Mail and Banking
watched the Carrier take off and checked his pocket watch with a frown
before turning to Buck, he tended to use his watch more than the time
function of his Battle-net as it was one of the few things he had left
given to him by Sarah, it had been a first anniversary present so he
could keep time until they could afford the upgrade to his Battle-net,
the upgrade would add the DisPater clock and calendar to run tandem
with the Terran standard one that came with all Comp-nets as she had
been sick of him running late for things. It has been a great
present and a beautiful one even if not that expensive as such pocket
watches were made for people without a Comp-net which was usually the
poorer strata of their society so it only had a generic brass casing
with a Senata bloom decoration antiqued to look old and not shine in
the sun as the Warrior in him would have hated that and Sarah knew
Such pocket watches were a general item found in most Jewellers on each planet throughout the Corridors and usually had a cheap mass produced case with a decoration generic to the Planet made of bronze or copper or even steel when sold whole like this for use by Colonists living on that planet. The more elaborate cases made of precious metal were usually for the rich who travelled and were sold without a watch in them, on arrival at their destination planet they took the expensive empty casing to a local jeweller and rented for a short stay or purchased for a longer one a local watch mechanism for the casing to use during their stay on the planet, it was a convenient way to save having their Comp-net adjusted to local time and then adjusted again when you left a planet both adjustments took time and a little pain so it was easier for visitors to just get a local watch.
“We have about an hour before we’re due to meet Philip for lunch as it’s only twelve he should have the list of anything else he wants us to pick up for the mine while we’re there getting the engine parts. Since we have the time, I want to check my mail to see if Mom Lucida has sent her usual bi-monthly news letter as it’s about time for it to arrive as well as download the next lessons for the carpentry course I’m taking as that’s due as well. Then I want to go to the bank and check our bank balance as the winner of that last Senata Auction we had has been dragging their feet getting the payment to us. Because if that money has finally arrived we may as well bite the bullet and get a mattress for ourselves while we’re picking up the two for the Carrier, we might be bunking with Philip at the moment but we can’t always count on that.” sighed Chris.
“I can agree with that, hopefully the money is in I sent them a nasty email threatening to report them to the Senata Exchange for non payment and they know that would get them blacklisted their assets ceased if they can’t return the oil and spend a long time in jail for entering an Auction and not paying for the goods received,” he said starting to walk towards the Comm. Office with Chris.
“Good, those bastards have had more than enough time to pay, more time than most Growers would tolerate in fact, so there is obviously something going on there that needs reporting although it could just be because our names haven’t been on the boards as Growers for long Miss Nettie warned us might happen, she claimed that while most of the buyers are upfront there are occasionally a few Companies that you have to get tough with as they like to play games with new Growers hoping they don’t know the full extent of the laws about the Auctions and stetch out the time before they pay using the money for other things meanwhile. When I told her what was happening she said if it was one of those they will eventually pay just wait until too threathened and even then they would pay at the last conceivable minute before it is libel for prosecution and as soon as they pay we were to remove them from our list of approved buyers and tell her we have done so. She is intending to blacklist them as buyers for any Senata grown in the Four Corners Area as they will keep playing games otherwise and we have too many new Homesteaders in the Area due to Homesteads put up for sale during the drought, we simply can’t let them play their little games with so many new names in the area without consequence as it will make the other companies start doing it.” Chris said knowing full well that blacklisting a Company like that as very strong punishment to inflict on a Company as it could easily escalate and wreck that Company as once one Growing area did that, the other Growing areas paid attention and that Company suddenly came under a lot of scrutiny by the Growers of Hades, scrutiny a lot of them just couldn’t afford. Chris had long since decided if that happened it was the Company’s own fault for playing fast and loose with payment on a Senata Auction especially in an old Senata area like Four Corners.
