Chapter 16

(copyright 2017. all rights reserved)

chapter 15

“Mr. Volkhov, you have been a busy man,” said Eladio.

“Why, Director, whatever do you mean?” replied the disheveled Russian. Sam had rounded up a few of the bigger men on the station and cornered Volkhov after they secured Elana. He was still mussed from sleep, and from donning and removing his suit.

“I have statements from a number of people detailing your activity. You sent detailed information regarding a new strain of Pisum to Lukas Raveaux. He subsequently filed a patent for it, under the aegis of his company. You have kidnapped a member of our community and held her against her will. You put her life at risk by leaving her inside a breach area without a suit. And you murdered Robert Granger.”

Anatoly Volkhov stared across the desk at Eladio Ramirez. His eyes contracted: considering, calculating, measuring.

“Some bold claims, Director. And yet…. Surely you would not expect me to account for the actions of Administrator Raveax? And as to Elana, she came freely to me, seeking protection for fear you would accuse her of the murder you have now blamed on me. In the confusion of the false alarm you ordered, I merely forgot she was in my care.”

“You are, of course, free to deny this. But Earthside has been informed, and the other evidence we have collected compelled them. They put your fate in my hands. And, just in case you were unaware, Mr. Raveaux has been relieved of his position. He could not adequately account for his actions regarding the patent. The earliest investigations also have shown sums transferred to his personal accounts from Russian governmental offices. A clear violation of the stipulations of his position. “

“Intriguing. I suppose that I must place my case to you?”

“You may, but have little hope. I have learned from others about your habits. This was not the first patent you have stolen.”

“L.S.?” asked Volkhov.

“As always, you are well informed, Anatoly. Yes, he shared a number of interesting items. Among them threads to pull on to uncover your full, long-term relationship with ex-Administrator Raveaux.”

“How did you coerce him? I never found a lever.”

“Mr. Han? Well, he was reluctant at first, but I explained you were involved, and that I knew of his unauthorized communications to Earthside. I also pointed out that these actions would affect our self-sufficiency to the advantage of the Russians. He eventually came around. The Chinese are not best pleased with you, but have had no earlier opportunity to properly express it.”

“Heh. We and the Chinese. Always with our petty little wars. Too much history, I suppose. Did he tell you Granger had made promises to my little Lanie? Consideration for consideration? Her time with him for his support of her? No? Of course he did not. She is only a foolish Russian girl.”

“An interesting claim. I will see what others have to say about that.”

“So, what will be my fate?”

“I have decided that the issue will be tried by the laws where the crime was committed. Not everyone agrees, but Earthside has put the matter in my hands, and I am the Director. Fortunately for you, Britain has no death penalty. I am not sure what they will do so far as incarcerating you, but I expect you will be sent home as soon as possible. Though that might take quite some time.”

“I see. I must congratulate you, Director. I did not believe you had it in you.”

“It was not me only. Many of us here believe in what we do. We wish success, and will work toward that. Even if there are those who will not. And being Director, I have found one must be surrounded by good people to help in a crisis.”