the left twinged a bit as the one on the right said, “Mr. Flamespitter, we want to discuss your paper with you.”
“Which one?”

“The paper concerning the raids not conducted by the Ravathyra.”

“What do you want to know?”

“This is a rather delicate matter, but the Great Captain was tasked by his sister in law to discover what happened to her son and he passed the task to us. We were able to determine that he was taken with others in a raid and that his name did not appear in any Ravathyra slave auctions. It is possible that the man is dead, but the navy’s files do not list the raid. We were stymied until your paper was brought to our attention.”

“Ok, as I said in the paper, there were at least four raids that were conducted by ships not operated by the Ravathyra. That is based on the Ravathrya logs and journals and the information from the raids themselves. What I do not have at present is the information from the Republic and what happened to the crews of the ships.”

“You were looking for the crews of the ships? What about the ships themselves?”

“I know where they are; sitting in Glimmerhollow harbor waiting for Taser to put together his next production.”

“The crews did not come with the ships?”
“No, they did not, at least the crews that did were not responsible for the raids.”

“Would you be willing to discuss this with the Great Captain and his lady? The Great Captain is rather annoyed that the matter was not resolved and we kept coming up with dead ends.”

“I was hoping to discuss this with the Great Captain. Make a time and I will see him in Desert Howl.”

“How did you know where he was?”
“My grandfather asked him for permission to go through the Bloody Admiral’s papers. He told me before I returned home.”

“The Great Captain enjoys his privacy.”
“I am not about to spread where he lives around. I just want to discuss some things with him.”

“Would you be willing to accept a retainer to look into this? You seem to be capable and have access to resources that we do not.”

“I can accept that. I do not have a grant at present and am working for my grandfather as he works to finish his book. My Scholar’s work is complete and I have my parchment.”

“Are you going to turn these raids into a book?”
“Yes, as soon as I fill in some pieces. There will be several books being released as a result of the Bloody Admiral’s logs.”

“Then we have a mutual agreement. I will have a messenger bring the contract.”

Terrel grinned as Leatherbeater came in with a staff of four people. He had been tempted to bring in the patent attorney that his father had retained, but there was no real point and this would hardly be the first deal that he had put together. He stepped forward put out his hand and said, “Mr. Leatherbeater, I am Terrel Wavechaser.”

Leatherbeater shook his hand and said, “Mr. Wavechaser, I am Calak Leatherbeater of CRC. This is Harald Stringer, CRC’s manufacturing chief, Gade Garfish from legal and Jon Axeforger and Galor Ironsmith from my engineering department.”

“Welcome gentlemen. First, I brought something that you all have been wondering about.” Terrel pointed to the receiver and turned it on. “As you can see, it works. My son did not have it working at the science faire where somebody connected to you probably saw it, probably Ed Ironsmith. Bill shouldn’t have just put the receiver out like that, but he didn’t understand the implications.” Terrel turned the receiver off. He handed some flat boards out. “These are the chassis boards for the receiver. Bill made five, just to see if the method worked. He said that he assembled the receiver in about a twentieth and he wasn’t trying very hard.”

“Is your son here, Mr. Wavechaser?”

“He is not. I sent him on a trip for the summer. So he is elsewhere.”

“So we are working with you on this.”
“Yes. What do you propose?”

“Twenty million for assigning patent rights for all the patents.”

“Exclusive or license.”
“Exclusive in all matters not related to military equipment.”

“The carrot for Beinan’s.”

“You could put it that way.”

“What about licensing outside the country?”

“That would be subject to the consortium’s approval.”

“That seems rather restrictive. Could you go higher? Fifty million say?”

“That’s a lot of money. I don’t think that the patents justify it.”

“I have your numbers and the numbers of the other members of the consortium. If my estimates of the cost savings that you will get from using the boards works out, you would save easily twice that in production costs and increase profits even if you sell receivers at three quarters of what you are selling them now. You could borrow the cash if you don’t have it on hand. How about twenty million for a license for the fiber boards, ten coppers license fee for every board made and an agreement that no organization that my son creates makes commercial radio receivers for ten years or licenses manufacturing assembled boards to a firm in the Republic for sale by my son. We retain all rights outside your license.”

“What about the solid state technology?”
“That remains off the table. My son plans to start a firm to manufacture the components while he is attending college and make them for military and development purposes only until he graduates.  Then the parts will be available on a retail basis.”
“We could be cutting our own throats.”

“I spoke with Aydiun Beinan. He was willing to make that deal and a license for the Fellowship as well. The consortium can make that deal as a group or come and make a deal as individuals.”

“None of the members will make a deal if there isn’t one that we can live with.”

“They don’t have to. I could arrange for a company in Racketgarde to make the boards for customers and pay Bill a royalty per board. I have been having some discussions about that already. So the boards will be available for anyone who wants them. I wouldn’t wait too long, because Bill wants to put together something selling the boards and running projects in Strange Science.”

“That could make some people unhappy.”
“Your friends on the Plateau? The Burnetts made a big mistake. They annoyed my wife. Since they are not seafolk, they didn’t understand what that meant. The Burnetts were tolerated because the bowers didn’t really care about the landers and their misbehavior. But if the queen of the bower cares, then things turn ugly in our neighborhood. In any case, I wouldn’t expect the Plateau to get you out of your problem.”

