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Pasha, an Avatar story.

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A break from the nasty now, there will be more later, but for now, not so much .....

Also a break form Na'vi, this too is temporary.

Spoiler: Bad news.This was an unremarkable apartment, in an unremarkable apartment block. But then it was an unremarkable part of an unremarkable city too. There was a knock at the door.
A moment later, locks and security chains rattled and clanked. The door opened a fraction.
"Can I help you?"
There were two men in suits and raincoats at the door as Elena answered it, they both looked awkward, or maybe embarrassed, or maybe both. And wet, it was raining fairly heavy outside.
"Are you miss Elena Sulivan?"
"Err, oh, err, yes, Suliman, sorry, hand writing's lousy, sorry about that."
"No, I'm not. I was before I got married."
"Ah, well, can we come in?"
"It's not really convenient."
"Err, oh. I, that is to say we, we really think it might be better if we did?"
"Yes, that's right, inside would definitely be, err, better. Than outside. Here."
"I really didn't plan on doing this in a corridor."
"Well, sorry to disappoint you."
"Oh, err, well, then, Err, as you know, your brother ..... "
"Step brother."
"Your step brother, Gilles, as a member of the RDA Outreach Program, to explore our nearest habitable galactic neighbor, Alfa ..... "
"Yeah, so he's dead, I know."
"It's on the news.
"They weren't going to release names, until families had been contacted?"
"Whole entire landing party, died during assent to orbit. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to work it out, does it?"
"Err, err, well, err no, err, I guess, I guess not."
"First humans to set foot on an exo-planet ..... "
"Whatever, first humans on a world outside out solar system, the first humans to meet real live actual aliens ..... and ..... no survivors."
"The note."
"Oh yes. Your, err, Gilles, had a hand written note." said the slightly taller of the two men, he rummaged in his inside pocket for a moment before producing it "On one side, it says 'Tell my family my last thoughts are with them, tell them I love them.' "
"Yeah, that sounds like Gilles."
"On the other side, is something more cryptic. We were wondering ..... 'They are people, they have ..... ' and I'm afraid we can't decipher the last word."
"Err, looks like 'Linguini' to me."
"Err, yeah, that's what we thought it looked like too. Does it mean anything to you?"
"No, sorry, not a thing."
"Ah, err, well, maybe the last line? 'They have nothing' ?"
"Nope, doesn't mean anything either."
"He used three exclamation points, and underlined the zero three times."
"So I see."
"Could the number three be in any way significant?"
"Look, I'm sorry, none of it means anything to me. I told him, if he went on that expedition, he'd come back in a box."
"They were extremely brave, they were all fully aware of the potential risks of the mission, and they still went. For the ..... "
"Look, I've heard all the brave heroics stuff already. So, spare me the speechifying."
"Oh, sorry."
Elena held up the note.
"Would it be alright if I keep this?"
"Oh, of course, yes."
"Is there anything else?"
"Well, the entire team send their deepest sympathy in this time of, err, well ..... "
"And if there is anything we can do, you have only to call the local RDA offices, they'll connect you, just tell them who you are. You can call them any time, eight till six, monday to friday."
"Although monday morning's usually pretty busy."
"Err, yeah, good point, monday morning's ain't that great. To be honest."
"Friday afternoon's not too wonderful either, especially after round about four thirty."
"Yeah, that's quite true. But otherwise."
"Yeah, otherwise."
"Well, thank you. And, well, thank you. Err, nice to have met you both, and, umm, goodbye."
"Err, yeah, goodbye, Nice to have met you too."
"Yeah, yeah, nice to have, err, to have met you. Goodbye."
The door closed.
"Sorry for your loss."
"Actually, all things considered, I thought that went pretty badly."
"Mmm, definitely more badly than I was expecting."
"So ..... back to the office?"
"I guess."

