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.The response of the Legion, having several times the coercive power of the Republic, to the idea of being forced into anything was silence containing a heavy admixture of wry contempt.Still, in a spirit of "one enemy at a time," the Legion had instead constructed another solar chimney on the mainland, one which it continued to own and the electricity from which it sold.There were plans for a third and fourth, and vague interest in building a fifth through fifteenth, though these would really be more than the largely agrarian Republic needed.Still, one never knew when a couple of extra terawatts might come in handy.On the other hand, at nearly seven hundred million FSD, Federated States drachma, each, solar chimneys were not cheap.Even with the money saved by running significant portions of the chimney along the ground and up mountains, the cost remained very high.It was especially high in land as individual Balboan landholders parted with their patrimony most reluctantly.After that initial capital investment, however, fairly abundant electricity, in the range of two hundred megawatts per tower, was available more or less continuously for no more than the price of occasionally replaced turbines, and the personnel who oversaw them and kept the jungle at bay.Contemplating from his office window the vapor cloud at the top of the island's chimney, Patricio Carrera wondered if the effort and expense were worth it.On the other hand, what price is too high to be free of energy blackmail by the Salafis?Toward that end, the Legion had also funded, and made some profit on, a number of thermal depolymerization plants about the Republic.These took waste—mostly agricultural waste but also human sewage and even old tires—and converted it into oil at a rate of about two and a half to three barrels per ton from the best feedstock.Not every stock was of the best, however.The average yield was much less.Even so, the TDP plants, too, had gone a long way toward getting the Legion's host, Balboa, out from under the Salafi thumb.And that is always worth doing, Carrera thought with satisfaction.And even if Sada—no Salafi, he—were able to supply us with oil someday, the supply would still be in other's hands.Though, I suppose, with us taking whatever sewage and garbage can be shipped in from some of the larger cities of South Columbia and Colombia del Norte, our supply is still partially not in our own hands.Carrera, once known as Hennessey, had aged much more than the seven years that had passed since his family's murder in the great terrorist attacks that had begun this war.Hair once black had gone mostly gray.The sun and wind and rain had begun turning his face a tough leathery brown.Only the eyes, a bright and clear blue like the sky on a cloudless summer day, remained youthful, and even those were framed by crows' feet at the corners.The intercom on his desk buzzed."Tribune Esterhazy is here, Duque," announced Carrera's aide de camp."Send him in," said Carrera, looking up at the heavy, locally manufactured, mahogany door to his office.The door had been ornately hand-carved with military scenes at a factory, the Fabrica Hertzog, a couple of hundred miles up the coast and a bit inland.There was a contract between the Legion and the factory for a certain number of discharged legionaries to be apprenticed there, with the Legion picking up the tab of their training.The door had been made by these apprentices.The scene-carved door opened, held by an aide.In walked Matthias Esterhazy, formerly a major in the Airborne Assault Engineers of the Army of the Federal Republic of Sachsen on the continent of Taurus, later an investment banker with SachsenBank, most recently comptroller and chief of investments of both the Legion del Cid, SA and Carrera's own family's corporation of Chatham, Hennessey and Schmied.He had other duties, as well; most significantly, Esterhazy was the direct representative of the Legion to the War Department of the Federated States of Columbia.About Carrera's height, five-ten or so, Esterhazy's appearance, like his name, indicated a heavy admixture of Magyar along with his predominantly Sachsen heritage.He was, by nature, darker than Carrera.The natural dark could not easily be seen, however, except in the eyes.Contrasted to Carrera's icy blue, Esterhazy's were hazel.The Sachsen's skin was only slightly olive in tone.While Carrera's had tanned to a dark finish to match his office door, as one would expect with someone who spent nine months in ten under the pitiless sun of the Sumeri desert, Esterhazy had paled under the weak sun and indoor lighting of the metropolis of First Landing, the largest city in the Federated States.Carrera shook hands over the desk and indicated a seat with the other hand.He pushed aside a map.Had anyone looked, the map would have shown a one to two hundred-thousand scale topological view of Pashtia, a half mountainous-half desertified half-failed state south of Kashmir and north of the Islamic glacis states along the border of the Volgan Republic.There was a war going on in Pashtia, a sister campaign to the one being waged in Sumer."Good news and bad news, Patricio," Esterhazy began, after seating himself.Carrera noted that Esterhazy's Sachsen accent had almost disappeared under the influence of seven years of living in the city of First Landing in the Federated States."Bad news first."Esterhazy had anticipated that."In a few days the Progressive Party is going to win the next election in the Federated States.Yes, it will be close but they're still going to win.Their most likely candidate for SecWar is James Malcolm.I have spoken with Malcolm, at a fund raiser.The Legion's contract for Sumer will not be renewed.No possible campaign contribution, or even outright bribe, that we could offer will change that.I have also spoken with your family senator, Harriet Rodman.She says that getting it renewed is beyond her power and that it doesn't matter what you pay her; it would still be beyond her power."Carrera shrugged."I expected that.The campaign in Sumer is pretty much over, anyway.That Harriet can't help is.disappointing.But she's always been up front with me and if she says she can't then she probably really can't.Pity.And the good news.?"Esterhazy, uninvited but welcome, took a cigarette from a pack on Carrera's desk.Lighting and puffing it to life, he continued, "Financially, you can continue to support the force you have, and even expand it to the full fifty thousand you want to.But that is all; you don't and won't—not with anything low risk that I can do, investment-wise—have the means to continue the war at the current level.At least you won't be able to continue it indefinitely [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]