Terrel handed Calak a folder. “Here is the contract, all prettied up with the details. You can take it back to your board and the other consortium members. I would sign it before Bill gets back. He has to sign off on it and the longer you wait, the less time I have to persuade him to deal. He was not happy with you attempting to steal what he was doing, as he put it. It’s a rather simple take on the issues, but it fits. By the way, my son has written a will that says in the event of an untimely accident, all the patents are licensed to Beinan’s exclusively.”

“I will take this to the board and the consortium. How long do we have to reply?”

“I’m leaving the city for home in a five day. But I will not take any steps until Bill returns. I would consider that the longer you chew on this, the more likely it is that Bill could start something on his own and then the deal will have to change to consider that. I would consider that if I don’t have something on the table before I leave, the deal will be altered as circumstances change.”

Calak left, Terrel unplugged the radio receiver and put it in the box in his father’s office. Caldin came in and said, “How badly did they want to cheapskate?”
“Twenty million up front for an exclusive license for both the boards and the solid state components and Beinan’s keeps the military business.”

“What was your offer?”

“The twenty million for a license to produce the boards, ten coppers for every board made, Bill doesn’t make receivers for ten years and Bill retains all international rights.”

“That actually wouldn’t be that bad a deal for them.”

“Mr. Leatherbeater is betting on the strength of the consortium. I think that it isn’t that strong and he has to know that he’s coming from the weaker position. I don’t have to sell to him to make money. He pulled out the Burnetts, which was just stupid.”

“What has Millia done to them?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t been home yet. I know that she was collecting things when Bill said that he was going to look into their businesses. I imagine that the word has gone out already and the Burnets are feeling the pinch.”

“You are rather upset.”
“I am rediscovering why I like having my regular job at Beinan’s where I don’t play these games.”

“Did you tell them where Bill was going?”
“Then they don’t know that he is going to the Empire and talking with people that could fund Bill’s startup and have a good reason to do so. Some of them even come from the Republic or have family here.”

“Moonshine’s family could come up with the money and probably would. I should have asked for more.”

Chapter 20.

Neuw Athlin

 Cécile grinned as Jomney came into the hall. “You have returned to us, Jomney.”
“Your majesty, I didn’t really have a choice. My wife insists.”

“You are not wearing your scales. I could take you to task about that.”
“My daughter doesn’t want me to. She thinks that I bother her boyfriend too much.”
Cécile laughed. “How did your work in the Republic go?”
“Very well. I have experience dealing with catastrophes. I have seen enough Scourged cities to last me for the rest of my life though. We did get camps set up and the railroad operating again. The canal will be a bigger problem, but that one is not mine, fortunately.”

“As you have seen, construction moves forward apace and the folk have moved in. the craftspeople and merchants are restored and we have had a peaceful year.”

“That is good. The Conclave is ongoing, but at least no one is asking for my assistance this year.”

“Your daughter is here and your sons are as well, so no, I imagine not.”

“Last year it was transporting nightflowers for my mistresses.”
“That must have been a task.”

“They connived with my daughter and got her involved, so I was stuck with it. Fortunately we had some old books to guide us and the presentation was a success with me and Wiz helping.”

“You seem to like the Ravathyra more than I would expect.”
“Some I loathed for a very long time. The one I truly hated is gone. Melaris is still a jackass of monumental proportions but I ignore him. Erlan has actually been a good Chancellor, even if he was surprised by an army dropping in the middle of the Empty Lands. Of course, so was I. As for Tanyl, I have never had a problem with him and Young Rolin is as fae as my bunch. For the most part it is Tinesi and Nueleth who keep the House from total collapse and they and Nueleth’s stepchildren are the folk that I deal with. Helping Ynaselle and Rainshower wasn’t that big a deal.”

“Those girls do not sound as if they are high elves.”
“I’m not going to say. The good news is that Lady Tinesi and Tanyl are expecting.”

Cécile laughed “More landdragons to eat you into poverty.”

“Then I must get to work, your majesty.”    

Windegar Aerie.

Resod looked at the row of students and grinned. Jimmy had done even better through the course than he had expected when Resod had sent him through as a demonstration. “I see that some of you are back for a refresher. I must speak to your superiors about that and maybe going rougher on you. Jimmy, you disappointed your friends. They didn’t manage to hit you even once, and you haven’t been with them for moons. Of course that makes them look bad. You also made the maggots think that the boys are going to go easy on them, the poor things.

“On the other hand, somebody sent me a present and it isn’t even close to Winterfaire. I haven’t had a genuine Naval Academy graduate submit to my ministrations for some time. I was going to have a dragon go first, but since I have a perfect example, I will take advantage. So, college boy, you go first and prove that you are not a maggot and that the Republic didn’t waste all that money they spent on you. Now get moving!”

At the end of a grueling day, Roger looked at the clean Bill and Alre and said, “How did you manage that?”

Alre grinned and said, “I was a lowlander going to Beltain. Learning to dodge things coming at you becomes second nature.”

“How did you manage, Bill?”

“I spent two years being chased by boyfriends trying to dunk me and my sister and her friends trying to trap me and drag me under. Then there were my friends at school, let alone my enemies.”

“I thought that being on the Bladder ball team would help. Now I know why Tim is such a good tosser.”

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