"Ladies and Gentlemen ..... " Warren, tapping his glass with a spoon " ..... we stand on the brink of a new era, not only an all new, state of art facility, in an all new, reasonably contemporary campus."
There were a few minor giggles at that, the new site was more than a decade later than had been originally intended. Warren gazed around the room, his new staff stood at the heart of their new work place, it was part high-end research unit, part building site. Only this lab was ready, and most all of the equipment was still it it's packaging.
"We stand on the brink of a new era of research, yes the ISV Gavesha is now most of the way back to Alpha Centauri. Yes most of the other samples have already been distributed to labs around the globe, and beyond, and are, in some cases, already benefiting mankind. Yes the lab is still not quite ready for us to fully move into ..... "
"Still." said a somewhat bored member of the audience
There were more than a few sniggers at this observation.
" ..... and yes, obviously we have been let down at short notice by our vivarium supply partner. But, well, it may be late, it maybe a bit ragged, crumbly even, but this is a brink none the less."
There was more sniggering.
"Yes, thank you Candice."
"I see the hand rails still haven't been delivered, so we can't go outside and enjoy the balcony."
"Actually they have been delivered, and returned, they didn't fit."
"Now, where was I?"
"On building site, with vitally important laboratory equipment not just not here, but now no longer coming?"
"Well, I admit, there is that. Anyway, forty years ago, it was one mans vision to bring the many museums and research units from across London, and many others from around the country, and unite them under one roof, to ..... "
"Free up land for developers."
" ..... Well ..... "
" ...... there is that, but it has meant ..... "
" ..... Would you mind letting me continue?"
"If you must."
"Thank you, so anyway."
"Bzzz, repetition of the word 'anyway'."
"Look ..... "
"No, you look ..... "
" ..... I understand why you may not be happy at what's transpired, but ..... "
"Not happy? Not ..... happy? You are aware, that until you were appointed, I was going to be running this lab, now I'm number three in my own damn laboratory! I didn't shut up shop in Edinburgh and traipse all the way down the smoke, with all my staff, our materials, our experience and our expertise. Just so I could suck up to some pen pusher with a Thora Hird in painting and decorating!"
"My degree was in interior design, and there's a lot more to it than just paint and 'decoration'."
"You still got a third."
"It's a highly demanding course."
There was more sniggering, he was the only person in the room who didn't have at least one PHD.
"I'm sure it was. I notice your sidekick ..... "
"Personal assistant."
" ..... Please, don't interrupt, your sidekick has failed to put in an appearance. So, where as every single member of my team is here to listen to this trite, your team is, where exactly?"
"My personal assistant is unavoidably detained with other matters."
"Oh, so he's not, oh I don't know, currently in hospital, having maybe taken a minor drugs overdose, in the wee small hours this morning?"
Warren blushed bright red.
"Err, well, I, I, I, Err, I ..... "
"So, you did know. My lab has a policy for that, instant dismissal. Can we assume that you will be adhering to a similar standard?"
"Until we know the exact circumstances of the alleged incident, it would not be prudent, at this juncture ..... "
"So that's a 'no' then, is it?"
" ...... Well ..... "
"Do you really think that's appropriate behavior for a middle ranking executive?"
There was a sharp intake of breath.
"I'd choose your next words very carefully mister."
"He's only a junior executive."
"So I'm just a flunky, am I?" there was a dangerous edge to Candice's voice.
"Err, well, no, no, not a flunky, certainly not!"
"But subordinate to a junior executive now?"
"Look, I don't make up the rules."
"I'd get on the phone, chum, coz unless there's a pretty major change of tune, pronto, we won't be working together."
There was clear and unanimous agreement from the rest of the audience.
"No? Well, I guess we're leaving then. Come on team, we're off."
"OK, OK, OK, I'll see what I can do, but I'm in no position to make any promises, I don't call the shots, this is all in the hands of the RDA."
"Ah, now we're getting somewhere, this is an RDA grab, is it? Coz last time I checked, I worked for the Ahisamach group, which is separate."
"Talks are on going, but Ahisamach is set to become part of the RDA."
"That's not what I've heard."
"Really, and just who have you heard that from?"
"Assistant to the Chairman of the board at Ahisamach group. James is an old school friend, sent apologies that he couldn't come see me in person."
"And when was that, exactly?"
"Yesterday evening, around eight pm."
"You really should try and keep up with current affairs. Especially when it affects your employment situation." Candice, pointedly "I think we've heard enough. Pub anyone?"
Candice walked out, followed by the rest of the staff. Only Warren remained, alone on the building site.

Edit:- Spelling!

Good, next part :D

Read right now. Again, very good writing :D

Another piece, this one is similar to the last.