“The boys are probably going to shift that big bed and the rest of the furniture they traded Maude for into the Carrier once we get the mattress for the bunk beds we moved into the cockpit area liveable enough for young Abby to move in there. They intend to sell that Tractor Cart of Maude’s as soon as possible and use the money to set Abby and Maude up at the Port which means they got to buy as soon as possible before the prices skyrocket into the Winter boom prices, which is why they have been upgrading that thing so much they need a good price. That reminds me you need to borrow Mary’s camera again so we can take pictures of that Cart so we have a record of how that false floor was installed, if we are to copy it for the Judge and ourselves when we get Carts to keep, we are going to need those pictures to use as reference. As for the idea of getting a mattress of course I’m all for it and even if the Senata money isn’t in we should still get it as we should have enough money in the Bank for one even without this last Auction payment arriving, last I checked we still had enough Credits left from the Harvest before this last one to get one with, we haven’t really had many expenses as we didn’t loose everything in the fires like most people. Food has been our biggest expense since the Regulator work was cut down but as we have been growing and hunting most of that and we get that dinner on Sunday when we have that free meal for the little bit of Regulator work we do it hasn’t been that bad, cooking our own food has kept the expenses down greatly, it helps that we can always raid Vin and Ezra’s supplies if we’re short or the hunting is bad which we really have to stop doing.” he said with a frown.
“That I can agree on they shouldn’t have to feed us as well, especially as I know they have been leaving a big weekly hamper at the church for the homeless so Josiah doesn‘t try feeding his free meals to them.” said Chris seriously. “I’ll be glad when Vin’s Uncle sends someone to take a look at that damn Psi conditioning the Church gave Josiah it’s going to kill him one day.”
Buck nodded totally in agreement on that front, “I think its designed to do so and do it in a long drawn out fashion, work himself to the bone caring for a church, I think that one is really strong as we first saw him breaking his back trying to rebuild that ruined chapel in the middle of the desert and he is always repairing something on this church the programming would probably make him move on if the church was perfect, then there is this latest twist starving himself to feed the poor, before the fires we didn’t have that many poor but now that we do that one has kicked in with a vengeance. It’s just the type of punishment the Church of the Prophet would inflict on a defrocked Priest as punishment. Unfortunately that isn’t something we can do anything about, it’s up to Vin’s Uncle to get a Ghost Mind Healer to take a gander in his head and see if its fixable until then it’s a useless for us to worry we can’t do much about except keep an eye on him and try limiting his attempts to kill himself with charity as much as possible.”
“Okay, so we forget Josiah for the moment and get back to our own problems.” Chris said with a grimace.
“Yeah, that’s all we can do at the moment.” Buck gave his own grimace at that as he wasn't pleased about it either but couldn’t see any choice. “So, back to the idea of us finally getting a mattress to sleep, as I said I’m all for it but that brings up another problem if we get a mattress, we’d also need to make or buy a bed frame for that mattress because if we’re splurging on a mattress we better damn well do it proper because those godforsaken straw stuffed tarps on the floor certainly haven’t done my back any good since the fires and while an actual mattress will be a big improvement on that, I’m definitely getting to old to keep sleeping on the floor it makes getting up damn hard come morning.” he grumbled. “And you can’t say it hasn’t been wrecking your back as well old dog, I’ve seen you have to unkink your back in the morning after a night on the floor sleeping on those damn tarp beds we made, not to mention I haven’t been the only one that has been enjoying the hell out of that big bed of Philip’s as much as we’ve been enjoy Philip himself.” he chuckled.
“True enough but while I’d love to make us one as a course project, I have nowhere near the seasoned wood available for that big a project or the skill yet and what wood I do have ready for use is already cut ready to make the next lot of Senata Harvester handles we sell to Vin and Ezra, maybe when the wood mill is up and running and we have a lot of free time this Winter I‘ll try but not now. That means any bed frame we make now will have to be out of salvaged Crystal-Ceramic from the dump like the one Philip is using, we can ask Philip if we can look at how it was constructed I doubt he’d object as long as we don’t wreck it. Once we have some idea of how to make one it should be easy enough as we have the Crystal-Ceramic cutter and carver Vin made us.” said Chris thoughtfully.
Buck nodded but looked thoughtful, “I’m not sure we should move into the Carrier permanently those two are Courting and we’ll put a damper on it the way your twin bond reacts. We also need to shift all your wood making tools soon as well and they take up a lot more space than you think as you’ve been buying them for months with any spare money we earn above what we get for the Senata we’ve been growing, so we need a more permanent solution to house all that as well because no matter what JD says, he and Cassie are going to need that shack and barn as storage space for Winter, which is a big problem as Vin’s Barge doesn’t really have the storage left at least not inside and your tools aren’t the type of equipment you leave outside to the weather. Do you think Philip would mind us taking over one of the unused floors of the Volcano as a workshop and living space, we could also start using it for storing food for Winter. We aren’t out at the Barge that often and even if we were there isn’t any space left to lock it up there anyway and we both know shortly Winter stores will be a big target for thieves.” mused Buck.
