CHAPTER TWELVE PART ONE RESPECT AND PINOWNE
“Chief Analyzer,” the automaton’s voice whirled, “Proctor Cortezzo will arrive in two minutes. He requests an update regarding the status of the stalkers and verifier sent from the New Buenos Aires Complex.”
Teis’s anger, fed by the perceived insult of playing nursemaid to Cortezzo, spilled over. “I am well aware of what he wants! Now go and bring this, this politico to me now!”
“I will notify Proctor Cortezzo you await his presence, Chief Analyzer.”
Teis glared at the machine as it exited the large chamber. By all that’s pure it should be me alone running the hydroponics complex not sharing it with some inexperienced fool. Tabir and Ganath must have brought Cortezzo to Coquero’s attention either as payoff for a political favor or as a marker owed for a tryst with his concubine. Teis’s frown turned into a scowl. I wonder how long I will have to listen to his ignorant prattle before I become nauseous. The only satisfaction Teis could cling to was that Cortezzo was coming to see him, that Cortezzo would seek information and his counsel. This thought brought a slight grin to Teis’s thin lips only to fade as the chimes sounded signaling Proctor Cortezzo was about to enter the room. With a deep frown Teis watched the large doors slide silently aside and disappear into the chamber walls. Once Cortezzo is seated, you must focus on his inexperience while you impress him with your knowledge and understanding. Yes, this is your plan, Anton.
His frown replaced with an expression of curiosity, Teis watched Cortezzo, followed by two scribes enter the chamber. With unexpected deference they greeted Teis in turn before sitting about the conference table, each seemingly impressed by the technology surrounding them.
Caught off guard for he had expected a cold, condescending attitude from Cortezzo, Teis managed a slight, confused smile. “Thank you, Proctor.”
Cortezzo spoke: “Chief Analyzer, I, we,” he made a sweeping motion with his arm towards the scribes seated to his left, “deeply appreciate your tireless efforts regarding the unfolding events. I know you only await the arrival of the stalkers and Verifier before you implement your plan to capture the mules. Your use of complex resources have been more than satisfactory, a true testament of your abilities, Chief Analyzer.”
Teis’s confusion only deepened. Based on the information he had gleaned earlier from Tabir regarding Cortezzo, Teis had reached the conclusion that Cortezzo would view him in a condescending manner. His fingers feeling the weight of uncertainty, Teis deactivated the gemplasma screen. Though still wary of Cortezzo’s complements, Teis quickly settled into a relaxed, yet guarded explanation of his plans and the results he anticipated upon their completion. Teis, having fully expected disparaging questions regarding his decisions, found Cortezzo’s questions logistical in nature, not ones questioning every aspect of his plan and its intended outcome.
As the session continued, the more Teis waited for the one specious moment where the steel traps of deceit and arrogance would spring shut and crush what remained of his dignity.
It did not happen.
Having met for one standard hour, Cortezzo had brought the meeting to an end, stating due to his tasks assigned him by Lord Tabir that he must leave. With a wide smile covering his round face, Cortezzo stood and extended his right hand towards Teis who stood and stared at it until realizing Cortezzo’s gesture was sincere. A tight grin on his thin lips Teis grabbed the proctor’s hand and shook it. With a slight nod towards Teis, Cortezzo turned to his scribes and with a minimal amount of fanfare, exited the chamber.
As the doors swished shut, Teis looked about the massive room. Seeing everything but focusing on nothing, he felt odd, yet strangely placated. He had expected every decision to be questioned, every move to be undermined, yet for reasons he could not understand, it did not happen. Part of him wanted to embrace what had transpired, yet deep within his mind he was racked with feelings of unease and uncertainty.
© 2017, Raymond Tobaygo. All rights reserved.
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