When they were both seated, with steaming mugs of coffee in their hands, Arlana began.
“Well, things have moved on very nicely back in the Chargas canyon. We managed to get crews together for the other crawlers, properly vetted of course, and I sent one off to mine the radioactives that we found before our little adventure. That is coming on nicely, and we should have the results back here in the next couple of days. The other two crawlers were searching Chargas canyon for the mineral deposit the Dakaar were after, with the help of Salthar Eneshi……and we’ve found it ! The Duneraiders have known about these shining rocks for centuries, and were able to show us where they were. There is a huge seam of iridium and platinum exposed in a small side valley. We’ve negotiated with Salthar Eneshi over extraction rights because, although we have a permit from the planetary authorities, the Dunerainders still contest this, and it makes it easier. We have agreed to help them with some wells, solar stills, and the like in return for their permission and help – they will provide guards and keep other tribes and off worlders away from our operation“.
Dirk managed to close his mouth and responded
“That’s fantastic news, congratulations. Can you process things in time to meet your financial obligations ?”.
“Yes, in fact, the first load came in this morning. Which brings me onto thank you’s. My father and I are really grateful for all your help, what with the attack on our new crawler, the bomb at our depot, and keeping Ms Etye safe during that business in the desert. I’m also aware the trauma that Ms Etye suffered, and glad for both our sakes we are not having to deal with some horrendous publicity about the death of a favourite Holo star. Therefore, I’ve arranged a little thank you gift. Ten tons of Iridium and 10 tons of Platinum from our first load will be delivered to the Lodestar Phoenix this afternoon. One ton of each is for Ms Etye as bonus or compensation, call it what you will. The rest is for you, so please take it with my father and my very great thanks”.
Dirk had to retrieve his chin from the floor once more.
“Thank you very much, unexpected, and not necessary, but very grateful received” Dirk managed to stammer.
A short while later, a still beaming Dirk was sat in a coffee shop using his hand comp to review the trades he’d found earlier. Mmmm he thought, I really want to take advantage of the price here for crystals, Petrochemicals, and Nickel, but funds won’t go that far. Mind you, his internal dialogue continued, the way today’s luck has been going, I could get a short term loan to cover the shortfall.
Back on the Lodestar Phoenix that evening, Dirk reflected on a job well done, he had managed to persuade Kellogue and Brown, the bulk haulers for whom Connel March worked and who had a local office to manage their substantial traffic in Enos ores, to grant him a short term loan of 100,000 Cr to buy Enos Spices. This should sell well enough in Cadalbog and enable Dirk to easily repay the loan and 10% interest. He also invested his own money in some Petrochemicals, and the ship bought some graphite and Nickel. Not a full hold, but definitely one that should turn a tidy profit in Cadalbolg.
Dirk had also talked to Ms Etye about Arlana’s gift, and their arrangements for the coming voyage. Dirk was in a good mood and told Ms Etye that he would not accept a fee for his bodyguard duties, nor would he accept payment for her high passage trip to Cadalbog. The rest of the evening passed pleasantly, with many a toast drunk to their good fortune and mutual acquantancies.
The following morning, with a sore head, Dirk oversaw the loading of the Lodestar Phoenix and ensured that final preperations for departure were made, they would be lifting off in the morning.