Spoiler: Laboratory set upIt was a month later, the laboratory had been completed, building work, clean up, benches, desks, chairs, and an impressive array of assorted equipment. There was even a high voltage traveling arc.
Warren arrived good and early, determined to be at the lab first, it was 06:15, he'd have maybe half an hour to an hour before anyone else turned up. He was looking forward to setting things out as he liked them. He had a good feeling about the coming day, it would be his turn to shine, or at least stamp his authority on things. He stepped into the office, and blinked.
"Ah, Warren! So nice of you to join us! Your mail's on your desk, you have a meeting timetabled for 07:00, security, then another at 07:20, site facilities, another at 07:55 admin. There's a truck with your own personal office furniture due at 08:40, and porters will be at your disposal from 08:40 to 09:00, I impressed upon the transport firm that the delivery window was tight. 09:00, you have a formal site induction, then fire marshal training until 13:00. 13:30 you have a crash course in lab procedures, spill containment, clean up and related admin, that kinda stuff mainly It's timetabled to finish around 17:45, but don't be surprised if it over runs. Oh, and your agency called, they'd appreciate a call, at your earliest convenience."
"We need to talk ..... "
"Excuse me, I have to take this." Candice tapped her ear lobe "Xenobiology, professor Forson here ..... I see ...... No, we'll be right down ..... See you in three." she turned back to Warren "I'm so sorry Warren, that talk'll have to wait." She turned to the rest of the team "Our stuff's here, and Logistics need their loading dock clear, soon as."
The lab emptied, leaving Warren alone. This wasn't how it was meant to go.
"What the hell happened?" he wondered aloud.
There was a knock at the door.
"Mulley?" said a head, ducking round the partially opened door.
"Warren Mulley."
"A word."
"You're RDA."
"Your position just became rather more tenuous."
"There's been an RDA senior share holder meeting, the BM is now to have greater autonomy than had recently been envisioned. Tread carefully."
"Ah, complicates things."
"Cross your fingers, this may yet blow over."
"Err, yeah, thanks for the heads up."
"Your welcome. Good day."
"Oh, err, good day."
Warren, alone again, trudged over to desk, and looked at his mail. There were a number of packages, he recognized a few as things he'd ordered, but some he didn't. There were some executive desk toys, an in tray, an out tray, a rather nice antique stapler, which he hadn't yet managed to track down any staples for, at least not at prices he was prepared to pay. He looked at them, and wondered how long before he'd have to pack them up again.
Candice Forson returned, along with her team. He had expected them to be his team, but that had gone out of the window. His best brash executive act, had won him no friends among them, far from it. Time for a fresh approach.
"Look Candice, I fear we may have got off on the wrong foot."
"Perfect assessment. exactly how long did it take to figure that out? To, say, the nearest month?"
"Err, well ..... "
"Well, thank you for the chat, but you'll have to excuse me, we are kinda busy, Xenobiology unit business."
" ..... as part of that unit ..... "
"Oh yes, so you are, you can help carry then." Candice made for the door.
" ..... Ah, yes, well ..... "
Candice hesitated by the door, holding it for two of colleagues, carrying a large, dark colored wooden chest. It looked antique, and probably valuable.
"If you should, perchance, wish to get back on the right foot, might I suggest you start by giving a hand. At least until 07:00."
Warren watched them carry it in, and off into one of the other rooms that lead off from this one.
"What? Oh, right. Err, what was oh seven err, a m?"
"Sweet jeez. Security, they'll give you a permanent ID ..... " Candice held up hers " ..... they'll make sure you have access to all those places you are cleared to go."
"And not those places you aren't."
"Precisely, thank you Jean."
"Oh, OK. So what's with the trunk?"
"Sorry, does it not fit sufficiently well with the over all aesthetic, to your satisfaction?"
Warren gave her a look, he seemed somewhat annoyed by that remark.
"It's cedar, keeps out the clothes moth."
"And that's relevant, for why?"
"After exhaustive testing, we found that wool gave the best results as a medium for developing larvae, and, of which, we're going to require great deal. As the Pandoran Specimen Humanoid is going to be dependent on them for food. It's their primary caloric staple."
"Their what?"
"Caloric staple, it's what they rely on as food. It's what they eat."
"Then why didn't you say that?"
"I did. Look, I'm sorry, as a team, we are all going to have to adjust, it's just a bit of a culture shock. You see, none of us has much experience in thinking down to your level."
"I have a BA."
"You have a Thora, I have three PHD's. Hmm, there's something we have in common, both our qualifications involve threes."
Warren sighed deeply.
