Loaning to a Friend, Part 3

“Thank you, Mikami-san,” I said to the terminal. “I will keep you posted on events.”

I could check Raijincorp off the list. I was surprised Mikami had taken my call, to be honest. We hadn’t talked in years – since long before I became CH of Persephone. Apparently he still had fond memories of my father. Nepotism for the win.

It was going to take a lot of buy-in to pull this off. There were already half a dozen corps I could write off without even talking. Old rivals or just people I’d manage to piss off recently. Which was appearing to be the hallmark of my term as CH. You couldn’t say I wasn’t making an impact.

It had been five hours since Ace had first shown up at the warehouse door. Three more had trickled in, all using their alphabetic pseudonyms. Jet had shown them around. Fortunately, this place had been designed as a long-term development facility, so showers and other basic amenities were available. We had to peel the plastic off most of it, but it functioned.

I didn’t spend much time making smalltalk with the hackers. They didn’t trust me. I didn’t blame them. Besides, having a familiar relationship with me wasn’t going to help them one bit in the short term. I used Jet as my relay if I needed to communicate to them. Heh. Even in a situation like that, he was doing the job I’d hired him for.

“Progress, Hellard?” Dee asked. Was that impatience in her voice? She really was learning.

“Six shy of simple majority, Dee,” I replied. “Waiting on a callback from Edvard Thorson. I still have a reasonable list. We might actually do this.”

“I hope so,” Dee said. “I also want to add that I very much appreciate the risk you are taking.”

I smiled. “I’m thinking of it as an investment. Both in the potential of the future and in the area of getting my ass out of the fire.”

“Still. I know there were other ways you could have gone to save yourself trouble. I will see that you don’t regret it.”

“Oh, there’s no stopping that at this point,” I said. “But I’m hoping it’s worth a few sleepless nights and a few years of therapy.”

With that, I put a call in to Arestech. A few key phrases and I was into a directly line to the CH.

“Good afternoon, Miss MacKinnon. I have a rather urgent proposal I wanted to run by you…”