Birth of the Undead – Staying Alive 2
Written by kshoo :: [Friday, 15 April 2022 10:43] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 16 April 2022 12:26]
<Lunarcorp, a few days later>
“What the hell are you doing here?” Lena practically growled when she saw the well-dressed uninvited guest walking into her office that late morning. Not that the man in front of him would be stopped anyway; After all, he is the largest shareholder of her company anyway.
Lex merely stood inpassively opposite his half-sister in his tailored suit. “Why not? I own part of the building that we’re in right now, not to mention most of your payroll...If being a part-owner can’t even allow me to get a cup of coffee in LunarCorp, well...” gesturing animatedly ”... I guess that I just have to be more active during those monthly board meetings.”
Lena just saw Sara’s face peeking in through the door, just beyond Lex’ shoulder. Gesturing to her PA for two cups of coffee, she refocused her gaze on her half-brother.
“What do you want?”
“Oh come on, Lena. Can’t you even give me a break? After all, I was worried. You never call, you never text...” words of concern spoken in mocking tones merely made things even more maddening for the CEO of LunarCorp. She however refused to rise to the occasion though, trying to keep her cool while observing Lex going through his motions.
“Funny. I’ve always thought that mother and you never much cared for me. After all, I’ve been reminded enough times that it takes much more to be a true Luthor than to be born one.”
“Oh, you know mother. Always the drama queen. Which is why having her parked in Cadmus suits all of us just fine.” At least that was part of the truth.
“What do you want Lex?”
“I just dropped by to say congratulations.” Lena’s green eyes narrowed at that. “Not easy to prise a wonderful researcher away from his or her position. Given that LunarCorp is still starting out, it is a real coup for you.” Sara appeared just at the right time, coming into the office with a tray consisting of two cups of coffee, sugar and milk. As the PA placed bent down slightly to lay the tray on Lena’s tables, the CEO observed how Lex’s eyes started following Sara, from her large chest down to her tight buns as her body showed off all her amazing curves. They continued to followed her as she walked out from the office before turning the corner to go back to her seat.
Lena merely stayed silent, waiting for her brother to refocus on the matter at hand.
Turning back to Lena, he picked up his own cup of coffee and poured a generous amount of milk, before leaning back and continuing. “As you know, Cadmus also has some bio-medical researches running. Given that you managed to recruit the top researcher in the field, it will take us a bit of time to try and secure the services of our alternative. As there happens to be one or two which has a tighter deadline, I was thinking that perhaps we can transfer those projects over to you. Basically LunarCorp will take the lead on completing the project and delivering the results, while LexCorp takes a cut of the final project delivery reward. What do you say?”
“What’s the catch?”
“No catch. Pure business. Given that you now have the expertise to finish this project to its highest quality, it actually pays to outsource it to you, our affiliate company, and yet LexCorp still pockets a fee without lifting another finger. That also frees up my team for other projects. You will still have to cover the cost of researchers and everything else of course, given that all the work will be run out of Midvale-Leesburg. We will be taking a 20% cut as the introducer, while giving you all the opportunity to build your reputation. If you do well, you build the division up, stock, dividends increases for me, win-win for both of us. To sweeten the deal, I will only take that cut AFTER the project is delivered in full. Plus, LexCorp is also on the hook to vouch for the ultimate outcome of the project. So, what do you say?”
Lena took a moment to consider the offer. It is true that LunarCorp is now looking high-and-low to improve their cash-flow just to keep things going. It is very tempting.
“I would like a few days to think about it.” Lex just laughed at that. “You know, these deals; they don’t stay on the table forever. As a CEO sometimes you need to know when to grab it, rather than wait for your team to pour over it for days and then find out that opportunity is lost. Spreadsheet analysis can only go so far. ”
“All the same, it is an interesting offer, and a fair offer dictates that I discuss with my Exco. Unlike you, I run a more democratic ship, and I don’t normally bulldoze my way over people. Unless of course you are scared that your offer cannot bear scrutiny in front of others evaluating it in detail?” A soft-challenge, but a challenge none the less.