"If I'm honest, it should have been a second, but one of my lecturers 'mislaid' one of my major assignments. Three months work, just gone. Of course, I was allowed to resubmit it, under the circumstances they were willing to wave the usual late submission penalty, but with two days of the course left to run, and a other last minute bits still needing completion, it was pointless to even look at it. I could have cried. To be honest, I was genuinely surprised I didn't fail the whole course. Just coz of Mr Firth loosing all my work. I know I was never going to get a first, but I should've had a second."
"You didn't have a minor subject then."
"Interior design was my minor."
"Oh. So failed ..... "
"Didn't get the chance to." Warren interrupted "History of Art was my major, course only just had enough students to run. Two dropped out at the end of the first year, so it was in jeopardy right there. Then, near the end of the second year, one of the other students falls out of a twelfth story window, probably suicide. Our course organizer had a breakdown over it, they were close, bit unprofessional, actually. So they pulled the plug, we got a partial refund, and that was that for History of Art. I was on track for a second, or if I'd puled my finger out, I might have scraped a first. Just. Up till then, I'd kinda let Interior Design slide, I was very much focused on History of Art, it was my good subject, the one I actually wanted to do. So I had a lot of catching up to do. Firth's contribution, I could've done without that."
"I had no idea."
"No, well, I don't bang on about it."
"Changing the subject, all that lot's needed inside, the boxes with blue tape aren't too heavy, and are only semi fragile, bung 'em by the balcony window, would you?"
"Huh, oh, OK. What are they?"
"Hydroponic gear, mainly, plus a whole range of horticultural accoutrements."
"Yeah, they're in the big box with all the crosses on it."
"And the significance of the crosses?"
"Not a clue, these boxes are all reused, that box had the crosses on already, Jean's idea to use pre-marked boxes for specific items."
"One of the smarter ones, eh?"
"Jean has five doctorates. Oh, and an IQ higher than Einstein, so yeah, she's one of the smart ones."
"I see. I guess you were lucky to get her then."
"Kidding right? The very top percentile of the crème de la crème have been fighting like possessed demons, just for an interview. This team isn't just brilliant and dedicated, each one has been hand picked by me, and has shown me something even more special to stand out from the crowd, just to get an initial foot in the door and the six month trial, and even then they've had to really shine to get on the permanent team. You know, there's not a single person in this department with an IQ less than one hundred thirty. Except you of course."
"Also, I've lucky enough to borrow an engineer now and then, to help with some of the specialist equipment, his help with the IDGS equipment has been invaluable ….. "
"Interglobal Dissimilar Genetic Splicing. I'd like him on my team, but if I'm onset, there really isn't the work here to keep him fully occupied."
"So, what does he do for a day job?"
"Well, officially I don't know anything. He can't talk about any of it, pretty much everything he's involved in is heavily classified, black and deep black projects mostly. I have my suspicions what he's involved with though."
"Care to share?"
"I think that might be a mistake."
"Heavy duty stuff then."
"The heaviest of heavy duty, and that's as much as I'm willing to say on the matter. Boxes?"
"Oh, right."
Warren grabbed a box, Candice took a particularly large box. Judging by the way she handled it, it didn't seem too heavy, but she handled it with the upmost care.
"I take it he's Ahasimach? As opposed to RDA, if he's borrowable by you?"
"No comment."
"OK, change of subject, how did you get a lab with a balcony? I've seen the plans for this tower, you're penciled in for up near the penthouse. This was going to be a restaurant and refreshment outlets, with the balcony set to be a viewing deck for the public."
"Actually, that isn't changing the subject, that engineer i mentioned? He said he'd like us to be here, so he could enjoy the balcony while he was working here."
"Yeah, right, no one's got that much influence."
"Stan has, what Stan wants, Stan gets. Not bad for someone who started out working on artificial limbs."
"Not much call those these days, not since they cracked how to seamlessly attach cultured replacements."
"Yeah, kind of did himself out of a job there. Well, up to a point."
"He was on the team that developed that?" Warren sounded impressed.
"He was the team. The engineering team, I understand there were some surgeons involved. He's not into that."
Warren was speechless.
"Are you going to just stand there holding that box all day? I'm sure I can get you job title changed if you like, to 'shelf'."
"Hmm? Oh, right."
Warren carefully placed the box next to the huge panoramic window, making sure it wasn't too close to the balcony doors.
"So, how'd you end up running the show?"
"Partly right place right time, I had the right qualifications and interests, so they offered me the lead."
"Being school friends with the assistant to the Chairman of the board at Ahisamach group's gotta help. John was it?