“Something else to ask about over lunch as I’m sure Vin and Ezra would like another secure place to store stuff as well, it would be an opening about bringing up the topic of the Judges demand that we somehow secure the claim better as well.” he added thoughtfully, “The main problem I can see with the idea is that we’d probably have to contribute to the Volcano’s renovation if we want them to open another level for our use as they haven’t even bothered connecting the power to the levels they don’t use, it’s pretty obvious they’re doing the least they can and it still be habitable as they plan on being gone by Winter. I also think they would object to my tools as well as without sunlight I‘d have to plug into an Array to charge the Plasma that runs them.”
Buck grimaced but remembered the almost cold showers they had that morning and how dim some of the lighting was in the Volcano even on the levels they did use. “They’d hate your tools as they're running the whole place with the Power Array they saved from the wrecked Barge they gave JD, it’s barely enough for one level of that place let alone the three they are using. I dread to see what it’s going to be like once they get that airlock in and they start being able to park inside I know they left floors in the mountain cap for parking bays for the carts but I’d hate to be the Pilots trying to park in them without lighting as it will be murder and squeezing the remaining Barges onto the floor under those bays in the dark won‘t be much better Barges are big and you saw how little space between them they have been marking up there when we collected the rubble. Given all that do we really want to live there full time while they are using it, also that place hasn’t any insulation so it’s always cold and they obviously don’t intend to add any as they’re expecting to be gone before it’s needed. That means even if they put in that furnace they were talking about I‘m betting they aren’t going to be warm for long as it will get colder as the season progress towards Winter. Plus as I said they don’t have the power for another level even without your tools to muddy the picture.”
Chris sighed, “If we do take over a level we could probably get Vin to let us use one of his old arrays I know it will be a shard array but as we are both AMM so that’s legal enough as long as we keep it separate from the levels they use, once the Dawn Miners are gone it will be another matter, I have a feeling Vin might be planning on building Warp Arrays for both the Mountain and the Volcano. So I‘m not worried about power except in the short term, insulation will be the kicker as it’s expensive to buy second hand from the dump let alone new but at least we’ll have a few months before that becomes vital.”
Buck frowned, “I might have a solution for that as JD and I have been talking you know kicking around wild plans to save money on the renovation of the Barge and he suggested we make a run on the dump and salvage some of that discarded insulation that’s too torn or soiled to be sold once we have a skiff working to carry it all back. He remembered that’s how we got insulation for the shack, we soaked what we brought back in the Shatter Crystal trough using the crystal stubs as a washboard using a lot of soap and bleach to get most of the grot out then wrung it out and washed it in the bath tub this time in hot water and suds then rinsed it then hung it out to dry. I told him it really wasn‘t practical for the Barge as it was too big and would need to much insulation and reminded him how long it took to clean the amount we used in the Shack so for it to work we‘d need a better cleaning method not to mention drying it all in this Season would be impossible. Since then I’ve been stewing over the problem in my mind and realised that anything is possible if you have the power and the imagination to think of a way to use that power. It was all that hand washing and baling the water out between loads and rinses that was the killer, the two haves of the present geode are going to be gifts but with the tractors and cutters finding another one of similar size or bigger wouldn’t be that hard, cut out the inner crystals and with some sort of array driven agitator we could create a great big washing machine and lessen the bulk of the backbreaking work it takes to clean that stuff, we could get rid of the buckets by drilling a drain hole and putting in bathtub attachments as we finally did to drain the bathtub after the buckets got to much for us.”
Chris who had been listening nodded thoughtfully, “We might be able to dry it in the kilns at the brick factory set on the lowest temperature it might work, that would be something we’d have to experiment with. It would still be a lot of work even for the Barge Buck because even if you only intend to insulate the outer hull it’s going to be a lot of cleaning and drying to get enough.” he warned.
“I know but it’s not like JD will be able to afford insulation any other way,” he said realistically. “Even as a full time Regulator getting the seven Credit’s a week and meals, he has to many other things he needs to spend that money on, like a couple of pot belly stoves for heating and a cooking stove for the Kitchen. Our money isn’t much better even when we get paid for this last Senata Auction as we wont be having any more for a while as we gave JD the Homestead. As it is we might have to raid that discard pile a fair bit as well just to make even some of the Volcano fit for the four of us to Winter in.” Buck smirked, before turning very serious. “I’m really not that worried about us though, worse comes to worse we can shift all the workshops to the uninsulated Barge we’re getting from Crystal Dawn and Winter in the Crashed one, it still has it’s insulation and without the workshops there’d be plenty of room. My main worry is the Mountain, we just can’t expect people to Winter inside that gigantic hunk of rock without insulation.”
