Zeta Tucanae – Bad Business and Drowning Angels

“There are drowning angels at the bottom of every one of these glasses, friend, and if I rescue them all,  perhaps they will make me a saint.” – CMDR Deuil Furieux

Ettiene Furieux pored over the data on the holographic displays embedded into a desk, in a room deep below the confines of Furieux House on Darwyn. The lower levels of the building were dedicated to the day to day running of the business, both legal and otherwise. The bulk of central operations were done from an orbital station, but Ettiene preferred to work on the surface with a few select employees.   The extraction company had been running for one hundred and six standard years and had stayed afloat through many market fluctuations, seen profits rise and fall but it nonetheless remained as a family run corporation. Most system-wide businesses in systems across the galaxy suffered at the hands of the larger conglomerates and political parties bent on dominating the economies and governmental affairs of the local population and Ettiene’s company, like all the other smaller businesses such as the important Federal munitions group, BlastAll Incorporated, sheltered under the umbrella of the big players. Thirty years ago Furieux Extraction had become a subsidiary of Zeta Tucanae Legal Ltd, one of the most influential groups in the system.  They were the  current party in control of the sector and also the administrators of the largest and most successful station, Elswick. Ettiene had hoped that by operating as an arm of the large interstellar corporation, Furieux Extraction would grow as new assets both home and abroad were acquired.  In the grand scheme of things, Zeta Tucanae was a relatively poor system, its main source of income based around the pulling out and refining of the waning supply of minerals deep beneath the surface of the five closest planets to the sun, a four million year old class F star. The fifth planet, Furths, was blessed with the most abundant supply of raw metals yet it remained the property of of rival company, the Justice Party of Zeta Tucanae, who based themselves on Velidhu Dream, the other large Coriolis station in the system.  While Legal Ltd were federally backed by the office of Felicia Winters as one of the main suppliers of armaments to the Federal fleet, the Justice Party were a homegrown and independent bunch who fought to keep Zeta Tucanae and its wealth locally governed. Thirty years later, Velidhu was still under their control, and the Justice Party had very recently seen a major upturn in political influence. Things were happening in Zeta Tucanae and Ettiene Furieux had no idea why. He was certain of one thing though; it was not looking good for Zeta Tucanae Legal Ltd and in turn, the bottom line of Furieux Extraction was gradually following suit.

Ettiene scowled at the data and closed it down, bringing up the Galnet listings. He was almost afraid to look. Over the last few weeks, profits from  ZTLL companies had dropped nearly thirty four percent while their rivals were rising exponentially. He didn’t care too much about the financial situations of other ancillary organisations under their wing, but their success – or failure – profoundly affected the standing of the corporation. The Justice Party had risen to take the majority of the market share, something that could not be permitted to happen.

He sighed deeply and poured himself a mug of Azebanian coffee. He wasn’t an old man by modern standards, just two days over eighty nine, the crows feet beneath his eyes the only sign of age that had not been modified through cosmetic surgery. He believed it gave him a look of wisdom.  Today though he felt his years, and really wanted to disconnect, wishing that he could switch off the implants embedded in his skull that granted him access to all data networks, both public and  private business channels every second of every day. Installed communication software was also present, an important asset to any CEO who may need to be contacted by staff anywhere, anytime. There was rarely any good news, only different degrees of bad, but Ettiene had grown used to being buzzed by his employees with some new event that had occurred across the estate. Just another day at the office.  It hadn’t escaped his attention that his daughter, Anais, had not checked in for over a month. Not only family, she was also the vice president of finance for the company and one of his most valued employees, a real boon to the business. Her choice not to receive an implant similar to his own had been a bone of contention between them for years; Anais Furieux liked her privacy and no amount of persuasion could convince her to agree to it. It did mean that Ettiene had no knowledge of her whereabouts outside of normal communications or good old fashioned word of mouth. All he knew was that she had left Zeta Tucanae in search of that wastrel, Deuil, borne from some sort of misguided sibling loyalty.  Galnet public records suggested that she last docked in the system of Caerus, which he only discovered from an entry made after she paid a fine for a minor star port infraction. Her talents were missed and no other Furieux Extraction employee had the gifts or abilities to replace her. The fact that she had left in order to find her disenchanted ‘brother’ annoyed and irritated him. Deuil had been nothing but a source of vexation since the day he was born. Ettiene had given up trying to set him on the right path to no avail,  and by Deuil finally bringing both the family business – and name – into disrepute after some drug trafficking related offence , Ettiene had all but disowned him. As far as he was concerned, Deuil Furieux was no longer a member of the family.

An incoming communication alert sounded in Ettiene’s ear. He drew himself from out of his thoughts and answered the hail.

“Furieux” he said, leaning back into a chair.

“Good evening, sir,” the voice was confident, businesslike. “Foxwell here. I hope I am not disturbing you but there is some news you may wish to be party to.”

Carter Foxwell was the head of intelligence, and brilliant at his job. He was one of the best paid employees within Furieux Extraction and worth every credit. What Carter didn’t know about people or organizations throughout the sector – and nearby systems – was generally not worth knowing about. The man had access to nearly all rival private networks and as such, was probably the most important person in the entire group besides Ettiene himself. Information in this day and age is a commodity far more important than gold, and  Foxwell was a veritable data mine.

“Go on, Carter. I’m listening. I’ve just logged out of Galnet and my day cant get any worse.”

“Well this new information is good news, as it happens. At least in a personal sense. We believe your daughter may have returned to Zeta Tucanae. A ship bearing her registration details was observed docking at Velidhu Dream several days ago. Docking Bay Control confirm that a passenger vessel, a Saud Kruger Orca, is currently being serviced in hangar twenty-five. It’s a little beat up and looks as if it has been places. We haven’t had a chance to remotely check the on board flight logs as of yet, but there is one other particularly strange report relating to the craft.”

“An Orca? Are you sure the information is correct? Why would she be flying a Saud Kruger? Who even flies those things besides tour operators and rock stars?”

“Well, your son does, apparently. The ships last owner was a Commander Deuil Furieux. We can only assume that Anais did what she set out to do and found her brother.”

“Noted. Thanks Carter, let me know if you discover anything else. I’ll prepare a ship for transit to Velidhu at first light. There is something odd about this and if Deuil is involved, things could get… interesting. We already know the damage he and his comrades have caused to various Federal assets and interests since the Dragon Squadron were formed, and the last thing we need is his kind in Zeta Tucanae. I doubt Anais has anything to do with this group, but we need to ascertain what is going on.”

“Of course sir, I’ll be in touch. Foxwell out.”

Ettiene closed the comm link, took a sip of cold coffee and contemplatively stared into space. He was happy  that Anais had come home, but annoyed that she was stupid enough to bring Deuil with her. He had proven himself to be particularly dangerous, not in any singular sense; he was normally too drunk to do anything important on his own, but as a catalyst for change, he had a knack for motivating people, something that Ettiene had overlooked. His ‘estranged son’ had left Zeta Tucanae a worthless good-for-nothing laggard and actually found a purpose out in the galaxy. Now that it appeared he may have come back and his intentions were unclear, Ettiene began to consider that Deuil may be working for a rival company, possibly one within Zeta Tucanae borders.  His inherent dislike of all Federal ideologies and principles was no secret. It was not beyond the bounds of possibility that he may have been recruited by an enemy faction. An investigation was required. Ettiene smelled trouble, and it indubitably stank of expensive gin and the clinging stench of cheap perfume.

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