INT – Day – Officers mess
Helton, Lag, and Trask sit at the table.
Trask: I can’t just get dumped at the refugee center. WE can’t.
Helton: Right now we have a bunch of people who need to be ferried out of a war zone, and we think we are likely to get shot at, too. THIS isn’t the safest place either!
Trask: You don’t understand. If we get put there, we’ll likely get robbed, or worse!
Lag: That’s a risk for everyone, ANY refugee.
Trask: But most people don’t have what we have.
Helton: That’s right, most of them have already lost almost everything. What HAVE you got?
Trask: I was here wrapping up a deal, and the normal courier got killed, and… Those boxes…
Trask looks like he’s weighing his options on how much to say. After a brief internal argument plays across his face, he explains.
Trask: The proceeds from the deal. Four hundred million in cash, bearer bonds, metals deposit contracts, and electronic transfer cards. Nothing small enough to be useful in a refugee camp, but big enough to make us targets. If anyone else finds out-
Lag: Considering the typical corruption in the security at refuge centers, that’s likely. That’s enough to get a LOT of people killed in riots.
Helton: Whhooooeeee… that’s a LOT to think about.
Trask: Obviously I can pay you to stay aboard.
Lag: So… why tell US this? Why not make up an easy lie?
Trask: … Lag-how did you know? About the Throwdart accounting problem?
Lag: You told ME you had one.
Trask: I said we had a problem, but I was going to figure it out- I didn’t know the details. YOU said it was two and a quarter percent, and that is EXACTLY what it turned out to be.
Lag: (with a wry smile) I wondered if you’d catch that.
Trask: What did you have to do with it?
Lag: What’d you find out?
Trask: No-one wanted to talk. Vague references to a series of accidents, and 11 union and 11 company managers died, but it was like pulling teeth to get even that.
Lag: How likely is it that eleven union leaders, AND eleven top local managers, both of which were known for increasingly thuggish and murderous tactics and pig-headedness, would all manage to die in a dozen remarkably unlikely accidents within minutes of one another, accidents that did NOT kill any bystanders or family?
Lag: (matter-of-factly) -settle disputes. (then, with exaggerated casualness) I hear the newly appointed company managers and elected union reps suddenly saw their situation with GREAT clarity. They promptly signed a contract that addressed some legitimate pay and working condition concerns, AND didn’t bankrupt the company. Of course the fatal accidents were tragic and of course UTTERLY freak and unpredictable, but they DID happen to move the negotiations along nicely. Some suspect a grieving widow of a murdered miner might have sought outside council, or perhaps hired a… trouble-shooter. Two and a quarter percent of refined product for five years I would guess might be a reasonable fee for such a … negotiation.
Helton: Holy crap.
Trask: … So, can we stay aboard?
Helton: We can’t really stop anywhere safe to drop you off while we are on this contract, but we can stick you someplace safe as long as we ARE flying. How about you pay us what you think it was worth when it’s over? Fair?
Trask: More than fair! THANK you, THANK YOU!
Helton: Don’t thank us yet – we still have a half-dozen trips with people shooting at us.
Trask: People are shooting at you?
Lag: You got hit by ground fire, didn’t you?
Trask: Well, yes, but-
Cooper: (OC) Helton to bridge – we are approaching the center.
Helton: Gotta go. Your wife can move into John and Julia’s cabin for a bit. You OK to help out? This is an all-hands drill.
Trask: Yes, I’ll see what I can do.
Lag: OK, then. Back to herding the homeless.
Fade to black