Chris grimaced, “You’re right, we’ll talk to Vin and Ezra about the feasibility of making a agitator for a geode washing machine then we’ll try it to see if it works, we can do JD’s Barge first as that would give us a good idea of the amount of work salvaging that stuff will take. If it works Nathan will probably want us to do his Barge as well when he gets it.”
“No need, he’s already ordered the insulation using his insurance money, he had to show the Seminole he’s serious about Rain so he’s collecting what he needs to renovated the Barge the instant it's delivered to the site. Josiah asked if we'd cut him a basement with the cutters as it would give him a place to store everything until he actually gets the Barge. I told Josiah we’d do it next week as we have paid work for the Crystal Dawn to do at the moment and it has to take priority.”
Chris nodded, “He’ll need an airlock or some other door for it.”
“All but the little Airlocks are getting hard to find at the dumps as Crystal Dawn have been raiding the dumps for them to do the tunnels.” Buck warned.
“We’ll get a airlock from the dump when we get the stuff to make the bed, one of the small airlock doors should be big enough as all he needs if a door to access and store stuff, it’s not as if he intends to park a Cart in the basement.” grumbled Chris. “Are you sure he’s actually already ordered the insulation? Or is he just thinking about it?”
“Yeah, he's already ordered that’s why Josiah asked if we’d cut the basement, why?” asked Buck confused.
Chris sighed, “It just confirms the Judges speculation that he isn’t intending to rebuild the Clinic at least not in Four Corners anyway. He wouldn’t have used that insurance money if he ever intended to rebuild the Clinic here. While I can see why he isn’t doing so it’s a bit irritating as it will leave the Town high and dry in the healing department and he’d have to sell the Town claim for us to get another Healer this Winter to replace him which is going to be hard as we have little to entice a Healer as he is taking everything but the Claim itself with him. But on a personal level even I can see that for Nathan it’s the best option financially and emotionally he‘s never really been happy here and the Clinic Plasma will power the Barge easily and he can just as easily set up his Clinic in one of the Barges holds and instead of the Town folk he barely tolerates his patients will be the Seminole Tribes, he doesn’t really need the Town anymore or the Seven for that matter as the Seminole Bands will take him in satisfying the Warrior in him as well.”
“He’s still one of the Seven, Chris even if he's basically leaving us and the Town it isn‘t his fault he reacts badly to anything Allcon including Ezra and Vin,” frowned Buck afraid the feelings Vin occasionally showed Nathan when he reacted to both his Texas accent and his Ghost heritage was influencing Chris through the twin bond and he was mistaking the situation.
“Buck, I’d never deny that he is one of the Seven but at times you have to admit he doesn’t act it, if you want the truth while I’m sad its come to this as the leader I have to admit I find his prejudice detrimental to the smooth functioning of the Seven, he argues even my orders much too often right up to the moment we go into battle, it’s beyond frustrating especially as he can barely work with Ezra and to a certain extent Vin although he‘s better with him as he knows he owes him his life. Before you try to continue trying to defend him as having a hard life think on this; he hasn‘t really asked for our help with his nesting only Josiah‘s help was ever asked for. Face it we wouldn’t even know he was marrying Rain if Josiah hadn’t told us long after they set the date and that shows a lack of commitment to the Seven as a War Band that I find frustrating, a permanent War Band is a Family to Warriors and Nathan isn‘t treating it that way which means he hasn‘t committed to the Seven no matter what he thinks. In a way its also more than that I think it’s because we‘re AMM now the Warrior in me is more sensitive as well and my inner Warrior doesn’t class Nathan the same as it does You, Vin, Ezra and even JD, my Warrior fears he‘s temporary that he is unlikely to fully commit to our War Band and has gone into a wait and see stall about him, Josiah is also a wait and see case due to his Psi conditioning but my inner Warrior is a bit more forgiving of him as his mind is barely his own at the moment. That said, even without him committing fully to the Seven in his heart we have done our best to treat Nathan like a full War Band brother, think about the full extent of our commitment to his nesting. First we made sure he was next in line for a Barge which is a really big present as we have our own needs for a Barge and put his needs first. Then between the four of us he and Rain are getting a complete bathroom and hot water system for that Barge neither of which would be cheap to purchase that is a really expensive Handfasting present Buck usually only gifted by family not mere friends. Next week we are cutting him a basement with the cutters another big expensive present to help his nesting if he had too pay for it himself it wouldn’t be happening and finally we will be using the Harvester to fill his wood pile with enough wood for the Winter when we have the time to do some logging.”
