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Passing Strangers

Chuck Ellephanie sat in the back of his limousine early on Monday morning, sweeping towards his factory. He listened to the sweet whine of the fusion engine. He stared at the back of the chauffeur's head and twiddled a Mont Blanc pen between his fingers, back and forth as he'd been doing for the entire journey.

The Koreans wanted his technology. He needed a big name to invest and keep his technological lead. The question was how he could get the money without trading his technology and eliminating his lead. If he lost that he could kiss goodbye to Carlton. How? Only by acting fast.

He needed to expand R&D so fast that no one could catch up with him, Daewoo, GM or anyone else sniffing around at Carlton. The deal had to be Daewoo made the cars and he supplied the engines as sealed units. He got the worldwide service contract, not that they needed any servicing. It would take them some time to get around the patent. By which time he'd be too far ahead and could probably blow them out for General Motors. Could that be the pressure? Could that be the scam for the deal, the threat?

The problem was the volume production and engine range the Koreans would demand would mean massive expansion, expanding his site to ten times its current size. They would only sign any deal if he could guarantee production and ensure the reliability of the prototypes. That meant more labour, houses and leisure facilities in a damn short time.

Duncan Anderton was always, always the Mayor in the way. The guy who wanted to keep sleepy Hertferd as sleepy old Hertferd, untouched in the middle of America.

The limousine swept through the factory gates. Chuck stopped twiddling with his pen.

"Time waits for no man," he said to his chauffeur.

"Yes sir," the chauffeur replied reverently, "Yes sir."

The limousine passed a guy carrying a package and wearing a pair of Levi's who was walking towards a production centre. Chuck barely noticed him but he was staring into the limousine with daggers in his eyes.
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