Lex looked at Lena, before taking out a USB drive. “You have 24 hours, after which the data on this drive will automatically be locked and all its contents encrypted, and can only be opened by my private password. Any attempt to temper will of course cause it to self-destruct. You do know we pride ourselves on our security systems.” With that, he passed the pendrive over, and just turned around and left. Stopping at the doorway, he turned around and remarked “I do have to hand to you. You really do know how to recruit, especially the females.”
“What do you think?” Sam asked. Both women had poured through the proposal document after Lex left, and after working through it for 3 hours straight they finally sat down together to hash things out.
“Project seems clear-cut with detailed objectives, though the timeline is extremely aggressive. 3 months for final proof-of-concept & trial, and if approved, we have another 6 months to ramp up for mass production and usage. We are talking about a major industrial contract over here, one that is more akin to working with companies the size of LexCorp.” Lena leaned back, seemingly in thought. “Even if we are able to finish the initial phase in time, setting up a new manufacturing plant in another 6 months is also very tight, even if we can do things in parallel. I assume with LexCorp's backing we could secure all the necessary funding to do so. But i do believe that if we can prove ourselves in the first phase, then we can perhaps negotiate for a longer time period for the second phase.”
Sam Arias then leaned back against the hardback chair and looked pointedly at Lena. “I know that you have been working on an exo-skeleton project prior to the fire on the side with a select crew, think you can customise it for what is needed?”
Lena took a sip of coffee while considering the question “Yes, but time is of essence. While previously my design was for industrial use and hence extremely sturdy and rigid, now we have to consider that it has to be attached to human beings like you and I, which means we need a certain flexibility and fluidity to mimic the limbs’ movement. Given that the contract is from the military’s medical unit, I can definitely see the need there especially for wounded soldiers at the start. Interestingly LexCorp had managed to lower the exclusivity clause to only three years, so it definitely opens up the possibility of selling to the general public too while giving us a chance to finetune everything in between while still getting paid. This is a pretty good start, if we can do it.”
“But what about the bio-medical, or the genetics part?”
“Considering that the limbs are metal alloys, most probably these will need a skin cover, so to speak, which is normally made of hard plastics or resin. If however we can somehow use and clone the soldiers’ own skin cell tissues, clone enough of them to make a mold-like to cover the exo-skeletons, that will definitely have a lot more value. Definitely a lot more customisation required, but that’s where the value-add comes into play.”
“Sort of like the ‘Bionic Man’ coming to life?” Sam grinned. “Well, we are in the 21st century now, so we have definitel y progressed much since the tv show. What about the money part?”
“Looks reasonable. For the prototyping and trials, they will pay a flat monthly fee to cover the cost of research, though anything above and beyond is our responsibility. Then if they like what they see, a cool five million for awarding of contract, and then negotiation for a cost-plus type of sale to them so that they don’t pay through the roof for, as you said, the value-add. We are contractually bound to show them our product costs for the markup discussion, which is highly irregular, but given that it’s really new territory and we are a small outfit, can’t really budge on this even if LexCorp is backing us. But the intellectual propety will be jointly owned with the US Military though, even though we can publish papers on the development with vetting. We will have to pay the country royalty if and when we commercialise it to the public, should we go that far.”
Both women thought for a while, and then Lena picked up the phone. Two rings, and a familiar voice came through. “Lex? I'm in. Let’s proceed.”
“Good, I will have the lawyers prepare the necessary, and once we sign on the bottom line we are a go.” All business, though Lena couldn't help but smile that this rare coup.
After hanging up, Lena looked at Sam again, and both young women smiled. This is a significant opportunity for the company, and if it works, it’s definitely a big boon. Even though they didn’t verbalise it, both women are smart enough to consider a nagging thought “If the deal is so fantastic, why did Lex Luthor share it with us?”
Lex had just put down the phone when Mandi walked in, carrying a small metal briefcase. Having flown in, she came through the balcony in which the doors are always unlocked for Lex’ lover, and from the looks of it she seemed to have just left a dinner party, or maybe going to one later. In anycase, the Arion was dressed to impress in black.