“When you start listing it all it seems a lot more than individually,” nodded Buck in realisation. “No one can say we haven’t been treating him as a member of the Seven’s War Band and Family. We might be helping JD a bit more but that’s more in terms of actual labour and that’s expected to be part and parcel of taking the Kin position as I did for JD, Josiah took that position for Nathan so he‘s the one expected to help on that front, not us.” said Buck thoughtfully.
Chris relaxed as Buck finally understood his position on Nathan and the Seven, in Chris‘s opinion the Healers position was all up to him now they wouldn‘t throw him out but wouldn’t stop him leaving either if that was what he wanted which he was obviously planning to do. “Speaking of JD how is he going saving for the Plasma banks the Barge will need?” asked Chris curiously.
“Don’t ask, he and Cassie are in the middle of an argument over that as he thinks it will have to wait as they have to many other thing they need to purchase, he is right about that and they can get by with candles and oil lamps for light as it isn’t as if they will be depending on Plasma for heating given how fast it runs out during a blizzard.” sighed Buck as they came up on the Comm. Office and separated each headed for their own mail box, ignoring the main entry they went to the bank of mail boxes set in the wall to one side, the mail boxes were a locked weather proof hinged door that was unlocked by inserting the non data end of either of the two mail crystals that were issued with the box and turning it like a key, once it was opened it exposed a data port with a tiny shift screen next to it underneath it was a small pull out tray less than half an inch high. Chris pulled the data stick from the lock took off the protective sheath over the connector and shoved it home once the light underneath went from red to green he activated the shift screen viewer to scroll through his waiting mail deleting anything he didn’t want and downloading his letters and the few catalogues he actually requested be sent to him. After that he wiped the mail box clean ready for the next time mail arrived before checking the small tray for any tin tokens that would tell him he had physical mail to pick up. Frowning when he found a red token, red was for something that was security coded so only he could collect it as it would need both signature and id codes, he wasn’t expecting anything physical and certainly not anything that needed to be sent under security collection which was usually reserved for banking or legal stuff.
Looking up he saw that Buck had checked his own mail while he was busy, they had gotten the boxes when they moved out to the shack before that any mail was delivered to the mail box for their rooms at the boarding house and if they were out of town it was held for them. Unfortunately Chris hadn’t the money or the inclination to set up a computer in the shack to receive mail at his residence which would have also entitled them to have their parcels delivered out to the shack as well, they spent a lot of time in town so it wasn’t worth the trouble of doing when it was simpler and easier to get the boxes at the Comm. Office to get their mail.
Buck was pocketing his Mail Data Keys with a frown as he came over to Chris, “Hey Chris, I‘ve been meaning to ask how the heck does Vin and Ezra get their physical stuff delivered I thought the whole point of these boxes was you had to get it yourself?“
Chris grimaced, “Old man Cody the messenger that delivers around town has a crush on then so delivers if they’re there. They hate him because he’s a perverted old man and projects his lust at them but they put up with it as it saves them the trip here most times.”
Buck wrinkled his nose at the thought of Cody but in the end just smirked, “Their own fault for being so pretty and not so manly as us.”
Chris gave him a pure Larabee glare at that comment, “We’re just as pretty and we might not attract the male perverts as much but Ella Gaines proved females have their own dangers so don‘t get you dare get too damn cocky about that.” He said savagely making Buck wince. Chris made an effort to shake that sudden depression and spite, his bitter anger over that bitches actions wouldn’t stop until she was dead but he refused to let it eat away at the rest if his life, Sarah would never forgive him if he did that now that Vin had fixed his sanity, unfortunately Vin’s fix did nothing for his natural tendency to brood just gave him the ability to control it better which he made an effort to do now. “Now I better go see what this thing is about?” he said holding up the red token.
“Shit a brick, those things are almost always trouble!” Buck moaned.
“Not always the last two we got were the confirmation of the severing of our Federation Citizenship after completing ten years of colonisation in the Redemption Corridor due to it being an Independent Corridor not part of the Federated Empire and the second one was Congratulations for becoming a permanent Citizen Colonist of DisPater and included our Redemption Corridor Citizenship Datawork.” chuckled Chris.