"Err, you mean James? And no, he's not the assistant, James is the Chairman of the board for the Ahisamach group."
"And you went to school with him?"
"I did."
"I read his profile, it was published a while back, if I recall, he went to some fancy, stupidly expensive flash private school in Switzerland. Reserved for the over privileged brats of the stinking rich. From what I understand."
"I went to the same school."
"Really? Fee's are supposed to eye watering, you need to be a king, a third world dictator, or a major league captain of industry to get your in kids there."
"Have you ever heard of the Thorat family?"
"Err, yeah, big in the RDA, between them must own at least five percent of the whole bang shoot."
"Mum's maiden name was Thorat. All us kids got sent to the Liebefeld Steinhölzli school, Köniz, Switzerland. Where I met James."
"Where did you go to school?"
"Local high school. The biggest thing I can say about it, it was the one closest to where we lived. I think that's just about everything it had going for it. It was a half assed high school for half assed students to get to get just enough education to live out no-hope dead-end lives."
"My dad was a senior executive at the family firm, he was in charge of the negotiations to form and merge with the Pan Global Reassure Development Agency. What did your dad do?"
"Factory worker, mom worked at the mall. What did your mom do?"
"Started out as an actress, got bored with that, and has dedicated the rest of her life to charity work."
A lot of boxes got moved before Warren spoke again.
"Might have a lead on a new vivarium."
"Bout bleedin' time."
"It's not just purchase and acquisition, there's ….. "
"A ton of red tape, the approved suppliers list that cannot be deviated from for a corporate acquisition, funding applications to central accounts, auditing, yeah, I know. I've had an inside track on all that since I was kid."
"I guess you didn't want for much growing up."
"A family life would have been nice, parents who would read us a bed time story, apply a band aid when I fell of my pony, forbid me to go out 'looking like that' when I was eleven. Parents who were there, parents who gave a damn, or even noticed us even a little bit. No, family life was something that happened a couple of days over Christmas, and when ever they wanted to show the world we were really just a normal family. We weren't, it was all for show, including Christmas. After lunch there were gifts to unwrap, by the time we were finished usually both mom and dad would've had 'important calls they couldn't not take'."
"Did you go out 'looking like that' when you were ….. "
" ….. eleven?"
"Sure did."
"Oh, err, umm."
"I was bored. I'd had eleven years of being bored"
"So, my parents were always at each others throats, one blazing row would blend seamlessly into the next, they only stopped when they were out at work."
"Couple of years back, my brother and I sat down and worked out that in forty years of marriage, my parents have spent less than ten thousand hours in the same building, less than seven thousand in the same room, less than three thousand hours in the same room directly interacting with each other, and little more than a thousand hours together in the same same room with no one else present. Of those, we estimated that something like two thirds would have been spent sleeping."
"That's awful."
"Yeah the toys were great, but there was no love, literally none. They worked together well. Which sums it up really, a business partnership with kids. Dad could name every member of the board, their wives, husbands, significant others, most of their mistresses too, and knew all of their kids names."
"That's pretty impressive, as it goes."
"Yet he struggled to remember our names, which I think rather eloquently highlights his priorities."
"We got dragged to interminable conferences and assorted other functions. I used to think we were just accessories, but now I've seen it for what it was, all us bored as hell kids would hang out and do stuff together, out of sheer boredom most of the time, now the whole gang of us have some of the closest business relationships out there. Mom and dad are nothing if not hard nosed cynical business people. Which I think is why being an actress bored mom senseless. So, any idea when we might take delivery of this vivarium?"
"I know, it's holding up research."
"It's a double edged sword, it's afforded us the time to finesse a Pandoroactive analgesia. And real sheep's wool's been a real pain to source, especially in the quantities we require."
"They're provisionally talking about another three weeks."
"Provisionally, I've tried to get some clarity."
"Unsuccessfully by the sound of it."
"Mmm, I've tried to get them to understand that we're a flagship research project, but ….. well …. "
"It's zero six fifty four."
"Meeting, with security?"
"Oh, right, yeah. Err, do you know where, exactly?"
"They've set up temporarily by the main doors on the south side."
"Well, I guess I'll see you later."
"Good luck."
"Thanks, I think."

Txantsan! :D :D I will read tomorrow :)


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