Strutting over to Lex, she placed the briefcase on the mahogany desk, and bent down to give Lex a passionate kiss. It was almost a full minute later before they disentangled themselves.
“I trust that everything went well with our friend Raphael Marchiatto?”
“Oh, it went well enough. Wearing these…” her hands indicating her tight black dress with the high slit “by itself guaranteed me an automatic invite into Marchiatto’s Palermo home. Not that any of the security would do them any good anyway.” She smiled.
“Based on the intelligence pack that you provided, I found all those crystals easily enough. They were all locked up in a safe in the chapel next to the house. I find it amusing though, how one of the most powerful man in the underworld would even have a House of God located in the same vicinity of his own home.”
It was fairly unusual for Mandi to agree to doing things on Lex’s behalf, as these are usually more of his own henchmen or Mercy's job. But it wasn't lost on Mandi herself that he harboured a little bit of skepticism still about her abilities. And weaknesses. Doing this once would put everything to bed once and for all.
She walked over to the bar to make herself a drink and continued “Anyway, I waited until the main festivities started and then I moved over to there. Quite an interesting place to store secrets, these chapels are. Seems to be his preferred place to bury skeletons.” That was quite literal, as when Mandi was looking for the goods, her tachyon vision did reveal the multiple bodies under the concrete floor, the different colouring of the concrete a simple indication on how recently they were replaced once their purpose had been served.
“When I reached the block that contained the underground safe, I just smashed that block open with a stomp of my leg, and then proceeded to pull the entire safe up and out. A bit of heatvision, and voila, everything’s out.”
“As I turned around to walk out from the place, two guards who heard the commotion had arrived, holding their guns and pointing them at me. Apparently holding a five ton safe with one hand wasn’t impressive enough, and so I just casually tossed it to the side, and stood with my hands on my hips, daring them to fire away.” And she also did just that, taking the same pose in front of Lex now as she had done in the dimly lit chapel not an hour ago.
“Did they?” Lex’ arousal became more evident, as does Mandi’s. His enhanced vision detected a slight protrusion on her chest and her lower lips. He was observing how easily Supremis women get aroused, as easily as ice becomes water with heat.
“Oh, they didn’t have the balls to do it. They shouted a few times telling to stop, I think; but their hands were shaking ever so slightly. Eventually I got bored of waiting and just walked over to stand in front of them and then squeezed the gun barrels with both my hands until they are paper thin, before tossing them away. Useless men who are gutless shouldn’t be trusted with guns, don’t you think?”
“I agree Mandi. That’s why only the most professional people that I have employed are trusted with one. But now that I have you...” With that Lex stood up and went over to stand behind the Arion woman, his arms sliding across her waist as Mandi turned around to kiss him at the same time. They slowly made their way to the luxurious couch before collapsing into a heap as their mouths went for each other.
“You know, the intelligence is a bit… off.” Mandi said after fifteen minutes of serious necking.
Lex frowned. “How so?” His hands never left her butt as he kept up his groping, which elicited a contented moan from Mandi.
“You mentioned that he had a green crystal, the one that had proven so effective for our vampire friend, and which I assume would also work with our little Kryptonian hero-wannabes.”
Distangling herself from her mate, Mandi stood up and strutted back towards his workdesk. Taking hold of the suitcase, she gently floated across the floor to the couch area, placed the suitcase on the coffee table before opening it, then turning it around to let Lex look at its contents.
“He had three, not one. Two green, and one, strangely, is red in colour. I thought I’d just take all of them, for our own collection if nothing else. How funny that this little thing” Mandi took one of the Kryptonite shards and looked at its green-hue reflection from the light “can make the mightiest of them all into a weakling.” This simple final gesture, she saw, was enough to clear out any lingering doubts about this rock's effect on her. And him too.
“Red you say? My my, that IS a find. So how should I thank you for bringing this wonderful haul back my love? Would a bout among the sheets later be a good start?” Given Mandi’s hungry look, it definitely looks like it would be a long night ahead for both Supremis lovers.