“I said almost always!” snorted Buck extremely glad Chris had recovered so fast from the bitter memories his poor joke caused, “Come on let's go see what the bad new is? You also still need to download your next set of lessons before we head for the Bank anyway.”
Twenty minutes later they exited with frowns on their faces after downloading the lessons and collecting the security packet represented by the red token.
“Who on Hades would be sending you a Secure Bank Chest?” demanded Buck incredulously gazing at the three inch by two inch diameter metal cylinder that was wrapped in a soft sheet of tin that was soldered and sealed shut around it against tampering. The solder had been used in a similar way as a wax seal as it was impressed with the Seal of the Redemption Mint. Buck knew that if that solder seal was broken or looked repaired in any way no bank would honour any mismatch between contents of the chest and the invoice enclosed in the cylinder instead it would cause a long drawn out investigation by the Investigating officers from the Mint. The tin enclosing the cylinder had the Chests registered number and Christopher Larabee engraved on it followed by his Id Code then the pickup Bank in this case Four Corners Bank, Hades, DisPater, Tartarus System, Redemption Corridor. Chris would have to prove who he was at the bank as well even though they knew him, it was the ultimate way to send anything you didn’t want traced or lost throughout the Independents and something the Federation hated as they had little control of it as the Redemption Mint was now Independently Run by the Tartarus Conglomerate.
“That just it, they don’t have to have been on Hades to send it they just had to walk into any Bank rent the Chest, fill it up with the Manager watching to make the invoice, after you confirm it’s correct the chest is sealed and the key placed in with the invoice and then it is wrapped in the tin and engraved with the details after the mint seal is impressed. They are usually used for sending sensitive legal Datawork in hardcopy or Crystal form such as wills or Share Certificates you want extra security for so they arrive without tampering although if you want you could also choose to sent Credits this way instead of by electronic transfer but that’s really frowned on by the Federation as they can’t trace the sender if they don’t leave a name which the Government hates, that’s the reason the Federation demanded they put a limit on what the Redemption Mint allows to be sent in the chests I’m not sure what the limit is though just that it has one. The problem is this was sent separately so I have no idea if the Chest has arrived in Four Corners yet or not?”
“Well we intended to go to the bank anyway, so we‘ll see if its here yet then go check the balance then get out enough Credits for one of those big Mattress like Philips bed has. I wouldn‘t mind going to a Port luggage store to price those fancy Crystal Ceramic travel trunks like Philip has because we really need something to store our clothes in and have done for a while.” said Buck thoughtfully as they headed there.
“No way are we buying luggage at the Port, any type of travel stuff is always way overpriced in those shops even the second hand stores but I‘ll go with you to look at what they’re offering it will also give me a good idea of what their top price can be for the different styles so I know what not to pay for one when we look online for a private sale.” chuckled Chris as he went into the bank before Buck could comment.
*****“I’m sorry to say Mr. Larabee that the secure chest this belongs to hasn’t yet arrived!” said the Head Teller who was in charge of the banking side of things at the moment as the Bank Manager was down in the vault cellars counting the replacement Credits and adjusting all the accounts to reflect their true totals by entering the new credits and finally getting rid of the Shadow entries in the accounts. The Teller frowned down at the sealed cylinder it was actually the first he had ever dealt with and it made him a little uncomfortable as he knew the Federation Government frowned on their use. Still they were legal in the Independents so had to be dealt with. “The Manager is down in the vaults sorting out the Shadow Credit accounts as the replacement Credits finally arrived, let me go talk to him as he knows more about these things than I do as he actually worked longer in the Independents.”
“That’s fine Buck and I wanted to do a withdrawal from our account anyway so we can do that while you conifer with the Manager.” said Chris getting up and leaving the office to head for the Tellers.
“Once at the Teller, they got a balance check to make sure the Senata money had arrived, breathing a sigh of relief that it had finally arrived. Chris had a quick discussion with Buck on how much they needed to withdraw finally agreeing on sixty Credits which would give them the forty-five Credits for one of the big 7’ x 7’ King mattress and the rest to purchase the sheets and pillows they would need for it, they discussed it and decided to hold off on the blankets for the time being as Vin and Ezra had piles of the damn things in the Carrier and they could always borrow a few for the time being until they could do their own trade with the Seminole. That would leave them money left over out of the sixty they were withdrawing but they both needed new underwear for the colder days that were starting and Chris refused to let Buck purchase another one of those stupid red flannel thing he wore last Winter even if it was the cheapest winter underwear on the market. This time they were both getting proper two piece Long Johns for winter not just him.
