“Lehnair? Are you there?”
“Of course. Please come in.”
“I suppose you’ve heard about our ‘restructuring’ by now?”
“As I understand it, all of us Directors are to be laid off in favor of a sole individual who’ll run the entire company. Apparently, someone had a long talk with the Universal Governing Organization Over Business and Economic Reformation, and convinced them that we’re all incompetent!”
“Aren’t you worried? Oh, I suppose you’re not, are you? You’re the only Director without a family aren’t… I, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way.”
“Sure you did.”
“No, really, I apologize. This whole thing has just got me stressed a lot more than what I’m used to.”
“Personally, I’m fine with it.”
“What?! How? How could you possibly be fine with it? I heard the new Boss is even going to change the name of the company! To something like IBMB, IBB, or something.”
“The Intergalactic Business of Making Business.”
“Right! Exactly! Who would come up with such a ridiculous name?”
“And as the new Boss over IBoMB, I would ask that you remove yourself from my office and vacate the premises immediately… before something worse happens to you.”
Lehnair sat at his new desk, fiddling with the crystals and the shiny black device. Being a Director is fine and all, especially when you get to oversee the use of the newest and largest cheap labor force in the history of the MEFIRST Corporation, or now, IBoMB. Being the Boss was even better, even though it was proving to be more boring than he had anticipated.
Some of the crystals simply didn’t make sense, and Lehnair was becoming frustrated in his attempts to fully activate the Metaparlance Decipherer. He’d move the last crystal into place, thinking he’d figured it out, but the device would remain silent and he’d have to start over yet again. He’d reach up with one of his small arms and rub the back of his neck as the frustration crawled up through his head and ended behind his eye.
“Glibs!” Lehnair shouted.
A small, green-skinned MorgangEtter came trotting into the room.
“I need to solve this,” Lehnair snapped, pointing to the crystals.
“Of course sir, we’ve had our corporate scientists trying for days.”
Lehnair scowled, “then they’re not trying hard enough. Haven’t they been working extra hours?”
“Sir, they’re working over the normal…”
“Then work them some more!”
“But they have families they’ll want to go home to at the…”
“What? Why does everyone worry so much about families around here? That’s all I ever hear about! We hire them to work, not to raise children! Tell them to forget their families unless they want them to starve.”
“Sir, you can’t be serious.”
“Glibs! If you ever…”
“Yes sir, right away sir. I’ll tell them. However…”
“May I once again suggest sending the device to Mr. Gholab?”
“What could he possibly know that our scientists don’t already?”
“Our researchers say that he’s the foremost authority on ancient sciences, and that he could possibly…”
“No! I’m not letting it out of my sight.”
“Sir, begging your pardon, but I could have our own people deliver it by hand. It would be safe that way.”
Lehnair stared down at the puzzle. His eye could barely focus on it any longer.
“Sir, I’d have it delivered by the same purple-skins that deliver the Earthling’s paper.”
Lehnair remained silent, keeping his eyes on the device.
“Sir, some Earthlings can go crazy when they see the colored paper. Our deliverers have proven time and time again that they can protect their cargo.”
“So long as it’s delivered by the paper couriers.”
Lehnair hesitantly put the device and crystals into one of his red envelopes, sealed it, and hesitantly, handed it to the green-skin. “If you lose this…”
“Yes sir. I understand.” Glibs began walking, backwards, out of the room, bowing towards Lehnair as he did so.
“Have the scientists finished their secondary project yet?” He spoke before Glibs could get out of the room.
“They’re very close sir. It will require the Time Crystal when we get it, and the rest of the set back, from Mr. Gholab.”
“Understood,” Lehnair spoke as Glibs exited the room.
Lehnair looked further down, examining a single crystal he was still fingering in his lower-right hand under the desk.
…on to Chapter 15 To Save a Planet