Treasonous humans, corporate goons, a mysterious crime scene onboard a space mine, a snuff collector, a subterranean explorer, winged sharks, a deadly robot, marooned time travellers, a marooned inter-galaxy cop and his prisoner, political intrigue during the interstellar space games, a robot armageddon, the birth of an A.I, a cyberpunk romance, and a tale about a human, an alien and an entity older than a star. Fourteen science fiction short stories from the author of A Hostile Takeover and The Blood Ring.
“I am pleased to announce that we have slain the dragon.”
MercurEx employees, gathering around the trading oval, cheered enthusiastically, the type of reaction James Tucker had hoped for. He needed them to know how much he valued their support.
He wanted them to trust him again. He wanted to trust them back.
“The hypergoblin incursion has been neutralised. It seems we have apparently become experts at killing these things.”
The remark drew laughter.
He knew they hankered for a joke and so he gave them one, even though he feared a remnant of the demented zoid could still be lurking freely within his ethersphere.
Tucker could not afford another setback, so he deemed moving forward with looming unresolved threats a calculating risk.
A daring risk?
A huge risk?
Well, risk-taking is an uberman’s business.
“I am also pleased to announce that the government has set a date for a debate on currency deregulation. This means MercurEx is back in business.”
Cheers from his employees filled Tucker’s chest with hope and confidence. “Eighty percent of our fellow citizens have lost confidence in the current real estate backed cryptocurrency. Sixty percent support deregulation. I smell inevitability in the air, so, regardless of the outcome, regardless whether it is legal or not, MercurEx will declare itself a sovereign entity and the path will be set for us to issue our own currency.”
Tucker felt the gasps of surprise, like air being sucked out of the room. “Every stakeholder including each of you will receive an equal non-transferable share which entitles one to voting rights, access to services and income.”
Speaking over jubilant applause Tucker pressed on. “The key elements in our endeavour are close to realisation. We have already implemented our own in-house time based monetary system. For now, every Mercury Hour you get paid MercurEx buys it back at six federas. I believe in the future this unit of account will dominate the competition. Why? Because time is the most valuable asset an individual will ever possess. When, and I mean when, deregulation occurs our competitors will be peddling the same old interest-bearing kleptocurrencies, money designed to move capital in one direction. MercurEx will be offering not only a local communal monetary system, not even a regional one but a global system. The store of value in our system, for the time being, is MercurEx stock and holdings. In the future, it will be the Global Stock Exchange. It will be the intermarket.”
Tucker waited for the excitement to ease. “The last piece of the puzzle we need to realise is our medium of exchange. This is why I have pursued vigorously to merge technology with finance. Bionaut has finally developed fourth generation capabilities and is ready to go. No, our superzoid is busting to go. The only thing stopping us right now is that NASE 2.0 still isn’t ready yet. This is where my priorities currently stand and I will be working to get the NASE hardware up and rolling as fast as I can. So, bear with me, we still have a long way to go.”
Tucker spent the next few minutes discussing trivial matters with his mercurians, joking with them, appreciating each affectionate smile, and thankful for their unadulterated attentiveness. He didn’t need newsfeeders and rankerphiles to tell him he had the best staff in the world.
Tucker only hoped he could remain the best boss in the world.
With great reluctance, he dismissed everyone and MercurEx returned to its usual hum of capital traders, social developers, marketing engineers, hypernauts and consumer guardians. His human personal assistant Rebeka walked up to him, the concern on her face a stark reminder of the hazardous adventures that were scheduled for the day. “I’ve been unable to contact Mr Blackwell,” she said.