Leaving the teller after putting the fifty Credit gold wafer and the two five Credit Silver wafers into the wafer slots in his Credit holder then he tucked the Data Ledger for their Business Account back into its place next to his personal Account Ledger and put it away. Only then did he realise that he had automatically pressed the shift section on the withdrawal form for Credits when it asked what he wanted it issued in. He shook his head at how easily that had become a habit. While he was the first to admit Redemption money could be awkward to carry around at times but there was no getting around the fact that it felt more real to handle them than those rag paper pay on demand credit notes a lot of people favoured before the fire. He figured he wasn’t the only one in Four Corners who was leery of leaving those notes uncashed and had gotten in the habit of always asking for the hard metal Credits instead of the notes, he’d seen the shops line up before close of business daily to either convert them to coin and wafers as soon as possible or have them recorded into their Bank Ledger by depositing them nightly which left a record of the transaction as the serial number and barcode was entered as well when they were deposited which was a safety for the Bank as that record of deposit was the only reason the Bank got replacement notes after the fire.
It had been a hard learned lesson for most of them as there had been no way to prove you had those notes once they were burnt so they had lost a lot of money in those fires, the metal Credit coins and wafers that left physical remains when destroyed so that and your bank ledger records had proven the only safe way to ensure you kept what you earned in a disaster. Mary had a field day over that and filled the Clarion for weeks after the first fire on what will and will not be reissued by the mint in a disaster and why. He knew that was the only reason Ezra could prove he had savings because after reading the Clarion after the first fire he had promptly converted all the pay on demand notes he carried around into wafers and coin a fact he had been thankful for after the second fire when the Saloon went up as he had recovered the metal and silicone chips from the rubble and was able to prove those savings had indeed existed.
Looking up he saw that he Head Teller had gotten the Bank Manger from the cellar vaults while they were busy so they headed back to the Managers Office to continue the discussion about the Secure Chest Chris was expecting.
After getting seated again Mr. Brighton who had been sent to manage the bank after it had been completely taken over by the Braithwaite Banking Conglomerate when Lovatt defaulted on some of his own loans said, “As Mr. Mondellan explained previously, as it has not yet arrived we can‘t do much.” Brighton said solemnly. “Thankfully as a Manager I do have greater access to the System so I can do one more thing for you Mr. Larabee and that is only because you physically have the invoice and key Cylinder already. I can use the identification codes engraved on it to put in a location Query to the Banking System and track it’s present whereabouts, while that wouldn’t usually be an ideal solution and often a waste of time because if it isn’t within the same Corridor it won’t register in the system. Luckily for you I know from experience that those cylinders usually arrive within days of the chest itself, sometimes beforehand like in this case, sometimes after but usually only a few days separate them, so I am reliably sure it is somewhere in Redemption Corridor which means we can obtain a reasonable estimate of when it is due to arrive.”
Chris nodded, “That will be helpful, we aren’t always in Town these days so it’s always best to have some warning of such things so we can make plans ahead of time.”
“Well lets get started shall we,” he said entering his master codes and starting the query about the any secure chests presently within Redemption. When the list came up he entered the identification codes etched into the tin sealing the cylinder to narrow it down. He smothered a grin knowing Mondellan was watching as the system sent back an answer almost immediately confirming that the requested chest was not only in Redemption as he thought but actually somewhere in Tartarus itself. “It is in Tartarus so my estimate was correct, let’s see where is it at this minute?” he said as he scrolled through the entries that listed all his options finding the one he wanted he entered it and the identification code again when another screen popped up, he didn’t often get to play with this ultra secure section of the massive Banking Network available only to Branch Managers so he wasn‘t sure of what would happen next, another security window popped up demanding his own codes for yet another confirmation that he had the right to access the information so he dutifully entered his passcode again and it let him enter the final secured data level where the present location of Larabee’s secure chest was to be found, “You’ll be happy to know Mr. Larabee that your secure chest is presently sitting in the Docking Port Branch Office and if nothing unexpected happens before then it is due to be put on the shuttle down to Purgatorio Port at three pm today and will be accepted by the Main Port Branch by four pm at the latest, where it will spend the time secured in the vault until it will be transferred to the secure section of the stage leaving the Port tomorrow, all of which means that it will arrive in Four Corners Monday afternoon.” he said only just managing to wipe the emotion from his face as he remembered Mondellan was still in the office and he wasn’t just a Federation grump but the spy sent to make sure he was unhappy with his new position after all a punishment wasn’t a punishment if you enjoyed it.
Buck frowned, “We’re actually headed to the Port this afternoon on Crystal Dawn business to pick a few things up for them, any chance of us intercepting it and picking it up this afternoon at the Port Branch it will save it being put on the stage tomorrow and Chris having to wait until Monday for it.”
“I’ll ask?” he said making sure to frown as if displeased with the extra work they were causing him, finally he sat back satisfied. “The Docking Port assures me it will make that shuttle as scheduled and the Port Manager has reluctantly agreed to your interception once he realised it would be less work for his people if you did, he told me to remind you that it will not be available for pick up before four pm as it wont be there yet and to please make sure you have the needed Id on you.”
“Thanks for that, I’m not sure we would have been in town on Monday so this saves us even more delays. We best be going we’re expected at the Volcano soon for last minute instructions over lunch.” said Chris as he and Buck got up to leave.
“I was just doing my job, Mr. Larabee.” he said quietly handing Chris the cylinder.
Chris nodded and they left the bank headed straight for the Cart as they were pushing it for time as it was they’d only make the lunch with Philip because they were flying to the Volcano.
“Patrick, I have to go continue the merger of the rest of the Accounts and make sure it all balances I’ll be working through lunch to complete it. I know Miss. Yancy is meeting her beau at the Diner at noon during her lunch break can you ask her to bring back the house special for me.” he said handing over a Credit coin to pay for it. “I hate to impose on her that way but it is the only way I shall eat until tonight if I don’t as I really need to get this completed if we have any hope of deleting the Shadow ledger straight after closing today.”
Mondellan grimaced knowing that meant he himself was going to have a busy afternoon as someone would have to check Brighton’s work. “When do you want me to do the final check of the Accounts you’re merging?” knowing it wasn’t a job he could pass off onto a junior teller as he usually did the annoying jobs as they didn’t have the seniority or experience to do this particular job. At least he could transfer back to his cushy job in the Head Office soon and report to the higher ups that their plan was working it was pretty obvious the uppity too smart for his own good Allcon Shield bastard hated this place as much as he did and knew how it would end. This really was the perfect dead end place to stick him with after they couldn’t delay his promotion any more, all the equity he built up and invested to buy the Branch shares needed to be a Manager would be gone soon as this Branch failed and it was obvious that would fail there was no way this place was going to be a viable Branch ever again, the place was a wreck with structural damage and heat damage to the actual vaults so should be condemned yet the place hadn’t the profit to repair any of it as Braithwaite had only recently taken it over completely again due to defaulted loan payments from the last Manager Investor, the Town itself was in even worse shape and the best part of it was that Brighton wouldn’t be able to do a damn thing about being forced to invest in this Branch, on Data this was an up and coming prosperous Town that just made County Seat, when the Branch failed and finally closed down Brighton would be destitute and demoted to junior teller again if he was lucky and would also then have a big black mark as a failed Branch Manager on his record so would never be offered another Branch Managership to invest in again no matter how hard he worked for one.
“You can start checking the balances as I have completed the five largest shadow accounts already. I’m about to start the smaller ones, which I’m afraid will take the longest as almost all the other accounts fall under that category.”
“Tanner and Standish‘s personal accounts, then their combined Business account, the Diner account, the Bootmaker account and the Clinic Account.” he asked just to confirm which accounts he was talking about.
“Yes, they were our biggest shadow credit holders the rest of them are much smaller amounts which will be much more labour intensive as there are so many of them, are you on early, mid or late lunch today?” he asked.
“Mid,” he said sourly. “So I should have these checked and validated long before then, I’ll call down when I finish so we can get these accounts into the system as soon as possible.” he said with a grimace knowing he couldn’t slack off and take his time dragging the job out until his lunch in about an hour as his own work would be under review about this and it would definitely be noted if he took that long to simply check and sigh off on five accounts containing the piddling amounts this Town considered big, he had no intention of getting a reprimand for sloth on his permanent record as it would ruin his own chances of promotion to Manager which would be guaranteed with the money he was getting to do this.